The Inn at Angel Island

The Inn at Angel Island, by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer, focuses on an Angel Island inn which is just over the frequently washed out bridge from Cape Light. (Cape Light was the focus of an earlier series by Kinkade and Spencer-so some of those characters are mentioned, also.)

Liza Martin and her brother, Peter have inherited a bed and breakfast from their Aunt Elizabeth; but the timing couldn’t have been worse.

Liza, though nostalgic for her childhood, is now fighting her way up the “dog eat dog” corporate ladder, along with recovering from a broken marriage.  Peter is in the midst of a nasty custody battle with his ex-wife.  All either sibling really wants to do is clean up and clear out, thus getting back to their lives as quickly as possible.  Having money from the sale of the inn is a much-needed bonus.

Somewhere along the way, Liza begins to slow down and savor life, and Will, Peters son, begins to create havoc.  In the midst of these changes, a life threatening situation ensues, and all the angels the island is named for are needed.

The Inn at Angel Island is an easy light read. I enjoyed the references to some of Cape Light’s landmarks and people who were sprinkled throughout the book, but I felt the main characters could have been developed a little more fully. Liza seemed to vacillate way too much, with no clue given as to why she constantly second guessed herself, Peter seemed cold and remote with no apparent reason to be so clueless about his son, and Will just seemed to be there.

I am looking forward to reading the other books by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer.

(Revision from 4/24/12)

A Journey I Thoroughly Enjoyed

The Miracle of Mercy Land: A Novel by [Jordan, River]

From the very first sentence in The Miracle of Mercy Land, the author River Jordan takes you by the hand and pulls you into a fantastical journey full of darkness, sunshine and life.

I was surprised to find Mercy Land is the lead character’s name and not a place; however, that only adds to the power of her story.

This book will affect each person reading it differently for the same reasons the character’s lives are affected differently; we all have our own weaknesses, demons, desires and individual stories.

Mercy Land is full of mysticism and fantasy, not my usual reading fare. Nevertheless, I have reviewed several books in fantasy genre and despite this, have enjoyed the books. (Perhaps the Lord is telling me to enjoy more whimsy in my life.)

Mercy is a young woman who left her home in Bittersweet Creek, Alabama for Bay City, Alabama in order to live her life as she wanted and not as conventional wisdom dictated.

Along the way, she becomes the indispensable right-hand woman for Doc Philips, the editor and publisher of the local paper.

One early morning Mercy receives a strange call at her boarding house from Doc Philips. Thus begins a journey into a world of suspended belief and fantasy.

Docs possess the biggest news story of her life, but she cannot print a word of what she knows and comes to know as a result of Doc’s mysterious call.

The Miracle of Mercy Land will leave you asking yourself a lot of questions about your own life and choices you have made.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Revised from 4/5/11

Profound, Uplifting Book!

This book made a profound impact on me because our childhood and a small portion of our adult lives were so similar.

 I urge anyone battling, or has battled, with childhood abuse, deep depression and with wondering where God is through it all to read this book!

Our Southern Breeze
by Daphene Jones with Andrea Taylor
ISBN 978-0-9830129-6-2

Our Southern Breeze is an amazing story of heartaches, failures, sickness, deaths and triumphs.

The first quarter (approximately) of the book deals with the early childhood of Daphene and her twin, Deborah, along with their older sister, Gretchen. The last three quarters of the book chronicle her life and how she came to feel “her” southern breeze. Deborah’s story of hope will resonate with everyone.

Daphene and her twin, Deborah, experienced heartbreaking abuse at the hands of their  father while growing up. Even though Daphene treads delicately and lightly through the abuse she and her twin suffered throughout their childhood, she still paints a harrowingly chilling and horrendous picture. Their older sister, Gretchen, was the “princess,” while the twins suffered from their father’s demons. Because of this, and secrets they couldn’t even admit to themselves, they were all three estranged as adults.

Deborah invited Daphene to a Christian conference held in 1990 that became a life changer for both sisters. While there they were approached by a person who told them they would soon encounter their summer breeze from God. The story then unfolds with God’s goodness and kindness over each twin’s life.

As you follow their inspirational journey, you sometimes forget it is a true story, as you are so drawn into Daphene and Deborah’s lives. Albeit the paths for each sister were very dissimilar, you can see God’s hand over their entire journey.

You will be uplifted, brought to tears, to your knees and left in awe of God’s mighty power.  Any reader can be stirred and moved by Daphene’s account of her and her twin’s lives.  However, some images in the beginning may be distressful for abuse victims.

I hadn’t read Same Kind of Different As Me, a book which chronicles parts of Deborah’s life. Because I was deeply touched on many, many levels by Our Southern Breeze, I’m looking forward to reading it, too.  Our Southern Breeze is a story that won’t soon leave your heart. Give yourself plenty of time to read and digest this book.

This book was provided for me Free by BookCrash in exchange for an unbiased opinion.

revision from 6/18/12

1896 Walk Across America

The Daughter’s Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick is an historical novel based on very limited information available on Helga and Clara Estby’s walk across America but more particularly about Clara and her years of estrangement from her family.

In 1896, a time in America when women were still considered to be little more than possessions and not allowed a voice or the vote, Helga Estby in effect forced her daughter Clara, age 19, to go on a cross-country walk. Neither Clara nor Helga’s husband wanted the walk to happen and as a direct result of the walk there followed a 20 year estrangement from Clara and her family.

The walk was to occur over a period of seven months time, during which time they were to wear a new reform dress. Sponsored by the makers of the dress they hoped to prove women had stamina and the dress allowed them freedom for their busy lives. In return, Helga would receive $10,000 from the sponsors, money desperately needed to save the Estby’s home.

Jane Kirkpatrick has done a wonderful job of piecing together a story from little to work with. Her portrayal of the  two women’s walk, from Spokane, Washington to New York City, (a span of 3500 miles) and then their return home, is written in such a way that you feel you are there with them.

Her conjecture on Clara’s life is a delightfully written intertwined story based on her research and impressive imagination.

The ending left a little to be desired but I credit that to lack of information and not the author’s talent.

The Daughter’s Walk is in one of my favorite genres; historical fiction. I especially like when there is Biblical application included. That being said; I was disappointed there wasn’t more Biblical relevance introduced in the book.

I was provided this book  by WaterBrook Press in exchange for an honest review.
(Revision from 8/22/2011)

Real Stories GENEROUSLY Sprinkled with Chocolate

The Chocolate Diaries by Karen Scalf Linamen is a book for all women who have been on this journey called life.

Karen does a wonderful job in The Chocolate Diaries of injecting her own life’s battles; such as bouts of depression along with life’s joys.

She believes in using lists to guide her and keep her on track.  After one disheartening experience with her lists, she decided to always start her list with: Eat chocolate, thereby ensuring at least one thing on her list would be done every day.

At times lighthearted and at other times reflective, the book features real women with real stories and ways each coped with their situations.

Karen draws her analogies from extensive interviews with friends and family and peppers the stories throughout the book.

I think this book would be great for a study group ending each session with the Food for Thought questions and then making the recipes.

Real people with real stories generously sprinkled with chocolate. Nothing is much better than that! I received this book in exchange for my review at Blogging for Books.(From 5/2/2011 blog)

Inspiring Love Story

Mary Manners has written a refreshing, interesting story capturing and holding your interest from beginning to end in The Wisdom Tree.

Jake Samuels, a pastor, unofficially meets Carin O’Malley, a teacher, when she mistakenly thinks he is the groundskeeper for East Ridge Church.

Corey Samuels, Jake’s little brother, is “King of Chaos” in Carin’s English class, but who can blame him? His life is in total chaos after he is ripped out of his home. Having no other relatives, he moves in with his older brother, Jake, following their parents’ death in a car accident.

The interactions between Jake, Carin and Corey, are witty, sarcastic and very believable. It is easy to imagine and recognize parts of their lives as your own.

The Wisdom Tree is a bittersweet story of life and a charming story of love one can easily read in a single sitting.

As an added bonus and greatly appreciated is the 30-day devotional included at the end.

This book was given to me free of charge through The Christian Book Network @ in exchange for an honest review.

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Return to Shirley Plantation by Carrie Fancett Pagels, Volume One of Murray Pura’s Civil War Series-Cry of Freedom.

Return to Shirley Plantation is a fast-paced novella interwoven with the intricacies of life, against the backdrop of the Civil War.

The lives of everyone on the plantation are upended when the Army commandeers the old home grounds for a field hospital, spreading the injured soldier’s shoulder to shoulder as far as the eye can see.

Angelina Rose is a freed slave of one-eighth African blood. She disguises herself as a widow in mourning, helping in the home until she can earn enough money to free her dead sister’s children.

Matthew Scott is the owner of Scott’s Theatrical Troupe. He is abducted by the Confederate Army and forced to serve because of his father’s politics as a Copperhead congressman.

Angelina and Matthew are immediately attracted to each other, but Angelina knows she must guard her heart and secret at all costs.

A Christian theme runs throughout the book, along with the rich history of the Civil War.

I have to thank The Book Club Network, Inc. @   for introducing me to so many new authors to include: Murray Pura, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Braxton DeGarmo, Carol McLeod, Gregg Farah, Alice Jay Wisler and Kathi Macias just to name a few.

This book was given to me free of charge through The Christian Book Network @  in exchange for an honest review.

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The Last Waltz by Murray Pura

I’m re-posting this because it has been awhile since I posted it and my post on Monday will be Return to Shirley Plantation-the first of the Civil War Series.

Murray Pura has woven a unique story transcending time and circumstances in The Last Waltz, Volume 2 of his Civil War Series.

Charity Davis, the wife of farmer Mitchell Davis, has been caring for the farm since he and their two sons joined the Army to fight in the Civil War.  They have been gone for two years, and her loneliness has become an ache.

One day Charity sees a regiment of soldiers and runs down the long road from her house to meet them, asking if any have seen her husband Mitchell.  Finally giving up, she heads back to the farm only to hear her name called. Turning, she sees her beloved Mitchell propped up on his horse between two other soldiers.

Charity is understandably upset over Mitchell’s wound, but she soon becomes happier when learning he will be able to stay overnight.

As they talk, Mitchell reads to Charity of King Hezekiah’s request of the Lord in Isaiah 38.  Mitchell shares how the passage prompted him to pray for one perfect day with Charity.

So begins their extraordinary day together before Mitchell returns back to his regiment.

Murray richly portrays their love and joy in each other throughout their amazing day together.  A day filled with laughter, love and foreshadowing, a day to cherish forever.

This book was given to me free of charge through The Book Club Network in exchange for an honest review.


Blog Changes and Cupcakes

You may have noticed I re-blogged from other bloggers and used previous blog posts from  This is due to changes I will be making with regard to my blogs.

I have decided that I need to keep my book reviews and personal entries separate.  I am going to begin using for my book reviews (Christian fiction and non-fiction) and for my personal entries. I will also use the blog for fiction and non-fiction that is not necessarily Christian but is still clean and wholesome.

At some point in the far off future, the g’daughter and I will be starting a food blog.  Her interest in cooking continues to grow. In fact, today she made the most awesome vanilla cupcakes with creamy, oh so creamy, coffee frosting. My, oh my – I think I have a tummy ache from eating too many, and I only ate two!