True To You

True To You

Becky Wade’s True to You is an attractive story of love; not only of the romantic type but of Christ’s selfless love as exemplified by flesh and blood beings following Him.

True to You introduces readers to three uniquely different and yet closely bonded sisters, Willow, Nora and Britt Bradford.  Interestingly the three sisters share a biological father but all have different mothers, a fact that fits perfectly into the storyline of Nora’s relationship with former Navy Seal, John.

The book contains a lot of interesting details, and scenic descriptions; however, those sometimes seem to make the story drag on.  At 367 pages, readers should not expect the storyline to wrap up quickly.  I found myself growing impatient wondering where it would all end.

Nothing can prepare readers for the sharp turn taken in the final chapters, so fasten your seatbelts because I promise you will not see it coming.  Don’t read ahead though because that totally spoils the story!

As the first book in the “Bradford Sisters Romance”, True to You definitely left me wondering what the future holds for the three Bradford sisters.  I look forward to the next book in Ms. Wades’ newest series.

*A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.

 

Brave Is The New Beautiful

Brave Is The New Beautiful

In a society obsessed with outward appearances, Brave Is The New Beautiful sets out to redefine true beauty. Beauty lies not in wearing a size 2 dress, or perfectly straight teeth and smooth skin, but is instead encapsulated by those exhibiting courage in the most incomprehensible situations.

Lee Wolfe Blum takes the reader on a journey through the personal experiences of individuals who displayed unwavering courage in the face of gut-wrenching ordeals. Keep the tissues close.  This is no sugar-coated gospel; the pages are filled with true stories of real people who despite their deep-rooted faith lost their battles.  The stories are impactful, and so is the resolve of those individuals determined to continue moving forward even when faced head on with the cruel realities of this earthly life.

A quote from the book perfect sums up its contents, “The kind of bravery you are talking about isn’t the kind that conquers. It’s the kind that submits and relinquishes control to God.  This is true bravery.  It is letting our guard down and becoming naked, just like we were always meant to be.  Trusting God and relying on him, just as he made us to do.”

*A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.

Think Again

Think Again

In the world of Selfie Sticks and introspection, Jared Mellinger’s Think Again offers a unique perspective into the ‘”It’s all about me” mentality.

As a Christian, our life is supposed to be modeled after Christ, but in our quest for that goal, it’s quite easy to get off track into self-absorption.  Think Again addresses this very topic in an easy to read and understand 167 pages.

Mellinger explores how to examine self without delving completely into exterior blindness.   For anyone who considers themselves their own worst enemy, this book helps bring deliverance to the bondage of self-revulsion.

A valuable tool for guiding the “Me” generation into a new understanding of what it truly means to model oneself after Christ.

 

*A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.

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Becky Wade’s ‘True to You’ Author Chat Party

Raise your hand if you’re ready for Becky Wade’s new series! Celebrate the release of book one, True to You, with Becky and other readers on Facebook on May 4th during a fun author chat party at 8:00 PM EDT (that’s 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, & 5:00 Pacific)! Becky will be chatting about the book and answering your questions about the new series, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways too!

Pre-order your copy of True to You so you’re ready for a fun book discussion. Find out more about the book here.

Hope to see you on May 4 for Becky’s True to You Facebook Party!

A-Fragile-Hope

A Fragile Hope

Fasten your seatbelts! Although a page turning, can’t wait to see what happens, kind of story, Cynthia Ruchti’s, A Fragile Hope seems to shoot out of the gate long before the jockey is properly seated.

The book’s beginning offers no point of reference for the reader. It is the type of start requiring multiple rereads to try and maintain navigational bearings. Although each chapter begins with a profound stanza, the offerings at first seem jarring. It took this reader quite a few chapters to determine how those tied into the story.

Ruchti’s unorthodox writing style may also cause confusion for the reader, at times leaving one wondering who said what to whom? The story leaves some questions unanswered; Ruchti dances around several events but does not provide the full resolution as to what occurred. Following her opening style, the story’s conclusion, although satisfying, is also abrupt, leaving the reader with their mouth hanging open questioning, “That’s it?”

Despite the bumpy road, A Fragile Hope is a captivating story of one man’s journey from indifference to unconditional love. Ruchti does a nice job inserting subtle “Aha!” moments into Josiah Chamberlain’s journey. Readers meet a few other unforgettable characters sprinkled into the mix that show Josiah, with their actions, what love looks like.

The book will make you want to sneak a peek ahead to see how the story unfolds, but don’t spoil the ending for yourself because it’s really all about the ride!

*A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.

Welcome To College

Welcome To College

High school Juniors and Seniors preparing for college are the target audience for Jonathan Morrow’s Welcome to College.  Herein lies the flaw, very few 16 – 18 year olds are going to sit down and read 362 pages of non-required material.  Even if they were to begin, they are likely to fall asleep before reaching Chapter 3.

The book, ironically the second edition, contains entirely too much information, brain overload.  Any parent purchasing this book for their teenager is liable to find it unread and collecting dust on the nightstand.

The Discussion Questions in Appendix D provide a useful glance regarding the book’s contents.  Should a student have a question about a specific topic, the book could prove a useful resource but not for thorough perusal.

I would not recommend this book unless except perhaps for a parent to read as a roadmap to relevant topics of discussion to have with their high school aged offspring.

*A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.

Her Secret

Her Secret

Shelley Shepard Gray’s, Her Secret, the first book in her latest series, “The Amish of Hart County”, puts a unique twist on life in the Amish community, a mystery of sorts.  At the novel’s end, Gray informs readers this series will include six books total, each suspenseful in nature.  For those fond of stories of Amish life, this fresh theme is sure to be intriguing.

The template for books on Amish life seems to focus on much of the same subject matter; family, community, and church.  While those are all noteworthy topics, they leave little room to broaden the strokes, until a creative author like Gray comes along.

Her Secret tells the story of young Hannah Hilty who along with her family flees their comfortable Amish life in Ohio to begin anew in Kentucky.  Shell shocked after being stalked in Ohio by Trent, a young Englisher, Hannah withdraws from practically everything she used to enjoy.

Stumbling upon Isaac Troyer in the woods, Hannah is understandably frightened, but what unfolds after that unexpected meeting is a beautiful friendship, one that sets Hannah as well as her family, for they also have secrets, on the road to recovery.

A beautiful story of how Christ-like love truly does conquer all.

 

*A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.

Home At Last

Home At Last

Although more widely accepted today than twenty years ago, bi-racial relationships still face challenges, challenges that are not widely discussed nor understood.  Deborah Ramey’s Home At Last delves into that sensitive subject via the two likable main characters, Link and Shayla.

Twenty-nine-year-old Link Whitman is from a white, upper middle-class family with absolutely no clue what someone outside of that parameter might face.  Thirty-three year old Shayla Michaels is bi-racial with a white mother and black father.  She has dealt with racial prejudices for most of her life.

After their first meeting, Link is undeniably attracted to Shayla.  She in turn is slightly enamored with Link, but hesitates to get involved with him.  Shayla struggles with what she considers obstacles; their different races, her loving but somewhat overbearing father, and the 5-year-old niece she is raising as her own.

Home At Last navigates mixed race issues from both a community and a family perspective and shows that love can win over hatred.

 

*A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.

Tightropes & Teeter-Totters

Tightropes & Teeter-Totters

For any woman struggling with balancing work, home, family, children, friends, finances, diet, exercise or any other area, Lisa Pennington’s candidly written Tightropes & Teeter-Totters offers practical, easy to follow suggestions on how to manage even the toughest of circumstances.

Pennington allows readers right into her home to witness, the good, the bad, and the sometimes-horrifying situations in which she finds herself. Warning, a few stories teeter dangerously close to over sharing, but they help keep her relatable.

Her tips on de-cluttering and getting organized make getting started easy rather than overwhelming.   One senses humility in her writing making it easy for the reader to bond with her rather than be offended thinking she’s got it all together while everyone else is falling apart.

Tightropes & Teeter-Totters is a must read for any mother and wife still trying to find her way through the quagmire called life.

*A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.

The Elusive Miss Ellison

The Elusive Miss Ellison

Although it takes a few chapters to adjust to the characters’ use of formal English, Carolyn Miller’s, The Elusive Miss Ellison is a page-turner sure to capture and hold any reader’s attention.

Set in 1813, St. Hampton Heath, Gloucestershire, England, the story centers around the simple yet intelligent and outspoken preacher’s daughter, Lavinia Ellison and the newest well-to-do, but broken Earl of Hawkesbury.

Miller does a splendid job building the plot to an unexpected yet highly anticipated crescendo. The Elusive Miss Ellison is one the book lover will not want to put down until the final pages are delivered.

The unanticipated ending is sure to leave audiences wanting to know more about future of the highly likable hero and heroine. Perhaps Miller’s next book, The Captivating Lady Charlotte set for release June 27 will feed that desire.

*A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.

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Door to Freedom

Set in Sudan, Jana Kelley’s, Door to Freedom takes a rarely seen look inside a deeply religious Muslim country.

In a unique presentation, Kelley’s novel provides the reader two stories in one as she shares tales that run parallel, delicately intersecting at carefully selected locations.

Readers follow Americans Mia and Michael, devout Christians, who with their two young children struggle to share their faith while living under strict Islamic laws.  Woven into the tale is young Rania, raised in a traditional Muslim family, whose older sister was beaten and exiled for following the teachings of Christ.

The more Rania secretly learns about Jesus and his teachings, the more she questions her Muslim upbringing.  The struggle between respect for her father and the desire to know more about the one true God is palatable.

Door to Freedom is an intriguing story sure to pull the reader into its choreography and maintain a firm grip until the very last page.

*A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.

Home to Paradise

Home to Paradise

Home to Paradise is a charming story of love in the Amish Community of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  A cautionary advisory, Barbara Cameron’s characters often use words native to their culture, but foreign to those outside of it.  The glossary on page 266, which sadly remained undiscovered until the story’s end, is quite helpful if used while reading.

Rose Anna Zook, a madel (young single woman), boppli (baby) of her family, and the only unmarried of her father’s daughters is a bit of a rebel. Home to Paradise, second in “The Coming Home Series”, begins after Rose Anna’s sisters have married their childhood sweethearts, former community exiles who have come back into the fold.  Rose Anna’s true love John, much to her frustration, remains an outsider.

For those unfamiliar with the Amish way of life, Home to Paradise is an interesting if not completely factual peek into the culture.  Much emphasis is placed on family, appearances, piety, community and church.  Within the confines of those pillars, Rose Anna’s character struggles with her own desires to marry a man who no longer feels the same about her or their way of life.

In a culture obsessed with sexuality, the innocence and purity of Rose Anna & John’s attempts to rekindle their relationship is a refreshing change from the current norm.

Overall, Home to Paradise is a pleasant and enjoyable read.

*A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.