Apr 23, 2014

Book Review: What Follows After by Dan Walsh

Back Cover: In 1962, life was simple, the world made sense, and all families were happy.And when they weren't, everyone knew you were supposed to pretend.

For the past year, Scott and Gina Harrison have been living a lie. While they show up at family get-togethers in the same car, they've actually been separated for over a year. To keep up the charade, they've even instructed their sons, Colt and Timmy, to lie--to their grandparents, their teachers, and their friends.

Colt, for one, has had enough, so he hatches a plan. He and his little brother will run away from their Florida home, head for their aunt's house in Georgia, and refuse to come home until their parents get back together. But when things go terribly, terribly wrong, Scott and Gina must come to grips with years of neglect and mistrust in order to recover their beloved sons, their love for one another, and their marriage.

In this emotional story, bestselling author Dan Walsh takes you on a journey to rediscover the things that matter most in life--love, truth, and family. With profound insight into the heart of a hurting child, he reminds us that a time will come to look back on hard times and smile, because we'll know that what follows after . . . is not what we expected at all.

My Review: It's 1962 and the Cuban Missile Crisis is in the forefront of everyone's mind. Everyone except a little boy locked in a dark closet. As a parent, the events of What Follows After were chilling. I can't imagine the heartache of having my child run away and then get kidnapped. Walsh paints a vivid picture of the heartache these people experience through their ordeal. He takes the reader on an emotional ride that will keep you flipping pages. This book is not my favorite Dan Walsh book, but it does rank highly. It is hard not to notice the counseling influence of Gary Smalley, even though he is not a co-author on this novel. There are scenes reminiscent of The Dance, as the lead male realizes his failings as a father and husband.

My Rating:

My Recommendation: I highly recommend this book to readers of christian fiction and fans of Dan Walsh.

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.

Apr 21, 2014

Book Review: Shadow Hand by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Back Cover: This is a story about blood.
And love.
And the many things that lie between.

By her father's wish, Lady Daylily is betrothed to the Prince of Southlands. Not the prince she loves, handsome and dispossessed Lionheart, but his cousin, the awkward and foolish Prince Foxbrush. As her wedding day dawns, Daylily flees into the dangerous Wilderlands, her only desire to vanish from living memory.

But Foxbrush, determined to rescue his betrothed, pursues Daylily into a new world of magic and peril, a world where vicious Faerie beasts hold sway, a world invaded by a lethal parasite.

A world that is hauntingly familiar.

My Review: I have enjoyed each addition to Stengl's Tales of Goldstone Wood series. These books take the reader on epic adventures where good and evil collide. Without fail, these tales leave me turning the pages, eager to discover where the twisted plots will lead. Shadow Hand is no exception. This story mixes history with the present world in an unexpected way. While I enjoyed the story, I can only give this book four out of five stars because I never connected with the sniveling Foxbrush. His hero status was a bit too fantastic for complete enjoyment. Still, I was satisfied with the ending of this epic tale, and can't wait to read what Stengl has in store for us with her next book.

My Rating:

My Recommendation: I recommend this book to readers of fantasy, but would highly suggest that you read the other books in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series first.

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.

Mar 28, 2014

Book Review: Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell

Back Cover: A girl with the best of intentions. 
A heart set on Hollywood.
An empty pocketbook.


That's all it takes for Ellis Eton to find herself working as a telephone operator for a look-alike friend. For Ellis, this job will provide not only acting practice but the funds to get her a start in the movies. She's tired of always being a disappointment to her traditional Boston family, and though she can't deny the way he makes her head spin, she knows she's not good enough for Griffin Phillips, either. It's simple: avoid Griff's attentions, work, and get paid. But in typical Ellis fashion, her simple plan spirals out of control when she overhears a menacing phone call...with her very own Griff as the target.

With an endearing heroine as her lead, Siri Mitchell takes readers on a madcap tale of love and discovering one's true desires!

My Review: I have enjoyed Siri Mitchell's books in the past and was very excited to read this new release. However, a few pages in, I realized how difficult is was going to be to connect with the main character. Ellis Eton has ADHD. While it is interesting in one sense to see what it might be like in her mind, it also makes the book difficult to read. More often than not, I found myself shaking my head at the flighty behavior of the character. I couldn't trust anything she had to say. The story does have redeeming qualities. While Mitchell shows us what the mind of ADHD might look like, she also gives us a good example of realistic change in the character. The plot is full of twists and turns as Ellis tries to solve the mystery. The book followed Mitchell's easy to read, engaging style. Not everyone shares my disregard for flighty heroines.

My Rating:

My Recommendation: I recommend this book to fans of Siri Mitchell and 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.

Mar 20, 2014

Book Review: Death by the Book by Julianna Deering

Back Cover: WHEN THE VILLAGE OF FARTHERING ST. JOHN IS Stunned BY A SERIES OF MURDERS, DREW FARTHERING IS DRAWN again INTO THE SLEUTHING GAME.

Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest.

Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl's tearful confession point to the victim's double life, but what does the solicitor's murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem--except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin.

Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn't at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?

My Review: It all started with a note, written in a fancy hand, giving connections to Shakespeare, and stuck to a body by a hairpin. I was hooked and couldn't wait to read what was going to happen next. I pieced together the mystery along with Drew and tried to figure out the connection between the victims. I loved the twists and turns that the story brought and triumphed as I thought I solved the case, only to find out I'd been fooled again. In my mind, this book was going to receive a solid five star rating... that was until I reached the end. I can't express my disappointment with the ending of this book without giving spoilers, but suffice it to say, I wish that it had come together differently. Unfortunately, because the ending left me flat, I can only give this story four stars. Still, it is worth the read, because you may not agree with me about the ending.

My Rating:

My Recommendation: I recommend this book to readers of mysteries and fans of Agetha Christie.

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.