Dec 16, 2014

Book Review: A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings

Back Cover: Abigail Stuart Thought She was Jeremiah Calhoun's Widow.
But Jeremiah Calhoun Is Very Handsome, Very Alive, and Very Perplexed.
Most Inconvenient Indeed.

With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he's gone--a practical solution for both of them.

After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain--until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail's story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she's never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn't trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?

My Review: This book is brimming with trouble. Jennings captured some of the confusion of post civil war Missouri. It was enjoyable seeing how she got her characters out of the terrible predicament she put them into a the beginning of the book. This book is full of frustratingly funny instances. The children living near the Calhoun farm are a hoot and are constantly keeping everyone on their toes. I was frustrated at the number of times Jeremiah changes his mind about who he's going to marry. Honestly, I'm not sure I would have stuck around for his contradictory behavior. At the same time, sometimes the things we think we want are not the things we really need, as the character discover throughout the story.

My Rating:

My Recommendation: I recommend this novel to readers of historical romance.

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.

Dec 12, 2014

Book Review: The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

Back Cover: Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play...
The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances--and her dowry--Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

My Review: I am a huge fan of Julie Klassen's novels. The Secret of Pembrooke Park is a great story of mystery, family, and forgiveness. Of course, Klassen also wove in a very sweet love story. Pembrooke Park is shrouded in secrets and my desire to find the treasure kept me turing pages. At times, I was as frustrated as Abigail because it seemed that the answers were within reach only to have some roadblock keep us from full disclosure and discovery. I will admit, I correctly guessed where the story was going before the end arrived, but I was still eager to finish the tale and discover if I was correct. I was delighted with the one element that caught me by surprise. Klassen is a master architect when it comes to writing novels set in 1800's England. If you haven't read her books, you have missed some amazing novels, and The Secret of Pembrooke Park is no exception.

My Rating:

My Recommendation: I recommend this book to fans of Julie Klassen and Jane Austen.

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.

Nov 28, 2014

Book Review: Stolen - A True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor by Katariina Rosenblatt and Cecil Murphey

Back Cover: There is hope, even on the darkest of days

Katariina Rosenblatt was a lonely and abused young girl, yearning to be loved, wanting attention. That made her the perfect target. On an ordinary day, she met a confident young woman--someone Kat wished she could be like--who pretended to be a friend while slowly luring her into a child trafficking ring. A cycle of false friendships, threats, drugs, and violence kept her trapped.

As Kat shares her harrowing experiences, her ultimate escape, and her passionate efforts to now free other victims, you'll see that not only is sex trafficking happening frighteningly close to home--it's also something that can be stopped. Stolen is a warning, a celebration of survival, and a beacon of hope that will inspire you.

My Review: It is so easy to pretend we live in a world where horrible things can't happen to innocent children. Abuse is real and all around us. Stolen is a heart-breaking, yet hope-filled account of a sex trafficking survivor. While I think this book is an excellent read for church workers and parents, I would caution allowing children to read this book due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter. Reading this book opened my eyes to how easily children can be manipulated into a destructive lifestyle, especially those who have been abused. It strengthens my resolve to protect my son and pray for my nieces.

My Rating:

My Recommendation: I recommend this book to parents and church workers.

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.

Nov 24, 2014

DVD Review: Burning Questions

About: There are Burning Questions, the answers to which have profound implications because they effect so many other areas of life: for instance, whether or not life has meaning, purpose or hope. Yet, too often, attempts to talk about these questions are marred by a clash of fundamentalisms, by extremists (religious or secular) simply yelling or trying to outsmart each other.

Is there a better way to have discourse on these questions that really do matter? Join Dr. Andy Bannister as he tries to do just that - journeying across three countries - talking to a wide range of experts - people of all faiths and none - in search of some clarity. Whether you're a skeptic or a seeker, a doubler or a disciple, Burning Questions will encourage you to listen well, think deeply and to follow the evidence where it leads.

My Review: A few weeks ago, my husband said something that really struck a cord. He said that before we can say "I disagree," we have to be able to say "I understand." When discussions touch and threaten our worldview, it is normal to shut down and get defensive. It is hard to actually listen and hear what an opponent has to say. What I love about this DVD series is how all views are presented in a respectful way. Too often we think about those who oppose our view as stupid, but through this series it is clear that there are intelligent people on all sides of the issue. I believe this series is a great conversation starter.

My Rating:

My Recommendation: I highly recommend this DVD to anyone and everyone.

I received this DVD from Graf-Martin Communication for the purpose of review.