Searching for You – a novel

Searching for You (Orphan Train Book #3) by [Hedlund, Jody]

Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won’t abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.

Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he’s in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?

The story of the third and youngest Neumann sister!  This is the 3rd book about the orphan train by author Judy Hedlund and she has done a magnificent job of showing how difficult life was for the youngest of immigrants – those orphaned at a young age without family to care for them.  I really can’t imagine such a life!  The author not only shows the positive aspects of the orphan trains, but also the truly horrifying parts.  But she brings in so much more than just the story of the orphans – she brings in issues such as pride and over abundance of self-sufficiency and more.

This is the 3rd book in the series and I highly recommend reading the previous ones – although you will not feel lost if you begin with this one.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and 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 is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

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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Romancing the Bride

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Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another.

Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes–without laughing in her face?

Jacob Hendrix has never fully let go of his ranching dreams despite ending up as a small Wyoming town’s marshal. The job wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s more errand boy than lawman. When Annie proposes marriage without a single coquettish bat of an eyelash, can he commit himself to a woman he hardly knows for a choice piece of property he’d be an idiot to pass up?

But taxes aren’t all that threaten Annie and Jacob’s plans. Cattle rustlers, crumbling friendships, and wayward children make this marriage of convenience anything but. When they lose what they’ve sacrificed everything to save, will the love of a stranger be enough?

Romancing the Bride is the first book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like heartwarming marriage-of-convenience stories, you’ll love this sweet romance filled with endearing characters.

What an enjoyable romance set in Wyoming in 1884.  Annie is none too happy that her husband is dead, leaving her to raise 2 children and run the ranch, which she has absolutely no experience.  And not only does she not have a good foreman, she doesn’t even have any ranch hands, and the cattle are disappearing.  She doesn’t want to leave her land – she’s got 3 babies buried there, but with taxes due she must do something!  I cannot imagine the difficult life and decisions she had to face!

And thus begins the novel with Annie quickly marrying Jacob, the town marshal.  But the author doesn’t just make this a romance novel, there are also real truths woven in, such as when Annie advises her rebellious daughter Cecilia, “What matters now, is what you choose to do in the next hour, what you choose to do tomorrow. If your past decisions didn’t get you where you wanted to be, figure out what decisions will. Beating yourself up over the past won’t change a thing.”  I enjoyed this book with all its ups and downs, twists and turns, noble people and sleazebags!  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:  Much to her introverted self’s delight, ACFW Award winner and double INSPY finalist Melissa Jagears hardly needs to leave her home to be a homeschooling mother and novelist. She lives in Kansas with her husband and three children and can be found online at http://www.melissajagears.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Welcome to Adulting – Treasure of a book for young adults!

Welcome to Adulting by Jonathan "Jp" Pokluda

You’re an adult . . . now what?

Adulting is hard. But sometimes we make it harder than it has to be. Combining entertaining stories from his own experience, insights from the Bible, and compelling evidence from research, Jonathan “JP” Pokluda lays out a roadmap for how to navigate your life as an adult, addressing topics such as:

· friendships and dating
· career and money management
· interpersonal conflict
· controlling anxiety
· recovering from addiction
· discovering your purpose on this earth

If you’re struggling to find a footing in the world of adult life, this witty, non-patronizing guide is for you.

“I remember the first time I went grocery shopping, paid a bill, and rented a room. These were all highlights of adulting before the catchphrase was even created. In Welcome to Adulting, Jonathan Pokluda spends less time on the trivial and more time on the transformational. He points the way and gives advice on how to live an adult life that honors our holy God.”–Kyle Idleman, pastor and author of Not a Fan and Grace Is Greater

“If I could go back to my twenty-two-year-old self, I would hand her a copy of Welcome to Adulting and tell her to soak up every word. Jonathan so candidly and beautifully breaks down the myths of life after college and leaves us with a roadmap we’ll return to again and again, no matter how old we are.”–Jennie Allen, author of Nothing to Prove; founder and visionary of the IF:Gathering

This book should be read by every young adult at the age of 17 and then at 21!  It has so very many important truths that it is a treasure chest needing to be unpacked.

The author acknowledges upfront that he made a plethora of mistakes as a young man and he wants to use his knowledge gained the hard way to help others not make the same mistakes.  He has broken the short, easy-to-digest book into eleven chapters.  Life and Purpose are the first two, followed by Authority, Work, Money, Community, Conflict, and Dating and finishing with Worry, Recovery and Eternity.  Each chapter ends with a few discussion/reflection questions.

Pokluda pulls in quotes from others, such as from a friend of his who says, “So whether it’s mothering, medicine, CEO, sales, teaching, ministry, writing or so on…it is important to remember toil in work was part of the curse and it is difficult and you do the things you don’t like because it’s RIGHT and OBEDIENT and HOLY.  And on the days work is fun, smile and celebrate, and on the days work isn’t fun, don’t rethink your whole life.  Do the work.”  He also uses studies and statistics such as, “…people who have premarital sex are more prone to divorce later on.  In fact, having even just one premarital sexual partner makes you about four times more likely to divorce within the first five years of marriage, and having multiple partners results in a divorce rate five to six times higher.”  His own personal examples are also sprinkled throughout – and he is a great story teller!

This is such a powerful tool to help young adults as they transition from teenagers under mom and dad’s roof to adults navigating the world themselves.  I cannot recommend it highly enough!  I am grateful to the publisher for giving me a copy of this book. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Author: Jonathan “JP” Pokluda is teaching pastor at Watermark Community Church, with an average weekly attendance of 12,000 people, and leader of The Porch, an influential gathering of thousands of young adults who come hear the gospel and get equipped for Kingdom purposes. Pokluda came to understand the grace of the Gospel in his early twenties after being involved in different denominational churches his entire life. This ignited a desire in him to reach people in their twenties and thirties for Christ. He lives with his wife, Monica, and their three children.

 

 

 

 

 

Justice Betrayed – a novel

Justice Betrayed ( Book #3) (Memphis Cold Case)

It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide Detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators–one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken–she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?

When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?

It’s Elvis week in Memphis!  Rachel, a homicide detective, sure learns a lot about Elvis tribute artists as she takes a cold case about a murder 17 years earlier, which then becomes hot as new murders occur.  The book not only has the suspense element, but then has other elements woven in – a young girl abused by her father and what that does to her.  Another woman who marries a man not right for her because “Girls seeking love because their fathers were absent.  And a father doesn’t have to be missing to be absent.”  The author does a marvelous job of giving just enough information to keep me totally guessing the entire novel.  I loved it and 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: Winner of an Inspirational Readers Choice Award, Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum.

But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series set in Mississippi and two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, Matthew’s Choice and The Christmas Campaign that are available on Amazon.

The first Memphis Cold Case book, Justice Delayed, released February 2017, and Justice Buried, the 2nd in the cold case books releases September 2017.

Second-Chance Dogs

Second-Chance Dogs by Callie Smith Grant

Everyone loves an underdog, and nothing gives us warmer feelings than seeing someone get a second chance in life. A problem pup who flourishes under the right kind of training. The struggling veteran who finds unconditional love wiggling around at the end of a leash. The lonely child who finds comfort in the steady breathing of the warm, furry friend at her side. Each of us needs to be rescued from something–and each of us has the capacity to rescue someone, or something, else.

This collection of more than thirty contemporary, true, feel-good stories spotlights the beauty of being rescued–dogs rescued by people, people rescued by dogs, and even dogs who rescue other animals. It’s the perfect companion–well, besides the four-legged, tail-wagging kind–for your morning cup of coffee or an evening curled up on the couch. Contributors include Susy Flory, Dusty Rainbolt, Lauraine Snelling, Melody Carlson, Wanda Dyson, Suzanne Woods Fisher, and many more.

Love dogs? This is the heart-warming collection of dog stories and the people who love them – my husband says this is the type of movie & book that I am always drawn to! Most of the stories are about rescued dogs – some “designer” dogs (one of a kind mixed breed dogs – used to be known as mutts!) and others purebred dogs – but there are also stories of therapy dogs, seeing eye dogs and plain ordinary dogs who love their humans. These dogs add so much to our lives and the stories showcase just a few of them. I particularly liked the story of the rottweilers who took care of a little girl. I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishers. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Secret to Die For – a novel

A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris

Psychologist Grace Callahan has no idea that she has a secret–one worth killing for. But when she finds out one of her clients has been murdered, she quickly realizes that the computer security specialist wasn’t simply suffering from paranoia.

Detective Nate Quinn has just been cleared for active duty after a bombing killed eighteen people, including his partner, and left him dealing with PTSD. His first case back on the job involves the murder of Stephen Shaw, and his only lead turns out to be an old friend, Grace Callahan–and her life is in grave danger. Someone believes Shaw gave his psychologist information before he died. Information they are willing to kill for.

With her signature pulse-pounding suspense, Lisa Harris takes readers deep into the heart of fear in this race against the clock.

Lisa Harris writes suspense books in which the action never stops, and the twists and turns are so unexpected!  In this one, Grace is dealing with the loss of her daughter a few years earlier and Nate is coming to terms with the loss of his duty partner.  Both are looking for answers and dealing with guilt.  I liked Grace’s openness – “I don’t have an easy answer, Nate.  I had to fight to find my faith again.  And there were times when all I wanted to do was walk away…”  I loved this book and highly recommend it if you like suspense!  I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishers. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

The Author: Bestselling author LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 (Blood Covenant) and 2015 (Vendetta) from Romantic Times. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over fourteen years working as missionaries in Africa where she runs a small non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project promotes Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)

When she’s not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa visit her website at http://www.lisaharriswrites.com

A Sparkle of Silver – a novel

A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson

Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan’s great-grandmother was a guest at oil tycoon Howard Dawkins’ palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie’s great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . .

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight as two charming characters get caught up in the adventure of uncovering the past and finding their way to an unexpected future.

What a fun book to read – romance, forgiveness, secret treasure, the intrigue of the lavish roaring 20s parties and so much more! Yet the novel also portrays the difficulties and heartbreak of the disease Alzheimer’s. The novel is contemporary, set on St. Simon’s island, Georgia, but also, through diaries and letters, goes back in time to the summer of 1929. Was treasure really hidden there? Both Millie and Ben would like to find it!

One part I found particularly amusing though was when Millie reflected on her grandma’s favorite song, “It is Well with My Soul” – “She didn’t know what kind of lot the guy who wrote that song had had. Maybe he did have sorrows. Shoot, maybe he was on a ship in middle of a storm and praying he didn’t fall out.”

Great book! I really enjoyed it and recommend it! I received this book from Revell Publishers. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Author:  By day Liz Johnson is the marketing director for a radio network. She finds time to write late at night and is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Liz makes her home in Tucson, AZ, where she enjoys theater, exploring local history, and doting on her nieces and nephews. She loves stories of true love with happy endings. Find out more about Liz at http://www.LizJohnsonBooks.com.