Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book review: Halo Found Hope: A Memoir. With a giveaway!

"Machines beeping, the blur of medical staff running, a crash cart whizzing into an ICU room, was there any hope?  A young woman lay, packed in ice, as doctors attempted to somehow stop the swelling in her brain that threatened to take her life… and her family waited.

Six days turned into eight weeks. She awoke to discover that she was not the same. She saw two of everything, couldn’t feel half of her face, couldn’t hear from one ear, and could not speak. She couldn’t even tell anyone that she felt hopeless… or could she?

Halo Found Hope is the story of a beautiful, busy wife, and mother of three whose life changes instantly with the diagnosis of a rare brain tumor. An exceptional ENT, a brilliant neurosurgeon and a dedicated medical team tackle the tumor, setting off a series of unbelievable miracles.

Helo’s story is not one of survival, or of salvaging a life through a broken body. It is not about endurance through pain, but victory because of it. While the family heard her silence, God heard her prayer. Helo’s story is simply this: Wherever you are and whatever you are going through, God is right there. He doesn’t need to be recognized by you, to be there for you. He can replace fear with courage and discouragement with determination, if you let Him.  Helo did, and that is how she found hope.”

"Christian readers will find in these pages a powerful testament to the power of faith in dark times, and even agnostics will be uplifted by the joie de vivre of this remarkable woman.” — Kirkus Reviews

My review:

Halo Found Hope is the memoir of one woman’s journey through a brain tumor diagnosis and subsequent treatment.  It is a well-written account of Helo’s diagnosis, surgery, rehabilitation, and acceptance of her “new normal” following the ordeal.  Not only is it a medical journey that she goes through, but a spiritual one, as well, as she learns to trust God on a new level and find her purpose on the other side of the trauma.

The author is gracious and positive as she takes the reader on this journey, and I found that there were many lessons to be learned from Helo’s experience:

Have compassion for those who are going through major medical crises.
Hope in God’s love for us and His goodness.
Consider how we would respond if going through a medical crisis.
Consider how to prepare (emotionally, physically, spiritually, relationally, and practically) in advance in case a major medical trauma was to affect our families.
Have compassion for those with disabilities.  You may not be able to see the disability of the person using a handicapped parking spot.
Offer hope to others whenever you have the opportunity.

This book is important.  It is informative.  It is full of hope, and I recommend it.

I received a copy of the book from the author and Celebrate Lit in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.

There is a giveaway going on now to win a lovely prize package in celebration of Helo's book.  You can enter here:

Halo Found Hope is available at Amazon ( and other online retailers.


Recently I reviewed The Hesitant Heiress, the first book of The Everstone Chronicles.  You can read it here:

The three book series was originally released in ebook format, but is now available in paperback!  Book #3, The Captive Imposter, releases on November 3, and in celebration, the author is giving away five print copies.  Use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book review: More for Girls Only! Devotions

I want to encourage my children to develop the good habit of spending time with God and His Word on a regular basis.  More for Girls Only!  Devotions is a very useful tool to that end.  There are about 60 different devotions that begin with a Bible verse to set the theme, then a story that girls can relate to to make the point of the Bible verse.  Girls then read through a quiz to see how they’re doing in that area, with encouragement about how to do better.  There is a “Things to Do” section, which offers ways to apply what they’ve learned.  Finally, there are more Scripture verses and quotes to further emphasize the lesson.  This devotional is just right for its intended audience, girls 8-12 years old.  The entire book has pink text and contemporary illustrations, plus “girlie” doodles throughout.  I thought that each devotion was thoughtfully put together, with stories that are meaningful about how we should live our lives, treat others, and be in relationship to God.  My twelve-year-old daughter is looking forward to getting her hands on this book!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Tyndale House, in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Book Review: The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall plus a giveaway!

Author Dawn Crandall's The Everstone Chronicles were first published as ebooks.  Those books won a bunch of awards, and are now available in paperback!  The Hesitant Heiress was released on September 8, The Bound Heart was released on October 6, and The Captive Imposter will release on November 3 of this year.  Read through the end of the post for giveaways & freebies!

Here's my review of The Hesitant Heiress:

The lies.  The proposals.  The nightmares.  Can Amaryllis find the truth, peace, and happiness?

Amaryllis Brigham has been through a lot.  She had a happy childhood, but after her mother’s untimely death and funeral, she was taken away to boarding schools, then a music conservatory.  She was provided for, and became an accomplished pianist, but she was lonely.  She lived in fear because of the circumstances surrounding her mother’s death.  After being unfairly expelled from music school, and moving in with her elderly aunt in Boston, she discovers that she is an heiress to a fortune if she will marry within a year.  She has no interest in joining Boston’s social scene or marrying.

Amaryllis meets the charming, handsome, wealthy, and eligible Nathan Everstone as he returns to Boston with her cousin Lawry.  The mention of Nathan’s father strikes fear in her heart, because of past events, and Amaryllis does not take seriously anything Nathan says to her.  She believes he is toying with her.

She is reintroduced to friends and distant relatives from her childhood, and it was fun to meet those characters.  Amaryllis’ memories and dreams cloud her perceptions of those relationships.  She had a lot of growing to do, quickly, as she was forced into society without warning.  Amaryllis’ trust issues made the romance between her and Nathan develop VERY slowly.

Set in the 1890s, The Hesitant Heiress was an enjoyable story, with plenty of plot twists, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of The Everstone Chronicles.  Readers who enjoy historical fiction of this time period will want to read this book.

I won an e-copy of this book from the author.  This review is my opinion.

Now it’s your turn.  This link will take you to a free copy of the first chapter of The Hesitant Heiress:

Here is a link to a Goodreads giveaway of The Bound Heart:

Here is a Rafflecopter giveaway for The Bound Heart:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles from Whitaker House. The series consists of three books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart and The Captive Imposter. 

Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, her husband encouraged her to quit working in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress ​from​ 2010 ​to 2012​. It didn't take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary. Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Book review: The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White

Rich.  Exquisite.  Captivating.  Intriguing.

This is the story of Brook Eden, a beautiful orphan with a palatial education.  When her English best friend Justin Wildon discovers her true identity, everything in her world changes quickly.  She moves from urban Monaco, on the Mediterranean coast, to an English countryside manor.  Now that she is titled, is the new-found romantic interest from Justin genuine, or a way to tap into her fortune?  In order to secure her own safety in her new environment, it becomes imperative that she solve the mystery of her mother’s death.

Brook was an adorable character.  While she was beautiful, gracious, and well-educated, she had many (non-feminine) interests and abilities that served her well and made her a well-rounded, self-sufficient, and interesting person.

One of the most beautiful things in the story was her relationship with her long-lost father.  She quickly won his favor, but more importantly, she learned to turn to him for advice, comfort, strength, and companionship.

I loved this book, and gave it a 5-star rating.  The author skillfully weaves several story lines into a book that you won’t want to put down!

Those who enjoy reading Edwardian fiction about the titled class will enjoy this book.  Fans of romance and mystery will enjoy it, too.  It’s a book you’ll want to savor.

I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.

Here is a passage I especially enjoyed:

His gaze dipped down to take in her dress, and his lips tugged up.  "You look . . . nice."

"Nice?"  She laughed as he spun them into the dance.  "As many hours as I spent getting ready, I had better look more than nice."

"Pretty, then?"  His eyes gleamed.

She lifted her brows and gripped his hand.  Maybe she could do this.  Maybe she could slide easily from friendship to flirtation.  "Your nemesis over there chose resplendent.  Surely you can outdo that."

He smiled, the challenge turning to a simmer.  "How about this."  He pulled her a little closer and leaned his head toward her ear.  "I have traveled the world over these last months, but nowhere, on no continent, in no country, have I ever seen anyone half so beautiful as you."

Her fingers gripped his shoulder,  "Better."

If you want more, here is a link to the first chapter:

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna has a slew of historical novels available, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at