Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Diamond in the Rough by Jennifer Allee & Lisa Karon Richardson A REVIEW

Grant Diamond is a professional gambler on the run from his past. When he comes across a wagon wreck, the chance to escape his pursuers is too good a gamble to pass up, and he assumes the identity of the dead wagon driver. His plan takes an unexpected turn when local heiress Lily Rose mistakes him for the missionary she had asked to come work with the Wiyot Indians. Seeing Eureka as a promising place to lay low, Grant plays along. Before he knows it, he's bluffing his way through sermons and building an Indian school. But with a Pinkerton on his trail and a rancher rousing fresh hatred against the Indians, Grant fears the new life he's built may soon crumple like a house of cards.

Series: Charm & Deceit (Book 1)
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (May 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603747427
ISBN-13: 978-1603747424
Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.5 x 5.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces

Jennifer AlLee and Lisa Karon Richardson are a dynamic writing team.

When Jennifer isn't spinning tales, she can be found reading, spending time with family and friends, and singing at the top her lungs to whatever happens to be playing on the radio. Her novels include The Love of His Brother (Five Star, 2/07), The Pastor's Wife (Abingdon Press, 2/10), The Mother Road (Abingdon Press, 4/12) and A Wild Goose Chase Christmas (Abingdon Press, 11/12). Diamond in the Rough, Vanishing Act, and Curtain Call make up the historical romance series co-written with Lisa Karon Richardson, and released by Whitaker House. Comfort and Joy, part of the Mistletoe Memories novella anthology, released 9/13 from Barbour House. Future novels from Abingdon Press are Last Family Standing (9/14) and Vinnie's Diner (4/15). Jennifer is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Christian Authors Network, and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.

Jennifer resides in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas with her family. Visit her website at

Lisa Karon Richardson has led a life of adventure–from serving as a missionary in the Seychelles and Gabon to returning to the States to raise a family–and she imparts her stories with similarly action–packed plot lines. In addition to writing, Lisa works as an area claims manager for Trinity Health, managing medical malpractice litigation for two major health systems in Ohio and Indiana. She lives with her husband and their two precocious children in Ohio. Readers may visit her blog at

  Diamond in the Rough is a nice book and I enjoyed reading it.  The story begins with a neat beginning. I like Lily Rose, Diamond and the Pinkerton agent. They are all strong characters and they blend together very nicely.
  This book has a lot to do with being prejudice to people that are different from you and teaches a great lesson. Just because someone is different doesn’t make them inferior to you or less of a person. That doesn’t only represent the Indians in Diamond in the Rough it also is about Lily Rose’s Moms past and Diamonds. It speaks to us all.
  I really did like the ending of this wonderful book. I recommend Diamond in the Rough for an easy afternoon read.

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Thank you to Whitaker House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Friday, January 10, 2014

My Hope is Found by Joanne Bischof A REVIEW

After finally finding love with his sweet bride Lonnie, Gideon’s heart was torn when a woman from his past claimed to be his true and rightful wife, forcing him away from his family. God’s merciful hand saw Gideon through the heartache, and with Cassie’s blessing, he is able to return home. But his journey back through the Blue Ridge Mountains will hold a trial he never anticipated.

Meanwhile, Lonnie determines to seal off her heart from Gideon, convinced he is lost to her forever. Strengthening her resolve to move on is her growing fondness for the handsome Scotsman, Toby McKee—the young reverend she has come to care for deeply. His proposal of marriage offers a bright future for her and her young son.

Yearning to allow joy back into her life, Lonnie must put aside the broken pieces of her heart that still love Gideon. When he returns to find her betrothed to another, he has to place his hope in God, trusting that the One who redeemed their love once can do it again.

Series: The Cadence of Grace (Book 3)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books (October 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601424256
ISBN-13: 978-1601424259
Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces

Christy Award-finalist and author of Be Still My Soul and Though My Heart is Torn, Joanne Bischof has a deep passion for Appalachian culture and writing stories that shine light on God’s grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, folk music, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. You can visit her website at

   My Hope is Found by Joanne Bischof is book three in the Cadence of Grace series. I didn’t read book one, but loved book two. Book three My Hope is Found is good, but it lacked what book two had.
  I’m glad at how it ended but to get to that end it wasn’t that great. It didn’t keep my attention and was hard to finish.
  I don’t want to give the story away but I find it hard to believe that someone who loved someone would give them up and how someone could love another person when they loved that person so much in the first place.
  Some parts were rather touching and it was full of love and tenderness, but just not what I expected or hoped would happen in this third book. Lonnie, Gideon and Toby are intriguing characters but they could have been so much better. I do recommend this book, but it wasn’t a favorite of mine.

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Thanks to WaterBrookMultnomah for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

The Wedding Planners of Butternut Creek, Jane Myers Perrine A REVIEW

The ladies of Butternut Creek Christian Church known as the Widows have always taken pride in their infallible matchmaking. They've succeeded again, and having found the perfect wife for Pastor Adam, they're ready to start planning the wedding. The one problem is that Adam has yet to propose. Clearly he still needs their help.

Meanwhile, Adam's sister Hannah, a doctor, has returned from work in refugee camps, exhausted from the horrors she's seen. Though physically weak, Hannah becomes animated when verbally sparring with Gabe Borden, the high school basketball coach. The Widows, however, see sparks of a different kind between them and are soon up to their matchmaking ways once again.

Series: Butternut Creek (Book 3)
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (November 5, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0892969032
ISBN-13: 978-0892969036
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces

Jane Myers Perrine started writing while in grade school. Although her spelling was terrible--she blames that on dyslexia--her third-grade teacher predicted she'd be an author. Jane attended Kansas State University. Majoring in both English and Spanish, she read the best literature in both languages. After years as a Spanish teacher and minister, she began writing. Her novels include Regency settings and Western historicals as well as stories which take place in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas where she now resides. An award-winning author, she presently writes about a young minister, Adam Jordan, and his life in Butternut Creek, TX.

  I read book two in the Butternut Creek series entitled The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek and really loved it. This book The Wedding Planners of Butternut Creek was really good, but not as good as book two in my opinion.
  I love the description of Butternut Creek and it reminds me of Jan Karon’s Mitford books, but this story was a little slow and lacked what the last one had.
  I don’t think anyone would let a bunch of older ladies plan their wedding and tell them what to do and how to do it. It doesn’t matter that they are members of the church or not.
 Then they try to be a matchmaker to the pastors sister and she is still recovering from illness and isn’t doing well. I didn’t like that part.
  The part I did like of this book was how everyone helped when a tornado went through a small town close by. How they worked and supported the victims and lent a hand in all ways they could.
  This was a fine book, but not on the top of my favorites. I will although recommend it for it is full of fun, hardships and love.

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I received my free copy from Sarah Reck at Faith Words/HachetteBookGroup, for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

To Know You By Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel

Julia Whittaker’s rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son.

Julia and Matt Whittaker’s son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds—and his liver—crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a “living liver” transplant, but the transplant list is long and Dillon’s time is short. His two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart to two different fathers, offer his only hope for survival.

But can Julia ask a young woman—someone she surrendered to strangers long ago and has never spoken with—to make such a sacrifice to save a brother she’s never known? Can she muster the courage to journey back into a shame-filled season of her life, face her choices and their consequences, and find any hope of healing?

And what if she discovers in her own daughters’ lives that a history of foolish choices threatens to repeat itself? Julia knows she’s probably embarking on a fool’s errand—searching for the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs something from them. But love compels Julia to take this journey. Can grace and forgiveness compel her daughters to join her?

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401688667
ISBN-13: 978-1401688660
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 8 ounces

Shannon Ethridge is a million-copy best-selling author, speaker, lay counselor, and advocate for healthy sexuality with a master's degree in counseling/human relations from Liberty University. She has spoken to youth, college students, and adults since 1989 and her passions include: Challenging adults and teens to embrace a life of sexual integrity, encouraging married couples in their pursuit of sexual and emotional fulfillment, counseling women who have looked for love in all the wrong places and equipping parents to instill sexual values in children at an early age.

Her passion for healthy sexuality actually began in mortuary college. Her first career choice, becoming a mortician, led Ethridge to work on dead bodies. Many she embalmed were young people who had died from AIDS or committed suicide as a result an HIV positive diagnosis. Because of her own promiscuous teenage years, she knew it was a miracle that she was standing over the embalming table rather than laying on top of it. These experiences inspired her to begin speaking boldly and bluntly to teen, college-age, and adult audiences about the benefits of sexual integrity. She has taught and counseled thousands of young singles and married couples over the past decade. She is the author of 18 books, including the best-selling Every Woman's Battle series, the 5-book Completely His series, and her new book for the mainstream market, The Sexually Confident Wife.

Shannon has been featured on the cover of Today's Christian Woman Magazinee, and is a frequent guest on international radio & television shows such as The 700 Club, Life Today with James & Betty Robison, FamilyLife Today with Dennis Rainey, and New Life Live! with Stephen Arterburn. She has also been published in numerous magazines such as Focus on the Family, Brio, and LifeWay and is the winner of a Gold Medallion Award for Excellence in Publishing.

Although grateful for the opportunities to influence this generation as a writer and speaker, Shannon remains most passionate about her role as a wife and best friend to her husband of 18 years, Greg, and a mother and cheerleader to their two children, Erin (17) and Matthew (14).

Shannon Ethridge, M.A.
Author and Advocate for Healthy Sexuality & Spirituality

Kathryn Mackel is a best-selling author and acclaimed screenwriter for Disney and Fox. She was on the screenwriting team for Left Behind: The Movie and Frank Peretti's Hangman's Curse. She is the acclaimed author of The Surrogate, The Departed, and The Hidden and resides in Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband.

  To Know You by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel is an excellent book that I loved reading. It is full of real life situations and drama.
  I love the daughters Destiny and Chloe/Hope. They have problems and hurts, but also have sweet hearts even though they try to hide them.
  Each of the girls are at decision points in their lives. Very critical points that holds many outcomes.
 This book isn’t lighthearted and full of love and fairy tale endings. It is about what life is like sometimes.
 The characters and scenery are very well developed. They seem like real people and you want them to make the right decisions and be happy.
 I also love Julia and Matt’s son Dillon. He’s thirteen years old and dying but has a heart of gold and is full of optimism.
  This book To Know You will have you laughing, crying and reading until the wee hours of the morning.
I highly recommend this delightful book full of life.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I receive books free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program/BookSneeze. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express are my own. This is true of any book I review for any publisher or author; I will not review books where a positive review is required and I will always express my own opinions of each book received and read.

National Geographic's Who's Who in the Bible by Jean-Pierre Isbouts A REVIEW

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S WHO’S WHO IN THE BIBLE: Unforgettable People and Timeless Stories from Genesis to Revelation (ISBN: 9781426211591;

Written by best-selling author Jean-Pierre Isbouts, Who's Who in the Bible is the ultimate reference guide to the men and women in the Bible, featuring more than 2,000 entries spanning Genesis to Revelation.

From the author of In the Footsteps of Jesus and The Biblical World comes a vibrant family reference that brings to life the fascinating characters of the Old and New Testatments of the Bible. From the fall of Adam and Eve to Judas' betrayal of Jesus, the key events of the Bible are expressed through the lives of hundreds of people. Told through exquisite art and artifacts, intriguing sidebars, and unique family tree features, this illuminating volume tells the stories of Biblical characters and highlights their greater meaning for mankind. Illustrated with lavish color photography and exquisite historical artwork, this reference runs chronologically, with each person listed by order of appearance.

a vibrant family reference that brings to life the fascinating characters of the Old and New Testaments written by JEAN-PIERRE ISBOUTS, the bestselling author of “In the Footsteps of Jesus” and “National Geographic’s The Biblical World: An Illustrated Atlas.”
From the fall of Adam and Eve to Judas's betrayal of Jesus, the key events of the Bible are expressed through the lives of hundreds of people. Each of the five chapters begins with a comprehensive historical overview that sets the stage for the events and characters that follow and detail the political and historical forces at play in the events described. This overview is augmented with award-winning maps, stunning National Geographic photographs that lend the text a sense of place, a time line that places the events in context. The chapters end with a comprehensive alphabetical directory of the characters that appear in that part of the Bible.

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: National Geographic (November 5, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426211597
ISBN-13: 978-1426211591
Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 9.4 x 1.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds

Dr. Jean-Pierre Isbouts is a humanities scholar and graduate professor at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. He has published widely on the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His website is

 This is a very beautiful book with exquisite art from artists such as Rembrandt and Michelangelo to name a few with very informative maps and family trees.
  It goes from Genesis to Revelation telling of the good and evil people in the Bible.
 I like the alphabetical listings of all the people in each book. It tells you their parents, siblings, spouse and children. What they did in the Bible.
  It is full of liberal views and some information is wrong the time lines and about who wrote some of the books.
  If you know your Bible this is a very nice book to have, but if you are a young Christian and don’t know the Bible well you shouldn’t believe everything you read here. It's looked at through a lens of history and science, but not God's story and plan for mankind.
This is taken at a non-denominational perspective and does not be consistent with  any particular theological direction. So you know it is from a Science view and not something that is believed.
  I believe that the author thinks of this as a story and not as fact. Not much is mentioned about Jesus.
  So I will recommend this book only to those who know their Bible and can see the right and wrong written in these pages.

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Free copy from Media Masters Publicity and National Geographic for the purpose of review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255