Redeeming Grace

Featured

Smith, Jill Eileen. Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story- Daughters of the Promised Land series- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Following the Old Testament story of Ruth, Boaz and Naomi, Redeeming Grace beautifully depicts the loss, grief, longing and hardship associated with Ruth’s story yet also the redemption, love and fulfillment ultimately experienced. Filling in fictionally the missing parts of the Biblical story, author Jill Eileen Smith, through apparent research, stays true to the story’s time in history. As the story unravels, redeeming grace identifies Ruth through her actions while she also receives it…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
So timely for me to read Redeeming Grace; I had recently heard a sermon regarding relationships with Ruth and Naomi as examples. Already knowing the story, it was interesting to have the pieces filled in even if only fictionally. Staying true to the time period of culture, customs and ways of life, this story seemed to flow smoothly. My favorite of the series thus far, I look forward to more in the series as well as by this author. Perfect for a women’s Bible study, group ministry or sermon series, I will return to this story again while sharing it with others, too.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Redeeming Grace from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Illusionist’s Apprentice

Featured

Cambron, Kristy. The Illusionist’s Apprentice. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

theillusionistsapprentice

SUMMARY:
Wren Lockhart, an apprentice not a magician, is independent, confident and sad. Trying to cover her past, she is drawn into a crime investigation for the apparent re-death of a man. Set in the early 1900’s, all the jazz, vaudeville, secrets and culture of the era make appearances in this new novel by author Kristy Cambron. With strong characters, unforeseen surprises, and an intriguing storyline blended with the master of illusion, Harry Houdini, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a captivating novel from start to finish.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As one of my all-time favorite authors, I couldn’t wait for this book to become available. Reading the entire book in just a few short nights, it was alluring and gripping. Not a huge fan of illusion, I did find it interesting to read though about such acts as well as the era. Well-written, fascinating and compelling, I still enjoy Kristy Cambron’s previous Hidden Masterpiece novels better, The Butterfly and the Violin and A Sparrow in Terezin (which I found hauntingly beautiful yet heartbreakingly sorrowful). Definitely worth the read; absolutely an author I will always read.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Illusionist’s Apprentice from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

The Captain Takes A Wife

Durbin, Doris. The Captain Takes A Wife- The Captain Chronicles. USA: Crossbooks. 2013.

thecaptaintakesawife

SUMMARY:
On his way to Georgia via train, Captain Harry Richardson is most surprised when a young lady, Sarah Franklin, literally throws herself into his arms begging for his help. Harry soon realizes Sarah may need protection from more than the arranged marriage her Uncle prepared for her. With a new plan in mind, Harry and Sarah soon realize their plan may involve more than expected…outlaws, suspense, mystery, surprises and perhaps even a change of heart.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a new author, Doris Durbin certainly is familiar with writing since she retired from her career as a librarian recently and uses her husband as her consult, a history teacher for many years. Intrigued by the cover, title, and book summary, I took the chance to give an emerging author a try. Though it took me just a bit to become comfortable with her style, her writing did eventually flow for me, providing an interesting storyline, strong characters, and well researched items. As her debut novel, The Captain Takes A Wife, I look forward to more of her writing since a continuing series is certainly plausible and encouraged. An added bonus was definitely the discussion questions, recipes and pattern.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Captain Takes A Wife from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Honor Redeemed

Johnson, Christine. Honor Redeemed: Keys of Promise- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

honorredeemed

SUMMARY:
After losing her beloved mother, Prosperity Jones decides to take the chance and travel to Key West to find her fiancé, Lt. David Latham. Upon arriving, Prosperity realizes she must have missed the latest correspondence from David pertaining to the change in circumstance. Penniless, heartbroken, wary and stunned, she must make plans for her future, while deciding whether to follow her heart or her head. With lots to consider, Prosperity strains to find forgiveness, honesty, faithfulness and hope in her current situation.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With book 1 in the Keys of Promise series, Love’s Rescue, being my favorite book of 2015, it was hard to wait for the next book, Honor Redeemed.  Set against such high standards as book 1, this was again a novel I thoroughly enjoyed. Putting it aside until I had the time to read it non-stop, I did just that. With writing that drew me in, characters involved in intertwining manners, and interesting word choices, the author’s familiarity of the location within the story only led to further enjoyment. (Christine Johnson, please hurry with the next book in the series, I am already waiting!)

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Honor Redeemed from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Land of Silence

Afshar, Tessa. Land of Silence. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2016.

landofsilence

SUMMARY:
With a name meaning “My God has favored me” given to her by her father, Elianna lives a life consumed with guilt over the death of her younger brother. As trial after trial burdens her life, Elianna continues to live with shame, guilt and the heaviness of her circumstances. Making decisions which are both devastating yet heart-felt, she learns of the man whose garment can heal through touch; thus, sharing the story of the woman was lived unclean for 12 years yet found healing in so many ways…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a Christy award-winning author, author of several Biblical-fictional works, and a highly recommended author, it is hard to believe this is the first book by author Tessa Afshar that I have read. With a previous book of hers on my to-be-read stack, I am now sorry it slipped towards the bottom of the pile. As a fictional account of a woman from the Bible, I believe it was done with respect, emotion, knowledge and substance. With Bible verses beginning each chapter with a hint of what was to follow, I became emotionally involved with the lead character, Elianna, and felt each crushing event along with her. Definitely a well-written novel from an author I will now search out, moving her previous book upward in my TBR collection.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Land of Silence from Tyndale House Publishing for my honest review*

Love’s Sure Dawn

Rawlings, Naomi. Love’s Sure Dawn: An Eagle Harbor Novel. Cedar Lake Press.  2015.

SUMMARY:
lovessuredawnWith the price of fish dropping, Rebekah Cummings knows she must find work to help support her family. Leaving her home in Eagle Harbor, Michigan, she accepts a position upon a ship owned by Gilbert Sinclair, son of a wealthy shipping family. Knowing Gilbert since she was young, Rebekah is surprised at the feelings within her heart for Gilbert, especially as he searches for an heiress to wed due to his crane sinking to the bottom of the lake. Growing romance, strong faith, unexpected surprises, and the lure of the rugged Lake Superior coast all combine in the newest installment of the Eagle Harbor series…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Yet again, Naomi Rawlings amazes me, stirs my emotions and convinces why she is such an accomplished author. Left pondering how I can enjoy this novel even more than the previous one which I thoroughly loved, I am also deciding how I will wait for the fourth book in the series. Very familiar with Eagle Harbor, Michigan, I am astounded at the exactness with which Love’s Sure Dawn exemplifies the landscape, characters and town. Piquing my interest with her novels, I visited and researched the lifesaving station across from the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse and really learned quite a bit. As one of my favorite authors, this particular novel may be my most treasured one this year.

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love’s Sure Dawn from the author for my honest review*

The Girl From The Train

Joubert, Irma. The Girl From The Train. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
thegirlfromthetrainJumping from a train bound for Auschwitz, six-year old Gretl Schmidt can only hope for the same safe result while searching for her sister, mother and grandmother. Realizing she will be alone, Gretl stays with Jakob Kowalski, a young adult Polish student and member of the Home Army, who planted the bomb that killed her relations. After a few years, Jakob sends Gretl to South Africa where she must hide her heritage from her loving adopted family. Reconnecting many years later, Jakob and Gretl soon realize that continents cannot keep hearts separated…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
From the novel’s description, I knew I was in for an emotionally heart-tugging read. Full of history, politics, romance, sentiment, heartache, and tension, The Girl From The Train illicits empathy, compassion and remorse in this international bestseller by author Irma Joubert. Well-written with fast-paced sections mingled with slower-paced passages, I think the writing style worked very well for the genre of this story. Definitely an author I will read again.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Girl From The Train from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Love’s Every Whisper

Rawlings, Naomi. Love’s Every Whisper: An Eagle Harbor Novel- Book 2. CreateSpace Publishing Platform: 2015.

SUMMARY:
loveseverywhisperRescuing people from shipwrecks in Lake Superior off the rugged-rock coast of Eagle Harbor, Michigan, Elijah Cummings wants nothing more than to build a life-saving station. Daughter of a shipping baron, Victoria Donnelly feels like a failure, able to do nothing right. With an embarrassing past, Victoria returns home to Eagle Harbor to find herself betrothed to Gilbert Sinclair, son of a wealthy shipping family. Though her heart belonged to Elijah years ago, she must find the self-confidence to follow her heart though her head may lead her elsewhere…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having actually read this novel while in Eagle Harbor, Michigan, it couldn’t have been more perfect. From the descriptions of the rolling waves on Lake Superior, the quaintness of the town, the beauty of the landscape, the jaggedness of the coast, and the actual life-saving station near the lighthouse, Naomi Rawlings pays spectacular homage to the area. Woven with a historical story, breathtaking adventure, tender romance and exquisite details, Love’s Every Whisper is one of my favorite novels of all times. Part of the Eagle Harbor series, there is no question I will continue reading the rest of the series from this very accomplished author. Stunning!

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love’s Every Whisper from the author for my honest review*

The Memory Weaver

Kirkpatrick, Jane. The Memory Weaver. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
memoryweaverWitnessing a massacre at a young age, Eliza Spalding Warren was held hostage by the Cayuse Indians and forced to work as an interpreter as the only person who knew both languages. As time passes, memories shift which cause new insight and feelings into the past events. Based on a true story, New York Times bestselling author, Jane Kirkpatrick, takes readers on yet another emotionally, thought-provoking read…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I loved the basis for this story positioned on real-life past events. Also interesting, the alteration of memories over time, through experiences and as more knowledge is gained. Not a light read but rather a deeper, stimulating read which made me ponder the events and recollections associated with them. Always well-written with bits of true situations included, Jane Kirkpatrick enthralls with each novel. Though not a huge fan of pioneer time-frames, The Memory Weaver was an exception for me…especially as I enjoyed the included author interview at the end. I look forward to her next novel.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Memory Weaver from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Empire’s End

Jenkins, Jerry B. Empire’s End. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
empireTold from the first-person-point-of-view, the Apostle Paul relates accounts of his life previously unknown. With master storyteller Jerry B. Jenkins as the author, Empire’s End details how Apostle Paul transformed from a persecutor of Christ to a servant of Christ. Filling in the blanks, though fictional, helps connect the dots to better understand this Biblical giant.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Reading several of Jerry B. Jenkin’s previous novels (his Red Rock series is fantastic for YA), I was interested in his newest book. Though a good premise as well as a popular genre right now, I found this to be different than his usual style. Hard to follow at points, I was unable to fully enjoy this story though I tried. Long in sections and perhaps a bit disconnected in others, I believe the main reason I did not connect was the anticipated expectations I had for this author and his book. Not necessarily a bad book, just not a book for me.

RATING:
3 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Empire’s End from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*