05 May 2016

Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

In a desperate time, can Neva find forgiveness for a grievous wrong—and make room for hope?

Neva Shilling has a heavy load of responsibility while her husband travels to neighboring communities and sells items from his wagon. In his absence, she faithfully runs the Shilling Mercantile, working to keep their business strong as the Depression takes its toll, and caring for their twins.

When a wagon pulls up after supper, Neva and her children rush out—and into the presence of the deputy driving a wagon carrying three young children. The deputy shocks her with the news that Warren and his wife have died, insisting it was their last request that the three children go live with “Aunt Neva.”

Neva’s heart is shattered as she realizes that Warren’s month-long travels were excuses for visits with his secret family. She wants nothing more than to forget Warren, but can she abandon these innocent children to an orphanage? Yet if she takes them in, will she ever be able to see them as more than evidence of her husband’s betrayal and love them the way God does?

Carrie's Review

Five Stars *****

I listened to this novel as an audible.com download. I have a yearly membership. This story is set in the 1930's, a hard time all across America.  Imagine believing you have a loving husband whose travels for your business turn out to be time spent with another family -- then having the offspring from that other union brought to you to raise during the Great Depression? 

This novel has multiple points of view, which I found distracting at first but I think give the story a broader perspective. We have Neva's, her son Bud's, the sheriff's, and a neighbor/suitor's perspectives throughout the book.  Having two adult males, both hero prospects, is something I'm not sure I've seen in other CBA novels. 

The narrator has a rather depressed-sounding voice. At the beginning of the book this somewhat works for the story. She does lighten up some as the book goes forward. But I don't hear the hope in her voice that I imagine the author intended, hence the title. Still, if you prefer audiobooks or require them, this is a good listen and you can get past the narration because the story is compelling.

Room for Hope is a great read by Kim Vogel Sawyer, with many unique elements. I highly recommend it.

Bibliotherapy elements: Death of a spouse, bigamy, illegitimate children, raising someone else's children, financial struggles, hope in Christ, and being shunned by "friends." I think this story is also good for bibliotherapy for someone who is feeling a little down as the tone of the book won't grate on you like it might if you were in a really chipper mood. 

Question: Have you read any of Kim Vogel Sawyer's other books? Which ones?

03 May 2016

Noela reviews HER ONE AND ONLY by Becky Wade

Her One and Only
Bethany House Publishers (April 26, 2016)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

Ingenious, intriguing, and absolutely irresistible! Becky Wade, surely the Queen of Contemporary romance, delivers a tale that generates sparks on every page within ‘Her One and Only!’ A romance that sizzles, a foreboding mystery that baffles, and a powerful and emotive theme of trusting God—all barely even begin to reveal what an enjoyable tale that the ‘one and only’ author Becky Wade has created.

When the Mustang’s popular football star Gray Fowler continues to receive escalating threats from an unknown source, he is assigned an around the clock security team. The brawny, macho, chauvinistic player scoffs at one of his protection agents—a lithe, attractive woman named Dru. But the former marine who’s also a black belt, surprises him by her determination and persistent immunity to his charms. Gray is drawn to this leather-clad ‘super-hero’ but because of his tormented childhood and his parent’s dismal example, he’s sworn off love and commitment. On the other side of things, feisty and confident Dru has a career-tarnished reputation and is fiercely determined to prove herself on the job. And that means no matter how alluring this big football guy is, she will keep everything strictly business. Plus, she has a client she needs to keep alive from a deadly stalker. Can she achieve both?

The electrifying chemistry between Gray and Dru is testimony to the strength of their personalities. Author Becky Wade has nailed it by creating two intricate and flawed characters that connected perfectly—even while irritating each other! It was pure delight watching Dru and Gray’s resistance to each other crack, and witnessing how they bounced off one another with their combined wit. Behind my smiles, however, hovered an edgy uncertainty surrounding the identity of the stalker. The mystery of the anonymous assailant kept me guessing and in suspense constantly. Complimenting the romance and suspense is a touching, inspirational thread on the heartbreaking struggle and anguish of infertility and miscarriage. And of the very real difficulties to trust God fully for life, for love, and for courage. Highly recommended!

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.*
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This book may be purchased through: AMAZON; CBD; BAM; B&N and your local bookstore. The Kindle version will be available May 26.

GIVEAWAY: Becky Wade is generously giving away WINNER'S CHOICE of either a paperback copy or ebook of HER ONE AND ONLY to one blessed commenter. *Outside of US, ebook only.* To be eligible, please leave your email address for contact purposes, written (at) and (dot) to protect yourself against spammers.

01 May 2016

Caryl McAdoo -- "Fluffy be Gone"

Fluffy be Gone  
By Caryl McAdoo

No Fluffy isn’t my cat or pet bunny. It’s what I’ve been since in my teens with a few brief respites. Praise the Lord that my sweetheart said he prefers fluffy. I weighed one hundred sixty pounds at sixteen when we met and gained twenty by the time we married two years later. All my life—up to a point about thirty years ago—I’ve fought this fluffy stuff.
Back in the 80s, in my thirties, I gave up the fight.  Got with my Father and made some changes, wanting to accept me and like me just the way He made me. I can’t imagine why I ever thought I could improve on His creation and plan for His daughter.
I quit cutting, curling, and coloring my hair. No more make-up for me either—ever. I also told Him I was done dieting. That I would be obedient and if Holy Spirit said, “Don’t eat that” I wouldn’t. And so, we rocked along happy together. He continued to bless me. My hair grew longer which my husband loved.
For a while, several years, I did alright. We got the grandsugar boys (took in four in 2002, ages 6, 4, 3, and newborn) and inherited twelve quarter horses. Both additions put more exercise into my life. But then, when we got all the little fellers in school and I started sitting at the computer all day writing…my weight went up.
And up and up.
One time that I spoke with Abba about it, I said, “But I hardly eat anything fattening. This isn’t fair.”
Holy Spirit came back at me. I love God’s sense of humor. He asked, “But what do you drink?” Huh? My sweet tea? So I fasted that summer, nothing but water and lost a little more.
Then in July of last year, my brother-in-law visited and had lost fifteen or twenty pounds. He shared a high protein/low carb/no sugar weight loss program with Ron and I and offered to help us get started if we’d commit. It was about a thousand a month for both of us. But we committed and got started, believing God was in it.
The weight literally fell off. And we were eating so much more healthy. To hike the results, I started drinking Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) water too…no more sugar sweetened tea…I use stevia. Four cups of vegetables a day (plus some) eight ounces of protein plus other protein in shakes, bars, and even pancakes!

Thanks to Walden Farms’ sugarfree syrup and other products, I’ve never felt deprived, and certainly not starved. As of this date, I’m seventy pounds lighter, and I know that I’ll never ever weigh two hundred and fifty-seven pounds again. It’s helped so much with pains and energy and stamina.
As in all things I do, I give God the glory…for bringing the high protein/low carb/no sugar model into our lives, then showing us a less expensive way to keep going using the same protocol. He has led me every step of the way, and told me what not to put in my mouth. I turn sixty-six in less than a month and still plan to lose about thirty more pounds—at least.
It has been a lifelong issue, and with God’s help, I have been able to overcome it. He’s strengthened me on days I was weak and encouraged me to keep going when I’d get stuck on plateaus…I’m on one now, but still committed. I have no doubt that I’ll reach my goal of losing one hundred pounds.
And my most precious prince of a husband lost over fifty pounds, too—much more healthy on our hearts and everything. Extra weight can be so detrimental to our wellbeing. I would never ever want to make anyone feel bad about extra weight. I rejoice when friends post they’ve lost weight, and am thankful to God for helping me join their ranks!  

Giveaway: I'm giving away a paperback copy of Sins of the Mothers, one of Caryl's many wonderful books.     

28 April 2016

Giveaway and Review of Sofi's Bridge by Christine Lindsay

Sofi's Bridge

White Rose/ Pelican Book Group (May 1, 2016)

Review by Bonnie Roof

Five Stars *****

Suffering nightmares from the shock of being the only witness to her father's drowning, 16-year old Trina Andersson re-lives the incident, and her inability to save her father, when she flees the house in her nightgown and runs down the beach to the dock. Taking a small boat out into Puget Sound, she stands up and is thrown overboard when a wave nudges the boat. Jumping in to save her, gardener Neil Macpherson looses his grip on the life ring while wind and waves flail at him and Trina. Hand over hand, 21-year old Seattle debutant Sofi Andersson pulls in the rope and throws the ring out again in an effort to save her sister. The tide fights to drag Neil and Trina, but with housemaid Fridas' help - Sofi manages to haul them in.

Thus begins Christine Lindsay's 'Sofi's Bridge', the gripping story of the daughter of a Swedish family (whose wealth had been derived from the paternal immigrant timber baron grandfather) - and their gardener, "on-the-run" from his home in Belfast, Ireland. Fred Andersson was a masterful engineer who had designed bridges, daughter Sofi's dream is to design bridges like her father, daughter Trina, at 16-years of age had surpassed her father in the art of sailing, and has always been a risk-taker, affluent wife Roselle is the daughter of a poor farmer. 

Wanting only the best for his family, Fred had never wanted Sofi to work or have hobbies that interfered with her social obligations. When his unscrupulous business partner, Charles Bolton, coerces Roselle to sign papers to commit Trina to a sanitorium, by keeping Roselle supplied with the drug laudanum - Sofi flees with Trina, Neil, and housekeeper Matilda to an abandoned cabin on her grandparents' property near Orchard Valley in the Cascade Mountains. Neil's caring personality and skills bring calmness, peace, and help to Andersson family members and the town of Orchard Valley - however, what secrets does he hold, and how will they affect his growing attraction to Sofi?

Murder, romance, suspense, mystery, adventure, courage, healing, an unveiling of secrets, and a strong sense of faith are some of the elements included in 'Sofi's Bridge'. The characters are perfectly developed, the settings beautifully described, and nationality customs enlightening. An engaging story that kept me captive to the end - 'Sofi's Bridge' was the first of Christine Lindsay's books I had read. I'm eagerly looking forward to reading her other books, including her next release: 'Finding Sarah, Finding Me' - a memoir releasing August 2016. 

BR: I was provided a PDF of 'Sofi's Bridge' by the author for my honest review and opinion, which I have given.

Giveaway: Leave a comment along with your email address written (at) and (dot) to protect yourself from spammers -- for a chance to win an ebook copy!


26 April 2016

Noela's Review of Sofi's Bridge By Christine Lindsay

Sofi's Bridge

Pelican Book Group (May 1, 2016)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

Having read an early introduction to Sofi’s Bridge, my hand went up to give an emphatic yes to reading the rest! And I can assure you, it lived up to its promise. Author Christine Lindsay’s masterful pen delivers a captivating and mysterious atmosphere, gripping emotions, and vivid descriptions—via an exceptional story that will steal away your day, or hours!

Ever since the tragic accident at sea that took the life of sisters Sofi and Trina’s father, Sofi Andersson’s life has never been the same. Their mother is enslaved to a laudanum addiction, and sixteen-year-old Trina is locked away somewhere in her mind, traumatized and bound by a secret that only she knows. At just twenty-one years, Sofi’s small shoulders carry the weight of caring for her family. So when family friend and business partner Charles, who seriously gave me the chills, determines that Trina should be locked away in an asylum, Sofi flees in the night with her sister to what she hopes is a safe place.

While working as a gardener for the Andersson family, Irishman Neil Macpherson discovers Sofi’s clandestine plans, and concerned for the sisters, he insists on accompanying them. Although his admiration for the tenacious Sofi grows, he is simply a common gardener to her. If she knew he was in actual fact a doctor, he imagines she may view him differently. At any rate, he is restrained by his secrets and a past that if caught up with him, could see him clapped in irons and extradited by Scotland Yard. Neil’s honor has him striving to see Trina recovered and assisting Sofi, though by remaining in one place leaves him vulnerable. Can he unlock Trina’s tortured mind before Charles catches up with the sisters? Or will the police catch up with him first? What might it take for Neil and Sofi to cross the bridge over the chasm of secrets and problems that separate them?

Like the stretch of Sofi’s bridge, ‘twas a tale that spanned the gamut of my emotions. I adored reading about the Sofi and Neil’s sweet and torturous burgeoning love, making my heart clench and my eyes sting. I was inspired by their eventual realizations of needing to stand back and allow the Lord to work and to save. And the unsavory characters kept me on my toes with angst and chills. Sofi’s Bridge is an outstanding tale for which I can heartily recommend! 

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of 'Sofi's Bridge' in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.
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'SOFI'S BRIDGE' may be purchased through AMAZON, BAM, and B&N

*The e-book of 'Sofi's Bridge' is available right now, and the paperback will be released in a few days time on May 1st, although you may pre-order it now!!

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GIVEAWAY: Christine Lindsay is kindly giving away an E-BOOK of SOFI'S BRIDGE to one person who leaves a comment below! To be eligible, please leave your email address for contact purposes, written (at) and (dot) to protect yourself against spammers.

23 April 2016

Three Reasons to Read Candace Calvert's "The Recipe"

The Recipe by Candace Calvert
Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Adorable Contemporary Novella
Five Stars *****
I am not a contemporary romance reader, in general, but I recently had the opportunity to read this novella as part of a collection in a paperback book. Candace Calvert vividly creates heroine, Aimee, a hospital dietician and pastry chef wannabe, aims to win a bake-off but after an altercation with a difficult nursing assistant leaves her serving extra time at the nursing home, she's short on time.  But, she also gets to spend extra time with the grandson of a frail resident, a lady who seems bent on letting her life ease away.

Why you should read this novella:

1) Crisp writing. Candace Calvert knows how to convey information succinctly but beautifully in this novella!

2) Engaging characters. For her to engage my historical romance loving heart, you know she had to have created a hero and heroine who were compelling, and they are!

3) Lovely voice. That indefinable something that makes the book distinctly a Candace Calvert book. She has a hopefulness and spriteliness in her voice that propels the book forward and reflects a strong Christian World view.

This is an adorable read!

Giveaway: A paperback copy of Chance of Loving You with this 2015 story by Candace Calvert and also a story from Susan May Warren and Terri Blackstock. Answer this question: Do you read contemporary romance and have you read any of Candace's books before?

21 April 2016

Teresa S Mathews Reviews A FLIGHT OF ARROWS by Lori Benton


Waterbrook Press

Reviewed by Teresa S. Mathews
5 Stars*****

Once again the talented author Lori Benton has created a story so powerful, I have to admit I ran a gamut of emotions while reading it. In book one of the Pathfinder series, The Woods Edge, we are told the story of Reginald Aubrey, a grieving father whose love for his wife, causes him to exchange his dead newborn son for a baby boy born to a white mother (Good Voice) and Indian father (Stone Thrower). In this book two, A Flight of Arrows, that story continues.

It has been twenty years since that fateful day that Reginald Aubrey made the choice that forever changed his life and the lives of Stone Thrower, Good Voice and their sons. When the twin now known as William Aubrey, finds out his true heritage he runs away to join forces with the British, leaving behind his grieving family. Now Reginald, and Stone Thrower must put aside any ill feelings so they can find William and bring him home.

Two Hawks, the twin raised with their Oneida people has a reason of his own for wanting to be the one to bring his brother home; he wishes to gain trust and respect from Reginald so he can ask for his daughter, Anna’s hand in marriage. Will they be able to find William before the war snatches him away from them permanently?

Ms. Benton is a stickler for details and I must commend her for her excellent research skills. This story will not only entertain you, it will share details of American history that you may not have known. Some may find the first few chapters a little slow moving as the scene is set for the story line, but I promise if you will continue you will be highly rewarded.

I was moved to tears on more than one occasion as the Love of our Heavenly Father was displayed through-out this dynamic story. I was especially moved by a passage spoken by the character Daniel Clear Day “The path the Creator has laid for us to walk has not been an easy path. Not always straight. And it will not be easy in the coming days. But when Creator said He would make rough ways smooth, I believe He was not talking about moving us to an easy path. He meant He was going to make our stride long enough, our legs strong enough, to carry us through. And when we reach our limits, He puts us on His back and He carries us and shields our eyes and hearts from that which would destroy our souls.” Thank you Lori for including this quote, it spoke encouragement to this new widow that walks such a path.  

Thanks to Waterbrook Press for providing me a copy of this 
book in exchange for my honest opinion

You can purchase this book and others by Ms. Benton at Amazon
CBC, BAM and other bookstores

GIVEAWAY: Lori Benton has graciously offered to give away a paperback copy of A Flight of Arrows to one blessed commenter. (US Entrants Only!!) To be eligible please leave your email address written (at) and (dot) to protect yourself from spammers.

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