Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Undercover Amish

GIVEAWAY
GIUSTI, DEBBY
UNDERCOVER AMISH

Amish Country Refuge

After Hannah Miller's mother is murdered and her sisters go missing, someone comes after her. Now the only way she can survive is to entrench herself in an Amish community...and rely on Lucas Grant, a former police officer who is planning to join the Amish faith, for protection. But finding refuge for Hannah -- disguised as Plain at a secluded inn -- pulls Lucas back into his old life. And when Lucas discovers the criminals after them may be the people who killed his partner, the mission to take them down becomes personal. With the assailants closing in, though, can Lucas stop them...and finally put his past behind him to start an Amish life with Hannah?

Amish Protectors: These heroes offer shelter from the storm

My Review:

Intense suspense and toe-curling romance make this a read-in-one-sitting kind of book. Take a deep breath before diving in because you won't want to come up for air until everything is all resolved. Well...almost everything because this is the second book in the Amish protectors series and there is still one sister MIA. No worries, it's not really a cliff hanger ending though younger sister Sarah is still missing. Both Undercover Amish and the first book, Amish Refuge, read easily as standalones. I'm just really looking forward to when the sister are finally reunited. I need a happily ever after for everyone! :-)

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Undercover Amish, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easier for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday September 24 2017. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Hideaway

GIVEAWAY
DENTON, LAUREN K.
THE HIDEAWAY

When her grandmother's  will wrenches Sara back home, she knows more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever knew in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags's ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it -- no small task considering her grandmother's best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still lives there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid drywall dust, old memories, and a charming contractor; she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags's friends, Sara begins to piece together they mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed her grandmother's destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice -- stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she's grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

My Review:

This debut novel has created quite a buzz and is currently #19 on Amazon's most sold list not to mention having nearly 500 reviews. The vast majority are 4 and 5 star but this book isn't without controversy so there are a number of low ratings (1 and 2 star) as well. So, what's all the fuss about?

Well, in a nutshell, this is Christian fiction pushing the limits so this book might not be for everyone. In fact, I wasn't sure about it myself and started reading with some trepidation. It wasn't long before Denton's charming Southern style captivated me. I didn't know there was such a thing as Southern Fiction, but apparently there is and The Hideaway is a prime example of all that is good in that genre.

This story is about family -- the one we are born into and the one we choose to belong to. It's real and raw -- unapologetically celebrating the lives and loves of a diverse cast of flawed characters. And, just as in real life, the author doesn't shy away from controversial subject matter. I appreciate her honesty and compassion and the fact that she moved me to dig beneath the surface about some hard-hitting issues. Sometimes it was uncomfortable -- especially Mags's story line -- but I feel like I have stretched and grown from it.

Some reviewers will say there isn't an inspirational thread. That The Hideaway is a mainstream book that just happens to have a Christian publisher. And I'll admit to agreeing with them at first. Then, somewhere around the half way mark I realized the inspiration was there, woven in an understated way throughout. It's especially evident in Mags's story. In some ways she hasn't lived an exemplary life but in her own eccentric way she has indeed been the hands and feet of Christ to so many.

There are two short church scenes -- subtle but significant. They reveal Mags's relationship with God and it really humbled me. This will sound crazy -- but I was suddenly overcome with such love and compassion for this complicated woman despite some of her past actions. I guess I stopped judging so I could actually see her as the daughter of God she is. Yes, I know she's just a character in a novel, but if I can't extend grace to fictional folk how can I ever hope to extend it to the real people in my life?

The dual timeline plot was a real draw for me. Sara, in present day, returns to The Hideaway to deal with the aftermath of her grandmother's death. In the process she learns a lot about herself and about the quirky grandmother who used to be an embarrassment when she was a teen. The reader is treated to flashbacks of Mags's life from her early twenties until her death. Past and present are exquisitely woven together into a rich tapestry of life and love, loss and hope.

I love that the B&B is called The Hideaway -- because that's what it became for Mags. It was her hiding place for a time and then it became her standing ground.  The same can be said for Sara as well. It's details like this that make The Hideaway such an exquisite read and give avid readers so much to talk about. Definitely an excellent choice for a book club read.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Hideaway, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easier for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on September 24 2017. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck! 

Monday, September 18, 2017

What the Bishop Saw

GIVEAWAY
CHAPMAN, VANNETTA
WHAT THE BISHOP SAW

Somewhere in the embers lies the truth

A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. Someone intended to kill Vernon Frey. But who would want to kill Vernon? Well, practically everyone -- Amish and Englisch alike.

When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift -- one he's tried desperately to ignore all these years -- to try and set the record straight. His close friend and neighbor. Emma, encourages Henry to follow God's leading.

Could the clue to solving the case be locked somewhere deep in his memory? Will Henry find the courage to move forward in faith and put the right person behind bars? Is his friendship with Emma becoming something more?

What the Bishop Saw is a story of extraordinary talents, the bonds of love and friendship, and the unfailing grace of God.

My Review:

Woohoo -- a stellar new Amish mystery series and I'm late to the gate because I believe book two has just released. There is soooooo much to recommend What the Bishop Saw that I'm not quite sure where to start. Maybe with Henry himself.

Hello! You've gotta love a man who names his horse Oreo! And fusses over a mother kitten in the barn. And adopts a beagle pup. Definitely ticks all my critter lovin' boxes! Then there's his unusual talent which is both a blessing and a curse. I'll leave you to discover exactly what that is but, goodness, it brings a whole new dimension to a good mystery!

And yes, Henry is a mature hero -- but hero none the less. He is in his sixties, widowed over twenty years and dedicated to leading 'his flock.' Love the way he guides rather than controls -- a genuinely caring man with an incredible capacity for compassion. He loves people and it shows. And there's one point, at the end, where I got goosebumps when I realized just how remarkable a man Henry is. The perfect example of faith in action.

Of course, there are some people he loves more than others. Emma Fisher has held a special place in his heart, first as a friend for decades, but now that friendship seems to be blossoming into so much more.

There is something particularly sinister about arson and Chapman takes us into the misguided mind of a killer. Danger amps up in this idyllic Colorado community (love the unusual locale for an Amish story!) and Henry finds himself in the middle of a police investigation he had no intention of getting involved in. Great insights into interactions between Amish and Englisch and the cultural divide that needs to be breached in order to bring a killer to justice.

A captivating blend of mystery and romance wrapped up in a message of hope.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of What the Bishop Saw leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email in a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please add the title in the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday September 24 2017.  Offer open to International Readers. Good luck.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

September Giveaway - Week Three


WON BY LISA BROWN

WON BY MARIA DB

WON BY CONNIE LEE

WON BY SUSAN P.

WON BY VAN G.

WON BY PAM WESTFALL

As always, I will contact the winners by email, however, thanks to the nefarious ways of the Internet, my email might land in your spam folder so keep your eyes peeled! If you haven't heard from me by Monday evening, please email me your snail mail address at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. From time to time a winner and I don't seem to connect so I have a month time frame. If I can't reach you within four weeks your win will be forfeited. 

  LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK:

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Whispers of the Bayou

GIVEAWAY
CLARK, MINDY STARNS
WHISPERS OF THE BAYOU

Swept away from Louisiana Bayou country as a child, Miranda Miller is a woman without a past. She has a husband and child of her own and a fulfilling job in a Manhattan museum, but she also has questions -- about the tragedy that cut her off from family and caused her to be sent away, and about those first five years that were erased from her memory entirely.

Summoned to the bedside of Willy Pedreaux, the old caretaker of her grandparents' antebellum estate, Miranda goes back for the first time, hoping to learn the truths of her past and receive her rightful inheritance. But Willy's premature death plunges Miranda into a night mare of buried secrets, priceless treasure, and unknown enemies.

Follow one woman's search through the hidden rooms of a bayou mansion, the enigmatic snares of an ancient myth, and the all-consuming quest for a heart open enough for love -- and God.

My Review:

published in 2008
My thanks to my public library for providing such an excellent selection of retro reads.

There's an exciting Gothic vibe to this compelling mystery. Love the 'exotic' (to me) setting of the Louisiana Bayou and the Cajun culture. And there's something so spine tingling about a neglected antebellum  estate -- a house full of family secrets and Miranda is plunked down in the middle of it all.

Danger lurks in unexpected corners as she struggles to put the pieces of a fractured puzzle together -- and in the process come to grips with a family history she knew nothing about. In fact, Miranda has no recollection of the first five years of her life...until she arrives at Twin Oaks. Chilling and edgy and lots of over-the-shoulder checking as emotions are laid bare when Miranda asks too many questions. I was gasp-out-loud shocked more than once.

A compulsive read from start to finish.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

Please note: this giveaway is in ebook format only

If you would like a chance to win an ecopy of Whispers for the Bayou leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easier for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday September 17 2017. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tracker

GIVEAWAY
WORTH, LENORA
TRACKER

Mission: reunite mother and son

Single mother Penny Potter has spent months in hiding to keep her toddler from his father, a rogue FBI agent turned fugitive. But he's determined to flee the country with the child, and she can't dodge him forever. When he corners Penny in the Montana wilderness and gets away with their son, she's forced to trust his brother,handsome FBI K-9 agent Zeke Morrow. And Zeke must decide where his loyalty lies: with his sibling or the woman he wasn't supposed to fall for. As the bullets fly and family ties are tested, Penny and Zeke will fight to save the boy who brought them together.

Classified K-9 Unit: These lawmen solve the toughest cases with the help of their brave canine partners.

My Review:

Woohoo -- it's the Grande Finale of the Classified K-9 Unit continuity series. And while you could likely read this one as a standalone there's lots of tying up loose ends in Tracker that will be more meaningful if you've been following along book by book. Like what's up with Zara for instance. I kept wondering if that was a set up for a new series or if we'd finally get answers by the end of this one. Yay for answers. And kudos to Lenora Worth for bringing the pieces together in such a compelling fashion.

A complicated romance between the two people closest to Jake is just that -- complicated! So much history to sift through, trust to gain and a past to be dealt with once and for all. And that can only happen if Jake is brought to justice. Taut, fast-paced suspense adds an air of desperation to a seemingly doomed love story. And Cheetah the Australian shepherd and tracker extraordinaire is just icing on the cake. Awesome conclusion to a fabulous series.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Tracker, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easier for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday September 17 2017. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Gracelaced

GIVEAWAY
SIMONS, RUTH CHOU
GRACELACED

This journey is as perennial as the seasons

GraceLaced is about more than pretty florals and fanciful brushwork -- it's about flourishing. With carefully crafted intention, this beautiful volume of seasonal devotions from artist and author Ruth Chou Simons encourages readers in any circumstances to become deeply rooted in God's faithful promises. GraceLaced extends a soul-stirring invitation to draw close to God while...

RESTING in who He is
REHEARSING the truth He says about you
RESPONDING in faith to those truths
REMEMBERING His provision to sustain you, time and time again

Who we are and who He is never changes, even though everything else rarely stays the same. Let this book point you to truth as you journey through the changing seasons of your heart.

My Review:

My passion is for fiction -- Christian Fiction to be precise -- but from time to time a truly stunning non-fiction title comes up for review and I just cannot resist. GraceLaced is just such a book. The extraordinary artwork and thought provoking words in each devotional have really touched my heart -- inviting me to 'be still and know that I am God.'

This is where I confess to sometimes rushing through devotionals in order to get started with my day. Shameful, I know, but that's the honest truth. However, Gracelaced anchors me in the beauty of its pages and invites me to linger, to ponder, to read just a little bit more.

The artwork draws me in. I love the Arts and there are times when only a painting or a piece of music can bring peace to my troubled soul. I know it's supposed to be enough to know that peace comes through relationship with God but I am frail enough to need that conformation illustrated through the inspiration of an artist or composer or writer. And Ruth Chou Simons's art and calligraphy has brought me renewed conviction.

Thirty-two devotionals are arranged by season and I so love the concept that we are all in different seasons -- can even be stuck in one for a time. In this book Winter is about resting in God's character, Spring, rehearsing the truth, Summer, responding in faith and Fall, remembering God's provisions. Each devotional is independent of the others so they can be read in any order allowing the reader to select what best suits their needs on any given day.

GraceLaced would make an amazing gift (if you can bring yourself to part with it). A unique and inspiring devotional collection which will be cherished for years to come.

Book provided courtesy of Harvest House Publishers and Graf-Martin Communications.



GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of GraceLaced, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstorereadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to your comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please add the title to the subject line so it's easier for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday September 17 2017. Please note: unlike my usual giveaways, this one is open to US residents only. Good luck!