Monday, October 29, 2018

Amazing! 'Hidden Among the Stars' - by Melanie Dobson

About the book:

This book was absolutely amazing!  I love books that take place both in a contemporary setting and in a historical setting and Melanie Dobson was masterful in weaving them together.  She also amped up an already suspenseful story by teasing us with a twist and a mystery she didn't reveal the truth of until the last possible moment!  In 1938 Hitler is taking over Vienna and Max Dornbach is trying to help his Jewish friends by hiding  their valuables from the Nazis.  He ends up asking his childhood friend, Annika, to help hide them, along with Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman.  Annika feels torn between loyalty and love for her friend and jealousy over his apparent feelings for Luzia, which may jeopardize their lives even more.

In 2018, Callie Randall lives a small life as she runs a bookstore with her sister and tries to find out the truth about her surrogate mother, Charlotte, who doesn't know who she is other than that she was left in a French orphanage in 1938.  When her sister buys an old edition of the book, 'Bambi,' and she discovers Annika's name in the cover and a tie to Luzia Weiss, a name in a book Charlotte was found with as a baby, she thinks she might have found the key.  A professor responds to her blog post about Annika, a person he's been searching for ever since his uncle told him about a woman he met shortly after World War II in Austria.  She told his uncle about treasure the Nazis threw into lakes as they fled from the Allies and he's been fascinated ever since.  Her search will push her beyond her comfort zone as she encounters adventure and possibly love.

I'll say it again, this book blew me away!  I loved the characters, especially Callie, as I could relate to her personality and love of books.  I loved the references to children's stories she had read. I loved that they asked the hard questions as they pondered the Holocaust and the professor losing his wife to cancer and that the theology was sound as the professor looked to the Bible and God's character.  There were some hard things dealt with but it wasn't graphic.  There was a hint of romance.  The mystery was fascinating and I loved learning about Jewish books and writers back in 1938.  I also loved learning about the treasure the Nazis threw in the lakes near Vienna and the possibilities there.  The ending was wonderful, if bittersweet.  I highly recommend this book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.  I was not reimbursed for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Q & A with Melanie Dobson

1st Chapter pdf

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Amusing and Sweet Romance! - 'Summer Plans and Other Disasters' - by Karin Beery

About the book

Elementary school music teacher Callie Stevens thinks she’s finally figured out God’s plan for her life—she even made a list to keep her on track.
Moving in with her brother and reconnecting with her ex-boyfriend are at the top of the list. What’s not on the list is running into her childhood crush, Ryan. God wanted her to connect with Kyle, right?
Trying to figure out God’s plan is hard enough. But a dating-averse older brother, the young blonde who adores him, a pregnant best friend, and Callie’s continual mishaps make her wonder whether her best laid plans were truly God-inspired. 
Now available from Elk Lake Publishing!
My review:
I really enjoyed this cute story about a girl who likes to have a plan for everything and doesn't quite know what to do when the plan changes.  I liked Callie a lot but also felt she was very naive.  Who would think an ex-boyfriend would wait around for three years for you just because he said he'd always be there?  I got a little frustrated with some of her choices but she also made me smile with some of the clumsy situations she got herself into.  I also really liked the rest of the characters and especially liked that none of them were perfect.  The banter was great!  Jack had a great attitude in that he tried to never worry since the Bible told him not to.  It was also pretty amusing how Stacey confused and delighted him.  I also liked Ryan even though he was frustrating me with his procrastination and cowardice.  There were a lot of cute moments and I loved that we got each of the foursome's viewpoints so we knew what they thought of each other.  I liked Stacey's attitude the most out of the bunch, that she was trusting God to tell her what to do regarding dating and relationships.  While their Christian faith was mentioned at times in the story, it wasn't preachy.  I would highly recommend this story especially for teens and young adults but anyone who likes romance would enjoy it!
I received a copy of this book through Read with Audra.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the author

Karin wrote her first novel in 2007 to cope with her husband’s cancer diagnosis (no worries – he’s cancer free now!). With the support and encouragement of her family, she submitted that manuscript. That particular manuscript has not been published yet, but Summer Plans and Other Disasters, her first published book, releases in September 2018.

Karin writes contemporary and speculative fiction stories with a healthy dose of romance, but she’s also expanded her repertoire: she writes feature stories for the local paper, copy material for businesses, and blog posts for herself and others. She even edits (offering copy editing, fiction editing, and critiques through Write Now Editing Services) and teaches (she’s the Substantive Fiction Editing instructor for the PEN Institute and can be found around the country teaching writing and editing courses at conferences and at her local college).

When Karin’s not reading, writing, or editing, she enjoys cooking and baking. She plays the piano and sings (the key of E, please). She kayaks with her husband in the summer, watches football in the fall (Go Blue!), and enjoys Christmas lights all winter long. Shy but extroverted, Karin adores her nieces and nephew and loves spending time with her family.  Learn more about Karin at:
You can also follow her on:

Elk Lake Publishing (for tagging)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Fascinating! 'Imagine Heaven' Devotional - by John & Kathy Burke

Cover Art

About the book:

Scripture tells us to "Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth" (Col. 3:2 NLT). But how do we think about a place we've never seen?
In 2015, John Burke's Imagine Heaven uncovered an exhilarating picture of Heaven, drawn from Scripture and illustrated with true stories of near-death experiences. This New York Times bestseller offered real-life evidence that supported readers' faith and answered some of their most pressing questions about life after death.

Now you can meditate daily on the realities of Heaven with the Imagine Heaven Devotional. Each of the one hundred devotions in this book includes a near-death story from Imagine Heaven, Scripture, and a prayer, as well as brand-new stories and content that will help you meditate on the life to come as you apply God's heavenly promises to how you live life today.

My review:

This was an amazing book!  I was encouraged to remember that there's so much more life to come in Heaven and what an awesome place it is.  The stories and quotes from various people who had died and gone to Heaven were fascinating, especially when some of their descriptions matched so closely!  I haven't read the original book yet but I'd heard of a few of the people featured here as I'd read other books by or about them.  I would say the overarching theme is God's love, how deep and overwhelming it was to people, how accepted and unconditionally loved they felt, even as they had "life reviews" that weren't always very positive as they saw how they had treated people throughout their life.  There were cool stories about interactions with angels, loved ones who had died and were guiding them around Heaven and of course, meeting Jesus face to face.  The beauty of Heaven sounds amazing.  The devotions were great reminders to lean on God for strength in our weaknesses and to look forward to Heaven where our questions will be answered, our pain erased and where we'll feel we're finally home.  I highly recommend it!

I received this book from Baker Books.  I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated for this.  This is my honest opinion.

           The Authors

  1. John Burke

    John Burke

    John Burke is the New York Times bestselling author of Imagine Heaven, No Perfect People Allowed, Soul Revolution, and Unshockable Love. As an international speaker, John has addressed hundreds of thousands of people in 20...
    Continue reading about John Burke
  2. Kathy Burke

    Kathy Burke

    Kathy Burke cofounded Gateway Church in Austin and served on the staff for many years. Kathy has contributed to and edited No Perfect People Allowed and Imagine Heaven. She has worked in financial consulting and missions, and for the past two...
    Continue reading about Kathy Burke