Sea Glass Cottage By Irene Hannon

I am still working on reading all the Hope Harbor book series!  With each one I find myself back at the little seaside town.  It gives me a warm cozy feeling with that little town atmosphere where residents are close and caring.  I wish it really existed, but since it doesn’t I am content to escape into the pages and visit. The author’s beautiful descriptions of the streets, businesses, and sea side make me feel as if I am really there.  *sigh*

Christi Reece was once a wealthy, spoiled socialite with the world at her feet.  Through many hardships and losses, she is a poor, hardworking young woman that finds herself in a difficult situation and in need of money.  Her last resort is to humble herself and go to her ex-boyfriend Jack Colby to ask for a loan.  This takes a great deal of courage as she very deeply hurt him and they have not seen each other in 11 years!

Jack remembers the old Christi and does not realize she has become a Christian and is totally opposite of the girl he once loved. He just wants her to leave! I love how Christi’s new life in Christ shines through with her patient, gentle, sweet spirit. I found it exciting to see how the Lord continues to guide and provide for her as she trusts Him with impossible situations.  It was beautiful to see Jack’s bitter unforgiving attitude be changed by her testimony.

Of course one of my favorite characters, Charley the artist and fish taco truck owner is still there.  I always enjoy how he does the Lord’s work with wisdom and clever insight.  Christi and Jack aren’t the only residents of Hope Harbor that God is working to restore their romance and relationship. I also enjoyed the surprises along the way. I am looking forward to the next book and my next visit! 

I received this book from Revell Publishers through early reader program.  The opinions stated are my own.

God Made It All! By Ruthie Godfrey

I consulted to of my “professional” listeners before doing this review: my grandsons ages 4 years and 2 years.  I know what I liked about the book but more important what did they think!

Children love learning about opposites.  Ms. Godfrey’s book made it fun and also puts God front and center, the One who created opposites!

I was impressed with the beautiful, colorful illustrations that fill every inch of every page.  Each opposite is composed of 2 pages of artwork.  I liked that each was only 1 sentence; this keeps the “little’s” attention and doesn’t overwhelm them.  Yet our reading was not fast as they took much time scanning the pictures and pointing out details.  If I am not mistaken I counted 21 different examples of opposites.  I was pleased with this as it introduced the boys to way more than you would usually think of!

I asked them which their favorite was and to my surprise it was the one about food, “sweet and sour, messy and neat”.  This will definitely be reread, again, again and again. . .   Once they like a book it must be read several times a day for quite a while.

Yes the book teaches opposites but first and foremost it teaches these precious children that God is the Creator of ALL THINGS.

The Lady of Galway Manor By Jennifer Deibel

Annabeth DeLacy had led a sheltered, privileged life of the upper classes in England.  That quickly changed when her father, Lord Delacy was appointed landlord of a parish in Galway City, Ireland. It was 1920 The Irish War of Independence was looming on the horizon and there was much unrest. 

The only information she had about the Irish people was from her father’s prejudices; they were an uneducated, coarse, lazy and dishonest people, incapable of ruling themselves. While this did not color her attitude toward them, it did leave an impression.

She was not enamored with the genteel life and had no desire to stay tucked away in the mansion and play socialite.  She is surprised when her father agrees to her apprenticing to a local jewelry artesian Stephen Jennings. His family’s linage is from the creators of the famous Claddagh ring.  Stephen is a closed up bitter young man who had no clue his father had made the arrangement.  The daughter of an English Lord is the very last person he would want in his shop.  Unlike her class, Annabeth is down to earth, sympathetic and caring of others.  The mix of these two unlikely coworkers and people makes for some very interesting events that unfold.

I loved Annabeth’s innocence and sincerity.  Seeing the true condition of the poor Irish through the eyes by someone who had only known wealth was moving.  I could feel the shock, awe and compassion that touched her heart.  I also admired her character as no matter how distant or hateful Stephen was she always responded humbly and in kindness.

I think my favorite character was Stephen’s elderly father.  His joyfulness (in spite of any situation) sincere love and warmth toward everyone jumped off the pages and captured my heart.  I wanted to give him a hug!

I found Annabeth’s father and mother’s prideful arrogance aggravating.  How could they have raised such a sweet daughter?  It was easy to see the wealth and position they so valued was empty. 

Most of all I was fascinated by the Claddagh ring and its history! I had never heard of it until I read this book.  I immediately went to the internet to see what one looked like.  So beautiful!  It made me want one of course!

A strong faith is God is the golden thread that runs through this incredible story.  Once again Ms. Deibel paints a vivid picture of not only the characters, but the era and the struggles of those living in that time. An extraordinary book!   I can’t wait for her next one!

Never Leave Me By Jody Hedlund

I was very excited to read this second book of the “Water of Time” series.  I enjoyed the first one very much!  You can read it as a standalone, but I believe you would be missing a lot.

Ellen is young, beautiful and dying of the same rare fatal disease that took her mother’s life.  As she grows weaker, she is resigned to her death and tries to enjoy life as much as possible. She knows her time is short.  She is staying with Harrison, a wealthy, longtime family friend.  He had worked with her father on a cure for Ellen’s disease.  Her father did find a cure in the discovery of an ancient holy water.  The problem it is extremely rare and almost nonexistent in this day and time.   Ellen refuses to take one of the 2 flasks that Harrison has acquired through great effort and expense.  She believes it killed her father and her sister. To convince her, Harrison, a paraplegic, drinks one of the bottles.  There is no denying its power.  Seeking more water, she drinks the vial and transports back into England during the late 1300’s, where her sister had been living for a year.  There is so much unknown about the time travel and things do not go as planned.  In fact they go horribly wrong. 

This book was even more suspenseful and exciting than the last one! Ellen’s perception of the era was very different than her sister’s had been.  She was naïve about the complications that were created by bringing her 21st century point of view and mannerisms into the past. 

Once again Ms. Hedlund descriptiveness of the era was rich and detailed.  I loved that she was able to see what Harrison’s mansion and estate was like over 600 years ago!  Sort of a like a medieval version of “if walls could talk”. She also captured the thinking, reasoning and understanding of those living then.  That was an eye opener!  I loved peeping back in time with my 21st century lifestyle and knowledge while experiencing 14th century thinking. The plot is a gripping, on the edge of your seat race against time in a world they knew little about!  It is one thing to read history, totally another to live it! Through the characters in the book was fulfilled two situations we can only dream about: being healed of an incurable disease and meeting with those that we have lost.  I found this very satisfying and comforting.  Once again Ms. Hedlund kept God as a focus of strength and trust for the characters to overcome the obstacles they faced.

I read the book quickly as I could not put it down.  This amounted to some nights of very little sleep as I am a bedtime reader!  It was worth it!

I received this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.

The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water By Erin Bartels

While I applaud Ms. Bartel’s talent as a writer, I cannot give this book the review I was hoping.  It was a bit of a surprise.  The situations portrayed in the book were not what would be expected from a Christian publisher.   I hate giving bad reviews but it was not something I feel comfortable reading or encouraging others to.

There is frequent alcohol use, drunkenness, and descriptions of sexual molestation. The latter, due to the very nature of it, while not as explicit as it could have been, cannot be made clean.  The main character even has a man she has never met before stay in her cabin with her. He is there to help her translate her book into another language.  That is innocent enough, and nothing happens between them, but not in keeping with godly conduct.

There are several references and descriptions of the woman’s scantily clad attire, and her molester looking her over.  This made me uncomfortable just reading it.

In fact there is not Christian aspect or even God mentioned in the story.

I would not have agreed to review this book had there been any indication of these things. This book was definitely not for me. 

I received this book from Revell publishing in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.

A Heart Adrift By Laura Frantz

Laura Frantz writes the most amazing books, but this one in my opinion tops them all!  Every time I read one of Ms. Frantz’s books I learn so much about the time in history.   Not just new facts but she matches the emotions and thoughts of those during that era.  Talk about a great history lesson that is super entertaining!

It is 1755 during colonial America in the colony of Virginia.

Esmee Shaw and Captain Henri Lennox were deeply in love and destined for the altar that is until a lover’s spat caused them to part ways, 10 years ago!!!  Fast forward 10 years later and she is 28 years old, an old maid for sure in those times!  She has settled into the life of caring for her deceased mother’s chocolate shop and her father.  She longs for more but what?  She won’t admit it but Henri still holds her heart.  

Much to her confusion and surprise, Captain Lennox returns home after all these years at sea.  He has no doubt his love for Esmee has never died and wants to restore their relationship.  With love, nothing is ever simple.  Because of his bravery and expertise as a sea captain, the government asks him to complete a dangerous and secret mission.  His commitment to the sea was the cause of their parting in the beginning.  Can he turn his back on his country for love?

There is so much more to this book.  It was unique in that when you thought the story was ending, it surprises you with new, different, and exciting developments!  I loved this!   

I immediately became immersed not only in their love story but also in the complicated and trying lives the colonists lived.   Reading about politics, rules of society, daily life, handling illness, survival and those less fortunate during this era made this more than a novel, it became an experienceWhat resonated most with me was the characters strong faith and reliance on God.  Very inspirational!  I would so like to see a sequel to this book. It was an honor to read and review it before publication!

Till Morning is Nigh By Leisha Kelly

The U.S. was in the grip of the great depression. December 1932, two families were still reeling the devastating loss of loved ones the year before.  Julia and Samuel Wortham and their 3 children felt very blessed.  A sweet elderly woman named Emma Graham had brought them into her home.  Just a few days before Christmas, 1931 Emma and Wila Hammond tragically died. Wila left 10 motherless children.  George, their alcoholic father was so filled with grief he disappeared and tried to take his life.  One year later at the same time both families are still in heavy in grief. George goes missing again and everyone fears the worst.  All 10 children appear or the Wortham’s doorstep. Three of the children are ill.  As Christmas quickly approaches, Julia courageously works to nurse the sick, feed the brood, and entertain 13 children, trying to keep their minds off their father and the anniversary of their mother’s death.  With no money she directs their focus on the true meaning of Christmas.  Please don’t be put off by the sadness.  This book is a beautiful story of the simple times and joys of life.  Though most were in poverty, the church and community pulled together to share what they had.  Your heart will be warmed and inspired.  The children had no toys but Julia had paper, crayons, glue and scissors.  With these small things she helped the children create a paper nativity that became their daily center of attention.  Her strong faith in the Lord brought hope.   Meager supplies became cookies, fruit bread and meals.  With the patience of Job, Julia loved, comforted, and consoled each one although she herself struggled.  Her creativity out of scraps and odds and ends provided gifts for all the children.  Such a difference in the expensive presents expected now. It all centers on God’s miraculous provision at all times.  This is a beautiful Christmas story.  A keeper and a 5 star book! You want to read it, trust me! The story that leads up to this one is Emma’s Gift by the same author.  Another great book!

Conquer Your Deliverance By John Ramirez

Prior to accepting Christ John was a high satanic priest.  His experiences and knowledge are unique, valuable and eye opening to Christians.  He shares the enemy’s strategies he uses on Believers that they are often not even aware of.  His story from where he began in a life of poverty, how he became involved in the occult and God delivering him is truly amazing. His personal stories and experiences are incredible. He has a burning desire to teach other to recognize Satan’s tactics and lies, then he how to overcome them and have success in their Christian walk. 

There were parts of the book I could not agree with as I found them unscriptural and not doctrinally sound.  All in all it is informative and those parts that are scripturally reliable will give the reader a wealth of knowledge to live a victorious Christian life.

I received this book from Bethany House Nonfiction/Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions I have stated are my own.

The Happy Crab By Layla and Kevin Palmer

It isn’t often you find a children’s book based on a true story. Personally I think that makes any book better for adults or children!  Knowing this will help a child relate and become involved in the book even more.

Happy is a hermit crab living life to the fullest. He has enjoyed drifting all over the world in the waves, meeting many new creatures and having fun adventures.  One day a young boy finds his shell on the beach!  What a treasure to a child! He had no clue it was Happy’s home.  On the way home he discovers the shell had someone living in it.  Encouraged by his parents he returns Happy back to the beach.

The illustrations are adorable and fun!   Not only will children enjoy it but it held some important lessons you can share with them.  The little boy cared more about the happiness and well-being of the little crab over his pleasure of keeping the pretty shell.  In a “me me me” world this is so important for them to learn to put others before yourself. 

This also reminded me of when I was a child.  I caught frogs, fire flies, praying mantises, cicadas, and more. My parents would carefully fix a jar with leaves and twigs for me to observe them.  But after 2 days I would be required to release them back where they came from. Even my ant farm had a time limit!   I was very young but I still remember explaining to me it would be cruel to keep them as they belonged in nature.  All life matters even the smallest things.  They were so wise.  Children need to be taught to care for and respect all creatures.  I followed the same example with my children.

I received this book from Bethany House Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.

A View Most Glorious By Regina Scott

Coraline Baxter was not your average woman for the late 1800’s.  She was a mixture of that era’s women’s libber and a proper lady that followed all the social customs of time.  A suffragette, college graduate, intelligent, creative but she had definite ideas about what she wanted in life.  On the other hand she totally under the thumb of her overbearing, social snob of a mother.  She couldn’t’ seem to truly stand up to her.

To escape her mother’s choice for her marriage to Cash Kincaid, a creepy (in my opinion) socially successful business man, she came up with a plan.  Her suffrage group had a publicity idea to draw attention to women’s votes: climb Mount Rainier.  Somehow she persuades her mother to agree to call off the wedding if she is successful.  I am sure her mother agreed because this was considered close to impossible for a woman, especially one of the “elite” like Coraline.

She sets her sights on hiring the best climbing guide there is, Nathan Hardee.  He was once big among the wealthy social circles until he left it all behind for a reclusive life in the woods.  Not a woman to be told no, other than by her mother, she pursues him until he agrees.  The clincher is Coraline has zero climbing experience not in the best of shape.  To add to the difficulty her not so healthy stepfather was the only man available to chaperone her.  The odds were stacked against her. The story that ensues is filled with adventure, excitement, the unexpected and beautiful scenic descriptions that will ae your breath away! I found it incredible how inadequate their clothing and climbing gear was compared to what is available today!  BRRRRR.  This made the climb an even greater accomplishment. 

Coraline’s courage, spunk and sweet spirit won me over!  I was impressed that with her snobbish upbringing she was still so loving and accepting of everyone, even those that then would have been considered lower class.

Nathan Hardee’s showed such character and integrity, despite his disappointments and bitterness from his past.  His strong desire to protect Coraline and her stepfather truly touched me.

Throughout the book I just wanted to shake her mother.  Her arrogance and attitude of superiority were extremely frustrating.  I realized later that all of her misguided attempts to steer her daughter’s future were out of love. She wanted her to have the best and didn’t want Coraline to go through the hard times she had.

I wanted to hug Waldo her stepfather.  Such a sweet, sweet man that managed to balance his love and support for Coraline and his love and understanding of his wife and her abrasive personality. A story you will enjoy and be inspired by!

 I received this book from Revell Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.