Friday, February 27, 2009

Lightning and Lace by Diann Mills

I have just finished and took great pleasure in a compelling story by Diann Mills. Lightning and Lace is the third book in the Texas Legacy series. It had just the right mixture of romance, redemption, drama and action. Travis Whitworth comes to Kahlerville as the new preacher, but he’s carrying the weight of his secret shame. Bonnie Kahler is gripped in grief, from losing her beloved husband. Now she stands to lose her son. There are storms brewing in this little western town, both natural and circumstantial. But God is always there, to calm the fiercest of storms and mend the most shattered of hearts.

The cast of characters are interesting, believable, and appealing. They are complex and simple, good and bad. We, and the characters, learn that careless words and gossip can pierce as deeply as a knife, and that evil and self-loathing lurks in the darkness of our secrets. This is a fast paced, moderately intense story and the enjoyment is complete. It is a wonderful western adventure. Mills promises her readers to “expect an adventure” and she most certainly accomplished that. I look forward to the 4th book in the Texas Legacy series, A Texas Legacy Christmas.


Lightning and Lace
by Diann Mills

Too many people are hiding things in this town. Afraid of someone or something.

A preacher – disarming and dangerous – arrives in Kahlerville, Texas, incognito. From what or whom is the bespectacled and bearded Travis Whitworth hiding?

A mother – widowed and wandering – attempts to rise from the ashes of mourning. Will Bonnie Kahler find the strength to conquer the demons within and face the evils without?

A boy – unruly and undisciplined – is fighting against what life has handed him. What will it take to turn Zack Kahler around?

A banker – deceitful and dubious – casts suspicions on the new preacher and Zack when a woman turns up dead. Will Lester Hillman hang the murder on innocent men?

Two men – determined and driven – desire to make the same woman their own. But only one can have her. What will it cost – heart or life?

When the storm retreats, who will be left standing?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lanterns and Lace by Diann Mills

Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed a compelling story by Diann Mills. Lanterns and Lace is the second book in the Texas Legacy series. It had just the right mixture of romance, redemption, drama and action. Jenny Martin comes to town with purpose and a determination to secure her parents affection, which has been lacking. While in this Texas town, and away from her cold, overbearing parents, she experiences a change from the prim and proper, austere and fearful Society girl, to a sweet, kind and strong young woman who becomes comfortable with who she is.

The cast of characters are delightful and dramatic. There are twists and turns, and displays of love and hate. Faith overcomes unbelief, good triumphs over evil, and redemption rules over judgment. The pace is quick and the tension is just right. It is a wonderful western adventure. Mills promises her readers to “expect an adventure” and she most certainly accomplished that. I look forward to the 3rd book in the Texas Legacy series, Lightning and Lace.


Lanterns and Lace
by Diann Mills

Moments before she dies giving birth, a tormented resident of the Kahlerville brothel persuades the doctor to adopt her infant daughter.

Two years later, Jessica Martin’s younger sister, Jenny, arrives in Kahlerville determined to gain custody of her niece. But as soon as Jenny steps off the train, her best-laid plans begin to go awry. From her encounter with the mysterious Aubrey Turner to her humiliation in front of the seemingly dedicated physician Dr. Grant Andrews, unforeseen events cause Jenny to falter in her purpose.

Should she leave Kahlerville before she ruins more lives than her own? The secretive Mr. Turner will stop at nothing to get what he’s after – including Jenny’s affections – while Dr. Andrews fears for Jenny and his daughter’s safety.

What twisted and unexpected evil await the residents of Kahlerville, Texas? How many lives will be lost in the chaos?

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

I’ve recently finished with the book The Shack by WM. Paul Young, and all I can say is, WOW! I kept hearing how good it was, and to be honest, I thought, it can’t really be that good, can it? Yes, it is. It is one of the few books that I’ve ever read, that I intend to re-read again immediately. It is one of the few books that I will force my non-fiction reading husband to read.

If you’ve ever wanted to picture God in a different light, this is the book to do it. If you’ve ever wanted the answers to why about the tough things and tragedies in life, this book will help you understand just a little more. If you’ve ever wanted to blow apart any religiosity you may hold and grasp relationship, boy oh boy, does this book do it! However, if you do not like to be challenged in your beliefs, if you hold an elitist attitude in your beliefs or if you try to keep God in a box, this book is probably not for you.

The Shack is a phenomenal book that will challenge your beliefs and make you long for more of God. It will probably make you laugh and cry, forgive and seek forgiveness, desire justice and mercy, and examine the deep places within your own heart. It brings to life in a profound way, the character of God, and the Persons of the Trinity. It gives us a picture of how our God makes beauty from ashes. It does not follow the absolute line of Scripture, but it paints a beautiful masterpiece for us to enjoy.

My recommendation? Read this book! Get it for yourself, and if possible, for others. Books like this don’t come around very often. It has the power to change lives. God’s anointing is all over it, and when I was reading it, I often times felt that I was sitting on the very lap of my Daddy Himself. For more information, go to


The Shack
by WM. Paul Young

Mackenzie Allen Philip’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question: Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain? The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did for him. You’ll want everyone you know to read this book!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton

Boy, this is a tough one. I recently finished reading this book – finally. I love figure skating, and I really enjoy Scott Hamilton as a performer, so I figured that I would love this book. It truly pains me to say this, but I didn’t. I found I had to force myself to finish it.

The book is about Scott’s journey and the many difficulties he’s been through, and truly, he has overcome a lot of obstacles throughout his life. He’s dealt with a childhood illness that nearly killed him, testicular cancer and a brain tumor, to name a few. It focuses on maintaining happiness despite our circumstances and there are many fantastic nuggets of truth and encouragement contained in it.

However… For me, it was not an easy read. It seemed repetitive and went in circles a lot. And maybe that was deliberate, because he stresses the importance of being able to do a great figure eight, to be able to do the perfect circle over and over. Unfortunately, it just didn’t hold my interest.

It does provide a positive message, and certainly Scott Hamilton is an inspiration. He offers us his “Great Eight” steps to being happy and shares some wonderful words of wisdom. But honestly, I think it could have been done in about a quarter of the pages. Though I wasn’t thrilled with the book, I still admire Scott and his achievements. As much as I’d like to, I just can’t recommend this book. Sorry, Scott.


The Great Eight
by Scott Hamilton
with Ken Baker

Beloved Olympic skater shares his secrets to happiness on and off the ice.

From Gold Medalist to cancer and brain tumor survivor, Scott Hamilton shares his eight secrets to finding happiness in the face of a life filled with challenges, difficulties, and career-canceling odds.

With never-been-told, behind-the-scenes stories from the skating world, personal challenges including testicular cancer and a brain tumor, as well as divine miracles, Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Scott Hamilton shares the secrets to his lifelong journey to find the silver (and gold) lining in the clouds of life. His life principles, fashioned into eight secrets that begin with the rote of learning to skate the figure 8, are the keys. Scott says, "Skating taught me how to be happy. I have always kept these eight as my own private, personal secrets that I practiced daily with repetition, focus, and discipline. Now I want to share them with the world."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Leather and Lace by Diann Mills

I found this book to be a delightful read. Leather and Lace is the first book in the Texas Legacy series. It had just the right mixture of romance, redemption, drama and action. I really enjoyed Casey O’Hare, the main character. She was a flawed young woman, strong and determined, searching for a fresh start from the violence of her past, spent with a gang of outlaws. On her journey she meets a man with a score to settle. Morgan Andrews once was a good and Godly man, but has become angry and bitter, bent on vengeance. Casey doesn’t really know if he will ultimately help or hinder her journey. Further complicating her escape, are the numerous Wanted Posters with her face and name on them, but are they justified, is she as bad as her reputation portrays her to be?

The setting mostly takes place in Texas in 1883. The plot moves along well, at a good pace, with some surprising twists and turns. Some of it’s not very pretty, but that merely adds to the authentic feel. I was drawn in to the lives of the characters, thought they were thoroughly believable and enjoyed their journey. Mills promises her readers to “expect an adventure” and she most certainly accomplished that. I look forward to the 2nd book in the Texas Legacy series, Lanterns and Lace.


Leather and Lace
by Diann Mills

It’s a perfect time to ride out of here. They won’t be back for hours, maybe not ‘til tomorrow with this storm coming. A good rain will hide my tracks… make it harder to trail me. She could do it alone. She could stop the wishing and dreaming and change her sordid life. I will not become like them. Somewhere in this wide country was a place called home – and she’d find it.

Casey O’Hare forsakes the years she spent in an outlaw gang for a chance to start her life anew. But no one leaves Dave Jenkins and lives. Pursued by the gang, Casey is trapped by a mysterious stranger who takes her as a pawn to get to Jenkins. A strikingly handsome lawyer, could this Morgan Andrews be an angel sent to deliver her – or the devil setting her up for the kill?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

As the Eagle, Flies the King by Wendy McNeice

UPDATE: After I originally posted this review, I received communication with the author. She clarified a couple of things for me, that helped me greatly to understand more about the book, that will serve to ease any misgivings I may have had. First, I did not know that the target audience was young adult, which explains what I thought of as simplistic or convenient. Second, she mentioned this book being similar to a screenplay and I immediately said, yes, that's what it is that bothered me - not that it was wrong, I just didn't grasp that and it totally threw me! So, yes with these clarifications, I would recommend the book and I do look forward to the next one!


I just finished the book As the Eagle, Flies the King by Wendy M. McNeice. It is the first book in the series Redemption Coming. If I am to be honest, I must say that I really struggled with this book. It is a historical book (with a touch of romance) from the time of when the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon.

A young Jewess was to be forced into marriage to evil Prince Belshazzar, but she escapes the palace, with the help of a dear friend, dressed as a scribe, to gain her freedom. After hearing the prophet Daniel speak, the pair decide to make their way to Jerusalem on their own, while remaining dressed as scribes. Along the way she discovers her own faith in the God of Israel. While traveling, they meet a Persian spy who may be beneficial to their journey, or may be their undoing.

As I mentioned above, I struggled with this book. The story line is good, but something seems to be missing – and I can’t quite figure out what. It is a tale of faith and courage with a good measure of drama mixed in, yet the plot is almost too simplistic or convenient. Still, it is well-written and does a good job of drawing the reader in. On the one hand, I was happy to simply finish it, and on the other hand I look forward to the next book in the series.


As the Eagle, Flies the King
by Wendy M. McNeice

Forced into the harem of the evil royal heir-apparent, Prince Belshazzar, a young Jewess escapes the famed Hanging Gardens of Babylon and, with the words of the prophet Daniel in her ears, begins a quest that will take her halfway to Jerusalem dressed as a scribe.

A Persian spy who is preparing to dam the river for King Cyrus has stolen her heart. Will he be a help or a hindrance when Chaim finally discovers Y-H-W-H’s plan to save the Jews of Babylon? And can Chaim learn to embrace divine guidance when the Lord asks her to change directions.

Author Wendy McNeice brings to life the remarkable true story of the release of the Jews from ancient Iraq at the hands of a tyrannical king.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Amber Morn by Brandilynn Collins

Wow, what a series! I have finished the book Amber Morn, which is the fourth and final book in the Kanner Lake Series by Brandilyn Collins. Brandilyn is known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense and once again with Amber Morn she did not disappoint.

This was a fantastic ending to the series. It was thoroughly engaging and very dramatic. All of the main characters, as well as some minor ones were featured throughout. All of the Java Joint regulars gather for a celebration, but are stopped before they really even get going, becoming hostages in a nightmare experience. The drama is intense, with a surprising twist at the very end. There are lots of twists and turns which are always a plus. I really enjoyed this book and am a bit saddened to see the series come to an end.


Amber Morn
by Brandilyn Collins

On a beautiful Saturday morning the nationally read “Scenes and Beans” bloggers gather at Java Joint for a special celebration. Chaos erupts when three gunmen burst in and take them all hostage. One person is shot and dumped outside.

Police Chief Vince Edwards must negotiate with the desperate trio. The gunmen insist on communicating through the “comments” section of the blog – so all the world can hear their story. What they demand, Vince can’t possibly provide. But it he doesn’t, over a dozen beloved Kanner Lake citizens will die…