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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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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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51uvZAWyVxLThe Red Door Inn is the first book in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series, so we can look forward to more experiences with this fine set of characters. This first book is endorsed by Max Lucado, Colleen Coble and Becky Wade, so I was expecting a well-written tale, and I was not disappointed.

Marie Carrington is troubled and alone, running from a traumatic experience that has left her unable to trust anyone. She meets Jack Sloane on the ferry to Prince Edward Island and he offers her a temporary place to stay. Jack is an older man who is determined to carry out his dear late wife’s wishes to transform the place he’s bought into a B&B.

Jack’s nephew, Seth Sloane, also lives at the B&B. Trying to get back on his feet after his fiancé conned him out of his construction business and everything he owned, Seth is severely suspicious that Marie is up to stealing everything from his too-trusting uncle.

Even though Marie and Seth feel strong attraction to each other, their past experiences won’t allow them to trust.

Several other of the village’s unique inhabitants play parts in this captivating story of the healing power of Christ’s love and His plan for His children.

My favorite character is Jack, who trusts people and believes the best in them, even putting himself and his inn at risk to help them. Marie’s gifted interior design abilities piqued my interest, and also brought the setting into greater focus.

I found both the cover and the title intriguing, as well as the setting. As a Canadian, I’m happy to see a series set in my country. I’ve visited PEI, and it’s a completely different pace of life than the mainland. The author has done an excellent job of portraying that.

Johnson’s writing is tight and clean, the characters are realistic—I especially love the quirks that differentiate them from one another—and I learned to love them as I read. The author uses tension well, from hidden secrets to romance, from financial struggles and time constraints to trust issues.

I love it when the first chapter of the next book in the series is featured at the end of the story. Looks like the next part of the series will focus on one of the secondary characters from the first book: chef Caden. I look forward to more time spent at The Red Door Inn.

This book is published by Revell and I would classify it as a Christian Romance. A worthwhile read. For more information on Liz Johnson and her writing, visit her website.

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51Y8gZvg0mL._SY346_This first book in the Serena Jones Mystery series begins with the words: “I should have listened to my mother.” The story ends with the same words, but don’t jump ahead.

Serena Jones, twenty-eight and single, has joined the FBI as an art crime detective. She loves the work, although it often puts her in danger. One of her quirks is that she’s terrified of elevators, which can be dicey when she’s escaping down multiple flights of stairs in high heels.

Serena has a curious relationship with her boss, Tanner Calhoun, who is about ten years her senior. She tries to follow his directives, but often her own ideas take precedence, resulting in frustration between them, coupled with a certain level of mutual attraction.

Nate Butler, the superintendent of Serena’s apartment building, is more her age and also very good looking. He can be depended upon to rescue her in times of trouble.

A Fool & His Monet carries a creative plot with a good supply of red herrings and possible suspects. The story it a fast-paced whodunit with many twists and turns and double-backs.

Author Sandra Orchard has produced a tightly written, clean and professional book that is superbly researched. It sparks with tension, a strong plotline, an intriguing romantic triangle, realistic characters, credible settings and good action.

The mood is light, fed by wacky humor that will be sure to tickle the reader. On page 13, Serena refers to the bullet-riddled desk as “newly aerated.” She tends to compare people to movie stars. She admits that no matter how quirky her family is, she craves their approval. And she lives among nosy neighbors.

The first chapter of Orchard’s next book appears at the end of this one, which is enticing because although the necessary storylines have been tied up for the first book, there are still some threads left to be resolved over the course of the series.

A Fool & His Monet has been endorsed by a list of excellent authors such as Susan May Warren, Lorena McCourtney, Patricia Bradley and Christy Barritt. It’s published by Revell, categorized as mystery fiction, Christian fiction, detective fiction.

I encourage you to come along for the ride. It’s a blast.

press-kit-headshotSandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning author of mysteries and romantic suspense  She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America and The Word Guild (Canada). A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and writes full time…when not doting on her young grandchildren.  Learn more about Sandra’s books and bonus features at www.SandraOrchard.comor connect at www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard

Sandra is represented by Steve Laube of the Steve Laube Agency.

 

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51fZvXBo0hL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

For me, this book started out slowly. I continued reading anyway, and I’m glad I did, because it turned out to be well worth the time commitment.

The story in brief:

Police officer Michael Keane has returned from the dark, dead-end streets of Chicago to his hometown of Hidden Springs, Kentucky, where things are quiet and calm. That’s when the corpse shows up on the steps of the courthouse. So much for small-town sanctuary.

Through the progression of the story, we see Michael’s background, at least what he can remember since the dark night when his parents were killed in a car crash and he almost died as well. We meet his straight-laced but caring Aunt Lindy; his childhood girl friend, Alex; teenaged Anthony, whom Michael is trying to watch over against the boy’s wishes; and the rest of the unique residents of Hidden Springs.

Now that there’s been a murder, Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane must search out the murderer. He must observe people and figure out what makes them tick. Which of them could be capable of murder?

 

Even when I realized “whodunit,” there were still a couple of subplots to keep me turning pages to see how the author would bring all things to a finish.

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann Gabhart has written many books in different genres, and this cozy mystery is certainly entertaining and inspiring.

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