“Shadowed by Grace” by Cara C. Putman, book review

“Shadowed by Grace” by Cara C. Putman, A Story of Monuments Men- In Italy

Rachel is a gifted photographer and she needs to earn a lot of money, fast. Her mother is dying from TB and needs treatment, but it is expensive. During WWII women were not usually given assignments near the fighting, but Rachel gets an assignment to take pictures and send them home. She also hopes to find her father, who she has never met and does not even know his name. Her only clue is a sketch book from her mother’s year in Italy as an art student.

Scott is in the US Army, but he is not really a soldier. He has an art degree and manages a large museum and gallery. He is assigned to the Monument Men project to help record, recover and restore precious works of art. It is a thankless job for many, but he is quite passionate about it.

When Scott and Rachel are assigned the same jeep driver, they learn to work together, and find a common purpose in the midst of the awfulness of war. And with Scott’s help, Rachel learns to trust God to care for her.

I enjoyed this book. While I have read many WWII stories, I was unfamiliar with the Monument Men mission and was glad that the US government cared enough to invest time and money into saving art. I did find that the story bogged down a bit in the middle, just moving very slowly and not making much progress, followed by a rather quick ending. But overall, a good read.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, B&H . All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Finding Mercy” by Cindy Kelly and Michael Landon, Jr, book review

“Finding Mercy” by Cindy Kelly and Michael Landon, Jr, book review

Mercy just wants to go home. If only she could remember where home was, and for that matter, who she is? After awaking in the hospital following an injury during battle, Mercy, a name she has been going by, does not remember anything. In her search for her identity, she does discover many things about both sides involved in The War, but she is unsure which side she was on.

Following a trial and acquittal, she is trying to go home, but is unsure who to trust. Captain Hale is assigned to escort her over the border, and really wants to help her. Yet, she does not want to trust him, so escapes and sets out on her own. During her travels she becomes ill and stumbles upon a nearly deserted fort for shelter. The soldiers left to guard it try to take advantage of her, but Captain Hale arrives just in time. While locked in a storage room Mercy has the first glimpse of her memory returning, she recognizes a painting.

This painting leads her to locate her home and family. While the family seems to be glad to see her, there is an undercurrent of mistrust and anger. With the help of Captain Hale, some of the former slaves and God, Mercy is able to learn to love and trust again.

I enjoyed this book. I had read the 1st in the series, but could not remember all the details. However, the authors were good to refresh my memory without rehashing the entire first book. Great read for historical fiction lovers especially Civil War buffs.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Finding Mercy

David C. Cook (October 1, 2014)


Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley


Michael Landon Jr., son of television legend Michael Landon, is an award-winning storyteller, first in television and film, and now in books. His print works include One More Sunrise co-written with Tracie Peterson.


Cindy Kelley is the co-author of the novel The Silent Gift, and Traces of Mercy. Her career as a screenwriter with long-time writing partner, Michael Landon, Jr., began with the adaptation of Margery Williams’ classic story, The Velveteen Rabbit, which had a theatrical release. Several television movies followed, most notably Love Comes Softly, (based on Janette Oke’s novel) which won a CAMIE Award and the Epiphany Prize for Movie Guide’s most inspirational television movie of 2003. Cindy and her husband, Jim, make their home in the Southwest; have three adorable grandchildren and four big dogs who rule the house.


When Mercy abandons Captain Elijah Hale to search for her true identity, he goes after her. With the threat that bounty hunters might be hot on her trail, Mercy does all she can to stay ahead of the danger, frustrating both the bad men who are after her—and Captain Hale who wants to find her and escort her safely home. But when she stumbles upon clues that help her learn who she is and where she’s from, the danger escalates and she has to learn to keep her friends close and her enemies even closer—if she can determine which is which!

If you’d like to read the first chapter of Finding Mercy, go HERE.

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“Seasons of Grace” by Lauraine Snelling, review and sweepstakes

Seasons of Grace” by Lauraine Snelling, review and sweepstakes

Again we visit the town of Blessing and see God’s hand at work in these immigrant families as they carve out their place in the heartland of the US. While it has been sometime since the original family settled in the valley, this story includes many of the characters we knew from previous books.

Trygve Knutson grew up in Blessing and has thrived in the farming community. But when a some new nurses come from Chicago to receive training with the town doctors, his world is changed forever. Miriam is in Blessing with one goal: to complete her training as a nurse, and get back to Chicago to support her siblings and her ailing mother. But the town of Blessing has a way of drawing in the most reluctant visitor, and soon Miriam’s atachment to Trygve and his family has her questioning her entire future.

div align=”center”>Enter the SEASONS OF GRACE Sweepstakes from author Lauraine Snelling!

This is a wonderful story and I enjoyed it. The author has put together a sweepstakes that includes prizes relevant to the storyline. Please check out the prizes and enter. And read the book!!

Disclaimer: I received an electric copy of the book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Daughter of Highland Hall” by Carrie Turansky, book review

“The Daughter of Highland Hall” by Carrie Turansky, book review, Edwardian Brides #2

Katherine has waited her whole life for her season, the time that she would be presented to the London socialites including the Kind and Queen. Due to the untimely death of her parents, her aunt promised her mother on her death bed that she would see Katherine through the season. And it is well underway, following the dress fittings, dance and etiquette lessons, it is finally time.

Then a series of untimely family scandals seem to force her out of the spot light. She is actually shunned by society and especially one family whose son she had her eye on, as a suitable suitor. Since she has so much time on her hands, she accompanies her future brother-in-law as he volunteers at a medical center in the poor East End. Katherine finds that she is well suited for the work and is actually making a difference in some folks’ lives. But then an attack brings the danger of her new venture. But through out this whole time, she is learning to trust God and His wisdom in her future.

I enjoyed this book. It is the second in the Edwardian Brides series, so some of the characters are familiar. The story line was easy to follow and the characters were well developed. The story moved along well and I wanted to keep reading! I will look forward to #3 to be released October 2015.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Waterbrook Press. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Journey to Jesus” DVD Curriculum- review

“Journey to Jesus” DVD Curriculum, by Wheaton College- review.

This is a 2 DVD curriculum with 6 sessions. There is supplemental material that can be printed to accompany the video content. Each session has information about Muslims and their beliefs, as well as scriptures and theological concepts that differ between the Muslims and Christians. There is a vignette that portraits an interaction between a Christian and a Muslim, and how they relate to each other.

The material is well presented, just enough, but not to much so I was overwhelmed. The vignettes were well done and showed how a real conversation and relationship can be developed. The discussion questions were appropriate. It is just right for a Sunday School class or small group to work through together to learn about Muslims. Can be used as an individual, but would lack the group interaction of the discussion questions.

I was disappointed that the last session did not show how to witness to a Muslim. There are many proven methods that would be good to demonstrate at this point.

Filming note: In one scene, the Muslim man is calling his wife, and there is a Bible app on his phone. Really???

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this curriculum from the publisher, Tyndale. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Noah” A wordless picture book by Mark Ludy, review

“Noah” A Wordless Picture Book by Mark Ludy, review

This is a wonderful picture book telling the story of Noah. The illustrations are beautiful and complex. At first reading, it is easy to follow the basic story. But with a further, slower look, the details of the story become apparent. This book was marketed to me as perfect for toddlers, but I must disagree. Toddlers will not appreciate this book as it is too long and the pictures just too complicated. But it is perfect for elementary age students, even if they can read, especially boys. There are so many wonderful details in the pictures that share emotions and relationship issues. I think this would make a great gift for a long car or plane trip, so the youngster can have a lot of uninterrupted time to just ponder the pictures.

About the story, the author does include some of his own ideas about the story from the Bible- depicting the building, homes, and even clothing in an different ways that I had imagined. Nothing takes away from the honest telling of the timeless story of God’s judgment and promises.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Plough Publishing House, as a member of Handlebar review group. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Buttermilk Sky” by Jan Watson, book review

“Buttermilk Sky” by Jan Watson, book review

Mazy wanted to get out of her small mountain town and learn to be a secretary, by attending the school in Lexington, KY. While she did enjoy all the happenings of the bigger city, she longed for the comfortable relationships of home. She is learning shorthand, typing and all the other skills taught at the school, plus she is learning about getting along with other girls and how life is different in the city. Back home, Chanis Clay, the town sheriff has his heart set on Mazy returning home to be his wife. He has purchased a “fixer-upper” and has been making the needed repairs, including wall paper!

During their time apart Mazy and Chanis learn about themselves while helping others. Clay- while transporting a criminal and Mazy- helping a young lady who has had a hard time of it. In the end, they both learn that God has to be at the center of their plans and lives.

I enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and follow. Great for vacation or winter time relaxing.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Tyndale House, as a member of their book review team. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“A Star for Jesus” by Crystal Bowman, book review

“A Star for Jesus” by Crystal Bowman, book review

The most wonderful story is that of Jesus birth, and we love to share that with young children. This board book is a special way to share with the youngest of children, those who need simple pictures and words. This book is just perfect. The shape of the book – a star- will capture the interest of youngsters. The pictures are distinct and the words tell the story with a little rhyme.

This will make a great stocking stuffer for a new baby or Christmas gift for an older brother or sister to read to their younger sibling.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Zondervan. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“A Dukes Promise” by Jamie Carie, book review

“A Duke’s Promise” by Jamie Carie, book review
A Forgotten Castle Novel, #3

This is the third and final book in the Forgotten Castle series, and is well worth reading, as it finishes what the author started in the first and second books.

Gabriel and Alex are married and while on their honeymoon trip are searching for her parents, the famed Featherstones. Their trip is filled with adventure, but they work together to stay ahead of their enemies and are successful in locating and rescuing Alex’s parents. During the weeks of travel Gabriel and Alex learn to trust each other and God. They encounter various situations that could tear them apart, but it draws them closer together.

I really enjoyed this series. While the author gives some back ground in each book, it is really a series that is best read in order.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, B & H Publishers. All opinions expressed are my own.

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” A Love Undone” by Cindy Woodsmall, book review

“A Love Undone” by Cindy Woodsmall, book review

Jolene is preparing to marry her sweetheart, when her parents are tragically killed in a drowning accident. All her plans change drastically when she decides to keep her siblings together and raise them. At only 19, she is an adult and the oldest. But this is to much for her intended, so he leaves, and marries another in less than a year.

Jolene works hard and is very successful with the help of her Amish community and relatives. One by one the children grow up, get jobs and marry. She can see a light at the end of the long dark tunnel, but is there any one special for her?

Her uncle Lester asks for help feeding a crew including his nephew, Andy, who is bringing a herd of rescue horses to his farm for the summer. Andy is a horse trainer and is helping the state vet to rehabilitate these neglected horses. He needs help, and Lester is old and a little crippled, so he volunteers Jolene. Neither Andy nor Jolene like this situation, but out of loyalty and obligation to Lester and the Amish community, they work it out. And in the process, begin to fall in love.

But, Andy is not a free man, although Jolene does not know that, or she would have guarded her heart.

I enjoyed this book. It was well written, easy to read and interesting. I liked how the families worked together to care for each other and others in the community.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Waterbrook Press. All opinions expressed are my own.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Love Undone

WaterBrook Press (September 9, 2014)


Cindy Woodsmall


Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author who has written fifteen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as one of the top three Amish fiction writers.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

(Since that last line sounds sad and bare, I thought I’d add an “epilogue” of sorts. Our two oldest sons are married and live only a couple of miles from my empty nest, and below are my three adorable grandchildren! ♥)


A husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone.
A young woman who sacrificed her dreams.
How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?

At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.

Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.

As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God’s guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Love Undone, go HERE.

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