Book Launching and Book Reviewing

Pretty soon, I’ll be reading these 2 new books, for Bethany House, and the other from Waterbrook and Multnomah!  One is THE TINDERBOX, by Beverly Lewis, and the other is

A SILKEN THREAD, by Kim Vogel Sawyer!  I’m really looking forward to reading both of these!  I love the storyline of Silken Thread, and I’ve almost always enjoyed Beverly Lewis’s  books.

Keep checking back for my reviews. THANKS!

Romans 10:  8-13;  John 3:16-21

 

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Between Two Shores, by Jocelyn Green

Between Two Shores book review

This book was one of the best history lessons I’ve ever had. I knew almost nothing about the French and Indian war, which was a more of a war between the British colonies in America,and
the French. France eventually lost all Canadian land, and Britain got Florida and Upper Canada.
Jocelyn Green wrote about this war by introducing readers to Catherine Duval, the daughter of a
mixed race marriage, who was half French and half Mohawk. Catherine was a trader with
both the British and the French, and she managed a store on Lachine Island in Canada, along
with her abusive alcoholic father, and her sister Bright Star. A young woman named Thankful also
lived there, and her story is worth learning about, too. I won’t give it away here, though.
Catherine continues to trade and make money, until Samuel Crane, her ex-fiance shows up, and claims to have some secret information that he needs to share with a British officer. He needs Catherine to help
him deliver that information, and she is drawn to help Samuel because her people are starving
and the war is looming closer to her home.

 
This story takes you on a really intense and interesting journey through the lands and rivers
of Canada. During the trip, you almost feel as if you were part of the group, and when
a surprise turn of events happens, it’s really startling. Jocelyn Green is a talented storyteller,
weaving tons of facts into the lives of her characters, all of whom were inspired by the experiences of
real people.
This book also tells you about how God loves you, and sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, as a ransom
for many, to redeem you and set you free from sin.  That is the most important part of this book.

If you like Christian historical fiction, this would be
a good book for you to read.
I was part of Mrs. Green’s launch team, and was given a free copy of her book, in exchange for
a review and promotion of the book. My review is honest and totally my own.
Romans 10:9-13; John 3:16-21

Ribbon of Gold, by Cathy Marie Hake ~ book review

Ribbon of Gold by Cathy Marie Hake is part of a 4-novella book, called Woven Hearts.  Ribbon of Gold is about Isabel Shaw, a young woman who works at Stedman Mills in Massachusetts, weaving thirty-inch wide shirting on industrial sized looms.  She had left her family’s farm in New Hampshire to work at the textile mill so she could put money aside for her brother’s education.

Carter Stedman, the mill owner’s son, takes over running the operations, and is angered at the inhumane working conditions there.  He goes about righting the wrongs of his father, now deceased, and in the process, becomes enamored with Isabel.

The story is clean, and a comfortable read for any Christian woman.  The relationships in the story are interesting.   I liked the details Mrs. Hake included in Ribbon of Gold, which gives the reader a good picture of how it was to work in the cotton mills in 1846.

Daughter of the Loom, by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

book review Daughter of the Loom
by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

This book was excellent, well written and a good story plot that developed
and kept going in a way that kept me interested all the way through.
This is part of the 3 books, Bells of Lowell series, and this is book one.
The story takes place in 1828, in Lowell, Massachusetts, during the Industrial Revolution
of America. In Chapter One, the main character, Lilly Armbruster, is portrayed as a
determined, but struggling displaced farm girl, who is forced to work in the new
weaving mills because the land her parent’s farm was on was bought, and then developed
for industrial uses. She’s angry, and grieving, because her life has been drastically changed,
and her dad recently died, after her mother.
Other characters are Matthew Cheever,part of the organization that
is running the Lowell mills, Kirk Boott, mill owner, Addie and Mintie, sisters who run
separate boarding houses for the mill workers, and various young women who live
at the boardinghouse, and work in the same mill as Lilly.


The Christian perspective is intertwined in the story, and a couple of times,
you are told how to be born again, and enter the Kingdom of God. Lilly struggles
with her faith at times, but she has a supportive group of people who show her
answers to her conflicts, eventually.
I highly recommend this book, it’s CLEAN Christian historical fiction, and you would
never be embarrassed to be seen reading it. No sexual situations, no questionable relationships. Those types of additions to Christian books just make it cheap and trashy, and, are
becoming somewhat common amongst SOME Christian author’s stories. This book, Daughter of the Loom, has no mention of
anything that conflicts with the Bible, as far as I can tell, so relax, and enjoy learning about the
development of Lowell Massachusetts during part of the Industrial Revolution. It’s a really
enjoyable read, and you can learn some real American history too.

Kirk Boott, Lowell industrialist and investor
child labor in the mills
mill workers in everyday work clothing

Shelter of the Most High, by Connilyn Cossette book review

Shelter of the Most High written Connilyn Cossette

This book is a story about a young woman, Sofea  and her friend Prezi, who are kidnapped by maurading pirates, and then tossed overboard as a means of escaping a terrible fate. They swim to shore, and are found by kindly Hebrew soldiers, who take them to Kedesh, a City of Refuge, and the story proceeds from there.

I’ve never read any of Connilyn Cossette’s books, and this was book 2 in a series, but it filled in enough blanks from the previous book so that it can be read as a stand alone.
This story lightly touches on the first inhabitants of Sicily, the Sciani, since there are scarce
amounts of ancient artifacts from which to build a factual history. She also lets the reader know that since The Cities of Refuge series takes place during an interim
period between the Conquest and the Judges, there is very little known about this time, too.

I liked the story of Eitan, a young man of the Hebrew race, more than the one of Sofea a daughter of a pagan high priest from Sicily. I also appreciated her writing of the perspective of an observant Jew, and her description of the Jewish High Priest, and I think Mrs. Cossette did a good job of presenting that. In my opinion, the Sofea character was lightweight, and even though she was compassionate and protective about her lame friend Prezi, her storyline dragged a bit for me.  The other main character, Eitan, was a Nazarite, and had taken the vow to not cut his hair or drink alcoholic beverages, and I assume not to become ritually impure by coming into contact with corpses or graves. He was a proficient carpenter, but was mostly drawn to the art of metalsmithing.  He made a lot of weapons for the Hebrew soldiers.
Eitan’s storyline was one I liked more than the others.
Eitan and Sofea fall in love, and that aspect of the story is well written. Nothing but G rating, which is great!    I appreciate G-rated Christian fiction romance books!
Mrs. Cossette used references from the New American Standard Bible, albeit sparingly, which was dismaying to me from the start, since I use the King James bible.
As for being historical fiction, I would say a lot of her book is speculation, and literary license. If you are fine with that, then this book could be an entertaining read for you.
Shelter of the Most High is a light and easy read, repetitious at times, and slow moving. Personally, I wish there had been more details, and more references to the Bible. Jesus Christ is a Christian’s city of refuge today.

I’m sure Connilyn’s books appeal to a large audience of readers, and that’s great for them. They will most likely enjoy this story, and the series. It just wasn’t for me.

If you’re interested in more of her books, please visit her website:
https://www.connilyncossette.com/out-from-egypt-series
This book is provided to me free by Bethany House Publishers without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

The Lady of Tarpon Springs book review~ highly recommended

Judith Miller is an excellent academic fact finder, and this book really kept my interest.

She researched the history of deep water diving for sponges in Tarpon Springs Florida during the early 1900s, and using that information, she wrote a delightful, suspenseful, insightful story about Zanna, Lucy, and Nicos, 3 people who were involved in the business of sponge diving in 1905, in Florida.

This book was SO good, in fact, that I’m planning on buying as many of her books as I can to add to my personal home library.  I also am hoping to let other Christians know about her books, and that they can rest assured that the book has high moral standards and they’ll enjoy the story to the very end.


Zanna Krykos is a lawyer, and back then, that was almost unheard of. Her traditional Greek family was at first against this career, but eventually accepted it. Her best friend, Lucy Penrose, is a doctor, also very rare back then! Lucy’s dad died unexpectedly, but had made her his designated beneficiary of a sponge diving business he was establishing and developing in order to bring more trade into Tarpon Springs.
The story goes on to describe how the business began, and then grew and grew into a healthy commercial trade in the area.
Within this superb story is the story of several people, including Zanna, Nicos Sevdalis and his experienced Greek sponge divers, the Rochester sisters, Bessie, Eugenia, and Viola, and Adelphos Pappas, who was a businessman, and greedy liar, but very good at hiding those flaws.
I was fascinated by all the information about Greek divers, and the early sponge business in Tarpon Springs. You’re in for a great treat and one of the most enjoyable history lessons of your life, when you read this book.

I highly recommend this book for another reason, and that is, Mrs. Miller kept the romance to a minimum, presented the romance in accordance with good values and common sense, in good taste, and will be totally acceptable to anyone with sound Christian values.

I feel comfortable in giving this book a 5 star rating in the genre of Christian historical fiction. It is suitable for clean reading, and definitely an absorbing and captivating story of business and life in Florida’s Tarpon Springs in 1905. I bought this book and am convinced it was worth every dollar spent.
Go get a copy, and have some fun reading!  Thank you Judith, for writing a wonderful book, using the talents GOD gave you, and making reading fun for us Christians again.  Keep writing this way, it’s perfect!

 

Nathan Ham Photography|www.whataham.com

 

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (July 31, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764231065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764231063
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches

Book Review~ Night Preacher by Louise A. Vernon

This is a book about Menno Simons, who became the leader of the Anabaptists, now known as Mennonites. Menno was born in the Frisian ( a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea in what today is mostly a large part of the Netherlands, including modern Friesland, and smaller parts of northern Germany.)  town of Whitmarsum, in 1496,  which is in the Netherlands.

** Little is known about Menno’s childhood and home. His parents were probably dairy farmers. Menno may have received his training in a nearby monastery. He had some knowledge of the church fathers, knew Latin and a little Greek but no Hebrew.

Menno Simons - engraving by Jacob BurghartMenno was consecrated  a (Catholic) priest at Utrecht, in 1524. For twelve years (1524-1536) he served as a parish priest, first for seven years in his father’s village Pingjum, later for five years in Witmarsum. He would later write about how he and his fellow priests lived an easy going life, spending their time “playing cards, drinking, and in diversions as, alas, is the fashion and usage of such useless people”. quoted from:http://www.mennosimons.net/life.html

This story is told from the viewpoint of Bettje, Menno’s daughter, who is about 10 years old at the time.  Since the Catholic church was in control of things at the time, severe persecution was part of the risk of being an Anabaptist in parts of the Netherlands, and this book tells of the constant danger Menno and his family were in, simply for speaking the Gospel, and telling people the truth about what Jesus REALLY says in the Bible. Since it was against the man-made law to practice any religion except the Catholic one, most of Menno’s preaching and teaching was done at night, in in country fields, attics or barns, or secret house meetings.  There was always the danger of neighbors spying on Anabaptists, and turning them over to the Catholics, so meetings had to be arranged in strict secrecy.  Sometimes, though, there were untrustworthy people in the groups, and eventually, this would lead to Menno and his family having to pack up everything and sneak out of the city and move to another safer abode.

During one move, someone told about the Hollanders who were draining marshy land in Oberland, and establishing whole villages of no one but Anabaptists.  This was exciting news, being able to have a self-contained community where they could worship Jesus Christ properly, without fear of persecution or martyrdom.

**http://www.mennosimons.net/life.html

Hermes Micron, John a Lasco, and Gellius Faber, and the Muensterites are also mentioned in this book.  You might find it interesting and valuable to your store of knowledge to find out more about them.  This is a good introductory book for young teens and older children, to learn about Anabaptist’s/Mennonite’s  beginnings.

Product details

  • Age Range: 9 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 – 7
  • Series: Louise A. Vernon
  • Paperback: 134 pages
  • Publisher: Herald Press (September 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0836117743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0836117745
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches

 

Betteken’s Refuge, by Diane Yoder

This is a moving, beautifully portrayed story of a Dutch Anabaptist martyr’s life, as seen through the eyes of her young daughter, Betteken Wens. The year is 1573, and the historical fiction story takes place in the city of
Antwerp, Belgium, the richest city in Europe at this time. In this story, the persecution of the Anabaptists is becoming more ominous, one reason being because they refused to join the state church, which was the Catholic church. Time after time, Betteken, her parents and family are witnesses to the public humiliation of devout born again Christians by the Catholic’s Spanish soldiers, who march both men and women through the streets, and then burn them alive, all because of their faith in Jesus Christ and the Word of God.

Even though this book was written for a much younger audience, I believe Christians of all ages will benefit greatly from reading Betteken’s Refuge.
Several footnotes document the persecution of the Catholics against the Protestants and the Anabaptists, such as the reference to St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, in 1572.


The reader gets to know Mattheus and Maeyken, the parents of Betteken, and Adrien, and Hans, her brothers. You feel the tension in the air as the father leaves home again, in order to preach the Gospel to others in villages and cities, helping seekers to truly repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life and God the Father.
There are incredibly deep moments of faith and truth presented by the author, and many times I paused to think about the profundity of the perseverance of the saints in those times of great difficulty as their faith was tried, literally, by fire. Please take time to read this book, it will profit you greatly, and deepen your resolve to stand firm and remember that no matter what, for the believer, The LORD is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jesus will sustain ALL who surrender to Him.

If you have not yet repented of your sins and dedicated your life to God, I urge you to do so now. We know that God hears and answers prayer. Grace and peace be unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Read Romans 10:8-13, and be born again.
The back of Diane Yoder’s book has a full 2 pages explaining the way to God and peace. She is a faithful witness, and may her work continue to glorify God the Father, and Jesus Christ His only begotten Son.

The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli

First of all, I liked the intelligent writing of Heidi. If you read this book, you’re going to have to pay attention to the words, not just skim and speed read. Mrs. Chiavaroli does have a gift, a talent from God for writing interesting historical fiction. The book was very interesting, and even grippingly suspenseful at some points. Gritty, even. Part of the story revolves around a school shooting.

There were 2 rape scenes in this book, so be forewarned. She mentions Chris Tomlin as a Christian musician. In my opinion, he’s not. Christian Contemporary Music has successfully watered down most worship into carnality and idolatry. This book, in my opinion, could present a stronger, firmer Christian perspective than what it does.

Now, if God gives you a talent, and you tell people you’re a good Christian, shouldn’t you use that talent to glorify Him as much as possible? In my opinion, I think the author, in her own way, was trying her best to present all 3 main stories, and sub-stories, in a good way, but I must say I didn’t like the shaky morality in her book, and, her philosophy of no moral absolutes was easily recognized through her book. Each character hid behind a facade, and the fiance of the hanged Nathan Hale, Mercy, was the one who rationalized her lies more adamantly than Natalie, the mother of Chris and Maelynn.

I can’t say her book was uplifting spiritually, and some of the factors that helped me come to this conclusion were: some of the character’s rationalizing of habitual, lifestyle lies, her mention of Yoga (!) and “vibes”, which are both evil, and so foreign to true Christianity that it should not be used in conjunction with Christianity. So, vibes and yoga, were strikes against it, then she mentioned the movie, The Patriot, which should NEVER be in the video library of ANY serious, born again Christian. The Patriot has graphic violence, and that, my friend, is something Jesus does not condone ANYWHERE in a Christian’s life. Also, one of her characters had gone through a horrible ordeal, and she has the woman thinking the Word of God might be lies. Blasphemy! Jesus says: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

The thing that bothers me MOST about this book is, it’s marketed as being CHRISTIAN Historical Fiction. If Mrs. Chiavaroli had sold this book under secular, non-Christian advertising, I’d have no problem with it.
She won an ACFW Genesis award. What’s ACFW? https://www.acfw.com/about ~ “ACFW’s mission is to advance Christian Fiction by inspiring writers to join with God in the creative process, training them in the craft, and educating them in the publishing industry.”

In my opinion, this is not a Christian book, it’s a secular book. No where in the bible does God condone lying, or worshiping other gods, (Hinduism, et al.) which is what yoga is. To make one of the main characters practice yoga is inconsistent with pure Christianity.  I was dismayed to see these things presented in a good light.

I did like her story about Natalie, Mike, Chris, and Maelynn. It brought up a good point: parents are sometimes CLUELESS and in denial about their teens, which can lead to all kinds of sin and disaster. She took a heavy subject, and at least brought some awareness of the problems that contribute to tragedies like that in families.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.


 

A Dangerous Legacy~ an introduction to moral relativism?

Book Review for A Dangerous Legacy, author Elizabeth Camden

This was an interesting, well-written historical fiction novel. Elizabeth Camden truly has a
gift from GOD for writing books that will absorb the attention of the reader. The story takes place in New York City, in 1903, and Mrs. Camden has done her research to provide her patrons with plenty of details,
intriguing plots, and engrossing characters. I did, for about half the time, enjoy reading A Dangerous Legacy, but I have to say some things about several events presented by the author in her novel, which I disagree with.

First of all, Camden’s  fans know she has won a Christy award, which is given to authors of Christian novels that portray excellence, imagination, and creativity in Christian writing.  So, naturally, readers will trust this book to be good and decent.  Which is one of the very reasons why I chose to read this book.
Mrs. Camden has won the RITA award for a book she wrote under the Inspirational Romance category,
which is fine, but I’m wondering if she is straying away, far away, from Christian romance in general, based on this book’s story?

Examples: The main characters, Lucy Drake and her brother Nick, are busy illegally installing water pumps and valves that bring water to apartment renters, making it easier for them to have water in their homes. The installation is phrased as “not technically legal”.
An excuse is given to the reader for this infraction of the law, under the heading of Christianity. False teachings, IMO.  Morality is not a neutral concept.
Another example: Lucy is a telegrapher, and her brother spliced a single wire into the Western Union cables, therefore Lucy is able to eavesdrop on private transmissions of another person. The author outright acknowledged in the book, via Lucy’s thoughts, that it’s illegal,and her characters, Lucy and Nick, know they could end up in jail.

They KEPT breaking the law ANYWAYS.
Christian ethics? Not on your life! This was just wrong. If you’re going to write this kind of novel, please don’t call it Christian.
Another example, which really disheartened me, and made me decide to write this review: Lucy and Nick hire a “slick” lawyer to draw up papers that basically propose extortion.

What does God say in the bible about extortion? 1 Corinthians 6:10 [9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
[10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

“Technically”, the protagonists did NOT commit extortion, but the reader is swept up and along in the
confusing muddle  of “what if they do?” Lucy and Nick were prepared to extort money, in case the person they were threatening didn’t give in to their demands.   Morality is not relative.  Extortion presented as she did, is still immoral.
In conclusion, I can not recommend this book as a Christian book. Not in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps Mrs. Camden will apply Christian rules to her future books, and  stay with bible morals as outlined in the bible, not as presented by MORAL RELATIVISM.

The other thing that bothers me is, because of the ethical dilemmas she presented in her book, she might actually cause another Christian to stumble, it is a possibility!
I’ll browse through her follow-up book, but with healthy skepticism.

I give this book a thumbs-down as a Christian historical fiction novel.