Monday, July 15, 2013

"Fearless", by Eric Blehm

About This Book

Fearless takes you deep into SEAL Team SIX, straight to the heart of one of its most legendary operators.

“As a rule, we don’t endorse books or movies or anything regarding the command where I work—and Adam Brown worked—but as the author writes in Fearless, ‘you have to know the rules, so you know when to bend or break them.’ This is one of those times.  Read this book. Period. It succeeds where all the others have failed.”  --Anonymous SEAL Team SIX Operator

When Navy SEAL Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn’t know he would die that night in the Hind Kush Mountains of Afghanistan—but he was ready. In a letter to his children, not meant to be seen unless the worst happened, he wrote, “I’m not afraid of anything that might happen to me on this earth, because I know no matter what, nothing can take my spirit from me.”

Fearless is the story of a man of extremes, whose courage and determination were fueled by faith, family, and the love of a woman. It’s about a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses, including drug addiction, and persevered to reach the top tier of the U.S. military. In a deeply personal and absorbing chronicle, Fearless reveals a glimpse inside the SEAL Team SIX brotherhood, and presents an indelible portrait of a highly trained warrior whose final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.

Adam Brown was a devoted man who was an unlikely hero but a true warrior, described by all who knew him as…fearless.

My Thoughts
My first reaction after reading this book (without putting it down for a minute!) was to wish this book was required reading for all secondary education students.  To understand what someone has done to keep each of us free and safe is to read the story of Adam Brown.  His name is added to the list of many other brave people when defining the word "warrior".

It's difficult to read a book when you know the ending.  Yet, it's very important to read the beginning and learn about Adam's life.  He will inspire our young people to not give up, even if their life is messed up.  Adam's parents never gave up on him.  His wife, Kelley, never gave up on him.  She deserves her own medal for the faith and courage and hope she had for her husband.

I will give Fearless as a gift to many, as this is a story that deserves to be told again and again. My humble words of praise are so insignificant in comparison to the impact of this book and the story told within it's pages.  I realize how blessed I am to live in a country in which so many people have done much to give us freedom.

Without a doubt, this book is a keeper and will stay on my favorites shelf, always.

The writing skills and thorough research of author, Eric Blehm, deserve an enormous degree of gratitude and the title of "best-selling author".   Thank you, Eric.  Please keep writing stories of unsung heros.

 "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review" 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Wishing On Willows, by Katie Ganshert

Does a second chance at life and love always involve surrender?  

A three-year-old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband.  As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa, she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her cafe and vital town ministry are located, she isn’t about to let go without a fight.  As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won’t give up easily.  His family’s business depends on his success in Peaks.  

I liked the two main characters in this story, Robin and Ian.  Robin’s struggles as a young widow determined to succeed and Ian is trying to gain approval from his successful father. Being successful and finding approval from the ones we love are the strong points in this book. 

I liked the idea that the author included a list of questions at the end, so this book would make a nice addition to any small group or book club. 

I wish Katie Ganshert, the author, had used the text about the willows earlier in the story since the title gave me the idea the willows had a significant meaning.   I was a bit confused by the chapters that gave Robin’s first-person point of view since they were interspersed throughout the book.  Perhaps a small heading at the chapter’s beginning would have clarified my story thoughts.

I give this book a definite 4 stars.  I look forward to reading Katie's next novel.
"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"

The Icecutter's Daughter, by Tracie Peterson

My next book review is The Icecutter’s Daughter, by Tracie Peterson from the series Land of Shining Water.

As the lone female in a houseful of men, Merrill Krause dedicates her life to caring for her family and their business, as her dying mother asked.  Besides, it suits her; she’s never felt like she fits what most people expect in a girl- she’d rather work with her father’s horses and assist with the ice harvest.  And though she’s been mostly content up to this point, a part of her wonders if there will ever be anyone who will notice her amid the bevy of brothers determined to protect her from any possible suitors.

When Rurik Jorgenson arrives in their small Minnesota town to join his uncle’s carpentry business, he soon crosses paths with Merrill.  But unlike other men, who are often frightened away by her older brothers, Rurik isn’t intimidated by them or by Merrill’s strength and lack of femininity.  The attraction between them begins to build . . . until Rurik’s former fiancée shows up with wild claims that bring serious consequences to Rurik.

In my opinion, this book has just the right amount of mystery and romance to keep my attention and "stay up late to finish just one more chapter".  I liked Merrill because she was compassionate and willing to help her father and brothers instead of thinking of herself.  She had discovered she loved caring for her father’s Belgian horses that he raised.  The descriptions of the goodies prepared throughout the book made me hungry as Tracie described the tempting meals that Merrill served in the story.  I wish she would share the recipe of the carrot cookies (Page 46). 
With the descriptions of building furniture in Rurik's uncle’s carpentry business I could almost smell the fresh wood as it was being cut. The dilemma in Rurik’s relationship with his pre-arranged fiancée sure gives the story a puzzle to solve.  His best friend, Nils, challenges Rurik as they share their idea of becoming business partners.
I recommend this book to someone wanting a good fictional story with plenty of twists. 
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Books as part of their blogger review program.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Bedtime Stories and Prayers, by Mackall and Bostrom

Make bedtime memorable and meaningful!

Bedtime Stories and Prayers is a special collection of four favorite Little Blessings stories.  

Bedtime routines often include a story and prayer. Now parents and kids can combine both with a special Little Blessings compilation book. The padded hardcover book includes the following sweet stories:
  • Bedtime Blessings, which reminds kids that God created nighttime too and they have nothing to fear
  • Thank You, God, which reminds kids to be thankful for everything
  • Blessings Everywhere, which helps readers remember their blessings
  • God Loves You, which carries the most powerful message of all to comfort and guide little ones through the night and through their lives.

Each page is filled with full color art of the endearing multicultural Little Blessings characters with illustrations by Care Bear creator Elena Kucharik.

What I love most about this book is the whimsical illustrations that children need for comfort and assurance.  Instead of falling asleep with books of pictures that portray anxiousness and sometimes fear, the Care Bear illustrator, Elena Kucharik, uses her warm details and child-like eyes to give extra confirmation of the stories.  The gorgeous colors in each picture give children the understanding that God’s blessings are beautiful.

Bedtime Blessings, Thank you, God!, Blessings Everywhere, and God Loves You, are the positive reinforcement all of our children need on a daily basis (if not more!) to know that the world they live in does have hope through God.

I would say my favorite story in this collection is God Loves You.  The idea that "you can be silly or you can be sad" as one page declares is a thought children can understand.  I would recommend this book as a gift for families, for Sunday School classes, and definitely grandparents should keep a copy to read aloud when their grandchildren come to visit.

Bedtime Stories and Prayers is the perfect way to end each day.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Tyndale House

Friday, April 5, 2013

Take A Chance On Me, by Susan May Warren

Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near. 

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. 

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

This book speaks a strong message of how we show forgiveness.

I'm including a link to read the interview with author, Susan May Warren as she gives deeper insight for the inspiration of this new six-book series.  Susan May Warren Questions and Answers 

I recommend this book to readers based on the principles of overcoming personal fears, accepting others with respect,  and showing compassion and grace.   
"It's a saga about family and faith and what happens when those collide with real life." Susan May Warren
Ivy and Darek each have their personal hang-ups to work through as the story includes their friends, Jensen and Claire.  The gardening stories, caring for an aging grandfather, and the fear of a forest fire make for plenty of interest throughout the book.  Little five-year old, Tiger, is Darek's son, and you can easily picture his curiosity and energy as he challenges his family when outsiders fear his injuries are more than typical child's play.  I appreciate the setting in the northwoods of Minnesota.  The descriptions of the Christiansen's family resort and the lake inspire a trip to visit this restful setting.

I'm looking forward to the next installation of the Christiansen Family.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lord, I Give You This Day, by Kay Arthur

Do you need wisdom and strength for the days ahead?  

Do you long for the peace God promises, the power to perservere?

Reviewing "Lord, I Give You This Day", brought an instant feeling of comfort as I read the 366 Appointments with God in this power-packed daily devotional, by Kay Arthur.  She beckons you into a deeper relationship with God, helping you discover for yourself the life-changing power of His unwavering character and unshakeable love.  As each brief reading draws you into the Bible and leads you into purposeful prayer, you'll be equipped to greet each day with bold faith, confident in God's faithfulness, strength, and transforming grace. Kay says, "In the greatest trials I have faced, these were the truths that kept me in perfect peace as I took them into my heart and lived accordingly."

As I read the introduction ....
"Each brief, one page reading addresses the challenges and joys of surrendered living...."
the suggestion of surrender gave me a sense of drawing my daily strength for each new day from God, and only from Him.  Kay suggests that if you make the consistent practice of surrendering, you'll find your life and your relationships transformed.  That sounds really good and positive.
I like the format for each day's devotion with a simple thought, confirmed by God's Word and at the end is a one or two sentence prayer, or an idea or suggestion from the author how to apply that day's devotion.  The simplicity of this book will allow this book to stay at my bedside permanently.  I've read many devotionals throughout my lifetime, and this little book is just right for anyone.   The added bonus of this beautiful treasured book is the fact that the publishers had this book printed here in the United States.  One final note, the size and smooth cover make this book so nice to hold.  What a wonderful book!

You might like to click on the link   to read the first chapter and find out this is a book you need. 

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."


Sunday, February 24, 2013

To Honor and Trust

Come home to magnificent Bridal Veil Island resort 
This invitation is offered to readers in the new book, To Honor and Trust, by authors Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller.
It is a pleasure to read another book from the Bridal Veil Island series.
        Bridal Veil Island, Georgia 1913

Callie Deboyer arrives at Bridal Veil Island to spend the winter working as a governess for the Bridgeport family. However, she finds she can't fully enjoy the beautiful resort because questions about her future weigh heavily on her mind: Should she continue in this job she enjoys, or is God calling her to join her parents in their missionary work?

When she enrolls young Thomas Bridgeport in golf lessons, Callie meets instructor Wesley Townsend, who urges Callie to take lessons, as well. During their time together, Callie comes to care for Wes--until she discovers that he's been hiding something very important from her.

Then expensive pieces go missing from various homes around the island, and suspicion is aimed in Callie's direction. Callie wonders if this is a sign she should leave it all behind and join her parents in Africa. Considering Wesley's deceit, will he ever be a man Callie can honor and trust for the rest of her life?

The atmosphere of this book provides a good escape and reminds me of an era when wealthy families often escaped to warmer climates. Callie's story involves her devotion to the Bridgeport family as their governess and her character inspires the high standards she has set for herself while accepting almost everyone she meets. After getting to know Wes, she begins to have a little bit of hope for her future.

There are episodes of suspense within the story, including a jewel thief, and when little Daisy is bitten by a dangerous spider.

The one thought I found as I read this book is how much to reveal when telling the the truth. I imagine most of us have told the truth, but maybe not told all of the information we know because we felt it might cause hurt feelings. This book is a good example of how to handle what, when and how to share our thoughts and build a trusting relationship with someone.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Books as part of their blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Secrets over Sweet Tea, by Denise Hildreth Jones


Three troubled characters, Scarlett, Grace, and Zach, each with their own secrets. We think secrets keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry - a boisterous pastor's wife knows all too well—a truth Grace Shepherd - a polished news anchor and Zach Craig - a beleaguered divorce attorney are about to learn the hard way. As each of their lives intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, each seeking to find a way back to laughter, love, and life.

I confess to being a tea-a-holic so just the title alone gave me hope that Denise Hildreth Jones would create a "tasty" story and she did! There were never any dull moments in the story. And once Scarlett entered into the lives of Grace and Zach, there were some interesting moments. I bet we would all like to have a character like Scarlett in our lives. She is funny, yet she has her own tragic secret. As for Grace, I believe there are many readers who may identify with her situation. I was surprised, but glad that Zach chose to resolve his secret in a way I didn't expect.

I would recommend this book for those who love southern styles, friendships, and a good plot.

Denise Hildreth Jones
Denise Hildreth Jones
Denise Hildreth Jones has spent the last eight years writing fiction that has been hailed as both "smart and witty." Her ability to express the heart of the Southern voice has led to her being featured twice in Southern Living and receiving the accolades of readers and reviewers alike, but it is the simple joy of writing stories that keeps them coming. Her previous novels include the Savannah series, Flies on the ButterThe Will of WisteriaHurricanes in ParadiseThe First Gardener, andSecrets Over Sweet Tea. She has also written two works of nonfiction—Flying Solo and Reclaiming Your Heart.
Denise makes her home in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, five bonus children, and her dog. And on her days off, she will settle for a long walk or a good book and a Coca-Cola.
Visit Denise's website at 

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Anniversary Waltz, by Darrel Nelson

At their sixtieth anniversary party, Adam Carlson asks his wife, Elizabeth, for their customary waltz. After the dance they gather the family and share their story—a story of love and courage overcoming adversity and thriving in the face of overwhelming odds.

It’s the summer of 1946, and Adam has just returned from the war to his home in Reunion, Montana. At a town festival he meets Elizabeth Baxter, a young woman going steady with his former high school rival and now influential banker, Nathan Roberts.

When Adam and Elizabeth share a waltz in a deserted pavilion one evening, their feelings begin to grow and they embark on a journey, and a dance, that will last a lifetime.

This was a sweet little book, since I was ready to read a piece of period fiction and I wasn't disappointed. The characters seemed very real to me. Adam, who had just come back home after serving in the Army, was eagerly greeted by his mother, but his father refused to acknowledge his return. As the story continued, we learn of the burden his parents carried when Adam enlisted and left his parents to work the farm.

And then we learn of Elizabeth who was raised by her aunt and uncle. She works at the smal dry cleaners at the time Adam comes home. When he comes in to have his uniform cleaned and pressed for the town festival, they begin a conversation that leads to an invitation for Adam to come for dinner. This excerpt gives you some thought as to the challenges that faced Adam that afternoon.
"I enjoyed your contribution to the service today," she said.  "Thank you," he replied. "The music was inspriring, and the company was exceptional." He winked at Elizabeth.  Wil noticed but said nothing.  Lenora noticed too and asked, "Do you plan to make regular church attendance a part of your life?"
The correct answer was yes, of course, Adam knew that any other answer would end his chances of ever being around Elizabeth with Lenora's approval, however slight it might be. But he answered honestly, without pretext.  "I admit I didn't attend church much before the war.  Somehow in my youth, it didn't seem important.  But in Italy I got back in touch with God.  We all did.  I made a deal with Him.  He kept His end of the bargain, and I intend to keep mine."
"What deal did you make, if you don't mind my asking?"  Lenora inquired.
So, now I won't share anymore of the story.  But it's a book I recommend to encourage you.  A book to give you hope that when you're discouraged not to give up.

This is the first novel by Darrel Nelson, and I hope he will give us more stories.

I'm sharing this review free without any obligations to the publisher. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fire of the Raging Dragon, The Pacific Rim Series

"In the very near future, China, now the world’s largest industrial producer and consumer of Mideast Oil, passes a law that all new cars manufactured in that nation will be operated on natural gas. Beneath the floor of the South China Sea, around the contested Spratly Islands, billions of gallons of natural gas wait to be mined. "

Bestselling author Don Brown has built a loyal fan base by writing what he knows best: thrillers with heart. A former Navy JAG officer and action-officer at the Pentagon, Brown pens action-packed plots and finely-drawn characters that are credible and compelling.
In Fire of the Raging Dragon -the second book in Brown's bestselling Pacific Rim Series-Stephanie Surber is stationed on board a submarine tender in the South China Sea when a naval war breaks out. After a gruesome discovery escalates America's involvement, Stephanie's father, U.S. President Douglas Surber, must choose to take a stand against evil … or save the life of his daughter.
This is my first book by action author, Don Brown, and I'm his newest fan.   It is a political thriller like no other. Don, who served five years in the U.S. Navy, writes a fast-paced book making good use of his knowledge about the military and their operations. This political thriller uses sub-headings as the storyline develops it's plots and subplots with twists and turns that begin to challenge what part of the story I'm reading, but yet I couldn't put the book down. I like a book that offers fairly accurate information and based on the author's background, his descriptions of the military and political situations throughout the story are guaranteed to engage any reader right to the conclusion.  Also interesting is the background of history for both sides in the conflict. Readers won't miss the lack of profanity since the idea that this situation could actually occur today are described by an author whose knowledge of current affiars make this a thriller of a book! I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy suspense and action.
To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 I was not compensated for this review and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Voice In The Wind, by Francine Rivers

The first book in the bestselling Mark of the Lion series, A Voice in the Wind brings readers back to the first century and introduces them to a character they will never forget—Hadassah. Torn by her love for a handsome aristocrat, this young slave girl clings to her faith in the living God for deliverance from the forces of decadent Rome.

This classic series has already inspired nearly 2 million readers, but both loyal fans and new readers will want this 20th anniversary edition of a Christian classic, which includes a foreword from the publisher, a letter from and Q & A with Francine Rivers, color map, an illustrated glossary, and discussion questions suitable for personal and group use.

As I began reading this 20th Anniversary Edition of A Voice In The Wind, by Francine Rivers, I became anxious at the vivid descriptions in the opening paragraph, 

"The city was silently bloating in the hot sun, rotting like the thousands of bodies that lay where they had fallen in street battles.  An oppressive, hot wind blew from the southeast, carrying with it the putrefying stench of decay."

My apprehension to continue reading a story that claims to be a classic was resolved by my commitment to give an honest review of this book for the publisher.
The book surprised me by it's story of life in the first century.  I believe the author has thoroughly researched  the background for the book.  Each chapter brought me closer to experiencing the sights and sounds and emotions of Hadassah and those living through Rome's persecution of Christians.

This special edition has the addition of the discussion questions which would make an interesting home-study with friends.

Even though I'm still not comfortable reading script with horrific details, this book deserves to be on any best seller list.  Understanding and experiencing what life must have been like for Christians in the very early years through this story helps me appreciate the perseverance of all those believers who have come before me.

I was provided a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House.