Almond Street Mission by June Foster



MY REVIEW:

“Almond Street Mission” is a novel that is certain to challenge many readers to take another look at the plight of the homeless through the eyes of a young man who has felt led to live among them as one of them. Another point of view is from a young woman who volunteers in the mission during the summer when she is not teaching.

The plot moves along at a steady pace and includes realistic scenes of life on the streets and in the mission.  Short but intimate looks at why some of the homeless came to be that way gave me more insight into their pain. The gospel was shared often throughout the story and as a result lives were changed. Of course there was a romantic element to the story but it was not the prominent feature.

I enjoyed “Almond Street Mission” and will be sure to check out more books by June Foster.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Click to purchase

When Glorilyn Neilson’s nineteen-year-old brother, Tannon, goes missing without a trace, she’s frantic. Prayer and volunteering at the local homeless shelter in El Camino must fill the time until her sibling returns. But her sapphire eyes and auburn hair inadvertently cause a stir among the male population at the center. Her life changes one evening when she’s attacked by a burly vagrant intent on rape in the alley behind the building.

Jeremiah Goodman loves the Lord, but he’s homeless. When he witnesses a foul-mouthed vagrant overpowering one of the volunteers at the homeless shelter, he defends her, saving her from unwanted advances.

When Glorilyn offers him a way of escape from his impoverished lifestyle, he can’t tell her why he must live the life of a vagrant. What powerful secret keeps him on the streets?

Click here to purchase your copy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June’s book Give Us This Day was a finalist in EPIC’s eBook awards and a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for best first book. Ryan’s Father was one of three finalists in the published contemporary fiction category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. Deliver Us was a finalist in COTT’s Laurel Awards.

June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan’s Father is available from WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Books One, Two, and Three in the Almond Tree Series, For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, and What God Knew are all available from Amazon.com.

Recently June has seen publication of Christmas at Raccoon Creek, Lavender Fields Inn, Misty Hollow, Almond Street Mission, Restoration of the Heart, and Letting Go, all published by Forget Me Not Press, a division of Winged Publications.

June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. Find June on line at junefoster.com.

GUEST POST FROM JUNE FOSTER:

Stories Behind the Story

Almond Street Mission tells the story of Glorilyn Neilson whose younger brother, Tannon, has gone missing, hurling her entire family into turmoil. Prayer and volunteering at the local homeless shelter fills the empty, lonely hours. One evening, she’s attacked by a brawny vagrant intent on rape. Another vagrant, Jeremiah Goodman, defends her, saving her from unwanted attention.

Jeremiah loves the Lord but is homeless. The mission director, Mr. Harris, offers him and nineteen-year-old, Tank, a place at the shelter. But when Jeremiah later tries to protect a drug addict in hope of sharing the gospel with him, Mr. Harris finds heroin on Jeremiah, and he’s booted out. Tank chooses to leave with him.

On the street, Jeremiah and Tank try to scrape up a meal, but even trash cans around the city park don’t provide food for their hungry stomachs. Taking a chance on getting arrested, they beg for food in front of an elegant downtown Italian restaurant. Two older women walk out. One ignores them but the other looks at them with kind eyes and offers an entire pizza.

All this to explain a real life happening which gave me an idea for this scene. My daughter and I were in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at an Italian restaurant. We each ordered a small pizza, but the waiter brought me a Hawaiian pizza though I’d order pepperoni.

When I pointed out the mistake, the server brought out a second pizza for me, this time pepperoni, and told me to keep the first one. No way I could eat another pizza, and we didn’t have anywhere to keep it at the hotel, so I asked him if he knew any homeless people. The waiter said yes, that they congregate nearby, and he’d deliver it to a hungry vagrant.

In the story, the other woman who gives the extra pizza to Jeremiah and Tank is above average height. I wrote myself into a brief portion of the scene, and my 5’10” height qualifies as tall! When Tank says “God bless you,” the lady says “He does, everyday.” The sentiments of my heart. Real life always provides rich fodder.

Another story behind the story is when a friend at my church mentioned a Christian homeless ministry in the nearby city of Birmingham, Alabama, The Jimmie Hale Mission. I called and asked if I could take a tour. A chaplain welcomed my husband and me and scheduled a time for us to visit. He promised to personally conduct our visit.

When we arrived, the chaplain took us through the dining facility, exercise room, chapel, clothing bank, computer rooms, classrooms, and dorms. While in the dining area, we met the efficient kitchen manager, a paid employee who provided three delicious meals a day for the residents. Tingles ran down my arms when he shared his experience. He was once a drunk and resident of the mission. Today, he loves the Lord, is reunited with his wife, and holds down the manager’s job. As a side note, I based two characters’ situations on this real life man.

While at the mission, the men learn job skills and have opportunity to take classes. When they leave, they’re fully grounded in the Lord and on their way to a new life. A few are employed at the facility.

Before we left, the chaplain generously gave me his cell phone number and offered to answer any further questions, and I had several. Research for this story provided a rich insight into how God’s power can change and equip those that society may have chosen to discard.

BLOG STOPS:

Quiet Quilter, October 5

A Baker’s Perspective, October 6

autism mom, October 7

Christian Bookaholic, October 7

Avid Reader Book Reviews, October 8

Daysong Reflections, October 8

Blogging With Carol, October 9

The Fizzy Pop Collection, October 10

A Greater Yes, October 11

Remembrancy, October 11

Multifarious, October 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 12

Pause for Tales, October 13

Redeemed Hope Dweller, October 14

Texas Book-aholic, October 15

Janices book reviews, October 16

Carpe Diem, October 17

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 18

GIVEAWAY:

In honor of her tour, June is giving away a grand prize collection of 1 signed paperback copy of Almond Street Mission, a $25 Amazon card, and 12 handmade cards!
Click the link below to enter!
https://promosimple.com/ps/c0a6

 

 

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The Pretender – A Blackguard in Disguise by Ta’Mara Hanscom



MY REVIEW:

I wanted to like this book – I really did. For some reason, whether it was just timing or my own personal preferences, I had difficulty reading it. Perhaps it was the fact that I felt there were way too many characters  and also too many different situations going on at the same time. Or maybe it was the intensity of the love-at-first-meeting that didn’t ring true to me. Whatever it was, I could not bring myself to care about any of the characters. Then there were the random facts inserted haphazardly that did not seem to be at all important to the story.

I do want to make it clear that I really think this is a matter of personal preference NOT anything lacking in the author’s talent. Overall I felt that the plot was a good idea and the writing itself was good, if a bit simplistic for my taste. Quite a few  reviewers really loved “The Pretender” which is why I think it’s just not my type book.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Litfuse Publicity. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise (Reata Publishing, September 2017)

Set in South Dakota in 1975, where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beer in a bar, and loaded guns were kept under the counter.

Frankie Valli sang “My Eyes Adored You,” and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.

It’s within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined—and had been for many years—yet they had no idea.
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From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart—and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride’s deception.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born and raised in South Dakota, Ta`Mara loves to write about the Great Plains and the beauty and people of Italia. While her husband and children manage their two pizza ristoranti, Ta`Mara works full time on The Caselli Family Series, and ministers to women. It is Ta`Mara s prayer that as the readers explore the truths in these volumes, they will come away with a new perspective on love, forgiveness, obedience, and God’s plan for marriage

Find out more about Ta’Mara at https://www.tamarahanscombooks.com.

GIVEAWAY:

Join Ta’Mara in celebrating the release of the second printing and new covers by entering to win her $75 prize basket giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of The Pretender
  • A $75 Amazon gift card
  • A decorative box containing measuring cups, ten recipes from the book, a potholder, a kitchen towel, pepper and salt grinders, kitchen utensils, and an olive oil dispenser

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 11. The winner will be announced October 12 on the Litfuse blog.

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An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristy Ann Hunter



MY REVIEW:

I have enjoyed the previous novels in Hunter’s Hawthorne House series and have been looking forward to Griffith’s story. I cannot say that the entire story was everything I anticipated but as the hero Griffith did not fail. It was amusing to me that after seeing his brother and sisters (as well as good friends) happily married, Griffith decided it was time to choose a bride and went about it in his usual logical fashion. Determined to choose the most suitable bride, rather than the expected one, Griffith somehow believed that once chosen, he could make himself fall in love with her. That’s where everything went so wrong.

I’ll admit that Isabella was not my favorite heroine. I realize that she was so desperate to help her family out of their financial problems that she fell for her uncle’s manipulations and even blackmail. At times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to just confess the truth and break out of that man’s clutches instead of going along with his plans. I liked Frederica’s character very much and was so happy that things turned out well for her also. She was a fun character who was comfortable in her own skin while Isabella fretted way too much about her own beauty and the problems it caused. I did come to like Isabella more as she finally grew a backbone and stood up for herself.

For the most part, the plot moved along at a good pace. It had several quite humorous moments as well as the expected romance. A thread of faith ran throughout the story but was unobtrusive. I hate to see this series end but am certain that Ms. Hunter will provide her readers with a new series that is equally enjoyable.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author and her publisher. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she’ll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

Read an excerpt from “An Inconvenient Beauty” HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kristi is the RITA® award winning author of Regency romance novels from a Christian worldview. Her titles include A Noble Masquerade, An Elegant Façade, and An Uncommon Courtship. Beyond writing, she is also speaker, teaching classes in writing as well as Biblical and spiritual topics. She has spoken to writers’ groups, schools, and young women’s groups at churches.

When she is not writing or interacting with her readers, Kristi spends time with her family and her church. A graduate of Georgia Tech with a computer science degree, she can also be found fiddling with her computer in her free time. A born lover of stories she is also an avid reader. From very young she dreamed of sharing her own stories with others and praises God daily that she gets to live that dream today.

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Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore



MY REVIEW:

The first book in a new series by Janice Cantore, “Crisis Shot” features Tess O’Rourke, a commander in the Long Beach, California police department. Although cleared by a grand jury after the death of an unarmed young man, Tess is harassed by a popular blogger who keeps the citizens stirred up against her. For the sake of the department, Tess is persuaded to accept a job as police chief in the small town of Rogue’s Hollow, Oregon. Used to life in the big city, Tess has difficulty settling into her new position, especially since the town’s residents are not very welcoming. Resigned to serving in a routine, somewhat boring job, Tess makes the best of things and eventually makes a few friends. Everything quickly changes when her new best friend disappears and the town has its first murder.

Although some reviewers have complained that “Crisis Shot” does not have as much action and suspense as some of Cantore’s previous novels, I found that it held my attention quite well. The plot moves along at a steady pace as the reader gets to know what drives Tess and becomes familiar with her background as well as learning a bit about Rogue’s Hollow. The action picks up when the murder is discovered and suspicions about the possible connection with the missing woman. Plenty of mystery and surprises are involved in solving the case.

This novel does not contain much in the way of romance but by its end, there are two possible love interests for Tess. I am eager to read the next installment in order to see where that trail takes her. I would also like to know which of the two men is the one on the book cover. I couldn’t decide.

I liked the fact that the characters and situations were natural and believable. Everything was not resolved with a happy-ever-after but life tends to be that way sometimes. I have always enjoyed books by this author and “Crisis Shot” did not disappoint.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by The Tyndale Blog Network. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Tess O’Rourke dreams of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way . . . until the night she responds to an officer-needs-assistance call and fatally shoots an unarmed teenager. Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.

Winning over the residents of Rogue’s Hollow might be more difficult than adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. Especially when her closest friend, the pastor’s wife, goes missing and the woman’s cousin is found shot. Tess finds an ally in sheriff’s deputy Steve Logan, but as they track down Rogue’s Hollow’s first murderer, she worries that she’s breaking one of her rules and getting too close to him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Her twenty-two years of experience on the force lend authenticity to her stories. She has penned six novels, the Pacific Coast Justice series, Visible Threat, and Critical Pursuit. Drawing Fire is the first book in the Cold Case Justice series.

Visit Janice’s website at www.janicecantore.com and connect with her on Facebook.

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Sapphire Secrets by Dawn Cahill



MY REVIEW:

“Sapphire Secrets” is a novel that some might describe as edgy Christian fiction. As the story begins, Livy and her twin sister DeeDee are quite happy with their modern life and their New Age beliefs. The twins run a dance studio where they teach. Dancing is particularly important to Livy and she cannot imagine her life without it. When she decides to find out for herself what happened the day her mother died when Livy was only six, some mysterious events begin to transpire and Livy even suffers a devastating injury that could change her life forever.

The first of two books about the McCreary twins, “Sapphire Secrets” is a captivating story filled with mystery, suspense, danger, and romance. It is enlightening to watch Livy’s journey to faith and her relationship with Scott grow as the story progresses. It was also interesting to see how Livy’s new beliefs threatened her relationship with her sister DeeDee. Strong characters and a compelling plot kept me reading well into the night and made me want to also read DeeDee’s story.

I recommend both “Sapphire Secrets” and “Moonstone Secrets” to those who enjoy romantic suspense with a bit of an edge.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by the author. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Twins Livy and DeeDee McCreary open a dance studio in honor of their late mother, whom they lost when they were six. Problem is, Livy remembers nothing of the day her mother died. The more she questions her family about that awful day, the more she suspects she’s been lied to all her life. While she’s seeking answers to what really happened, she keeps crossing paths with handsome engineer Scott Lorenzo, who compels her to question the New Age philosophy she was raised on. What if there is a personal God out there who cares about her? Before Livy can discover answers, a brutal accident interrupts her search. Her life flips upside down as she faces a future she is not prepared for. Yet the unanswered questions continue to haunt her. Can she find the strength to keep on with her quest, even if it means losing the two people most dear to her–her twin, and the man she loves?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Dawn V. Cahill pens “Stories of Victorious Faith for the 21st Century,” nearly always with a crossword puzzle, sudoku, or dark chocolate nearby. “The characters in my stories face situations that would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago. We live in a vastly different world than our parents did, and that’s the world I write about.”

Seeing an unfilled niche in the Christian fiction market, Ms Cahill created Hot Topic Fiction at an intensive four-day writers conference. HTF isn’t afraid to explore the question, how does God want us to live out our faith in this not-so-brave new world? Without insulting the reader by offering pat or easy answers–because there aren’t any–HTF tells stories of ordinary Christians following hard after Christ in an upside-down world.

Ms. Cahill also blogs about puppies, substance abuse, and single parenting…sometimes all in the same day. She’s going to finish that novel she started at age 11 called Mitch and the Martians…someday. She has written several newspaper articles, three Christian contemporary novels, and more limericks than she can count. Email her at dawn@dawnvcahill.com, or find her on Facebook. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

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