Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Cuppa Trouble (The CafFUNated Mysteries #2) by Angela Ruth Strong

Kindle Edition235 pages
Published July 1st 2019 by Mountain Brook Ink

Can a couple of baristas chase down a car thief without spilling a drop of their favorite drink?


Plans for a Valentine's Day grand opening of a small town coffee shop go awry when the first customer is killed. Evidence points toward the victim being mixed up in a car theft ring, but shop owners Tandy and Marissa have reason to believe he was framed. An assortment of suspects--from a pink-haired heir to Tandy's charming ex--all seem to know a little too much about grand theft auto.

Without approval from either their boyfriends or the gum-chewing FBI agent in charge, the shop owners go on stakeouts, plan stings, and pursue justice in a high-speed car chase. If they don't find the killer soon, it might be more than their love lives in trouble.


Captions by Roderick Field read: 
"Tea is the finest solution to nearly every catastrophe and conundrum that the day may bring." 
"The first coffee of the day is a stalwart companion in the face of an unreasonable world."
My Review
4 STARS!!!

“Choosing to be vulnerable in a relationship was about as scary as being captured by a killer.”

Strong never disappoints me with her stories. Her contemporary novels and novellas always have plenty of charm, wit, mystery, fun and camaraderie between the characters.

A Cuppa Trouble is the second book in Strong's CafFUNated Mysteries and as ridiculous as Marissa is (she is a big-time klutz!), I couldn’t help shaking my head and chuckling at some of the crazy predicaments this girl gets herself into. And Connor, her boyfriend, is a saint. He’s steady (literally for her at times…haha), dependable, not without his tiny flaws but such a great partner for her that I adore him more with each book.

Tandy just gets better and better to me. Her character development is coming along nicely and she’s becoming my favorite. Greg, her new love interest, is rock solid and a nice man. It’s good to read a book where the guy is not some reformed rogue with a horrid past. At least, that’s not what Greg is yet. ;-)

The story, while it is a cozy mystery (it’s good and a bit predictable), is really more about Marissa and Tandy and their relationship. They discover a few things about each other in this book that reveals their inner insecurities and helps deepen their bond of friendship. Overall, I really liked this second offering and look forward to reading the next book.

I received a digital copy from the author. I was not required to write a review. No compensation has been received.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Rebecca Reviews ~ One Final Breath (Dive Team Investigations 3) by Lynn H. Blackburn

Paperback336 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Revell

Investigator Gabe Chavez and Dive Team Captain Anissa Bell have a complicated history. But when Anissa's fractured past collides with Gabe's investigation of a shooting, they must work together to catch the murderer before someone else dies.


Rebecca's Review
4 STARS!!!!

"I'm just trying, always, to make up for my messes. Trying to do enough to be worth the sacrifice they made."

If the truth were known, both investigator Gabe Chavez and dive team captain Anissa Bell had been living their entire adult life trying to compensate for the misinterpreted mistakes of their youth. As different as they were on the outside, the two had a lot in common on the inside; they were both terribly afraid of moving beyond the annoyance/fascination friendship that they had tentatively formed. It would take a trio of unsolved crimes to break through those kind of defenses and even then, there were no guarantees.

When a young woman nearly drowns on Lake Porter while holding a near lifeless friend in her arms, investigators quickly hit a dead end on what appears to have been a random shooting. However, more and more "random" occurrences emerge on their radar, especially after Anissa is convinced that a teenager they see in the hospital following the shooting, is someone she knows. And that's before danger comes knocking on her front door; literally.

What a superb balance of character and story! The author has given her characters plenty of space to breathe while strategically positioning the unknowns in carefully guarded locations. The romance is tender and sweet, allowing the suspense to hover in the background . . . . until it doesn't. Will Anissa be forced to take "one final breath"?

I received a copy of this story from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

Rebecca is a graduate of Bryan College with a degree in Christian Education, and is currently serving at the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina as the Director of Children's Ministry. With over 30 years of experience in her field, she has had many opportunities to use her love of reading and writing in creative ways across the generations. A wife, mother of four "nearly" grown children, and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, Rebecca has been able to return to her love of reading and more recently reviewing, with a renewed passion for the "beauty of story".

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Review ~ Coffee with Mom: Caring for a Parent with Dementia by Mike Glenn

Paperback208 pages
Published June 1st 2019 by B Books

Sometimes, life takes you places you don’t want to go. 

Dementia and Alzheimer’s is a journey no one wants to take, yet  life doesn’t give us a choice. Author Mike Glenn's mom didn’t want to be sick, and while she couldn’t overcome the devastation of disease, she wasn’t going down without a fight.
She fought the illness, denying its presence. She fought the doctors, “Who were these idiots anyway?” And she fought him, “How come you think you’re in charge now?”
Coffee with Mom is a book about a mom's fight with dementia and the struggle of a son who wanted to help but didn’t always know how. Most of their conversations—and sometimes battles—happened during morning coffee.
This book isn’t about knowing all of the answers. It is one son’s journey with his mom—a mom with Alzheimer’s and a son who did the best he could, and who wrote this story in hopes that you’ll find a few laughs for your journey, realize you’re not alone, and find the courage to do the best you can.
So, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and join us on the journey. You’ll find yourself in the laughter and tears of not knowing what to do next and making a decision that you hope works out, knowing it’s the best you can do in the moment.
In the end, that’s all that matters. “Do the best you can” is all love requires.


Mike Glenn is the Senior Pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee. Under his leadership since 1991, the church has grown to a church with eight campuses and a membership of over 11,000. He graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Glenn has written two books, In Real Time and The Gospel of Yes, and writes frequently on his blog, MikeGlennOnline.com, and for Patheos.com. He is married to Jeannie, his wife and best friend of 37 years. They have twin sons, Chris (Deb) and Craig (Nan), and three granddaughters, Mackenzie, Rowen, and Brooklyn.


My Review
4 STARS!!!

I found Coffee with Mom to be an extremely candid look at a son’s experience of caring for his mother through the last years of dementia. Glenn explains how we perceive it is going to be but in actuality how it really is. Of course, everyone’s experience won’t be exactly the same but there are enough similarities that I feel this book might need to be a ‘must-read’ for anyone in the roll of long term caregiver.

I read this book in small doses because my heart twisted at some of the recollections. My husband and I experienced similar emotional pain through the years with our daughter who was physically and mentally challenged. I appreciate Glenn’s honesty and transparency and it encouraged me not to go back and second guess any decisions my husband and I made. Even in the midst of life’s greatest trials, there is humor to be found (we know that for a fact) and Glenn displays a keen wit. Really, his mom was a hoot. I’m so glad he wrote this book!

As I read along, I couldn’t help but share passages with my husband (okay, I basically read the book to him) because 1) our own experience and the ensuing years of grief and healing and 2) he has a co-worker (CW) who is a co-caregiver to both parents who have Alzheimer’s. He said CW has confided a few of these same emotional and physical challenges of caring for his parents. My husband told me he thinks he is now better prepared to pray for and encourage CW through this challenging time.

I appreciate Lifeway and B&H sending me a copy for review purposes. No compensation has been received.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Review ~ The Scripture Memory Map for Women by Barbour

Published August 1, 2019
Barbour Publishing, Inc


What Does Scripture Memorization Look Like? . . .

Find out in The Scripture Memory Map for Women.

This unique scripture memory journal is an engaging and creative way for you to treasure the truths of God's Word in your heart. Each page features a lovely 2-color design that guides you to write out specific scripture memory goals, thoughts, and more. . .which then create a specific "map" for you to follow as you memorize God's Word. Each map includes a spot to record the date, so you can look back through your journal and see how God's Word has been ingrained into your daily life. The Scripture Memory Map for Women will not only encourage you to become more familiar with God's Word. . .it will also help you build a healthy spiritual habit of Bible memorization for life! 


My Review
5 STARS!!!

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this creative journal but I love it! It’s perfect for ‘mapping out’ whichever verse I want to memorize while prompting deeper thought as to why the particular verse is relevant in my life right now. This is a great way to meditate on a verse. I find the prompt “Knowing this verse will be helpful when” really causes me to be honest with myself because I have to write it down. Seeing my answer in print makes a huge difference for me. Add to that the spiral binding and pretty illustrations and it’s a winner!

I was provided a review copy from the publisher with no expectation of a review.


Friday, September 13, 2019

A Favorite Book You Ask?

Carrie Booth Schmidt asked this question over at the Reading is My Superpower Community Forum today -- What is your favorite book so far this year?' 

I've read 47 books this year and they all impressed me in one way or another. Some were funny, some were thrilling, some were sweet, some were emotional. But one stands out in my mind every time I hear this question— Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette is a powerful re-telling of the prodigal son, only Rivkah is a prodigal daughter. 


I suppose the reason it has the impact it does for me is that aren't we all prodigals in some way? We wander away from our faith at some time or other. It doesn't have to be as in-your-face as Rivkah's transgression. It can simply be putting aside our Bible (His Holy Word) for way too long or not praying and seeking his fellowship on a daily basis as we should. Or maybe we have a prodigal son or daughter like in  Luke 15:11-32. Rivkah's daddy (Abba) never stopped praying for her. Every day he petitioned the Lord to restore her to him. And He did! 

Here's a short excerpt from my review on Goodreads

"I didn’t think Cossette could top the second book in this series, Shelter of the Most High, but in my opinion, she did. The steady adventure and rich story line evoked complex emotions; so much so that I came away more affected than before."

How about you? Do you have a favorite book this year? Or at least one that stands above the rest for a particular reason? 

Please share in the comment section! 


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Rebecca Reviews ~ The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted Dekker & Rachelle Decker

Paperback338 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Fleming H. Revell Company
Ten years ago, Grace saw something that would forever change the course of history. When evil in its purest form is unleashed on the world, she and others from their religious community are already hidden deep in the hills of Tennessee, abiding by every rule that will keep them safe, pure--and alive. As long as they stay there, behind the red perimeter.

Her older brother's questions and the arrival of the first outsiders she's seen in a decade set in motion events that will question everything Grace has built her life on. Enemies rise on all sides--but who is the real enemy? And what will it cost her to uncover the truth?

For the first time, bestselling authors Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker team up and deliver an intense, tightly focused ride through the most treacherous world of all.



Rebecca’s Review
4 STARS!!!

"The biggest lie is that fear will keep you safe in the darkness, but fear is the darkness."

Tucked deep within the forested hills of Tennessee lies a small religious community, seemingly protected from the darkness without, marked by a simple perimeter. Its residents live by an undemanding creed; embrace the safety bestowed upon them behind the red rope or face the furies of hell itself which roam boundlessly beyond. And how do they know this? From a single prophecy, delivered from the lips of an angel of light, thirteen years ago.

Two incidents tilt the tightly wound balance of existence in Haven Valley; Grace and her brother Jamie dare to breach the boundary while two outsiders, Ben and Eli, dare to venture in. As accusations abound, Grace struggles to discern the truth between what has always been and what life without fear could be. Does "light without darkness" actually exist?

The "Girl Behind the Red Rope" is rather difficult to contain; no one will doubt its beautiful cadence, and incessant theological clues leading straight to its core. Analogous, metaphorical, slightly fantastical, . . . . dark, insidious, foreboding. Rather than trying to over analyze its meaning, relax and let the story carry you to a nearly perfect ending, assuring its readers that perfect love does indeed cast out all fear.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.


Senior Reviewer Rebecca Maney

Rebecca is a graduate of Bryan College with a degree in Christian Education, and is currently serving at the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina as the Director of Children's Ministry. With over 30 years of experience in her field, she has had many opportunities to use her love of reading and writing in creative ways across the generations. A wife, mother of four "nearly" grown children, and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, Rebecca has been able to return to her love of reading and more recently reviewing, with a renewed passion for the "beauty of story".

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

New Release from Melanie Dobson

#memoriesofglass


Memories of Glass

Reminiscent of Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, this stunning novel draws from true accounts to shine a light on a period of Holland’s darkest history and bravest heroes.


1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape.


Melanie Dobson
Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life—and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried.


Illuminating the story and strength of these women, award-winning author Melanie Dobson transports readers through time and place, from World War II Holland to contemporary Uganda, in this rich and inspiring novel. 
#memoriesofglass

PURCHASE LINK:

Have you read this book yet? I'm waiting on a review copy but I know I will love it. Dobson is one of the best time-slip writers today!!!


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Diamond in the Rough (American Heiresses #2) by Jen Turano

Paperback352 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Bethany House Publishers


As part of a bargain with her grandmother, Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season. Forced to travel to America to help his cousin find an heiress to wed, bachelor Reginald Blackburn is asked to give Poppy etiquette lessons, and he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.

Purchase:

I am in no way affiliated with any vendors. Links are provided as a courtesy only.



My Review
5 STARS!!!

I absolutely loved this story! The writing is fabulously witty and fast-paced with tangible descriptions of countryside and mannerisms and costume. Poppy Garrison needs to be my best friend because then there would be someone in my life clumsier than I am. Her character is vibrant and fairly leaps off the page with enthusiasm. Reginald Blackburn was a bit uptight in the beginning but I still liked him immediately. He’s British, you know. ;) He has a big heart underneath his ‘stuffy’ exterior and is one of the best characters Turano has written, in my opinion.

Poppy and Reginald hold center stage in this book but there are a couple of other storylines that make it even richer in depth and characterization. 
Diamond in the Rough has a lot of heart amid the humor.

Fans of historical romance will want to grab a copy of this novel. I was provided a review copy from the publisher with no expectation of a review.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer is ON SALE!!!!

Short-Straw Bride, book one in the Archer Brothers series is on sale for only $1.99 (or less!) for e-book. If you don't own your own copy of Travis and Meri's story, now's your chance to grab it at a bargain price. 

And since there's a special Archer treat coming this Christmas (a brand new novella!) now is the perfect time to reread the book that started it all! 

Bethany House, 2012
About the Book

No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.


You can read my review from Sept 2012 here.