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Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

41iyrgl-shl-_sx322_bo1204203200_The Reluctant Caregiver is a realistic but inspiring non-fiction book by Canadian author, Bobbi Junior.

In the midst of work, family, and church and community involvement, Bobbi tells of her journey with her mother through the onset of dementia. This is difficult enough, but since theirs has never been a close relationship, the tension and stress can be exhausting. How do you help someone who doesn’t want your help?

This book is easy to read because it’s a story. But more than that, it is a chronicle of Bobbi’s determination to let go of her own agenda for her mom, and turn it all over to the Lord Jesus. Her recorded prayers and thoughts offer gentle encouragement to the weary soul.

At times, the story of Bobbi’s journey with her mom is very sad. When her mother becomes confused, she is difficult to understand. What does she mean when she says, “I just don’t know. Anyway, here too. I just don’t.” Or when she declares that there are people living in her house at night. Or when “the people” are going to come for the rent. She has forgotten that she owns her home.

The hardest parts for me to read were the mother’s outbursts, suspicions and accusations flung at Bobbi and her brother, when they were sacrificing time, energy and money to help her.

I found this book moving in its honesty about life. Sometimes we face obstacles that keep piling up, seemingly insurmountable. However, I also found it immensely encouraging that Jesus knows every step, and His timing is impeccable. If we allow Him to lead in our lives, He will work everything out for the best.

I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling to help a parent or elder who suffers with dementia or Alzheimers, and especially to those of the sandwich generation who already have more than enough challenges with children and jobs.

If only for Bobbi’s heartfelt prayers and talks with God, this book is a blessing. Add the story of her relationship with her mother and it’s also an invaluable resource.

Take a look at Bobbi’s website for more.

Bobbi Junior

Bobbi Junior

 

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51yrkeijldlThe Reluctant Duchess is the second book in the Ladies of the Manor series by Roseanna M. White. I thought the first one — The Lost Heiress — was a great read, and wondered if the sequel would be as good. It did not disappoint.

In this second story, we meet Rowena Kinnaird, the daughter of the proud and harsh Earl of Lochaber, also chief of the Scottish clan Kinnaird. In order to retain both titles, he offers Rowena, his heir, to Malcolm Kinnaird, who is heir to the chiefdom of the clan. However, when Malcolm treats Rowena shamefully, she tries to disappear inside herself.

Rowena’s maid, Lilias Cowan, a distant relative and loyal friend, conspires with Rowena’s father to protect Rowena from Malcolm.

Rowena is terrified of men, including her new husband. He, however, is committed to the Lord Jesus, and does his upmost to calm her fears and give her time to come out of her shell. It’s a long and bumpy journey, fraught by intrigue, pride, jealousy and greed from several quarters.

This novel is written in a manner fitting the time and place: Scotland and England in 1912. Rowena’s speech, clothing and manners are contrasted with that of the proper English aristocracy, in which she finds herself.

The reader is treated to a strong sense of place, whether in the wild wind and slashing rain of the Scottish Highlands or the staid English gardens and homes.

I enjoyed these contrasts, as well as the intensity of the plot as it progressed with several unexpected twists. But most of all, I was drawn into the beautiful love story between two strangers: the fear and anger on one side, the patience and unconditional love on the other.

Book Three, A Lady Unrivaled is now also available on Amazon.

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51spno9f2klIt’s September, 1871. Tessa Taylor has braved the journey from Detroit to Eagle Harbor in northern Michigan to escape her past, but also to lay hold of the future as a schoolteacher for the children in this rough mining community.

However, Tessa is not welcomed by the people of Eagle Harbor. She learns quickly that the mine superintendent, Percival Updegraff, runs the town in every way, and he does not appreciate a female teacher, nor someone who stands up to him. Apparently, he will stop at nothing to control her as he does every other person and aspect of life in this harsh town. Except the Bjorklund brothers.

Tessa is impressed with Alex and Michael Bjorklund and their independence from Updegraff, until she learns that they run the lighthouse. Memories of her family’s involvement with another lighthouse and the resulting loss and heartache, have made her swear never to set foot in one again.

The more Tessa learns about the sinister life of Eagle Harbor, the more determined she is to stay and change things for the better. But how will she manage to avoid her worst fears when people come to count on her? And how will she choose between two men who both desperately need her?

Author Jody Hedlund has crafted a fine novel in Undaunted Hope. It is a story of determination, faith and unexpected love. The characters are realistic and flawed, which makes them believable. I love the variety of secondary characters that inhabit Eagle Harbor. The plot is layered with tension, conflict and romance, as well as the hope that the title promises. The setting aptly describes mining life and the running of a lighthouse, and the author paces the story with mishaps and lighthearted humor in the midst of impending disaster. An altogether pleasing read.

Check out Jody’s website for other award-winning titles.

 

 

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SeaRoseLaneSea Rose Lane, a Hope Harbor novel by Irene Hannon (from Revell)

Eric Nash has no intention of staying long in Hope Harbor. He just needs a break to regroup after being downsized from a job he thought would result in partner position at the law firm in Portland.

With nothing but time on his hands, Eric decides to visit his father in Hope Harbor.

However, Eric’s homecoming is a shock on several levels. He literally runs into another vehicle while using his cell phone, his unfortunately timed introduction to the beautiful but chilly BJ Stevens. Upon returning home, he finds out that his childhood home is being renovated into a B&B, something his father hasn’t bothered to tell him. And the contractor for the reno is none other than BJ.

BJ Stevens is also a big city transplant, for reasons she is loathe to share. She has no plans to become involved with another tall, dark and handsome man who will leave her with a broken heart.

But with BJ as contractor of his father’s renovation, Eric runs into her often. Neither of them can deny the magnetism between them, but how will they work it out when their goals are diametrically opposed?

Irene Hannon, author of fifty-plus romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels, writes a tight and captivating story about learning how to deal with the past and learning to trust others and God for the future.

I found the lead characters to be realistic and well-layered, and the secondary characters rich, funny, troubled, fascinating. The harbor setting worked its magic, the plot kept rolling between doubt and hope, and the theme of “my brother’s keeper” spoke loudly and movingly.

If you like clean, romantic fiction, the Hope Harbor novels are for you. Check out Irene Hannon’s other books on her website.

 

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51l0eOo6LjLThis was my first taste of Lisa Harris’ fiction, and I loved it. Vendetta is the first book in the Nikki Boyd Files, a series set in the wild woods of northeast Tennessee.

Nikki Boyd is a special agent with the Missing Person’s Task Force. The primary reason she joined the force is to reunite missing persons with their families, and to stop those who seek to abduct and kill innocent people. People like her younger sister, Sarah. Nikki has spent the past ten years trying to catch the man who took her sister and five other young women.

One year ago, Nikki’s best friend, Katie Grant, died in a boating accident. Nikki plans to spend the anniversary with Katie’s husband, Tyler, remembering and honoring Katie, but a call comes in that another teen has gone missing. Nikki asks Tyler to help in the investigation.

As urgency escalates, Nikki becomes suspicious that the perpetrator of this crime is connected with the man who took her sister Sarah ten years ago, and that very possibly, she is his real target. She puts herself in danger to catch him, but has no idea how close she is to becoming his next victim.

Author, Lisa Harris, displays great skill in bringing her readers into the story and keeping them hooked. Her book is exceptionally well-researched. Tension continually ramps up with each new twist to the plot. Characters are real in that although they aren’t perfect, they are personable and unique. We feel a great affinity for Nikki as she delves into the darkness of this crime. We wonder when she will realize her attraction to the man she works with. And we hope and pray for the girl who has gone missing.Lisa-Harris-304x400

This book is well crafted, a clean and professional read. I’d recommend Vendetta to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense. This volume includes an excerpt from the next book in the series: Missing, due out in the summer of 2016. The third book, Pursued, is set for April 2017 release.

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51+AdFU2LmL._SY346_This Romantic Suspense in the first in the Holly Anna Paladin Mystery series by Christy Barritt. I loved this book and look forward to more from this author and this series.

Holly Paladin has recently discovered she has a rare form of cancer, and has been given a year to live. Instead of dwelling on her disease, she decides to “commit random acts of kindness,” volunteer wherever and whenever she can, be a supportive friend and family member, and avoid the calls from her oncologist.

However, in usual Holly Anna style, she immediately gets herself into deep trouble. If the authorities find out where she’s been, she could be implicated with murder and obstruction of justice, to say nothing of ruining her brother’s chances for the senatorial race, and her sister’s upcoming wedding. With all this in mind, she certainly can’t tell them about her cancer.

Holly and her friend Jamie manage to hide their involvement, but when her high school nemesis shows up in town—as a police officer—the stakes go up. If only Chase Dexter weren’t so handsome…and  so nice.

Holly and Chase’s investigations lead them to suspicions including friends and associates, to street kids and even the other senatorial candidate.

I listened to this book on audio, although I also have the ebook, and I couldn’t put it down. Holly’s wild antics, her loveable if flawed reasoning, and her 1960s femininity, combine to give this book flair and fun.

Note: I’ve read a couple of Barritt’s Squeaky Clean Mysteries too, and loved them.

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51qTc22sdVLGreat romantic suspense from author Mary Ellis.

Five stars from me *****

Niki Price, who has recently been promoted to partner in her cousin Nate’s private investigation firm in New Orleans, gets a call from an old friend, Danny Andre. He’s in desperate trouble and begs her to help. She doesn’t take him seriously until it’s too late.

Nate and Niki go to Memphis to investigate the murder, with the help of Danny’s sister, Isabelle. Unpleasant experiences between Nate and Isabelle from high school, and her continued haughtiness, create extra tension. However, Niki and Isabelle get along fine.

Between them, they discover Danny was a sax player in clubs on Beale Street, but that’s about all they can find out. Gradually, the truth begins to come up, revealing Danny as a good Samaritan who would help anyone in need. So why would someone kill him? What really happened on Beale Street the night Danny died?

When Niki oversteps her boundaries with the Memphis police, Nate asks her to stay out of the investigation. While putting in time at the hotel where her rich fiancé has them staying, she unearths another mystery, one from many years ago. Add to that a man who is stalking Isabelle and the tension ratchets up considerably.

Although the book deals with serious subjects, the mood is light, mostly due to Niki’s wacky sense of humor, and the surprising and sometimes unethical situations she finds herself in.

I really enjoyed this book. The humor is an effective offset to the murder and the street life. There are a lot of relationships between opposites. Niki comes from a normal home while her fiancé is wealthy. Niki, young and pretty, loves seniors and takes time to listen to them and care for them. Isabelle covers her fears and insecurities with haughtiness, but Niki finds her heart and helps her through her struggles.

I didn’t realize until I was halfway through this book that it is a sequel. The first book in the Secrets of the South Mysteries is called Midnight on the Mississippi, and I plan to read it as soon as I can. The fact that I didn’t know this was the second book shows the author did a good job seguing into the sequel.

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