Tuesday, November 20, 2018

On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter

From the bestselling author of The Convenient Groom (now a beloved Hallmark Original movie) comes the final book in Hunter’s Blue Ridge Romance series.

Pastor Jack McReady has secretly carried a torch for Daisy for two long years. She’s a member of his congregation, after all, and she’ll never see him as more than a trusted counselor. Jack’s best friend Noah has taken every opportunity to encourage his lovesick friend, but when Noah catches wind that Daisy has joined an online dating site, he takes matters into his own hands and orchestrates a meet-cute of the most unconventional kind.

Owner of the local flower shop, Daisy Pendleton is content with her small-town life, but she’d sure like someone to share it with. After several disastrous first dates, she’s about to give up—and then she finds a seemingly wonderful man online. Daisy gets to know TJ through a series of messages but finds herself spending more time with Pastor Jack outside of the church at the same time. What she doesn’t know is that her online prospect and Jack are one and the same. 

Just as Daisy’s love life starts to look promising, a mysterious woman appears in town. Daisy is faced with a revelation about her family that turns her world upside down, and she looks to both TJ and Jack for help.

Jack must find a way to reveal himself as her online suitor without breaking her heart and losing her trust. As Daisy faces Jack’s betrayal, she’ll have to learn to extend grace to herself, her family, and the man she’s grown to love.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson, 2018
Genre: contemporary romance
Length: 320 pages

On Magnolia Lane is the sweet ending to a great series. Fans of Denise Hunter (like me!) have been awaiting Daisy’s and Jack’s story for many months now, and Ms. Hunter did not disappoint. These characters are virtuous and endearing, yet realistically flawed. Their love story is steadily paced, intricately weaved throughout a gripping plot, which plays against a unforgettable setting. 

What I loved most about this book was how the author portrays our fleshly mistakes, the grace that’s able to forgive them, and how, no matter where we’re at in God’s will, we’re simply beautiful messes. 

I give this book five stars.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson


Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan's great-grandmother was a guest at oil tycoon Howard Dawkins' palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie's great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage--and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate's private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . .

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight as two charming characters get caught up in the adventure of uncovering the past and finding their way to an unexpected future.

Publisher: Revell, 2018
Genre: contemporary romance
Length: 358 pages

Mystery, intrigue, treasure hunting, genealogy, romance--this novel has it all. With realistic characters who are likable from the first page, the plot consistently challenges the reader to question what they would do in the same situations. The story is centered around an old diary, shared with the reader throughout the book. I enjoyed how the past and present were connected and the pace in which the story progressed. Ms. Johnson's books are always a delight to read. This is a great start to her new Georgia Coast Romance series. I look forward to the next book. 

I gave this book 4 of 5 stars. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Day by Day Through the Gospel of John

During the second half of the nineteenth century, Great Britain was home to some of the greatest preachers, biblical scholars, and Christian writers in all of church history. Legendary names such as Charles Spurgeon, George Müller, Hudson Taylor, Catherine Booth, and George MacDonald stand out as giants of the church. Their predecessors, such as John Wesley and Matthew Henry, left them a rich tradition of biblical and evangelical excellence to follow. Americans R. A. Torrey and Charles Finney and South African Andrew Murray were cut from the same cloth.

From the classic writings of these revered saints, Lance Wubbels has edited and compiled the best of the best of their inspirational insights into this 365-day devotional. Verse by verse through the Gospel of John, readers will gain an unforgettable understanding of the life, words, and ministry of Jesus Christ. Here is a one-year devotional that is packed with profound biblical commentary, brilliant wisdom, and practical application that will enrich readers and be read for a lifetime.


This devotional is packed full of wisdom from some of world’s best preachers and teachers. From Charles Spurgeon to Hudson Taylor and many more, this book guides the reader through the gospel of John a little each day. The book opens with a brief biography of each contributor and the sturdy hardback cover makes for easy reading and bookmarking. 

I received this book in September and have read each daily passage since, so my review is based off of my experience thus far. I’ve enjoyed this devotional because it covers one verse a day and the accompanying teaching is short enough to read before work in the morning yet full of knowledge so I learn something too. The wisdom inside is not a new-age take on the Bible. It sticks to the original Word of God from solid biblical teachers. Different versions of the Bible are used at times in the opening text, but I followed along with my King James Bible. This is definitely a devotional I will keep around for years to come. 

I give this book five stars!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Christmas Heirloom

In Kristi Ann Hunter's "Legacy of Love," Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman's grandson, a man far above her station.

In Karen Witemeyer's "Gift of the Heart," widow Ruth Albright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local banker. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas's "A Shot at Love," Fleeta Brady's rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her family's brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance.

In Becky Wade's "Because of You," Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?

My Review

This is the perfect novella collection to get you in the holiday spirit. The stories range from 1827 to present day, and each story revolves around an amethyst brooch handed down through the generations. 

Each story was wonderful in its own way, starting with Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love,” set in England and full of witty and lovable characters. Karen Witemeyer’s “Gift of the Heart” is warm and charming with a Texas Christmas as homey as the southern settings in her other books. “A Shot at Love” (a Sound of Rain novella) by Sarah Loudin Thomas takes readers to West Virginia for the holidays. The setting and inviting cast of characters made me feel like I had gone home after being away. It was great to visit this family again. Finally, Becky Wade’s “Because if You” (a Bradford Sisters novella) brought all the stories together in a precious romance worthy of a Hallmark Christmas movie. 

My rating is based on the stories together as a whole. I highly recommend this book. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Crack Yourself Up Jokes For Kids

(Cover art is temporarily unavailable)

Why are dogs such bad dancers? They have two left feet.

Knock, knock. 
Who's there? Alex. Alex who? Alex the questions around here.

What's red and goes up and down? 
A tomato in an elevator.

Any kid can be a comedian with a little help from Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids. This zany collection of one-liners, knock-knock jokes, riddles, puns, funny lists, and hilarious illustrations promises hours of fun. Just be careful. These are the kinds of laughs that make milk come out your nose--so don't drink and read!

Perfect for kids ages 6-12.

Sandy Silverthorne
 is an award-winning author/illustrator with more than half a million copies in print. His award-winning Great Bible Adventure children's series has been distributed in eight languages worldwide. Sandy has worked as a cartoonist, author, illustrator, actor, pastor, speaker, and comedian. Apparently it's hard for him to focus.

My Review
I got this book for my eight year old son. He loves to tell jokes at the dinner table. He carried this book around for weeks, telling jokes to anyone who would listen. He liked that the jokes were different from other books he’d read. He also enjoyed the illustrations. He gives this book five stars!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Praying God's Promises by Linda Evans Shepherd

The Scriptures tell us that when we pray the will of God, he delights to answer our prayers. But what is God's will in any given situation? How can we know it? And if we don't know it, how can we pray it?

Linda Evans Shepherd shows readers that God's will is not a mystery--it's clearly laid out in his Word through his many promises. Through stories, practical application, examples of prayers, and guided reflection, Shepherd leads readers toward a more powerful prayer life. Arranged by topic for ease of use, this book shows how to pray God's promises

- of his presence
- of love
- of peace
- of joy
- of hope
- for provision
- for health
- for breakthroughs
- for our relationships
- over children and loved ones

Shepherd includes a chapter on God's powerful answers to prayer that will inspire readers to search the Scriptures, pray God's will, and wait expectantly for his promised answers.

My Review
Prayer is such an important part of the Christian life, and I’m always looking for books and lessons on how to strengthen my prayer life. Therefore, I jumped at the chance to read and review Praying God’s Promises by Linda Evans Shepherd. My feelings about this book are mixed, however, and completely my own opinion. 

I love the way the book is set up: short, punchy chapters that each have a different theme and the truth within the verses listed. But I had a very hard time following along with my Bible, as I like to do with these kind of books. This author uses so many different versions of the Bible (to keep the book non-denominational, I’m sure) that it got confusing at times. Some references didn’t even match up with my Bible (I use KJV), or the verse used in the book has a different meaning than my version. 

This review isn’t based on my belief over which version of the Bible should be used but is based on how user-friendly and informational it is (or lack thereof). 

The book points people to the promises of God and that can never be a bad thing. But for me, the book didn’t meet my devotional criteria (which is entirely my own preference and opinion). 

I give it three stars.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

Will the mistakes of their past cost them a chance at love?

Determined to find her lost younger sister, Marianne Neumann takes a job as a placing agent with the Children's Aid Society in 1858 New York. She not only hopes to offer children a better life, but prays she'll be able to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train so they can finally be reunited.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing-out trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with children, firm but tender and friendly. Underneath his charm and handsome looks, though, seems to linger a grief that won't go away--and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden. 

As the two team up, placing orphans in the small railroad towns of Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.

Publisher: Bethany House, 2018
Genre: historical romance
Setting: 1858

My Review
Together Forever is a gripping story set in 1858 during the orphan train migration from New York to Illinois. From the first chapter, the chemistry between the hero and heroine sizzles and propels the story forward with a beautiful and satisfying ending. The orphans tugged at my heart and made me want to adopt them myself. The plot mixed with Ms. Hedlund's strategic writing takes the reader back in time on a journey that is bittersweet and historically accurate. Together Forever is book two in the Orphan Train series, but this novel stands on its own as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance with a rich history and to anyone who enjoys a strong, yet clean, romance between characters. I give this book five stars.