Monday, March 21, 2016

A Treasure Concealed

A Treasure Concealed by Tracie Peterson is the first in her Sapphire Brides Series.  This series is set in the late 1800's and this particular one focuses on a small mining town in Montana.  If you're a fan of historical fiction, or even if you've never read this genre, I hope you give it a try.

Emily Carver has known her share of struggles.  Being a girl growing up in mining camps isn't easy but now that she is grown she finds it even more difficult.  Choosing to hide her feminine form rather than fend off would be suitors makes a trip to town more cumbersome by the extra layers of clothing she puts on.  She still lives with her parents, but what Emily truly longs for is a life of her own.  She wants a house with a picket fence and rosebushes. A husband and kids to call her own. She fears because she is tied to the mining camp tending to her ailing mother, this is all her life will be.  She's not bitter, she loves her mother with all her heart, she is her best friend and confident.

That's not to say she doesn't love her father too. She does but she doesn't share his need to strike it rich.  They barely make enough money to scrape by, as do most miners, and they move often.  She's actually amazed that they managed to stay in Montana for as long as they have.  Her dad, Henry, isn't a bad guy. He fully believes the Lord has led him here and has unimagined riches in store.  He hates to see his wife suffering.  No doctor can tell him what's wrong, all they can agree on is it's bad.  He ekes out enough gold on his claim for them to get by and he's content with what God has given him.  He's beyond blessed to have a wife and daughter whom he loves and who love him back.

Caeden Thibault isn't as lucky.  He had a drunk for a father and he watched his mother suffer under his father's abuse.  He couldn't wait to turn 18 and get as far away from Albany and his father as he could.  He now works as a geologist for the government.  Traveling from town to town inspecting mining claims. He's not close to God and isn't sure how if God can be so wonderful, why he allowed his mother to suffer so.

I thoroughly enjoyed A treasure Concealed.  It reminded me of watching old westerns with my mom when I was little. I was sucked in from the  moment I started this book and wasn't able to put it down until I was finished.  I felt like I was a part of Yogo City. I sympathized with Emily and her need for independence.  She's fiercely loyal to her parents but she wants a life of her own. She often questioned God and why he allowed certain things or didn't allow certain things? She couldn't see what she had right in front of her.  Extended family who looked out for each other when the going got rough. They showed God's love to each other everyday.  Whether it was Jake bringing meat from a kill he made or Millie slipping an extra can of peaches in with her purchases when Emily came in the store. The people of Yogo city looked out for each other and took care of their own.

I hope if you're in the mood to read something new you will give A Treasure Concealed a try. It's a great book full of awesome characters who make their way into your heart and feel like family.

I was given a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

A Treasure Concealed-Sapphire Brides Book 1

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Brush of Wings

Brush of Wings by Karen Kingsbury is the third book in the Angels Walking series. It can be read as a stand alone although you may not understand a few things throughout the book. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and was sad to see it end. As with most of Karen's books I fell in love with the characters and found myself laughing and crying right along with them.

In this book Mary Catherine faces a serious health crisis.  She refuses to tell anyone just how serious it is and instead focuses on her desire to go to Africa. She's determined that IF she is to die she will do it on her own terms loving the orphans and spreading the message of God. What can be more noble than that? She goes against doctors orders and leaves family and friends in the dark promising herself if she gets really really sick she will tell Sami, her roommate.

I don't believe Mary Catherine was cold hearted or malicious by not telling them.  She didn't want to be a burden on those she loved. She also didn't want Marcus to waste his time and heart on her when she wasn't sure she was going to live.  She loved them, Marcus and her friends, and didn't want to burden them with worries of her health or to have them talk her out of this trip to Africa.  She longed to help at the orphanage and felt like God was calling her to do that.  I admired Mary Catherine's spirit. She loved life but most of all she loved God.  She never once stopped praying to God for guidance throughout her entire story.  Whether she was having a good day or a really bad one she never forgot her Lord.

I felt bad for Marcus.  Here he is madly in love with Mary Catherine and he doesn't understand why she's pushing him away.  He  knows their feelings are real, yet she won't fully commit to him.  Even when he says he loves her and will wait for her even as she goes to Africa, she says she just wants to be friends.  It takes a strong man of faith to love Mary Catherine and Marcus Dillinger is just that man.  Although he's still new to his faith he loves God with all his heart and he relies on God to guide his footsteps.  I have to admit Marcus made my heart swoon.  Who wouldn't want a man who loves God desperately first and pursues you with that same determination?.  He wasn't overly pushy with her but he was definitely forthright.  I also loved how he asked God for a sign and God answered.  I can't tell you how many times I've begged God for a burning bush or something to tell me what I should do.

Friends, I absolutely loved this book.  It's definitely a love story but not just one between man and woman.  No, it's a love story between God and his people.  You feel that throughout this book.  It's like God told Karen "write a love story to my people". *sigh.  I can go on and on but I'd rather you get a copy and read it for yourself! The book isn't available to March 29th but you can pre-order it for the next few weeks. If you pre-order you can receive a gift from Karen.  All the details are on Karen's webpage and Facebook page which I will leave a link to below. You can pre-order as many copies as you like. You may be thinking "what will I do with more than one copy of the same book?". Well, be an angel to somebody;give a copy to your neighbor, a single mom, or leave one at the doctor's office.  They will be blessed and you will too.

Karen Kingsbury's Facebook page
Karen's webpage

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Feathered Bone

Today I'm reviewing The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell.  I have to admit this isn't a typical read for me and probably not a book I would have chosen for myself.  I was given a copy from the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.  After reading it I will admit I liked it and I am glad that I got to read it.  I should warn you though, this book needs to come with a warning label "You will go through a whole box of Kleenex before you reach the end".

In the Feathered Bone we get to follow three friends Amanda, Beth and Raelynn as they navigate life in Louisiana.  Even their kids are friends which sounds corny but it isn't. You can feel the love between both sets of friends, so much so that they don't feel like friends they feel like family. Sarah and Ellie, Beth and Amanda's daughters respectively, are often mistaken for sisters.

The Girls as I like to call them are chaperoning their kids field trip to New Orleans when tragedy strikes.  As they board the bus to head home a head count reveals they are one short. They race around looking for her sure that it is a mistake and maybe she is still in the restroom.  It isn't long before they discover the tragedy is real and Sarah has just vanished.

I loved how the author described New Orleans as well as other parts of Louisiana.  You can picture yourself walking down the streets enjoying the sites and smells.  You can picture Cafe du Mode and smell the beignets.  You can picture the tourist and locals alike getting dressed up and ready for Halloween.  I also love how real the characters were.  I felt like I knew them and I found myself rooting for them to over come the grief and find Sarah.  Except Carl, I didn't like him from the moment he was introduced.  He was malicious, callous and down right hateful at times.  I just didn't understand how Amanda the sweet social worker who would help anybody ended up with such a toad!

Cantrell also addresses some heavy topics in the book sex trafficking, divorce, and your faith being tested to name a few.  These are all serious topics but she managed to address them in a very human and caring way.  She was very tactful in her approach and honestly in some parts I just wept openly.  Human trafficking is very real and it just breaks my heart to even contemplate what these sweet innocent people go through. She gives details without going to far.

Would your faith stand the test if your child were kidnapped?  Would you be able to find comfort in God and continue to believe even years down the road that God has your best interest at heart and He hasn't left your side? I questioned my own faith reading this book.  I felt like I had an insiders look at what happens when a child goes missing and let me tell you, I just don't know.  I'd love to believe my faith would hold out and offer me comfort through such a horrific deal but I don't think anyone really knows until they experience it.

On top of trying to locate a missing Sarah, Amanda and Carl have marriage trouble.  I have to admit I wasn't rooting for them to make it.  He was abusive even if it wasn't physical and I couldn't for the life of me understand why she didn't see it, especially with her being a social worker.  Like most victims she tends to make excuses and try to apologize for his often extremely rude behavior. I was rooting for her just not him.  I tried and I tried but I could never find it in myself to like Carl.

This is a great read but it isn't for everybody. I'm glad I read it and I will definitely recommend it to others and when I do I will have a box of Kleenex ready. If you're looking for a great book that will make you laugh, cry, and think then I hope you give The Feathered Bone a try.

The Feathered Bone