Jilted by Varina Denman

Jilted



MY REVIEW:

In the third and final book of Varina Denman’s Mended Hearts series, readers become more acquainted with Lynda Turner, a character from the previous two books who was not always shown in a positive light. As I got to know her better in “Jilted” I felt that I understood her struggles and could both empathize with her and applaud her strength in view of  the difficulties she had faced all her life. I also got to know Clyde a bit better and learned to like him too.

“Jilted” is one of those books that grabs you and won’t let go. There was a lot going on as this series worked its way toward a conclusion with unanswered questions solved and characters who were finally able to put the past behind them and move on with their lives. A mysterious discovery at the lake had more significance than anyone could have imagined and would impact Lynda’s life considerably. Then there is the character who is a fine example of the effect buried guilt can have on a person.

A well-written story with well-rounded characters, “Jilted” is a story of abandonment, betrayal, love, hope, loyalty, and redemption. I enjoyed the entire series and look forward to whatever this author will offer her readers next.

A copy of this book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Can all things really work together for good, and can the joy of living be found once again? Don’t miss one woman’s story in book three, Jilted, of Varina Denman’s Mended Hearts series.

Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life where the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.

Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and a town that must—once and for all—leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Varina DenmanVarina Denman is author of the Mended Hearts series and a native Texan. She spent her high school years in a rural town and now writes stories about the struggles women face in similar small town settings. She and her husband live near Fort Worth, where they enjoy spending time with their five mostly grown children.

Find out more about Varina at https://varinadenman.com.

 

Celebrate the release of Varina’s Jilted by entering to win a $50 gift card.Jilted Giveaway

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of Jilted to kick off a summer of reading
  • A $50 Kohl’s gift card to make your summertime sweet

The giveaway ends on July 1st. The winner will be announced July 5th on Varina’s website.

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Ashes of Eden DVD Review

Ashes of Eden



MY REVIEW:

I really wanted to like this movie. I made myself watch it until the very end, hoping against hope that Red would hurry up and get a clue before something really terrible happened. I don’t deal with visual violence very well and actually got up and left the room more than once because I was afraid of what was coming next.

The movie begins with Red returning home after a short incarceration. Red has an attitude. It seems that he blames his police officer mother for his problems – or at least the fact that his dad left them and she has tried to raise him and his younger brother on her own. Over and over Red gives in to peer pressure from friends he should avoid, making one bad decision after another that get him deeper and deeper in trouble. Unfortunately every time he has the opportunity to choose to do the right thing, he makes the wrong choice. The movie goes on interminably like this with alcohol, drugs, sex, violence, and criminal activity until it all hits the fan in a heartbreaking way.

Yes, Red had to hit bottom before his redemption but I did not need to be exposed to close to two hours of his descent. There was almost no indication that “Ashes of Eden” is even a Christian film with only a passing reference to God or Jesus. Then at the very end the viewer is abruptly treated to a brief scene with Red sharing his testimony with a room full of men in prison garb – very brief. Nowhere do we see Red making a decision for Christ but we must assume he did based on the fact that he is sharing with other prisoners.

This is not a movie that I would recommend to anyone and would strongly advise parents to watch before allowing their children to view it. The movie is unrated but I did see more than one site that had strong parental warnings about it. One reviewer said he would rate it at least a PG-13. I would have to agree. I am much older than that and it did not sit well with me.

A copy of this DVD was provided for review by FishFlix.



ABOUT THE MOVIE:

18-year-old Red made some bad choices. He’s done his time, but he’s still paying the consequences. He’s finding that having a bad reputation and being in the wrong place at the wrong time are an unfortunate combination – even when you’re trying to do the right thing.

Secretly selling stolen drugs in order to help his police officer mother pay the mortgage starts a bloodbath between rival dealers. Lives are lost, relationships destroyed, faith is questioned. And, Red is in the center of the spotlight. Can this gritty cautionary tale end with redemption? Perhaps. But, it comes with a price.

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The Amish Firefighter by Laura Hilton

The Amish Firefighter



MY REVIEW:

“The Amish Firefighter” might be one of the best Amish books I’ve read in quite awhile. Oops, I just looked back at my review for “The Postcard” and I began exactly the same way. Looks Like I definitely need to add Laura Hilton to my must read list.

I particularly liked how down-to-earth the characters were. They struggled with life and faith just like the rest of us. And what fun to see the bad boy from “The Postcard” become the Hero of “The Amish Firefighter”. Such a turnaround in his character that others recognized and approved. I also liked that the author did not hold back on the strong attraction felt by Abigail and Sam. Their romantic encounters were spicier than what is usually found in Amish fiction but as far as I’m concerned did not cross into objectionable territory.

The story itself was excellent with a strong plot filled with mystery, danger, suspense, and romance. Both Sam and Abigail had hurdles to overcome in their lives and for some reason God placed them together to help each other find the truth. This is such a beautiful story of repentance, God’s forgiveness, and restoration. I am so looking forward to the next book in this series.

A copy of this book was provided for review by Celebrate Lit and The Book Club Network.



Isaiah 43:2

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A Beautiful Young Woman Banished from Home

Abigail Stutzman thought it was bad enough being dropped at the nearest bus station and sent to live several states away with some relatives she’d never even heard of, much less met. But now, just a week after her arrival in Jamesport, Missouri, she finds herself at the scene of a barn fire. An intentional barn fire. And all fingers are pointed at her. She’s desperate to prove her innocence and protect her reputation, but nobody’s making that easy to do. And God certainly doesn’t seem willing to help.

A Brave Firefighter with an Agenda of His Own

Sam Miller is in the process of turning over a new leaf. Determined to atone for the follies of his past, he is a volunteer firefighter, an EMT, and a doctor-in-training. With suspicious barn fires escalating, and the Miller family being among the victims, no one is more determined to see the perpetrators brought to justice than Sam.

A Kindled Flame Neither One Could Have Anticipated

When their paths first cross at the site of a barn burning, the emotional intensity rivals the warmth of the flames. Soon, they must decide whether this fire is one they should feed or fight. And they’ll discover that the truth can prove more dangerous than a blazing inferno.

Purchase your copy of The Amish Firefighter here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
LauraV.HiltonAmish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Birdhouse concluded Laura’s 2015 series, The Amish of Jamesport, includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Arkansas.

For more about Laura, her latest book, the books she’s written and those she’s reviewed:

Laura Hilton’s Website: www.lauravhilton.blogspot.com.

Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton

Unlike some authors, I am not a planner. I have a very vague idea of the story, of the series, and as soon as the characters step forward and introduce themselves I dive in and start writing. When I first began writing this series – New Beginnings in Jamesport – I knew Sammy Miller was going to be the hero. Readers started asking for Sammy’s story as soon as they read The Postcard where Sammy was the villain. Ouch. I’d never considered writing a story about a former villain. But just as David in The Postcard was reader requested, Sammy would be.

Sammy is a very strong character and I knew he had to have a strong female lead character, one that wasn’t afraid to stand up to him and keep him under control. He is a leader, an EMT studying to be a paramedic, and a volunteer firefighter. The female lead, Abigail, is thrown into Jamesport without warning. Her step-father takes her to the bus station and sends her away and she doesn’t even know why! When she is met at the bus station by an aunt and uncle she didn’t even know existed, she is thrown into the middle of several mysteries, including barn fires set by arsonists. And she is the main suspect.

The whole New Beginnings in Jamesport series, while considered a continuation of The Amish of Jamesport series due to Sammy being the hero, is set around Amish starting over in Jamesport. The second book The Amish Wanderer is about a former resident of Jamesport hitchhiking across the country to get to his Mennonite uncle’s house in Pennsylvania. Silas is desperate to escape from his dysfunctional family for several reasons. But he cannot stay in Jamesport because someone is out to kill him. When he stumbles upon another mystery within hours of his arrival, what choice does he have but to stick around for awhile?

God gave me the verses for all three books in the Amish of Jamesport series The Amish Firefighter, The Amish Wanderer and the yet untitled third book (My books all stand alone) before I started writing them, which is unusual. He usually reveals these things slowly to me, as I need to know. The verse for The Amish Firefighter is Isaiah 43:2-4 and the verse for The Amish Wanderer is Romans 8:38-39. The third book’s verse is 2 Corinthians 4:8. It is tentatively titled The Amish Accountant, but most people think accountants are boring, and his real profession is a clockmaker. But The Amish Clockmaker has already been taken by another author. So we shall see what the wonderful Whitaker House team will come up with. It is about another young Amish woman, Lydia, who needs a “safe haven.” So her parents send her to live with her Mennonite aunt and uncle in Jamesport. It doesn’t exactly work out as planned, as the aunt and uncle leave for a foreign mission trip immediately, leaving Lydia acting manager of a gift shop and living in an all electric apartment. Before her aunt leaves, she tells Lydia’s secrets to her best friend. But did she tell all of them or some of them? And the best friend’s son, Caleb (the clockmaker) is acting as accountant for the gift shop. And what about Caleb’s carefully kept secret? When Lydia’s past catches up with her, will it destroy all she’d begun to imagine as she dreamed of starting over in Jamesport?

Next after that is The Christmas Challenge which is also set in Jamesport.

I don’t have official release dates for The Amish Wanderer or the other books yet. But as soon as I know, I’ll share.

Coming next? Who knows? I have two ideas warring for attention—but which one gets told first, I don’t know! I lean toward one, then the other. They both want to be told.

And now, I must get back to work. Thank you for visiting today and thank you so much for supporting my books. I do hope you’ll enjoy The Amish Firefighter!

Happy Reading!

Because of Him,

~ Laura ~

BLOG STOPS:

June 9: Quiet Quilter

June 10: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 10: Jeanette’s Thoughts

June 11: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

June 11: Blogging With Carol

June 12: Cassandra M’s Place

June 12: Splashes of Joy

June 13: Babs Book Bistro

June 13: bigreadersite

June 14: Daysong Reflections

June 14: Rockin’ My Mom Jeans

June 15: Singing Librarian Books

June 15: Blossoms and Blessings

June 16: Reading Is My SuperPower

June 16: The Power of Words

June 17: Two Girls and a Book

June 17: A Greater Yes

June 18: Texas Book -aholic

June 18: Through The Open Window

June 19: For the Love of Books

June 19: Petra’s Hope

June 20: Running Through The Storms

June 20: Simple Harvest Reads

June 21: A Holland Reads

June 21: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

June 22: Pause for Tales

June 22: KarensKrayons

June 23: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

GIVEAWAY:

The Amish Firefighter Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away a basket that includes a Kindle Fire and a complete set of her books! Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/9bed

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Murder Comes by Mail by Ann Gabhart

Murder Comes by Mail



MY REVIEW:

It takes a pretty talented author to pull off such diverse genres as A. H. Gabhart has written but she is definitely up to the task. Her latest cozy mystery series set in Hidden Springs is both fun and suspense filled as all cozy mysteries should be. In the second book of the series, “Murder Comes by Mail”, Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane is faced with yet another case to solve in his small hometown that used to be quiet and peaceful. Why can’t things stay that way?

When Sheriff Keane stops a man from leaping to his death off a bridge near town, the last thing the man tells him is that he will be sorry he stopped him from jumping. When photographs of a dead girl show up in his office mail and the jumper disappears from the hospital, it is a foregone conclusion that the jumper must be the murderer. Then why is it so difficult to locate the man? With more deaths and indications that the murderer is taunting him, Michael is desperate to protect the people he loves. Can he solve the case before anyone else dies?

“Murder Comes by Mail” is a bit grittier and darker than the first book of the series “Murder at the Courthouse” but even so there is still no graphic violence to disturb the reader. Once again the pages are filled with the lovable and quirky residents of Hidden Springs, a lot of mystery, a little humor, and even a touch of romance. I love trying to figure out “whodunnit” and wondering what role a pet will play this time in the story. I did wonder about a certain character from the first time he appeared in the story because he was just so weird but there was never any real evidence against him.

All-in-all, “Murder Comes by Mail” was a fun and satisfying read that held my attention until the end.

A copy of this book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Doing a good deed never felt so bad

Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane doesn’t particularly enjoy being touted as the hero of Hidden Springs after pulling a suicidal man back from the edge of the Eagle River bridge in front of dozens of witnesses–a few of whom caught the breathtaking moments with their cameras. But the media hype doesn’t last long as a new story pushes its way into the public consciousness of Hidden Springs’ concerned citizens.

Photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail, and Michael becomes convinced she was murdered by the man he saved. With a killer one step ahead, things in Hidden Springs begin to unravel. Now Michael must protect the people he loves–because the killer could be targeting one of them next.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo Credit: © Memories by Chris

Photo Credit: © Memories by Chris

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Words Spoken True, as well as several Shaker novels–The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted–and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com.

The Magnolia Duchess by Beth White

Magnolia Duchess



MY REVIEW:

As a lifetime southerner, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about some of our history in Beth White’s Gulf Coast Chronicles. For some reason, that history was severely neglected during my school years. “The Magnolia Duchess” takes the reader to the southern coast during the War of 1812, particularly during the Battle of New Orleans. I couldn’t help but recall that beloved song by Johnny Horton from my childhood –

“We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin’
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico”

Sorry, couldn’t help myself. What self-respecting southern child (or grownup for that matter) wouldn’t love a rousing song with lyrics like that? After reading Beth White’s account of the battle, the song made so much more sense.

Back to the book. I have loved reading about the Lanier family and their life on the Gulf Coast. As the female protagonist, Fiona was a strong young woman driven by compassion whose first response was to care for others whether friend or foe. I liked how conflicted she was about keeping Charlie’s identity secret from her family and how she tried to do the right thing despite how it affected herself.  I liked Charlie a lot too. I had to admire his determination to fulfill his commitments but at the same time I was frustrated by his decisions.

Once again, Beth White captured my imagination and interest to the point I had difficulty taking care of everyday chores. I hate to see this series end but am in hopes the author will see fit to provide her readers with more southern fiction.

A copy of this book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

As the War of 1812 rages across the newly formed United States, another war rages in Fiona Lanier’s heart–one that threatens to tear her family apart.

Fiona can scarcely take in the news of her brother’s capture and imprisonment by the British Navy. It is almost as unbelievable as the half-drowned British sailor who is washed ashore on the beach of Navy Cove.

Charlie Kincaid claims to have no memory of his life before being discovered by Fiona, but in a world that seems saturated with treachery, she cannot be sure he is telling the truth.
As Charlie’s memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political allegiances collide, they’ll each have to decide where their true loyalty lies.

Read an excerpt from The Magnolia Duchess HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Beth WhiteBeth White‘s day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at www.bethwhite.net.