Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner (Review)

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800727665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727666
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that's obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she's made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she's chosen. She's still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she's not sure she can write anymore. She's beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she's falling in love with her pastor doesn't make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn't afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.

My Review:

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck is the debut Christian fiction book by Bethany Turner. I did not particularly enjoy reading it but my grandmother loved it. It is amazing how two people can read the same book and have very different opinions on it. I thought it was unbelievable and underdeveloped. She thought it was great. The book had great promise and an interesting premise. I would not be opposed to reading the next one and giving the author another chance.

Bethany Turner is the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former VP/operations manager of a commercial bank and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn't matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she's chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason (Review)

  • Series: Blue Justice (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (January 2, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800727215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727215
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. With three brothers and two sisters, she's never without someone to hang out with--or fight with. And she knows they'll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Determined to discover exactly what happened, Izzy's investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll--including someone from her own family. With her dead partner's handsome homicide detective brother Ryan shadowing her every move, Izzy's head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she's had a secret crush on for years won't leave her side?

With her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Lynette Eason invites readers into a captivating new series where justice is a family affair.

My Review:

Oath of Honor is the first book in the Blue Justice series by Lynette Eason. It is Christian fiction with mystery, suspense, and a little romance. The main character in this book is Isabelle St. John. She is a police officer in Columbia, SC.  Her mother is the police chief and most of her five siblings work in law enforcement too. This book reminded me of the show Blue Bloods. I do not want to give away any major plot details so all I will say is that this book involves the mafia, gang warfare, and possible bad cops. The romance part is between Izzy and Ryan, her dead brother's partner. I would have liked to see more development with that. The book is full of suspense and I did not figure out the who done it until the end. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. Recommended. 

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, Moving Target, and Chasing Secrets in the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina. Learn more at

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett (Review)

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (June 6, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735289549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735289543
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches

An ideal sanctuary and a dream come true–that’s what Margaret Lane feels as she takes in God’s gorgeous handiwork in Mount Rainier National Park. It’s 1927 and the National Park Service is in its youth when Margie, an avid naturalist, lands a coveted position alongside the park rangers living and working in the unrivaled splendor of Mount Rainier’s long shadow.
But Chief Ranger Ford Brayden is still haunted by his father’s death on the mountain, and the ranger takes his work managing the park and its crowd of visitors seriously. The job of watching over an idealistic senator’s daughter with few practical survival skills seems a waste of resources.
When Margie’s former fiancĂ© sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, the plans might put more than the park’s pristine beauty in danger. What will Margie and Ford sacrifice to preserve the splendor and simplicity of the wilderness they both love?
Karen Barnett’s vintage national parks novels bring to vivid life President Theodore Roosevelt’s vision for protected lands, when he wrote in Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter: "There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children's children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred."

My Review:

I love love the cover art for this series. The Road to Paradise is the first book in the Shadows of the Wilderness series. I am a huge nature lover so I couldn't wait to read a book set in Mount Rainer National Park. This book is a historical Christian fiction book and is set in 1927. The author does a good job describing the scenery. It made me want to go hiking and read Walden by Henry David Thoreau. The main plot line in the book is the relationship between Margaret Lane and Chief Ranger Ford Brayden. She is a rich girl who father is a state Senator. She loves nature and considers herself a naturalist. Margie is not your typical rich girl and wants to work with the park rangers. Chief Ranger Ford has been struggling ever since his father's death and does not want her there. Margie's former fiancĂ©e comes to the mountain and is not happy with her decisions so he decides to make trouble. The first half of the book is definitely my favorite even though the pace is slower. The second half of the book has a lot of action in it. The ending is satisfying. The author does a good job developing the characters and plot. I can't wait to read the next book in this series. Recommended. 

KAREN BARNETT is an award winning author of four novels who draws on her firsthand experience as a naturalist, former park ranger, and outdoor educator to transport readers to America’s national parks.. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children.

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart (Review)

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (September 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800723635
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800723637
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches 

  • Francine Howard has her life all mapped out until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII's end writes to tell her he's in love with a woman in England. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.

    Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he's at a loss when it comes to envisioning what's next for his life.

    When Francine's and Ben's paths intersect, it's immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds . . . and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.

    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading this Christian historical fiction book. I felt transported to the Appalachian Mountains. It reminded me of Christy by Catherine Marshall. Francine Howard is the main female character and she is a nurse with Frontier Nursing Service. Ben Locke is the main male character and he is a native Appalachian just come home from WWII. They hit it off but face pressure because they are from two very different worlds. The Frontier Nursing Service frowns on the nurses fraternizing with the locals. Ben's family likes Francine but does not want him to get hurt. His Mom also cannot see their two worlds melding together. The author did a good developing the characters and plot. The ending was satisfying. Recommended for fans of Christian historical fiction. 

    Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels--The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

    Saturday, January 6, 2018

    The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen (Review)

    • Series: Tales from Ivy Hill (Book 2)
    • Paperback: 448 pages
    • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (December 5, 2017)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0764218158
    • ISBN-13: 978-0764218156
    • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches

    Return to Ivy Hill in The Ladies of Ivy Cottage as friendships deepen, romances blossom, and mysteries unfold.

    Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for? 

    Rachel's friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls' school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what--or who--has captured each man's attention? The truth may surprise them all.

    Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return--but where is he?

    As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?

    My Review:

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It is the second in the Tales from Ivy Hill series and my favorite. I recommend reading them in order since the characters repeat and the background knowledge is helpful. The main characters in this book are Rachel Ashford, Mercy Grove, and to a lesser extent Jane Bell. The first book was focused on Jane Bell. There are several minor plot lines. It is nice to see the other characters continue. I love the characters and plot. The author does a good job developing everything and making you feel like you are there. There are some twists and turns. The ending is satisfying.  If you a fan of British 1800s books then you will love this. Highly Recommended. 

    Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. She worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her novels have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. Her book, The Silent Governess, was also a finalist in the Minnesota Book Awards, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota. Visit for more information.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson (Review)

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (September 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800722701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722708
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches 

  • When she receives the news in late 1944 that her baby's father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope. Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant's paternal grandparents. The only problem is, they don't know that she--or their grandson--exists. When Amelia discovers that the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son? Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma?

    My Review:

    This was an easy, short, Christian fiction book. It is set around Christmas time after WWII.  The characters and plot are well developed and interesting. Amelia Richards and her baby are the main focus of the book. She travels to her baby's paternal grandparents house to beg for help. They do not know either of them exist. Amelia is desperate. She is unable to take care of her baby. I really felt for her. There are some twists and the ending is perfect. Recommended. 

    Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with combined sales of more than six million. She is the author of several Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, Christmas at Harrington's, The Christmas Cat, The Christmas Joy Ride, and The Christmas Angel Project. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.


    Hello Everyone,

    It has been awhile since I have been able to update my blog. Last Fall I decided to go to graduate school. Working full time it liked to have killed me.  IF I go back to school, it will this Summer or Fall. I had no clue how hard it would be combined with my job. I miss regular life and reading. I am working on catching up review books and blog posts now. Thank you for your patience.