Lost in Pages

I enjoy reading and sharing my review of the various material I read. There is also the fun of communicating with authors and publishers

Messianic Judaism (A Modern Movement with An Ancient Past)

 

Title:  Messianic Judaism (A Modern Movement with An Ancient Past)

Author:  David H. Stern

Pages:  321

Year:  2007

Publisher:  Messianic Jewish Publisher

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

A friend and I were getting together weekly to discuss various chapters in the book.  One thing we quickly observed was that the book was ten years old and therefore a lot had changed in the Messianic community since the book was published.  So, we looked at the book with more of a historical perspective and for what we could learn about Messianic Judaism and the people.

We also observed that at times the author seemed inconsistent with his views almost as if he wasn’t settled with the issue he lays forth.  The other observation was that the author had some kind of heart wound about Christians in the past that we didn’t quite grasp why he brought it up in the book. There were some interesting ideas, views and thoughts that were quite interesting.  We both hope that the author will update this book because there has been such an explosion of Messianic material and more happening with the relationship between Christians and Jewish people.

When you read the book with discernment, glean what you can about the Messianic Community and how the bridge can be made between Christians and Jewish people.  My friend and I both love Israel and the Jewish people and desire to learn more about the Jewishness of the Scriptures, land and people.  We hope you will join us on this quest that has really opened our eyes and heart to the chosen people of God, and His Word!

The Switch

 

 

Title:  The Switch

Author:  Joseph Finder

Pages:  384

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Dutton

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

I have never read a Joseph Finder novel.  I wanted to read this particular book as the synopsis drew my interest.  The only drawback in reading the book is the use of taking God’s name in vain, which should never be used at all.  The author has a strong plot in the book, strong characters that kept my attention throughout the novel.  However, occasionally the word would show up and it was like a distraction that didn’t add anything to the story. Frankly, it was offensive.

The premise of a businessman accidentally getting the wrong laptop at the airport that belonged to a senator was great.  From there, the way one character used multiple nefarious ways to regain the computer was intriguing.  The businessman wanted to do the right thing before someone besides himself was hurt or killed.

I wondered how far the senator’s assistant was willing to go to attain a higher government position.  Plus, the constant tension of involving others in trying to get the laptop back, both with non-threatening and extremely threatening ways made me wonder if the man calling the shots was ever going to stop doing so.  The possible political ramifications of what was on that senator’s laptop was the paramount and sole focus of the senator’s assistant.

Readers will find out how a businessman trying to salvage his business comes out in the end when he refuses to simply allow the government official to tell him what to do or threaten him.  I hope in Joseph Finder’s future books he will refrain from using God’s name that way and look for other means of expression for his characters.  He really is a talented writer with a great story many might read if he were to remove the language because the story can stand on its own without using it.

 

Trusting Grace (Virtues and Vices of the Old West #3)

 

 

 

Title:  Trusting Grace (Virtues and Vices of the Old West #3)

Author:  Maggie Brendan

Pages:  328

Year:  2017

My rating is 4 stars out of 5.

Robert Frasier was married for just two months when his wife died and he lost his farm due to poor crop yield.  Right after his wife’s funeral, her sister shows up and drops off his dead wife’s three children for him to raise.  He had no idea his wife even had any children!  He is angry and depressed and grieving.  He has a poor attitude with the children even though he knows it is not their fault.  He takes them on the road as he looks for work so they live outside in a wagon, moving every few days as Robert can’t find work.  He comes to Bozeman, Montana and hopes his future will be brighter.  The town is just beginning to prosper so hopefully he can find work.  He gets a job at a local potato farm and meets the owner, a widow named Grace Bidwell.  He keeps his distance from her as he now thinks every woman is out to get a ring on her finger.  Over time, he learns that Grace is special and not what he expected.

Grace Bidwell has been a widow for three years after her husband’s unexpected death.  She is also caring for her ailing father who moved in with him after his wife died.  Grace desperately needs help to get the potatoes planted and keep up with work on the farm, so she decides to hire Robert.  She soon discovers he is a hard worker, but doesn’t say much and keeps to himself.  She stumbles upon his children and they soon fill a void in her heart for the family she has always wanted, but Robert doesn’t seem interested in her romantically.  A local lawyer begins to court Grace, so she might just get her family after all.

Readers see the two main characters both having issues with trust.  Robert was duped by his first wife and Grace not able to trust Robert due to another man’s mistreatment of her and lying to her.  They each learn how to trust that God knows what is best for them, whether it is becoming a father through deceit of another or longing for a family.  The act of swallowing pride and apologizing is in the story, which is something everyone must deal with at some point in their lives.  It was a good reminder to me that I don’t always have to be right and I need to humble myself and extend mercy.  I have enjoyed this entire series and think anyone who likes western historical romance will like these books.

The Legacy (Secrets of the Shetlands #3)

 

 

Title:  The Legacy (Secrets of the Shetlands #3)

Author:  Michael Phillips

Pages:  464

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Bethany House

My rating 5 out of 5.

What an exciting conclusion to the series!  The various threads of romance, spirituality, history and how it affected the various family members was truly inspiring to read!  The only place that seemed a little tedious for me was the section where letters between family members from Loni’s past became somewhat burdensome to read.  Other than that, the whole series was fascinating to see one family’s ancestry and how it was connected through the many generations known by journals and letters left behind by those who came before.

I loved how the author took time to craft a tale with such depth of heart and meaning, plus the many twists and turns in the story to keep me turning pages for hours.  Reading all three books in order helped me experience such excitement that sometimes is missing when authors shorten some parts of their tale.  Michael Phillips does a fabulous job showing us how important it is to pass on the stories of our ancestors and others, as well as leaving a legacy of story for those yet to come.

The clan highlighted and family members weren’t perfect, but the truth of praying for them and not being ugly in return is a challenging truth!  The ending to me leaves what happens next to the minds of those who have enjoyed the series, characters, ups and downs, etc.  One of my favorite parts was when Loni thought to destroy her own journal because she viewed her journey as complete.  What happens next, you’ll discover when you read the book, but I love how the importance of leaving a written legacy whether in a journal form or notations in Bibles, books, etc. is a point perhaps we need to take to heart in a time with so much instant communication that those who come after us will never see, such as texts, pictures, emails, etc.

No matter where you are, grab the set and be prepared to travel via your imagination across the ocean and back as you get lost in the pages of Loni’s tale!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Cottage (Secrets of the Shetlands #2)

 

Title:  The Cottage (Secrets of the Shetlands #2)

Author:  Michael Phillips

Pages:  416

Year:  2016

Publisher:  Bethany House

My rating 5 out of 5.

The story is of Loni’s inheritance and her learning of the language and people who inhabit a little island called Whales Reef.  She has a confusing relationship with an upcoming man who is in the political arena and the people she meets in Whales who are as different as night and day.  The people view Loni with an attitude of skepticism, except the island chief named David.

Slowly Loni is beginning to understand the island’s view of her and the nefarious attempts to steal her inheritance by Hardy who is a man from Texas and currently on the island.  There is a whole lot of ancestry history being uncovered that surprises Loni.  She becomes enamored with the chief, David, as he is so much more than what he first appears.  He is more authentic than Hugh, which takes Loni by surprise.

There are many threads, characters and depth to the book than I can convey in a review.  However, I loved the continuing story that Michael Phillips crafted for readers such as myself to enjoy.  After a while, some of the written dialect in the book became easy to read and understand as I became familiar with the pronunciation.  I loved the blossoming spiritual legacy that is slowly being revealed in the series and how that affects or effects different characters in the tale.

Don’t let the length of the books cause you to rethink reading them; the time is well worth it as the enjoyment is beyond measure!

The Inheritance (Secrets of Shetland #1)

 

 

 

 

 

Title:  The Inheritance (Secrets of Shetland #1)

Author:  Michael Phillips

Pages:  432

Year:  2016

Publisher:  Bethany House

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

I read the novel the first time when it was originally published.  When I learned there were to be other installments of the story, I decided to wait until they were all available so I could read all three books and see the total sum of the tale together.  By the time the third book came out, I knew I had to read book one again as there were so many threads of the novel I was sure I had forgotten most of it by 2017.

I must confess that I enjoyed the novel more the second time through, perhaps it was because I was able to read it without being hurried or because I just wanted to refresh my memory.  Either way I again was absorbed in the legacy, land and people of Whales Reef Island where most of the tale takes place.  Other times it was fun to travel back to the United States with the main character, Loni, as she was attempting to become attached to her roots.

Loni is working in Washington D. C. when she is told she has an inheritance waiting for her on an island from a person she never heard of or knew.  When her journey to find out who she really is inside differs from the past of being raised by her grandparents and now being told she has ties to Scotland, well she is more confused than ever!  Please enjoy the series as all three books eventually point readers to the importance of knowing one’s legacy and how journaling might be an avenue of discovery!

On Love’s Gentle Shore (Prince Edward Island Dreams #3)

 

Title:  On Love’s Gentle Shore (Prince Edward Island Dreams #3)

Author:  Liz Johnson

Pages:  336

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Revell

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

The other books in the series are The Red Door Inn and Where Two Hearts Meet.  I think to really appreciate the tale it is helpful to read the first two books as the character’s story continues to develop with each book.

In this story, we meet Natalie who formerly lived on the island and left for a time and is now returning to be married per her future husband’s desire.  Natalie left in hurry years ago as she tired of the whispers of gossip and the way she thought people thought of and about her.  Now, a grown woman, she feels like she did years ago and cannot wait to be married and leave the island along with her past to never return.  However, her plans don’t quite go as she had envisioned, starting with her fiancée returning to Nashville to help take care of a problem with recording a record for an artist.

Throughout the book it touched my heart to see Natalie confront her fears, the gossip and her past. How she comes to really understand how the people loved her and tried to care for her is an eye-opening and heart-touching moment for Natalie.  Plus, she runs into her childhood friend who was the one always there to help her through some of the roughest of her youngest years with her mother.

Here is a wonderful tale of redemption, real love and overcoming the past in order to embrace a brighter future!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

My Daughter’s Legacy (Cousins of the Dove #3)

 

 

 

Title:  My Daughter’s Legacy (Cousins of the Dove #3)

Author:  Mindy Starns Clark & Leslie Gould

Pages:  397

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Harvest House

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

After meeting Nicole in book one and reading about her continued trouble with addiction in book two, now readers get to hear her story in book three of the series.  She has just completed her first year of college successfully.  She has been substance free for the whole time and has no intention of going back to her former life.  She is healthier than ever and with summer approaching she is going to live with her sister and intern at a local ranch that uses horses for rehabilitative therapy.  However, before she can begin her summer break, she decides she must share a secret she has kept at her grandfather’s request since she was six years old.  The secret sheds a little light on the mystery of the disappearing dead body that has plagued Nicole, her sister and her two cousins for years.  As the four cousins come together once again, can they finally discover what really happened all those years ago?

In alternating chapters, readers are taken to the past of 1864 and learn about Therese Jennings.  Therese lives in Virginia, which is a Confederate state, but she is anti-slavery.  Her father was from the North and taught his daughter that slavery was wrong.  Her mother is from the South, but abided by her husband’s wishes.  Now that Therese’s father has died, her mother returns to the family plantation, refusing to free the slaves as her grandfather requested in his last words.  Therese can’t live under these conditions so she takes a job in Richmond as a governess and begins volunteering at a local hospital to nurse wounded soldiers.  Therese must decide if she can stand firm in her beliefs as well as who is trustworthy as all is not as is appears.

I so enjoyed this final book in this interesting series!  The authors did a great job of blending the story between past and present to make it easy to read and follow each timeline.  The look at the past in each book was especially captivating.  I liked learning about Richmond near the end of the Civil War and what life was like in this southern city.  The romantic angle for both Therese and Nicole was also one that piqued my interest.  I do recommend reading these books in order.  For an intriguing look at history and mystery, this is a series that will fit the bill!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Searching for Irene

 

 

Title:  Searching for Irene

Author:  Marlene Bateman

Pages:  268

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Covenant Communications, Inc.

My rating is 4 stars.

I always like to read a good mystery and this was a good one!  I was unfamiliar with this author, but when the chance came to review it, I jumped!  The story is set in the 1920s in Virginia.  Anna Coughlin is in her mid-20s and has something not many women have…a college degree.  She works as a financial advisor of sorts, preparing tax documents, payroll records and estate planning.  Her younger sister, Irene, works for the same firm.  A few months ago, Irene accepted a live-in position to get all the paperwork in order for taxes at a wealthy estate in Virginia.  She writes to her sister frequently, but the letters stop coming and Anna begins to worry.  She finds out that her sister has disappeared.  A search was undertaken at the time of her disappearance, but all that was found missing from her room was a suitcase.  Most of her possessions were left behind, giving the impression she was planning to return.

Anna has always protected Irene as she had to raise her when their mother was always at work.  Irene is headstrong, impetuous, beautiful, full of life and not afraid to push the envelope of propriety.  Anna has always lived in her shadow, but loves her sister deeply and will do whatever is necessary to find her.  She decides to investigate on her own as the police don’t seem to be doing much.  She takes a job as Irene’s replacement at the mansion in Virginia, but she tells no one of her relationship to Irene.  She begins asking questions and stirs the pot as strange things begin to occur.  Anna is also at odds with the young heir-to-be, Tyler Richardson.  He is attractive, but gruff, distant and sometimes downright rude.  He is against Anna being hired, but his father overrules him.  Tyler and Anna butt heads initially, but Tyler soon learns that Anna is quite efficient and knows her job well, plus his father likes her.  As Anna keeps her identity secret and continues her quest, the stakes are increased and her heart ignores her brain when she falls in love.  What happened to Irene?  Did she leave to meet a man and run off to get married?  Did she steal some things from the mansion and take off for the big city?

The had a Gothic feel in certain creepy parts that I liked as it raised goosebumps on my arms!  The ending was a surprise reveal, which I found well done.  I didn’t really like the character of Tyler much as he seemed too hot and cold, going from rude and mean to smoldering gazes for Anna.  Anna had a determined mindset that she didn’t waver from even facing danger to herself.  The mystery was a little slow in some portions, but overall flowed well.  I liked the crusty character of the father, Lawrence Richardson the best.  I would like to read more from this author and would recommend this book for any mystery buff.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island (Maude’s Mooring)

 

Title:  My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island (Maude’s Mooring)

Author:  Carrie Fancett Pagels

Pages:  256

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Barbour

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

Maude Welling is the main character in the story.  She is expecting to inherit an inn on the island.  The inn has been in the family through her mother’s side though her father doubted she could run it without a husband.  When her childhood friend returns to the island and she expects to become engaged to him, imagine her surprise when he returns with a friend!

Maude is a very independent, head-strong woman who sets her course with little thought of how it will impact her or anyone else.  When a young wealthy man shows up on the island, Maude begins to be drawn to him, but doesn’t really understand what she is feeling.  There are many other interesting characters in the story that bring depth to the book.  It was very fun and exciting to read!

I hope you grab a cold soda and relax as you enjoy a wonderful tale from author Carrie Fancett Pagels!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.”

A Letter from Lancaster County (A Novel)

 

Title:  A Letter from Lancaster County (A Novel)

Author:  Kate Lloyd

Pages:  336

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Harvest House

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

Two sisters are on their way to visit with an aunt they haven’t seen in years after the death of their mother.  Angela and Rose are as different as two sisters can be and unfortunately, they don’t currently enjoy a close relationship.  What was really intriguing to read was their inner thoughts about how they really felt about each other among many other topics.  Angela has a marriage that is less than satisfying and Rose is a single woman who truly is a unique character.

Through their time with their aunt readers will enjoy seeing the adventures they have, the talks, walks, and interactions with their aunt and others in Lancaster County.  As I read further and further into the novel, I was captured by the tale woven not just about the women, their experiences and such but about their spiritual life or lack thereof.

It was fascinating to see how in the story the truth about things not always being what they seem came true in a couple of instances.  I enjoyed Rose’s character because her personality just seemed to be determined, independent and a little bit of a stinker.  Whereas Angela seemed to be one who liked to take things personally and yet came to see herself in a different way by the end of the book.

I can’t wait for the second book to come out to see what the future holds for the sisters or any of the other characters I met for a short time in the pages of the novel.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Cover Story (A Branigan Powers Mystery #2)

 

 

Title:  The Cover Story (A Branigan Powers Mystery #2)

Author:  Deb Richardson-Moore

Pages:  280

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Lion Fiction

My rating is 5 stars.

News reporter Branigan Powers is looking forward to the Christmas holiday as her nephew and niece are coming home from their respective colleges.  Branigan’s niece, Charlie, however is involved in a serious car accident that leaves her in the hospital.  When Branigan first visits her niece, she tells her that an old-fashioned style hearse ran her off the road and that her passenger, Janie Rose, seemed scared even before they left campus to drive home.  A death results from the accident, causing devastation to a family.  Curiosity and a need to find the truth drive as well as being assigned to do a story on the accident, drive Branigan to begin searching for answers.

She is led to the town’s local college where she makes some startling discoveries with the help of a local homeless man, Malachi Martin.  Malachi wants the truth too because he has watched Charlie grow up and sees her compassionate heart for others.  He wants to find out who caused her harm.  Malachi and Branigan pool their resources as they once again interact with some homeless people as in the first mystery in the series titled, The Cantaloupe Thief.  Branigan uncovers secrets that cause the danger to herself to escalate.  She has also begun perhaps a budding romance with a detective, Chester Scovoy.  He wants her safe, but knows her instinct to ferret out the truth will lead her to investigate no matter what he thinks or says.  He just knows he will try his best to keep her safe.

This was a great mystery!  I couldn’t put it down as I was so interested in finding out where the story would take me and who was guilty of murder.  I was totally surprised at the ending!  I liked the character of Branigan because she refuses to give up and wants justice served.  She will keep asking questions until she gets an answer one way or another.  I also liked the romance element that has begun with this installment.  Malachi is a homeless veteran who still has problems, but they don’t keep him from helping others.  He doesn’t help in the hopes of getting something from someone, but because it is the right thing to do.  I’m excited for the next book in the series and have no reservations with recommending this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

His Guilt (The Amish of Hart County #2)

 

Title:  His Guilt (The Amish of Hart County #2)

Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray

Pages:  268

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Avon Inspire

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Waneta Cain and Mark Fisher work together at a local nursery.  Mark has returned after a two-year absence to his family’s home after the death of his father.  Mark’s younger brother has been gone from the Amish community for ten years, so Mark lives alone.  Mark is having a tough time being around most of the community because they still believe he is guilty of attacking a young Amish woman two years ago, even though the police declared him innocent.  He is now back and people seem to fear him or hate him.  Waneta Cain is no exception at first.  He knows she is afraid of him, so he keeps her at a distance.  He would like her friendship, but he will make it on his own if he must.

Waneta Cain is afraid of Mark at first, but quickly realizes she has found him guilty of a crime he didn’t commit so she extends the branch of friendship.  They begin a tentative friendship with Waneta defending Mark against verbal attack from a couple of her friends.  Then, a young woman is attacked and Mark is immediately suspected.  Waneta still believes in his innocence.  Then, another young woman is attacked and the police can’t seem to find any clues to the attacker.  Meanwhile Mark’s younger brother has returned to town and is in trouble with a gang.  He needs money and hopes Mark will sell the family home and split the proceeds.  Mark, however, has other plans for the home and his relationship with his brother remains abrasive.

My only negative about this story is that I wish it had more of a mystery element to it.  While there was a mystery in this story, it was fairly easy to figure out the culprit.  Other than that, I did enjoy watching the romance bloom between Mark and Waneta.  She seemed meek and mild, but when defending someone she cared about…look out!  She was strong in her defense.  Mark was a young man with a troubled and abusive past, but he tried his best not to abandon God like most of the people of the town had abandoned him.  He remained faithful to God and he received blessings.  These two characters had to learn to communicate with each other and not assume what the other was thinking.  A good lesson for anyone, myself included.  Book three in the series is titled, The Gift, and will be released in November 2017.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Lincoln Myth: A Novel (Cotton Malone #9)

 

Title:  The Lincoln Myth: A Novel (Cotton Malone #9)

Author: Steve Berry

Pages: 512

Year: 2014

Publisher: Ballantine Books

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

What an interesting that starts with Lincoln in the White House and the wife of a General under his command who personally delivered a message from her husband.  From there the author builds a complex web of threads built by each character’s action, words and interaction with others.  Sometimes I couldn’t tell if the character was telling the truth or attempting pass on false information without getting caught.

It’s a maze of trying to figure out how the White House, LDS, Cotton Malone, Cassiopeia and more players who are all attempting to get a hold of secret buried for centuries and known by few.  Not only that there is clashing of those seeking what they believe to be gold but their motives are as vast as the ocean.  When I read Steve Berry’s latest novel The Lost Order I enjoyed it immensely and now I am getting to know the regular characters in this series.

The dynamics constantly change, danger is assumed by all and even the leaders of the various government agencies and their agents are in conflict.  Abraham Lincoln is a favorite historical figure to me as I grew up in Illinois.  The research Steve Berry provides at the end of the novel was eye opening as there were facts of Lincoln I never knew.  Each novel tells a unique story as well as contained in the novel.  The characters however make appearances in each novel of the series.

The books in the Cotton Malone series in order are as follows:

The Templar Legacy

The Alexandria Link

The Venetian Betrayal

The Charlemagne Pursuit

The Paris Vendetta

The Emperor’s Tomb

The Jefferson Key

The King’s Deception

The Lincoln Myth

The Patriot Threat

The 14th Colony

The Lost Order

 

 

 

The Separatists (A Newsmakers Novel #3)

 

Title:  The Separatists (A Newsmakers Novel #3)

Author:  Lis Wiehl with Sebastian Stuart

Pages:  340

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Erica Sparks is back in her third book of the Newsmakers series.  This time a powerful woman from North Dakota is proposing secession from the United States.  She plans to fight the local senator for his seat as he is up for re-election.  If she wins, her public political agenda has avowed secession in a nonviolent manner.  Her private agenda, however, is something much more dangerous.  Erica is tasked with covering the story and interviewing this woman who is not what she appears to be.

Erica has also come up with an idea for a new television show that focuses on one issue per month.  The secession of North Dakota will be the first episode.  Erica also sees her marriage of 18 months floundering and failing.  She is at the peak of her career and works untold hours.  Her husband is languishing in his consulting business and longs to re-enter the world of news.  Jealousy rears its ugly head and another woman seems overly interested in Erica’s husband.  Erica’s 13-year-old daughter is also rebelling and causing Erica to feel guilt and insecurity.  As Erica continues her investigative reporting, she is threatened and people start dying.  The pressure mounts as Erica must juggle career and family.

While this is a compelling story and one that kept me riveted to the pages, I’m still wondering why this is published by a Christian publisher.  There is nothing about God or faith in the story.  This is a book I could have picked up in any secular section of any bookstore.  There was also a homosexual encounter in the story that I didn’t think added anything, but instead detracted.  Overall, I have enjoyed the stories in this series because they are intense, suspenseful and intriguing.  Erica Sparks in not a character I can relate to, but I find her interesting to read about.  They are current and could have been taken from any media outlet today.  I would like to see God in the story though.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Road to Paradise (A Vintage National Parks Novel #1)

 

Title:  The Road to Paradise (A Vintage National Parks Novel #1)

Author:  Karen Barnett

Pages:  344

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Waterbrook

My rating is 5 stars out of 5.

Ashford Brayden, or Ford to most everyone, can’t believe he has to spend his summer babysitting a senator’s daughter who thinks she knows nature!  Ford meets Margie Lane and realizes she has lots of book knowledge, but no practical hands-on experience.  Why must he be saddled with her?  He reluctantly takes her on hikes and tours of the park and slowly realizes her faith guides her life and she sees God at work in every aspect of life.  He is still doubting a God who would take his father’s life in an avalanche that happened two years ago.  Margie’s zest for life begins to impact Ford and he comes to want to spend more time with Margie, but could a park ranger and a wealthy senator’s daughter actually have a successful relationship?

Margie Lane has wanted to be a park ranger since she was a young girl, but in 1927 in Washington state that is unheard of.  She will settle for spending time in her beloved park at the foot of her beloved Mt. Ranier.  She has no desire to climb the mountain as she is afraid of heights, plus women don’t do that sort of thing, right?  She likes Ford and admires his survival skills, but knows she can’t allow a relationship with him as he hasn’t given his life to God.  Also, she has an obsessive ex who wants her to bend to his will, but this would make Margie miserable.  He wants her at all costs and when he threatens her beloved park, Margie has a big decision to make.

This is an absolutely delightful story!  At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Margaret Lane as she seemed very naïve, but the more I read the more I came to her viewpoint and could identify with her love of God.  Every small flower or plant showed God’s unique creation to Margie and she was in awe of her Creator.  She felt nearest to him while in nature.  I came to see how strong Margie’s faith was and how she lived her life full of faith as an example to all around her.  The vivid descriptions of the scenery put me right there on the mountaintop and nearby surroundings.  I can’t wait for more books in this series!  I highly recommend this wonderful story of the early history of our National Parks System along with an added bonus of a romance!

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