THE WIDOW OF SAUNDERS CREEK by Tracey Bateman

Deeply grieving the loss of her soldier husband, Jarrod, Corrie Saunders moves back to his home town in the Ozarks. He has been gone 6 months but her grief is still raw. She settles into his 150 year old family home that she inherited from him. Corrie hopes going back to where Jarrod grew up will somehow ease her pain of losing him and she will feel his presence. This makes her a vulnerable to family’s belief that the house is haunted, especially his elderly Aunt Trudy who proclaims to be a medium.
Eli, Jarrod’s cousin, is there to help her make repairs to the home and support her. He is a preacher and a godly young man with high standards. Both are surprised at how quickly they are attracted to each other, yet are besieged with guilt about their feelings. Despite their misgivings, their friend ship grows into romance with both trying desperately to crush increasing affections.
The family believes the house has been haunted as long as they can remember. Corrie, not wanting to accept her husband is dead, chooses to believe it is Jarrod trying to contact her. Even though she was raised in church, she abandoned her faith in her teens. Eli on the other hand is very strong in his faith and knows what the Bible says about witchcraft. He tries to protect and warn Corrie but her desire to have her husband in some way is too strong.
When I started reading this book and it began to venture into the occult I thought, “Oh no, what have I gotten myself into.” I do not believe spirits can inhabit homes and inanimate objects, therefore I didn’t feel comfortable about this part of the book. Ms. Bateman handled it well and didn’t go overboard, and I appreciate that.
The rest of the book was delightful. There was a sweetness and innocence about Corrie and Eli’s romance. While the author made it very clear the intensity of Eli’s love for Corrie, his self-control and respect for her but for the Lord was wonderful. I loved their conversations with each other. They were real and not artificial like many novels, and I found them quiet humorous.
The book was well written and I was impressed with the important spiritual lessons woven throughout the book.
I received this book free from Waterbrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Going the Distance by Stephaine Perry Moore

This is my second book to read by Ms. Moore and I must say I am just as impressed as I was by the first one! Her wholesome writing exemplifies godly character for young people to follow. Once again she is right on track with getting to the heart of the many challenges young people face and feelings that go with them.
Summer is here and like most young boys, Alec has plans to goof off and sleep in but things don’t quite turn out as he’d like. His spirits soar when he finds out his Mom will be able to get away from her out of town job and visit. The family goes all out and prepares for a big party. Last minute problems prevent her from coming and Alex is devastated. Instead of being upset he decides to spend a lot of time at the new pool with his friends. Wanting his sons to do something constructive with their time, their Dad enrolls them in a baseball camp! Not only can Alex not play baseball but he hates it! To make matters worse, Tyrod, the school bully is there and becomes buddies with his brother Antoine!
Things seem to make a turn for the better when his mom flies him and Antoine to California to spend time with her. She enrolls them in an acting camp and the door opens for Alec to start a career in television! His Mom puts a stop to it and he doesn’t understand why.
Young people have a problem with getting upset when things don’t go their way. This book has a powerful biblical lesson not only in how God wants them handle these situations but also how to apply this truth to their lives.
As with all Ms. Moore’s books there are word searches after each chapter and fun educational activities.
I highly highly recommend these books for young boys or girls, not only for quality reading but instilling strong moral values and godly standards!
I received this book free from Moody Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis

Amelia and Michael lives could come from more differing lives and backgrounds, yet the both are facing the same problem. They have dreams and passions they feel strongly led to follow, but their parents are equally as strong and controlling in the path they feel their children should take. Their paths would have never crossed if it wasn’t for a stormy night and a flat tire.
Amelia is an extremely talented violinist whose parents have been grooming her to be a famous concert musician since she was 3. She is on the verge of stepping into her parents dream. Amelia finds great joy in fiddling, something her parents find a waste of her gift of music. Her father’s poor health and her intense love for her parents keep her from making the choice.
Michael is a young Amish man who has a great desire for an education and a career as an architect. He knows he would have to leave his Amish faith and deeply hurt his family. His desires have caused conflict in his family and he has fled to an isolated cabin after one of many fights with his parents. This is where Amelia ends up on that stormy night.
Though worlds apart they immediately bond, sharing their struggle of following their hearts or breaking their family’s hearts. Amelia spends some time in the Amish community to clear her head. She finds herself falling in love with these gentle people, their simple ways, and Michael. Michael has the same feelings for her but neither expresses them because they know their two lives could never mix. Now they are not only trapped by their parent’s expectations but also their growing affection for each other.
Ms. Lewis did an excellent job of making the reader a part of the character’s inward conflicts in making such life changing decisions. I also appreciated how both characters remained sensitive and respectful to their parents even though they were both old enough to make their down choices. Her vivid details drew me into the story and made me experience Amelia and Michael’s feelings confusion and uncertainty. I was reminded of how complicated the crossroads in life can be, and that we must not rush into anything no matter how intense our desire to resolve our conflict. We must first seek God’s guidance and wait on his clear direction.
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Travelers Rest by Ann Tatlock

This is a powerful novel about the impact of war on the lives of soldiers and their families. Jane and Seth were childhood sweethearts with beautiful plans for marriage and a “happily ever after” life together. Jane was excitedly preparing for their wedding and awaiting Seth’s return from serving in Iraq.
Their lives were turned upside down when he returns paralyzed. He is no longer the man she knew, physically or emotionally. Seth struggles with depression and a myriad of emotions at being robbed of his vibrant life and future. Jane still deeply loves him but battles between her loyalty to the man she fell in love with and questioning her ability to commit to a lifetime of caring for a paraplegic.
The author did an amazing job of drawing the reader into the painful challenges each one faces. While I found this very intense, it gave me a greater understanding of the realities military couples encounter when a loved one returns injured.
Jane finds strong support in two people she meets while Seth is in the V.A. hospital. One is Truman, an elderly retired doctor who has overcome a very painful past. The other is John Paul, a young attorney facing an overwhelming daily challenge. In spite of these hardships, both men have learned to live their live with purpose and joy.
While I cannot begin to imagine the suffering and difficulties those who serve our country face, this story gave me a small idea of what it is like to walk in their shoes. I have always had compassion toward those that pay such a high price for our freedom, but Travelers Rest gave me an even greater understanding and empathy.
I was inspired by each of the characters and their ability to surmount very different problems with courage and perseverance. It made me ashamed for whining at the small frustrations I face. There are some pleasant surprises along the way and an unexpected ending!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

The Digest Diet by Liz Vaccariello

Going on a diet can be overwhelming not to mention intimidating! I was impressed by this book because it included so many things to help you succeed. I liked the fact that it recognized that our bodies need fat and that no-fat diets are not healthy. It explains the difference between good fats and bad fats. The couple of chapters discuss what causes us to gain weight, and the things that help us release fat. All the information was easy to read and understand.
A 21 day plan is provided with tips to help you be successful above and beyond just the diet. I liked the lists of fat releaser foods to help in choosing the best foods. All 3 phases have excellent menus for each one and included is breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks. The final phase can be used for weight maintenance once you reach your goal. The menus were not quirky or super unusual to me. While they were varied and tasty, I found them all to be food for “regular” people like me. They supplied many recipes for meals included in the menus. Colorful pictures of the finished product were important to me, as I like to see what the final product looks like. It also motivates me more to try it.
There was an exercise guide. It included walking and exercises. Nothing over the top here either. Just a few simple exercises that the majority of people can easily do.
One chapter guides you after your 21 days are up on how to lose more weight or maintain the weight you have reached. I found this very helpful. I especially like pages throughout the book that shared the successes and information of real people that had used the diet. Pictures included!
I was pleased with this book and how complete it is in every way to help you lose weight. If you are already at your perfect weight but want to just eat healthier, this would be a great book. Either way The Digest Diet gives you the tools, support and information where you will find yourself saying, “I can do this!’
I received this book free from Fbs associates . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Spring Tide by Mary Ray

What a great book for young boys! My grandsons love stories filled with action and lots of exciting exploits, especially tales of military battles. This book fulfills all those conditions and has the added bonus of historical detail. I found it very educational and fascinating to be able step back into 311 A.D. and share in the experiences and challenges of life during that time. It isn’t often you find a fiction book written about this time and even rarer for it to be a children’s book.
The story centers around two best friends, Con and Julius. Con’s father serves as a centurion for the Roman government. Julius’s father is a merchant. They live in a province on the fringes of Rome’s vast empire. It is a time that Christians are in danger of severe persecution should they be found out.
The boys inadvertently find themselves a part of a surprise attack in a nearby area. (I appreciated the fact that while the description of this battle was exciting and full of action, it was not gory or gruesome).
At this skirmish, they meet a Christian priest, Brychan, and become fast friends. At first they are not aware he is a Christian, but find themselves fascinated by him. For reasons they cannot explain the have a strong desire to get to know him better and protect him. As their friendship grows he shares his faith and how it has changed his life.
As the story unfolds, the boys’ loyalty to Brychan has an enormous impact on their lives and that of their families. It costs them more than they could have ever imagined and takes them on a journey they could never have dreamed of.
Their bravery and commitment to stand for what is right, no matter what the costs is a wonderful example to young readers. This book will not only appeal a boy’s sense of adventure but also teach some important character lessons.
I received this book free from Bethlehem Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 for the purpose of this review.