“Long Time Gone” by Mary Connealy

Strong Women, Tough Cowboys & Danger!

Angie DuPree is in a very dangerous situation in 1880’s New Mexico.  After agreeing to go to the Boden family ranch to help the doctor treat Cole Boden, Angie discovers the family is under attack by a person or persons unknown.  The family is as shocked to find themselves in this predicament as Angie is.

While the Bodens try to figure out who is behind this, dangerous situations continue to take place that throw Angie together with this family.  The killer has targeted every member of the Boden family.  However, anyone interacting with the family is included, too, which puts Angie in danger, as well.  Before this ends, there will be a kidnapping, the discovery of a spy in their midst, and more gunfights.  The family is further shocked to learn that someone attempted to kill their parents who have been staying in Colorado for a medical treatment.  Who is doing this to them?

Although Angie is fairly new to the community, she has been trying very hard to learn to fit in to life in the West.  Unfortunately she wasn’t taught any life skills, and is pretty clueless about doing anything.  She believes that living in her new hometown will give her the chance to finally stand on her own two feet.  Justin Boden just thinks she is a big stack of trouble!

This is the second installment in The Cimarron Legacy.  Since I have not read the first book, I had a small amount of catch-up time when I began reading.  But it was not hard to do.  This story delivers lots of action, along with twists and turns, while solving this mystery moves on.  It is also fun to watch the relationship between Angie and Justin Boden unfold.  Although this yarn ended at a natural stopping place, the entire tale has many loose ends that need to be finished—including who is behind all of this. I can hardly wait for book three to be released so I can get the answers.  I highly recommend this 5-star book to anyone who enjoys westerns, thrillers or Christian fiction.

Bethany House Publishing has provided me with a complimentary copy of Long Time Gone for the purpose of review.   All opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Author’s Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/maryconnealy

Author’s Website:  http://maryconnealy.com/

Author’s Website:  petticoatsandpistols.com

Author’s Blog:  mconnealy.blogspot.com

Author’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MaryConnealy

 

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“Written in Love” by Kathleen Fuller

Love is in the Mail!

Without trying, Phoebe Bontrager has a pen pal—a male one named Jalon Chupp!  What started out as a letter delivered to the wrong address has quickly turned into a post office romance.  But the twenty-three year old Amish girl also has a lot of secrets.

First of all there is Malachi, her son, a child she had out of wedlock.  Next, Phoebe and Malachi are living with an aunt who clearly hates the two of them, and never misses a chance to verbally abuse them.  Her parents still do not understand why she left their home.  Both Phoebe and Malachi were well-loved there, and are missed a lot.  Her mother was clearly disappointed when Phoebe announced she was moving out.

But Phoebe’s reason for leaving was because of an even bigger secret, one she hasn’t shared with anyone.  Even though Phoebe longs to return to her parent’s home, she knows she never can.

Jalon has a past with secrets, too.  He has struggled with alcoholism for years.  Jalon also carries the burden of guilt for the accident that left his cousin in a wheelchair.  The letters he has exchanged with Phoebe are the first bright lights in his life in many years.  Despite never meeting her, Jalon is sure he is in love with Phoebe and sets out to meet her in person.  That decision will change not only Jalon and Phoebe’s lives, but that of many of their family members as well.

This is a story of Amish people who have old fashioned values but are faced with modern day problems.  Phoebe finds herself confronted with the question of whose fault is it when bad things happen to good people–do bad things happen because of another person’s sins?  Jesus himself was asked if a man’s blindness was the result of his or his parent’s sins.  Jesus surprised them by saying it wasn’t anyone’s fault rather, “this man was born blind so that God’s power could be shown in him.”https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+9&version=NCV  Could that be Phoebe’s answer, too?

In addition to kind Amish people, this story also features Amish who have let their own human weaknesses cause them to be mean and controlling—they care more about rules than people, or the One who made them.  This is a very interesting tale that will keep you turning the pages to understand the very likeable Phoebe’s behavior.  I also liked the quirky way Phoebe and Jalon “met.”  This is a good book that you will enjoy.  I recommend this 5-star book to those who like Amish tales, or story-lines that address modern problems!

Thomas Nelson Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of Written in Love for the purpose of review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Author’s Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/WriterKathleenFuller/

The Author’s Twitter:   https://twitter.com/TheKatJam

The Author’s Website:   www.kathleenfuller.com

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“Pursued” by Lisa Harris

Heart Pounding Action!

Nikki Boyd, a special agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), is flying in to Nashville to reunite with boyfriend, Tyler, when her plane crash lands.  In the chaos that follows Erika, the woman Nikki befriended on the flight, disappears.  Nikki’s feeling that something is wrong is confirmed when the FBI approaches her to help them find Erika.

Despite Tyler’s unhappiness that Nikki is letting herself get entangled in a complicated case, she jumps at the chance to work with the FBI.  This leads her into one dangerous situation after another.  Before it is all over Nikki will be involved in a hostage situation at a prison, rappelling down a mountain to help a crash victim, and following a charming and handsome philanthropist that the public feels can do no wrong.  During this time, she also gets a disturbing medical diagnosis that she fears could end the relationship she has with Tyler.

Will the abduction of Nikki’s sister be resolved, or will the family get some kind of closure?  After a three month absence, has Nikki and Tyler’s relationship suffered, or will they move forward?  Can Nikki continue to do this kind of work without it becoming too personal for her?

This is the third installment in the series, The Nikki Boyd Files, but this story can stand on its own without reading the other books.  Pursued starts with a bang, and never slows down.  It is a story that will capture you from the first page.  There is lots of action along with twists and turns, so this tale will really keep you on the edge of your seat.  The author shows her talent by doing all of this, yet keeping the book clean and including references to God in a very natural way.  I recommend this 5-star book to anyone who likes exciting stories or well-written Christian fiction.

The author has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of Pursued for the purpose of review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Author’s Blog:   www.lisaharriswrites.com

The Author’s Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLisaHarris

The Author’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/heartofafrica

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“The One True Love of Alice-Ann” by Eva Marie Everson

If You Want a Treat, Read this Book!

Farm girl Alice-Ann has been in love with her older brother’s friend, Mack for a long time.  She has decided she will share her heart with him, and tell him her true feelings the night of her sixteenth birthday.  Unfortunately, on that date, December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor is attacked, and from that moment on, everything changes–and her party is cancelled.  As this event pulls the United States into World War II, Alice-Ann is crushed to find Mack has already enlisted, and will be leaving soon.

Although Mack is stunned to learn of Alice-Ann’s feelings, he suggests they write to each other while he is gone.  She promises him her heart, and to wait for him.  Mack makes no promises.

After two years of writing and Alice-Ann sharing her heart, the letters from Mack stop.  Alice-Ann’s feelings for Mack have grown, yet he hasn’t given her any encouragement.  As the time with no news from Mack lengthens, she remains busy working at the bank, helping at the farm, teaching Sunday School, and reading to Carlton–another friend of her brother’s.

Carlton has returned from the war unable to walk or see.  After his steady girlfriend took one look at him, she broke things off with him.  In the beginning, Alice-Ann spends time with Carlton as a favor to his sister.  But as time goes on, she soon finds herself sharing her thoughts about everything, and he actually listens to her.  No one in her life has ever really cared about her hopes and dreams, and Alice-Ann is enjoying it.

“You can’t choose whom you fall in love with, but you can choose whom you marry.”  Does Alice-Ann understand this advice from her aunt?  Has Mack really died in combat?  If he never returns, will Alice-Ann remain single the rest of her life?  Will Alice-Ann change her opinion of Mack when she discovers how often he let others down, and the number of women he has disappointed?

I really liked this book.  This story immediately captured my interest, and I never wanted to put it down.  It gives an insight in to what it might have been like in a small rural community–the home front–during World War II.  Having been raised by a couple of “greatest generation” parents, I enjoy things set in this era.  However, the characters and the problems they are facing are just as relatable to today’s reader.  Alice-Ann is very likable, along with many other interesting people in this tale.  I highly recommend this 5 plus star book to anyone who enjoys non-offensive fiction written from a Christian viewpoint.  If you only read a few books this year, make this one of them!

Tyndale House Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of The One True Love of Alice-Ann for the purpose of review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

A few questions for the author:

What lessons or truths do you hope readers will take away from The One True Love of Alice-Ann?

That when we take our distresses to God, he not only hears our cries, but he and he alone can wrap us up in his great big arms and show us the right path to take. He alone can ease our pain. You know, he loves us so much . . . he sent his Son to die for us. He won’t let us down now.

How did writing this story influence your perspective on the stateside effects of WWII, and more specifically on women’s roles during the war?

During the writing, I went to see a friend of mine who is in a veterans’ home in South Carolina. As I arrived, a hearse pulled in. After I met my friend in the cafeteria, I learned that one of the veterans living there had passed away. I accompanied my friend to the “graduation” ceremony. I have to tell you . . . since I’d researched the era and I was in the midst of writing the book, I started crying and couldn’t stop! As far as women’s roles, I learned that everyone stepped up to the plate. Everyone. Young. Old. Women. Men. Children. Everyone.

The Author’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CedarKeyNovels

The Author’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/EvaMarieEverson

The Author’s Blog:   www.EvaMarieEversonAuthor.com

 

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Book Review “Murder is No Accident” by A. H. Gabhart

Big Mystery in a Small Town

Three kids, a creepy Victorian mansion, along with a body—and it is the second body to be found in that house in less than a week!  How could this be happening in the normally quiet, small southern town of Hidden Springs?  Deputy sheriff Michael Keane is wondering that as he investigates the bodies that keep showing up in the Chandler mansion.

The first death seemed like an accident, but it parallels the death of Audrey Chandler Carlson that took place decades earlier.  Is that just an unhappy coincidence, or is the current one actually murder?  Should the past one be re-opened and investigated again?

Miss Fonda, Audrey’s sister, says it was actually murder, but she suffers from dementia. Teenager Maggie Greene might be the key, but she isn’t talking because someone has scared her to keep her silent.

While Michael has his hands full with the murder investigation, Alex his childhood sweetheart, is in town.  He thinks he is ready to take their relationship to the next level—marriage.  But Alex has it made it clear she doesn’t want the small town life.  She is a successful lawyer in the big city, and loves it.  Lately she has pulled back from him making a wide gulf between them.  Will Michael be able to bridge that if he admits he loves her, and wants an official relationship with her?

Murder is No Accident is the third installment in A Hidden Springs Mystery Series, but this story stands alone.  This is a clean mystery told from a Christian point of view.  There are enough twists and turns to keep you wondering who did it, and keep you turning the page until you discover the guilty party.  A lovely calico cat named Miss Marble makes her way into the story as well!  I recommend this 5-star book to fans of mysteries or Christian fiction.

 

Revell Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of Murder is No Accident for the purpose of review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Author’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnGabhart/

The Author’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AnnHGabhart

The Author’s Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/annhgabhart/

The Author’s Blog:  http://www.annhgabhart.com/category/one-writers-journal/

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“With Love Wherever You Are” by Dandi Daley Mackall

Love Goes the Distance!

In 1996, the author’s dying father asked her to go to his home’s attic, and get his old army trunk—and to make sure she did it when her mom wasn’t home.  He also made her promise that she wouldn’t look at the contents until both he and the author’s mother had passed away.  Although Ms. Mackall did what her father instructed her, she pestered him until he told her what was in the trunk.  At last he told her it was letters, hundreds of them, that he, Frank Daley, and her mother, Helen, had written to each other during World War II.  Since Helen didn’t like showing her sentimental side, Frank was afraid Helen would throw them out after his passing.

Even though she didn’t open the actual letters, Ms. Mackall did give in to the temptation to take a peek at them in the trunk.  She found a treasure trove of not just stacks of letters, but also Christmas and Easter cards from different locations throughout Europe, along with medals and Bibles signed by FDR encouraging all servicemen to read scripture.   That is when the seeds were planted for the author to write a fictionalized story based on the very real experiences her parents lived out during World War II.

When Army Nurse Helen Eberhart and Army Doctor Frank Daley met on Easter Sunday of 1944, neither one of their lives would ever be the same.  There was only a small window of time when the two of them were both stationed at the Army’s Battle Creek Training Camp.  Despite having very little time to get to know each other, Frank decided he wanted to marry Helen.  Overcoming her determination to never marry, along with the common knowledge that war marriages usually didn’t work out, was a big challenge for him.

Frank was up to the task, and Helen agreed to be his bride!  The Army seemed to work extra hard to make it difficult for service personnel to marry.  Both Helen and Frank had to take a pay cut, just like all married military personnel at that time had to.  They also were stationed very far apart, and couldn’t tell each other what country they were in.  Helen and Frank attempted to devise a code they hoped the letter censors wouldn’t catch so they could tell each other their location.

Other than the short time they had together when they first met, for the rest of the war Helen and Frank were not together, save for a couple of short rendezvous they were able to arrange.  Instead they had a long distance marriage, and wrote over six hundred letters to each other.  They ended each one with the phrase, “with love, wherever you are….”

This book was the author’s own love letter to her parents, and it is an amazing story. With Love, Wherever You Are, traces the romance, separation hardships, and faith the couple relied on.  You will view the ups and downs of the war through their eyes.

Helen and Frank Daley were members of “The Greatest Generation”—the group of people who grew up during the Great Depression, served in World War II, and then returned home to rebuild America and start families. They were dependable and hard working, not seeking fame or ambition, but did all they did because it was the “right thing to do,” as journalist Tom Brokaw pointed out.

That description holds true for the author’s parents, as well as, for my own pair of Greatest Generation parents that raised me.  Sadly, most of that generation have slipped away from us, especially in this last decade; in the year 2008 alone, it was estimated that more than 1,000 were dying a day.*  Well-written books like this one help memorialize that time period, and the people who lived through it.  Having it all wrapped up in a work of fiction makes it even better.  I highly recommend this 5 plus star book to everyone—no matter what your generation.  Helen and Frank will grab your attention from the first page, and you will not want to put it down until you find out how their story ends.

Tyndale House Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of With Love, Wherever You Are, for the purpose of review.   I have not been compensated in any other manner.  All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

*Estimate by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Once 16 million strong, U.S. veterans of World War II numbered 2.5 million by 2008 and less than 620,000 were still alive in 2016.

The Author’s Website:  www.dandibooks.com

The Author’s Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dandi.mackall?fref=ts

The Author’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/dandiMackall

The Author’s Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38952.Dandi_Daley_Mackall

 

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Butterscotch Brownies with Crème Brûlée Frosting: A Book Review Recipe

Brownies:

  • 18 ¼ ounces yellow cake mix
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350° F.  In a large bowl mix cake mix, butter and 1 egg at medium speed until mixture is crumbly.  Press evenly in 13 x 9 pan.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with pecans and chips.  Press slightly into cake mixture with a back of a wooden spoon.

Cool thoroughly.  It is okay if some of the chips melt during cooling.

Crème Brûlée Frosting

Custard Frosting:

  • 2 ounces cornstarch
  • 10 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 6 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Brûlée Sugar Mixture:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

For the custard frosting:  Using an electric mixer with a whip attachment, whip the cornstarch and egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl until light and fluffy.  Warm the whipping cream and confectioners’ sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  When the cream mixture reaches about 100° F., add about half of it to the egg yolks, whisking, and then transfer the mixture back to the saucepan.  Continue cooking the yolk and cream mixture until it reaches a boil (about 180° F.).  Remove from the heat immediately and pour into a clean stainless steel bowl.  Whip in the butter and vanilla until smooth and creamy.  (The mixture may be stored in an  air-tight container up to 5 days.)

Spread over the cooled butterscotch brownies.  Let set about an hour.  Cut into bars.

Read more at:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/creme-brulee-cupcake.html

This recipe appeared in my review book, Baby Bunco, by Julie B. Cosgrove.

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Janie’s Lemon Bars: A Book Review Recipe

For the Base

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • ½ cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

 For the Top:

  • 4 large beaten eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon rind zest

Directions

For the base—

Mix the butter into the flour and sugar until it clings together.  Press evenly with your hands into an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan.  Bake at 350° F. for 20 – 25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool for at least an hour.

For the filing—

Beat together eggs, sugar and lemon juice.  Sift together flour and baking powder.  Stir into egg mixture.

Pour over baked, cooled crust.  Bake at 350° F. for 25 minutes.  Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Cut into 1 inch square bars.

This recipe appeared in my review book, Baby Bunco, by Julie B. Cosgrove.

 

 

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Leather Britches Beans: A Book Review Recipe

Pick fully ripe but tender green beans.  Remove strings from the beans and snap them or leave them whole, as desired.  Thread them onto strings by drawing a needle and strong thread through the center of each bean.  Hang the strings of beans from one end in a warm, dry place, like an attic, or on a porch.  When they are very dry, put the beans in cloth bags and hang them where they will be cold and dry, or put them in the freezer (which keeps bugs out of them).

To cook leather britches:  Soak the beans overnight if desired; then cover with water; add ham hock or other seasoning; and cook for several hours, until beans are tender.

Rickie and Susie Patterson

This recipe appeared in my review book, The Captain Takes a Wife, by Doris Durbin. She stated this was an old family recipe from Union County, Georgia.

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Dried Apple Stack Cake: A Book Review Recipe

Apple Filling:

  • 1 lb Dried Apples
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg
  • ½ – 1 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 2 Cups Sugar

Cover apples with water about ½ – inch above surface (5 to 6 cups water).  Simmer 30 to 40 minutes until apples are almost mushy.  Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and sugar; mix well.  Spread between cake layers while hot.

Cake:

  • 1 Cup Shortening
  • 2 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • ½ Cup Buttermilk
  • 5 ¼ Cup Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Heat oven to 425° F.  Grease seven 9-inch or nine 8-inch round pans.  (This batter will have a stiff cookie-like consistency.  It holds well, so may be baked in several bakings depending on oven size and number of pans available.)  Cream shortening and sugar together; beat in eggs and vanilla.  Stir buttermilk, baking soda and baking powder together and mix into batter.  Blend in flour and salt thoroughly.  Divide into 7 or 9 portions.  With floured hands, pat portions into prepared pans.  Bake about 10 minutes.  Let cool slightly; remove from pans.  Stack layers with hot apple filling between layers.  Let stand at least 24 hours before cutting.

                                                                                                     Edna Gray

This recipe appeared in my review book, The Captain Takes a Wife, by Doris Durbin. She stated this was an old family recipe from Union County, Georgia.

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