Friday, October 28, 2016

A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck


  • Series: Royal Wedding Series
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (October 18, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310344530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310344537

About the Book:

Avery Truitt aches for true love—the kind she once shared with Prince Colin. Can she dare to hope for happily ever after, or is a fairy-tale ending beyond reach?
College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season.
Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin—now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor—whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time.
When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell.
Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning—as tradition dictates—or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?
In the fourth installment of the Royal Wedding Series, New York Times bestselling novelist, Rachel Hauck, weaves a charming story of holiday romance as two broken hearts seek the love they once knew.

My Thoughts:

Move over, Disney!  There's a new modern day fairy tale queen in town!  Her name is Rachel Hauck, and wow, can she tell a story!

I've been a fan of Rachel Hauck's novels for over a decade.  I still remember the first book I read about a young woman trying to make her way in the music industry of Nashville.  Rachel has a natural gift for story, and her characters are memorable and easy to identify with in the midst of their story.

But the Royal Wedding Series is more than great reading.  It is outstanding reading.  Rachel takes the best of our favorite fairy tales, weaves a modern-day thread throughout, and sprinkles in just the right amount of faith to craft a completely unique reading experience that lingers in the imagination for a very long time.

Avery is the younger sister of our first 'married to a prince' heroine, Susannah Truitt.  I loved "Once Upon a Prince" and it's become one of my favorite re-reads.  Avery was a fun character then, and as she comes into her own story it's great to see how she's grown--and she isn't even real!

Rachel makes it difficult to remember that this is all make-believe, that there isn't a kingdom called Brighton ruled by a kind royal family with a strong faith in God.  That Susannah, Regina, Corina and Avery aren't strong women with a deep capacity for love and loyalty, and that the royals who capture their hearts aren't ruling somewhere out there.

One thing I didn't care for was this: "A Royal Christmas Wedding" felt too much like goodbye, and I'm not ready for the series to end!  From the gorgeous covers to the story concept to the final page of each book, every element fit neatly together to craft a delicious reading experience.

That's why, with my thanks to my friends at Zondervan Publishing for my advance copy, given with no obligation on my part, I'm giving "A Royal Christmas Wedding" my 'O, The Feels' award, and encouraging you to get the entire series.

You'll be glad you did!  Here's to hoping Rachel has at least one more Royal Wedding novel coming our way.  Until then...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren


  • File Size: 5911 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 18, 2016)
  • Publication Date: October 18, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01HMPHE4K

About the Book:

Bestselling Author's New Series Delivers Romance and Adventure as an SAR Team Searches for Others--and Finds Themselves
Search and rescue pilot Kacey Fairing is home on leave in Mercy Falls, Montana, twelve years after she joined the military to escape the mistakes of her past. With a job waiting for her as the new lead pilot of Peak Rescue in Glacier National Park, Kacey hopes to reconnect with the now-teenage daughter she sees only between deployments. What she doesn't realize is that someone else is also back in town.

Ben King has been building his country music career since the day Kacey shut him out of her life. Now all of that's on hold when his injured father calls him home to help run Peak Rescue until he's fully recovered. It doesn't take long, though, to discover his father's ulterior motives as Kacey Fairing walks into the house and back into his heart.

With Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben are forced to work together to save lives. But when floodwaters turn personal, can they put aside the past to save their future?

My Thoughts:

I can't help myself.  When I have a new novel by Susan May Warren, I savor it.  I admire the cover, mull over the back cover copy, and cradle the book carefully in my trembling hands.  Okay, maybe not the last part, but the first two are totally true!

Susan has a way with character development that is astonishing.  Her imaginary people are so alive, and so memorable.  She gives us just enough background to help us understand her characters, but not enough to bog the story flow down.

And each series just gets better and better.  The drama is realistic, the action is breathtaking, and the romance is sweet and a bit steamy--in a totally acceptable way.  I could easily see myself moving to Deep Haven and hanging out with Kacey and Ben and the rest of the Deep Haven population.

That would be SO MUCH FUN!  

Considering the fire season of 2016 and the flooding that the country has endured, I'm giving "Wild Montana Skies" my 'For Such A Time' award.  You will walk away from this book (and the three prequel novellas) with a greater and deeper appreciation for firefighters, smokejumpers, hotshot crews, and rescue squads.

My thanks to Tyndale for my complimentary copy of "Wild Montana Skies".  I am under no obligation to provide a favorable review.  I just can't help myself...you HAVE to get this book!  Can't wait until the next book is released, but I must.  Until then...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tinsel Tuesday: A Special Christmas Feature



I'm sure you've seen the graphics popping up on social media.  The countdown to Christmas has already begun, and we haven't even made it through Halloween yet!  Hopefully, this will make the upcoming holiday more joyful...

Beginning October 31, 2016, I will be giving you my recommendations for great books that will make perfect gifts this Christmas!  I'll have fiction, non-fiction, adult, YA, and children's books galore!

So get your pen and paper ready and prepare to take notes!  I will only bring you the best of the best, and until then...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Monday, October 24, 2016

Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson



  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers (October 4, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802414591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802414595

About the Book:

Feeling worn thin? Come find rest.
The Blue Ridge Parkway meanders through miles of rolling Virginia mountains. It’s a route made famous by natural beauty and the simple rhythms of rural life.

And it’s in this setting that Hannah Anderson began her exploration of what it means to pursue a life of peace and humility. Fighting back her own sense of restlessness and anxiety, she finds herself immersed in the world outside, discovering a classroom full of forsythia, milkweed, and a failed herb garden. Lessons about soil preparation, sour mulch, and grapevine blights reveal the truth about our dependence on God, finding rest, and fighting discontentment.

Humble Roots is part theology of incarnation and part stroll through the fields and forest. Anchored in the teaching of Jesus, Anderson explores how cultivating humility—not scheduling, strict boundaries, or increased productivity—leads to peace.  “Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden,” Jesus invites us, “and you will find rest for your souls.”
So come. Learn humility from the lilies of the field and from the One who is humility Himself. Remember who you are and Who you are not, and rediscover the rest that comes from belonging to Him.

My Thoughts:
Hannah Anderson tackles a topic that is sorely missing in our culture: humbleness.  Just watch the news, read the magazines, or check what's trending and you'll find one overblown ego after another.  But when someone demonstrates true humility and puts others first, society takes note.
Could it be because we are, deep down, hungry for humble living?  I encourage you to join Hannah as she takes her readers home to her roots in the mountains of Virginia.  She ties caring for the land with lessons from Scripture on practicing true humbleness of spirit.
Because it does take practice.  As humans, we aren't naturally humble, and we haven't been since the fall of man.  But the Bible tells us that God draws near to a humble heart and He resists the proud.  As Hannah so expertly demonstrates through some of the most gorgeous and lyrical writing I've read, there is rest and peace in living a humble life.
I received a complimentary copy of "Humble Roots" from Moody Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  I found "Humble Roots" refreshing and encouraging, and I know you will as well.  I'm giving this one "Such A Time", because true, genuine, Biblical humble living is so desperately needed in our world today.
Mark Your Place,
Deena

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti


  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Worthy Inspired (October 18, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617957070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617957079

About the Book:

Alexis Blake has one chance to land her own show on the Home Project Network and nothing, not an uncooperative client, a job site without indoor plumbing, or a challenging videographer, is going to stand in her way. 

Elsie, at seventy-plus, is far from the ideal client, but she knows exactly what she wants her fieldstone house to look like, and no designer can tell her otherwise. 

Gabe Langley, the man with the camera, is caught in the middle and it is his wisdom and warmth that just may be the bridge that will bring these two women together. Can they restore more than just a house and bring about special, almost lost forever Christmas memories?

My Thoughts:

Oops, I did it again!  I read another Christmas story in October, but I couldn't help myself.  I mean, Cynthia Ruchti, people!  She's one of the very best, and holiday reading...had to do it, I tell you!

From the moment I met the crusty curmudgeon Elsie (curmudgeoness?) I was in love.  Sure, she had a tough exterior, but I just knew a soft and tender heart lurked beneath her stuck-in-the-muddyness.  I just didn't want her hand's off demeanor to discourage Alexis.

Alexis had the right idea, just the wrong motivation.  Enter Gabe Langley, tour guide to the proper motivation and outlook on Christmas.  I loved his ability to turn everyday events into something holy and magical about the birth of Christ.

"Restoring Christmas" is about more than just finding the joy in the holiday once again.  Cynthia has crafted a shining reminder to find Christmas all around us, all throughout the year.  I really enjoyed this one, and I know you will, too!

"Restoring Christmas" is available from booksellers everywhere.  I received an advance copy via NetGalley with no obligation and for the purpose of reviewing,   I'm giving this one my "Oh, The Feels" award, and until the next book review...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Authors NOT to Read Before Bed


So, this probably looks like a really mean-spirited top ten list.  I mean, I'm urging you to avoid these authors if you are looking for a book to help you relax before falling asleep.  Instead, think of this as a public service announcement to help you avoid a sleepless night.

Because I'm just that kind and thoughtful, here are my Top Ten Authors to Avoid Just Before Bedtime:

1) Susan May Warren: she's my favorite "just one more" chapter author

2) Irene Hannon: just enough bread crumbs to keep you flipping pages to the very end

3) Melissa Tagg: you won't be able to leave your characters in the emotional tangle while you get some zzz's

4) Serena Chase: whether it's her outstanding high fantasy or her contemporary YA novel, she creates a world you'll be reluctant to leave, even when the book ends

5) Ronie Kendig: last time I checked, adrenaline rushes are not conducive to a peaceful drift off to sleep

6) Steven James: good luck turning out the lights with the plot points of a criminal procedural swimming around in your brain matter

7) Katie Ganshert: you'll be so busy praying for these precious imaginary people that you won't be able to close your eyes to sleep until you know they are safe and sound in the arms of God

8) Sara Ella:  I mean, I've only read her debut novel, but I have a sense about this author....and it's a great one!

9) Christy Barritt:  Last time I checked, reading and laughing doesn't blend with sleeping and snoring...and then there are those chills and thrills she throws in for good measure

10) Candace Calvert, Lynette Eason, Terri Blackstock, Janice Cantore, Dee Henderson, Liz Johnson, Becky Wade, Kathryn Cushman....what?  Did you think I'd stop with just 10??

Well, I feel good now that you've been warned.  If you're looking for a couple of chapters to help you drift off to sleep, may I suggest War and Peace?  Definitely not this list of outstanding storytellers...unless you tend to fall asleep at 2 a.m....so, until next time...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon


  • Series: Men of Valor (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell; Reprint edition (October 4, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800724542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800724542

About the Book:

Three-Time RITA Award Winner Delivers Another Heart-Stopping Thriller
After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn't on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana's foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action--ready or not.

Bestselling author Irene Hannon draws readers into a web of psychological suspense where danger lurks in dark corners . . . and keeps them captive until the very last page.

My Thoughts:

Irene Hannon always delivers a solid and enjoyable story, but her final novel in her "Men of Valor" trilogy is the most chilling of all.  In this tale, the reader must answer a critical question: how far would you be willing to go to care for someone you love?  Could you bend the truth so skillfully you escaped the consequences? Or would you end up caught in "Tangled Webs" of deceit?

Each of our main characters must wrestle with unexpected tragedy, some brought on by choices and some simply by living in a fallen world.  Each handles the hardship in different ways, but in ways we're all familiar with.  Running away, hiding from the world, manipulating circumstance, and bending the rules for our own ends.

As with every novel, the pacing is steady and the tension continues to mount with each turn of the page.  The romance is sweet and the faith grows stronger as the characters move along the author's path.  Irene writes some of the best romantic suspense in today's market, and she remains one of my top ten must read authors.

"Tangled Webs" will stay with me longer than most as I grapple with the question "what would I do?"  And fiction that can prompt self reflection is, in my opinion, the richest kind ever written.  My thanks to Revell Publishing for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I'm giving "Tangled Webs" my "Oh the Feels" with a touch of "For Such a Time".  Until the next review,

Mark Your Place,

Deena



Friday, October 14, 2016

Silent Sabotage by Susan Sleeman



  • Series: First Responders (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired (August 9, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373447590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373447596

About the Book:

Emily Graves left everything behind to save her aunt's struggling bed-and-breakfast, but she's hardly through the door before she's the one who needs saving. Someone in Bridal Veil, Oregon, will go to any lengths—even murder—to keep her from making the B and B a success. Sheriff's deputy Archer Reed has made it his personal mission to bring down the culprit. But first he has to convince Emily to accept his protection…and determine why anyone would want to harm her. As Emily's unknown enemy becomes increasingly violent, Archer may be the only person who can keep her alive.

My Thoughts:

Susan Sleeman kicks off her latest book in the "First Responders" series with an explosive opening chapter.  When Emily takes her aunt to a local farmer's market to buy organic soap for their bed and breakfast inn, she doesn't expect to find danger waiting for her.

And the action doesn't let up...it just goes into hiding.  Who wants to hurt Emily?  Or is the target actually her aunt, Birdie, suffering with Alzheimer's and an enemy to no one?  Can sheriff's deputy Archer Reed keep the two women safe if he can't see the unsub?

I've enjoyed many of Susan's books, and her "First Responders" series is one of my favorite.  "Silent Sabotage" is the fifth book, and it is available now.  My thanks to Susan for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

I'm giving "Silent Sabotage" my 'One To Watch' and encouraging you to pick up your copy soon!  Until the next book...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Cliche Christmas by Nicole Deese



  • Series: Love in Lenox
  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Waterfall Press (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1477826173
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477826171

About the Book:

Writing happy endings is easy. Living one is the hard part.
Georgia Cole—known in Hollywood as the “Holiday Goddess”—has made a name for herself writing heartwarming screenplays chock-full of Christmas clichés, but she has yet to experience the true magic of the season. So, when her eccentric grandmother volunteers her to direct a pageant at Georgia’s hometown community theater, she is less than thrilled. To make matters worse, she’ll be working alongside Weston James, her childhood crush and the one man she has tried desperately to forget.
Now, facing memories of a lonely childhood and the humiliation of her last onstage performance, seven years earlier, Georgia is on the verge of a complete mistletoe meltdown. As Weston attempts to thaw the frozen walls around her heart, Georgia endeavors to let go of her fears and give love a second chance. If she does, will she finally believe that Christmas can be more than a cliché?

My Thoughts:

I cannot believe I did it.  We're in early October, and I just devoured my first Christmas holiday story.  But I had to have something to get my mind off of everything swirling in the atmosphere we're living in right now.  When I discovered I'd made the list for Nicole's upcoming novel, I realized I've never read any of her work.

So I scrolled through the titles I had stored on my Kindle and found "A Cliche Christmas".  A holiday story was bound to lighten my mood, right?  I settled under my blankets and turned to page one.

Two and a half hours later I flipped the final page, and realized my light bedtime reading had become a marathon session, it was very late, and I was very happy.  Nicole's novel was a fine feast for my mind and healing balm for my weary soul.

I laughed.  I cried.  I snickered.  And then I cried some more.  And I was so very grateful that I had "A Cliche Christmas" loaded on my Kindle for that moment in time, and that God blessed Nicole with such a superb talent for storytelling.
Yes, it's October, but I still believe now is the perfect time to get a copy of "A Cliche Christmas" and to settle in for a long winter's read...in the middle of Fall!  I'm giving this one "Oh, The Feels!" and I'm eager to share my thoughts with you on Nicole's upcoming release!  But, until then...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: My Ten Reasons More People Need To Read



In my humble opinion, our world would be a much better place if more people would read.  And here is why I think I'm right:

1) reading is relaxing--if you do it correctly, that is.  Instead of reaching for some substance, reach for a good book.  It stimulates the mind without agitating the senses, and can actually help you sleep better.   Unless you pick up a book by Melissa Tagg, Susan May Warren, Rachel Hauck, Candace Calvert....yeah...let's move on...

2) reading educates.  Too many of our citizens and non-citizens get their information in sound bites, talk radio, and news broadcasts.  All of these entities have been proven to have an agenda, but a book gives far more information, and you can find a book that is merely information with no bent.

3) reading help support authors.  If people don't read, authors don't work.  If people don't buy books, authors don't work.  And if people don't talk about the books they read, no one will know about great books that they should be reading.

4) reading takes you places.  I would love to be able to travel, but alas...I am poor.  However, I've been to Hogwarts, England, Narnia, Scotland, Ireland, Australia...and so many other places both real and imagined (I often prefer the imagined).

5) reading gives you new experiences.  I've been in the military, gone undercover, worked with the U.S. Marshall service, been a chef, made pastries, gone deep sea diving, and been on a treasure hunt.  I've been a superhero, a bad guy, worked in law enforcement, and I've broken the law.  I've been an accidental detective and a victim, a wife, a mom, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, and a sister.  All by reading books.

6) reading teaches you how to think.  Watching television does not.  People who know how to think make informed, better decisions and choices.  People who know how to think enjoy life more and expand their horizons.

7) reading brings families together.  Reading bedtime stories, sharing about what you've read, and talking about ideas you've gleaned from your books will bond you closer together.  Some of my favorite moments have been sharing books with my family.

8) reading exercises your imagination.  While I adore the covers of many of my favorite books, the best are the ones with no people on the cover.  I create them in my mind as I read, which can make book & movie adaptations a real bummer.

9) reading keeps you safe.  No wandering out in the streets looking for trouble, no having to make your own adventures.  You can get into trouble from the safety of your own home within the pages of your favorite read.

10) without books, would you be here, hanging around with me, reading what I've written...really??

So, what do you think?  Why do you believe people should read?  I'd love to know, so tell me in the comments.  See you soon...until next time...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore



  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 20, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1496416473
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496416476

About the Book:

Exciting fiction premiere from beloved New York Times bestselling author Beth Moore. 

Only God knew why Jillian Slater agreed to return to New Orleans on the news that her father had finally drunk himself to death. It's not like they were close. She hadn't seen him or her grandmother, the ice queen in almost 20 years. But when Adella Atwater, the manager of her grandmother's apartment house, called and said Jillian's expenses would be paid if she'd fly in for the burial, a free trip to New Orleans was too intriguing to resist. 

What Adella didn't tell her was that the apartment house wasn't a house at all and, whatever it was, bore the dead weight of a long and painful history. As soon as Jillian meets the odd assortment of renters and realizes that her grandmother had no idea she was coming, she hatches a plan to escape. But the investigation into her father's death quickly unfolds and Jillian is drawn into the lives of the colorful collection of saints and sinners who pass through Saint Silvanus. 

She soon discovers there is more at stake than she ever imagined. Who is behind the baffling messages and the strange relics left on the steps? Is it possible that her family is actually cursed? Or is it just this crazy old house that holds them all under its spell? 

Jillian walks into a web of spiritual and personal danger borne out of her family's broken history, and despite Adella's wiliest efforts, only God himself can orchestrate the undoing of all that is going on at Saint Silvanus.

My Thoughts:

When I found out Beth Moore had written a work of fiction, I was intrigued.  I've read many of her non-fiction titles and participated in countless Bible studies using materials she's prepared.  But could she tell a story?

Answer?  Yes, she can.  She can tell a good story.  "The Undoing of Saint Silvanus" would have been a great story had it not been quite so ambitious.  I had moments when I felt I was reading a criminal procedural, only to be reading a contemporary novel, then to believe I was reading theology.

Don't misunderstand me, I enjoyed "Saint Sans".  The characters and lively and quirky, the tension is tight and realistic, and the substory of the murder was excellent.  When all of the elements converged, it was a bit like drinking from a fire hose.  I felt like Beth believed this was her one shot, so I'd better get it all out there in this one book.

Some of the scenes were written to drive the reader to tears--but I didn't cry.  Some were designed to elicit laughter---but I smiled, no chuckles.  While I enjoyed the story, it was kind of like my first date--he tried a little too hard.

I'm hoping we see another novel come from Beth Moore.  I'm curious to see what she creates next, and to see how much her style changes.  For now, "The Undoing of Saint Silvanus" gets my "one to watch" award.  So until the next book...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Flash by Rachel Anne Ridge





About the Book:

The heartwarming tale of an irrepressible donkey who needed a home—and forever changed a family.

 Rachel Anne Ridge was at the end of her rope. The economy had crashed, taking her formerly thriving business along with it. She had been a successful artist, doing work she loved, but now she felt like a failure. How would her family pay their bills? What would the future hold?

If only God would somehow let them know that everything was going to be all right . . . and then Flash the donkey showed up.

If there is ever a good time to discover a wounded, frightened, bedraggled donkey standing in your driveway, this wasn’t it. The local sheriff dismissed Flash as “worthless.” But Rachel didn’t believe that, and she couldn’t turn him away. She brought Flash into her struggling family during their darkest hour—and he turned out to be the very thing they needed most.

Flash is the true story of their adventures together in learning to love and trust; breaking down whatever fences stood in their way; and finding the strength, confidence, and faith to carry on. Prepare to fall in love with Flash: a quirky, unlikely hero with gigantic ears, a deafening bray, a personality as big as Texas, and a story you’ll never forget.

My Thoughts:

We have a saying around our house, and it's based on a story from the Old Testament in the Bible.  "If God can use a donkey, He can use anybody!"  We also live by the verse that promises us that God is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

Need proof?  Then pick up a copy of a new release from Tyndale Publishers and be prepared to have more than just a nodding acquaintance with the power of God through a four legged animal!

Flash is adorable (how they ever got him to pose for that cover I'll never know!), but he's trouble on four legs.  I mean, c'mon...he's a donkey!  Follow Flash from that fateful night when the Ridge family stumbled onto his path and read along as Rachel shares the profound life lessons God brought into her family life.

From "finding your passion", learned after Flash, ahem, had his way with a neighbor's filly, to cultivating a love for others as Rachel embarks on what should be a hallucinogenic nightmare of a remodel job that ends up turning into so much more (just so you know, the lady she worked for had parrots that watched Barney for days...yeah, weird!).

Rachel is candid, witty and heartwarming as she shares her story and her journey with Flash, the family donkey.  She almost made me want a homeless burro of my very own.  Okay, she didn't really, but she did write a book that is going on my 'keep and read again' shelf!

How did I discover "Flash"?  I myself read a review that stirred my interest, so I ordered a copy.  Yes, reviews do influence people to read books, so go and get your copy of "Flash" and share the love with a review or recommendation.

And if you ever stumble upon a stray donkey...God might be trying to talk to you...you never know!

(See?  I read non-fiction as well!  And you may look forward to more non-fiction reviews, as well as some children's book reviews!  Until then...)

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Time To Speak by Nadine Brandes



  • Series: Out of Time
  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Gilead Publishing (October 16, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1621840557
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621840558

About The Book:

What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she's being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude's Clock-matching invention to force "new-and-improved" Clocks on the public. Those who can't afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council's purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

My Thoughts:

I've been reading my way through "A Time To Speak" slowly.  I read a few chapters, then I take a break.  I read a little more, take another break.  I can't force myself to read straight through.  I just can't.  Bet you're wondering why...

...because it's so incredibly good!  It's so good, it's real.  And it's intense.  And it's hard to read...

...because I can feel everything I read.  I can believe all of this is really happening.  And it isn't good.  It really isn't good.  It's dark.  It's intense.  It's very realistic.

And it's some of the best dystopian-world writing I've encountered in some time.  In fact, I'm going to take it one step further...Nadine Brandes defines dystopian literature.  I have to warn you: she will take you places you will not want to go.

But you need to go there.  You need to see what life is like when the government gains full control.  You need to understand the power of the people when we come together for shalom, and for what is right.  This could be one of the most important trilogies you might ever read.

Oh, yeah.  A third book is coming. For now, I'm giving "A Time To Speak" my "One For The Ages".  No, scratch that...my "For Such A Time As This" award.  Until the third novel releases...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Toss-Up Tuesday: My First Poll!!



For today, I'm doing something different.  It's our first ever BOOK POLL!!

To vote, just leave me a comment and tell me what you think.

To make it interesting...I'll draw one name to win a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card!!

You can't win if you don't vote...er...comment...so get to it!

Today's Poll Question:  Which do you prefer--paperback, hardcover, or electronic?

Mark Your Place (and vote!)

Deena

Monday, October 3, 2016

Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon



  • Series: Blink
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Blink (September 27, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310751853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310751854

About the Book:

Willow Lamott’s best friend is a convicted killer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. Over four long years, she’s tried to fade into the background—but none of that matters when Ashton Keller comes striding into school, fresh out of juvie and fueled by revenge. 
The moment their eyes meet, Willow no longer feels invisible. Drawn to the vulnerability behind Ashton’s mask of rage, she sinks deeper into his sinister world and begins to question whether he’s a villain, a savior, or both.
Ashton thought he wanted vengeance, until Willow Lamott stepped back into his life. Now he longs to clear his name and become the person she sees in him. But the closer they get to uncovering the truth, the darker the secrets become, and Ashton wonders if his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves.

My Thoughts:

There has been a LOT of buzz about this book.  A LOT of anticipation.  So I was a bit skeptical at first.  I bought my copy via Amazon, and settled in to explore "Gilt Hollow" for myself.

My one word description:  Outstanding!

My more wordy description:  Lorie has established herself as a must read author in the YA fiction world, co-writing the fabulous "Doon" series.  But that is fantasy..."Gilt Hollow" is harsh reality, and it is rich and deep and...it works.

Accused of a crime he did not commit, Ashton feels pressured to take a plea deal.  He ends up robbed of four years of his youth, and upon his early release he returns to Gilt Hollow to seek the truth...and revenge.  He feels abandoned by everyone in his life--including his best friend from childhood, Willow Lamott.

Willow tried to stay in touch with Ashton.  She was one of the few who always believed in his innocence. But when Ashton refused any contact with her, she was forced to move on with her life.  Just as she is finding herself socially again, he returns and her world is turned upside down.

Filled with rich characters, authentic drama, and a heart-rending ending you won't see coming, "Gilt Hollow" seals Lorie Langdon's position on my must read YA shelf.  "Gilt Hollow" is a thrilling mystery gently wrapped in sweet romance, and one you do not want to miss.

"Gilt Hollow" is available now, and I'm giving it "Oh, The Feels".  Until next time...

Mark Your Place,

Deena