Keepers of the Covenant

October 14th, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant

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By Lynn Austin

The Old Testament Comes to Thrilling Life in the Latest from Lynn Austin

In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king’s palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.

When the battles come to an end, Ezra’s brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude’s widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple—but the fight to keep God’s Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges . . . this one for the survival of God’s covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.

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Lynn Austin’s Return to Me took the first Jewish exiles from Babylon back to Jerusalem. This book is centered on the struggles of those who remained in Babylon.

Life there is not easy for Jews who want to remain true to their faith and heritage. The children, as well as adults, are drifting away from God. So many are enticed by the Babylonian lifestyle while being looked down upon by the Gentiles.

Ezra, a quiet man who studies and teaches the Torah, is forced into a leadership role. Then he is forced to lead a ragtag army to protect his people from being wiped off the face of the earth.

These Jewish survivors then have to continue the struggle. They want to travel to Jerusalem to join those who went before.

Ms Austin’s stories always enlighten me regarding aspects of life in Biblical times. Be prepared with that box of tissues as you may very well shed a tear or two.

If you start very early and read until very late you might be able to read this book in one day. I don’t think you’ll be able to do that as life has a tendency to get in the way. But you’ll not want to lay this book down.

***A special thank you to litfuse for providing a review copy.***

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Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.

A Rightfully Earned Nobel Peace Prize

October 14th, 2014

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On Oct. 14, 1964, the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Deceived

October 8th, 2014

Deceived

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By Irene Hannon

A grieving mother. A mysterious child. And a dedicated PI who’s determined to solve the puzzle.

For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she’s convinced it’s her son. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help. As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating “accident” begins to look increasingly suspicious. But if Kate’s son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden–and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.

As Irene Hannon’s many fans have come to expect, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plotline that accelerates to an explosive finish.

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She left Hilton, New York where it happened. Maybe she could leave some of the grief and memories behind. But S. Louis brought it all back to life one day in the mall.

It couldn’t be, but it certainly planted doubt and hope in her mind. Was that really her son come back to life? She couldn’t catch up with the man and boy, but she could report it to mall security and the police – not that it did any good.

So on to Phoenix, Inc.and hopefully they won’t make fun of her. After private investigator Connor Sullivan agrees to help her, the action really begins.

It’s not an easy case and it turns dangerous. It also kept me guessing. Just about the time I thought I had everything figured out, it changed.

I haven’t figured out how a person can not love Irene Hannon’[s books. Since there are 3 investigators in Phoenix, Inc., and this is the third book in the Guardian of Justice series, I have to presume Ms Hannon’s next book will start a new series. I’m looking forward to it.

***A special thank you to Lanette Haskins for providing a review copy.***

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Irene Hannon is the author of more than forty-five novels, including Vanished, Trapped, and the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers’ Choice Award, and a National Readers’ Choice Award. In addition, she is a Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its “Top 10 Inspirational Fiction” list for 2011. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

The Sea House

October 7th, 2014

The Sea House

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Elisabeth Gifford’s debut novel, The Sea House, is a story of loss and longing set in the wild isolation of the Outer Hebrides.

Scotland, 1860.

Reverend Alexander Ferguson, naive and newly-ordained, takes up his new parish, a poor, isolated patch on the Hebridean island of Harris. His time on the island will irrevocably change the course of his life, but the white house on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after Alexander departs. It will be more than a century before the Sea House reluctantly gives up its secrets.

Ruth and Michael buy the grand but dilapidated building and begin to turn it into a home for the family they hope to have. Their dreams are marred by a shocking discovery. The tiny bones of a baby are buried beneath the house; the child’s fragile legs are fused together — a mermaid child. Who buried the bones? And why? Ruth needs to solve the mystery of her new home — but the answers to her questions may lie in her own past.

Based on a real nineteenth-century letter to The Times in which a Scottish clergyman claimed to have seen a mermaid, The Sea House is an epic, sweeping tale of loss and love, hope and redemption, and how we heal ourselves with the stories we tell.

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This is a haunting story that takes place then and now. Ruth and Michael bought the Sea House – a very run down house, but in the perfect location looking out to the sea. This was a house that took months of hard labor before they had even two rooms inhabitable.

Their dreams were for the house to become an inn, but the place was becoming a money pit. Oh, yes, there’s also that thing about finding the bones of a mermaid baby and the ghost.

Ruth’s research about mermaids took her (and us) back a century to when the Sea House was a vicarage occupied by a young vicar – one who was also interested in mermaids or selkies as they were sometimes called. The vicar’s story includes Lord Marstone and the people he unfeelingly drove from their homes as well as his search for the selkies.

This was a very intriguing story as Ms Giff ord wove it back and forth between the different characters. It made me want to go visit the Sea House. It was also satisfying to discover the secret of the mermaids. I’m relly looking forward to Ms Gifford’s next book. Can it get any better than this one?

***A special thank you to litfuse for providing a review copy.***

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Elisabeth Gifford grew up in a vicarage in the industrial Midlands. She studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University. She is the author of The House of Hope: A Story of God’s Love and Provision for the Abandoned Orphans of China and has written articles for The Times and the Independent and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford OUDCE and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway College. She is married with three children. They live in Kingston on Thames but spend as much time as possible in the Hebrides.

 

 

The Stress Cure

September 29th, 2014

The Stress Cure

9781441245205

By Linda Evans Shepherd

We live in a world filled to the brim with advice, and when it comes to dealing with stress, there’s plenty of advice to go around. Sleep more, eat better, avoid this, seek out that. But more ideas about how to cope are not necessarily what we need if we’re stressed and anxious.

What we need is a cure.

The true remedy to stress, Linda Evans Shepherd says, is prayer. In this inspiring book, she shows you how to recognize God’s continual presence in your life and yield your troubles to the Prince of Peace. Through captivating stories, explorations of fascinating biblical characters, and examples of deeper-than-ever prayers, she brings within your grasp the peace that passes understanding. If you are overwhelmed by all of the urgent demands on your time, this book offers you a lifeline to true peace.

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Day by day, as you read this book, you can feel the stress leaving and peace descending.

Stress can cause or worsen physical health problems, and affect emotional health and relationships. Our spiritual well being is threatened, as well. This book guides you as you learn to trust God to help control reactions to situations that previously caused us stress.

This is a book that should be read day by day so that one has time to absorb and process the meat therein. It is not one to be :raced through” if one wants to find the peace in yielding and trusting our heavenly Father. After all, we wouldn’t want to get stressed out while learning to change our reaction to ‘so called’ stressful situations.

Thank you, Linda Evans Shepherd, for reminding me to trust and lean on my Lord more fully.

***A special thank you to Lanette Haskins for providing a review copy.***

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Linda Evans Shepherd is an award-winning author, a popular speaker, and a radio personality. The president of Right to the Heart Ministries, she is the author of When You Don’t Know What to Pray and Experiencing God’s Presence. She and her husband live in Colorado. Learn more at www.stressprayers.com.

Tried & True

September 23rd, 2014

Tried & True

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By Mary Connealy

Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister—and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk—they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”—but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

ISLAND BREEZES

The Wilde sisters are wild enough to pass as men and fight in the Civil War. Can they continue that act as they homestead using the special exemptions they received as war veterans?

Shannon and Bailey were comfortable wearing britches and homesteading. Kylie was not. She started letting her hair grow and wearing skirts when she was alone. She just wanted to put in her time, sell her place to her father and find someplace civilized to live.

Unfortunately she got caught in skirts by Aaron, the land agent. Then she had to make up that cockamamie story about her brother Kyle doing the homesteading. Things seem to only go downhill from there.

Complications abound from there. A brute of a man wants her land, as does her father. She and Aaron become quite fond of each other, but he can’t help her keep up the pretense of being a man. It might cut two years off the time before the land belonged to Kylie free and clear, but Aaron couldn’t lie to the U.S. government. He just wants to do his job and settle out on the frontier. Can that possibly work out with a woman who wants the big city life?

Mary Connealy’s books always leave me wanting more. I’m looking forward to Now and Forever, the second book in the Wild at Heart series.

***A special thank you to litfuse for providing a review copy.***

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Mary Connealy writes fun and lively “romantic comedy with cowboys” for the inspirational market. She is the author of the successful Kincaid Brides, Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie’s Daughters series, and she has been a finalist for a Rita and Christy Award and a two time winner of the Carol Award. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters.

Love’s Fortune

September 22nd, 2014

Love’s Fortune

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By Laura Frantz

With two very different horizons stretched out before her, one young woman stands on the cusp of an unknown future.

Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena “Wren” Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas’s vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Wren makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world–family members she’s never met, dances she’s never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew.

As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes’ shipping line. Even with his help, Wren feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?

With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty.

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Wren loves her music and her home in Kentucky, but is about to set out on a river tip to visit relatives she’s never seen in Pennsylvania.

But how do you go from barefoot to high society? Wren really does try to fit in. She’s found a man she thinks is quite special, but he belongs to her cousin. Instead of trying for James Sackett’s attention she finds solace in her violin.

Too bad that violin ends up bringing her so much grief. Wren just wants to escape back home to Kentucky where she can have the music and beauty of her home instead of the anxiety and misery of unrequited love.

Laura Frantz always holds my attention throughout her books. I love the historical details. I enjoy learning and I always learn something new in each of her books. Thank you, Ms Frantz.

***A special thank you to Lanette Haskins for providing a review copy.***

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Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the author of several books, including The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Love’s Reckoning, and Love’s Awakening. She currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons. Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net.

Constitution Day

September 18th, 2014

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Go here to read the Constitution of the United States of America.

Go here for a free online course in the constitution.

Joyful

September 17th, 2014

Joyful

Joyful

By Shelley Shepard Gray

A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.

ISLAND BREEZES

It’s good to be back in Sugarcreek with the Beiler family and Elizabeth Nolt, Randell’s former fiancee’. Things were beginning to get out of hand with the family. Randall’s cooking ability was very limited and forget keeping up with the house and laundry.

They needed the help, and Elizabeth needed the money, so Levi asked her to come work for them. Randall had no idea what Micah and Levi were up to until Elizabeth showed up the next day.

Elizabeth did end up taking the job, but both she and Randall were uncomfortable. There was still that thread of connection with both of them unsure of what to do about it.

You may need that box of tissues toward the end of this book. I did.

Thank you, Ms Shepherd Gray. I hope you kee bringing us back to Sugarcreek.

***A special thank you to litfuse for providing a review copy.***

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Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Hidden in the Stars

September 16th, 2014

166  Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women’s fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

Hidden in the Stars

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By Robin caroll

A quilt holds the secret to a killer still at large—and who his next victim will be.

Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?

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Stars, ballet shoes and balance beams dreams. These are set in the quilts of this mystery.

Sophia’s mother was an up and coming star in the world of ballet. Sophia was an up and coming star in the world of gymnastics, and had just been granted a spot on the Olympic team.

And all this became dust in the wind as she and her mother were attacked. Both Sophia’s mother and her dreams were killed in that attack.

No one seems to be able to tell Detective Frazier what those thugs had been after. They destroyed the house and everything in it trying to find something. The only thing that remained unharmed was the quilt made up of bits of all her mother’s ballet costumes. Little did they know the importance of that quilt.

Thank you, Ms Caroll, for a mystery that held me rapt all the way through. I’m looking forward to reading more by you.

***A special thank you to litfuse for providing a review copy.***

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Robin Caroll is the author of 22 published novels. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of 20-plus years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home in Little Rock, Arkansas. She gives back to the writing community by serving as conference director for ACFW. Her books have been named finalists in such contests as the Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.