Monday, September 28, 2020

Follow Your Heart, movie review

Movie description:


Kathy Yoder is a travel writer who has left her Amish ways behind, but when she returns home to settle her father’s affairs, she is tempted to return to her former lifestyle. Starring Galadriel Stineman, Kevin Joy, and Jonathan Patrick Moore.


My review:

  I don't often get the chance to review movies, and often I am not interested. This one caught my attention since it is a Hallmark movie and has to do with the Amish.

 I did not receive a physical copy of the movie, but was provided with a link to view it......and I really enjoyed it. The acting was well done, with no cheesy factor. I liked the plot, though it was a bit predicable.....and the movie didn't end the way I thought it might. I thought the Amish and their way of life was well represented, and the actors played their roles very well and were well suited for the roles. 

 As one might assume about a movie like this, it is squeaky clean with no bad language. I definitely recommend it, and can say it will be an enjoyable experience to view it.

More about the movie and actors here: Follow Your Heart
And here.

Thanks to Frontgate Media for the review opportunity.

Movie Trailer:



Monday, September 21, 2020

The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson

 

Book description:


All Emma Daley wants this holiday season is a white Christmas. But the young teacher and struggling musician sure can't find that in sunny Arizona. Luckily, there's someone living in a perfect mountain home in the Colorado Rockies looking to make a vacation trade.


West Prescott is an in-demand songwriter and talented musician who put his own singing career on hold to write songs for celebrity acts to perform. When his mother convinces him to do a vacation trade for Christmas, he never imagined one of the houseguests would be so sweet--or so strikingly pretty. Naturally, he decides to stick around, and to get better acquainted, he poses as the caretaker of his own house. But when Emma's friend Gillian discovers his true identity and sets her sights on him, things get . . . messy.

My review:

  Melody Carlson has been writing Christmas books every year for several years. I have been reviewing them as long as I have reviewed books, and she has never disappointed. Each book is totally different than the others, yet is always a delightful read. The Christmas Swap is another great read, yet different.

  This book is a little more lighthearted than some, and is pretty much a straightforward romance around Christmas. I loved the two main characters, West and Emma. West especially is an awesome character as he slightly misleads the guests in his house to his true identity, yet his reasons are totally understandable.

  The Christmas Swap is a simple story of boy meets girl, and their romance is almost thwarted by girl's shallow best friend. Though fictional, the book does show how some people are so easily drawn to others because of who they are, and not drawn to the person of their own personality. Emma was drawn to West because of the kind of man he was, but Emma wasn't drawn to him until she found out who he really was.

 I thoroughly enjoyed The Christmas Swap, and it is another Christmas novel the author can be proud of. And yes, it put me in the mood for Christmas.

I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own.



About the author:


Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over 200 books with sales of more than 7 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.


The Christmas Swap is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Airborne by DiAnn Mills

Book description:

Heather Lawrence’s long-awaited vacation to Salzburg wasn’t supposed to go like this. Mere hours into the transatlantic flight, the Houston FBI agent is awakened when passengers begin exhibiting horrific symptoms of an unknown infection. As the virus quickly spreads and dozens of passengers fall ill, Heather fears she’s witnessing an epidemic similar to ones her estranged husband studies for a living—but this airborne contagion may have been deliberately released.

While Heather remains quarantined with other survivors, she works with her FBI colleagues to identify the person behind this attack. The prime suspect? Dr. Chad Lawrence, an expert in his field . . . and Heather’s husband. The Lawrences’ marriage has been on the rocks since Chad announced his career took precedence over his wife and future family and moved out.

As more victims fall prey days after the initial outbreak, time’s running out to hunt down the killer, one who may be closer to the victims than anyone ever expected.

My review:

  DiAnn Mills has become a favorite author, so I was happy to have an offer to review her newest book, one that was on my to-read list when it comes out.

 Reading Airborne at this time was especially interesting since it deals with a virus, and we have been dealing with the Covid virus for several months now.

  Airborne was a lot different than Mill's other books. A lot of the story took place on a plane, and the main character was quarantined for most of the book. Mills did an awesome job of describing the effects and fallout of such a virus.

 Heather made an awesome main character, dealing with the breakup of her marriage, being on a plane where a virus had been released, and knowing her husband was the main suspect in the attack. I found myself liking her husband and hoping he was innocent, and that they would get back together. (You'll have to read the book to find out).

 One thing that really impacted me was the spiritual journey of one of the characters in the book. An atheist slowly found himself believing the Bible, and finally coming to know Jesus. The author wrote about this journey in such a way that it really moved me and has been on my mind. God does use Christian fiction.

  I figured out fairly early who the bad guy was, but was not expecting the twist when it became clear.

  Airborne was an awesome read that was full of suspense and non stop dram and action one can expect from Mills' books. It had a great ending, and I appreciate the unapologetic Christian part of the story. I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Take Back Your Life: A 40-Day Interactive Journey to Thinking Right So You Can Live Right by Levi Lusko

Book description:

A forty-day interactive journey that will help you identify and fight your internal battles—so you can take back your life. 

Every person has a mission and a God-given potential to impact the world, whether they recognize it or not. But life presents challenges and traps us in a helpless, hopeless loop of anxiety and fear.

In Take Back Your Life, a blend of bestselling books Through the Eyes of a Lion and I Declare War, join Levi Lusko on an interactive journey to take back your life. With biblical truth and perspective, this step-by-step journaling process will help you:

get out of your own way by learning to think right so you can live right,
find purpose by discovering that God will do great things with your imperfect progress, and
learn that your pain is not an obstacle to being used by God but an opportunity to be used like never before.
This is more than a book; it’s an intimate self-analysis tool that will help you recognize what’s weighing you down or holding you back, and equip you to embrace it head-on as you become the best version of yourself. Start thinking right, so you can live right.

My review:

  I am familiar with this author, but have never read anything by him until now. Take Back Your Life is a devotional type book, but that is an interactive kind of devotional.

 There are 40 chapters, intended to be done over a period of 40 days. Each chapter starts out with a Bible verse, followed by the devotional part. That is followed by a short prayer, then the "Breathe, Think, and Live" part. It consists of several questions to answer, and often some actions to do.

 I didn't do all 40 days, as I didn't have enough time to do them all one day at a time, but I like what I read. The book is Biblical, and if the reader answers the questions and does the exercises that are in the book, I can see it would definitely be a help. Lusko has a great and interesting style of writing, and relates a lot of personal anecdotes throughout the book. As I glanced through the parts of the book that I didn't read yet, it is obvious there is a lot of depth to the book, and it can be a valuable tool for anyone who needs to change their thinking about themselves.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC and HCCP for providing this prize for the giveaway and review.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


About the author:


 Levi Lusko is the author of the bestselling books “Through the Eyes of a Lion” and “Swipe Right.” He is also the lead pastor of Fresh Life Church – a multisite church located in Montana, Utah, Oregon, and Wyoming that he and his wife Jennie pioneered in 2007. Levi travels around the world speaking about Jesus. He takes pleasure in small things, such as black coffee, new shoes, fast Internet, and falling asleep in the sun. He and his wife have one son: Lennox, and four daughters: Alivia, Daisy, Clover, and Lenya, who is in heaven.

 

Giveway:

 Courtesy of FlyBy Promotions, I have one copy of Take Back Your Life to give away. Just comment on this post, or email me if you do not have a blogger account. I will pick a winner using Random.org 10 days from now on September 4.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Gentleman Spy, Serendipity Secrets #2 by Erica Vetsch

Book description:


He only wanted a duchess for a day--but she's determined to make it a marriage for life

When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she's meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life--as a secret agent for the Crown.

But his bride has other ideas. She's determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society--the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she'd remain in the background as he ordered.

Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?

Book review: 

Although these aren't the type of books I normally read, I enjoyed the first one so much that I have been looking forward to reading the second one.Since the main male character was a spy, this book leaned more towards being suspense than the first one, which made it all the more enjoyable to me.

 Both Charlotte and Marcus were interesting and likable characters, which is a big plus for a story, but especially Marcus. He was a rich aristocrat going through the motions of what he had to do in society, yet had a secret life as a spy that even his new wife didn't know about. And Charlotte was intended to be a meek wife to gain approval and help his place in society, but she bucked the system and got involved in helping women who were trapped in prostitution.

 I really enjoyed this story. The author did a great job of portraying life in England in the 1800's, and what a marriage of convenience might look like. Vetsch has a great writing style, and captured my attention on the first page, and kept it all through the book. This book IS a romance, so there was a lot of that in the book, made all the more interesting by the spy activities and by wondering what Charlotte would do next to mortify her mother-in-law and knock her new husband off balance.

 The main characters from  the previous book made a few appearances, and it was cool to have them tied into the story.

 Vetsch has come out with another riveting novel that has left this reader looking forward to the 3rd and last novel in this trilogy.


I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:


Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.  

Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.

A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.

Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor)Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).



Giveaway. Enter here.


Persian Betrayal, Empires of Armageddon #2 by Terry Brennan

Book description:

How much can Brian Mullaney risk to serve God and save lives--without losing his own? DSS Regional Security Officer Brian Mullaney has been tasked with an incredibly dangerous mission. When a synagogue in Jerusalem is destroyed by an explosion, burying the second key prophecy Mullaney is hunting--and the deadly box that protects it--the answers he desperately needs are also crushed. How can he discover the meaning of the centuries-old prophecy now? Why are he and the ambassador he's assigned to protect being targeted? And is there any way this lone man can thwart a nuclear arms race between three ascendant empires of the past?

An otherworldly servant of evil known only as the Turk is maneuvering all three nations into an intricate dance designed to undermine prophecy about the end times. And he won't let Mullaney or anyone else get in his way.

Wounded in a bloody shoot-out, pressured by his wife to come home, and mourning the death of his best friend, Mullaney doesn't need a powerful enemy. Who is he to save the Ishmael Covenant, the treaty promising peace in the Middle East? Despite angelic intervention, Mullaney wants nothing to do with his final assignment. But without him, evil will win the ultimate struggle . . . and humankind will have no hope left. 

My review:

 It took me a while to get into the first book in this series, but that wasn't the case with this book. It picks up where the first book ended, and launches right into action and drama. This book was a thrilling ride through the Middle East, with constant action and political intrigue woven with Bible prophecy.

 It is obvious that Brennan has done a lot of research for this series, and has put a lot of history and detail in the story that taught me a lot about what has gone on in that area, and what is currently going on.

 Slight spoiler: Brennan's description of what might happen if a peace treaty was actually signed was interesting and has repercussions to do with passages in the Bible that I had never considered.

 Brian Mullaney is the main character, and this book had more character development and background on this very likable character. And he is not the only likable character. Then there are the ones not so likable that I found myself hoping would get found out and get what they deserve.

 Persian Betrayal is an awesome story of political intrigue, but also shows how unstable that area is, and what could happen if the wrong people got enough power and abilities to wipe others out. Once I picked this book up, I could not put it down. From start to finish, it is non stop action and intrigue, and it left me wishing the third book was out. Awesome story.


I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own

About the author:


A Pulitzer Prize is just one of the awards Terry Brennan accumulated during a 22-year career in journalism.

​The Pottstown (PA) Mercury  won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series of editorials written while Brennan was the newspaper’s Editor. Once directly responsible for over 100 newsrooms in the United States, Brennan was an award-winning writer, editor and publisher,  including an award for editorial writing from the Freedoms Foundation.

​He was an Editor and Publisher for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York and moved to the corporate staff of Ingersoll Publications (400 newspapers in the U.S., Ireland and England) as Executive Editor of all U.S. newspaper titles.

 In 1996 Brennan transferred his successful management career to the non-profit sector and served for 12 years as Vice President of Operations for The Bowery Mission and for more than a decade as Chief Administrative Officer for Care for the Homeless in New York City.

​Terry and his wife, Andrea, live in Connecticut, near their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren; their son lives in Lake Tahoe, California. Terry's two adult sons and their families live in Pennsylvania. 

Check out his website at terrrybrennanauthor.com

Persian Betrayal is available from Kregel Publishing.

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez by Buck Storm

Book description:

When his wife, Angel, is killed in a head-on collision, Gomez Gomez feels he can't go on--so he doesn't. He spends his days in the bushes next to the crash site drinking Thunderbird wine, and his nights cradling a coffee can full of Angel's ashes. Slow, sure suicide, with no one for company but the snakes, Elvis's ghost, and a strange kid named Bones.
Across town, Father Jake Morales plays it safe, haunted by memories of the woman he left behind, hiding his guilt, loss, and love behind a thick wall of cassock and ritual. Then a shady business deal threatens the town--and his good friend Gomez Gomez--and Father Jake can't just stand by and watch. But what happens when the rescuer is the one in need of saving?
The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is quirky, heartfelt, and deeply human. Lives and hopes collide in the town of Paradise, stretching across decades and continents in this epic story of forgiveness, redemption, and love.

My review:

  I have reviewed hundreds of books, and can count the negative ones I have done on one hand. I don't like to leave negative ones, but I am honest in my reviews. This book sounded really good and intrigued me, but I just could not get into it. It IS a little weird...a drunk guy talking to snakes and his dead wife, and the snakes talk back....but 64 pages in, I just wasn't enjoying the book, and was forcing myself to read, so I put it down.

 I am not knocking the author. A lot of people like his books, including this one, so it may just be me. The author does have an interesting writing style, but this book just wasn't for me.

I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own

About the author:

Buck Storm is a critically acclaimed author and musician whose stories have found friends around the world. His nonfiction work includes Finding Jesus in Israel and Through the Holy Land on the Road Less Traveled. Storm’s novels include The List, The Light, Truck Stop Jesus, and The Miracle Man. The latest, The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez, launches his new series, Ballads of Paradise.
Storm and his wife, Michelle, make their home in North Idaho and have two married children.
Learn more about Buck Storm, as well as his writing and music, at buckstorm.com. He can also be found on Facebook (@buckstormauthor), Twitter (@buckstormauthor), and Instagram (@buckstorm).


The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is available from Kregel Publishing.