“Indivisible” by Travis Thrasher


Darren and Heather Turner share a passion for serving God, family, and country. When Darren is deployed to Iraq as an army chaplain, Heather vows to serve military families back home as she cares for the couple’s three young children.

Darren knows he’s overseas to support the troops in their suffering as their chaplain. What he doesn’t know is how he will get through his own dark moments. And as communication from Darren dwindles, Heather wonders what is happening in her husband’s heart. Meanwhile, she’s growing weary in the day-to-day life of a military base—each child’s milestone Darren will never see, each month waiting for orders, each late-night knock on the door.

When Darren returns, he is no longer the husband Heather once knew. She is no longer the woman Darren wed. And so it’s at home that the Turners face their biggest battle: to save their marriage.

Based on the screen play by David Evans, Indivisible is a tribute to the beauty of serving our country, the courage of choosing love in the darkness, and the power of a God who never gives up hope.”

This review is long overdue, and I just found the draft for it when I opened up my account. I apologize for this, and without further ado…

I saw this book on Goodreads and was immediately intrigued. I don’t know what it is about military stories that always draw me (maybe having a grandfather in WWII and two brothers in the military), but I knew I wanted to read it. Especially knowing it was true story! I wasn’t disappointed.

The writing style was really unique. It was partly written in third person and partly in journal/blog entries. Honestly, one doesn’t feel very emotionally connected per se to the story, but I enjoyed it as I would a biography.

Sometimes it was hard for me to figure out how Darren could experience the traumatic things he did, and his emotions be wrung out, and then when he wrote home about it or talked on the phone it was all as though life were just plodding along normally. In some ways it was all a bit of a conundrum.

The storyline held my attention the whole time. I loved the men that Darren was able to minister to, and how he was able to help their spiritual growth, and then toward the last third of the book the events that unfolded really pulled in. Darren’s own spiritual journey through all this was really well portrayed also. Some of the theology did seem a little weak and unclear at times.

All in all, I’m giving Indivisible 3 1/2 stars!

*Disclaimer: I received an ecopy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.



“Almost Home” by Valerie Fraser Luesse


“With America’s entrance into the Second World War, the town of Blackberry Springs, Alabama, has exploded virtually overnight. Workers from all over are coming south for jobs in Uncle Sam’s munitions plants–and they’re bringing their pasts with them, right into Dolly Chandler’s grand but fading family home turned boardinghouse.

An estranged young couple from the Midwest, unemployed professors from Chicago, a widower from Mississippi, a shattered young veteran struggling to heal from the war–they’re all hoping Dolly’s house will help them find their way back to the lives they left behind. But the house has a past of its own.

When tragedy strikes, Dolly’s only hope will be the circle of friends under her roof and their ability to discover the truth about what happened to a young bride who lived there a century before.

Award-winning and bestselling author Valerie Fraser Luesse breathes life into a cast of unforgettable characters in this complex and compassionate story of hurt and healing.”

I’ve got to admit, I totally requested this book because of the cover! It just looks so relaxing and seemed to promise a cozy, feel-good story. The best part is, it didn’t disappoint! This was such a wonderful story. The lovely southern setting, the endearing characters, and the fun little mystery entwined in it all, combined to create a book I didn’t want to put down.

It’s divided into 3 sections, the first focusing on one couple, the second on another, and the third wrapping up all the ends. When I first realized that, I was a little skeptical as to the flow, but it was actually quite well done.

The spiritual theme wasn’t overt, and its message was a bit vague honestly, but I appreciated the way it was worked in. The doubts, fears, and struggles that one couple in particular had to work through, was very well portrayed.

As I mentioned above, I really enjoyed the little mystery that was woven throughout regarding the man that had built “Dolly’s House”, and the way it all turned out was completely satisfactory! The epilogue with Dolly’s final letter was one of my favorite parts of the entire book!

All in all, a wonderful story!

Content: Because there are two storylines that involve married couples, there are some references to the marriage bed, etc. There are no inappropriate details, but all things considered, I’d recommend this book for ages 18+ at least. Also, there is ‘mild profanity’ sprinkled throughout.

*Disclaimer: I received an advance paperback copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

“Once We Were Strangers” by Shawn Smucker


“In 2012, Mohammad fled his Syrian village along with his wife and four sons, escaping to Jordan through the wilderness. Four years later he sat across from Shawn Smucker in a small conference room in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Though neither of them knew it, Mohammad had arrived in Shawn’s life just in time.

This is the story of a friendship. It is the story of a middle-aged writer struggling to make a living and a Syrian refugee struggling to create a life for his family in a strange and sometimes hostile land. It’s the story of two fathers hoping for the best, two hearts seeking compassion, two lives changed forever. It’s the story of our moment in history and the opportunities it gives us to show love and hospitality to the sojourner in our midst.

Anyone who has felt torn between the desire for security and the desire to offer sanctuary to those fleeing war and violence will find Shawn Smucker a careful and loving guide on the road to mercy and unity.”

When I saw the title and subtitle of this book I was immediately intrigued! I’m very familiar with the refugee situation in the Middle East in general and Syria in particular so I knew I wanted to read this.

I guess I’ll start with the negatives and finish with the positives.

First of all, about 75% of it was written from a first person, present point of view. Secondly, it was mostly just telling and not showing. Very similar to diary style, where he said, “We do this, and then so-and-so happens” etc. There is a split timeline, switching back and forth between telling about how the family left Syria, and the present day and how their friendship develops.

So all that the say, the actual writing quality doesn’t have much to recommend it.

Also, I’m not sure where the author stands spiritually. It doesn’t really have any kind of a clear Christian message, and almost sounds like whether your Christian or Muslim doesn’t really matter, it’s just all part of one’s culture.

The reasons I did enjoy it were because, in the first place, so much of Shawn’s relationship with Mohammad mirrored relationships we have built with Middle Easterners. I found myself laughing and nodding my head because much of it was so familiar.

Secondarily, the overall message that Shawn Smucker was putting across is a good and, I would say, needful one for many in our country: that of befriending and giving of ourselves and our time to the immigrants in our country. I would add to that, that we should use these opportunities that we’re given to build relationships, so that we may give the gospel to those in need.

I’m giving this 3 out of 5 stars.

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary paperback of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

“In Too Deep” by Lynn H. Blackburn


“When the dive team is called in to recover a body from a submerged car, they aren’t prepared to find an encrypted laptop–or an unsettling connection between investigator Adam Campbell and the dead accountant.

Adam turns to his friend Dr. Sabrina Fleming–a professor at the local university with unparalleled computer security and forensics skills–to recover the files from the laptop. But the deeper they dig, the deadlier the investigation becomes. When evidence uncovers a human trafficking ring and implicates members of Adam’s own family, he and Sabrina will have to risk everything to solve the case.

The truth could set hundreds free–but someone is willing to do whatever it takes to silence anyone who threatens to reveal their secrets. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn invites readers back to Carrington, North Carolina, where everything is not as it seems and sinister elements lurk behind the idyllic façade.”

This second installment in the Dive Team Investigations series was every bit as good as the first, and possibly a little better. First of all, I was prepared for Ms. Blackburn’s style of writing, so I wasn’t disappointed in trying to compare it to someone else’s. However, I enjoyed the overall storyline a little better than the first. Adam and Sabrina were two of my favorite characters in the last book, so I was really looking forward to their story.

I loved Sabrina with her total nerdy-ness and the way she was oblivious to so many guys’ attention. Adam was also great! Such a gentleman, and just an all ’round good guy. I really enjoyed the portrayal of their spiritual growth. It wasn’t really overt, but I would say it was a pretty steady thread throughout.

The mystery was fascinating and was really well developed. The theme of human trafficking and modern day slavery was so good, and brought out some good points that might not be common knowledge. Sex-trafficking is  mentioned incidentally, but absolutely no details.

Sabrina’s backstory with her parents was really good as well, and the resolution of it all was quite satisfying. *SpoilerThere is a part of it that involves infidelity in marriage End of Spoiler.

All in all a really good book, and I’m giving it 5 out of 5 stars!!!

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ebook from Revell via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

“The Cost of Betrayal” by Henderson, Pettry, and Eason


“In Dee Henderson’s novella “Betrayed,” Janelle Roberts is freed–thanks to people she doesn’t know–after serving six years of a twenty-year sentence for a murder she did not commit. But a murderer is still at large, and Janelle needs to be somewhere safe with someone she can trust. She may not survive another betrayal.

In Dani Pettrey’s “Deadly Isle,” Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer bent on betrayal before they become the next victims?

In Lynette Eason’s “Code of Ethics,” trauma surgeon Ruthie St. John saves the life of Detective Isaac Martinez. After a betrayal leads to him getting shot and then attacked while in recovery, Isaac is now a key witness determined to testify. But someone is intent on silencing him–and those around him–forever. Together, Ruthie and Isaac go on the run, desperate to escape the killers hunting him. “

This was my first time to read a combo thriller with these authors. I’ve read Dee Henderson and Dani Pettrey, and like them both, but this was a first for Lynette Eason. I was not disappointed! I will definitely be reading more from her.

In Ms. Henderson’s book, I really liked the fact that she took an innocent woman that had been imprisoned, and wove the story around her, as well as the fact that we get to see Paul and Ann Falcon again. The process of how the woman learns to face and overcome the trauma she went through at the murder of her boyfriend, and her subsequent conviction of the crime, was well done. Ultimately, we are left with an unsolved murder, but the point was that she found peace with place in her life to which the Lord brought her.

4 of 5 stars

The second story also had an intriguing story line, but unfortunately it fell a little short for me. I found the main girl incredibly annoying and even naive as to the dangers of her job. She’s supposedly a coast guard, and as such thinks she can basically face any enemy by herself and take care of herself. Even the best in police and rescue positions realize the need for a good partner to have your back, but she was always going out on her own and never listened to the cautions of the main guy in the story. I did enjoy the resolution and was completely surprised by who the culprit was, but still not my favorite.

3 of 5 stars

The third story by Ms. Eason was my favorite. The writing was quality, the storyline great, the characters likable, and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time! I also appreciated the spiritual thread throughout the story! The family dynamic of Ruthie’s family was great! Definitely recommend this one.

5 of 5 stars!

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ebook from Bethany House Publishers via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

“An Hour Unspent” by Roseanna M. White


“Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence, but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge–and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger–and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape.”

It’s no secret that Roseanna White is one of my absolutely favorite authors, and this series, Shadows Over England, has been absolutely fascinating! The setting being WWI, there has been intrigue, suspense, and spies! What could be better?

Honestly, it is so difficult to say that one book is better than another, but if such a thing were possible, this was the best!

Ever since book 1 Barclay has been one of my favorite characters so I was eagerly anticipating his story, and he certainly did not disappoint. We get to find out his backstory and how that plays out in the present. So wonderful!

And then Evelina. I know some people have mixed/negative feelings about her, but I really liked her! I didn’t necessarily agree with her at all times, but I very much enjoyed seeing her growth, and the relationship/resolution with her mother was so well done.

Then of course we get to see other characters from previous books (including a couple glimpses of Margo)!

The story line was amazing!

The suspense as good or better than any of read.

Spiritual content was spot on.

Resolution perfect!

I’m giving this story 6 out of 5 stars!!! 😀

Can’t wait for the next series!

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Bethany House Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

“Beneath A Prairie Moon” by Kim Vogel Sawyer


“Abigail Brantley grew up in affluence and knows exactly how to behave in high society. But when she is cast from the social registers due to her father’s illegal dealings, she finds herself forced into a role she never imagined: tutoring rough Kansas ranchers in the subjects of manners and morals so they can “marry up” with their mail-order brides. Mack Cleveland, whose father was swindled by a mail-order bride, wants no part of the scheme to bring Eastern women to Spiveyville, Kansas, and he’s put off by the snooty airs and fastidious behavior of the “little city gal” in their midst. But as time goes by, his heart goes out to the teacher who tries so diligently to smooth the rough edges from the down-to-earth men. How can he teach her that perfection won’t bring happiness?”

I had heard of this book from a good friend, so when I got the opportunity to review it, I was overjoyed!

I have come to enjoy Kim Vogel Sawyer for her homey stories, with great character lessons and this one was no exception, such a sweet and lovely story.  Honestly, the best thing about this book (and it was all great!) is the characters! Mrs. Sawyer did a great job of portraying each of them in a well rounded way, and made me feel like I actually knew them personally. I don’t just mean the main characters either. Other than the 4 or so main characters, there were about 10 or so secondary characters and each one was special and endearing.

This is the funny part though, for about half the story, the main female character is almost my least favorite. She had such a hoity-toity attitude about things, but ultimately that was what made her change of heart so much more meaningful.

I really enjoyed the matchmaker element, and getting to know all the bachelors (as I mentioned above, secondary characters). Honestly though, the most admirable of all, was Mack and his determination not to just put an advertisement in the mail, but the wait for the Lord to send a young lady across his path in His timing. Loved that!

Reading about the ‘courtship lessons’ put me very much in mind of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. So cute!

Spiritual content was really good! Seeing the spiritual growth and character development of each one was so wonderful.

All in all, this was such a fun, warm, and cozy story, and I highly recommend it!                   5 out of 5 stars!

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.