Friday, June 10, 2022

PRAYING WITH THE ENEMY by Steven T Collis

PRAYING WITH THE ENEMY by Steven T. Collis. This fantastic read was released this week. A historical fiction about the Korean War with the viewpoint from four different people was so well done. I was drawn in from chapter one and couldn't put it down. The feelings and opinions of each person were so strong and in a way relatable. War is not for the faint of heart but when you are able to experience it through the eyes of another, it makes at least me feel that much more grateful for our freedoms and those who have sacrificed to maintain our freedoms. What a beautiful story brought to life. It is one every person should read.

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When pilot Captain Ward Millar is forced to eject over enemy territory in North Korea, the ejection explosion snaps both of his ankles. Unable to walk, he is easily captured by North Korean and Chinese soldiers who interrogate, threaten, and starve him for strategic wartime information. He feeds the enemy false information while plotting his escape. But it’s only a matter of time before they discover his lies. He knows it will take a miracle to gain his freedom, but his previous self-reliance on his own capabilities has never included appealing to a higher power. If only he had faith like his wife, Barbara, whose firm belief in God can move mountains. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

THE VALET'S SECRET by Josi S Kilpack

THE VALET'S SECRET by Josi S KilpackWhat a wonderful story for second chances at love. You don't read a lot of regency books that talk about life after losing a spouse. It was very interesting to see the journey of both Rebecca and "Mr. Henry" and how they came together. There is nothing like a food secret to through a wrench in trusting someone. It's a beautiful read that anyone romantic at heart would love. 

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As a once happily married woman, Rebecca Parker had a good life, but now widowed, working for a living, and her only child grown, she feels invisible, tired, and lonely. That is until the day a valet speeding by on a horse nearly runs her off the road. Mr. Malcolm Henry is apologetic, gentle, and handsome. She’s instantly drawn to him, which is why, rather than stopping him from kissing her, she kisses him back, reigniting a nearly forgotten passion. But love at first sight only happens in fairy tales—never to an ordinary woman like her.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Even The Dog Knows by Jason F Wright

EVEN THE DOG KNOWS by Jason F Wright

What an interesting journey to take with this family. There were several points in the journey that brought tears to my eyes. How many times have misunderstandings driven wedges between people? How many times have people made assumptions that were incorrect? How many times have we assumed someone wasn't feeling things because they hadn't shown those emotions in ways we related to? And really and truly, how perceptive are dogs? I know mine have been so I tune to the emotional needs of those around them, it's amazing. As much as this journey was Meg's, Gary's, Troy's, Moses's and others along the way, it's a journey we all take at some point in our lives. At least a certain portion of it. It felt like, "How much more can they take?", at times. It's an amazing read that I would recommend for anyone. Beware that there is the possibility of triggers (death, accidents, abandonment, illness) for lots of different situations, but it is a fantastic read.

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Meg Gorton finds herself alone and lonely in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Three years earlier, she had packed what she could fit into her sister's car and asked her estranged husband, Gary, to take care of Moses, their beloved black Labrador. Things between Meg and Gary hadn't been the same after the loss of their only daughter many years ago. Even after raising their grandson, Troy, it was clear that if Meg wanted a new beginning, she would have to do it alone.

Haunted by the tragedy of his daughter's death, Gary is stuck in his life in Woodstock, Virginia. He still owns and drives the bus for their hometown minor league baseball team, and he still thinks about the day his wife drove away.

Everything changes when Meg contacts Gary with a request to bring Moses to visit her one last time before the old dog passes on. Gary is reluctant, but Troy thinks it's an excellent idea. They could even travel together in Gary's bus. Along the way, Gary takes a detour to visit Troy's ex-girlfriend, Grace. Gary might not know how to fix things with his wife, but he knows he doesn't want Troy to make the same mistakes he did.

Although Moses is just a dog, he's very observant. It doesn't take long for him to figure out they are going on to see Meg. He knows he's an old dog and that his time is near, but he also knows his family needs his help.

Even the Dog Knows is a novel that will take readers on a thousand-mile journey to find forgiveness, understanding, healing, and the meaning of true love and lasting love.

Friday, March 18, 2022

THE LEGEND OF THE DREAM GIANTS by Dustin HansenThis cute children's book is available now. It was a beautiful story of an unlikely friendship that shows how we need to look past the outer appearance of others. Not everyone is as they seem. The beautiful illustrations just add to the story. In some ways it was harder to read because your heart goes out to Berg. He just wants a friend and is treated so poorly. It's a wonderful reminder to not judge too harshly before getting to know someone. 

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An orphaned giant named Berg is in search of just one person he can call friend.

When he was very young, Berg’s mother hid him in a cave and led an angry mob of villagers away, sacrificing her own life to protect her son. In all the years since, Berg has lived alone, the only reminders of his family are his mother’s satchel and his recurring dreams of a white bear who shares a magical sand from a fallen star. When the white bear touches Berg with the star-blue sand, he feels safe and happy in his dreams. Sometimes, when he feels lonely, he will risk entering a village to trade a smooth river rock or a feather for food. He’s really searching for kindness, companionship, and, maybe one day, someone who will want to get to know him and be his friend. But with every attempt he makes, people only see his massive size and cruelly chase him away, thinking he is Ünhold—a giant and a monster. Whoever this Ünhold is, Berg also fears him and hopes they never meet.

In his travels, Berg comes upon a new town, a city made of iron where blacksmiths construct all kinds of ironworks from gates to sculptures to chains and weapons. Berg meets a little girl, Anya, who doesn’t run and scream in fear like everyone else does. To his amazement and delight, Anya knows about the dream-sand and says she wants to be his friend.

The mayor convinces the villagers of the benefit of having a giant around who can protect their city from the dangers he says Ünhold has in store for them. Anya has learned about the dream-sand from secretly watching Ünhold use it to trade for food and trinkets, and she suspects the mayor is planning something different than what he says. Fearing the city isn’t safe for Berg, she warns her giant friend to flee. When a secret plot is revealed to capture Berg, the young giant has to figure out where he can place his trust.

The story follows Berg on his journey and is told through text and graphic novel-style illustrations of beautiful dream sequences that reveal Berg’s hopes and memories. Berg’s mother appears to him in his dreams as a white bear, patient, nurturing and protective, and he sees himself as a little bear cub. Berg is often unsure what exactly the dreams mean, but sometimes they describe things which are about to happen or give him answers to problems he is facing.

This tender and unique story-within-a-story is a riveting tale of loss, longing, adventure, being yourself, and finding the true meaning of friendship.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

BEYOND THE LAVENDER FIELDS by Arlem Hawks

 

BEYOND THE LAVENDER FIELDS by Arlem Hawks. What a fantastic story that sucks you in. You really get a feel for what people are not only witnessing, but feeling. In a lot of ways, the thoughts and feelings of Gilles and Marie echo those things that I'm seeing in today's world. This story sucks you in and forces you to finish, no matter what you have going on at the moment. Loved it!

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Rumors of revolution in Paris swirl in Marseille, a bustling port city in southern France. Gilles Étienne, a clerk at the local soap factory, thrives on the news. Committed to the cause of equality, liberty, and brotherhood, he and his friends plan to march to Paris to dethrone the monarchy. His plans are halted when he meets Marie-Caroline Daubin, the beautiful daughter of the owner of the factory.

A bourgeoise and a royalist, Marie-Caroline has been called home to Marseille to escape the unrest in Paris. She rebuffs Gilles's efforts to charm her and boldly expresses her view that violently imposed freedom is not really freedom for all. As Marie-Caroline takes risks to follow her beliefs, Gilles catches her in dangerous secret that could cost her and her family their lives. As Gilles and Marie-Caroline spend more time together, she questions her initial assumptions about Gilles and realizes that perhaps they have more in common than she thought.

As the spirit of revolution descends on Marseille, people are killed and buildings are ransacked and burned to the ground. Gilles must choose between supporting the political change he believes in and protecting those he loves. And Marie-Caroline must battle between standing up for what she feels is right and risking her family's safety. With their lives and their nation in turmoil, both Gilles and Marie-Caroline wonder if a révolutionnaire and a royaliste can really be together in a world that forces people to choose sides.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

LOVE AND LAVENDER by Josi S Kilpack

LOVE AND LAVENDER by Josi S Kilpack. What different type of romance story. It's not often, although lately it seems to be more frequent, do we read about characters with limitations in the Regency Era. People were treated so differently then. I loved getting to know Hazel, her fire and determination were infectious. Duncan took some getting used to, more so in the way he spoke, but by the end I loved him as much as I did Hazel. It is the perfect combination of working together and learning that love doesn't always look like the way we expect it to. I highly recommend this new addition to the Mayfield Family Series.

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Hazel Stillman is a woman of rare independence and limited opportunities. Born with a clubbed foot, she was sent away as a child and, knowing her disability means a marriage is unlikely, she devoted herself to scholarship and education.

Now working as a teacher in an elite private girls\x27 school, she is content with the way her story has unfolded. When her uncle Elliott Mayfield presents her with the prospect of a substantial inheritance if she marries, Hazel is offended. What kind of decent man would marry for her money? Besides, she loves her freedom as a professional, respected woman. When she hears rumors of the school possibly being sold, however, she knows she must consider all her options.

Duncan Penhale has a brilliant mind and thrives on order and process. He does not expect to marry because he likes his solitary life, shared only with his beloved cat. When Elliott Mayfield, his guardian\x27s brother, presents him with an inheritance if he marries a woman of social standing, Duncan finds it intrusive. However, with the inheritance, he could purchase the building in which he works and run his own firm. It would take an impressive and intellectual woman to understand and love him, quirks and all.

Hazel and Duncan believe they have found a solution to both of their problems: marry one another, receive their inheritances, and then part ways to enjoy their individual paths. But when Uncle Mayfield stipulates that they must live together as husband and wife for one year before receiving their inheritances, Hazel and Duncan reluctantly agree. Over time, their marriage of convenience becomes much more appealing than they had anticipated. At the end of the full year, will they go their separate ways or could an unlikely marriage have found unsuspecting love?

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

THE SLOW MARCH OF LIGHT by Heather B Moore


THE SLOW MARCH OF LIGHT by Heather B Moore. What an amazing, inspirational story. There was a lot of learning and relearning done for me in this book. The constant gratitude in the face of extreme hardship, the forgiveness given, and the personal discoveries made were only the beginning. The heroism of people to help fellow countrymen is inspiring and should shape the way we look at things today. It is such a great story. I highly recommend it. 

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In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing Berlin. Luisa Voigt lives in West Berlin, but her grandmother lives across the border and is now trapped inside the newly- isolated communist country of East Germany. Desperate to rescue her grandmother and aware of the many others whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking her life to help bring others through a makeshift, underground tunnel to West Germany. Their work is dangerous and not everyone will successfully escape or live to see freedom. 

Bob Inama was an outstanding university student, with plans to attend law school when he is drafted into the US Army. Stationed in West Germany, he is glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Voigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he does not get the chance to say goodbye.

With a fake identity, Bob's special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany. His undercover job will give him access to government sites to map out strategic military targets. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and eventually Bob is caught and sent to a brutal East German prison. Interrogated and tortured daily, Bob clings to any hope he can find from the sunlight that marches across the wall of his prison to the one guard who secretly treats him with kindness to the thought of one day seeing Luisa again.