A Little Bit of Persuasion and a Lot of Love

Over the past several years, my favorite book written by Jane Austen has shifted from the more beloved Pride and Prejudice to Persuasion. There’s just something about love that not only lasts through years apart but becomes stronger even though both people change.

And Becky Wade’s Love in the Details (the final Novella in this year’s Year of Weddings novella series from Zondervan) hits on all the same notes.

love-in-the-details

Eight years ago, Holly broke up with her first love during their first year of college because she believed it was what was best. Josh needed to focus on his school, on his career. He needed to make the most of himself and not throw it all away to be with her.

Now, she must prepare herself to see him again at his best friend’s wedding in Martinsburg, Texas. When they actually run into each other on the street, every feeling she had for him rushes in but she knows she can’t fall in love with him again. It’s been eight years of longing and loss, and she won’t put herself through that again.

Josh had seven months to prepare himself for seeing Holly again. It wasn’t enough. From the first moment he lays eyes on her, his tight control on his life begins to shift and he finds excuses to spend time with her.

I loved the fact that Holly is an author. Her detailed descriptions of the people around her bespoke to that fact. And despite Josh’s success in business, he remains loyal to his friends and family, taking time out of his busy schedule to help out when needed.

A story of love that endures through time and the maturing of two people, one that proves God’s timing is perfect, my only complaint was I wanted to spend more time with Josh and Holly. And I want more details about Holly’s fun best friend.

I haven’t heard or seen whether Zondervan plans to do another go around of the wedding novella’s next year but maybe they could catch readers up on the lives of the people they’ve been introduced to over the past two years instead!

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

One Brave Girl Touches Many Lives

In November, when Irma Joubert’s book hits bookstores across the world and becomes Target Book Club’s pick of the month, there may be a little confusion with another book that has a very similar title. But let me inform you, the titles are the only similarities between these two books.

In fact, The Girl from the Train, which was first published in Afrikaans in 2013 before becoming a bestseller in the Netherlands, this book probably had its title first.

girl from train

At age six, Gretl Schmidt is a determined and brave child. She squeezes between the bars of a train bound for Auschwitz and jumps out with her sister. Through a series of events, she is cared for by Jakob Kowalski, a Polish native who is fighting for the home army.

When Jakob’s family is no longer able to care for the girl a few years later, he takes her to an orphanage in Germany. On another train, he reads an article about South African citizens who are interested in adopting German children. Gretl’s new life in South Africa begins.

Readers will grow with Gretl as she is placed and displaced, as she struggles to find a home, a family, and an anchor. One child’s experiences of repeated loss will hit you in the gut and the heart. And poor Gretl seems to get hit with horrible blow after blow. She must keep her secrets or her new family won’t want her. The one person she has trusted with everything is no longer with her.

girl from train quote

I am continuously amazed at the number of lives that were effected by World War II. Not only were the Jews persecuted by the Germans but there were also countries who were inundated by Russian troops. And children continued to be the innocent victims for years.

Gretl and Jakob’s stories are hard to read. Just when it looks like something good might happen to one of them, something comes along to throw them off their game. But through it all, their friendship remains.

****The Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Fun for the Whole Family (and a Giveaway)

Have you ever felt like you just weren’t doing enough for God? A friend of mine from college is in Togo, Africa right now where he and his family are helping to run a clinic. An amazing ministry. One that reaches the lives of the community. And here I am—working at a corporate job, living in a suburb of Nashville. So, yeah, sometimes I’d like to make a bigger impact on God’s kingdom.

buck denver

Buck Denver wants to do something big for God. Wait. I said that wrong. Buck Denver wants to do something BIG for God. Tired of answering phones and sending out tote bags, Buck dreams of an adventure. His poster even confirms it: God wants you to do big things.

When a transponder goes down on an uninhabited planet (or is it?) in Sector 9, Buck seizes the opportunity to not only make a tremendous difference, but also to experience the adventure he’s always longed for.

While there, Buck and his ragtag crew learn an important lesson. Not that God wants you to do big things but that God wants you. Period. End of discussion.

While I chuckled in a few places during this 40 minute show, I didn’t find it as funny as Veggie Tales. Granted, there were many references to Star Wars and Star Trek which fans of Sci-Fi might enjoy. I’ve never even (gasp) watched Star Wars from beginning to end in one sitting. A lot of the background props in the scenes were humorous (be sure and read the post it notes on Buck’s computer and the motivational posters on the walls of his office). The humor will probably be most appreciated by children who are older. My 16-year-old nephew would love this.

Galaxy Buck teaches kids an important lesson. Even those of us who seemingly are doing small things, are right where God can use us. Perhaps that’s an important reminder for all of us, not just the kids.

****Fly By Promotions provided me with a free digital copy of this short film in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

More about the film:

Official Trailer

Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9 is a must-see for all ages, from VeggieTales creator PHIL VISCHER! Kids will enjoy Buck Denver’s latest adventure with his friends from What’s In the Bible? and parents will appreciate the humorous nods to Star Wars and Star Trek. More importantly, Phil Vischer’s gifted teaching delivers a clear message to kids and adults about God’s love and purpose for our lives. Galaxy Buck communicates important Biblical truths that will add to everyone’s faith foundation, whether a life-long Christian or a new creation in Christ.

About the movie:
Buck Denver has a simple dream – to save the galaxy. Working for the Galactic Mission Board, Buck dreams of carrying God’s love to every corner of the Milky Way! Except he doesn’t have a starship. Or a crew. Or even a captain’s license. He just needs a chance. But when that chance comes and Buck finds himself leading a real mission into deep space, things don’t go at ALL like he imagined! If he’s doing what God wants him to do, why is everything going wrong? From VeggieTales® and What’s in the Bible? creator Phil Vischer, Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9 is a wild, galactic adventure that teaches kids a powerful lesson about trusting God with everything – even our dreams!
Run time: Approximately 40 minutes

If you don’t want to wait until the movie comes out on October 20, 2015, Galaxy Buck is available now on JellyTelly, an online streaming site featuring shows and movies to teach your kids about God, The Bible, and Faith.

Before you enter the giveaway, we’ve got to discuss the legal stuff:

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Rocky Mountain Homesteaders

Once in a while I like to expand my reading to something that I wouldn’t normally read. My go-to reads are contemporary romance followed closely by YA. Lately, I’ve been throwing a little historical fiction in there. And my latest read is something I don’t tend to read much of: Cowboy fiction. I’ve heard there’s a large following for this genre and after reading Mary Connealy’s book, I can see the draw.

fire and ice

Homesteader Bailey Wilde is determined to make a success of her ranch and if that means keeping Gage Coulter out of the canyon land he owns but has to cross her property to get to, so be it. She’s done harder things, like fight in the Civil War. Then Gage finds another way into the canyon, and Bailey’s left scrambling to figure out what to do with her own herd of cattle.

When Gage discovers the true identity of Bailey Wilde, he’s shocked and…interested. The woman is tough as nails, smart, and as hard a worker as any of his ranch hands. But her refusal to let him move his cattle across her property to get to his prime winter grazing spot in the canyon, his patience wears thin. He’s just as smart as the pretty blonde woman, and he will get his herd onto his property with or without her cooperation.

After a long and lonely winter, Gage shows back up on Bailey’s doorstep with a proposal. One that both intrigues and terrifies her. Can two stubborn-headed, independent people figure out that together is better?

Bailey Wilde’s no-nonsense approach to life might keep her away from the townspeople, but she’s willing to work for her dreams and prove herself worthy of her homestead. But she’s also lonely, especially when both of her sisters move away with their husbands.
Gage Coulter is another person who values hard work and is willing to break his back along with his crew to get the job done. What he doesn’t count on is an attraction to Bailey, something he’s never dealt with before when it came to a woman.

Throw in a visit for Gage’s mother, and what readers are left with is a bit of humor and a lot of trouble.

Fire and Ice is book three in the Wild at Heart series

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

Fans of Crime Procedurals Take Note

Right now, I have a ridiculous list of books to review over the next two months. The good and bad of it is there are so many great books coming out right now it’s hard to keep up. Great news for Christian fiction (and for those who are looking for an excellent book to give to family or friends as gifts come December 25). And with the number of books I read in a year, I’m shocked to still find authors who have written several books that I am just learning about. DiAnn Mills is one such author.

deadlock

On her first day in the Houston office’s violent crimes division with a brand new partner, Special Agent Bethany Sanchez wants nothing more than to find the person who murdered the woman at the crime scene. While Bethany is a by-the-book, analytical agent, her partner, Thatcher Graves’ reputation is one of a maverick. If office gossip can be believed, his out-of-the box approach extends to relationships as well as the job. And to top it all off, he once put Bethany’s brother in jail.
As the pair runs around the city interviewing witnesses and potential suspects, their different approaches cause a little head-butting. When attempts are made on their lives, Thatcher questions whether Bethany can severe her connections to the case and protect him. What’s even worse? He’s attracted to the short, smart, brown-eyed agent.

This is the third book in the FBI:Houston series. While I haven’t read the other two books, if I hadn’t read the first few pages with Mills’ other books, I wouldn’t have realized it. Characters from the other books make a cameo, but they’re not an integral part of the book. This story belongs to Thatcher and Bethany.

Mills does an excellent job of weaving Bethany’s family troubles in with the case and kept me guessing until about ¾ of the way through who might be the person(s) behind the murders. While I never actually felt like the agents were actually deadlocked in their investigation as the title suggestions, they did hit several dead ends. But don’t worry, that didn’t slow down the pace of the book at all. From beginning to end, I felt like I was on a ride-along with these two agents.

Available now from booksellers and online.

And here’s some bonus material from author Diann Mills

An extended interview with DiAnn Mills about her newest novel

What inspired Mills to write Deadlock

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