Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

October 31, 2016

An Amish Family Christmas {Shelley Shepard Gray}

an amish family christmas shelley shepard gray
In Shelley Shepard Gray’s fourth book in her Charmed Amish Life series, an unlikely Amish romance reveals that Christmas is a time for family, miracles—and love.  

Ever since his father died in a tragic fire, Levi Kinsinger has felt adrift. Newly returned to Charm, Ohio, Levi is trying to fit into his old life, only to discover he seems to have outgrown it.

But when Julia, his young widowed neighbor, asks for his help with a Christmas project, Levi finds a sense of purpose for the first time in months. She and her daughter are new to Charm and could use a friend, a job Levi takes personally. Soon enough, friendship grows into attraction, but Levi can’t help having doubts. There’s something about Julia that doesn’t ring quite true…

Like Levi, Julia Kemps has survived her fair share of hardships—but only by hiding the truth of her past. Being an unmarried mother in an Amish community was unthinkable. Feeling hopeless, Julia did the only thing she could do: she moved to a new town and pretended to be a widow. But meeting Levi, she’s hopeful for the first time. Little by little, she begins to imagine telling him her darkest secret, and eventually…perhaps even sharing her life with him.

Christmas is a time for family, and as the holiday draws closer, Julia and Levi will have to face their pasts together…in order to find the healing, support and love they so desperately desire.

My Thoughts:
We finally get Levi’s story! When Levi came home in the third book I was so excited he had rejoined his family, and I could not wait to get his story.

Levi has moved out of his family home and lives in a small rental in town. He meets his neighbor, Julia, and I felt like sparks immediately began to fly. But, as usual, it took the characters longer to figure out their feelings. Julia has a past that does not quite add up, but Levi seems to be falling for her anyway.

To watch the relationship between Levi and Julia grow was exciting, but once the secrets began to come out, the suspense heated up in this one. We learn about Julia’s past long before Levi does, and I was so disappointed at Levi’s reaction to the admission. I felt his love for Julia had not been real, and I was heartbroken.

At the risk of spoiling the ending, the level of drama rises and it seems truth and consequences come to a head just in time for Levi to figure out how he really feels. It had me turning the pages quickly because I had to know how it would all turn out.

The ending of this story brought a smile to my face. To finally know all four siblings and see how their lives turned out after such tragedy was a perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

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A Sister's Wish {Shelley Shepard Gray}

a sister's wish shelley shepard gray
In Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.

Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get… but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.

Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past…unless it pertains to Amelia.

He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy. 

But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love… but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.

My Thoughts:
As the youngest sibling of the Kinsinger clan, I was a bit worried Amelia’s story was going to be boring. I was so wrong!

We learn in the very first chapter just how much Simon has always loved Amelia. But they were kids and Simon has been through so much since then. He has returned to Charm, and this book is as much about him as it is Amelia.

Simon knows that he loves Amelia so much, but he has so many secrets from his past that he is ashamed of. He is also under the belief that if everyone knew his secrets, he would no longer be welcome in Charm. We seem his struggle with this throughout most of this story. It breaks my heart that he went through so much, and then feels he must hid it all from those who seem to care the most about him.

Amelia is young, but not so young she does not know what she wants in life. More than anything in the world, she is annoyed that her siblings think they can boss her around and treat her like a child. It is when Amelia suffers a serious injury we see this family finally sort out their differences and realize that Amelia needs to be allowed to be an adult and make her own decisions.

As we watch the relationship between Simon and Amelia grow, I could not wait for them to get together. But it appears life is getting in the way of their happiness. I was so annoyed at both of them for the way they handled some of the situations, but was happy when they both came to their senses and figured things out.

This turned out to be a great book, and I am so glad I had the fourth book already in my possession because I could not wait to see how this series is going to end.

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

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October 27, 2016

Restoring Christmas {Cynthia Ruchti}

restoring christmas cynthia ruchti
Ariana Blake has one chance to land her own show on the Home Project Network and nothing—not an uncooperative client, a job site without indoor plumbing, or a challenging videographer—is going to stand in her way. Elsie, at seventy-plus, is far from the ideal client, but she knows exactly what she wants her fieldstone house to look like, and no designer can tell her otherwise. Gabe Langley, the man with the camera, is caught in the middle and it is his wisdom and warmth that just may be the bridge that will bring these two women together. Can they restore more than just a house and bring about special, almost lost forever Christmas memories? 

My Thoughts:
This is my first Christmas book of the year, and it has set the stage for some very exciting holiday reading!

We meet Ariana and immediately believe she is very unsure of herself. She is a talented designer, but her confidence seems to be wavering and she comes across as such a timid character. We quickly learn, however, her timidness and lack of confidence comes from a broken childhood and a grief that seems to consume her heart.

Gabe comes across as very cocky and annoying, but his personality very quickly changes and I found myself liking him more with each chapter. He also has a background that could consume his life, but he has found healing in his faith and he is not afraid to show it off.

As Ariana and Gabe begin to work together on Elsie’s home, we also see them begin working on a relationship they don’t even realize is forming. Their relationship becomes the pillar that holds each of them together through some trying times during the few weeks together.

Gabe loves Christmas and he is determined to bring Ariana into the Christmas spirit with him. But before she can fully get on board, she must get her heart right with God. It is through her restoration through God that she fully lets go of her past and allows herself to be the person I was hoping she would become.

I enjoyed watching Ariana and Gabe build their relationship, but even more I enjoyed watching God build Ariana’s heart back to a place full of life. God is truly our restorer, and this sweet story brings that home in the most wonderful Christmas setting.

Drawing from 33 years of on-air radio ministry, Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and novellas, nonfiction books and devotionals, and speaking for women's and writers' events. Her books have been recognized by Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards, Selah Awards, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Christian Retailing's BEST Awards, and Carol Award nominations, among other honors, including a Family Fiction Readers' Choice Award. She and her plot-tweaking husband live in Pittsville, Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

October 26, 2016

Wee Read Wednesday: Cold-Case Christianity for Kids

cold case christianity for kids j warner wallace
Between the ages of 8 and 12, kids often start to wonder if Christianity is true.

In Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, detective J. Warner Wallace draws readers into the thrill of high-stakes investigation by showing them how to think rather than telling them what to think. In this children's companion to the bestselling Cold-Case Christianity, detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity. Includes author illustrations and links to a website where kids can download activities, fill in case notes, and earn a certificate of merit.

Detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity.

Our Thoughts:
If you have older kids who are interested in detective shows or books, they will love this book.

In this book we follow three kids through detective school as they learn the basics of uncovering the truth. As one of their investigations, they examine the truth behind Jesus’ existence. I admit, at first I was worried how this book would line up with our family beliefs but I was pleasantly surprised to find I appreciated the way the detective work was done in regards to Jesus.

By walking through many of the stories of Jesus’ life, the detectives in training are able to sift through questions, answers, and facts to determine if they believe what they have always been taught. Thankfully, they all discover that they do believe in Jesus and the stories in the Bible.

This is a fun way for children to really understand how to stand up for their faith and be able to tell others about the Jesus they believe in. Although this book is a little advanced for my kids, we will hold on to it until they are ready. I think they will both enjoy it very much.

J. Warner and Susie Wallace have been training young people in the church setting for over a decade. J. Warner is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, Court TV and other crime-related television shows. A former atheist, he is the author of Cold-Case Christianity God's Crime Scene and Forensic Faith. He has a master's degree in theology and is the founder of Susie has a master's degree in speech pathology and co-writes (and edits) all the kids books in this series. J. Warner and Susie have four children and live in southern California.

October 25, 2016

Forever and For Always {Debra Clopton}

forever and for always debra clopton
Publicist Olivia Sinclair has been away from Windswept Bay for years, busy helping the Hollywood elite get out of one scandal after another. But now, she’s in the middle of her own scandal and splashed all over the gossip tabloids. Suddenly, coming home to lay low in Windswept Bay is her own best advice to herself. 

Life as he knows it has just been altered for charter boat captain, Brandon “BJ” McCall. He’s just learned he has a brother and he’s inherited millions—complicated…just a little and he’s not exactly sure how he feels about either. But rescuing a beautiful, Pink Kitty shorty pajama clad female from the roof of her house is a complication he can enjoy. 

Being rescued by a stranger who could rival any of her Hollywood clients—isn’t exactly what Olivia had planned when she came home to hide out. Falling for the guy who, she learns is perfect tabloid material in his own right is not a smart PR move. She’s trying to get off the cover of the gossip magazines—not hold her spot for eternity! 

But it’s complicated. 
Especially, on the beaches of Windswept Bay where romance is in the air and love is a complication that just might be undeniable.

My Thoughts:
This series has been such fun to read, and I was so excited when I realized this book was Olivia’s story. Olivia is the only sister who has left Windswept Bay, and she rarely returns home. But scandal has brought her sneaking back home to the security of her family.

I knew I liked Olivia from the moment we met her, perched on the roof. She is someone who spends her professional career being confident and commanding, but we realize she can be very insecure and vulnerable in her personal life. Falling in love is definitely not on her radar.

We met BJ in the previous book and knew he was a great guy. I was hoping he would continue to be a part of this series, but I had no idea just how important his role would be. I love the character he became and the part he plays in this family. I found myself rooting for his happiness from the first chapter.

The series continues to provide entertainment, and I like that each book builds on the stories already told in previous installments. I look forward to getting to know the rest of the Sinclair family in books to come.

Award-winning, Bestselling author Debra Clopton has sold over 2.5 million books and her holiday story, OPERATION: MARRIED BY CHRISTMAS has been optioned for an ABC Family Movie. Debra is known for her snappy dialogue, cowboy heroes and spunky heroines set in Texas. Her awards include: The Book Sellers Best, Romantic Times Magazine's Book of the Year. She's also a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, and a triple finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award.

A sixth generation Texan, Debra lives on a ranch in central Texas with her husband Chuck. She loves to travel and spend time with her family. She is the author of the much loved Mule Hollow Matchmakers series where you never know what the Matchmaking "Posse" is going to do next! She's written for Harlequin Love Inspired and Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins Christian and DCP Publishing.

She is currently working on her 38th novel surrounded by cows, dogs and even renegade donkey herds that keep her writing authentic and often find their way into her stories. She loves helping people smile with her fun, fast paced stories.
Visit Debra's website at 
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October 24, 2016

Shaken {Tim Tebow}

shaken tim tebow
First, he was a beloved college football champion, Heisman trophy winner, media sensation, and best-selling author drafted in the first round of the 2010 Draft. Then he had a miracle playoff run with the Denver Broncos before being traded to the New York Jets. After one season he was cut by New York.

Next he was signed by the New England Patriots then let go after training camp—a scenario that repeated itself the following summer with the Philadelphia Eagles. Tim Tebow has achieved big victories and plunged the depths of failure, all while never letting go of his faith, even in the face of doubt and disappointment.

In Shaken he explains why neither the highs nor the lows of his life can define him—and he reveals how you, too, can find confidence in your identity and know who you are. In revealing passages, Tebow pulls back the curtain on his life, sharing the vulnerable moments of his career that have shaken him to his core—while also teaching the biblical principles that will enable you to keep the faith, no matter what comes your way.

My Thoughts:
I don’t think one has to be a follower of ESPN to know who Tim Tebow is. One of the biggest names in football at one time, Tebow has publicly experienced his share of failures and disappointments in his professional career. His ups and downs have been the source of headlines for many years now.

But Tim has a faith that many of us can only hope to achieve. Throughout the events of his life, his faith has been the glue that has held his life together. His willingness to publicly let God receive the glory and to trust in Him to bring his life back together has been something that made me a Tebow fan many years ago.

In this book, Tim takes us through some of the darkest times in his life while showing us just how important faith in God can be in our lives. We walk through ten chapters of learning how to let God have His way in our lives and always believing that God knows what He is doing.

Tim Tebow reminds us over and over again that God made us exactly how He wants us, and He has a plan for our lives. That plan may not look like what we expect or hope for, but at the end of our lives, we will see just how amazing God is in His planning.

This book is such an encouragement to those of all ages, and an uplifting reminder of just how great God is. This is one of those books I read over and over again, and recommend to anyone who needs a little reminder of just how wonderful their life really is.

Tim Tebow is one of the most accomplished players in college football history. A two-time winner of the NCAA National Football Championship with the University of Florida, Tim is also the first-ever sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. He then went on to become a two-time winner of the Maxwell Award for the nation’s top football player, while also winning the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s best college quarterback and the James E. Sullivan Award for the most outstanding amateur athlete in any sport.

He is the founder of the Tim Tebow Foundation which was started to bring faith, hope, and love to those needing a brighter day in the darkest hour of need, and in April 2010, Tim was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He lives in Colorado.

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October 22, 2016

Kosmo's Christmas Delivery {Deb Kalmbach}

kosmo's christmas delivery deb kalmbach
Kosmo, the king of troublesome terriers, takes trouble to a whole new level! He's a one-of-a-kind, corn-on-the-cob nibbling, ice cream licking, always-into-mischief dog. Kosmo's Christmas Delivery is told from the point-of-view of an older, but not necessarily wiser dog, Kramer, who laments the acquisition of Kosmo by his family, especially his girl, Emily Jean.

When the inquisitive Kosmo jumps on board the Yellow Package delivery truck a few days before Christmas, Kramer, secretly wishes the pup will be lost forever. He reluctantly agrees to help Emily Jean search the snowy streets of their small town for Kosmo. Through a series of unusual events, the missing terrier finally comes home, but not a moment before his older sibling realizes how much he cares about his young friend.

Our Thoughts:
I have a special place in my heart for Jack Russell Terriers. My first furbaby was a Jack Russell and she was so much fun. Kosmo brings the perfect example of a Jack Russell’s personality to Emily Jean’s home.

This book tells the story of a new puppy coming into a home with an established dog, Kramer. Kramer is not too thrilled to have the new puppy at the house and is completely annoyed at everything Kosmo does. In fact, Kramer is pretty happy with Kosmo gets himself into trouble and goes missing.

But then Kramer discovers that he actually liked Kosmo and misses him so much. When Kosmo finally makes his arrival back home, everyone is so thankful he has returned. Especially Kramer.

This story is a great book for Christmas, but also for older siblings who might not always be thrilled to have younger siblings around. I know my kids fight sometimes and drive each other crazy, but each of them is completely lost when the other is not around. They are the best of friends and their relationship is much like that of Kramer and Kosmo.

This is a great book to bring siblings and families together, and also get into the Christmas spirit. Definitely put this book on your shopping list for any kids in your life.

Deb Kalmbach considers herself an "expert" in not-so-perfect marriages. She's passionate about helping other women take one step forward, then another to find healing and wholeness in their lives. Real hope for real life is what Deb strives to communicate to her readers. 

Deb and her husband Randy can see the half-century milestone (a miracle!) for their marriage on the horizon. They live in a tiny town in rural Washington state with Kosmo, their Jack Russell Terrier, who has inspired a new children's book series.

October 20, 2016

Tangled Webs {Irene Hannon}

tangled webs irene hannon
After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn't on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana's foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action--ready or not. 

Bestselling author Irene Hannon draws readers into a web of psychological suspense where danger lurks in dark corners . . . and keeps them captive until the very last page.

My Thoughts:
This book starts so slow for me. I felt the entire first half of the book was spent establishing characters and story lines, and while this is important, it seemed to be redundant. Not a lot was happening, and I almost put the book down.

By the mid-way point, however, things started to happen with the characters and the suspense I had been looking for finally arrived. Dana found herself in fear for her life from events happening around her cabin, while Finn found himself spending all of his time protecting Dana and trying to ensure she and her cabin remained safe.

Of course, Finn and Dana both have a back story that has landed them in their secluded residences, and those back stories play an important role in the how each of them handles the threats being made toward Dana.

I enjoyed the love story that also developed between Dana and Finn. While it seemed to move quickly at times, it also escalated at a nice and realistic pace. The relationship that was growing between them made the suspense of the story even more exciting.

I felt the revelation of the source and reason for the threats was a little predictable, but there were some definite surprises tangled within the conclusion of this book. And, of course, there was the question of whether Dana and Finn would end up together when it was all said and done.

Although there were parts of this book I did not enjoy, I thought it was overall a good read. If you are looking for a romantic suspense, it would be a good book for you to put on your reading list.

Irene Hannon, who writes both romance and romantic suspense, is the author of more than 45 novels. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America (the “Oscar” of romantic fiction), a National Readers' Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, a Retailers Choice Award, a Booksellers' Best Award and two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist.

A former corporate communications executive with a Fortune 500 company, Irene now writes full time. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, long walks, cooking, gardening, traveling and spending time with family.

To learn more about Irene and her books, visit 

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October 19, 2016

Wee Read Wednesday: One Small Donkey

one small donkey dandi deley mackall
Your family will love this heartwarming Christmas story told from an unlikely perspective: a donkey carrying Mary to Bethlehem. Though the donkey wasn’t the biggest, fastest, or strongest of all the animals, he had an important job all the same. Adults and children alike will love the message about how God has big plans for little ones.

Our Thoughts:
This is such a precious book for little ears. My son has loved every single time we have read this book and loves the importance of the little donkey in the story.

The small donkey was sure he was unable to do anything important in his life. He was down on himself and feeling left out. Then he was picked to carry a pregnant Mary to Bethlehem. As if that job was not important enough, he also was there for the birth of Jesus! That little donkey played an important part in Mary and Joseph’s journey, and he was rewarded greatly for it.

This book is a great way to introduce little ones to the Christmas story and the true meaning behind the holiday we celebrate. However, it is also an important reminder for our little ones that they are important too. Just because they are small does not mean they are not capable of great things.

A great story with two great lessons wrapped into a book that your children will enjoy.

Dandi Daley Mackall loves God, children, words, and animals. Her nearly 500 books for children and grown-ups have sold more than four million copies worldwide, and her awards include an ECPA Christian Book Award for Best Children’s Book. Dandi writes from rural Ohio, where she lives with her family, including horses, dogs, cats, and an occasional squirrel, deer, or raccoon.

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October 17, 2016

A Royal Christmas Wedding {Rachel Hauck}

a royal christmas wedding rachel hauck
It’s been five years since Avery Truitt and Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom fell in love. But he broke her heart with no explanation.

Fast forward to present day, and Colin is Brighton’s most eligible bachelor now that cousin Stephen has married. When Avery’s father dies of a heart attack, she puts her life on hold and returns home to St. Simons Island, Georgia, to help Mama with the family restaurant. But Mama misses Avery’s sister Susanna, who lives four thousand miles away in Brighton Kingdom—and is expecting her first child. So Mama insists she and Avery spend the Christmas season in Brighton.

Colin and Avery are going to see each other a lot while she’s visiting. But she can’t forget the way he hurt her, and he didn’t expect his feelings to still be so strong.

Avery is torn between considering a future in Brighton and taking a coaching job in Georgia, and Colin is finally pushed to pursue what he really wants. Is it too late to convince Avery that she is his true love? And even if he does, will she make it to the chapel on Christmas Day to give him her heart?

My Thoughts:
Loved, loved, loved this book!

I have read and enjoyed the entire royal series from Rachel Hauck, and I think this is the perfect ending to such a great series. All the characters from the first three books returned to bring Avery back to Brighton for the Christmas season.

Avery has never gotten over Colin and she is nervous about seeing him when she arrives at her sisters. But as soon as the two come face to face, the sparks begin to fly again.

Colin ended his and Avery's relationship the first time by standing her up. I really wanted to dislike him, but everything about him is so enticing. I quickly found myself cheering him on as he wrestled with his love for Avery and his loyalty to his family.

As this book wraps up, we get to see the happy ending play out in true royal style. But more importantly we get to jump ahead 70+ years and find out how all our royal women faired in life. It was such a satisfying end to a series I have loved so much. I feel we get true closure for this series.

If you haven't read the first three books in this series, I do suggest you pick them up.  This one can be read as a stand-alone, but you will enjoy it so much more if you have the history of the characters.

New York Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Rachel Hauck writes from sunny central Florida. A RITA finalist and winner of Romantic Times Inspirational Novel of the Year, she writes vivid characters dealing with real life issues. She loves to hear from readers. She also loves to encourage new writers and sits on the Executive Board of American Christian Fiction Writers..

A graduate of Ohio State University with a BA in Journalism, Rachel is an avid OSU football fan. She hopes to one day stand on the sidelines in the Shoe with Urban Meyer. An avid Diet Coke fan, she is caffeine free. Sometimes you just have to compromise. She's never skied or jumped out of an airplane. She leaves such hijinks to Jason Bourne.

Visit her web site to find out more and click on the icons to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

October 10, 2016

Wild Montana Skies {Susan May Warren}

wild montana skies susan may warren
Search and rescue pilot Kacey Fairing is home on leave in Mercy Falls, Montana, twelve years after she joined the military to escape the mistakes of her past. With a job waiting for her as the new lead pilot of Peak Rescue in Glacier National Park, Kacey hopes to reconnect with the now-teenage daughter she sees only between deployments. What she doesn't realize is that someone else is also back in town. 

Ben King has been building his country music career since the day Kacey shut him out of her life. Now all of that's on hold when his injured father calls him home to help run Peak Rescue until he's fully recovered. It doesn't take long, though, to discover his father's ulterior motives as Kacey Fairing walks into the house and back into his heart. 

With Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben are forced to work together to save lives. But when floodwaters turn personal, can they put aside the past to save their future?

My Thoughts:
This book was slow getting started for me, but I think it was because I read the prequel. The prequel left me thinking this series was going to go a certain direction, but it went somewhere completely different. Because of that, I found myself a little confused the first few chapters of this book. However, once I figured out the timeline and how everyone intertwined with each other this book was one I could not put down.

In this first full book in the series we meet Kacey. Kacey is trying to live her life between serving the country in the military and being a mom for her tween daughter. She clearly has some baggage and bouts of PTSD to deal with as she arrives home for a summer on leave. We quickly discover she is conflicted between being a mom and being a soldier, but she seems to think she can find a good balance by working with the Peak Rescue unit during her leave.

But Ben King is also home for the summer. Country superstar, and father of Kacey’s baby, Ben just wants out of town. He wants to care for his dad, but on his terms, and also has some baggage hanging around with his music career. Then he finds out he has a daughter, and everything changes. Ben becomes a man on a mission to win the love of his life and be a part of his daughter’s world. We see a broken man who just wants to find his place in the world, and I really liked the person Ben became once he and Kacey began talking again.

This story is full of God’s grace and what He can do for you if you will give your life to Him. God comes through in major ways for each character in this book, and it is apparent He is going to be a big part in the story as it continues through the remainder of the series. I love how the characters turn to God to meet their needs and find answers to their problems in life.

I loved this book and am looking forward to what is to come in this series. It is going to be a good one.

Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.

A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!.

She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. You can find her online at

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October 6, 2016

Total Family Makeover {Melissa Spoelstra}

total family makeover melissa spoelstra
God calls us as parents to be key disciple-makers in our children's lives, but if we're honest, some days it's a battle just to get them dressed and ready for school on time. How can you mold their hearts when sometimes you can't even find their shoes?

In Total Family Makeover, author Melissa Spoelstra gives parents a way--a sort of spiritual track to run on--when it comes to building family discipleship. She focuses on eight key habits of growth:

- Spending Time in Prayer
- Reading God's Word
- Growing Through a Mentoring Relationship
- Finding Community in the Church
- Serving Others
- Taking Time to Rest
- Giving Back to God
- Sharing Your Faith

Disciples are made, not born. Whether your children are babes in arms or teenagers getting ready to leave the nest, making disciples at home starts with you! Give your family a makeover with this practical approach to helping your children learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

My Thoughts:
This book is broken down into eight sections that could easily be used as an eight-week Bible study. Throughout the book, we see practical advice on how to work through the eight areas in our life to help get our family on track to serving God the way He intended.

Each section starts with a real-life story from the author to create an example of the area of focus. Then the author takes you on a journey of advice, Biblical references, and key points to help outline the topic of the chapter. I enjoyed the real-life stories included in each section as a way to break into the discussion. The stories were practical, entertaining, and helpful in knowing we are not alone in this crazy parenting journey.

Throughout the chapter the pull-out sections focused on ways to increase your focus in particular areas, questions to help you begin to think about how to make a change in your home and references for further ways to explore the topic at hand. The little sections were very helpful in making the book something that can be used over and over again.

Overall I thought this was a great book. It is full of advice to help you grow as a Christian, a spouse, and a parent, as you lead your family towards becoming all God has in store for you.

Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology and enjoys teaching God's Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. She is the author of Joseph: The Journey to Forgiveness, Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World, and the forthcoming Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids.

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October 3, 2016

The Candidate {Lis Wiehl}

the candidate lis wiehl
How far would a candidate go to become President of the United States?

In covering the presidential election campaign, star newsmaker Erica Sparks notices that favored candidate Senator Mike Ortiz seems dependent on his wife to an unnatural degree. Celeste Ortiz is a brilliant and glamorous billionaire who—along with her best friend and confidant Lily Lau—has engineered her husband’s meteoric rise. The White House is within their reach. But the more Erica investigates the Ortizes’ strange relationship, the more intrigued she becomes.

Erica begins an investigation. But everyone material to her probe ends up dead. With each death, her foreboding grows. Is she next? And can she find out in time if the country’s beloved candidate is what he seems . . . or a threat to national security?

My Thoughts:
This second book in the Newsmakers series is just as intense as the first, and just as entertaining. As with the first book, I spent much of the book hoping this is not a true-ish reflection on real-life. Such a scary thought.

In this book, Erica Sparks is back and trouble continues to find her. This time it is the midst of the presidential election series and Erica just senses something is not right about one of the candidates. Of course, Erica becomes committed to getting to the bottom of the mystery. And then people start dying.

Erica still has custody of her daughter, Jenny, and struggles to find that perfect balance between work and motherhood. This struggle is so real for so many of us working moms and I appreciated it being brought to light in this book. Erica also struggles with finding a balance for her long distance engagement with Greg, who was much involved in book one.

This book brought so much excitement and suspense. I read it on a camping trip and was glad I had the extra time to read because I could not put it down. It can be read as a stand alone, but I know you will enjoy the entire series.

Lis Wiehl is the author "Face of Betrayal," a New York Times Best Seller.  She has also written "Winning Every Time: How to Use the Skills of a Lawyer in the Trials of Your Life" and "The 51% Minority: How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It." 

In addition to her written work, Wiehl is currently a legal analyst for Fox News. She has been with the network since 2001. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Wiehl is an adjunct professor at New York Law School.