Review: THE CAPTIVE HEART, by Michelle Griep

Review:  The Captive Heart, a Christian historical romance, by Michelle Griep

Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon (plus a star in the crown of Michelle Griep, author).

Christian ladies, or any ladies, who enjoy an exciting historical romance without lurid explicit sexuality or profane language simply must treat yourselves to this novel, The Captive Heart.

At first glance, the story premise of a proper English governess shipped to the American Colonies in 1770 to become an indentured servant to a rough-living frontiersman seems stale and predictable. Wait a chapter, however, and the story begins to take surprising turns and expose unexpected conflicts (both in the outside world and in the hearts of characters).

Eleanor Morgan finds herself married to Samuel Heath, a stranger and half-Cherokee, who simply needs a mother for his 18-month-old daughter. Neither expects to have feelings for the new spouse, but an intact family unit is a practical necessity if they are to survive in Samuel’s remote forest cabin. Both together and separately, Eleanor and Samuel endure hardship and sudden revelations about themselves and about each other, and both of them grow in their faith as they are forced to rely more and more on God’s grace in their lives.

Be sure you get the title by Michelle Griep, because this catchy title has been used and re-used for years by other authors, many of them dealing in thinly veiled pornography masquerading as literature.

Griep’s The Captive Heart is thoroughly and thrillingly romantic, exciting in action and exploration of exotic Native American culture, and absolutely the sweetest, most wholesome love story you have read in a long time.

If you do not find it in your bookstore, online or brick-and-mortar, ASK for it. You do not want to skip this one. Uplifting escapist fiction like The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep is very hard to find.

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Review: BLACK DIAMOND, by Susannah Sandlin

Review: BLACK DIAMOND, A Wilds of the Bayou Novel, by Susannah Sandlin.
Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon.
Jena Sinclair is an enforcement agent (a/k/a game warden) with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries in Terrebone Parish. She has recently returned to work after recuperating from two gunshot wounds suffered in the line of duty, and she is still learning to cope with the lasting damage done to her body, mind, and emotions.
Coleman Ryan (a/k/a the Hermit) has been living apart from the world, in his isolated home-built shack deep in the bayou swamps, totally off the grid for the past five years. He hunts and fishes and tries to heal from horrors he suffered a long time ago, and he wants nothing to do with other humans.
Everything changes when a man is mutilated and killed by an alligator, and the ensuing investigation leads Jena Sinclair to Cole Ryan’s rustic door. Soon a strange force binds these two together against deadly narcotics traffickers dealing the new drug, Black Diamond, deep in the Louisiana swamps.

Readers will be enthralled with the pursuit of the evil-doers and by this unlikely pair of good guys who wage war against their own scars while working to overcome threats from their environment and avowed enemies.
The action and emotion are nonstop from beginning to end. Settings and characters are well developed and unique, personal relationships are multifaceted and engrossing. Readers will fall in love with the damaged protagonists and will root hard for them to succeed in catching the criminals and finding a way to be together as a couple.
There is some violence, notably a gruesome alligator attack at the beginning, but few profane words and only one modest love scene. If this were a film, it would probably be rated PG or PG-13. Religious faith is treated respectfully. The Cajun-influenced bayou culture is created well and entertainingly.
I rated this novel five stars, and I look forward to reading others in the Wilds of the Bayou series by Susannah Sandlin.
This writer received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest, objective review.

Review: FATAL FROST, by Karen MacInerney

Review of FATAL FROST, A Dewberry Farm Mystery, by Karen MacInerney.
Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon.
In this wholesome, small-town, cozy mystery Lucy Resnick has left her career as a Houston investigative reporter to take over her late grandmother’s farm in Buttercup, Texas. In addition to coping with a clever cow and two adventuring goats, Lucy works part-time waitressing at the Blue Onion Cafe and has begun dating the local veterinarian.

Of course, if Lucy simply lives an idyllic life on rustic Dewberry Farm, we would have no mystery to solve. So, when a Cafe co-worker doesn’t show up for work, readers just know a murder has been committed. Soon Lucy knows it, too, but the local sheriff pays no attention to Lucy’s suspicions, naturally. Lucy will have more than one murder to solve and more than one personal relationship to salvage before the exciting conclusion.

Author Karen MacInerney has created such a lovely town and lovable, realistic people, that we are not surprised to find some characters’ favorite and popular Christmas recipes included at the end of the story. They are a welcome addition, too, because throughout the story readers have been salivating over the various treats consumed by the residents of Buttercup, Texas, at Christmastime.The holiday atmosphere and homespun Christmas traditions add a note of nostalgia and warmth to the already-comfortable environment of the story.

There is no offensive material in this wholesome mystery, and the treatment of Christianity is even-handed rather than negative, which is a welcome rarity in today’s humanistic society.

FATAL FROST is available from October 18, just in time for Christmas. Treat yourself to a copy, or give one to a friend. Merry reading.

The writer received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest, objective review.

Voting in Light of Eternity | Biblical Answers and Resources | Part 3 of 3

Voting in Light of Eternity | Biblical Answers and Resources | Part 3 of 3

Thanks, Brandon K Rachal, for sharing this.

The Isaiah 58:10 blog

[+] = a link that sends you to additional information

Each hour of every day, you and I are faced with a myriad of decisions that leave indelible ripple effects across the entirety of our lives. Regardless of your religious convictions, each of us (rather consciously or subconsciously) are governed by someone or something[+]From local politics that affect our neighborhoods and schools, to federal politics that influence the very fabric of our nation; the Christian voter must educate himself by uncovering the complexities of politics through a Christian perspective. We thought through many of these complexities in the first part of the series. If you have not explored that post, you should start there now[+]. Why? Because good decisions always emanate from asking great questions. In Part Two[+], we discussed being the ‘salt n light’ of the earth and why God desires for…

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Review: A Whole Latte Mystery, by Caroline Fardig

Review of A WHOLE LATTE MURDER, A Java Jive Mystery, by Caroline Fardig
Rated 4 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon.
Jave Jive is a Nashville coffee house run by Juliet (Jules) Langley, who is more than a simple caffeine purveyor. Jules also has a penchant for encountering, and solving, murder mysteries. Just as Jessica Fletcher did in Murder, She Wrote on television, Jules leads an improbable but exciting life, getting into and out of bizarre and dangerous situations with her quirky ensemble of friends, barristas, and cop-boyfriends.

I had trouble keeping up with the many characters and their relationships to Juliet, but that is possibly because this is my first foray into the Java Jive series. The story moves along well, with humor, suspense, and pathos added to the puzzle-solving that goes with any mystery. It is generally light-hearted and free of offensive material that would make it unsuitable for younger readers.

An uncorrected proof was provided to this writer in exchange for an honest, objective review.

Review: Maniac, by Angus MacVicar

Review of Maniac by Angus MacVicar,
(first pub. 1969; reviewed ARC of 2016 ed. from Endeavour Press Ltd.)

Rated 4 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon.

The first thing I noticed about this classy and classic Brit mystery was that it had first been published nearly fifty years ago. I worried that the story might seem dated and irrelevant, but subsequent reading proved me wrong. This mystery is as charming, suspenseful, and engrossing as any cozy mystery written today. Such timelessness is the hallmark of a well-crafted novel that expresses universal truths about the human condition.
Alec has returned to his family’s ancestral after many years as a globe-trotting journalist. He hopes to recuperate from a recent hospitalization for mental problems, without becoming the center of small-town gossip. As it happens, he has much more to worry about than just gossip. Someone, people say it is a “maniac,” is murdering women in this tiny British hamlet. Because of his recent illness, Alec is not sure whether he may, in fact, have committed murder without remembering it.

Readers will snap at anyone who interrupts them while reading of Alec’s friends and family, including old girlfriends and new, because there is a surprise lurking behind every bush and every smiling (or frowning) face in Alec’s home town. Easy and fun to read; it will be over before you know it, and you’ll be sorry to see it end.

There are some oblique references to adult misbehavior, but the language is generally clean and there are no explicit sexual scenes.

This writer received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest, objective review.

Review: A Baxter Family Christmas, by Karen Kingsbury

Review: A BAXTER FAMILY CHRISTMAS, by Karen Kingsbury

Rated 5 stars by Iris Chacon.

Two years after Erin Baxter is killed in an auto accident, her father, John, invites a stranger — an avowed atheist — to share Christmas with the extended Baxter family.
Erin’s bereaved husband and young daughter are unsure whether they can cope with this Christmas guest. Not only are they (and many other Baxters) uncomfortable celebrating Christ’s birth with a woman who is anti-God, but they are also unsure how they will handle meeting the woman who received Erin’s donated heart after the accident.
Will the biological heart of the late Erin Baxter affect the spiritual and emotional heart of this stranger? Will the family see or sense Erin’s presence simply because her heart now pumps the stranger’s blood?
Readers of Karen Kingsbury’s books may have already read several stories of various members of the Baxter family, and for those readers this book will be like attending a family reunion. For those of us who are new to the Baxter saga, Kingsbury provides a quick round-up of everything we need to know in order to enjoy A Baxter Family Christmas.
Subplots about the prayers of several different characters for their own particular “Christmas miracle” weave tightly through the main story, and one after another lives are changed in unexpected, supernatural ways. The novel is a moving, sweet, and enjoyable holiday experience. The author even includes Baxter family Thanksgiving and Christmas menus and recipes that will delight many homemakers.
I rated A Baxter Family Christmas 5 out of 5 stars, and I highly recommend it to all readers, but it will be a special blessing to Christian readers, who will revel in spiritual truths portrayed and expressed in appropriately loving ways.
This writer received an ARC from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest, objective review.