Monday, July 25, 2016

Everland by Wendy Spinale


From  London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders -- the German army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England's borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a daredevil boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?

My take;  I found this to be a very entertaining book.  It is a take on Alice in Wonderland and it has quite a few of the characters from that book some with the same name others with different names.  Hook is a German Officer which the children nicknamed Hook using his initials.  He lost and eye instead of his arm because of his mother's cruelty.  Only children are left because when Germany attacked they released a virus that affected the adults and now the children are slowly dying.  It is set in a steampunk London.  I found it very good and enjoyed seeing the things that were the same between the two books.  If you liked Alice in Wonderland you should enjoy this book.

I received a review copy from Amazon Vine program in exchange for my honest review. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Beauty Refined Blog Tour and giveaway

Little does Phoebe know that her father's plans—for the sapphires and his daughter—are not what they seem. If you love historical fiction, romance, and adventure, don't miss Tracie Peterson's A Beauty Refined. When Phoebe meets Ian, everything changes. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie—a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.

Join Tracie in celebrating the release of A Beauty Refined by entering to win her Precious Gems giveaway (details below) and by attending her author chat party on August 9!

beauty refined - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/9. The winner will be announced at A Beauty Refined Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tracie and fellow fans of historical fiction, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

beauty refined - enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 9th!

Murder Mezzo Forte by Donn Taylor

Murder Mezzo Forte

Murder Mezzo Forte (Lamplighter Mysteries, June 2016)
He is a reclusive history professor with musical hallucinations. . . .
She a headstrong professor of religion, a converted Wiccan. Earlier, they solved a campus murder, but now police say they formed two-thirds of an illicit love triangle with a newly-murdered female colleague and they’re probably guilty of her murder. A leak of the alleged scandal to the college administration threatens their jobs.
Their desperate attempt to prove themselves innocent of the triangle and the murder plunges them into a tangle of unsavory corporate relationships among college trustees. And it puts their lives in danger from a mysterious criminal organization that seems to have tentacles everywhere.
Can this ill-matched pair’s stumbling efforts succeed against the entrenched forces of the police, the college’s incompetent administration, and that powerful but unseen criminal organization? If not, they may end up unemployed, in prison, or suffering a fate much worse.
Donn Taylor


Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in Renaissance literature and taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His publications include three suspense novels, one historical novel, and a book of poetry. He lives near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.
Find out more about Donn at

My Take:  This book is the second book with these characters.  You can read if by itself but the do reference the first book fairly often.  The main character who is a history professor hears various musical arrangements in his head of which I have never heard of.  His friend is another  professor who use to be a Wiccan but who became a Christian during the first book.  Another professor is killed in this book and some other unfortunate things happen to them while they are denying investigating the murder while they are investigating.

I received a review copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review. 

Like a River From It's Course by Kelli Stuart

Like a River from its Course

Like a River from Its Course(Kregel, June 2016)
An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope
The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little—known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.
Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.
Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the “killing ditch.” He survives, but not without devastating consequences.
Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.
Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer’s plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.
Kelli Stuart


Kelli Stuart is the coauthor of Dare 2B Wise and has written for several brands including Disney, American Girl, and Short Fiction Break. She has served as editor-in-chief for the St. Louis Bloggers Guild and as a board member for the St. Louis Women in Media. In addition to her writing, Kelli has spent twenty years studying Ukranian culture. Kelli lives in Florida.
Find out more about Kelli at

My Take:  This book is historical fiction of Ukrain under Nazi rule.  The story is told from several points of view, one a girl who's family is living during this time and another is the son of a highly placed Nazi officer.  This book is sad as most stories about this time in history are.  But there is hope for better things to come.

I received a review copy of this book from Lit fuse in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Medical Judgement by Richard Mabry

Medical JudgmentMedical Judgment (Abingdon Press, May 2016)
Dr. Sarah Gordon lost her husband and daughter. Now she’s about to lose her life.
After losing the two people she loved the most, Sarah Gordon doesn’t think life could get worse. But, after a fire in her garage is ruled an arson, she begins to realize someone is after her—and that person wants to see her dead. But first, they want to see her suffer.
Her late husband’s best friend, Kyle Andrews, and a recovering alcoholic detective, Bill Larson, are trying to solve the mystery before it’s too late, and they’re both trying to win her heart, too. Not only does Sarah feel torn between two men, she also feels as though she cannot trust anyone.
With creepy threats that become more and more sinister, Sarah finds herself in constant fear, but even the best home alarm technology won’t protect her. Who is doing this, and why are they after her?
Richard Mabry


Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician who writes “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have won multiple awards: a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel; finalists for the Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award; and both finalist and winner of the Selah Award. He and his wife live in Frisco, Texas.
Find out more about Richard at

My Take:  This Book like all the books by Richard Mabry was a thriller that kept you reading till the end to see who the bad guy was.  There is romance in this book to (alittle to much for me as the main character had three men who were interested in her).  Sarah the main character lost her husband and baby daughter to car accident and is grieving so she has stopped going to church because she blames God for the accident.  One night she wakes up to find that a fire was set in her garage.  From then on she has a stalker who gets steadily and steadily worse.  She tries several things to discourage the stalker but he or she seems only to be more determined.  The stalker turns out to be a total surprise to me.  I highly recommend this book. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

Anchor in the Storm

Anchor in the Storm (Revell, May 2016)
One plucky female pharmacist + one high-society naval officer = romance—and danger
For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy–even if he is her brother’s best friend.
During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves–and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?
Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.
Sarah Sundin


Sarah Sundin is the author of eight historical novels, including “Anchor in the Storm.” Her novel “Through Waters Deep” was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in “Where Treetops Glisten” was a finalist for the 2015 Carol Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school.
Find out more about Sarah at

My Take: This is a good old fashioned page turner that has you wondering where the men are getting the drugs.  Also Arch and Lillian get to know each other over looking for the link for the drugs and get to know each other from what they are like on the inside not the outside.  This is a great second installment in this series and I will be anxiously waiting for the third one.  Great series great book. 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

The Beautiful Pretender

he Beautiful Pretender (Thomas Nelson, May 2016)
What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?
The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.
Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.
Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?
Melanie Dickerson


Melanie Dickerson is the author of “The Healer’s Apprentice,” a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.
Find out more about Melanie at

My Take:  I have read a few fairtale retellings and Melanie Dickerson's books seem to stand out above and beyond the rest.  This is a mashup of The Princess and The Pea and Beauty and the Beast but the author wrote the entire book as if it was fresh and new material .  This was a great story.  what do you do when you are a servant who is pretending to be your boss and the Margrave falls in love with you.  You will Have to read the book to find out. 

I received a revie copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

A Daughter's Dream by Shelley Shepard Gray

A Daughter's Dream

A Daughter’s Dream (Avon Inspire, May 2016)
A young teacher and farmer discover they have much in common, especially when it comes to healing old wounds from the past . . . and finding love in one another.
Rebecca Kinsinger has always dreamed of being a teacher. But when she’s given the opportunity she’s been waiting for at Charm Amish School, she’s dismayed to discover that teaching is hard work—work she’s afraid she’s not very good at.
That is, until Lilly Yoder joins the class. A thirteen-year old who’s just lost her parents, Lilly is in need of someone like Rebecca. For the first time since starting her new job, Rebecca feels a sense of purpose. But when she meets Lilly’s uncle, Jacob, his good looks and sweet, easy-going temperament are hard to ignore. How can she even entertain romantic thoughts of Jacob when his niece is her student?
Suddenly becoming Lily’s sole caregiver, Jacob Yoder never thought he’d be a single parent—or a farmer. Having been living in Florida as a carpenter, Jacob feels more at home wielding a hammer than a backhoe. The only bright spot in his life is Rebecca Kinsinger. As Lily and Rebecca develop a bond, Jacob’s fondness for the pretty teacher grows, too.
But when a fateful accident brings them together, Rebecca and Jacob must choose between duty and desire. Will they follow the path before them? Or set out to find true happiness . . . and true love?
Shelley Shepard Gray


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.
Find out more about Shelley at

My take:  I am really enjoying this series so far.  You can read this second book by itself but you will probably want to read A Son's Vow first because they are that good.  This series seems to having the Amish communty in 
Charm, Ohio as being a bit more liberal than some of the other Amish books that I have read.  I really liked the story of Rebecca and Jacob that started in this book.  I am a little apprehensive about Lilly and Peter as they seem to be kind of young for the relationship that seems to be growing between them.  I can't wait to find out what next happens in Charm, Ohio.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pocket Prayers by Max Lucado

pocket prayers booksPocket Prayers (with various authors; Thomas Nelson, March 2016)
Bestselling author Max Lucado has teamed up with six authors to write the Pocket Prayers series for those in need of peace, renewal, rest, faith, hope, joy, direction, serenity, and courage.
Short, simple prayers are very effective, which is why each book in the series contains forty guided prayers and complementary scriptures for any situation, including for:
—Moms (written with daughter Andrea Lucado)
—Grads (written with daughter Andrea Lucado)
—Dads (written with Mark Mynheir)
—Military Life (written with Mark Mynheir)
—Teachers (written with blogger Jennifer Hale)
—Friends (written with Betsy St. Amant)
Max Lucado


More than 120 million readers have found inspiration and encouragement in the writings of Max Lucado. He lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy, in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the people of Oak Hills Church.
Find out more about Max at

My take: These Six little books contain powerful prayers for people in different walks of life to read and pray when they have a small bit of time.  Max Lucado has written each of the books with someone who would understand how it feels to be in that stage of life.  During this time of year there are many changes going on and in one of these books you can have a gift for someone in a change.   Great books, great gifts. 

I received copies of these book in exchange for an honest review

A Son's Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray

A Son's Vow (The Charmed Amish Life #1)

From Goodreads:   Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family. Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness

(Western Romance).
About Shelley Shepard Gray
I live in southern Ohio with my husband, two teenagers, and two dogs. My days are filled with busy activities like most any other mom and housewife. But I also love to write books.

Each morning, after my kids go off to school, I sit at my desk, look out my window, and dream of other places. The hours fly by as I make up people and places and drink way too much coffee.

Writing for Avon Inspire has truly been a dream come true. Being able to spend my days in my make-believe world of the Brenneman Bed and Breakfast is a true blessing. I have enjoyed getting to know more about the Amish culture and tapping into my faith as I show each character’s progression toward a personal relationship with our Lord.

Before becoming a full time writer, I taught elementary school in Texas, Arizona, and Colorado. A job transfer to Ohio led my husband to encourage me to finally give writing a try. After all, I had notebooks full of made up stories.

I’ll never forget that first book I typed in our unfinished basement. It was exciting to make up a story, but also very scary. I was also so embarrassed, sure someone would come out of the woodwork and point out that I wasn’t a ‘real’ writer. But I persevered, and sold my third manuscript.

Things have changed a bit. Now I have a real office of my own. (think old guest bedroom!) My walls are painted pink, and more than a couple of book covers decorate my walls. But my days are still the same. I wake up, dream about other people, and do my best to type out stories.

My Take:  I have enjoyed all the books that I have read written by Shelley Shepard Gray.  I was thrilled to get this book that starts a new series by her.  I am currently reading the second book in this series and will posting a review on it next week.  What I like about Mrs. Gray is that she writes characters who are flawed and human, not the Amish characters you read sometimes that are perfect and would never do anyhting wrong.  This book takes place in Charm, Ohio an Amish town that has suffered the tragedy of a fire in the lumber mill which is the biggest business in town.  Darla's father was blamed for the fire.  He lossed his life so many in town are taking it out on Darla.  Then there is Lukas who's father was the owner of the mill and lost his life too.  Lukas must take over for his father.  This book is about forgiving, grief, and healing.  I think you would like this if you like your Amish on the human side and not so much the angelic side. 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from Litfuse.