Posted in Book reviews

“On a Coastal Breeze” by Suzanne Woods Fisher ~ Book Review

 

 

“On a Coastal Breeze” by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Book Two in the Three Sisters Island Series

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

For Madison Grayson, life is good. Newly licensed as a marriage and family therapist, she can’t wait to start her practice. Despite the unfortunate shortage of eligible bachelors on the island–they’re all too young, too old, or too weird–Maddie feels like she’s finally found her sweet spot. Not even one panic attack in the last year. Not one.
And then Ricky O’Shea drops in. Literally. Floating down from the pure blue sky, the one man in the world she hoped never to see again–the one who’d been her archnemesis from kindergarten through her senior dance–parachutes into town, landing on Boon Dock, canopy draping behind him like a superhero. Ricky O’Shea. Now Pastor Rick, the new minister on Three Sisters Island.
Time to panic.

 

My Thoughts:

Second book in the Three Sisters Island series, “On a Coastal Breeze” focuses primarily on middle daughter, Maddie Greyson. She’s finally set up her own counseling practice on the Island, and is doing quite well at it, getting a good handle on life…or so she thought, until a person from her pasts shows up.
I really liked the dynamic between Maddie and Rick. It wasn’t a simple relationship, but it was unique and growing. Though really, the romance wasn’t actually as prominant a theme in this book as I expected. The theme was more on forgiveness, and overcoming fear and anxiety. The plot was really well written, and I very much enjoyed getting a glimpse into Maddie’s counseling practice as well.
As with the first book, this story continued to show pieces from each daughter as well as their father, which was a nice touch. Cam could be a little hard for me to relate to at times, but she did grow in this book. And Blaine – she is a likeable character who faces some of her own trials in this book. Looking forward to seeing more of her story!
The ending almost came too soon – I would’ve enjoyed having it go longer! – but it certainly gives us readers something to look forward to in the third book. I’ve grown quite fond of the Greyson family and their little Maine Island. :)
  This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group (Revell), through Interviews & Reviews.
Posted in Book reviews, Reviews

“Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish” by Bethany Turner ~ Review (and MBTI mention!)

 

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@vikinglady10

 

 

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner

RomCom: Releases Tuesday, May 5th (TODAY!!!)

Review copy from the publisher/author as apart of Launch Team

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanaugh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel’s other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.
When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum, he’s sent packing to get his life in order. When he returns, career in shambles, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public’s good graces is to work alongside Hadley.

As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along, but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love. In the meantime, hide the knives.
Fan-favorite Bethany Turner serves up a heaping helping of humor and romance with this thoroughly modern story centered on cooking, enemies, and second chances.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 
I don’t cook or bake. At least, I don’t particularly enjoy it. So one might ask, why are you reading a very Foodie Novel? And the answer to that, besides the fact that the story itself sounds amazing obviously, is because Bethany Turner wrote it. As soon as I read her debut novel, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, I was hooked on this author’s writing style. It is so unique, and fun, and witty. So of course I could not miss out on another book by her!
And of course, I utterly enjoyed this one too. Surprise! ;) The story plot was really good, and the characters fabulous. The dynamics were a joy to see played out, and seeing Max transform was especially nice. Hadley was a sweetheart of a character, and I could relate to her on many levels (except the cooking/baking… haha). Max was detestable at first, and I really wondered how we would grow to love him. But we did, we really did.
I will say that I wish there was a bit more emphasis on faith. It was very subtly present, and I still feel that the author was respectful of that, but I think Max’s transformation could have had a lot more ‘oomph’ had the emphasis been more on God’s tranformation in us.
Still, I vastly enjoyed this book, and I’m sad to see it’s over. That just means I have to wait AGAIN for another Bethany Turner book…and that is quite difficult.  I guess I will just have to appease myself with rereads of the authors three published novels so far. ;)
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I don’t actually know if I’ve mentioned here on my blog yet, but I’ve been studying personality types for a while now, and am in the middle of a series on my Instagram where I type characters from books and movies every Monday (God-willing, of course!). It’s been a lot of fun, and yesterday I typed Hadley and Max from this wonderful book! You can check that out on my Instagram – my username is @vikinglady10 . :)

 

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“Desert Willow” by Patricia Beal ~ CelebrateLit Blog Tour/Review & Giveaway

Desert Willow FB Banner

About the Book

Desert_Willow_frontcover_finalBook:  Desert Willow

Author: Patricia Beal

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 12, 2020

After a failed engagement, Captain Andrew Lee James has focused on building a career in the Army he loves. That commitment includes helping a feisty, out-of-work ballerina whose devotion to her grandmother’s dying wish immediately grabs his heart. She’s the one, but will he be able to win the heart of a woman who has vowed to never be involved with a soldier?

College graduate Clara Malone swore to never love anyone in the military again but when her dying grandmother asks her to deliver a love letter to the general who broke her heart decades ago, she agrees and finds herself escorted by a handsome Army captain whose kindness challenges her beliefs. Surrounded by desert willows that shower her path with pretty pink flowers and sing with the buzzing of hummingbirds, Clara enjoys the wild beauty of El Paso—and her time with Andrew—more than expected.

Can she deliver her grandmother’s last love letter without losing her heart to a man who represents everything she fears?

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Patricia Beal_HeadshotPatricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). Her second novel comes out in February of 2020. Patricia graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and has worked for the U.S. Army as a writer and editor for many years. Patricia writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children. You can find more info about Patricia on her website here.

 

More from Patricia

Desert Willow: A Love Song to the City of El Paso, to Family, and to Prince Harry

I enjoy this story so much! It’s great to finally get to share it with you.

Desert Willow started as a NaNoWriMo project in 2015 and has a lot of my grandma’s history in it—life in the German colonies of the south of Brazil, the beginning of the shoe industry there, and the story of the most influential man her town has ever known, my great-grandfather.

And what does that have to do with El Paso and Prince Harry?

Well, my Prince Harry lookalike, a young Army captain named Andrew Lee James who lives in El Paso, is helping the protagonist deliver her grandmother’s last love letter, a letter she was urged to write all those years ago after what happened in Brazil.

The contemporary story of Clara (protagonist) and Andrew was fun to write too because I’ve been around the Army since the nineties. We moved to Fort Bliss/El Paso in 2012 and lived there for six years. I thought I was going to hate it, but I loved it, so I just had to write an El Paso story.

Now I think that what I enjoyed the most about writing this novel was making all the connections and showing how the actions of a distant past affect and inform the modern story so deeply.

Some of you have journeyed with me for a while and know that my debut, A Season to Dance, was my salvation process. What comes after salvation can be hard. What’s that? Well, looking at past mistakes through God’s eyes and realizing just how wrong we were, for starters.

We know how quickly God forgives us, but can we forgive ourselves and each other as quickly?

Desert Willow deals with all that. And with Prince Harry… 😊

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was a well written story about Clara Malone, a ballerina, and Andrew James, a Captain in the Army. Despite their initial background hesitations to start a relationship, they are undeniably drawn to each other upon first meeting, and this story follows their relationship as they each deal with their own struggles, and forgivenes.

There’s, of course, more to their story than that, but I figure you can read the description to get a better understanding ;)

I enjoy the author’s writing style, and it’s easy to stay interested. I didn’t really connect with either character, but I still enjoyed seeing their story play out. There were a couple instances where their actions bugged me (not their past decisions…), but I was glad to see them resolved. The message of faith was accomplished in a delicate but meaningful way and I appreciated that being the end goal of the story.

I also enjoyed the ballet aspect – I’ve never been in or around ballet, but it’s interesting to read about.

 I received an electronic copy from the publishers through Celebrate Lit. All thoughts expressed are my own.

 

GIVEAWAY

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To celebrate her tour, Patricia is giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7 (https://amzn.to/37TEN21)!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f8de/desert-willow-celebration-tour-giveaway


BLOG STOPS

Among the Reads, April 13

The Power of Words, April 13

For the Love of Literature, April 14

Robin’s Nest, April 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 15

Batya’s Bits, April 15

She Lives to Read, April 16

Older & Smarter?, April 16

Texas Book-aholic, April 17

deb’s Book Review, April 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 18

Writer Without a Space, April 18

The Christian Fiction Girl, April 19

Rebecca Tews, April 19

Emily Yager, April 20

Simple Harvest Reads, April 20 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Hallie Reads, April 20

Inklings and notions, April 21

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 22

Godly Book Reviews, April 22

For Him and My Family, April 23

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, April 23

As He Leads is Joy, April 24

God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae, April 24

A Reader’s Brain, April 25

janicesbookreviews, April 25

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 26

Pause for Tales, April 26

April Hayman, Author, April 26

Posted in Book reviews

“More Than We Remember” by Christina Suzann Nelson ~ Book Review

 

More Than We Remember

 

“More Than We Remember” by Christina Suzann Nelson

Review copy from the publisher/author

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

One night changes everything for three women. . . .
When Addison Killbourn’s husband is involved in a car accident that leaves a woman dead, her perfectly constructed life crumbles apart. With her husband’s memory of that night gone and the revelation of a potentially life-altering secret, Addison has to reevaluate all she thought she knew.
Emilia Cruz is a deputy bearing a heavy burden far beyond the weight of her job. Her husband is no longer the man she married, and Emilia’s determined to prevent others from facing the same hardship. When she’s called to the scene of an accident pointing to everything she’s fighting against, she’s determined to see justice for those wronged.
Brianne Demanno is hiding from reality. She was thriving as a counselor, but when tragedy struck a beloved client, she lost faith in herself and her purpose. When her neighbors, the Killbourns, are thrown into crisis, Brianne’s solitary life is disrupted and she finds herself needed in a way she hasn’t been in a while.
As the lives of these women intersect, they can no longer dwell in the memory of who they’ve been. Can they rise from the wreck of the worst moments of their lives to become who they were meant to be?

 

 

My Thoughts:

It’s always exciting trying new authors. Especially when you find that you enjoy them! “More Than We Remember” is a book that deals with trauma and loss, but also hope and restoration. We are taken along the journey of several different characters and their lives – and how one night’s tragedy affected them each differently.

I found this to be a gripping story, and it was interesting getting to know each of the characters. I loved Brianne’s side of the story, and her role as counselor. I am very interested in psychology, and seeing it play out in her story was fascinating.I liked how everything intertwined, and the ending brought it all together in a really good manner. We didn’t find out the truth of the accident till the very end, but that worked out really well.

I look forward to reading more by this author in the future! (And also, I adore the cover of this book!)

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books

“Like Flames in the Night” by Connilyn Cossette ~ Book Review

Like Flames in the Night

“Like Flames in the Night” by Connilyn Cossette

Cities of Refuge #4//Biblical Fiction

Review copy from the publisher

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Strong-willed Tirzah wants to join her people in driving the enemy from the land of Israel and undergoes training for a secret mission inside the stronghold of Shechem. But soon after she has infiltrated the ruthless Aramean commander’s kitchen, she makes a reckless decision that puts her and her allies in grave danger.
Fresh off the battlefield, Liyam returns home to discover his beloved daughter is dead. After his vow to hunt down her killer leads to months of fruitless pursuit, his last hope is in a family connection that comes with strings attached. Strings that force him to pose as a mercenary and rescue an infuriating woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted.
When an opportunity to pave a path to a Hebrew victory arises, can Tirzah convince Liyam to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will Liyam’s thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, his God, and the woman he’s come to love?

 

My Thoughts:

 

And just like that, this lovely series comes to an end. “Like Flames in the Night” is the fourth and final book in the Cities of Refuge series. It was a very good ending, but I am sad to see it all wrapped up and completed. In the best of ways of course. :) These characters have all become so familiar and loved. <3

Tirzah is the central character in this beautiful novel. She is spirited, strong, and quick-witted. She convinces her brother to allow her to be a spy in their work to recover the Land, and she does a good job at it.

Liyam is also a strong character, bent on avenging his daughter’s dealth. For much time that is all he can think of, and understandably so. His journey of change was probably my favorite. He was really rough, and turned toward anger, but his character arc was really well done, and I loved seeing how it was all resolved at the end.

Sometimes, I will admit, that Tirzah’s character got on my nerves. She had moments of being overly strong-willed, and prideful. But I liked how she softened a little at the end.

I really loved the epilogue – how that all wrapped up, and tied everything together. It was so sweet. And can’t leave this off without mentioning how much I adore the cover of this book – it’s stunning. :)

 

 

*I received a copy of this book from the publishers as apart of the Launch Team. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

 

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“No Chance Meeting” by Jaye Elliott ~ Book Tour and Review

Looking for a clean romantic read? Check Jaye Elliot’s newly released book, No Chance Meeting. You can read all about it below, and don’t forget to enter the giveaways!

About the Book
Alex Jennings is done with life. After losing her brother in Afghanistan, everything has collapsed around her. Getting laid off from her day job and failing in her art career, she has nowhere left to turn. She once had faith to believe that all things would work together for good, but that faith died with her brother. Now she just wants the pain to end.
Riley Conrad served thirteen years in the military until three bullets sent him home. After a year and a half of physical therapy and scraping together a living, all he wants is to live a simple life and perhaps even open the coffee shop he dreams about. However, the weight of failing his parents’ expectations doesn’t make it easy, and working as a bartender isn’t getting him anywhere fast.
Could a “chance” meeting between Alex and Riley set them both on the path God always intended?
Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and more!
20% of all February sales will go to the Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs.
My Review:
I really enjoyed this contemporary romance story by Jaye Elliott! I’ve read some of her fantasy novels under her other name (Jaye L Knight) and loved those, so was excited to try a new story from her as well. And it didn’t disappoint.No Chance Meeting is a story of struggles and pain, but also a story of relationships and support and hope. It starts out with main character Alex struggling deeply and about to end her life. Thankfully, an occurrence happens to prevent this and sets her on a whole new journey in her life.There was a section between the beginning and middle where it almost felt like the whole topic of suicide was almost unmentioned, though, which I feel a little unlikely. Yes, she had a reason to live now, but I feel like with her being miserable enough to end her life, it wouldn’t be something that wasn’t on her mind 24/7 or nearly. However, the story did work its way back to that and she dealt more with it. And with me mentioning this, I’m not saying that it wasn’t handled well, because this serious topic was handled quite well in this novel, and the seriousness of it was portrayed aptly. For most of the book it was that way. There was just a small section where it was almost forgotten about, which is okay, just something I noticed.I loved the characters relationship – Alex and Riley were a lovely pair, and stronger together. I also love the small town atmosphere, and that ending was super sweet. It was a great amount of romance – nothing over the top, they held accountability for each other, and it was realistic and sweet. The supporting characters were also enjoyable, and I enjoyed each interaction with them. Well, except a bad character or two. ;) But we’re not supposed to like them, so that was an appropriate reaction, haha. ;)All in all, a very sweet read!
Author Guest Post:

This is a scene I ended up cutting that takes place after Alex and Riley visit Riley’s grandpa. As much as I liked it, I just didn’t feel it was necessary for moving the story forward and made the decision to scrap it.

With the heat turned up in her apartment and a steaming cup of coffee, Alex didn’t mind the dreary weather. She stayed in her pajamas while she sat in the living room with her Bible for an hour before she finally dressed in a comfortable pair of jeans and a fleece-lined hoodie. It was one of the first mornings in a long time that she felt good about her day.

In fact, after seeing Joe’s sketches, she had an urge to get out her own sketchbook. She ignored it at first. After all, she was supposed to be taking a break, and not even a week had passed since she’d put her art supplies away. However, after contemplating it for a while, she decided to give it a try. She wouldn’t put too much thought into it and wouldn’t be critical. She would only do it for fun. Beyond that, she would see what happened.

Gathering her sketchpad and container of charcoal pencils, she sat down at the kitchen table with a full mug of coffee to begin. She forced herself not to think but to just draw. Before long, she became engrossed in the lines, the shading, and the smudging. The motions and the creative outlet were like therapy. 

Around noon, a knock at the door startled her from her drawing. She glanced at her hands, which were smeared with charcoal, but got up to answer the door anyway. She was an artist, after all. Getting covered in charcoal or paint was part of the job. Outside, she found not a stranger but Riley standing on her balcony. Had she somehow mixed up her days and was supposed to be heading to work? She did a quick mental calculation. But no, it was Tuesday, one of her days off. 

She gave him a questioning look. His smile said he was up to something, and then he pulled his hand out from behind his back to reveal a bouquet of yellow and orange roses. Her mouth dropped open.

“What are these for?” She took them from him and backed up so he could step inside, out of the rain.

He shrugged. “Our first date was a month ago.”

Alex gaped at him again. “You remembered our one-month anniversary?”

“Well,” he looked a little bashful, “no, but I was looking at the calendar this morning and realized it, so . . .”

Tears pooled in Alex’s eyes at how sweet he was. Though she had always believed there were guys like him out there, she had seriously begun to question whether or not she would ever meet one of them.

“You spoil me too much.” But she gave him a wide smile. “Thank you. I love them.” They were the perfect colors for fall, and she had a lovely aqua vase to put them in.

Riley nodded and then must have noticed her art supplies on the table.

“I know was going to take a break,” Alex said, glancing over at it as well, “but your grandpa inspired me to do a little sketching this morning.” She set the roses down carefully on the counter and retrieved her close-to-finished sketch. “I just have to work on a few more details.”

She handed it to Riley, holding her breath. Even after all this time, showing people her artwork still sent fear of criticism cascading like cold rain into her stomach. However, his smile calmed her. She’d sketched a picture of his grandpa based on a photo a CNA had taken of the three of them yesterday. She had feared she wouldn’t be able to accurately capture Joe’s twinkling eyes but, in the end, she found herself more or less satisfied. At least she hadn’t failed miserably.

“This is great. My granddad would love to see it. Maybe you can bring it next time we visit him.”

“I will.”

Riley handed the sketch back, and Alex laid it on the table where she could add the finishing touches.

“I guess I better head back to the bar,” Riley said.

Alex opened the door for him. Before he walked out, he paused and gave her a soft kiss. It left Alex warm, and happy, and wishing he didn’t have to leave. 

Still leaning close to her, he said, “I’m glad you agreed to that first date.”

“So am I,” she murmured. More than she could ever put into words.

He walked out then, and she hated to close the door on him, but she would have to content herself with waiting to see him again for work tomorrow.

About the Author

Jaye Elliot is an award-winning author, country girl, and hopeless romantic at heart. She loves a good hero and will always sigh happily during the lights scene in Tangled. She writes from her home in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, which she shares with three cats she considers her kids. When not writing romance novels, she pens fantasy and adventure stories as Jaye L. Knight.

Giveaway #1
To celebrate the release of No Chance Meeting, Jaye is giving away a reader bundle that includes a signed copy of NCM, a hand-painted watercolor bookmark, a coffee mug, and a bag of Dove chocolates! Enter using the form below. U.S. entries only. Not open internationally.
Giveaway #2
For her second giveaway, Jaye is offering 3 ebook copies of No Chance Meeting. Open internationally!
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Tour Stops
 
Friday, February 14
·
Tour Intro at Jaye Elliot
·
Review &
Author Post at
Reading
Anyone
·
Review at Losing the Busyness
Saturday, February 15
·
Author Interview at Angela R. Watts
·
Review & Author Interview at Resting Life
·
Author Post & Excerpt at Lady Grace: A Quiet and Gentle
Spirit
Sunday, February 16
·
Spotlight at The Music of a Story
Monday, February 17
·
Author Post at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
·
Author Post & Excerpt
at
A Day In The Life
Tuesday, February 18
·
Review at Tricia Mingerink
·
Review and Excerpt at Read Review Rejoice
Wednesday, February
19
·
Review & Author Post at Leah’s Bookshelf
·
Book Spotlight at The Page Dreamer
Thursday, February 20
·
Review at Stories by Firefly
·
Review &
Author Post at
God’s
Peculiar Treasure Rae
·
Author Interview & Post
at
Read Review Rejoice
Friday, February 21
·
Author Post at Backing Books
·
Review at Poetree
Saturday, February 22
·
Tour Wrap Up at Jaye Elliot
Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Veiled in Smoke” by Jocelyn Green ~ Book Review

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“Veiled in Smoke” by Jocelyn Green

Releases February 4th

The Windy City Sage Book One

Review copy from the author/publisher as apart of the launch team

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

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(Thank you to the author for sending the amazing prints and ash confetti!<3)

 

My Thoughts:

 
I must admit I have some conflicted feelings regarding this book. It is brilliantly written, and I definitely enjoyed the story, but there was an aspect that…well, I guess it was a trigger for me, and therefore how it ended was a bit of a wound to me.
I couldn’t deeply connect with main character Meg. Going into the story, I assumed that this story would be equally shared between the two sisters, and gravitated more towards Sylvie. Though her story was more of a side story, and I struggled with some of the ways she was treated.
Before I go on to explain some of what triggered me, I do want to preface it with saying how beautifully the author writes. This novel is gorgeous, and the story told vibrant and captivating. I still consider it a good read, worth my time, and I look forward to reading the following books in this series. The history was portrayed wonderfully, and the tragedy real.
As I don’t wish to spoil the book for anyone, I will warn that you may want to wait on reading the rest of this review until you have read the book for yourself. So, with that being said….
I really liked Sylvie. I really liked the relationship that blossomed between her and Jasper. It felt like throughout the novel though, that her feelings and her personal journey were not very well respected by the main character and supporting characters. It was really all about Meg and her end happiness. I know we are to root for the main character, but I couldn’t help but feel triggered by the fact that Sylvie was so often not given a voice or validated in any of her feelings. So yes, this ended up being a trigger for me but that doesn’t mean it will be for anyone else.
I have hopes that the next book in this story will be about Sylvie. However, I confess I still feel sorrow that she couldn’t have the ending she wanted in this book.
Again, my feelings will not reflect everyone’s, and as I also said this author is an excellent writer so her books are definitely worth the read!
Quotes:
“Sylvie rarely won a argument with Meg. She didn’t even like to disagree with her, preferring all the conflict in her life to be contained within the pages of books, where it was resolved by the last chapter…”
“But if she’d learned anything during the last several years, it was that the body repaired itself far easier than the spirit.”
“What a mercy that God was not limited by that which limited her. What a grace that His power and presence remained, regardless of whether she felt close to them. She must trust Him for what she could not see. Wasn’t that the essence of faith? Her hands were bound. His were not.”
“We will thank God as soon as we can.”
*I received a copy of this book from the publishers; all thoughts expressed are entirely my own.