Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wonderful Story! My Review of 'Bringing Maggie Home' - by Kim Vogel Sawyer

About the book:

Decades of loss, an unsolved mystery, and a rift spanning three generations
Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.
Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can't understand her mother's overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother's inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan-a cold case agent-cherishes her grandmother's lavish attention and affection.
When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel's painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that's been lost?

My review:
This was such a wonderful story!  I didn't want to put it down; it completely fascinated me.  I loved the characters.  I felt for Meghan and her being stuck in the middle.  I loved that we got all three perspectives and it's still amazing to me how things can get so misinterpreted because of our past experiences or prejudices.  A completely innocent comment can feel like a harsh criticism.  The emotional journey of all three was just as fascinating as the investigation.  I also loved the scenes from the past as we get some insight into their backgrounds and their influences.  The grandmother was so sweet and I can't imagine living with so much guilt for so many years, not to mention never knowing what had happened to her sister.  I really admired her strong faith, along with Meghan's partner's at the police force.  There were some great conversations about faith, including suffering and a very clear presentation of the gospel, as Meghan wasn't a believer.  It was interesting to see things from an unbelievers's perspective.  There's a hint of romance.  Meghan works with cold cases and it was fascinating to see some of their investigation as they tried to track down what happened to Maggie.  This book was just a well-written, fascinating story!  I highly recommend it!

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

More Reviews Here!   

About the author:

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a highly acclaimed, best-selling author with more than one million books in print, in several different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope and redemption. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren.
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Friday, October 6, 2017

Wonderful Debut! My Review of 'If We Make It Home' - by Christina Suzann Nelson

About the book:

An exciting story of survival and spiritual renewal!

When four college friends graduated from the University of Northwest Oregon, their lives stretched before them, full of promise and vows to stay connected. But life has a way of derailing well-laid plans.

Now they haven't spoken in twenty-five years. But against all odds, three of them have found themselves back in the same place--at their alma mater, wondering how they got there. When they discover their fourth friend, Hope, has died, Jenna, Ireland, and Vicky decide to embark on a wilderness adventure to honor her memory--and for secret reasons of their own. Jenna wants to show her husband that she's more than a helpless, overweight, middle-aged empty nester. Ireland wants to get back to the nature she loves and hide from the charges being pressed against her. And Vicky wants to show she cares for something besides her ministry--and put off the disaster waiting at home for as long as possible.

They never bargained for the dangers they face in an unforgiving wilderness. Now they'll have to work together if they hope to make it home alive. While the three women fight to survive the elements, their toughest battles may be with themselves.       

My review:

I absolutely loved this book!  I was on the edge of my seat as the women end up in one bad situation after another.  It felt very believable as none of them really knew what they were doing and it showed!  It was also fascinating to see how they reconnected after all those years apart  and finally showed their true selves and shared their struggles with each other.  Each woman was in a very different place yet all struggled with knowing what their purpose should be and felt like they wanted to run away from their normal lives.  It was especially interesting to see how Ireland survived as she was a vegan.  The story switches back and forth between the three women and are told from the first person so you really get the inside scoop of what they're thinking.  The spiritual message was great as each woman had different struggles there, too.  Ireland had walked away from her faith years ago, Vicky was trying to be perfect and earn her way to Heaven and Jenna felt like she had to be needed to have worth.  There's nothing like a trip to the wilderness to realize you can't make it on your own and that you need to depend on God!  I enjoyed the humor and the writing was wonderful!  I'm definitely going to be watching for her future books.  I highly recommend this book if you like survival stories or just a fascinating well-written book!

I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Review & Giveaway of 'The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise' - by Ta'mara Hanscom

Set in South Dakota in 1975, where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beer in a bar, and loaded guns were kept under the counter.
Frankie Valli sang "My Eyes Adored You," and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.
It's within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined-and had been for many years-yet they had no idea. 
From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart---and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride's deception.

My review:
This was an interesting story that wasn't what I expected.  I liked Tillie and Noah a lot and was especially impressed with the change in Noah.  However, I was a little confused by the description above.  There was no murder or bride's deception in this book and I can only assume it must happen in a later book.  The story doesn't conclude and while I knew there were more books, I thought there would be more of an ending.  It sounds like there's five books in the series about the Caselli family, so this is much more of an epic story than I realized.  While the story started off strong, I kept waiting for more to happen so it felt slower to me.  I was also a little confused about one of Tillie's siblings and the allusion to his wife having gone missing for years before they married.  That's not really explained so I felt like I was missing something.  I was pretty frustrated with Tillie's parents and a choice they made and continued to make.  I did like the strong Christian message as the gospel was explained well and there was much talk of faith, prayer, remaining pure and waiting for a knight rather than a blackguard.  I also liked the strong sense of Italian culture as there's plenty of talk about food and family.  I also loved Tillie's brothers and how they were so protective and loving toward her.  You might want to check it out if you like romance with a strong Christian message!

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
About the author:

Born and raised in South Dakota, Ta`Mara loves to write about the Great Plains and the beauty and people of Italia. While her husband and children manage their two pizza ristoranti, Ta`Mara works full time on The Caselli Family Series, and ministers to women. It is Ta`Mara s prayer that as the readers explore the truths in these volumes, they will come away with a new perspective on love, forgiveness, obedience, and God's plan for marriage
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Despite just meeting each other, Tillie and Noah's lives have been mysteriously intertwined for many years in Ta'Mara Hanscom's The Pretender. From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart-and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride's deception.

Join Ta'Mara in celebrating the release of the second printing and new covers by entering to win her $75 prize basket giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of The Pretender
  • A $75 Amazon gift card
  • A decorative box containing measuring cups, ten recipes from the book, a potholder, a kitchen towel, pepper and salt grinders, kitchen utensils, and an olive oil dispenser

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 11. The winner will be announced October 12 on the Litfuse blog.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Day the Angels Fell - by Shawn Smucker

Cover Art

About the book:

It was the summer of storms and strays and strangers. The summer that lightning struck the big oak tree in the front yard. The summer his mother died in a tragic accident--and young Samuel Chambers would have done anything to turn back time. Even today, he can hardly believe it all happened . . .

Prompted by three strange carnival fortune-tellers and the surfacing of his mysterious and reclusive neighbor, Sam begins his search for the Tree of Life--the only thing that could possibly bring his mother back.

His quest to defeat death will entangle him and his best friend Abra in an ancient conflict, forcing Sam to grapple with an unwelcome question.

Could it be possible that death is a gift?

My review:

This was an interesting book that keeps you guessing!  There was some suspense, some mystery and some grief as Sam and his father deal with the loss of his mother.  I liked the characters fine but I felt a little frustrated with Sam and his choices.  I could understand his wanting to get his mother back but at what cost?  I wanted a little more redemption for him at the end than there was.  I liked the back and forth of modern-day Sam as he remembers what happened in his childhood; most of the story is told from his young self.  There was a good portrayal of good and evil.  The creation story is told and then there's a little bit of a continuation of it and a twist.  Overall, the message was that death is just a passage, not a destination and that there's ultimately hope for Sam to see his mother again.  It also makes you think about how horrible living forever would be, watching your loved ones die and never getting to go to Heaven.  It was a little hard for me to stay interested in the story.  It was a little slow and I didn't feel that invested in the characters.  It looks like the story will continue on as we learn more about Abra's adventures next summer.  It sounds intriguing and I might check it out.  If you like unusual stories, you might want to check it out.

I received this book free from Revell in exchange for an honest review.

 The Author

  1. Shawn Smucker

    Shawn Smucker

    Shawn Smucker lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Day the Angels Fell is his first novel. You can find him online at, where you can also sign up for his newsletter.
    Continue reading about Shawn Smucker 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Free E-Books from Multiple Vendors!

Accidentally Amish (Valley of Choice Book 1) by [Newport, Olivia] 

Free for kindle!


The Recipe  Free through Oct 31st from multiple vendors!

Willie's Redneck Time Machine  Free through 10/3 from multiple vendors at link above!

Free for Kindle!


Free for kindle!


Love Letters from Cowboy (Redbud Trails Book 2) by [Williams, Lacy]  Free for kindle!


Mistletoe Cowboy (Redbud Trails Book 3) by [Williams, Lacy]  Free for kindle!


Kissed by a Cowboy (Redbud Trails Book 1) by [Williams, Lacy]

Monday, September 25, 2017

Wonderful! Freedom's Ring - by Heidi Chiavaroli

I absolutely loved this book!  Moving from 2015 Boston to 1770 Boston and back again, this story kept me spellbound as we trace the path of a ring handed down through the generations.  In 2015 Boston, Annie David is still trying to recover from the Boston Marathon bombing two years before, more emotionally than physically.  Her niece became crippled while waiting at the finish line for her and she's never forgiven herself.  The man who helped her left a family heirloom in her possession and promised to find her again but she hasn't heard from him since.  When she discovers a business card with the same emblem, she can finally meet her rescuer and get some answers about the ring that has comforted her for two years.  In 1770 Boston, Liberty Caldwell is alone and accepts employment in the home of two British officers.  She continues to look for her brother's ship so she can reunite with him but soon after they meet again, he is killed in the Boston Massacre by a British soldier.  No longer able to work for the British, she starts to pack her things when she is attacked by the captain while Lieutenant Alexander Smythe tries and fails to rescue her.  As revenge she steals from them both, including a ring belonging to the lieutenant, a man she once cared for but now can't stand because of the uniform he wears.

I love books that deal with genealogy and multiple time periods and this did both very well.  The writing was excellent and the characters felt very real, with struggles and hopes and disappointments.  Both Liberty and Annie go through a very traumatic experience and Brad, Anne's rescuer, also served in the military overseas, so they all had wounds they struggled with, some physical and some emotional.  There were some nice romantic moments and I really enjoyed the spiritual message.  Both women had to learn who to truly depend on; humans will always let us down because they aren't perfect.  Only God is truly able to save and is strong when we are weak.  There were some great conversations and I liked that Annie wasn't a Christian and was very new to all of this God talk.  It gave a unique perspective to her situation you don't often see in Christian fiction.  It was fascinating learning more about the beginning of our country.  I think the most enjoyable part for me was discovering along with Annie and Brad the answers they were looking for.  It really makes me want to start digging into my own family history!  There was also a twist I didn't see coming, which was a nice surprise!  This is definitely an author to watch.  I highly recommend this wonderful story!

I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Q & A with Heidi Chiavaroli

Introductory video

State House video

First Chapter