A Fragile Hope

Title:  A Fragile Hope

Author:  Cynthia Ruchti

Pages:  320

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Abingdon

My rating 5+ out of 5 stars.

There are times in my life when I start a book that I know is going to tug at my heart strings and I am going to “feel” the story.  Here is one of those stories that sure enough slowly and surely pulls a reader in and the reader cannot help but to continue even when the heart is feeling the emotions certain characters are created to feel or portray.

The author has been one of my favorites for a very long time, and this book just cements it for me.  It wasn’t an easy book to read in the sense I felt deeply about the scene(s) I was involved in, but I also wanted to know how it was going to end.  Not all stories real or otherwise have happy endings.  We all know that isn’t real life, so part of me tried to brace my heart for the ending I thought was coming.  However, what came was so much better than what I anticipated because it was filled with the best touch of heart mixed with wisdom and truth.

I won’t share the ending because while it’s true I don’t want to ruin it for others, it is more about experiencing the story being shared.  The author shares how people shared their life stories with her and some ended well, but others sadly didn’t.  What I loved about the book and really encourage people to read it is for the experience but also the rare glimpse we get into the world of trauma with its ripple effects.  Plus, we get inside the main character, Josiah, hearing his thoughts, emotions, questions, struggling with his faith and in many ways coming awake to the world he closed off, which had dire ramifications he was clueless about.

Absolutely the best novel from this author to date!  When readers are done, I hope they find her other books and enjoy those as well for each is as distinct as one person is from another.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Without Warning (Elite Guardians #2)

Title:  Without Warning (Elite Guardians #2)

Author:  Lynette Eason

Pages:  352

Year:  2016

Publisher:  Revell

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

The author’s style of writing suspense and thrillers keeps me on the lookout for her books constantly!  In the first novel of the series, Always Watching, I had a feeling this series was going to be time well spent reading.  Now, in book two, the suspense is ever highly tuned and the mystery of who was after a man who shared so much with others while running a business was an excellent place to start the plot.  In the first book, we meet the four women who come together to build a business doing various tasks including being bodyguards.

In this book, we are looking at the second of the four women whose name is Katie and she has extensive training in multiple law enforcement avenues.  Katie is well versed in dismantling bombs if she can and handling the investigation of suspicions fires.  What makes it hard for Katie to get near a fire or investigate is due to a past experience that has left a scar on her heart and mind.  Now, she either has to learn to slowly walk through her PTSD experiences or allow her fears to keep her crippled.  With the help of a client named Daniel Matthews, Katie just might get to experience freedom.  During her job, her heart just might betray her when it comes to spending time with Daniel and his niece.

Each book in the series seems to just get better and better with the author’s stories being so well crafted in the area of various law enforcement and emergency workers and more.  I love how each woman has issues in life to handle that make them more realistic and easy to be captivated by.  I cannot wait to read the recent book out in the series titled, Moving Target.  So keep an eye out for another review on the author, series and stories!

The Elusive Miss Ellison (legacy of Grace #1)

Title:  The Elusive Miss Ellison (legacy of Grace #1)

Author:  Carolyn Miller

Pages:  303

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Kregel Publications

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

This story takes placed mostly in a small town in England in the year 1813.  Lavinia Ellison is the daughter of the local reverend.  She is used to speaking her mind and is independent and intelligent.  She spends her days helping the poor in her town, playing on the pianoforte and helping around the house.  She lost her mother in an accident several years ago.  The accident involved one of the peerage in town.  Lord Nicholas Hawkesbury is new to his title after the death of his older brother.  He has come to his country home to put it in order.  After he arrives, he begins to realize the sad state of his estate’s affairs thanks to his brother’s spending on other things.  He entrusts his steward to see to the repair of tenant homes and planting of fields.  After too much time, he finds out his steward is robbing him and not spending the money as Lord Hawkesbury has directed.

Lord Hawkesbury meets Lavinia and they immediately clash.  She speaks her mind about his lack of keeping his word to help the tenants.  He thinks she is too forward for a lady.  Lavinia continues to champion the poor and time and again Lord Hawkesbury says he will do something and then doesn’t.  Lavinia jumps to conclusions as to the reasons why, which makes for more sparks.  Amidst the sparks of irritation are also sparks of attraction.  However, Lord Hawkesbury’s mother has a suitable woman of his station in society all picked out for him to marry.  Lavinia is a reverend’s daughter and not in the same class of society, so she is certainly not an option for a wife.  Nicholas longs for Lavinia, but supposes he should do what his mother wants and what society deems appropriate.  By spending time with Lavinia, see her compassion and have her speak Scripture to him, even while pointing out his faults, he begins to seek out God.

I could identify with the two main characters in that they were depicted as believable and I could relate to their emotions.  They made mistakes, were quick to find the faults in each other’s character while not seeing their own and speaking without thinking often hurting the other’s feelings.  Just like me sometimes!  However, the generosity Lavinia displayed, the compassion for the poor and the self-sacrifice were amazing.  Yes, she got caught up in prideful thinking, but once aware of this she tried to act as God would have her act.  I also thought her living her faith and not just talking about it was great as then she could stand firm in her beliefs when challenged.  The story has a wonderful romance and I can’t wait until book two in the series is released!  This was a great book that will be going on my “keeper” shelf.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from www.bookfun.org

The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457


Sandpiper Cove (A Hope Harbor Novel)

Title:  Sandpiper Cove (A Hope Harbor Novel)

Author:  Irene Hannon

Pages:  352

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Revell

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

Irene Hannon writes many different types of stories from mystery, suspense to ones with a more romantic focus.  The Hope Harbor series is of the more romantic type with some of the same characters we met in Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane and her newest, Sandpiper Cove.  Each book I so enjoyed as I could imagine the scenes painted in the novel via words, and some of the unique people who live in this fictitious town.  In her newest story, we meet a man who has come to the harbor hoping to start fresh after his prison experience.  While in prison, the town pastor visited Adam Stone and showed him God’s unconditional love for him.

One of the town residents employs him, but the one thing Adam finds ministers to him is an injured dog called Charley, and making various things with wood.  Now he has been the victim of vandals and in one case the dog was hurt as well.  When Lexi, the Chief of Police, shows up to question Adam about the occurrences, Adam tenses.  He doesn’t find trusting anyone an easy job though he loves serving the community and at his local congregation.

Lexi is a local resident who has returned after being overseas for a time and is now Chief of Police.  She is a single mom to Max who is the joy of her heart.  During her work hours, Lexi’s mother cares for Max and enjoys taking care of her daughter as well.  When she notices that Adam is interested in her, Lexi isn’t sure if she is willing to open her heart again to love for fear of being hurt; yet, she is tired of being lonely.

Hope Harbor is a heart-touching series, filled with love and faith as well as characters that in some way we can relate to.  My favorite of the series thus far is Charlie who is a sage, painter, runs a fish taco stand and yet seems to know what words of encouragement of advice people need to hear.  I hope the author plans on writing a story that sheds more light into this character.  If you read the books, you’ll see why he is such an interesting male figure in the books.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Murder is No Accident (Hidden Springs Mystery #3)

Title:  Murder is No Accident (Hidden Springs Mystery #3)

Author:  A.H. Gabhart

Pages:  343

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Revell

My rating is 4 stars.

Deputy Michael Keane is called to the scene of an accidental fall down the stairs by a local realtor at an old Victorian style mansion.  The owner has been transferred to a senior care home and her executor’s son is trying to sell the house out from under her.  The realtor had come to appraise the house and ran into someone unexpected there.  What the surprise visitor doesn’t know is that a local teen is hiding up in the tower room of the house when the accident happens and hears everything.  The teen leaves the scene, but then receives an alarming telephone call.  Michael has his suspicions about the “accident”, but has no proof that it was anything other than just that…an accident.  This brings back memories for the owner of years ago when her sister died the same way in the same house.  This has always been ruled an accident, but the owner claims she knows who killed her sister.  Another body is soon found at the old house and this time there is no doubt that the person was murdered.  Michael has his hands full investigating these crimes as well as helping with the local church youth group.

Michael also receives news that his aunt’s neighbor and good friend to all in the community has had a stroke.  This is the local town’s attorney whose niece just happens to be the love of Michael’s life, but he hasn’t told her that.  Alexandria Sheridan arrives in town to help with the care of her uncle.  She has loved Michael all her life, but hasn’t been bold enough to let him know.  Besides she is an attorney for a big law firm in Washington, D.C. and likes her life there.  Michael has roots and likes his small-town life in Hidden Springs.  Michael, however, decides he wants more than a long-distance telephone relationship with Alex and wants to move things to a new level.  Can Michael solve the case and get the girl?

What a good mystery series!  I like the direction the relationship between Michael and Alex is taking and can’t wait to see where they stand in the next book!  I just loved Miss Fonnie and the gentle way Michael treated her.  He still respected her even though she didn’t know what was going on in the present most of the time.  I also liked the relationship between the teenagers Anthony and Maggie and how they both respected Maggie’s parents’ wishes in regards to dating.  Anthony treated Maggie with respect.  The pace of the story was a little slow in a couple of places, but I still would definitely recommend this book to readers.

When Tides Turn (Waves of Freedom #3)

Title:  When Tides Turn (Waves of Freedom #3)

Author:  Sarah Sundin

Pages:  391

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Revell

My rating is 4 stars.

When Tides Turn is the third and final installment of the Waves of Freedom series from author Sarah Sundin.  The other two books in the series are Through Waters Deep and Anchor in the Storm.  This third story takes place beginning in July 1942 and ends August 1943.  The two main characters in the book are Dan Avery and Quintessa (Tess) Beaumont.  Dan is the older brother of Jim, one of the main characters in book one and Tess is the best friend of Mary, the other main character in book one.

Dan Avery has decided to be a career Navy man for as long as the Lord allows him.  He has also determined that women are a distraction from his firm resolve to work his way up the Navy ladder to become an Admiral one day.  He will not marry or take time away from his career, working seven days a week.  He is coerced to go on a few outings when his brother is home on leave and finds Tess a distraction because of her beauty.  He doesn’t encourage her to be interested in him and determines to stay away from her.  Then, he discovers she has joined the WAVES and will be working in the same office as he is working.  What will he do now?

Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face.  She wants to be liked for who she is on the inside.  She wants to have a purpose.  She decides to join the Navy WAVES and excels at her job.  She also has noticed her former roommate is acting a bit odd.  Her roommate is French and has been attending a group that supports French resistance against Germany.  With her odd behavior, Tess begins to wonder if she is a spy for the Germans.  Tess reports her suspicions to the local FBI office and they recruit Tess to continue to go to the meetings and report everything to them.  In the meantime, Tess fights against her attraction to Dan because she knows he wants to be married to the Navy.  She wants to do what is best for him, so she tries to foster a friendship instead.  Will this work?

This is a wonderful series for those interested in the WWII setting.  They mostly take place in Boston with occasional segments at sea.  The faith of the main characters’ shines through in each story.  Tess is a wonderful example of an encourager, which I admire, as that is not my forte.  I found the segments that took place on board ship very interesting and descriptive.  Stay tuned as a new series from this author will be launched in 2018!

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