Book & Movie Reviews

I love reading, watching movies, storytelling and enjoy sharing my opinions with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the media I review and get any recommendations you have. Please leave your comments below or on each review post. Below is a snapshot of my reviews with direct links to the full review.


My latest crime mystery is the first in a new series by Lynn H. BlackburnBeneath the Surface – Dive Team Investigations. What is really cool is that Lynn is a Christian author and she weaves in the role of faith when facing fear and uncertainty as the characters grapple with faith and fear. The book is a romantic suspense with just enough balance between the two. While I was left rooting for the budding romance between the two main characters, Leigh and Ryan, I was captivated by the mystery the Dive team investigators were trying to solve. This was not a novel with an obvious suspect. It kept you wondering until the end and was an unexpected surprise. Read more.

A new children’s book is out which is supposed to teach about celebrating everyone’s differences. It features a young prince who has Down syndrome.  The Prince Who Was Just Himself, written by Silke Schnee and illustrated by Heike Sistig, is about a royal family who has a third child who is not like his two older brothers. They notice things that are different and special about him. Eventually he saves the town from an evil knight by showing his unique compassion.

As a mother of a five year old son who has Down syndrome, you’d think I’d applaud a book which celebrates differences and teaches people to value the differences in each of us. However, I found the book stereotypical and offensive. Read more.


In the book Captive, Ashley Smith Robinson shares her raw story of brokenness and addiction which led to the turning point where she found her purpose. On that fateful day, another broken soul, Brian Nichols escaped from the Fulton County Courthouse, killing several people in his path and initiating a statewide manhunt. Nichols forced his way into Ashley’s apartment in an Atlanta suburb where she was held captive. Read more.


Sarah Sundin does it again enthralling us in the early days of WWII in America through her latest historical fiction Through Waters Deep.  While true to the historical period of WWII-era, the book is also part romance and part mystery. Read more.


I was excited to get the latest Irene Hannon novel, Hope Harbor, for some summer reading enjoyment and I was not disappointed. Hannon is excellent in character development and in providing just enough interest to keep me turning the page for more. Read more.


I love a good crime novel and Irene Hannon does not disappoint in her latest novel Buried Secrets. 

Part crime solver, part romance Buried Secrets introduces us to Lisa Grant, a former Chicago Homicide detective looking for a change of pace as police chief of a small town and ex-Navy SEAL Mac McGregor getting a new start as a county detective. The two meet at the scene of a decades old murder when a body is found by a construction crew. Read more.


Easter Stories is a compilation of short stories written by multiple authors including C.S. Lewis, Oscar Wilde and Anton Checkhov.  This group of classic tales illuminates the true meaning of the season in easily digestible bites. With both spiritual value and literary quality, these stories are ones you will read over and over, season to season. Read more.


Dashing Dish by Katie Farrell includes 100 recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and desserts featuring fresh, whole ingredients. Most of the recipes are kid-friendly, with fresh twists on old classics such as mac and cheese, waffles, and cookies. There are also great protein-based recipes for every meal and snack, including Italian-style stuffed red peppers and slow cooker honey sesame pork. Read more.


Dr Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane have written a guide for us called Growing Up Social. In Growing Up Social, Chapman and Pellicane acknowledge that we all want to equip our children to show affection, appreciate others, deal with anger, learn to apologize, and pay attention. Through research and stories, they illustrate how screen time can affect our ability to equip our children in these areas and give us strategies to work around the negative aspects of screen time. Read more.


It’s sad that so much has changed since I was a child. In the book Their Name Is Today, Johann Christoph Arnold talks about the need to reclaim childhood in a hostile world and I agree much has been lost. But, he claims that parents and teachers can turn the tide by giving children the time and space they need to grow. Read more.

Set in Galveston Texas, Bouquet of Love is the story of a Greek family, led by a patriarch who moves his family and business to the island to open up a second family restaurant.

Already entrenched in the island is a large and vibrant Italian family who owns the pizzeria across the street. Conflict ensues when Pappa Pappas decides he will steal all the customers away from the popular Italian restaurant across the street and declares its owners, the Rossi family mortal enemies. Read more.

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin is a brilliant tale of romance on the front lines during World War II. Sarah blends true to life historic events with multi-dimensional fictional characters to paint a captivating picture of romance during wartime in the 1940s in and around Italy.

It is the story of a young, troubled flight nurse searching for redemption and finding true love in the process and of a young pilot trying to escape his past by sitting out future possibilities whose defenses are shattered by true love. Read more.

What is a soul exactly?

How do you care for it?

What does the soul desire?

What are the best ways to meet those desire and what ways should be wary of?

What happens when our soul is in darkness?

These are the questions best selling author and pastor John Ortberg address in his newest book Soul Keeping: Caring for the most important part of you. Read more.


According to Tim Irwin, Ph.D., in his new book Impact! Great Leadership Changes Everything, a fall from a leadership position has very little to do with a leader’s competence but has everything to do with his or her core. Wherever you lead, whether the boardroom or baseball field, the principles in Impact! can help you guard and grow your internal core so you can have impact and lead from a position of influence. Read more.

Stovall Weems, pastor of Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida provides an approachable, easy to digest guide for applying the biblical principle of putting God first. I’m sure you are familiar with the verse Mathew 6:33 that tells us to seek first the kingdom of God. But how does that apply to your daily life? How does one seek God first? In The God First Life – Uncomplicate Your Life God’s Way, Weems explains how to change our priorities to live out the life we were designed for. Read more.

Ann H. Gabhart, author of Scent of Lilacs takes us back to Hollyhill to check back in with Jocie Brooke and her family navigating life in the early 1960s in Summer of Love. Gabhart weaves an eduring tale of small town people from a time gone by who are used to doing life always it had always been done. They are now facing the tumultuous changes of life in the 60s and finding meaning and truth in the process. We enter the story from the perspectives of Jocie, a fourteen year old girl  who is coming of age, and her father, the town newspaper editor and preacher, whose past and future finally comes together despite quite a few obstacles. Read more.


We are bombarded with ideas all day long. What makes some ideas take on and spread and others die off? This is the subject of Contagious by Jonah Berger.  As a PR professional and a blogger, I am very interested in what makes ideas spread. This book explains why some ideas are more shareable than others. Read more.

Everyday Confetti is filled with ideas, recipes and meaning behind various holidays. It also includes other suggestions for traditions to observe throughout the year. Read more.

The art of telling a good joke is a useful tool for everyone – especially the kids. The Big Book of Laugh Out Loud Jokes and more is to sure to entertain a group and break the ice. Read more.

It’s the end of January. Resolutions may be languishing in the dust. The holiday bills are sitting on the counter. Its cold outside. The dark and dreary days of winter, may reflect a darkness in your own spirit. If that is the case, if you are overwhelmed, discouraged, and feeling like your problems or issues are getting the best of you, then I urge you to read God is Able by Priscilla Shirer. Read More.

As you might guess by now, I love a good thriller/murder mystery. Submerged, by Dani Pettrey, has all the elements of a good mystery novel: suspicious accident, outsiders in a small town, Russian suspects, a reunion with a lost love to solve a mystery, sexual tension, a race against time and several twists and turns. The story also layers in lessons on redemption, facing fears, releasing shame, learning to trust and embracing forgiveness. I really enjoyed the novel. Up until the end. Read more.

Singularity by Steven James (not the comedian) is suspense on overdrive. The story marries mysterious scientific experiments aimed at joining man and machine with a magician whose stunt producer is gruesomely murdered during a show. Solving his friend’s murder will reveal a dangerous, dark secret testing the ethical limits of mankind. Murder, secrets, moral dilemmas and a little romance make for a real page turner. Read more.

It’s hard to keep your eye on the prize in this fast serve world. It’s hard to learn to be measured with your resources and live within your means when our own government can’t agree on, or stick to, a budget. Can’t Wait Willow teaches this important lesson in an engaging and relatable way. The illustrations are colorful and tempting – I could taste the cotton candy! Read more.

Recently, I was given this new children’s book Rufus and Ryan Go to Church by Kathleen Long BostromIn the book, four-year-old Ryan explains to his stuffed Monkey, what is happening as they attend church on Sunday morning. He lets Rufus know when its time to sing, pray and be quiet. Part of a new series of  inspirational books for preschoolers age two to five, featuring Ryan and Rufus. This series uses Christian and church concepts as the foundation of the series and focuses on character traits and development. My little ones really enjoy the fun illustrations and ask to read it often. Read more.

Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris is a romantic suspense novel set in modern day Atlanta. Homicide detective Avery North is investigating the death of two young Asian girls, navigating a new relationship with medical examiner Jackson Bryant and tending to the wounds of her family over the loss of her brother, also a police officer, who was murdered during another investigation. Read more.


The latest book I have been reading is Trapped, by Irene Hannon. Set in present day St. Louis, a young and naive runaway leaves her step sister’s home and her “unfair” rules, only to run into an obsessive compulsive psychopath disguised as pre-school director and homeless shelter volunteer, Mark Hamilton. Read more.

Alone Yet Not Alone, by Tracy Leninger Craven is a historic book based on a true story of frontier life in early America. Recommended for children ages 8 and up, I read it recently with my preteen and we were both engrossed in the story. It is the true story of the Leininger family as they settle on the frontier. Their peaceful, God-fearing life is interrupted by the Penns Creek massacre during the French and Indian War. The two young Leininger girls, Barbara and Regina are taken captive by the Delaware Indians. Read more.

On Distant Shores, by Sarah Sundin is set in Italy during WWII in1943. It is the story of Lt. Georgiana Taylor, a trailblazing flight nurse who breaks out of the mold expected of a southern lady in the 1940s and enters on an adventure to serve her country on the front lines. Georgiana’s story is paralleled by the tale of noncommissioned serviceman John “Hutch” Hutchinson. On a mission to gain respect for his profession, Hutch enlists for the opportunity to convince the Army to recognize the importance of trained pharmacists serving in the military. The paths of the two young idealists cross and a new friendship is formed. A friendship that turns all their well-laid plans upside down. Read the full review.

Rebecka Lions new book Freefall to Fly. is a candid recount of how the author suffered with depression and anxiety as she searched for, and eventually found, deeper meaning in her life. These are topics so many of us can relate to and I appreciate that Lyons did not sugar coat the journey. (although it was perhaps a bit to heavy for Spring Break reading). Read more.

Scent of Lilacs is a nice fiction novel by Ann Gabhart. Set in 1964 in small-town Kentucky, its heroine, Jocie Brooke, is a curious preteen who digs up life-altering answers to questions about her family. It’s a delightful coming of age novel with mystery, suspense and innocence wrapped into one. I’d definitely recommend putting a copy in your beach bag. Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Read more.

I’m Currently, I’m doing a short devotional from the book by Julie Zine Coleman called Unexpected Love: God’d Heart Revealed in Jesus’ Conversations with Women. The book unpacks Biblical encounters between Jesus and several women of the first century revealing His heart for all women. Each chapter ends with suggested Bible readings, devotional prompts and journaling suggestions. Read more.

In light of the 50 Shades of Gray world we live, a Christian romance novel many seem, we’ll, unromantic- even boring. During Valentines week, I read one in a series of novels by Christian author Robin Lee HatcherBetrayal, set in the 1890s, is a honest and sweet story of two hurting and untrusting hearts finding one another and learning to find love again. Read more.

A few months ago, I was introduced to Amish fiction and the Adventures of Lily Lapp series. I received a copy of, A New Home for Lily, book two in the series. The book follows Lily through her day-to-day life as a young Amish girl. What made this book particularly appealing to me is that it is about Lily’s challenges in adjusting to her new life after her family moves from New York to a new home in Pennsylvania. Read more.


Disclosure of material connection: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free in the hope that I would give it my fair review. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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