About Me

I am a wife, mother and grandmother. I am a Christian and try to live as Jesus did.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Sandcastle Inn by Irene Hannon

I requested this book through the Revell Reads blogger program. All thoughts are totally my own and freely given.

First, I truly enjoyed this book. I have read others in the series and enjoyed them also. There were characters from previous books and we met new characters. All were a delight to get to know or reacquaint with.

The main characters were quite well-developed. The story flowed well and kept my interest. It was not hard to figure out how it would end, but that really didn't matter as how they got there was the interesting part.

This is a Christian genre book, light on Christian so if you're worried about a preachy book, don't be. The characters did attend church and they did pray occasionally, but that was about the extent of it being Christian other than it was clean.

I read and reviewed an ARC copy and the editing was very well done. Just a couple of small errors that in no way detracted from the book. I give this a solid 4 out of 5-stars and would recommend it to my friends.



Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Lady with the Dark Hair by Erin Bartels

I truly enjoyed this book. I think it is my favorite one by Erin Bartels. She has a unique style of writing and I have enjoyed most of her books. With that being said, I would NOT consider this a Christian book. It is unoffensive, but as far as Christian, not in my opinion. God and prayer are mentioned in a superficial, religious sort of way.

The story flows well and the main characters are well developed. The book goes from past to present every other chapter. It is not a time travel book, only some characters are present day and some are from the past. It also deals, in a minor way, with mental disease.

I recommend this book if you want a clean, well-written story. If you are looking for a Christian book, keep looking. I'm not sure why Baker Publishing publishes non-Christian books.

The editing was very well done. I think I noticed 2 minor errors. I give this a 4 out of 5-star rating.

I requested and received an ARC copy of this book through the Revell Reads program. This review is freely given and my own opinions.

Monday, March 11, 2024

The Ark and the Dove by Jill Eileen Smith

 I have always enjoyed reading books by Jill Eileen Smith and this book didn't disappoint. Even though it isn't my favorite one from her, I did truly enjoy it.

What I enjoy most is taking a Bible account of an event and enlarging it. She does not change anything from the Bible but fills in the background and more details that might have been. These are fiction books and in no way intended to be scriptural.

She developed these characters quite well. You got a feel for what their personalities might be like. Especially Keziah. 

The ending surprised me this time. I hadn't thought about it that much and how it might have been.

If you like a good Christian fiction that expands on the Biblical account you will enjoy this book.

I received a copy through the Revell Reads program. I am not required to leave a positive review, just my personal opinion. I give this book a solid 4 out of 5-star rating.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Who Brought the Dog to Church by Tracy Smoak

About the Book

Book: Who Brought the Dog to Church?

Author: Tracy L. Smoak

Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction

Release Date: June, 2023

Betty is sure that Ida Lou does not belong in their church when the woman shows up to the Good Friday service with her small dog in tow. But before she knows what’s happening, Betty is pushed into helping the woman as she deals with the sudden hospitalization of her husband. Having lost her own husband just one year ago, Betty is chosen as the perfect person to help walk through this valley with the newcomer—along with the other women of the WUFHs (Women United For Him).

Sarah McAdams knows her husband loves her. He just loses his temper sometimes. It comes with the stress of being a highly recognized police officer. But when Sarah makes the decision that this is not the life she wants for her young son, will she be able to get out alive? Where can she go? And who will help her?

God works in mysterious ways—and through ordinary people. The town of Prosper is about to experience some drama—and it all starts with a dog who comes to church.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 MY REVIEW:   I requested and was granted the opportunity to read and review this book through CelebrateLit. A positive review is not required. This review is my own, honest opinion.

I enjoyed this book, though the characters seemed a little shallow. They were fairly well developed but needed more filling out. The editing was quite well done. I only noticed one or two errors. Bad editing can ruin a good story. What did bother me was the lack of knowledge of Yorkshire terriers. My daughter owns one and they are the most hypoallergenic dogs out there. They do not shed and people are not prone to being allergic to them. 

The story addressed a couple of hard areas of life, death, and spousal abuse. Both were handled with grace. I wish the area of spousal abuse had a more definite ending, it was left rather in the air.

Overall, I'd rate this a 3 out of 5-stars.

About the Author

A native Floridian, Tracy L. Smoak grew up riding horses and climbing citrus trees. Her passion is to encourage others in their faith journey. Smoak writes for Guideposts. Ambassador International released her debut novel, Who Brought the Dog to Church?. Bold Vision published her Bible study about encouragement titled Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place.

She loves photography and authored two hardcover devotionals with her original nature art (Living Water to Refresh Your Soul – tranquil lake scenes; and Arranged with Love– floral landscapes).

Smoak holds a master’s in Education and a bachelor’s in Communication. At her church home, she leads small-group Bible studies. She is an active member of Word Weavers International.

 

More from Tracy

What secrets are hidden behind your neighbor’s door? What do you try to hide?

The idea for this contemporary fiction began in a small country church during an Easter prayer vigil a decade ago. As I sat in the pew late at night, I heard a strange scratching noise. When I turned to locate the sound’s source, I saw a woman across the aisle with a little Yorkie.

The vigil was silent, so I didn’t approach the lady, but I did wonder why that pooch accompanied her in the sanctuary. That scenario, connected with others in my weekly involvement in several volunteer roles, sparked imagination. We judge appearances and may completely miss needs of the heart. Do we know our neighbors?

Experiences as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence started me wondering how do people get free from damaging situations? What are the obstacles holding them back?

Serving as a Stephens Ministry leader in my home church exposed me to people suffering loss. How are we to stand with those crushed with grief?

Another volunteer role helping immigrants settle in the U.S. reminded me of the difficulties they face. How can one fill out an online job application when a person relocates from a refugee camp with no electricity and never has had a computer?

The story’s heart is learning to really see, and know, our neighbors. Three women and their friendships reveal how doing good unites a community. Through comic misunderstandings and risky undertakings, the characters show us how to be Christ’s hands and feet.

Short videos to introduce the main characters can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kuEoU7pFvU&list=PLf6ZzeQjavMcocMuZDOZUvLxZG48BiWm5&index=1.

Audio book excerpts can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwxqS2mNisI&list=PLf6ZzeQjavMcocMuZDOZUvLxZG48BiWm5&index=9.

Video resources for survivors of domestic violence are at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Aq2myofjo&list=PLf6ZzeQjavMd0mkdKujmZeq7iKDzi8IoQ&index=2.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 28

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 29 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 1 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 1

Texas Book-aholic, March 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 4

Pause for Tales, March 5

Artistic Nobody, March 6 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, March 6

Cover Lover Book Review, March 7

Fiction Book Lover, March 8 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 9

For Him and My Family, March 10

Books I’ve Read, March 11

Girls in White Dresses, March 12

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tracy is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy each of Who Brought the Dog to Church? and Refuge of Grace: Finding Your Safe Place!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2a3cd/who-brought-the-dog-to-church


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Set In Stone by Kimberley Woodhouse

 I won a copy of this book through the LibraryThing giveaway. This review is fully my own.

The book is quite well written but is just not my cup of tea. I cannot tell you exactly what put me off except maybe the details of the digs.

The book is part historical and part murder mystery. The first murder came early in the book but nothing more was written about it for quite some time. This put me off a bit also.

The grammar was well done and the story mostly flowed well. If you like historical fiction with a murder mystery, you will probably like this book.

I give this a solid 3 out of 5-star review.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

LaDelle & Jubilant by Cathy McIlvoy

 I really like to read historical fiction and this book did not disappoint. It is somewhat about George Washington Carver, but more about the fictional characters LaDelle and Jubilant. It is set in the mid-1930s when people were still struggling with the depression. 

It is a story about family and faith an. d overcoming hardships. It is also about making friends and most importantly about trusting God.

The characters were quite believable and brought to life very nicely. The editing was very well done also. That is very important as it can ruin a very nice book.

I definitely would recommend this book. I received a pdf manuscript to read and review. I do not have to leave a positive review and all thoughts are my own and freely given. I give this a solid 5 out of 5.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Loving Beth by Bonnie Rose Ward

 

About the Book

Book: Loving Beth

Author: Bonnie Rose Ward

Genre: Christian Historical Romance Fiction

Release Date: June 8, 2023

A courageous woman, a bitter man, and God’s plan.

Times were hard after Beth McCullough’s father died in the Civil War, but she and her mother are getting by on their little farm outside Rosewood, West Virginia. The kindly banker holding the loan lets them pay what they can. Then Beth’s mother dies suddenly, and the banker’s arrogant son gives her only thirty days to pay her full debt. Beth is left alone and lonely and fears losing the only home she’s ever known. It would be nice to have someone in her life like Jacob, the handsome man who found her mother. Then to her horror, Beth discovers two small children who’ve been abandoned. It’s one more thing for her to worry about, but Beth has to keep faith in God’s ability to work miracles.

Although he has to travel to Baltimore to care for his ailing mother, Jacob Wallace can’t stop thinking about Beth, but he’d promised his late wife he’d never love again after her tragic death. After receiving a letter with terrible rumors about Beth, Jacob returns to Rosewood, angry, bitter, and disillusioned, more determined than ever to keep his vow to never love again. He’s right to close his heart against Beth.

As Beth struggles to protect the children and keep her farm, she’s also defending against Jacob’s unfounded suspicions. The danger escalates with an attack and threats to her life. But God moves in mysterious ways. Is there room in Jacob’s heart for a new love? Will they learn to trust each other and have faith in God’s plan to find their way together?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review:  First, I do not provide a synopsis of the story, it's already provided. I will provide what I think about the book itself.

I enjoyed the book and for a first attempt at Christian fiction, it was quite well done. I personally don't like books with a lot of grammatical errors and I am happy to say I only noticed a few, missing words, extra words, or wrong words were noticed at the beginning but few. What I did find annoying was the excess of local dialect making a few of the characters sound foolish.

The characters were not fully fleshed out but enjoyable nonetheless. The story mostly flowed well. It was not truly believable but that's what fiction is, fiction. The ending was a bit disappointing. Too many unanswered questions and questions thrown in at the end. If the story continues that will be good. I'm not sure if it will as the title of the next book features a new name.

Overall, I give this book a solid 3 out of 5-stars. This review is fully my own opinion and a positive review is not required. I received this book to read and review through CelebrateLit.

About the Author

Bonnie Rose Ward, an award-winning author celebrated for her vivid memoirs recounting life in the Alaskan wilderness, currently resides in West Virginia with her husband. Bonnie’s homestead is nestled within the serene foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. The spirit of these mountains and her husband’s familial tales from the region breathe life into her compelling narratives of Appalachian resilience, strength, and the quest for love. Drawing from her fifteen-years in the wilderness, Bonnie’s present lifestyle encapsulates the essence of self-sufficiency. Together with Samuel, she tends to a menagerie of goats, chickens, Zebu cattle, and other barnyard animals, while also cultivating their verdant gardens. When not immersed in her rural responsibilities, Bonnie transitions into her writer’s persona. At her keyboard, she masterfully weaves new tales echoing the valor of women, the fidelity of men, and the extraordinary miracles that God orchestrates in their lives. Bonnie Rose Ward is not just an author, but a storyteller—painting vivid pictures with her words that resonate with the human spirit’s trials, triumphs, and faith.

More from Bonnie

My husband, and I lived in the Alaskan wilderness for many years. We built cabins and lived off the land. While there, Sam shared stories about his ancestors—especially those of his spunky great grandmother, Easter Mullens. I was fascinated by her life. We eventually purchased my husband’s mother’s old homeplace nestled in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, and together we built our home by hand, reminiscent of the cabins we built in Alaska. Living in the wilderness for fifteen years gave me the skills and understanding of how our forefathers and mothers’ must have lived in the 1800s. Sam often talked about his aunts foraging from the land—they knew what vegetation you could eat and what you couldn’t. I became enamored with these hardy, resilient mountain people and their stories.

I started to write Easter’s story as nonfiction, but my imagination took over and a fictional story grew from the fragments of her life and circumstances.

As you know, characters are typically a composite of people we know and characters we imagine, with a bit of ourselves sprinkled in there. Beth originally was a combination of Sam and my ancestors—at least, how I imagined them to be. As I worked with her, she took on a life of her own. Instead of simply being impressed by her courage, I realized how vulnerable she is. I also realized that being so young, she is going to make mistakes a more mature person wouldn’t. But I think her driving characteristic is her spunk. She does what she has to do to survive in a harsh world and to protect those she loves.

Jacob is a decent man whose devotion to his departed wife leaves no room for another. He has to come to terms not just with his wife’s death, but with what is expected from him as he puts the pieces of his life back together. Most importantly, he must realize his harshest expectations are those he has cast upon himself—and that his stubbornness is destroying not only his own happiness, but the happiness of those he loves.

Faith, love, and determination are the main themes of the book. Faith has been so important in my own life and got me through so much when we lived in the Alaskan wilderness. Therefore, I wanted to illustrate the role faith played in the lives of Beth and Jacob. Love comes in so many different forms, and I wanted to explore the different types of love. There’s the love between a man and a woman; the love between parents and children—even if they are not biologically related; and, of course, the love that grows from relying on good neighbors and friends. Determination is what allows us to survive the unsurvivable. Without the determination that seeds in our guts and grows to see us through the worst times of our lives, we would not succeed. Of course, determination can also work against us. When we stubbornly adhere to principles that are no longer relevant, our determination cause much more harm than good.

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 13

Bizwings Book Blog, January 14

Exploring the Written Word, January 14

Holly’s Book Corner, January 15

lakesidelivingsite, January 16

Madi’s Musings, January 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 17

Lighthouse Academy Blog, January 18 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Cover Lover Book Review, January 19

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 20 (Author Interview)

Devoted To Hope, January 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 21

Texas Book-aholic, January 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 23

Pause for Tales, January 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 24

For Him and My Family, January 25

Books I’ve Read, January 26

Connie’s History Classroom, January 26

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Bonnie is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card & a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2979d/loving-beth-celebration-tour-giveaway