Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Ishbane Conspiracy by Randy Alcorn

This book feels about 25 years outdated. While I have been enjoying the story about Jillian and her friends and family, it is constantly interrupted by the demons. I know that this was suppose to be like "The Screwtape Letters" but this didn't work for me. The reader is yanked back and forth. Once you get to use to the yanking you can follow the story a bit more. However, after a while I started skimming through the demons's letter's because they are so VERY redundant and were not adding to the story. 

This book is an example of telling me, instead of showing me. I don't like that. The impact this book could have had for the reader is lost due to this. In addition to that, it winds up trying to cover every single major teen issue all at once! I went through PLENTY as a teen, but this was totally unrealistic to have all these things all at once with only 4-6 people. The focus winds up on the Biblical LAW, and not focused on God's Love and Grace. That doesn't mean go sin, but it also means the focus is way, way off on this book. 

Sadly, I wouldn't give this to any of the teens that I work with. I would want to start them off with things that are much more focused on Christ instead of oh, bad things, bad things, oh BAD evil things with out a foundation that guides them to start with! 

My Copy of this book came from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review and nothing more. 

Jillian is picture-perfect on the outside, but terrified of getting hurt on the inside. Brittany is a tough girl who trusts almost no one. Ian is a successful athlete who dabbles in the occult. And Rob is a former gang-banger who struggles with guilt, pain, and a newfound faith in God. These four college students will face the ultimate battle between good and evil in a single year. As spiritual warfare rages around them, a dramatic demonic correspondence takes place. Readers can eavesdrop on the enemy, and learn to stave off their own defeat, by reading The Ishbane Conspiracy.

The Tomb by Stephanie

From the moment I started this book I didn't want to put it down. It is so down to Earth and so very real. Of course, all the Bible things are real to me, but this was added. Martha is dealing with being in love with a man her Father doesn't want her to marry. Meanwhile, Mary is married to the man of her dreams. Martha is happy for them, but her Mother died leaving  her with the commission of caring for her Father and her family. This is a task this young teenager too so to heart that now that she is almost past regular marrying age, she is still being the dutiful daughter. It's nice from the outside to be the perfect Martha, but it isn't easy and there is so much more involved with Martha's heart!

When Isa leaves, he promises to come back for her. Only her brother Lazarus knows about her time alone with Isa, however her Father wants her to be betrothed to Simon. Where is this going to take Martha in life? A husband who doesn't love her? A heart she can't commit to a man she has to marry?

All this is just the start of things that as we know from the Bible, winds up with Lazarus dying.
This is a really page turning expansion of Martha's story, as well as Lazarus's story. I'm glad I read this one!

Carol :)

This week, the

is introducing

Howard Books (March 17, 2015)



A word from the author:
I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.

When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.

I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.


In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

If you would like to read the first chapter of  The Tomb, go HERE.

Stephanie can be reached through the Contact link on her Website.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Anna, along with many of the "Peculiar" people, are crossing the ocean. It's not farming, and it isn't easy by a long shot. The year is 1737, and the ship, is the Charming Nancy. Their people are the Amish, and even then, they weren't like the others. Part of the group is Mennonite. Among them, Anna is the only one who can speak English as they embark on a trip to reach a new land, and new lives. Some are hoping to re-join with others who went on ahead of them. Others, like Anna, are leaving behind people they will probably never see again. For Anna, it is her Grandparents in Germany.  In Anna's case, she is to find a husband, and figure out what God's plans are for her. Most of these travelers are fleeing from being persecuted, some of these believers have been been killed. 

Thus Anna is stuck on a long voyage, with a strange man on board. Bairn is the carpenter, and third highest in rank on this vessel. Anna isn't sure what make of him. Felix, one of the little boys just can't contain his curiosity and it is leading in to all kinds of things, including a good understanding of the boat they are in. 

It will take 83 days to get across the ocean. Will they all make it there alive? What changes will have happened to them during their crossing, and what of the loved ones waiting on the other side? 

This book is "Amish", but different. It speaks of lives that aren't the same, and lives that are because of the common thread in which we believe. It speaks of a good bit of what it took for this voyage, but it spares the reader much of the really horrible, horrible things that happened in such trips back then. The Author's notes at the end of this book are very helpful for added perspective.

Over all, I found myself enjoying yet another of Suzanne Woods Fisher's books. While I've never considered myself fond of this particular genera, she is one of the few authors who's work in this area still intrigues me. Carol :) 

My copy of this book came from Revell in exchange for my honest review and nothing more. 

About The Book 
"This novel is a winner."--Publishers Weekly
Some endings are really beginnings . . . 

On a hot day in 1737 in Rotterdam, Anna K├Ânig reluctantly sets foot on the Charming Nancy, a merchant ship that will carry her and her fellow Amish believers across the Atlantic to start a new life. As the only one in her community who can speak English, she feels compelled to go. But Anna is determined to complete this journey and return home--assuming she survives. She's heard horrific tales of ocean crossings and worse ones of what lay ahead in the New World. But fearfulness is something Anna has never known. 

Ship's carpenter Bairn resents the somber people--dubbed Peculiars by the deckhands--who fill the lower deck of the Charming Nancy. All Bairn wants to do is to put his lonely past behind him, but that irksome and lovely lass Anna and her people keep intruding on him.

Delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions test the mettle and patience of everyone on board. When Anna is caught in a life-threatening situation, Bairn makes a discovery that shakes his entire foundation. But has the revelation come too late?

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the beginning of Amish life in America with this fascinating glimpse into the first ocean crossing--and the lives of two intrepid people who braved it.

"I found Anna's Crossing to be everything I love in a novel, especially in a historical novel! Fast paced, character driven, filled with rich descriptions and enjoyable dialogue. It was a pleasure to read, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to endorse it."--Shelley Shepard GrayNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secrets series, the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of an Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist forThe Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting. She is also a columnist for Christian Postand Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.


"I found Anna's Crossing to be everything I love in a novel, especially in a historical novel! Fast paced, character driven, filled with rich descriptions and enjoyable dialogue. It was a pleasure to read and I am honored to have had the opportunity to endorse it."
Shelley Shepard GrayNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The LettersThe Calling, the Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the...
Continue reading about Suzanne Woods Fisher

Suzanne Woods Fisher

  1. © Dan Davis Photography

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Trouble with Patience by Maggie Brendan

I seriously blinked and missed the last few days that came so fast that February is gone and March is here! I wasn't even impatient about my time frame, unlike some of the issues faced by Patience in this book. She meets Sheriff Jedediah Jones and the verbal sparing is on! 

Problem, Patience is running an Inn, and it needs a LOT of work. Creekside Inn can't function with out repairs. Her heart is already broken. The man she loves is dead, and now all this to deal with as well. In to her life, and her Inn, walks Cody. He's good looking, willing to help and make repairs while he job hunts. Looks like a perfect solution, but will it turn out that way in the long run?

And what is Jedediah going to do? He's trying to track down some cattle thieves, but this one woman who insists he make amends to her for what he did to her publicly is a big distraction. She makes him incensed and keeps on his toes, but he has some big things to handle. This man known as the "hanging man" as the punishment he passes as law in this town might not be who  she thought.  

A good bit is in this book. Murder. Justice. Sacrificing of self or ego? AKA- Being humble. Oh, and what about forgiveness? Trusting God? Learning to work together or is that a no-go? 

I think you might rather like these two strong leads and their story. 

My copy of this book came from Revell in exchange for my honest review and nothing more. 

Carol :) 


"Maggie Brendan deftly captures the flavor of the Old West in a sweet love story filled with suspense and well-developed, interesting characters that will surely capture the hearts of readers."--Kathleen Morgan, author of the Brides of Culdee Creek series

Patience Cavanaugh has lost hope in romance. The man she yearned to marry is dead and her dreams are gone with him. Now she is consumed with restoring a dilapidated boardinghouse in order to support herself. 

Despite Patience's desire for solitude, Jedediah Jones, the local marshal with a reputation for hanging criminals, becomes an ever-looming part of her life. It seems like such a simple arrangement: She needs someone with a strong back to help her fix up the boardinghouse. He needs a dependable source of food for himself and his prisoners. But as she gets to know this "hanging lawman," Patience finds there is far more to him than meets the eye--and it could destroy their tenuous relationship forever.

With a keen eye for historical detail and a deft hand at romantic tension, Maggie Brendan invites you to a Montana gold rush boomtown, where vices and virtues are on full display and love is lying in wait.

"Maggie Brendan has created a wealth of memorable characters in this heartwarming story. Romance, mystery, and an intriguing plot all add up to a winning combination that's sure to delight readers."--Margaret Brownley, bestselling author of Gunpowder Tea and Petticoat Detective\
Maggie Brendan is the bestselling author of the Heart of the West and The Blue Willow Brides series. Winner of the 2014 Book Buyers Best Award (OCC/RWA) for inspirational fiction and the 2013 Laurel Wreath Award, she was a finalist for the 2013 Published Maggie Award of Excellence and the 2013 Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Award. To learn more, visit
  1. Maggie Brendan

    Maggie Brendan

    Maggie Brendan is the bestselling author of several books, including the Heart of the West series and The Blue Willow Brides series. Winner of the 2013 Laurel Wreath Award, she was a 2013 finalist for the Published Maggie Award of Excellence, a 2013 finalist...
    Continue reading about Maggie Brendan