Together Forever – a novel

Together Forever (Orphan Train, #2)

 

Marianne Neumann has one goal in life: to find her lost younger sister, Sophie. When Marianne takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York, she not only hopes to give children a better life but seeks to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children–firm but tender and funny. Underneath his handsome charm, though, seems to linger a grief that won’t go away–and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden. As the two team up placing orphans amid small railroad towns in Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.

I’ve heard talks about the Orphan Trains – some say they were good things as they took children from the overcrowded slums of New York and allowed them to grow up in the Midwest.  Others view the Orphan Trains as negative as the children were merely taken in as indentured servants, exchanging the hard life of New York for the challenging life of a midwestern farmer.  In this novel, Jody Hedlund brings to life both sides – some of the children become beloved children of the childless while others are mistreated.  I loved how the author made it real – it wasn’t easy, yet as Marianne discovers, “Maybe she wouldn’t be able to find them all homes and parents like _____, but if she helped even a few of the children find happiness, wasn’t the pain and heartache worth it?”

Honestly, I can’t imagine taking on a job like Marianne did – riding on a train for several weeks, responsible, with the help of only 1 other adult for 30 children, from babes to teens, and hoping to find good homes for all the kids before returning to New York and doing it all over again.  But it was wonderful to read about her experience and I highly recommend it!  I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

The Author:  Jody Hedlund:  Winner of 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

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Blind Betrayal – a novel

Blind Betrayal by Nancy Mehl

 

After two years at the St. Louis U.S. Marshals Office, Casey Sloane is tasked with escorting a reporter to Washington to testify before a grand jury. The reporter’s research on an up-and-coming environmentalist who suddenly disappeared is now even more vital than anticipated.

At first, Casey’s assignment seems routine. But a dangerous attack on the Marshals Office puts everyone on high alert. When Casey and two other Marshals–one a man from her past–are forced on the run with the reporter, they’ll do whatever it takes to protect their witness and make it out alive.

So intense!  What a gripping story!  I never knew what would happen next as the US Marshals try to get their witness safely to Washington DC.  From the beginning I was hooked and literally did not put this book down until it was finished!

I loved how the characters struggled with not knowing what to do next but always knowing they had to do their job, even if it came with a high cost.  And with bombs, kidnappings, car accidents and a lunatic terrorist on the loose, it was a very safe read!  But I loved it and recommend it.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

The Author:  Nancy Mehl lives in Missouri, with her husband Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored thirty books and is currently at work on a new FBI suspense series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at: http://www.nancymehl.com. She also is active on the Suspense Sisters: http://www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com and on FaceBook!

Defeating Dementia – A review of a health and wellness book

Defeating Dementia by Richard Furman

Dementia. It’s one of the most dreaded conditions we face as we age. Many people claim they would rather be diagnosed with cancer than dementia or Alzheimer’s. What many don’t realize is that dementia is not a forgone conclusion as we get older. Our own lifestyle choices and habits can have a significant impact–for good or ill–on our chances of developing the disease. And that means there’s hope.

Drawing from the latest medical research, Dr. Richard Furman helps readers understand dementia and Alzheimer’s and shows them how to make three powerful lifestyle changes that can help decrease the probability of developing this disease. He explains how eating the right foods, exercising, and sustaining an ideal weight can dramatically reduce the likelihood of developing dementia in the first place, and even how it can slow the progression of the disease in someone who has already received a diagnosis.

Wow!  What an informative yet easy to read book!  The author intersperses medical information with stories and observations made of his own mother-in-law as she progressed through the stages of Alzheimer’s over the course of 15 years.  The book is easy to read and understand – much harder to actually practice in real life!  But read it does give hope on how to ward off dementia.

As I read the book there were several things that struck me – like “What is good for the heart is good for the brain.”  And a high LDL cholesterol (the bad one) and being overweight would increase the chances for getting Alzheimer’s.  “Run from (red meat, cheese, butter, cream and fried foods) like your mental performance depends on it, because it does.”  “So many people attribute everything to their genes.  But even if you inherit some bad genes, you can still decrease your odds of developing Alzheimer’s.”

Powerful, helpful words!  This book is just a wealth of knowledge and I so highly recommend it!  And, I just read that the author is donating the proceeds from this book to Samaritan’s Purse to help with mission hospitals overseas – how cool is that!  I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

The Author:Richard Furman, MD, FACS, spent more than thirty years as a vascular surgeon. The author of Prescription for Life and Your Cholesterol Matters, Furman is past president of the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, past president of the North Carolina Surgical Society, and a two-term governor of the American College of Surgeons. He is cofounder of World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan’s Purse, and is a member of the board of Samaritan’s Purse. He lives in Boone, North Carolina.

Thief of Corinth – a novel

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First-century Corinth is a city teeming with commerce and charm. It’s also filled with danger and corruption―the perfect setting for Ariadne’s greatest adventure.

After years spent living with her mother and oppressive grandfather in Athens, Ariadne runs away to her father’s home in Corinth, only to discover the perilous secret that destroyed his marriage: though a Greek of high birth, Galenos is the infamous thief who has been robbing the city’s corrupt of their ill-gotten gains.

Desperate to keep him safe, Ariadne risks her good name, her freedom, and the love of the man she adores to become her father’s apprentice. As her unusual athletic ability leads her into dangerous exploits, Ariadne discovers that she secretly revels in playing with fire. But when the wrong person discovers their secret, Ariadne and her father find their future―and very lives―hanging in the balance.

When they befriend a Jewish rabbi named Paul, they realize that his radical message challenges everything they’ve fought to build, yet offers something neither dared hope for.

Be transported back in time by this gripping tale of adventure, bravery, and redemption, and discover why Debbie Macomber says, “No one brings the Bible to life like Tessa Afshar.”

I cannot begin to say how wonderful I thought this book was!  I loved everything!  Tessa Afshar is a wonderful writer and historian, fleshing out details of ancient life and bringing it to life!  Ancient medical practices and foods and clothing and even bathroom/toiletry habits are all woven into the story – as well as a little suspense and romance and Christian teaching.  I loved how she gave the apostle Paul his own words but in the story context with a loving tone.

From experience I know that when I pick up a book by Tessa, I will enjoy it –  this exceeded the expectation and I loved it!  I highly recommend it and look forward to the next one!  I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

The Author:71ECfis7JBL._UX250_  Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction. Her novel Land of Silence was voted by Library Journal as one of the top five Christian fiction titles of 2016 and was nominated for the 2016 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Inspirational Romance. Harvest of Gold won the prestigious 2014 Christy Award in the Historical Romance category. Her book Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category. In 2011, after publishing her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, Tessa was named New Author of the Year in the FamilyFiction-sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards. Tessa was born in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She then moved to England, where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale Divinity School, where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship. She now serves on the staff of one of the oldest churches in America. But that has not cured her from being exceptionally fond of chocolate. Contact Tessa at tessaafshar.com