Betty Greene By Janet and Geoff Benge

Betty’s desire to be a pilot blossomed at the very young age of 8 years old, and that dream never diminished.  Her mother pushed her into enrolling in nursing school, but after two years she dropped out.  All she wanted to do was fly!  In 1940 she was visiting a 70 year old neighbor, and poured out her frustrations about what to do with her life.   The wise old woman asked her what she loved doing the most and Betty’s answers were flying and helping with the youth group at church. Her neighbor pointed out she could do both by helping by flying for Christian missions. Once she got home she prayed and told God that although she had never heard of anyone flying to spread the gospel, if it was what He wanted her to do, He would work it out. Just a few weeks after her prayer, she heard of a civilian pilot training.  She enrolled and was accepted.  From that point on God continued to move with opportunity after opportunity in training and experience.  Being an eager student Betty excelled in everything she did.  She flew for Women’s Airforce Service in World War 2. She is honored with the title of the first woman to fly over the Andes and also to be allowed to fly over Sudan (women pilots were not allowed at that time). With 3 other men she helped found and Christian Airmen’s Missionary Fellowship. Now the Mission Aviation Fellowship. Her adventures were incredible; flying to isolated jungle areas, staying with missionaries, hiking through the jungle, and repairing planes in remote areas.  She even coordinated and flew missions across many continents which was no easy feat with numerous stops for fueling plus time to rest, all in different countries!  I found all she did mind boggling, but the planning and knowledge it took to accomplish this was incredible.  She had so many close calls, emergency situations, illness and just downright scary circumstances.  Betty loved every minute of it and never wavered.  I won’t even travel to another state alone in a car!  What I found most impressive was all of this was done with her intense devotion to God and desire to serve Him. One amazing lady! 

Thank you to YWAM Publishing for a providing this book for me to review.  The opinions stated are my own.

Come Back To Me By Jody Hedlund

I always enjoy reading Jody Hedlund’s books.  This one really caught my eye. While I am not a fan of time travel this one was different, especially being my favorite genre, historical romance!

After his wife died from a rare genetic disorder and upon finding his daughter, Ellen also inherited it; Marian’s father poured his life into finding a cure.   His theory was that water that had come in contact with seeds from the Tree of Life had the power to transport people back in time and cure any disease in the present day.  It was so outlandish she just chalked it up to him possibly being mentally off.  That is until she is summoned to his bedside in England where he lay in a coma.  As she follows cryptic clues he had left her she quickly realizes he was onto something. 

Upon finding an ancient flask he has left with a residue of the water, she experiences passing back in time.  Convinced this is something that can save her sister and bring her father out of a coma; she drinks some of the water.  She finds herself transported back to the middle ages where she meets Will Durham, a handsome and brave knight for the King of England.  The adventures she faces not to mention the time restraints to return to present day are harrowing!   What an adventure!  I found myself actually becoming anxious. I loved the detailed description of her experiences in the late 1300’s from the view point of a 21 century woman!  I must admit she took it in stride much better than I would have.  I felt her yearning for a hot shower and a cup of coffee.  There was much Marian  could not have for seen in facing but she never dreamed she would fall in love.    What a story; suspense, excitement, and mystery!   I read at night to go to sleep and for 3 nights it was the wee hours of the morning before I could put it down!  The only part I did not like about the book was, while in good taste, there were way too many parts of steamy sensuality between Marian and Will.  I was a bit surprised with it being a Christian novel.   Otherwise it was a really great, unique book! 

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

Helen Roseveare By Janet and Geoff Benge

Helen was raised in family of financial means. Her father placed great importance on her receiving a good education.   She worked hard and acquired a medical degree, not to make money but to use the skills as a missionary.  She was a rarity in her time, not only as a female physician but also as a doctor on the mission field.  I loved how the Lord guided her through sermons, scriptures, and the guidance of other Christians.  He led her to the Congo.  Here women were not respected by the nationals.  She had many hurdles to overcome in addition to the dangerous political upheaval of the country and how impoverished the area was. Upon her arrival she was put the work the very next day. The clinic had 500 – 1000 people waiting for medical help.  Many had traveled long distances on foot.  There were diseases and injuries she had never seen or been trained for in medical school. 

Her energy and motivation amazed me.  She didn’t just serve as a doctor but also trained medical workers, established nursing schools, and built hospitals in her career. This is quite astounding considering how little there was to work with regarding supplies, materials and workers.  Her strong willed attitude which aided in success also caused on going struggles and conflicts with her colleagues.  This distressed her greatly. When a civil war broke out and other missionaries were leaving, Helen stayed. At one point rebels destroyed her clinic, and was held hostage.  She was violently physically, emotionally and sexually abused for 5 months before she was rescued. In spite of this after recovering at home in England she returned to the Congo. She was broken hearted at the destruction of all she had built and condition of the people. Memories and fear of what she endured were always with her.  She continued there 7more years trying to rebuild even making further improvements.

I was shocked at all the suffering Helen faced during her time of service. Her courage, faith and strength left me in awe.  What incredible situations she went through and still desired to serve God. She left after 20 years of service, returning once to see how her work still flourished.  God truly created a legacy through her. 

Helen Roseveare is a missionary I had not heard of.  This one thing I like about the Benge’s Christian biographies.  They write about incredible people that many do not know of.

Thank you to YWAM Publishing for a providing this book for me to review.  The opinions stated are my own.

Lillian Trasher By Janet and Geoff Benge

Lillian Trasher’s story reminds me of Proverbs 16:9. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.  Seventeen years old and filled with the hope and zeal of youth, Lillian wanted to spread her wings and fly!  She set out to pursue her dream of becoming a sketch artist for the Georgian Newspaper in Atlanta.  While on the train she just “happens” to sit by a woman who ran the Faith Orphanage in North Carolina.  As they chatted the woman offered Lillian a job as her assistant.  Working in an orphanage, ridiculous! She was going to have a career with the newspaper!  She politely listened and promised the woman she would remember her should things change.

After submitting her sketches to the art editor, who assured her there was a very good chance landing her dream job she left to return the next day. Through a series of events that were most unusual she was not hired.  Seeing God’s hand in this disappointment, she headed for Faith Orphanage.  There she served tirelessly not knowing God was teaching her many lessons and preparing her for His plan.

After 5 years she felt the Lord’s calling to the mission field, in Africa.  Having no money and no church to support her was not a deterrent to this faith-filled woman.  She trusted God and He furnished all her needs in incredible ways.   It wasn’t long after she arrived at the mission house in Egypt; a dying baby was given to her. She was given the choice by the leaders of the mission house to return the baby (whose mother had died) or leave.  This is when she learned there were no orphanages in Egypt and the baby would be thrown into the Nile.  

With no money and no support once again, she left with the infant.  You have to realize this country was a dangerous place for a woman alone.  She didn’t even know the language! Once again she trusted God and as always He provided.  This was just the beginning of His amazing care and provision for Lillian and the orphanage she established.   She had many setbacks and serious problems throughout the years:  no food, catastrophes, illness, no clothing for the children.  Every time God was faithful to furnish whatever was needed.  At the time of her death, she had lovingly cared for 10,000 children and widows.  None of which could have been done without her obedience, faith and trust in God.  This is an incredible story!  Lillian reminded me of a cross between George Muller and Gladys Aylward! 

I love Christian biographies.  Learning about men and women who have given their lives to serve God is inspiring to me. Although this book is for readers 8 to 12 years of age, I encourage adults to read it too! 

Thank you to YWAM Publishing for a providing this book for me to review.  The opinions stated are my own.

A Lady in Attendance By Rachel Fordham

Rachel was born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth; wealthy, entitled, and reckless.  None of this helped her when she found herself being accused of a crime she did not commit.  Shipped off to a reformatory to serve her time, she found out what life was really about.  Upon her release she had nowhere to go and no money.  Rachel’s goal was to clear her and her family’s name of this injustice.

Instead of having a pity party she applies for a job at Dr. Gilbert’s dentistry office to be his lady in attendance.  What we call dental technicians now.  I had no clue there was such a position back then.  The thought of going to the dentist in the late 1890’s gives me the heebie jeebies!   No deadening, crude tools, you get the picture.

Gilbert was a solid, kindhearted, shy man who did not want to have any attachments to the opposite sex.  Yet, vivacious Hazel changes all that.  Her true character blossoms in her new job, diligent, caring and unassuming.  Gilbert finds himself becoming happier and more outspoken (in a good way).  Friendship turns to romance.  As he becomes involved with Hazel her story is brought to light and he purposes to help her restore her reputation.

As the story progressed, I couldn’t put the book down!  Each step revealed a deeper part of the mystery that surrounded Hazel’s predicament.  I had to turn the next page because I couldn’t stand the suspense! 

I loved Hazel’s spirit of forgiveness and courage to take responsibility for her choices.  She felt it would be impossible to repair the damage her foolishness had done to her life and her family but God was working to show her that nothing is impossible with Him.  The Lord sends just who she needs to move toward a solution.

There are lots of surprises and excitement along the way.  Trust me; you want to read this book!

I received this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.

At Lighthouse Point By Suzanne Woods Fisher

I was very excited to read this new book in the “Three Sister’s Island” series! I enjoyed the others so much!  The family has settled on the island and it has become their home. Paul is still working to develop Camp Kicking Moose into a success.

Blaine has graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Pairs and returns home excited and anticipating making her dreams come true by turning the camp fine dining destination. Many surprises await her, come good and some not so good.  Her sisters are both married and pregnant.  They have settled into comfortable lives and work.  She is forced back into the reality with her family, the business and life on the island.  Blaine is not prepared for some changes her family lovingly with her in mind.  They are equally surprised with a Frenchman named Jean Paul she brings home with no explanation of who he is or why.

I love this family!  They are so real!  Their interactions, drama, misunderstandings bring them to life.  With all of them, under one roof, it gets quite chaotic.  Add to the mix Blaine, Jean Paul and out of the blue Paul’s Dad shows up.  Each one has their own problems and struggles to work through some very serious.  Their love and desire to make the relationships succeed was refreshing.  No matter what their struggles they always worked it out.   I could relate so much with Maddie and her fears and anxiety concerning her husband Rick’s health issues. While I was happy to see many of the characters from previous books, the new one, Jean Paul was my favorite.  His ability to listen with his ears and his heart drew me to him.  I wish I could talk to him! He inspired me to become a better listener.  I liked the way he always directed them to God.  His saying, “Pray and release”, will stay with me in my life! His mishaps while sad are hilarious.  The author’s descriptiveness of the gorgeous scenery was beautiful.  I love nature.  The best part of the book was that through all the problems, heartaches, and even frightening events, the characters always turn to God for their strength and guidance.  I understand this is the last book of this series, but I so hope Ms. Fisher will write JUST one more!

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

Blackberry Beach By Irene Hannon

This is my second Hope Harbor series book to read and I hope to read all of them! 

As I began reading my mind raced back to the previous book and Hope Harbor’s charm and nostalgia.  The author has created a place you would want to visit and even live there: the wonderful people, the town’s businesses and the ocean with its beautiful beaches. I love it!

Being a small community, anyone new is noticed right away (I have lived in places like that).  The new comer is young woman that is very guarded and reclusive.  She interacts very little with others and wears huge sunglasses to hide her face.  Zach Garrett who owns the local coffee shop notices her right away.  Fascinated by her secrecy and mysteriousness he finds himself determined to befriend her.  He discovers she is renting the beach house next door to him.  Perfect!  He will stop at nothing to get to know her and her story. 

.Some of the characters are at a crossroads in their lives.  It takes courage to step out and take a different path from the one you have become accustom to for so long.  At first it can seem wrong and uncomfortable.  Most of us don’t like change, even for the better.   I liked that even though they grappled and even resisted with a new direction because of the unknown, they relied on God to direct them.  I could relate to times in my life when God was nudging me to move away from my comfort or not so comfortable zone.  The decision each of the individuals stood at the edge of, dealt with new relationships, healing seemingly impossible old ones, and their calling in life.  I must admit their grappling with whether they would step out on faith, kept me on the edge of my seat.  I kept wondering what they would choose (and what I thought they could choose!).  I had trouble putting it down!  A wonderful Christian read!

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

Dreams Rekindled By Amanda Cabot

I had read the first book in this series and so enjoyed it.  It took me a bit to realize that this was book two.  It has romance, humor, suspense and danger all rolled into one! 

Dorothy Clark has decided to be a confirmed spinster.  After watching her mother’s emotional breakdown after the death of Dorothy’s Dad, she has decided no love is worth that.  She never wants to put her children through such trauma.  Her dream is to become a writer, but this is a hard road to travel for a woman in the 1850’s.  Brandon Holloway moves to Mesquite Springs with the goal of starting a newspaper.  All he has is his printing press and some heavy baggage from the past.  He is impressed by the serene spirit and harmony of the community.  Things quickly change when an outsider moves there with ulterior motives which will threaten the town’s peaceful way of life and endanger many.

The excitement in the book kept me turning pages!   So many times I wished I could warn Dorothy and Brandon what was going on!  The lessons in the story of personal growth and leaving the past behind were phenomenal, and they involved seeing the truth rather than being guided by emotions.  A book you will want to read, but if you read at bedtime, start early because you won’t want to put it down!  I cannot wait for book number three!

I received this book from Library Thing’s Early Reviewers.  The opinions I have stated are my own.

Flooded: The 5 Best Decisions to Make When Life Is Hard and Doubt Is Rising By Nicki Koziar

Oh wow!  This book came into my life at just the right time! Life’s circumstances and suffering had me slip into a spiritual low.  My vibrant strong faith has faltered.  I found myself doubting God helping me in areas of my life. This made my suffering greater and I was ashamed of my spiritual walk.

The “unknowns” in my life had not only “flooded” me but almost washed me away.  What a blessing this book is! I know the stories in the Bible are examples to us in how to deal with trial, but I never ever thought of looking at Noah’s experiences in that way!  The book is divided into 5 decisions you need to make when faced with a crisis to be a conqueror.

Ms. Koziar’s writing style is one that makes you feel she is writing directly to you, very personable.  The Lord has brought me through many hard things in my life, but I realized that instead of it being a strengthening lesson, there has been some remaining doubt for what is to come. I realized doubt is sin, because I am not trusting God can take care of me.  She made me dig deep and look at what was really there in my heart and mind.  The author does it in such a way that you are guided into it and inspired, not beaten over the head and made to feel guilty. The words jumped off the page at me, requiring a highlighter, so inspiring! Another part I liked about the books is that she gives you “handles” to your wheelbarrow.  She doesn’t just point out the issues but presents ways to overcome them. You aren’t left hanging. Well written and easy to read but you will want to really study it! 

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

Make Their Day By Karen Ehman

Ms. Ehman is one of my favorite authors! I love sharing, giving and doing for others.  She always has beautiful, thoughtful and unique ideas to brighten people’s days and make them feels special.  This book as with her others has practical ideas anyone can do. The majority without a lot of work or cost. They are flexible in that you can personalize them to fit your special giving situation. More than ever right now people need to be encouraged. 

As the book cover says there are 101 of these little treasures. I found them all to be uncomplicated and easy.  The most impressive thing I found was that ALL of them are extraordinarily thoughtful, and that is something that really touches people’s hearts.  One of my favorite of the 8 sections is “Throughout Your Day and Around the Town.”  I love surprising people that work in the community as they are seldom recognized.

This is not giving me a pat on the back as the Lord gets the credit, but I want to share a personal experience in this area.  There was a woman at a very busy business in town.  EVERYTIME I was there no matter how busy they were or how grumpy a customer she was always patient, kind and wore a real smile.  The Lord kept prompting to do something for her.  So I put together a little bag, and wrote a letter telling her how much I appreciated her.  She cried.  Next time I went in she told me that day she had planned to take her life.  She was so discouraged and alone.  The tiny gift and note that only took a small amount of time gave her hope and made her want to go on.  I learned that you never ever underestimate the impact of small acts of kindness as in this book.  Remember, the gift you give is not truly the “gift”; the true gift is that you thought of them and cared.

I received these books from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated are my own.