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Book Review: The Land Beneath Us

26 Mar

In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the US Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers’ betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for — fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.

Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family — the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.

After Clay saves Leah’s life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-day, their letters bind them together over the distance. But can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay’s recurring dream comes true

Sarah Sundin is the CBA-bestselling author of The Land Beneath Us (February 2020), The Sky Above Us (2019) and The Sea Before Us (2018), and the Waves of Freedom series, the Wings of the Nightingale series, and the Wings of Glory series, all from Revell. In addition, she has a novella in Where Treetops Glisten (WaterBrook).

Her novels have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. In 2019, The Sea Before Us received the Reader’s Choice Award from Faith, Hope and Love. Both When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” Through Waters Deep was a 2016 Carol Award Finalist and won the 2016 INSPY Award, and her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in Where Treetops Glisten was a finalist for the 2015 Carol Award. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

A mother of three, Sarah lives in northern California and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. She enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers’ groups, and has been well received.

She serves as Programming Director for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference, and she belongs to American Christian Fiction Writers and Christian Authors Network.

 

My Impressions:

The Land Beneath Us is the concluding novel in Sarah Sundin’s Sunrise at Normandy series. The books feature the three Paxton brothers — men impacted by the actions of a single night back at their home in Texas. Lots of mistakes, poor decisions, and, yes, sins took place on that tragic day, and all three men have to deal with the repercussions. In The Land Beneath Us, youngest brother Clay takes center stage. He trains to be a Ranger to fulfill what he believes to be his destiny. On his way he meets a remarkable young woman whose own life has been marked by tragedy and violence. Her example of forgiveness impacts Clay, changing how he sees his life, his brothers, and God. An excellent finale to this series, this book gets a highly recommended rating from me.

There are so many things to love about The Land Beneath Us. I love how Sundin brings the day-to-day activities of WWII-era America to life. Small details such as fashion, baby care, scrap drives show just how life has changed in the modern world. Yet there is much to be learned — unity of purpose and watching out for our neighbors. There were definitely some dark aspects  — prejudices of many kinds — that shine a light on the shortcomings of modern day America as well. Sundin’s research is remarkable. I really felt I was in those Ranger training sessions and on the streets of small town Tennessee. And Clay’s experiences on D Day spotlight the courage and determination of our Greatest Generation. Spiritual themes abound and are naturally woven into the narrative. Forgiveness, feelings of unworthiness, and clinging to what others have done to us are just a few. The two main characters’ developing relationship was special as well. Through letters they go from a marriage of convenience to a deep love. The book includes an epilogue wrapping up all of the books — I loved that too!

For fans of historical fiction set during WWII, this series cannot be beat! If you haven’t read any of the books in this series, you need to. Start at book 1 and get ready for a great reading experience.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Book Review + Giveaway! — Turning Tide

19 Mar

Turning Tide FB Banner

About The Book

Book:  Turning Tide

Author: Melody Carlson

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Release Date: Feb 15, 2020

Turning TideAs the Great War rages on, Sunset Cove continues to feel its impact. Running the small town newspaper, Anna McDowell can’t escape the grim reports from the other side of the world, but home-front challenges abound as well. Dr. Daniel is serving the wounded on the front lines. And Katy, expecting her first child, with her husband in the trenches, tries to support the war effort with her Red Cross club. Even as the war winds down the costs are high—and Sunset Cove is not spared.

 

Click here for your copy!

 

My Impressions:

Turning Tide may be set almost 100 years in the past while WWI was raging and the Spanish Flu threatened, but this historical novel from Melody Carlson is a timely book for modern readers. World events shape the small town of Sunset Cove, Oregon, as the realities of war and pandemic impact even this small and charming town. The characters readers have come to know in the previous books are not immune to hardship, sacrifice, and fear, but they face day-to-day events and the future with determination and hope. I found their stories inspiring especially in our times of Covid-19 and economic uncertainty. The example of hope is what makes this book a great read for our times. The emphasis of care and concern for others and the reliance on God’s unchanging nature is a wonderful message.

Turning Tide is the 4th and final book in Carlson’s Legacy of Sunset Cove series. I had only read book 1 before starting this novel, and while I had no trouble with following the plot and catching up with characters, I recommend reading the whole series. You will not want to miss anything!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

About The Author

author photo Melody Carlson (1)Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

 

More from Melody

Writing about the WW1 era has definitely been a good history lesson for me. Prohibition laws in Oregon (and rum-runners breaking them) combined with a massive war that changed the world and a global epidemic is worth paying attention to. Especially since history sometimes repeats itself. The early 20th century had a lot going on—much that seems nearly forgotten. I’m glad to see the movie 1917 is doing well—and we plan to see it this week. Although I’m not a fan of gruesome war movies, this era continues to intrigue me. Even as I wrapped up my Sunset Cove series with Turning Tide I was left wondering . . . what’s next? But isn’t that the beauty of story?

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, March 16

For the Love of Literature, March 16

Through the Fire Blogs, March 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 17

Inklings and notions, March 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 18

deb’s Book Review, March 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 19

By The Book, March 19

Wishful Endings, March 19

Texas Book-aholic, March 20

She Lives To Read, March 20

Betti Mace, March 21

Remembrancy, March 21

janicesbookreviews, March 22

Mary Hake, March 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 22

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 23

For Him and My Family, March 23

Maureen’s Musings, March 24

My Devotional Thoughts, March 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 24

Christian Bookaholic, March 25

Artistic Nobody, March 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Older & Smarter?, March 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 26

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 27

Blogging With Carol, March 27

Daysong Reflections, March 27

SPLASHES of Joy, March 28

Vicky Sluiter, March 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 29

Pause for Tales, March 29

For the Love of Books, March 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away the grand prize package of a complete set of The Legacy of Sunset Cove series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click HERE to enter.

 

Children’s Corner — Ten Little Eggs

18 Mar

Ten Little Eggs celebrates springtime and the bond between a parent and child. With sweet and silly read-aloud rhymes and adorable illustrations, this book reminds readers that families come in all shapes and sizes, but what holds them together is love.

Perfect for Easter or any time of the year, children will enjoy turning the pages of this playful picture book to discover what unusual critters are inside each of the ten little eggs.

FIVE little eggs in a nest
in a tree.
What in the world will my
little egg be? 

One cracked open
and what did Mama see?
A fuzzy little penguin,
walking wobbly as can be.

 

My Impressions:

I first thought Ten Little Eggs would be an Easter-themed book because of, well, eggs! But this book is a fun family read-aloud for the whole year. There is so much to love about this book — its repetitive rhyme and countdown to the final egg will have your kids “reading” along. The ten eggs in momma bird’s nest reveal some very surprising family members — fun and funny.  As the book progresses, the anticipation increases as readers will be guessing just who will show up in the nest next! Illustrations are detailed and oh so cute. I guarantee his book will become a favorite.

Recommended.

Audience: preschoolers and their families.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Justice Buried

16 Mar

In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she’s ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she’s out of her league — and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he’s the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart.

 

Winner of an Inspirational Readers Choice Award, Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum.

But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series set in Mississippi and two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, Matthew’s Choice and The Christmas Campaign that are available on Amazon.

The first Memphis Cold Case book, Justice Delayed, released February 2017.

A Heartwarming Christmas, an anthology written with eleven Heartwarming authors debuted at #81 on USA Today’s Top 150 Titles. The Gingerbread Pony is her contribution to the anthology. October 3, 2017, Revenge released in the anthology, The Kill Zone: Ten Deadly Thrillers. In Revenge, Andi Hollister and Will Kincade’s story from Justice Delayed continues…

Her workshops on writing include two online courses with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

 

My Impressions:

My book club read Patricia Bradley’s romantic suspense novel, Justice Delayed, several years ago. I suggested the book because I had devoured her Logan Point series. Well, we all loved the first book in the Memphis Cold Case series, and I vowed to read the series through. Three years later, and here I am just now reading book 2, Justice Buried. My reaction? What in the world had I been waiting for! This book has everything I look for in a romantic suspense — endearing characters with great chemistry, a puzzling case that keeps me guessing, and, as an added bonus, a setting that captures my imagination. I loved Justice Buried! It is definitely a recommended read!

The two main characters, Kelsey Allen and Brad Hollister, were frenemies in high school. She was the nerdy and aloof rich girl, he the good-looking popular guy. Now years later they are first thrown together by their moms — oh yeah — and then by a murder. I loved these two characters. Brad is a tough and fearless cop, but only a risk taker in his job. Kelsey can be described as a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Given their differences and their less than stellar history, you would think these two would never get together. But there are sparks right from the beginning. And what a beginning this novel has. It is a page turner from the beginning. There’s plenty of action and suspense mixed in with the romance thread. There’s also a modern day mystery with roots in the past. The Memphis setting complete with the landmark Pink Palace Museum gives this book a great vibe. Both characters are believers, and their faith plays a natural and important role in their decisions.

As I said, I waited far too long to read Justice Buried. Luckily I have books 3 and 4 already on my shelf, so no waiting for a trip to a bookstore or library. And in this time of social distancing, you can get your hands on the whole series from Amazon. Binge-reading is a must right now!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I received a complimentary copy from Library Thing. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Book Review: One Little Lie

12 Mar

About The Book

Book:  One Little Lie

Author: Colleen Coble

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

Release Date: March 3, 2020

one little lie

It started with one little lie. But Jane Hardy will do everything in her power to uncover the truth in this gripping new romantic suspense.

Jane Hardy is appointed interim sheriff in Pelican Harbor, Alabama, after her father retires, but there’s no time for an adjustment period. When her father is arrested for theft and then implicated in a recent murder, Jane quickly realizes she’s facing someone out to destroy the only family she has.

After escaping with her father from a cult fifteen years ago, Jane has searched relentlessly for her mother—who refused to leave—ever since. Could someone from that horrible past have found them?

Reid Bechtol is well-known for his documentaries, and his latest project involves covering Jane’s career. Jane has little interest in the attention, but the committee who appointed her loves the idea of the publicity.

Jane finds herself depending on Reid’s calm manner as he follows her around filming, and they begin working together to clear her father. But Reid has his own secrets from the past, and the gulf between them may be impossible to cross—especially once her father’s lie catches up with him.

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

My Impressions:

I have been a huge fan of Colleen Coble for years. Her romantic suspense has always grabbed my attention from the opening lines. But One Little Lie fell a bit flat for me. Here’s what I liked. The Setting — this novel is set in a fictional town on the Gulf Coast of south Alabama. I am very familiar with this area, having vacationed there since college. Coble captured the sights, scents, and even the flavors of the area with her detailed descriptions. The CharactersOne Little Lie is the first in a series, and introduces a lot of supporting characters whose stories will be developed in the coming books. I felt invested in one story line in particular and look forward to finding out more. The Faith Message –there is so much falsehood and half-truths out there. This book is a good reminder that we have to test everything that people say against what God says.

Now on to what I had difficulty with. Main character Jane Hardy was difficult to connect with. I get why, but her aloofness kept me from feeling a closeness I usually get from a Coble character. I did like Reid and his son very much, and hope the trio’s relationships will be expanded in the coming books. There were a lot of story threads that eventually came together, but I had a bit of trouble keeping them straight. And to be honest, I thought that some of them were a bit too far fetched.

So would I read the next book in this series? Absolutely! Again, Coble is a talented author. I may have had a few issues with One Little Lie, but others have loved it. And I ALWAYS will read a Coble novel.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

About The Author

Colleen CobleBest-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. You can visit her website at http://colleencoble.com.

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, March 10

Life of Literature, March 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 10

Texas Book-aholic, March 10

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 11

The Avid Reader, March 11

Lighthouse Academy, March 11

By The Book, March 12

Older & Smarter?, March 12

Through the Fire Blogs, March 12

Remembrancy, March 12

Betti Mace, March 13

April Hayman, Author, March 13

Emily Yager, March 13

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 14

Bigreadersite, March 14

deb’s Book Review, March 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 15

Inklings and notions, March 15

CarpeDiem, March 15

Christian Bookaholic, March 15

Just the Write Escape, March 16

For Him and My Family, March 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 16

Robin’s Nest, March 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 17

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 17

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 17

Stories By Gina, March 18

Janicesbookreviews, March 18

Mary Hake, March 18

Empowermoms, March 18

For the Love of Literature, March 19

Blossoms and Blessings, March 19

Because I said so – and other adventures in Parenting, March 19

Hallie Reads, March 19

A Baker’s Perspective, March 20

Quiet Quilter, March 20

Simple Harvest Reads, March 20 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Splashes of Joy, March 21

Moments, March 21

amandainpa, March 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 21

Pause for Tales, March 22

Britt Reads Fiction, March 22

Spoken from the Heart, March 22

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 22

To Everything There is a Season, March 23

Life love writing, March 23

Daysong Reflections, March 23

Lights in a Dark World, March 23

Children’s Corner: Nighty Night Narwhal

10 Mar

In this sweet, humorous tale about an imaginative narwhal named Nolan, children and parents alike will giggle at, and likely recognize, all of Nolan’s excuses for avoiding bedtime. With soothing, rhyming text and whimsical, playful illustrations, this charming padded board book is sure to help little ones go from deep sea silliness to sweet, soothing dreams.

Nolan the Narwhal tries to go to sleep. He really does. But he’s thirsty … and hungry … and there might be a giant sea horse in the closet … or under the bed … and his eyes won’t stay shut … and his horn is achy … and all the blankets are too hot … but no blankets are too cold … and maybe one more song would help … and one more story … that’s it! One more story and Nolan promises to go to bed.

 

My Impressions: 

Nighty Night Narwhal is another cute edition to your bedtime repertoire! Your child will discover they have a lot in common with Nolan the Narwhal — he thinks up all kinds of things to avoid going to bed! I loved the whimsical illustrations of a narwhal’s world, and the interactions between Nolan and his parents. It also spurred me to know more about this fascinating creature — your child (and you) will want to know more too! This is a great book for the preschool set!

Recommended.

Audience: preschoolers

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Critical Decision

5 Mar

It began with an innocent-appearing package on her front porch.

The box contained a cell phone, which rang as soon as she opened the package. A voice that called Dr. Kathy Hoover by name said that her husband had been kidnapped. To get him back she would have to poison one of her patients. 

At first, she didn’t believe that her husband had been taken from the conference he was attending, but soon she discovered that the kidnappers really had Darren. If she wanted to see him again, she had to give medication that would murder Kelton Rush, former Vice-President. What was she to do? How would she handle this critical decision?

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical mysteries with heart.” In addition to his medical books, he is the author of one non-fiction book, six novellas, and thirteen published novels. His novels have been finalists for the Carol Award, the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Selah Award, and others.

He and his wife live in north Texas. In addition to regular efforts (thus far unsuccessful) to improve his golf game, he spends much of his time trying to convince his family that sitting at his desk staring into space does indeed represent work.

 

My Impressions:

Richard Mabry has long been a favorite author of mine. He blends medical drama with suspense as his characters deal with some very shady characters. In Critical Decision, his latest novella, he again created a page turner that kept me up past my bedtime. If you are looking for a puzzling mystery then I recommend you check this book out.

Kathy and Darren Hoover are very ordinary people. She is a physician in private practice and he is a professor of mathematics in Dallas, Texas. But their life soon spirals out of control as they are involved in a kidnapping and murder plot. While Critical Decision is plot-driven, I did like how Mabry puts these two characters through their paces. Much of the direction of the novel is due to their resourcefulness. I also liked that they are a married couple — their relationship is real and relatable. The story line kept me guessing and turning the pages as fast as I could. There is a good bit of the cloak and dagger as well as some really sinister bad guys. As always, Mabry adds a spiritual element in this book. The main characters attend church while in the midst of their crisis. They (and the reader) don’t get a long-winded sermon, but some good teaching on God’s wisdom. This element was naturally integrated into the book.

I read Critical Decision at a time when I needed a good distraction from the cares of the day. It proved a great one! A quick read, this novella will appeal to all who love a good whodunit.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the author for providing a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)