5/21/17

Must Read :"Embracing Hope" By Janell Butler Wojtowicz

Synopsis:
Take a poignant look into the broken heart and daily struggles of Christian college dean Drew McKinley. The story chronicles the turbulent first year in his desperate journey to understand God’s motives for the sudden death of his wife and his quest to find hope in his future.


Crossing his perilous path are Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office, and Chris, the handsome but egotistical student senate president.


The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?Beautiful, thought provoking and engaging.


Review:
Embracing Hope is an affectionate Christian love novel filled with wisdom and insight.
It’s a very powerful and stirring story of the love of God and healing.
It’s a passionate story fraught with real life difficulties and issues.
Right at the beginning we are introduced to the main characters. We get insight into their personalities and lives, which sets us up for an inspiring, touching story..


This book is filled with many emotional upheavals, such as grief, anger, guilt, pain and ultimately, hope and love..
The character development is thoughtful and astute.
The characters Drew, Allison and Chris, are all thoroughly developed and evolved nicely throughout the story. Drew especially has many facets to his character. His heart is broken and he needs healing.


The two main characters, Drew and Allison, cross paths and are joined together through circumstance. Although they appear to be opposites, they are slowly drawn together. Set at a christian university campus, the descriptions are very defined and visual, placing the reader perfectly in the setting.


I found this story to be very believable and realistic. It flows nicely and kept me intensely interested from beginning to end. The plot is very interesting, insightful and touching. It felt like a true story to me. There are some thought provoking twists and turns that keeps it from being predictable. I loved the ending. It left me feeling hopeful and happy. This book especially touched my heart.


The author, Janell Butler Wojtowicz, has a clear unique literary voice. I’m looking forward to reading more novels written by her.
I wholly recommend “Embracing Hope” to all readers that love faith based novels that water the soul.
Click To Purchase "Embracing Hope" Now

5/19/17

Must Read "All of These Things" By Anna De Mattea

Synopsis:
Sometimes, good people can do bad things, and Caroline De Andreis is about to learn that the hard way.


A week on the beach is exactly what her cousin and best friend, Sofie, insists she needs. Between Caroline’s full-time job as an accountant, minding her mother’s mental health, and feeling pressured into making her eccentric mother meet her boyfriend’s conventional family, Caroline’s patience is at an end. Leaving responsibilities behind suddenly feels like a good idea to her, too.

In Maine, the days blend into each other as worries of home drift away. Caroline’s inexplicably drawn to a gorgeous artist with a delicious accent, and his penchant for romance goes on to make her already complicated life speedily more intricate. There are consequences to face and tough choices to make, but will she abandon who she was for the woman she’s become, or will Caroline ultimately regret embracing life by the sea? 

Review:
Splendid and engaging.
This is a story about Caroline. She is a kind but some what pessimistic young woman that works as an accountant and has to constantly deal with her mother’s mental health issues. She is also extremely pressured and reluctant to have her, off the wall, mother meet her boyfriend’s traditional family. She needs a break from it all. Her upbeat best friend and cousin, Sofie, suggests that Caroline take a short trip to get away from it all. So she decides to leave it all behind for a week on the beach in Maine. Although she completely enjoys her trip at the beach, she now has more complications added to her already complicated life. Caroline now has to sort things out. She has some difficult choices to make.


This novel has it all. It’s witty, charming, dramatic and smart. There are notes of love, joy, sadness and forgiveness.
This is an excellent read. It is written from the point of view of the main character, Caroline.
With tid bits here and there of the thoughts of all the other characters. I absolutely love the way this story is written. It’s original and the author Anna De Mattea has a clear unique and different voice. It’s inspiring, compelling and encouraging tone, kept me feeling good. It is written in a simple enjoyable prose. It flows at a nice pace and held my interest throughout from beginning to end. I loved the telling of the descriptions of the settings. It had me desiring to be on the beach in maine myself. I could almost smell the ocean and feel the sunshine.


I thoroughly enjoyed “All of These Things.: I was pulled in, engaged, and ate up every word.
The characters are all so well thought out and developed and I loved them all. They all seemed very realistic and complemented one another. There is plenty of romance along with strong emotional drama, good and bad. There are welcome surprises along the way. Overall this is a feel good book with a more than happy ending. The book cover is luscious. All of These Things is a true gem.
I wholly recommend it to all chick lit and romance lovers. Pick up a copy for your summer read. You will be glad you did.


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5/15/17

To Have and to Hold (The Pastor Maggie Series Book 2) By Barbara Edema

Synopsis:

Welcome back, Pastor Maggie! Pastor Maggie, of Loving the Lord Community Church, has settled into her new position and finally gained the trust and respect of her congregation, but they will all be tested when the church comes under attack through a series of malicious break-ins and vandalism.

Maggie tries to hold everyone together and determine if the threat is from an outsider or someone actually sitting in the pews of her church each Sunday.
Can she keep her beautiful church safe? Will she still be able to accomplish the planned mission trip to Ghana if the money from a fundraiser is stolen? While Maggie desperately waits for a whisper from God, she also fears that a major event will be ruined by the well-meaning, very loving members of the church.


How will she maintain her own blossoming romance with tall, dark, and scrumptious Dr. Jack Elliot and support the daily needs of her congregation through life-and-death matters when it all feels one step away from collapsing?
Will they catch the villain before he ruins everything?

"Praise for To Have and to Hold: An enjoyable read. Not a murder mystery but a gentle exploration of relationships, connections and the power—and the mystery—of love. Pastor Maggie is one to watch." ~ G.M. Malliet, award-winning author of the St Just mysteries and the Max Tudor mysteries


Review:
Delightful, spiritual and engaging.
This is the second book in the Pastor Maggie” series.
I loved “To Have and To Hold.” Not having read the first book, I was still able to jump right in and follow the plot and discern the characters well. I was drawn right in as I got to know the individuals that are written into this story. I felt I knew them personally and cared for them by the end of the book. They are endearing, unique and quirky. I felt that the author really put a lot of thought into developing the characters and did an excellent job. As the fun and colorful characters are rolled out, you can’t help but to love them. They are all beautifully woven within the story
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The plot is  convincing, inspiring and some what suspenseful. It is very realistic. We get a glimpse of the inner workings of a church parish with it’s love and care for others. With plenty of conflicts and emotions the story is especially engaging and exciting. Pastor Maggie and the church go through trials, challenges and triumphs. Filled with blessings as well as oppression and sorrow, we see how people can be in weakness and in strength.


The thread of mystery made this story especially good. Wonderings of who has been lurking about causing trouble and fear, was in the forefront of my mind. I was fully engaged and anxious thinking it through and trying to figure it out. Who has been behind all the mysterious things that are going on? I was held captive in suspense.
The story is filled with emotion and brings up the reader’s own feelings of faith, doubt, fear, joy and more. To Have and To Hold had an impact on my own beliefs and spirituality. I felt my faith being strengthened.
I loved how the unconditional expansive love of God is depicted throughout.. This is a very inspiring read and an exceptional creative literary work written from the heart. “To Have and To Hold” will not disappoint. It’s one of the better reads I have come across in a while.
Click To Purchase To Have & To Hold Now

5/14/17

Must Read "One Cat, Three Creeps & A Sex God" By Adrienne Deborah Williams

Synopsis:
Maddie’s world crumbles when she discovers that her husband, Dave, is a lying, cheating adulterer. When Dave moves out, (leaving her with a hefty mortgage and a budgie with balance problems) a mysterious cat moves in. Whilst Dave embraces his new life with 'runaround Sue', Maddie has no choice but to put all her energies into her new career, teaching Yoga. Life gets complicated when four men enter Maddie’s life but are any of them what they seem? And will she find out in time which one of them has psychopathic tendencies?


Review:
Delightful, witty and unpredictable.
I absolutely loved “One Cat, Three Creeps & A Sex God.” The main character, Maddie goes from having a husband and a life that she thought was good, to losing her husband to an over the top trampy woman. She then successfully embarks on a new career as a yoga instructor. Her quirky family is supportive and there for her. She comes across a sweet cat that adopts her. During her yoga class sessions, different men come into her life. But in the beginning she has a difficult time sorting out the personalities and characters of the various men. Then, before long, she finds out exactly who they each are and comes face to face with unavoidable danger and inevitable love.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is an easy fun and fast read. Some books have too many characters to keep up with, but not this one.
This story has just the right amount of characters and some are delightful, while others are foreboding. They are all interesting and well developed.
The storyline flows perfectly and the plot is excellent and written with skillful ease.

I couldn’t put this book down and read it through in one day; especially when it took a turn that was totally unexpected but fully welcome.
“One Cat, Three Creeps & A Sex God” is a written in real chick lit literary style. I enjoyed the author, Adrienne Deborah Williams , voice. It is unique, eccentric  and original.
From the beginning to the end, our author held a clear story in mind,  with a means to a to great end. I fully recommend this charming, suspenseful and engaging love story. It’s a great read that all chick lit lovers, and beyond, will delight in.
Click To Purchase This Must Read Book

5/10/17

Eden: A Novel By Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg

Synopsis:
Becca Meister Fitzpatrick—wife, mother, grandmother, and pillar of the community—is the dutiful steward of her family’s iconic summer tradition . . . until she discovers her recently deceased husband squandered their nest egg. As she struggles to accept that this is likely her last season in Long Harbor, Becca is inspired by her granddaughter’s boldness in the face of impending single-motherhood, and summons the courage to reveal a secret she was forced to bury long ago: the existence of a daughter she gave up fifty years ago. The question now is how her other daughter, Rachel—with whom Becca has always had a strained relationship—will react.

Eden is the account of the days leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, as Becca prepares to disclose her secret and her son and brothers conspire to put the estate on the market, interwoven with the century-old history of Becca’s family—her parents’ beginnings and ascent into affluence, and her mother’s own secret struggles in the grand home her father named “Eden.”

Review:
Splendid, majestic and engaging.
“Eden” is a chronicle of four generations of one affluent, wealthy family.Amidst the impressive riches and abundance of money, property, and other material goods, is a family united and knit together throughout periods of time. They have a grand family summer house in  Rhode Island named “Eden.”.
But now that her husband has died, Becca Meister Fitzpatrick, our main character, finds herself left with nothing and the potential of losing the house.In an attempt to rescue the family summer home, she wields a plan and invites the family over for the Fourth of July. Little by little, secrets from the family’s past begin to surface and unravel, creating surprises for the present. Outwardly the family appears to be perfect. But like most families, inwardly there can be many flaws and secrets that aren’t easily hidden.
I loved “Eden.” I love the idea of a beautiful summer house. Our author’s delightful descriptions of the setting were wonderful and kept me wanting more. I held a clear vision of the setting, which is a very important to me in a novel like this one. Eden is
intense, entertaining and engaging. I was caught up in the family drama and saga.  I felt drawn in from beginning to end. The novel is written and edited extremely well. The author’s voice is distinct, clear and unique. The characters were all exceptionally well developed and thought out. I felt a kin to the family and some of the characters. The plot and storyline are distinctive, strong and complete, having all the necessary and appropriate parts. The storyline flows smoothly, as the narration weaves from past to present and back and forth again. This isn’t a fast moving story, but it is fulfilling and interesting. Click To Purchase "Eden" now.

5/6/17

Mistress Suffragette By Diana Forbes

Synopsis:
A young woman without prospects at a ball in the Gilded Age Newport, Rhode Island is a target for a certain kind of "suitor." At the Memorial Day Ball during the Panic of 1893, impoverished but feisty Penelope Stanton draws the unwanted advances of a villainous millionaire banker who preys on distressed women--the incorrigible Edgar Daggers. Over a series of encounters, he promises Penelope the financial security she craves, but at what cost?
Skilled in the art of flirtation, Edgar is not without his charms, and Penelope is attracted to him against her better judgment. Initially, as Penelope grows into her own in the burgeoning early Women's Suffrage Movement, Edgar exerts pressure, promising to use his power and access to help her advance. But can he be trusted, or are his words part of an elaborate mind game played between him and his wife? During a glittering age where a woman's reputation is her most valuable possession, Penelope must decide whether to compromise her principles for love, lust, and the allure of an easier life.

Review:

Splendid, delightful and engaging.
Mistress Suffragette is a wonderful story set in the time when women fought to have a voice while still being dependent on a man.
It is a great read and  brimming with enlightening historical information.
It is brilliantly written in the time setting of the 1890’s during the Gilded Age and the women’s suffragette movement.


The author, Diana Forbes, has woven together a fictional tale with real life historical events.
The main character Penelope, is a young woman that is trying to find her way, after her family is hit with hardship. Her choices are not easy nor clear. She has many things that stand to prevent and hinder her progress during this time of struggle for her and her family. During a time when virtue is important, Penelope finds herself attracted to a wealthy married man. Making her life even harder to deal with.
Although there is plenty of interesting and welcome drama written into the story, it is also light hearted, and enchanting.


The author depicts and portrays the time and setting in a wonderful beautiful way, pleasing the readers imaginary senses and mind aesthetically. I was more than pleased and felt like I was placed in the setting and time. Which is an important quality in writing for me.
Mistress Suffragette, deals with what was probably the real life way of living in those days. I loved the narrative and the dialog between the characters.
This isn’t just another historical novel, this one is much more captivating, colorful and deep. It is very well written, thoughtful and engaging. The plot is full and complete. The characters are well developed with interesting personalities. The writing and editing is to perfection.
I couldn’t put it down. It was my great escape of the week. I loved it!
Diana Forbes has a unique voice and quality to her writing. Readers will be pleasantly satisfied with this work of art in the form of writing.

5/5/17

Wallace Street By Tess Devlin

Synopsis: A serial killer preys on young girls and the neighborhood is distressed and seeking justice or better yet revenge. Who will find the killer, the detectives, the mobsters, the beat cop or one of the distraught neighbors?
Tension grows as the bodies pile up. The neighborhood is boiling over with rage
Everyone in this hardscrabble neighborhood has secrets, but for some it's the biggest secret - murder!


Review:
Suspenseful, riveting and entertaining. Wallace street is a real page turner. It is a  daunting mystery, caught between a cozy mystery and a suspense novel. I was thoroughly drawn in and caught up into the plot and narrative.


Set in the 1950’s in a hardened neighborhood in Chicago, the representation and description of the region gave me a clear vision of the surroundings, environment and backdrop of where the events take place. It is evident that the author, Tess Devlin held a clear vision and idea while writing this book. It is smart, well thought out and, apparently, a well researched story.


The storyline flows nicely and the characters are all well developed, with varying personalities and many hardcore living situations. It is very interesting and very suspenseful. The detective work is engrossing and at times very contemplative. I was compelled to try to figure out who was doing the heinous murders. My attention was held with interest and curiosity from the beginning to the end


There are quite a few characters in this book, however they are all woven into the story well.
They are all doing things, good and bad, and interacting with one another closely because they live, almost on top of one another, in a middle class tight community.


Wallace Street is a fascinating and  gripping mystery that kept me in a state of wanting to know more. I was on the edge of my seat turning the pages quickly. There are unexpected twists and turns and I was surprised and satisfied as to how it ended.
I recommend it to all mystery lovers. From cozy mysteries lovers to hard core suspense novel enthusiasts, Wallace Street fits right in.

4/28/17

Must Read "the hours between us" By Carol Graf

Synopsis
With a bittersweet and captivating narrative that was inspired by events in her own life, author Carol Graf brings readers a stunning debut novel about a psychiatrist and her patient whose parallel journeys take them from family brokenness to the redemption and hope that can only be learned from life's most painful moments.
Kai Ingerson was motivated to become a psychiatrist after a childhood of dysfunction with her tempestuous and manic-depressive grandmother, Dumpling. Now divorced, in private practice and raising two teenagers, she starts work with Stephanie, a young grad student with acute leukemia, who has returned to Charleston and its mystic healing waters and marsh, to fight for her life. Stephanie braves the revelations of shocking family secrets, while Kai seeks peace with her own past as the therapy unfolds. Both women emerge with new capacities for love, life, and spiritual truths. This is a powerful work from a novelist whose story reflects her real-life experiences as a psychiatrist in Charleston.
Set against a lush Lowcountry backdrop of Spanish moss, salt marshes, silent oaks, and the pounding sea, The Hours Between Us is an artful exploration of the heartbreaking struggles and unbreakable spirits of two extraordinary women.
Review
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Inspiring, beautiful and discerning. The Hours Between Us By Carol Graf is a powerful engaging novel.
Based on the author’s own life as a psychiatrist, this is a somewhat fictional account of the relationship between doctor and patient. It is a beautiful story of discovery, pain and healing.

The story is brilliantly composed and the characters are well developed and interesting. This is the author Carol Graf’s debut novel, but it is written with fine literary skill and an unique almost magical voice. The reader would never know it is her first book. I was thoroughly impressed.

This is a very emotional read. As the patient, Stephanie goes through the turmoil of dealing with leukemia, Dr Kai helps her to heal through a set of standards that they both agree on at the onset of treatment.. What ensues is a strong bond between the two and an experience that is beautiful, spiritual and healing, for both doctor and patient. I loved the dialogue between the two women, and the way they helped one another to uncover their inner selves. Their relationship transcends the common doctor patient relationship and brought healing and enlightenment for both.


I love books that are set in the south. This one is set in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Our author describes the setting and scenery in such an impressive, beautiful manner. With the portrayal of the very rich vegetation, the salty marshland bog, the lush trees, the splendid sea, and even the sun light, the reader's senses and mind is pleased and satisfied aesthetically.
I was put right into the setting which thrilled and intoxicated me.
The book reads at a steady pace and kept me interested and engaged from start to finish.
Overall “The hours between us” is a wonderful novel written extremely well with much thought and knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed it and came away with a deeper understanding of others and my own self. I am looking forward to reading more novels by Carol Graf

4/25/17

"Within the Heart of Silence" By James William Peercy & Jacqueline E. Smith

A Collection of Words and Images.
Featuring Poetry by James William Peercy
& Photography by Jacqueline E. Smith


Speak,
All that exist upon creation.
Open the search of what shall be.
Lift our hearts from consternation.
Grant our souls entwine,
Until all the world agree,
In the heart of silence.

Review:
Captivating, peaceful and stunning.
A beautiful, artful collection of poems and images. “Within The Heart of Silence” is a wonderful book of words and images that reach within the soul and imagination.


The photographs by Jacqueline E. Smith are lovely and a treat for the eyes, while the poetry written by James William Peercy is moving and lovely to read.


Together they have created a touching and thought provoking book that poetry lovers will cherish. It opens the reader’s eyes to the beautiful world we live in. Centered around nature, love, and life, it is filled with pleasant, meaningful thoughts and a visual journey that satisfies and touches the heart.


It brought up some of my own memories of travels and prompted me to want to see more of our world and the beauty of nature. I was caught up with feelings and deep emotion as I read the meaningful words. It caused me to contemplate things like love and hate, life, and nature.


The words and images worked well together, and it is apparent that much thought, consideration, and talent was put into this compilation art. I was deeply touched and even had a few tears at the beauty of the words and pictures. It had a calming affect on my spirit.

I am normally not a reader of poetry, but “Within the Heart of Silence” has introduced me to the wonderful world of the art and imagery of poetry. I recommend “Within the Heart of Silence” to all our readers, poetry lovers and those that are in need of a deep watering of the soul. I will be revisiting this book often.

Click To Purchase "Within The Heart Of Silence" Now

4/23/17

Must Read "Incomplete Sentence" By E. E. Kennedy

Synopsis:
Gregory Rasmussen, the infamous Rasputin Killer, never served the sentence handed down in absentia for a particularly brutal murder. He has eluded the law for years, but he is now believed to be in the North Country. When a resident is murdered at the local retirement home, speculation about the killer’s identity fills the headlines. Then another victim is found at Chez Prentice.


Trapped in her snowbound B&B with elderly new friend Hugh Channing, father of the first victim, and her baby, Janet, Amelia Prentice Dickensen and her staff are asking themselves: Where is the murderer? Is he really the Rasputin Killer? Could one of their guests be the infamous psychopath, known for his power to charm and his fine singing voice? Will publicity surrounding the discovery of a dead body in the basement put the B&B out of business?
Interspersed with humor and local Adirondack color, Amelia’s latest murder case is especially chilling.


Review:
An intriguing, delightful mystery, Incomplete Sentence captured my attention right from the very beginning with the suspenseful prologue. This is the fourth book in the Miss Prentice Mystery Series by E. E. Kennedy. Although I had not read the first three installments, the author made it easy for me to jump right in and follow along while the characters developed and the storyline unfolded.


Incomplete Sentence is a  “cozy mystery” in my opinion, as the main setting of the story is a charming bed and breakfast and the small cast of characters have somewhat quirky, interesting personalities. I found the main female character  to be quite funny, correcting everyone’s grammar. There is a warmth, fitting the cozy genre.


However, it is also full of suspense, keeping mystery lovers turning the pages quickly, reveling in the tension and detective work that’s going on as well. I was held captive as the plot unfolded and the individual characters both intrigued and amused me. I loved the twists and turns and admit I was confounded at times when I thought I knew who the killer was, only to find out I was wrong, and was kept guessing.
Incomplete Sentence definitely has an ending that satisfies the mystery lover's soul.


I find a lot of mysteries lack the ability to hold the interest and attention of the reader, but not with this one.
E.E. Kennedy has a clear, creative and strong literary voice with great forethought.
Incomplete Sentence is very well written with smart, code-cracking intelligence.
I recommend it to all mystery lovers, to diehard cozy mystery fans as well as more suspenseful mystery enthusiasts.
It’s a great 5 star read.
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