Saturday, April 25, 2015

Gripping story of hope -- A Sparrow in Terezin

Kristy Cambron set the bar high with her debut novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, and she soared to the same heights with her second Hidden Masterpiece novel, A Sparrow in Terezin.

Once again, she weaves together a present-day story with past events that include some of the horrors of World War II internment camps.  Following the two stories, separated by continents and by decades, come together carefully and at just the right pace is an emotionally gripping reading experience.

Kristy writes with such feeling and vivid detail that you can easily put yourself into the lives of her characters. And the thread of hope that runs throughout adds an additional sense of beauty to this captivating story.

While A Sparrow in Terezin might be enjoyed as a stand-alone book, I would highly recommend that you first read The Butterfly and the Violin for the sheer enjoyment of the first story and to better understand the second.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

See what other reviewers have to say about A Sparrow in Terezin here.

About the book:

Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection through one survivor's story of hope in the darkest days of a war-torn world.

Present Day---With the grand opening of her new art gallery and a fairytale wedding just around the corner, Sera James feels she's stumbled into a charmed life---until a brutal legal battle against fiancé William Hanover threatens to destroy the perfectly planned future she's planned before it even begins. Now, after an eleventh-hour wedding ceremony and a callous arrest, William faces a decade in prison for a crime he never committed, and Sera must battle the scathing accusations that threaten her family and any hope for a future.

1942---Kája Makovsky narrowly escaped occupied Prague in 1939, and was forced to leave her half-Jewish family behind. Now a reporter for the Daily Telegraph in England, Kája discovers the terror has followed her across the Channel in the shadowy form of the London Blitz. When she learns Jews are being exterminated by the thousands on the continent, Kája has no choice but to return to her mother city, risking her life to smuggle her family to freedom and peace.

Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, these two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kája must cling to the faith that sustains and fight to protect all they hold dear---even if it means placing their own futures on the line.

Purchase a copy:

About the author:

Kristy Cambron
has been fascinated with the WWII era since hearing her grandfather's stories of the war. She holds an art history degree from Indiana University and received the Outstanding Art History Student Award. Kristy writes WWII and Regency era fiction and has placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests, and is a 2013 Laurie finalist. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.

Find Kristy online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Series conclusion -- The Legacy

Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley complete their Restoration Series with The Legacy, continuing the story of the Anderson family by focusing on the youngest son, Doug.  Many aspects of Doug's life fall closely in line with the Biblical story of the prodigal son, with his parents praying that he finds his way back home.

This book, as well as the entire series, uses the lives of a fictional family to share valuable Biblical principles relating to family relationships.  The family has been through a few years of difficulties and has learned important lessons that can likely prove very helpful to many who read the stories. As the series has progressed, however, it seems the story lines have not been highly engaging and have fallen a little flat.  It does have its interesting characters and moments that are more engaging, and I would consider The Legacy worth the time to complete the series.

Thanks to Revell for providing a copy of The Legacy in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

One young man is about to discover the true cost of independence
For years, Doug Anderson has been drifting slowly but steadily away from both his family and his faith. His parents have been trying to reach him before he falls too far. His friend Christina hopes what she is seeing online isn't true. But sometimes you have to hit bottom before you're ready to grow up.

Just as things begin to settle down a bit, Doug's life takes a turn that requires every bit of faith and patience for both his family and Christina--whose growing feelings for Doug, a man who writes her off as not worth his time, keep her off balance. Will Doug's crisis finally clear his vision and help him focus on what he has right in front of him?
About the Authors:

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Dance with Gary Smalley, The Discovery, and The Reunion. He has won three Carol Awards, and two of his novels were finalists for RT Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year for 2011 and 2012. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Gary Smalley is one of the country's best-known authors and speakers on family relationships and has appeared on national television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, and TODAY, as well as numerous national radio programs. He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of many books, including the Baxter Family Redemption series with Karen Kingsbury and The Dance with Dan Walsh. Gary and his wife Norma have been married for 49 years and live in Missouri.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

More great romantic suspense -- Buried Secrets

From the captivating design on the cover of the book to the very last page of the epilogue, Irene Hannon had me fully entranced in Buried Secrets, the first book of her Men of Valor series.

"The queen of inspirational romantic suspense" (a title I have seen attributed to Irene) never disappoints!  The action begins in the prologue to this story and continues at an engaging pace throughout.  The quality of research that Irene does into law enforcement practices and other aspects of her stories provides a sense of authenticity that makes you believe you are following stories straight out of today's news. 

An added bonus that you can't get in current news stories, though, is the chance to share in the personal lives of everyone involved.  Lisa Grant and Mac McGregor, as well as the other characters, are developed with a depth that brings them alive and draws you completely into their stories. The romance and suspense work together for a page-turning experience.

I highly recommend Buried Secrets to fans of great inspirational romantic suspense. I look forward to learning more about the McGregor brothers as this series continues.

Thanks to Revell Publishers for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

They both wanted quieter, safer lives.
But crime never sleeps . . .
and killers keep killing.

After years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant is ready for the kinder, gentler life of a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes department resources. Enter ex-Navy SEAL Mac McGregor, the detective sent by the county to assist on the case. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn't want this dead person telling any tales--and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.

About the Author:

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five novels, including That Certain Summer, One Perfect Spring, and the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, three HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers' Choice Award, a Booksellers' Best Award, and a National Readers' Choice Award. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011. She lives in Missouri. Learn more at 

Suspenseful story -- The Inn at Ocean's Edge

Colleen Coble has put together a story full of suspense in The Inn at Ocean's Edge.  Every time I thought I might have something figured out in the mystery, there was another twist to the plot. This is definitely a story that will keep you guessing up to the very end.

At times, the story appeared a little forced and didn't flow as smoothly as I would have liked, and some of the characters seemed to lack a good level of depth and development.  All in all, though, this was an engaging story, and I look forward to more in the series.  There is some element of faith in the story, although it is not a major theme.

I would recommend this book to fans of clean romantic suspense.  Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review.

See what other readers have to say about The Inn at Ocean's Edge here.

About the book:

Claire’s visit to a luxury hotel in Maine awakens repressed memories, threatening all she holds dear.

In 1989, Claire Dellamare disappeared from her own fourth birthday party at the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. She showed up a year later at the same hotel, with a note pinned to her dress but no explanation. Nobody knows where Claire spent that year—and until now, Claire didn’t even know she had ever been missing.

But when Claire returns to the Hotel Tourmaline for a business meeting with her CEO father, disturbing memories begin to surface . . . despite her parents’ best efforts to keep them forgotten.

Luke Rocco lost his mother under equally mysterious circumstances—at the same time Claire disappeared. After a chance encounter reveals the unlikely link between them, Claire and Luke set out together to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful year.

With flashbacks swimming just beneath her consciousness and a murderer threatening her safety, Claire’s very life depends on unscrambling her past . . . even if her family refuses to acknowledge it. Someone—maybe everyone—is hiding something from Claire Dellamare, and it will cost her everything to drag the truth out into the light. 

Purchase a copy:

About the author:

Colleen Coble
has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.

Find Colleen online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Grace undeserved -- When Grace Sings

At the risk of sounding very redundant -- Kim Vogel Sawyer never disappoints!  When Grace Sings, book 2 in her Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy, is another great, heart-warming story by one of my favorite authors.

Alexa Zimmerman, whom we met in When Mercy Rains, really struggles with her identity and her place in her Old Order Mennonite family and community.  When she has to deal with Briley Forrester (a big-city reporter and long-term guest at her B&B) and family members -- some of whom know her secrets and some who don't, she becomes even more unsettled and unsure of who she really is.

As always, Kim draws you into her characters lives so that you feel their joys and struggles along with them.  As you share their experiences, you can't help but care what happens to them and want to help them make the right decisions.

And there is always a gentle, flowing element of faith evident throughout Kim's stories.  The idea of grace as "the purest form of mercy, offered even when it's undeserved or rejected" is a resonating theme through this book, and it makes a huge difference in the lives of the characters.

I highly recommend this Kim Vogel Sawyer story and look forward to finishing the story in When Love Returns later this year.

Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

Alexa Zimmerman wonders if the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas will ever fully accept her. Her family roots here aren’t what anyone thought when she first arrived, but she is hopeful that her culinary and hospitality skills will win the skeptics over. The bed-and-breakfast she’s operating needs to succeed so Alexa agrees to allow Briley Forrester, the hotshot reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder not knowing his real motives for being amongst the Plain folk.

But when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna-Grace Braun, the presence of extended family brings out Alexa’s insecurities and sets Briley on the trail to uncovering a web of hidden truths.

About the Author:

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling, award-winning author highly acclaimed for her gentle stories of hope. More than one million copies of her books are currently in print. She lives in central Kansas where she and her retired military husband, Don, enjoy spoiling their ten granddarlings.

Learn more about Kim at her website or on Facebook.

An introspective story -- An Empty Cup

I've only been reading Sarah Price's books for a short time, but I've already learned what to expect -- and what I expect is the unexpected!  The Empty Cup definitely fits that description.  It is a story in a familiar setting to those of us who are great fans of Amish fiction, but it shows a side of the Plain life that we don't always see.

Rosanna Zook Troyer is a fairly typical Amish wife and mother, living her life doing the things expected of such a woman.  But her past circumstances and an ever-increasing set of demands she allows to be put on herself continue to push her to a point of being an "empty cup" with very little time and energy left.

Sarah does an excellent job of bringing her readers into Rosanna's thoughts and feelings so that we can truly share in her experiences.  Journeying with Rosanna through her ups and downs is a captivating experience which also offers a challenge to take a step back and do some self-reflection about your own day-to-day choices.

I highly recommend An Empty Cup to fans of great Amish fiction or anyone who might like a nice, introspective story.

Thanks to Sarah for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

Amish woman Rosanna Zook lost her self-confidence within the confines of a loveless and abusive marriage. In the years spent quietly dealing with her burdens and dutifully caring for others, she forgot her sense of self and ability to feel. But after her first husband’s untimely death, she gets a second chance with Reuben Troyer, a godly man who welcomes Rosanna and her two children into his life.

Despite the love and respect she finds in her new marriage, Rosanna soon learns that juggling the demands of her family and church community is more than she can handle. When Rosanna becomes ill, she is forced to confront a hard truth: one empty cup cannot fill another. For a woman who has spent her life giving, will Rosanna finally be able to let go and receive?

About Sarah:

The Preiss family emigrated from Europe in 1705, settling in Pennsylvania as the area's first wave of Mennonite families. Sarah Price has always respected and honored her ancestors through exploration and research about her family history and their religion. At nineteen, she befriended an Amish family and lived on their farm throughout the years.

As a masterful storyteller, Sarah Price prides herself on presenting an authentic Amish experience for her readers. Many of her stories are based on actual people she has met and her own experiences living among the Amish over the years. Sarah now resides in Morris County, New Jersey with her family.

While she started out as an Indie author, she signed on with Realms, an imprint of Charisma House and Waterfall Press, an imprint of Brilliance Publishing. Her first book, First Impressions: An Amish Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was released in May 2014.

Get the latest news about Sarah Price on Facebook, Twitter, and