Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Historical Fiction Review: The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher


Book Description:
After three years on a whaling voyage, Henry Macy returns to Nantucket to news that his grandmother has passed, bequeathing her vast fortune to him and his sister, Hitty. And it was truly vast. But Lillian Coffin was no fool. The inheritance comes with a steep cost, including when they should marry and whom--a Quaker in good standing, of course. But if they relinquish the inheritance, it all goes to Tristram Macy, their father's thieving business partner.

As Hitty and Henry seek a way to satisfy the will's conditions, they'll be faced with obstacles on every side--and it may be that Lillian Coffin will have the last word after all.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher surprises and delights with this story of hope and renewal, love and redemption, arriving just when most needed.

My Review:
I've read all three books in the Nantucket Legacy series, and I've enjoyed them all. Suzanne Woods Fisher is an excellent historical fiction writer. As her research brought to light the early history of Nantucket, she captured much of the island's original story. In this third book of the series, The Light Before Day, Suzanne touches on the disagreements over slavery and integration in school, as well as other troubling circumstances. She features several people who lived at that time and contributed to society, including Maria Mitchell and Frederick Douglas. But the true stars of the book are the fictional characters Henry and Hitty, twins who have grown up on Nantucket and are now the adults about to change history. As Henry reads Great Mary's journal, passed on to him by his step-mother Daphne, he learns about what is truly important. Hitty, who has a heart full of love, finally finds a way to share it. Times were both wonderful and difficult for these two. Yet, they depended on God through it all. If you enjoy historical fiction and haven't read the first two in this series, I suggest you begin with book one and read the whole set. If you have read one and two, you're in for a treat with book three. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell books. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Purchase The Light Before Day and enter your information to receive a free
Amish Christmas novella signed by Suzanne Woods Fisher. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Fiction Review: A Sparkle of Silver (Georgia Coast Romance Book #1) by Liz Johnson


Book Description:
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.

My Review:
Some things I love about Liz Johnson's books: the intrinsic humor, the quirky characters and the amazing settings. I've read Liz's books set on Prince Edward Island and loved them. Now she's moved south with her Georgia coast series and landed on St. Simon's Island. Since I visited the island several years ago, I had to read this book. And she did not disappoint. As Millie feels the stress of needing to help her grandmother, she doesn't just sit and hope for a remedy. Instead she takes on an almost mythical legend with determination. Millie is a delightful character who has lived through disappointment and challenges. Yet she's ready to tackle a new obstacle with aplomb and hope. Ben suffers from the destructive path left by his mother. He wants nothing more than to right a terrible wrong. He finds himself entangled in Millie's scheme. I like Ben because he wants to better himself and break the cycle his mom pushed upon him. The history woven throughout the story represents the times of the rich and famous quite well. If you enjoy women's fiction with a dash of mystery and romance, you'll enjoy A Sparkle of Silver. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell books. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Even if You Just Say Hello


Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

As I scooted into the restaurant booth beside my granddaughter, Ella Cate, she noticed the band aid on my arm. With the sincerity of a four year old, she asked me what happened. I said, "I have a scratch that needs covered." She tilted her head, as if in thought, and replied, "Awww...I'll pray for you tonight, Grammy Penny." My heart melted, and I thanked the Lord that this little girl already knows about the power of prayer. This is one of many reasons Jesus told us to be like children. They don't complicate things. Instead if they've been taught about leaning on Jesus through prayer, they take it straight to him.

I am blessed with an amazing group of friends who pray for me and I for them. No matter what we share, we pray. Why? Because we know God's desire is that we bring our needs and praises to him. In all the letters the apostle Paul wrote in the Bible, he often tells the people he's praying for them. He either thanks God for their friendship or lifts up their needs. He also asks them to pray for him. Prayer is an important part of being in God's family. So why don't we pray more often? I could say: too many distractions, too much social media, too busy. But the truth may be that we just don't think to do it. We haven't trained our minds to go to God first. I want to challenge anyone reading this post to stop and talk to God. Right now. Even if you just say hello to him. Reacquaint yourself. Create a new habit. Pray.

God wants to hear from you because, he loves you.  

Friday, October 12, 2018

Children's Book Review: Rex's Winning Day written by Mary Neville, Illustrated by Francesca Cecioni


Book Description:
Last year's Annual Wiener Dog Race had been a disaster for Rex! But this year was going to be different. He would make sure of it.

Will Rex finally get his winning day?



My Review:
Rex's Winning Day is a delightful book. This little wiener dog just wants to have a perfect race, where everyone cheers and is happy. Drawn from the inspiration of Mary Neville's granddogs, she penned a fun story children will enjoy. Rex and Trixie's photos are even posted in the back of the book. The illustrations Francesca Cecioni created for the story are incredible. Colorful and filled with detail, she placed all manner of people and dogs at the race. I especially like the multi-colored storefronts in the background. I've had the privilege of knowing Francesca and watching her create her art. She's done a fantastic job drawing pictures that capture the fun and excitement of Rex's Winning Day.  I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fiction Book Review: Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock


Book Description:
As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current court case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.
The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. 

Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is making his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.
When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure that she’s never needed help finding a date. 

Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

My Review:
I loved this amusing story of a grandmother's attempt to give her granddaughter the perfect Christmas. My heart went out to Sydney. Her life is a bit of a mess, but she's trying to do the best she can. Finn is drifting along when his days are taken over by Miss Callie. A comical yet heartwarming tale blooms from their predicaments and a grandmother's amazing love. In the midst of your holiday preparation, this story would provide the perfect break, or a great gift. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson
 through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

God's Peace


Romans 5:1-2
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

What is the most peaceful thing you can think of? A baby sleeping in your arms. A stream flowing through a meadow on a summer day. A fresh layer of undisturbed snow in the woods. That perfect song that takes you to a place of rest and renewal.

For me a peaceful time is sitting in the living room with my husband on a quiet Saturday morning. Having my family gathered around me. Walking in the woods on a spring day. Watching the snow fall and glisten. Sitting under my favorite lighthouse and listening to the water strike the rocks. 

Peace on this earth seems harder to come by every day. With so much negative noise in the world, I find it difficult at times to come to a moment of calm. Yet knowing what I do about Jesus, I understand that peace is near.

When I chose to follow Jesus, I gained a serenity that is incomprehensible on this earth. Because of my relationship with him, I know the peace of God will guard my heart. His grace pours over me and offers hope. His Spirit dwells in me and comforts me. When I feel anxious, I know I can go to Jesus and seek his quiet reassurance. I love the verses in Philippians that remind me that God has a peace to pour over me that is beyond my comprehension. He has a peace that transcends understanding. The very peace he fills my heart with is the same one Jesus experienced when he died on the cross and rose again. Jesus knew God held his heart.
God's peace is a gift; given to anyone who chooses to follow Jesus.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Young Adult Fiction Review: The Bridge to Cutter Gap (Christy of Cutter Gap Book 1) by Catherine Marshall


Book Description:
The injured man lay limp and unconscious. A horrible feeling of guilt swept over Christy as she realized, "This happened because of me!"

Christy Huddleston's dream was to teach the poor mountain children. But she never imagined that the treacherous journey from Asheville into the heart of the Smoky Mountains would bring danger into the lives of one mountain family.

Join Christy as she crosses the bridge from the familiar world of city life to the strange, new world of Cutter Gap.

Based on Catherine Marshall's novel Christy—a New York Times bestseller—the Christy® of Cutter Gap series contains expanded adventures filled with romance, intrigue, and excitement. 

My Review:
I am so excited that Gilead Publishing's branch, Evergreen Farm, has created a series for young adults from the beautiful Catherine Marshall classic, Christy. I absolutely love the original text. Upon reading book one in the Christy of Cutter Gap series, I was not disappointed. This rendition of the beginning of Christy's story stayed true to the original. I highly recommend this series for twelve years old and up. Christy's story is one of integrity and growth. She's trying to follow God's lead as she learns to live in a very different culture than her own. I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Fiction Review: Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh


Book Description:
For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.
Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.


My Review:
I like Just Let Go because the characters are flawed, just like me. Courtney Walsh has written a story about people who have lived life. They've failed, they've triumphed, but they've carried baggage. Heavy suitcases filled with burden. While one holds on to their faith, the other has let go and gone off the edge. This is a beautiful story of realization and redemption. A story of forgiveness in the most personal sense. I love Courtney's books, and this one is no exception. It is refreshing to read the story of people who demonstrate how the love of God brings hope. I purchased a Kindle copy from Amazon. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Peace-