Does the Truth Always Set You Free…

Or does it sometimes give your more than you can bear?

If you’re on any form of social media, you know the craziness, the opinions, the outrage that has been expressed over several events in the U.S. this year. From the banning of the confederate flag to the legalization of gay marriage and the travesty that is Planned Parenthood, there have been a number of reasons to go online and express our opinions.

I won’t debate our use this as a platform on any of those issues (this is simply a book review, after all). I bring them up only to point out how simple and easy it is for everyone to express their support or outrage to any news. Sure, there is persecution of Christians in America but that doesn’t stop us from logging into Facebook to share a blog, news article or photograph. It doesn’t stop us from updating our status to tell others how we feel or jumping into a debate with someone who has a different opinion than us.

And it doesn’t force us into hiding like the Jewish people during Hitler’s reign of power. If there was such a thing as Facebook in Nazi Germany, I’m certain the posts would have been one-sided.

SecretsSheKept-cover

Twenty-seven-year-old Hannah Sterling never had a close relationship with her mother despite her best efforts. When her mom dies, Hannah is determined to learn the reason behind the distance. After she learns she has a grandfather her mother never mentioned, Hannah goes to Germany in search of the truth. A truth that reveal much more than Hannah could have imagined.

Thirty years earlier, her grandfather worked his way up in the Nazi ranks. The man, intent on doing whatever it took, did not care what that meant for his only daughter.

Told from Hannah’s perspective in 1973 and her mother’s from 1938-1945, the reader gets the full, gut-wrenching story. A story of one brave girl who loved people regardless of race, regardless of uncertainty or fear and of her daughter who never truly knew her.

What fascinated me about this book was how in the beginning, Hannah’s journey interested me most but about halfway through, I wanted to know about Lieselotte. Did she marry the man she loved? Would her father find out she was helping Jews? Who was the man who seemed to be her father’s puppeteer?

Cathy Gohlke’s World War II story is a little different than the others I’ve read over the past couple of years but no less fraught with tragedy, sorrow, and hope for the future.

In searching for truth, sometimes we find something so horrific we wish we could shove it back into the shadows. Pretend it doesn’t exist. Something so difficult to work through, it causes us to question everything we once believed. And in that moment we are left with a choice: Let it crush us under its weight or forgive and become better because of it.

****Tyndale Blog Network provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Mail Order Brides Collection by Susette Williams

mail order brides

This collection of short novelettes follow the Kincaid brothers as each of them find a wife. Some exactly as you expect, others in a little more unconventional manner.

Jessie Kincaid may be the youngest, but he’s not going to wait for his other three brothers to marry before he does. Already in love with the beautiful woman he’s been writing, he’s excited to learn she’s coming to town sooner than expected but also nervous about telling his Ma about Sarah. But while Sarah hopes to marry Jessie, her pa has other plans for her. Plans that include marrying a wealthy man who will take care of the rest of her family as well as her.

After Jessie’s marriage, Montana decides he is ready to settle down with a wife of his own. He’s learned from his brother’s mistakes, though, and makes certain to inquire about Mary’s family. Mary has been honest with him about her family, but when a man her uncle wanted her to consider as a suitor doesn’t seem to understand she has chosen someone else, she arrives in House Springs, Missouri sooner than planned. What she doesn’t know is that someone has followed her there.

Unlike his brothers, Caleb Kincaid is in no hurry to get married. Now that two of his brothers were married, he had to entertain himself. When he wins a card game, he finds he has also one his opponent’s mail order bride. Naomi’s life has been gambled away two too many times—once by her father and now by her potential husband—but she is grateful she does not have to marry the older Jacob. But will Caleb Kincaid make good on the promise made to her by another man?

The eldest of the four brothers, and the only one who does not live at home, Marshall Kincaid shelters his family as best he can from his occupation. As the town Sheriff, one of his brothers has already been placed in harm’s way. There is no way he will subject a wife to the dangers of being married to a law man. When he returns from out of town business, he’s shocked to learn his mail order bride has arrived in town. A bride he’s never heard of or written to once. Lizzie is still grieving her husband who died during their passage to America from Ireland but realizes she needs a husband to care for her in order to survive. Judging from his letters, Marshall is just the man. But will he marry someone he knows nothing about?

Each of these stories was short and sweet with a pinch of humor. Caleb’s and Marshall’s stories were by far my favorite because their brides came to them in a little bit of an unconventional manner. While each of the brothers finds obstacles to overcome with their brides, their family bond is strong. Clean and family friendly, this collection is a fun, light read for anyone who enjoys peeking into the past, a little bit of humor or suspense, or anyone who is just looking for a happy romance.

Now available from Amazon

121 Days until Christmas

After reading that, you’re either jumping up and down in your giddiness or trembling with fear.

Me? I’m in the first camp. I love the holidays and am one of those annoying people who pop in the Christmas music Nov. 1. Hey, I no longer live under my dad’s roof and no longer have to adhere to his “No Christmas music until after Thanksgiving” edict.

Last year I had all of my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. Granted, I am a single gal who lives 3,000 miles away from family and rarely spend the holidays with them due to my job. I don’t have to deal with big holiday meals, entertaining, in-laws, or children. And I still found plenty of practical and helpful information in Get Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoy the Season

get yourself organized for Christams

Author Kathi Lipp offers readers twenty-one assignments to make the Christmas holidays less stressful and more enjoyable. Some of the lessons (like creating a Christmas binder and organizing your recipes) will take some time. Others (one which includes doing something nice for yourself) will be easy, refreshing, and relaxing.

In my opinion, Lipp’s best advice deals with deciding which traditions are must haves (or must keeps). Does your family celebration included anything that’s “always been don that way” even if it’s something no one really cares about? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

With real-life examples from her own Christmases past, and a few from readers, Lipp helps set the foundation for a holiday season in which you stress less and enjoy what matters most (family, friends, and Christ’s birth) more.

Added bonuses in the book included some delicious and seemingly simple (I haven’t tried them yet) recipes as well as five assignments to help you clean everything up after December 25.

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas is available everywhere September 1, 2015.

****Harvest House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

How to Solve a Murder

The other day, someone on Facebook posted this picture:

if you can read this

This actually happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. I’m a bookworm and get immersed in a good book. The latest culprit? Janice Cantore’s first book in the Cold Case Justice series.

drawing fire cover

Homicide detective Abby Hart has a reputation of being professional and efficient. When she’s the lead on a crime, she will find the guilty party and bing him to justice. But Abby’s biggest case, the one she wants to solve more than anyting, is a twenty-seven-year-old cold case. One that took place when Abby was six: The murder of her mom and dad.

When a local glory-hound PI witnessess someone leaving the scene of a murder Abby has received the call-out for, she is forced to speak with him. Through subsequent conversation, she learns Luke Murphy also has a connection to the Triple Seven case involving her parents.

As the two share information and put their heads together, several dots connect and Abby believes there just might be enough to re-open the case for investigation to search for new evidence…if it’s out there.

Throughout Drawing Fire, I felt like I was working the investigations right along with Abby (questioning how the pieces fit together and that sense of accomplishment and relief when crimes were solved. Cantore’s twenty-plus years of experience on the policy force shines through her writing.

And the connection Abby and Luke are both fighting whenever they’re together is palpable.

But, I will warn you, this book ends with somewhat of a cliffhanger (or two). There are questions left unanswered. While a great way to get readers to come back for the next book in the series, it’s somewhat of a let down to know it will be another year before I’ll be with these characters again.

If you’re one of those people who refuses to read a series until it’s complete, definitely write this on down on your future TBR list. If you’re like me and enjoy a good book in your hands as soon as it’s available, pick this one up today.

Available at your local bookstore or Amazon today.

******Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

2 Things are Blind

At some point, I’m going to have to admit I enjoy historical fiction. Well, let me quantify that. At some point, I’m going to have to admit I enjoy historical romance. Let’s face it, while I won’t be picking up a history book anytime soon, I’ve always been a fan of Regency-era fiction. Over the past couple of years have read a couple historical romances I’ve enjoyed. A Lot. And the book I finished last night? LOVED, LOVED, LOVED!!!

not by sight

When Jack Benningham attends a masquerade ball in order to track a suspect, he is distracted by a vision in green. Grace Mabry’s purpose in sneaking into the ball is to shame those who don’t support the war her brother is fighting for the country, and Jack is too tempting a target–a known conscientious objector to the war, someone who will attract attention.

Months later, Grace does her part helping in the war with the Women’s Forage Corps. There she meets a few incredible women and after a rough start, she settles into life at Roxwood Manor. But her past comes to haunt her when she discovers Lord Roxwood is none other than Jack Benningham.

The man hides in the country manner after an accident left him blind and burned. When he hires Grace as his driver, she is confused and scared but she won’t back down. They begin to spend time together, and she begins to see the man behind the mask.

There is so much going on in this book, it was hard to put down. The relationships Grace forges with her co-workers reveal her kindness. But Grace has a stubborn streak that Jack Benningham is able to expose upon their first several meetings. His enjoyment at baiting her is evident.

And then there’s Jack’s dilemmas—coping with his blindness, his engagement to a woman he doesn’t love, his search for a spy, and his growing attraction to Grace who is pulling him out of hiding.

Truth be told, there are really three things that are blind in this novel: Jack, faith, and love.

Author Kate Breslin has been getting a little heat for the plot line in her debut novel, For Such a Time. I have not yet read the book so I won’t comment on that other than to say after reading Not by Sight, I want to read the first book. Not because of the controversy but because of the masterful storytelling.

***Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own