Monday, July 22, 2013

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim

About the Book:

Raised in an Old Order Mennonite community, Rachel Stoltzfus is a strong-willed single woman, content living apart from mainstream society until whispers stir the moment her belly swells with new life. Refusing to repent and name the partner in her sin, Rachel feels the wrath of the religious sect as she is shunned by those she loves most. She is eventually coerced into leaving by her brother-in-law, the bishop.

But secrets run deep in this cloistered community, and the bishop is hiding some of his own, threatening his conscience and his very soul. When the life of Rachel’s baby is at stake, however, choices must be made that will bring the darkness to light, forever changing the lives of those who call Copper Creek home.

My Review:

4 Stars

To being as you can see from the cover The Outcast is a modern retelling of the classic The Scarlet Letter, I have not read the classic but I know the general story. I can't say how well it follows the classic but I do know the story is very enjoyable. I found this to be a fast read and had to know how it would all turn out. The biggest issue I have with this book is that the back of the book description gives a little too much of the plot away. Unfortunately it is hard to pick a book to read with out reading the back of the book.

I really enjoyed Rachel and Leah in this book. They are identical twin sisters and have a bond that many wish they had with a sibling. They are pulled and torn in different directions but their love for each other never fails. I also loved Judah in this book he demonstrated a true hero. 

In conclusion I recommend this book to all. It is a great story that will pull you in and keep you reading late into the night.

In Broken Places by Michele Phoenix

About the Book:

Shelby’s life isn’t glamorous, but it is predictable—and that’s the way she likes it. A survivor of her father’s violence, she has spent a lifetime creating a safe existence devoid of dependence. But her carefully managed world begins to break when, under staggering circumstances, she becomes a single mother to four-year-old Shayla. In a drastic attempt to escape her childhood’s influence, Shelby moves to Germany, but she quickly discovers how intimately linked memory and healing are—and how honestly she must scrutinize her past in order to aspire to a richer future. As she juggles a new job, a new culture, a new daughter, and the attention of an enterprising man, Shelby’s fresh start becomes a quest for the courage to be not only a survivor, but someone who prevails.

My Review:

5 Stars

In Broken Places is the first book I have read by Michele Phoenix and it won't be last. I know I have her last years release, Tangled Ashes, sitting on my kindle to read and I can't wait to find the time to read it.

Michele Phonix wrote a gripping tale weaving hurt, bitterness, hope and so much more into this book. I really felt like I could feel the characters emotions and really wondered what I would do in her situation. Shelby has built wall upon wall to protect herself after years of abuse from her father and that all starts to breakdown when she becomes a single mother to a sweet four year old who's life is also turned upside down. I loved watching Shelby grow, mature and find healing and forgiveness, which is the only way to move forward.

This is a great book packed with powerful emotions that will leave you wanting for more and thinking well past the last page. I highly recommend this book to anyone brave enough to face real emotion and a deep story. This is not a light fluffy read and in my opinion makes it so much better. Great job Michele on an outstanding book! 

*I received and ARC from the author for the purpose of this review. Thank you!

Friday, July 12, 2013

You Don't Know Me by Susan May Warren

About the Book:

A Deep Haven Novel

Sometimes the secrets we keep to protect ourselves can be our undoing.

To all who know her, Annalise Decker is a model wife and mother. She’s a permanent member of the PTA, never misses a sporting event, and is constantly campaigning for her husband’s mayoral race.

No one knows that Annalise was once Deidre O’Reilly, a troubled young woman whose testimony put a dangerous criminal behind bars. Relocated through the Witness Security Program to the quaint harbor town of Deep Haven, Deidre received a new identity and a fresh start, which began when she fell in love with local real estate agent Nathan Decker.

Twenty years later, Annalise couldn’t be more unprepared for her past to catch up with her. When Agent Frank Harrison arrives with news that the man she testified against is out on parole and out for revenge, Annalise is forced to face the consequences of her secrets. Will she run again, or will she finally find the courage to trust those she loves most with both her past and her future?

Meet Susan:

Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.

A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!.

Find out more about Susan May at
My Review:

5 Stars

What a fantastic book this was! From the back cover to the first pages this book had me hooked and kept my brain thinking for days on end. I found this book to be a fast read since I couldn't wait to find out how it would all turn out. This is the type of book that really makes you think and wonder what it would be like to be in Annalise's shoes. Can you imagine having to change your name, identity, where you live, and how you do things? Well that is just what Annalise had to do years ago when she went into the witness protection program. No one could know her life as a kid and teenager, nothing from her past could be divulged since anything could potentially hurt her or those she loved. After finishing this book it kept making me think about that situation and how there could be someone you met in your life that could be part of the witness protection program and you would never know it.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, part suspense, part romance, there is something for all. While this book is part of the Deep Haven series it can easily be read as a standalone. Great job Susan May Warren on a thought provoking and excellent book!

*I received this book through Tyndale and LitFuse for the purpose of this review.

Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes


From the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans comes a heart-rending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. On the cusp of womanhood, Penny is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign-town, Penny’s happily ever after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn’t the last, yet the bruises that can’t be seen are the most painful of all.

When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to grow her own.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wings of Glass, go HERE.

My Review:

5 Stars

To start off with I just wanted to say that I have read all of Gina Holmes books and this one is her best! From the beautiful cover to the powerful story this book captured my attention from the very first page. This is not a complete fluffy, head in the clouds type of book but a poignant telling of how Penny met her husband, the abusive years and how she learns to laugh again and be free of the abusive relationship.

I loved how the story is told by Penny as she is telling the story to her son about his father. She recalls every single moment and really makes the reader feel like they are right along side her. Gina Holmes does an amazing job at making the reader feel ever emotion. This is not an easy book to read, but at the same one that draws you so far in that you can't help but keep reading. Great job on this book Gina and I hope many enjoy it and for some that it may help them see there is something better than living in a abusive situation.

*I received this book through Tyndale and CFBA for the purpose of this review.

Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson

About the Book:

Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness. 

My Review:

This is the first book I have read from Cindy Thomson and it was a delight to read. She really brought history to life with her captivating characters and charming story. 

I have always enjoyed stories of immigrants coming to the states through out history. I liked how this one ties in Ellis Island since that is not always the case. I find there stories to be full of trial, tragedy, hope, dreams and so much more. I also really enjoyed how Cindy Thomson tied in some of the history and background of cameras in the 1900's. It still amazes me how far we have come with cameras yet how in the end it is still all about capturing a memory.

In conclusion, this book I would recommend to fans of historical romance set in the 1900's and also to those who have a fascination with photography and cameras. This book won't disappoint.

* I received this book through Tyndale Blog Program for the purpose of this review.

Cindy ThomsonAbout the Author: 

Cindy Thomson's newest historical series begins with Grace's Pictures, June 2013, published by Tyndale House. She is also the author Celtic Wisdom (Lion Hudson),Brigid of Ireland, A Historical Novel, (Monarch Books) and co-author of Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, (University of Nebraska Press.)

She is also a mentor in the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. Her interests include genealogy, history, and baseball. Sharing the legacies of faith left by those who went before us is her passion.

She has spoken to book clubs and other small groups and enjoys appearing at several large Irish festivals across the country. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wright State University with a degree in Elementary Education and taught in private Christian school settings for nearly 20 years.

You can visit her here: