A Warm Welcome in Last Chance

Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen ArmstrongCathleen Armstrong pens a strong feisty heroine that jumps to life in the opening pages.  When Lainie Davis’s beat up Mustang dies on the edge of Last Chance, New Mexico she doesn’t know it yet, but her luck has changed. Though Ray Braden, handsome proprietor of the local watering hole, won’t give her the time of day, before the week is up Lainie’s got a place to stay and a job at the local diner.  And by Sunday she is out-manoeuvered by her elderly landlady and sitting in church. Amazed the steeple doesn’t collapse on her head, Lainie hasn’t realized that God is on her trail. She doesn’t know that he’s in the business of turning people’s lives around.

Armstrong’s cast of characters in Last Chance aren’t all pious and pretty, but they’re still familiar. They’re people that look a lot like our neighbour down the street, or the folks who sing in our church choir. And sometimes they look just like us. Either way the people of Last Chance have one thing in common:  They’re all in need of the grace of God.

Armstrong weaves a story with both charm and spunk; a story that sneaks in and steals your heart. So pull up a chair and take a detour into Last Chance, New Mexico. You’ll be glad you did.

The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town their home, it’s her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life–especially since she’s on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good

Peter Greer Quote“The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good,” by Peter Greer is a readable cautionary tale for those involved in biblical ministry. Greer, armed with many examples of leaders who fell from grace, Greer opens with his own near miss. Greer says, “Ministry took precedence over everything,” right up until the day his wife sat him down and gave it to him straight, “You are choosing your ministry over me—and I feel nothing for you.” With those words ringing in his ears Greer was forced to take a personal inventory and he didn’t like what he saw. He realized that, “It’s possible to sacrificially serve God and be completely self-centred in the process.” Greer also observed that, “unless we rediscover the foundation of service, our good works can be all about us: promoting our image, heightening our own vanity and pride. Service becomes a means to achieve our dreams, our purposes, our goals. Phony activism and selfish service will eventually be exposed.” Greer cites the disturbing statistic that only one in three biblical leaders finish well. The lure of power and pride led two-thirds to fall, hurting themselves and often others in the process. All in all Greer’s book challenges us to take a good hard look at ourselves. If success begins in our family, where are our priorities? What motivates us? Do we secretly want people to notice us or is Christ front and centre?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Greer narrowly avoided self-destruction and humbly offers his story to keep others from making the same often fatal mistakes. Between the pages of “The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good,” Greer alternately warns and challenges us to exemplify Christ. Occasionally his biblical examples seem a bit forced and I found the last few chapters a bit repetitious. Yet, if you are in church ministry, this book is a must read. With a built-in study guide it lends itself as an excellent choice for training material for ministry and leadership groups. Amazing inspiring read!


“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

Ultraviolet is Ultra-amazing!

Ultraviolet by R.J. AndersonIn Ultraviolet author R.J. Anderson tumbles us into the middle of every person’s worst nightmare. Alison comes to herself for the first time in weeks and realizes she’s in a mental hospital. She’s been afraid for a very long time; afraid that she is somehow different from everyone else. And not in a good way. And now she knows it’s true.

My kids have been urging me to read this book for a while now so I sat down with it this morning and didn’t get up until I’d tasted every last word. Anderson’s fresh and vivid style drew me like a roller coaster and by the last dip and curve I just wanted to do it all over again. It’s in my head now and I find myself sifting through words and objects almost catching hints of colour and flavour that I’ve never seen or tasted before. Wow! I can hardly wait to read the next installment in this series. Science fiction at its best.

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison’s condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can’t explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori — the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that’s impossible. Right?

 

Small Town Surprise

Small Town Girl by Ann G. GabhartSmall town Girl, tucked neatly into Rosey Corners is a lovely surprise. Though I promised to review it, American historicals, especially those set in war time, are not really my forte. Still, intrigued by the jacket, I picked it up and immersed myself in Kate and Jay’s story. Though the story unwinds at a bit of a slow pace, by the time I hit the middle I just couldn’t put it down. This book had me reading until far too late in the night! It brought laughter and misty tears and by the end I was ready to cheer. I’m hoping Gabhart has a few more stories in her because all I know is I want to visit Rosey Corners again! Bravo.

How long can two people stand on the brink of love without plunging in headfirst?

In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner. The town practically vibrates with apprehension, as if it is holding its breath. But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh. As Kate watches her sister marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her heart is silently breaking. And even the attentions of Jay Tanner, the handsome best man, can’t draw her interest.

Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything and Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways. Could she truly be in love with him? And if he enlists, will she ever see him again?

In her gentle and textured style, Ann H. Gabhart tells a timeless story of love, sacrifice, and longing that will grip your heart and stir your spirit. Fans of Gabhart’s Angel Sister will love seeing Kate Merritt all grown-up, as well as other characters they have come to love.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group”

Mystery and Romance in the Old West: A Winning Combination

Trouble in Store by Carol CoxFired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he’s not about to let some obstinate woman with newfangled ideas mess up all he’s worked for. He’s determined to get Melanie married off as soon as possible, and luckily there are plenty of single men in town quite interested in taking her off his hands.

The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn’t want her to marry up with any of them. He’s drawn to Melanie more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store unexpectedly offer positive results.

But someone doesn’t want the store to succeed, and what used to be just threatening words has escalated into deliberate destruction and lurkers in the night. When a body shows up on the mercantile steps–and the man obviously didn’t die from natural causes–things really get dangerous. Can Melanie and Caleb’s business–and romance–survive the trouble that’s about to come their way?

Trouble in Store caught and held my attention from the get-go. The story isn’t new, young-woman-in-straightened-circumstance-in-the-old-west has been done many before, but Cox’s flair for story-telling captured my attention and pulled me through to the last page. The blossoming romance between Melanie and Caleb intertwined with the slow burning mystery kept me guessing for much of the book, flipping back pages to see if I could catch the bad guy before all was revealed. There’s also no mistaking that these characters are people of faith—though their flaws are many they seek the Lord and grow in character and faith as the pages turn. The story felt genuine and the mystery intriguing. A great way to pass a summer day!

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

Light Summer Read: A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano

A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen TuranoIf you like ultra-light historical romance then you’ll probably enjoy this quirky sweet story set in 19th century America. In A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano, Miss Arabella Beckett, heavily involved in the women’s suffrage movement and constantly getting into scrapes, squares off with private investigator and family friend, Mr. Theodore Wilder. Wilder, her would-be saviour, is sent to track her down after she fails to turn up after attending one of her many rallies.

Author Jen Turano doesn’t appear hung up on striving for historical accuracy: A wealthy daughter scampering across the country sans travelling companion is just one of the many characters for whom you must suspend disbelief. Instead, Turano writes a spunky, funny story lightly sprinkled with faith and intrigue. It’s definitely not a period piece, yet Turano gives her readers lots of laughter and witty dialogue. It’s a little too candy flavoured for my tastes, but perhaps a perfect companion for a relaxing afternoon on the beach.

Miss Arabella Beckett, defender of the down-trodden women of America, is returning from her travels in support of the women’s suffrage movement when she makes a simple offer of assistance to a young woman in need. But things go sadly awry, and both ladies soon find themselves in dire need of rescue. Arabella, always loath to admit she needs help, is particularly reluctant to receive assistance from the arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor who shows up just in time.
Private investigator extraordinaire Mr. Theodore Wilder is on an assignment that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett, but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. He is already in a less than pleasant mood, and when Hamilton’s sister turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he’s at his wit’s end.
Much to their chagrin, Theodore and Arabella’s paths continue to cross when they return home to New York, but the most unusual feelings beginning to grow between them certainly can’t be anything serious. When the trouble Arabella accidentally stirred up in her travels follows her home and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they might have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

Deadly Devotion Keeps You Guessing ‘Til The Very Last Page

Deadly DevotionIf you love mystery and romance then here’s a book for you. In Deadly Devotion, Sandra Orchard weaves a tale with many twists and turns. She keeps you guessing until the very end. I love Sandra’s writing. Orchard draws you in and never lets up the suspense for a minute. Each chapter has you turning the page for more. I think this is a great first installment for The Port Aster Secrets series. Now I want to know what happens next! Stay tuned for the next clever installment due out June 2014. I can hardly wait!

Research scientist Kate Adams and her colleague Daisy are on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy suddenly dies. Kate knows that if it hadn’t been for Daisy’s mentorship, she wouldn’t have the job she loves or the faith she clings to. So when police rule Daisy’s death a suicide, Kate is determined to unearth the truth.

Former FBI agent Tom Parker finds it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gives him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom’s just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation of her friend’s death, he knows his job is at stake. In fact, despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate looks a bit suspicious herself.

As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

That Certain Summer – Great Summer Read!

That Certain SummerLoved the book. This is may not be a book of suspense, but if you haven’t read it you’re missing out. Hannon hits it out of the park with this contemporary romance. Two sisters at odds come together to care for their aging mother. Deftly handling struggling faith and messy relationships Hannon reveals that both sisters have secrets and both are surprised when love sneaks past their defenses. I have to say that I enjoyed this more than Hannon’s latest mysteries. She graces the pages with a story of lies, loss and love and I couldn’t put it down. makes this book a great summer read.

Karen and Val are family—yet they’re anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her gorgeous sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had darker reasons for leaving town—as well as a secret to keep—and coming home has never been an option . . . until their mother suffers a stroke. Once reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with their past mistakes, their relationship with each other, and their issues with a mother who is far from ideal. When a physical therapist raising his daughter alone and a handsome but hurting musician enter the picture, the summer takes on a whole new dimension. As their lives intersect and entwine, can each learn how to forgive, how to let go, and how to move on? And during this summer of grace, might they also find the courage to love?

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

 

Jennifer: Dee Henderson Delivers

Jennifer by Dee HendersonIt’s a summer of change for Jennifer O’Malley.

The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, Texas, and meeting and falling in love with surgeon Tom Peterson is adding a rich layer to her life. She’s sorting out how to introduce Tom to her family – she’s the youngest of seven – and thinking about marriage.

She’s falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested, and in a way she didn’t expect. The results will soon transform her entire family.

Dee Henderson delivers once again in her bittersweet novella on Jennifer’s journey to love and faith.  With a deft hand she brings us back to where it all began for the O’Malleys. Henderson is able to guide us through Stephanie’s faith journey without it sticking in our throat and together we fall in love with Tom and the whole O’Malley clan all over again. This is classic Henderson at her best. Read it. Loved it.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.