Saturday, June 28, 2014

All Things Hidden

All Things Hidden 
Tracie Peterson, Kimberly Woodhouse 
Bethany House Publishers
December 2013
Fiction, Romance, Historical 

Gwyn Hillerman loves being a nurse at her father's clinic on the beautiful Alaskan frontier. But family life has been rough ever since her mother left them, disdaining the uncivilized country and taking Gwyn's younger sister with her.

In Chicago, Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan finds his life suddenly turned upside down when his medical license is stripped away after an affluent patient dies. In a snowball effect, his fiance breaks their engagement. In an attempt to bury the past, Jeremiah accepts Dr. Hillerman's invitation to join his growing practice in the isolated Alaska Territory.

Gwyn and Jeremiah soon recognize a growing attraction to each other. But when rumors of Jeremiah's past begin to surface, they'll need more than love to face the threat of an uncertain future.

When will I quit "trying" to read anything written by Peterson? I mean really, I brought this on myself. Peterson consistently lacks depth, meat, creative dialogue, and anything that can keep my attention beyond the first chapter. I'm sad to say that even with the co-authoring with Woodhouse this book left me cold and trying to get out of Alaska. I didn't make it through the 3rd chapter. The characters are ridiculously one dimensional and the plot-line (which sounded intriguing) gets completely convoluted in bad development. Sadly, not even the historical or medical factors could keep me reading this one. Let it be said here first, I'm officially swearing off this author. For real this time. 

My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my real and honest review. 

Tide and Tempest

Tide and Tempest
Elizabeth Ludwig
Bethany House Publishers
March 2014
Fiction, Historial, Romance

Two years ago, her fiance perished
during their voyage to America.

Now she discovers it may have been murder...

Dreaming of a better life, Tillie McGrath leaves Ireland behind and, with her beloved fiance by her side, sets sail for America. But when illness robs her of the man she holds dear, she's left alone with only a handful of tattered memories. While forging on proves difficult, Tillie soon finds some new friends at her New York boardinghouse, and begins pursuing a new dream--to open a home for orphaned children.

Despite two years passing, Captain Keondric Morgan has never forgotten the lass who left his ship so heartbroken. When a crewman's deathbed confession reveals her fiance's demise was the result of murder, the captain knows he must try to contact her. But his attention draws the notice of others as well--dangerous men who believe Tillie has in her possession something that could expose their crimes. And to their way of thinking, the best way to prevent such an outcome is to seize the evidence and then hand Tillie the same fate as her naïve fiance.

That intro to the book grabs your attention doesn't it? I know it did mine. I eagerly dove into this book and sadly found myself in waters much too shallow and confusing for a good swim. I can't fully judge this book because I didn't finish it. And I didn't finish it because it was poor writing, I didn't finish it because I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Characters and storylines were swarming around and I couldn't follow any of them. So I put the book down hoping for the day when maybe after reading book 2 and 3 I could pick it back up. Until then, this is not at all recommended as a standalone. 

My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my real and honest review. 

Water Walker

Water Walker
Ted Dekker
Worthy Publishers
March 2014
Suspense, Ficiton

My name is Alice Ringwald, but the man who kidnapped me says that's a lie.

Thirteen-year old orphan Alice Ringwald has no memory beyond six months ago. The only life she knows is the new one she's creating one day at a time with the loving couple that recently adopted her and gave her new hope.

That hope, however, is shattered one night when she is abducted by a strange man. In a frantic FBI manhunt, he vanishes.

So begins Water Walker, a modern day parable that examines the staggering power of forgiveness, and reminds us that it's possible to live free of the hurt that keeps our souls in chains.

So I don't do well with abstract or fantasy or basically anything that doesn't seem likely. And to be honest this book was a bit far-fetched for me. I almost put it down a number of times and yet somehow I managed to read it all the way through. Dekker writes with great imagery and while I didn't always "get" what was going on in the story I found myself inserted into the story. I think that's what kept me reading. Alice is captivating and her story is completely gripping. The whole random prophet/stranger/angel guy was a bit weird for me but the story is that good. I'm not likely to jump into another book in this genre anytime soon but when I do it will be with Dekker at the helm. 

My thanks to Worthy Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my real and honest review. 

Poison Town

Poison Town
Creston Mapes
David C. Cook
February 2014
Mystery, fiction, suspense 

There’s More Than One Kind of Poison in This Town People are sick and dying. Rumors are swirling. Some claim chemicals leaking from a manufacturing plant are causing the cancer that’s crippling people on the poor side of Trenton City, Ohio. Yet nothing at the plant appears amiss. The problem remains a mystery until reporter Jack Crittendon’s long-time mechanic falls ill and he investigates. Soon Jack becomes engulfed in a smokescreen of lies, setups, greed, and scandal. The deeper he digs, the more toxic the corruption he uncovers. As he faces off with the big-time players behind the scenes and tries to beat the clock before more people die, he realizes the chillingly unthinkable—he knows too much.

This book gripped me from the beginning and never let me go. It's rare to find a "Christian" mystery that will keep my attention. This did it. Mapes writes with true finesse and it's very refreshing. This is book 2 in the series and I did find myself a little confused with the characters so while it could be read as a stand-alone I would recommend reading it in order. This has enough mystery and suspense to keep you reading far into the night and enough justice to make falling asleep a little easier. 

My thanks to my friends at David C. Cook for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my real and honest review. 

Love Comes Calling

Love Comes Calling
Siri Mitchell 
Bethany House Publishers 
Fiction, Historical, Romance 
March 4, 2014

Dreaming of becoming an actress, Boston socialite Ellis Eaton captures Griff Phillips' attention. But while filling in for a look-alike friend at the telephone exchange, she overhears a call that threatens Griff's safety. With handsome policeman Jack Flanigan investigating - and her heart in a muddle - will she discover what might be the role of a lifetime?

The unfortunate part of this book is that I never actually liked Ellis, the main character. I found her bratty, spoiled, self-centered, and obnoxious. I also found her captivating. So while I was annoyed with her I kept reading the book to see what would happen next. Mitchell continues to write at about a 4 start level. Never amazingly good but never so bad I quit reading. This book felt a bit like a hot mess and all over the place. Multiple levels of stories left me grasping a bit. Jack is easy to like and keeps the book moving. Overall a decent read, just be prepared for a bit of annoyance over the main character. 

My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my real and honest review. 

Thank You, Billy Graham

Thank you, Billy Graham
Barbour Publishing

You know his name, his faith, his ministry—now enjoy the inspiring, heartwarming, personal stories of his legacy in Thank You, Billy Graham.This brand-new book contains scores of thank-you notes collected on the website, sharing moving stories of God’s grace, love, and power in the lives of real people. Compiled by three of Billy Graham’s grandchildren, Thank You, Billy Graham will encourage and inspire you with a beautiful picture of a life well lived—a life lived in faithfulness to the God who made you, loves you, and offers you salvation through His son, Jesus Christ.

I don't think I've ever hidden the fact that I am a huge fan of Billy Graham. I love his heart, his ministry, and his legacy. This book pays tribute to tall of those. Sweet notes, beautiful letters, and graciousness abounds. What an honor to read. 

My thanks to Barbour Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my real and honest review. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Place in His Heart

A Place in His Heart
Rebecca DeMarino
Revell Publishers
Romance, Fiction Historical

She could cross an ocean, but could she ever win his heart?
Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Left at the altar and disgraced in her small hamlet, she is being pressured to marry the eligible son of the London milliner. Puritan Barnabas Horton still grieves the loss of his beloved wife, but he knows his two young sons need a mother. 

With tender hearts, Mary and Barnabas take a leap of faith and wed. But when Barnabas's secret plans to move his family to the New World to escape persecution come to light, Mary's world is upended. How could she possibly leave her papa and her dear sister? 

And will she ever reach the secret places of her husband's broken heart?

The first chapter of this book instantly gripped me. A lost love, a forced marriage, endless possibilities. And then I kept reading. It was almost like the first chapter was written by someone else entirely. What seemed like good character development quickly developed into...well nothing. The characters were confusing and contradictory, the plot-line is nothing like what the book's description says, and the dialogue was elementary. After 3 nights of struggling to read I finally gave up. It's true folks, this was one I didn't finish. I would highly caution you to not be fooled by this book's cover unless you're needing a good nap book.

My thanks to Revell Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my real and honest review. 

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