Room For Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer

51xipIDZQTL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_In a desperate time, can Neva find forgiveness for a grievous wrong—and make room for hope?

Neva Shilling has a heavy load of responsibility while her husband travels to neighboring communities and sells items from his wagon. In his absence, she faithfully runs the Shilling Mercantile, working to keep their business strong as the Depression takes its toll, and caring for their twins.

When a wagon pulls up after supper, Neva and her children rush out—and into the presence of the deputy driving a wagon carrying three young children. The deputy shocks her with the news that Warren and his wife have died, insisting it was their last request that the three children go live with “Aunt Neva.”

Neva’s heart is shattered as she realizes that Warren’s month-long travels were excuses for visits with his secret family. She wants nothing more than to forget Warren, but can she abandon these innocent children to an orphanage? Yet if she takes them in, will she ever be able to see them as more than evidence of her husband’s betrayal and love them the way God does?

About the Author

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the highly acclaimed, best-selling author of gentle stories of hope such as What Once Was Lost and Through the Deep Waters. With more than one million books in print, Kim has garnered numerous awards including the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. She lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband Don. She enjoys travel, quilting, and spending time with her daughters and grandchildren.

My Thoughts

At every bend and turn, this novel will keep you guessing and wanting more of this amazing plot.  This is a fantastic story, with a believable plot.  The actions of Neva will have you asking yourself, “Could I do the same?”

The ending was not what I expected.  It was better! I highly recommend this book as your next reading.  It will keep you glued, up at night, and rooting for Neva in every chapter.

Thank you to the author and Waterbrook Press for a copy in exchange for this review.

Taking A Break To Consider

I have has some traumatic life changes of late and am struggling to keep up with the review process. I am taking an undetermined break to decided if I will continue reviewing.  I will finish the books I agreed to review and exit.  The blog will remain but comments will be closed. Thank you for your visits and understanding.

Mrs. C

 

Bible Quotes of Thanks, Love, and Peace by Ms. E. Medinilla

61j5db9jWxL._SX394_BO1,204,203,200_Ms. E Medinilla has over 20 years of teaching experience, and is also an entrepreneur/business owner. She has a successful business in Los Angeles, CA which she and her husband have run for over 10+years.

If you wish to see videos for samples of some of her work in her coloring books, watch them on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyMy0It8pI7mMAjC9mRCS8g

She is the author of 10+ books on topics ranging from Self Help, coloring books, and children’s books. Twelve of her books can be found on Amazon under Ms. E Medinilla.

Ms. E Medinilla has been dabbling in art from a very young age. She loves being creative and enjoys drawing, paintin, and sewing. She finds design and color fascinating!

She may be reached via her business website: http://maacbooks.com
Or join she on Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/maacbooks/

My Thoughts

This beautiful book was sent to me by the author.  I have seen similar books, but none that shared positive Scripture designs as this book.  Many have said that these coloring books calm and relieve stress and center the mind.  The author states that this is yoga for the brain.

As a mother of disabled sons, I continually seek tasks and activities that will increase their fine motor skills.  If you have an adult disabled family member, one who is recovering from a stroke, or needs to fine tune fine motor skills, please consider this book.  The illustrations not only minister to the soul, but the mind and body.  You will find your completed work beautiful for framing.

Thank you to the author for a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

By The Hands of Men, Book Two: Into The Flames by Roy M. Griffis

51MtiGqSywL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Charlotte Braninov, traumatized by loss and her service as a frontline nurse, returns to war-torn Russia to find her family. Captured by the Red Army, she exchanges one hell for another. Her still-loyal Lieutenant, Robert Fitzgerald, believing the woman he loves is dead, struggles to recover from the ravages of combat and typhus. In a desperate bid to rediscover himself, he commits to serve his country as a pawn in distant Shanghai. Forging their destinies in a world reeling after The Great War, Charlotte and Robert will learn anew the horror and the beauty the hands of men can create when they descend into the flames.

About the Author

Born in Texas City, TX, the son of a career Air Force meteorologist. Attended a variety of schools at all of the hot spots of the nation, such as Abilene, Texas and Bellevue, Nebraska.

Sent to my grandparent’s house in Tuscon, Arizona when things were tough at home. I was pretty lost, as my grandparents were largely strangers to me. My older brother, a more taciturn type, refused to discuss what was going on. Fortunately, like so many kids before me, I was rescued by literature. Or, at least, by fiction. In a tiny used bookstore that was just one block up from a dirt road, I discovered that some good soul had unloaded his entire collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” series in Ballantine Paperback. Moved by some impulse, I spent my RC Cola money on the first book, “A Princess of Mars.”

I think what struck me was how these books were possessed of magic: they were able to transport me far from this dusty land of relatives who I didn’t know and relatives pretended not to know me to another dusty land of adventure, heroism, nobility, and even love. It was the first magic I’d encountered that wasn’t a patent fraud, and when I closed the stiff paperback with the lurid images on the cover, I decided it was the kind of magic I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to mastering. And, thus, I was saved.

Along the way, I’ve done the usual starving artist jobs. Been a janitor, a waiter, a clerk in a bookstore. I was the 61st Aviation Rescue Swimmer in the Coast Guard (all that Tarzan reading wasn’t wasted). I’m also not a bad cook, come to think of it.

Currently, I’m a husband, father, and cat-owner. I’m an avid bicyclist and former EMT. I live in Southern California with my lovely wife. My friends call me “Griff,” my parents call me “Roy,” and my college-age son calls me “Dadman.” It’s a good life.

By the Hands of Men, Book Three: “The Wrath of a Righteous Man” will be released in May, 2016.

My Thoughts

The second book in this series begins at the place the first ends.  Whereas the first book seemed to concentrate on the story of Charlotte, this story focused on the life of Robert.  While this plot does not move as quickly, it is still as intense with emotion.

Mr. Griffis paint a portrait of this time in history, the despair, the longing, and the struggle just to survive physically, emotionally, and mentally.  While historically detailed, this novel will also appease those readers who love adventure, romance, and espionage.

I so look forward to the third book in this series to be released in May, 2016.  Once again, this author has captured my attention, my time, and my loyalty.

Thank you to Roy M. Griffis for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

51+RCcjX7GL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.

As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels―he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.

With dissension in his own camp―and the CityWatch soldiers closing in―Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing.

 

About the Author

pic_lg_Dekker_RachelleThe oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. The Choosing is her critically acclaimed debut novel. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at rachelledekker.com

Author Q&A

1. The Calling is the second book in The Seer Series. Does it pick up right after The Choosing leaves off?
No, a year and a half has passed when we rejoin the characters in The Calling

2. This book is written from Remko’s perspective. Did you face any challenges writing from a male point-of-view?
There was definitely a looming pressure as I started to write the book. As a woman writer, I wanted to make sure Remko felt masculine and authentic, so I was constantly aware of how he sounded, and how he reacted. Once I got into a flow with his character though, it started to feel more familiar I didn’t have to think about it as much.

3. Remko struggles with his anger often throughout the book. Is this expression of anger connected to his fears? If so, how?
Anger is just a natural reaction to the circumstances Remko faces. Sometimes being afraid can stir up anger because it makes us feel weak or out of control. This is definitely true for Remko in The Calling.

4. Do you think men and women express and handle fear differently? If so, how?
I believe people handle fear differently, and that gender doesn’t always play a role. I believe more often than not we are all the same, and that we should be encouraged that we never really face anything alone.

5. In the book you talk a lot about surrendering to fear. What does this look like and how does this help us to not be afraid?
I think sometimes the natural reaction to fear is to hide from it, or try and push it away. It’s the idea that if we can’t see it then it must not be there, but we all know that unless dealt with the unseen things often come back to bite us. The only way to face fear is to walk through it; surrendering to Father God and letting Him reminder us of our true identity. Only then do we really see that the light within us is always greater than the fear we face.

6. Carrington struggles with the pain that comes from watching Remko miss the Truth that was so clear to her. What encouragement would you give to others that have loved ones who do not yet share their faith?
Everyone needs to take the journey. For some, truth comes more easily, and others have to struggle to see it. It can be incredibly hard to watch someone you love miss the truth right in front of them, but don’t forget that the Father is still God, and He holds them in His hand. So love those that struggle restlessly and trust that the Father is ever-present, even in the darkness.

7. The theme of identity from The Choosing continues in The Calling. Carrington reminds herself, “When you know who you truly are, you realize there is no war left to fight at all.” How does this statement apply to our Christian faith? 8. Do you relate to any of the characters in The Calling in terms of how you’ve faced and handled fear in your life? How so?
For me this is simply a reminder that God is still God. Regardless of my circumstance or how I view the world, the Father is constant and hasn’t changed. He has already won the fight, already conquered death, already set me free. It’s only when I forget who He calls me and who He is that I feel the need to fight against life instead of surrendering to Him and letting Him be God.

8. Do you relate to any of the characters in The Calling in terms of how you’ve faced and handled fear in your life? How so?
Of course, every character I write ends up having some reflections of things I’ve faced personally. You can only write what you know, as they say. I, very much like Remko, have the tendency to be in “my head” too much when faced with fear, and I struggle to let go of the need for control and simply surrender. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to write this story.

9. What do you hope readers will take away from the story?
I hope they take a moment to see themselves as children of the Father. I hope they see that true freedom and fearlessness rest in surrendering, and that when they stand with the Father than nothing can stand against them. There is incredible peace in that truth, and I hope, like I am beginning the experience, that readers feel that same peace.

10. What can readers expect in the final book of the series?
Characters they know and some new ones I hope they’ll love! More questions of identity, and fear, but the characters will also be looking at forgiveness and letting go. I’m really happy with the way the final book played out, and I’m hoping readers will be as well.

My Thoughts

When I heard this author’s last name, my curiosity peaked.  She is an excellent writer, but do not compare her to her father.  Her style and plot approach is vastly different.  In her skill as a writer, the apple did not fall far from the tree.

This novel, while part of a series, stands alone.  It will suck you into the futuristic time warp and into the fear of the main character. This story reminded me of The Hunger Game series, with a Spiritual addition or twist.  The rebellion of society to medically induced conformity was a captivating plot.  The loss Remko felt throughout this story was heart wrenching.

The theme throughout this story is that no matter how dark your situation, no matter how much fog distorts your view, the Father will shine through it all to show you the way out of your trouble.  This message is relevant to every believer and unbeliever who may read this book. I am looking forward to reading the third book in this series and discovering more from this talented writer.

Thank you to Rachelle Dekker and Tyndale for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

My Mother’s Quilts by Ramona Richards

61BWfOkZSxL._SX343_BO1,204,203,200_Rich, personal, sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, readers will find
their own lives reflected in the author’s memories and the lessons and
encouragements drawn from the quilters whose legacy lives on in their work.
Woven through it all is the message of God’s grace and faithfulness, as strong
as the bonds of the generations and as comforting as the oldest and softest quilt that your grandmother ever sewed. Beautiful, four-color photos of each quilt are included.

About the Author

Ramona Richards is an award-winning editor, writer, and speaker and has worked on staff with Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Rutledge Hill Press, and Ideals magazine. The author of nine books and a frequent contributor to devotional collections, Ramona has written sales training videos, feature film scripts, novels, gift books, Bible studies, biographies, cookbooks, and magazine articles. Her daughter, Rachel, has severe disablilities and is often featured as the heroine in Ramona s devotions and magazine articles. An avid live music fan, Ramona loves Nashville, which she’s called home since she was ten. She can be found online at ramonarichards.com

My Thoughts

If you love all things quilts, this book will be a treasure in your hands!  It is a devotional of the author’s personal stories, beginning with a scripture verse, and ending with a prayer.  The devotionals also include beautiful photos of quilts and the artists who designed and stitched them.

This devotional book would be perfect to give as a gift or as the study/share text of your quilting circle, ladies small group, or as a treat for your best quilter friend.  The devotions will be a source of daily inspiration as you gain wisdom piece by piece.

Thank you to Worthy Inspired for a free copy in exchange for this honest review.

By The Hands of Men, Book One: The Old World by Roy M. Griffis

51kNawguR5L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Lieutenant Robert Fitzgerald has managed to retain his sanity, his humanity, and his honor during the hell of WWI’s trench warfare. Charlotte Braninov fled the shifting storm of the impending Russian Revolution for the less-threatening world of field camp medicine, serving as a nurse in the most hopeless of fronts. Their friendship creates a sanctuary both could cling to in the most desperate of times. Historical fiction about life, loss, and love, By the Hands of Men explores the power that lies within each of us to harm – or to heal – all those we touch.

About the Author

Born in Texas City, TX, the son of a career Air Force meteorologist. Attended a variety of schools at all of the hot spots of the nation, such as Abilene, Texas and Bellevue, Nebraska.

Sent to my grandparent’s house in Tuscon, Arizona when things were tough at home. I was pretty lost, as my grandparents were largely strangers to me. My older brother, a more taciturn type, refused to discuss what was going on. Fortunately, like so many kids before me, I was rescued by literature. Or, at least, by fiction. In a tiny used bookstore that was just one block up from a dirt road, I discovered that some good soul had unloaded his entire collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” series in Ballantine Paperback. Moved by some impulse, I spent my RC Cola money on the first book, “A Princess of Mars.”

I think what struck me was how these books were possessed of magic: they were able to transport me far from this dusty land of relatives who I didn’t know and relatives pretended not to know me to another dusty land of adventure, heroism, nobility, and even love. It was the first magic I’d encountered that wasn’t a patent fraud, and when I closed the stiff paperback with the lurid images on the cover, I decided it was the kind of magic I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to mastering. And, thus, I was saved.

Along the way, I’ve done the usual starving artist jobs. Been a janitor, a waiter, a clerk in a bookstore. I was the 61st Aviation Rescue Swimmer in the Coast Guard (all that Tarzan reading wasn’t wasted). I’m also not a bad cook, come to think of it.

Currently, I’m a husband, father, and cat-owner. I’m an avid bicyclist and former EMT. I live in Southern California with my lovely wife. My friends call me “Griff,” my parents call me “Roy,” and my college-age son calls me “Dadman.” It’s a good life.

By the Hands of Men, Book Three: “The Wrath of a Righteous Man” will be released in May, 2016.

My Thoughts

About the time I discovered my grandfather’s role in WWI, I received a request from this author to review this beautiful novel set during The Great War.  Author Roy Griffis has the rare talent of writing vividly descriptive narrative which places the reader inside the scene as a nonparticipating character.  His impeccable research has allowed this novel to be compared to Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms.

This novel begins on the battlefield during the Christmas Day truce, and takes off like a bullet thereafter.  Charlotte, a nurse, physically cares for Robert, an officer, man of mystery, and eventually emotionally cares for him.  Charlotte longs for him, and he her, the only bright spot in their war.  Eventually, they part, but not their hearts.  Even in deepest despair, Robert remembers the giver of a cross he wears around his neck.

I appreciate the author sharing the graphic gore of this war without the vulgarity.  If you are a romantic, lover of history, and appreciate great writing which could be described as classic, you will enjoy this excellent work.  I have the sequel to The Old World at my side, ready to open as soon as I complete this review.  I also look forward to the third book in this series to be published this year.

Bravo, Mr. Griffs!  Thank you for a copy in exchange for my review.