Wednesday, April 17, 2013

No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig (Edge of Freedom Book One)

Cara Hamilton leaves Ireland and arrives in America with nothing but a letter from her twin brother, who she had previously thought to be dead. She seems to have found friendship and maybe more in Rourke Walsh...but can he really be trusted?

This book was slow moving at times, but I did find the historical aspects interesting and overall it was well-written and suspenseful. I had never heard of the Fenian brotherhood before reading this book, and actually knew very little about Irish history, so it was very interesting in that respect. The message of forgiveness and not seeking vengeance was very evident and encouraging. I would recommend this book to any fan of historical fiction.

This book was given to me by Bethany House Publications in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to give it a favorable review.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate

This book was very interesting. I don't normally read books quite like this one. I have never read one of Lisa Wingate's books but I really enjoyed this one.

It took me a while to get used to the author's writting style, but by chapter 2 I was completely hooked on the story.

This was a Christian fiction but unlike most that I have read, it was kind of just in the background. I actually really liked that. It came out, but the whole book wasn't forcing ideas and theologies at you while you read it. It was peaceful and serene when it was there. Kind of a subtle undertow that tied everything together.

I liked the whole book and would recommend it to others!

I received a complementary copy of this book as part of Bethany House Publishers book review program.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl

I read and reviewed Inescapable, the first book in The Road to Kingdom Series by Nancy Mehl, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was excited to have the opportunity to read #2 in the series, Unbreakable, as a part of the Bethany House book review program. I received this book for free in exchange for reviewing it and am not obligated to give a positive review.

I did not enjoy this book quite as much as the first book in the series, but it was a good read. Hope Kauffman is the main charactar. A traditional Mennonite woman who has always followed the status quo, Hope faces many challenges in this novel. One challenge is which man to marry- Ebbie, her childhood friend and the man who has her father's approval, or Jonathon, the man her father disagrees with and who has many new ideas for reforming their Mennonite community. Another struggle Hope faces is deciding whether or not she truly believes in the Mennonite's doctrine of non-resistance, even in the face of increasing threats and violence against their community. This was particulary interesting to me as I also belong to a faith that believes in non-resistance.

In spite of the interesting themes, this book was somewhat hard to follow. At times it was slow moving, and at other times, it seemed somewhat unbelievable with too many dramatic events packed in close together, one after the other. Also, it seemed obvious early on which man Hope would ultimately end up marrying. I was not at all surprised. The resolution of the culprit behind the violence and fires was quite suspenseful however.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Hidden Truth by Judith Miller

I was excited to read A Hidden Truth by Judith Miller because the setting is in the Amana Colonies, which is near my home.  In the novel, Dovie comes to visit Amana, hoping to find out more about her deceased mother, who grew up in the colonies. She comes to stay with her aunt, uncle, and cousin. However, she finds that it is harder than she hoped to find any answers about her mother's past. I found the historical information and culture of the Amana Colonies to be very interesting, but honestly the plot just did not grab me. I took me a looong time to get through this book (although I must confess this may have a little to do with having a new baby). I was interested in finding out how the plot was resolved, but it seemed like a lot of the details in between were somewhat tedious. There were two love stories interwoven into the plot, but they were lacking in emotion.

Overall, this book was just ok. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the Amana Colonies, but warn them that they may find the plot a little boring.

I was given a free copy of this book to review through the Bethany House Book Review Program. I would like to thank Bethany House for the opportunity.

~ Abby

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

For the most part, I really liked this book.I enjoyed the author's writing style and humor. Kate Donavon is thirty-one and wondering if God will ever answer her prayer for a husband. Matt Jarreau is a former pro hockey player who left the NHL after a tragic loss. They meet when Matt is hired to renovate Kate's grandmother's childhood home.

I loved all of the characters. Kate and Matt were very real and believable to me. There were also many humorous tibits and subplots that livened up the story. However, I was somewhat surprised about some of the language and lifestyle choices that this Christian author chose to include in her story. I was surprised that Kate, as a Christian woman, intially became involved in a romantic relationship with Matt before he became a Christian. Also, Matt's experience of becoming a Christian seemed kind of rushed and shallow, as if it was something the author had to slip in in order to make him equally-yoked with Kate. The last several chapters seemed a little rushed to me, but I did enjoy the happy, heartfelt ending.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel and wouldn't hesitate to read another book by Becky Wade in the future.

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox is the story of Ellie Moore, a would-be actress in 1880s Chicago. When she loses her job and is left penniless on the streets of Chicago, her only hope to escape the frigid midwestern winter is to become an agent for the Pinkerton Detective Agency. After demonstrating how her acting skills and costumes will help her as an agent, Ellie is given the opportunity to travel undercover to Arizona to investigate thefts from a silver mine. When the other agent who is supposed to help her runs off, Ellie is forced to play two roles in the investigation: Lavinia (an older woman) and Lavinia's niece, Jessie (a beautiful and vivacious young woman). Things get complicated as she attempts to investigate the thefts while playing the two different roles. When one of the mine owners starts to fall in love with "Jessie", Ellie also has feelings for him but fears that he only loves the woman she is impersonating.

I found this book enjoyable and really wanted to find out how it ended. It was a good read but a little slow moving for me and definitely wasn't one of those books that I just couldn't put down. The end was fairly predictable, but all in all it was a good book.

I was given a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers and all opinions are my own. I would like to thank Bethany House for the book and the opportunity to review it.

Inescapable (Road to Kingdom Book #1) by Nancy Mehl

This book had everything I look for in a Christian suspense novel. I loved the characters, the setting, and the plot. Lizzie Engel is a likeable heroine who has made mistakes in the past but is trying to make the best decisions for her and her daughter's future in the face of danger and many obstacles. Besides the mystery/suspense theme, there is also a deep message of love, forgiveness, mercy, and repentance. I really could not predict how the book would end and read through it very quickly because I couldn't wait to find out what would happen. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next book in the series soon.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review. I was not obligated to give the book a favorable review.