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Are some mysteries better left alone and unsolved?

When Laura returns home to the South to settle the estate of her recently deceased mother, she can’t help but to feel the tug of her heartstrings; wondering what really happened to her daddy. They say he drowned in the lake all those years ago, but now folks are whispering that they’ve seen him around.  astillnessofchimes

Sean didn’t want to tell her about the rumors, but he knew it was better coming from him than anyone else. Laura didn’t need the heartache. And Sean knew heartache. He was still pining for Laura, 18 years later. Some things can never be resolved until they actually are.

Do Sean and Laura have a future together, given their past? Is there any truth to the rumors about her father not being dead? Does she even want to go down that rabbit trail of reasoning?

When Meg Moseley is on, she’s *on.* This was another fantastic title by this author. I love a good mystery, even if it seems a bit implausible at first. I wouldn’t say this book is action packed, but if you are anything like me, you might find your mind racing; thinking of possibilities and variables. And then, you might wonder what you would do in this situation.

5 out of 5 stars for this title. Read it if you can! Other Meg Moseley titles you might enjoy: Gone South and When Sparrows Fall.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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This is the Change and Cherish Trilogy which includes A Clearing in the Wild,  A Tendering in the Storm, and A Mending at the Edge. emmaofaurora

A Clearing in the Wild (Book 1)– Emma has set her sights on Christian Giesy, even though he’s close to her father’s age; twenty years her senior. Despite opposition from their colony’s leader, Father Keil, Emma and Christian marry. Perhaps annoyed they marry without his blessing, Father Keil does what he can to keep Emma and Christian apart even after they married, sending Christian off for missions.

Just when Emma thinks she’s finally going to get to keep her husband after over a year apart, Christian is again sent out- this time as a scout to find a new colony have a country away, in Oregon. The scouts are being sent out not only to find a new site for the colony, but also to prepare the way for the colony, so upon arrival, they have housing.

Emma is heartbroken facing another two years away from her husband. Finally convincing Father Kiel she should be allowed to accompany Christian and the few other men, Emma’s journey begins.

A Tendering in the Storm, (Book 2)– When colony leader, Father Keil, arrived and deemed the site the scouts had found and started preparing unacceptable, Christian is broken. Emma is bound and determined to find a way to stay, despite the departure of colony members following Father Keil to an alternate location.

With a fundamental shift in occupation, Christian, Emma, and their two children, carry on, although there is again some separation for Christian and Emma. When tragedy strikes, Emma has decisions to make, that inevitably alter the course of her life.

A Mending at the Edge (Book 3)- Leaving her and Christian’s home behind to escape her violent husband, Emma and her four children now find themselves living in Aurora, with the Keil family in their gross Haus. Emma struggles to get her home built, and when it finally is, her boys are taken from her to be raised by extended family. Emma struggles to find her new purpose, and as always, remains at odds with Father Keil.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Each of these titles is substantial; together, they are pretty long. I felt like the pace was a bit slow at times, and wondered what it would have been like to have a single title with the events condensed.

Book 2 went back and forth between character perspectives, which I’m not sure I liked. After reading the whole series, I think the Louisa chapters didn’t add really anything of consequence to Emma’s story and could have been easily removed without affecting the storyline.

Book 3 brought us a chicken. :mrgreen: While I appreciate the concept of a fancy, tailless chicken that was appropriately named, Araucana chickens, don’t, in fact, lay green or pink eggs.  A comment was made at some point that this single chicken laid a whole variety of colored eggs.

I’m not going to harp, 😆 but I will make a few points.

1) Araucana chickens ONLY lay blue eggs. (They are also rumpless, have ear tufts, and *cannot* have muffs or beards.)

2) Chickens cannot- I repeat- cannot change the color of egg they lay. If they lay a brown egg, they will always lay a brown egg. The shade, or intensity, may on occasion change, and generally, they lay their darkest eggs when they are the youngest, and as they age, their egg color can become somewhat lighter. {Now, I know there are folks who are going to swear this is wrong, and in the first batch of chickens, I had one that I really thought had gone from blue to brown, but upon further observation, I only ever saw her lay a brown egg.}

It’s generally understood that ear color will mimic egg color, but with chickens like silkies, who have teal ear lobes and tinted/off-white eggs, this obviously doesn’t hold true. To get a factual understanding of egg shell color, go here: http://www.maranschickenclubusa.com/files/eggreview.pdf

😆

But I digress. Outside of the pace of the first book and the non-accurate chicken facts, I really enjoyed this title. If you’ve been reading along, you’ll remember that I found Jane Kirkpatrick to be one author I really do enjoy, despite subjects that seem less than interesting.

I’m giving this one 4.5 out of 5 stars. For more information and pictures of Emma, start here, and then explore the Old Aurora Colony website.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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12 years old is a terrible time to lose one’s father. Drew ought to know. Having his father killed in action started the momentum that sends Drew’s life spiraling. Things settled for a while, then life changed again, uprooting him and his mother. As a high schooler, Drew watches his football career go down the tubes after a car accident leaves a teammate dead. The investigation didn’t turn up anything to charge Drew with, but his soul was imprinted nonetheless.  cloakoflight

College finds Drew and his best friend, Ben, at the same college. Ben, as nerdy as ever, has some serious work going on with his physics professor, who has gone missing. And, to top it off, Ben has some concerns about what was found during the last experiment with laser light acceleration technology. He’s determined to replicate the experiment to see if he can discover what happed to Dr. Waseem, who shut down the equipment and forcefully told him to leave.

Drew isn’t sure they can duplicate anything, but he figures he’d better go along and back up his buddy. What a difference a single decision can make…….

After the accident in the lab, Drew is rendered blind. He’s trying to cope with being told he’ll never see again. Ben visits him; running scared. Dr. Waseem’s body was found, and Ben figures he’s next. Drew was not surprised to learn later that Ben has also vanished.

And then- Drew’s vision starts coming back. And, it’s not the same. He can still see the other dimension the lab experiment revealed, but he doesn’t need the laser or the equipment. Is he losing his mind?

Throughout the years since his father’s death, in addition to his mom, one constant has been his dad’s team member, Jake. Drew confides in Jake, only to find a psychiatric doctor waiting for him at home. While Jake does believe Drew is sane,  Drew knows he needs to leave to protect his family. Knowing his mother is in good hands, and with years of Jake’s training under his belt, Drew knows it’s time.

He needs to find Ben. Before he heads out, he pays a visit to a long-time friend who’s kept his interest since high school- pastor’s daughter Sydney. Before he leaves her at college, they find themselves in the middle of a shooting- and Drew cannot believe his eyes. He sees the Invaders from the other dimension pushing the shooter to shoot. Even more astonishing, is yet another Invader that interferes, which allows Drew and Sydney to escape.

As time goes by, Drew’s wondering about the forces of evil grow stronger, and he finds himself time and again in a position to affect the outcomes of those acts.

Can Drew sort it out and get to the truth of the Invaders? Are they after him?  Can he find Ben before it’s too late?

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The concept of this book was intriguing. It was a bit dry, though. The writing covered a lot of territory; many years, which I understand as laying the ground work for the characters. It did not take me long to figure out what was going on. I will say, though, that the ending was terribly abrupt. It looks like this is going to be a series, but gosh, I really wish things would be left a bit more tidy and not completely ‘unfinished’ feeling.

The author clearly knows his Bible, though. There’s a good portion of the book that goes chapter by chapter and correlates events with scripture. Because this title was interesting enough, I’m giving it 4 stars. I’ll also keep my eye out for the next title in the series and give it a go if I get a chance.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Thomas fought to conquer Magnus. Now his hold is hanging on by a thread. The faux Priests of The Holy Grail are doing a number on the inhabitants of his island. Who can argue with the ‘divine’ miracles they present?  martyrsfire

Feeling the lack of choice amidst the threats, Thomas allowed the 15 so-called priests to “grace” his land with their “truth.” They claimed to guard the Holy Grail. As they took over the local parish, displacing the priest via a “miracle” of the “weeping Madonna,” Thomas knows he must escape before they kill him.

Dressed as a beggar, Thomas makes his way to the parish, after learning that it’s filled with the poor who have taken an oath of loyalty to the interlopers.  He’s also learned that his castle has fallen without a fight. Meeting with his trusted and recently beaten friend, Gervaise, Thomas learns quickly that his life is at stake. He must escape.

Gervaise gives Thomas cryptic directions to a secret passage out of the church. “After sixty steps, you must make the leap of faith. Understand? Make the leap of faith. You will find the knowledge you need near the burning water.”

Thomas is confused and unsure of the directions, but knows he must trust or perish.

To add to Thomas’ dilemma, Isabelea is alive and the banished Katherine keeps showing up uninvited. Will Thomas’ journey to Jerusalem provide him with the answers he needs? Can he make it there alive?

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If you’ve read my review of book 2, Fortress of Mist, you will remember how disappointed I was that the sequel had not yet been released. I was thrilled when I got the chance to review the next title in the series.

I was really disappointed, though, with the length of this next installment. This really only qualifies as a snack; an hors d’oeuvre; a novella.

I was bummed. There were parts that were equally confusing as the last story, but I have confidence that it will all get tied in together.  I wouldn’t suggest trying to read this as a stand-alone title, because you will be completely lost. Much of the storyline is the continuation of previous events, and without knowing those, you really won’t have a clue as to the role of the girls, in particular, and you won’t understand why Thomas doesn’t trust either of them.

It looks like the next installment comes out in January. I will be reading it. I seriously hope there is some meat to the next book, because this one was just a tease. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars, mostly because I enjoy the author and think the overall story is good.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Unraveled.

Christina’s world is coming unraveled.

Since her father died a year ago, Christina has done what she could to keep the poor house going. They didn’t have much, but the sense of family amongst the needy folk staying at the home have buoyed Christina and given her a sense of purpose.  whatoncewaslost

But the fire has left them homeless, and it’s up to Christina to find temporary homes for all of them until the home can rebuilt. Finding homes for all but blind Tommy, Christina reaches out to one last person in desperation.

Miller Levi Jonnson is a recluse. Christina doesn’t know if he’d take any child in, much less a blind one. She has no other choice but to try.

With everyone temporarily rehomed, Christina is hopeful that the board will give her good news and get the rebuilding underway.

She is stunned to be told they won’t allow a woman to run the home. She is shattered when two of the children are spirited away to a children’s home an expensive train ride away.

The hope and faith she’s held onto her entire life seem to be slipping away, and with it, Christina’s sense of self. What can she do if she’s not serving others? Does God have another plan for her? Will she listen long enough for it to be revealed? Will the man who threatened her past succeed in ruining her future?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I loved this book. The back flap summary didn’t do it justice. I thought it would be a bit boring, and was I ever glad I was wrong! Although this had several different themes going at the same time, I could easily see the big picture, and wow, I have to say, it was masterfully pieced together.

In many ways, it reminded me of a clock- all the different parts inside, working independently to support the main feature. It’s like that. Often, authors write these stories with many characters and none of it really makes sense- they don’t inter-tie, and then they don’t actually get resolved.

This left me feel really quite satisfied with the way the storyline was rolled out. Put this one on your reading list. You won’t be disappointed.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars. Don’t miss the trailer!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEsazD2JJQM%5D

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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In book 1, Be Still My Soul, we met Lonnie and Gideon.

Lonnie was eager to escape her alcoholic, abusive father as soon as she turned 18. Following a walk home by Gideon, the next day finds Lonnie and Gideon making plans to marry the very next day, courtesy of Lonnie’s father.

As Lonnie and Gideon make their way in the world together, they struggle to find love and knit a relationship together to support their growing family.

Lonnie and Gideon find themselves completely in love, and dedicated to their lives together, as they raise their son. Lonnie hasn’t had any contact with her family, until she gets a strange letter from her father, telling her that Lonnie’s mother is critically ill and needs Lonnie.

Neither Lonnie nor Gideon realize it’s a trap. In Though My Heart is Torn, Lonnie and Gideon travel back to their home town only to find out Gideon’s first marriage wasn’t dissolved, and he now finds himself with two wives.  😯

The reverends decide that Gideon’s first wife has dominion, despite Lonnie and Gideon’s child, and their marriage is annulled.

With broken hearts, Lonnie travels back to their home without him, and Gideon goes to another house that contains his first wife, Cassie.

The third, and thankfully last, book in this series is My Hope is Found. My-Hope-Is-Found-682x1024

Here we find Lonnie falling in like with a new pastor,  as she tries to knit her heart back together and find her way in her new, unwanted life.

Gideon and Cassie aren’t faring much better. After nearly losing Cassie to small pox, Gideon feels guilty. Should he try to make his marriage work? All he can think of is Lonnie. His heart is broken, too.

Cassie has an epiphany. She realizes that Gideon’s heart will always be with Lonnie- and his son needs him, too. Signing the papers to divorce and end this marriage, Cassie sends him on his way back to Lonnie.

Gideon realizes that this is what happened last time. He doesn’t want to return to Lonnie until he’s a free man, so he decides to take a detour to the court-house to make sure he knows the status of that relationship.

Gideon has to wait a month before the magistrate will decide. Gideon bides his time with all the patience he can muster. As he waits, he does what he can to prepare for the future.

In the meantime, Lonnie and her pastor, Toby, have gotten closer, and Lonnie accepts his marriage proposal. When Gideon shows up with the promise of divorce, Lonnie is unsure what to do.

Can she and Gideon reconcile? Should they reconcile?  Can Lonnie overcome the rumors surrounding her if she marries Gideon again?
Should Gideon leave Lonnie to marry the respectable pastor?

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Lots of questions in this book. You may recall that I was thoroughly annoyed with the last book, because the premise was just awful. I still think it was a horrible concept. As disgusted as I was, when I got the chance to review this title, I knew I would, so I could lay this series to rest.

That being said, this book really dragged on and on and on. I confess to cheating ,actually. Yep. I did. I turned to the end of the book to see how it ended, mostly because I didn’t want to waste all the time reading only to have a really crappy ending.

The ending was ok. It might leave room for another book, even. While the writing was ok, the pace was so darn pokey it was hard to get through. There was excessive back and forth; back and forth.

All in all, I’m giving this one 3 stars. It could have been done in half the book, but then there wouldn’t have been a whole lot to read.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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She hadn’t planned on seeing anyone so soon. And yet, she couldn’t just leave him there unconscious, could she?

Willa wasn’t used to speaking English. It had been a long 12 years since being abducted by the Mohawk’s. With nothing left for her there, she makes her way home to reclaim her previous life.  BurningSky

Will anyone remember her? Will her parents be there to greet her? Will they think her a fool for bringing home the injured man?

Will they welcome her home or will they shun her for being “tainted” by the Indians?

I cannot say enough good about this book. It’s a fantastic read, and especially good considering this is the debut novel from this author.

The storyline is rich, without being far-fetched. The two love interests are complete opposites, but both good men. Adding to the mix is the former beaux, who fought the Indians in the war and has definite ideas about what should happen to Willa and the family property next.

This is a must-read title, and the author goes on my favorite author list. I’d give it more than 5 stars if I could.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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