REVIEW: Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin

Joseph, a Vietnam war vet and his brother Bobby, now a US Senator led a tough childhood.  Bobby also stole away Joseph’s high school sweetheart while Joseph was serving.  This led to years of anger from Joseph, compounded with war nightmares.

The story opens will an illegal immigrant family in the hands of a drug dealer who won’t let them go.  Joseph, ever the crusader for someone in need of help, becomes the helping hand.
Remember that high school sweetheart?  Allie and Bobby couldn’t make a go of it, but Allie remarried and her long-distance truck driver husband encounters an unexpected end.  Again, we have Joseph to her rescue.
This story was filled with Vietnam war remembrances, people at unrest, immigrants, drug dealers and retaliation, migrant workers, hard workers, love long lost, and on goes the list.
Charles Martin once again spins a complex tale that engages the reader to the very end. Thanks to Thomas Nelson for an ARC for a review in my own words.

 

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REVIEW: The Underground River by Martha Conway

This is one of those books that you look forward to spending time in the next chapter. Follow the story of May, along with her cousin Comfort, and boat captain Hugo. It’s a look at Kentucky and Ohio prior to the Civil War when the slave trade was huge. May needs to decide where her sense of right belongs. Aboard a riverboat, heading from Pittsburgh toward Paducah, Kentucky, the “floating theater” family experiences a great deal of North-South angst. The ancillary characters like Mrs. Niffin and abolitionist Flora Howard are vividly portrayed. The reader cannot help but cringe when either woman enters the scene. What an engaging story!

I read this as an audiobook and I think that hearing it, instead of reading, really made the characters jump off the page and into my reading experience.

http://marthaconway.com/underground-river/

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REVIEW: Where the Fire Falls (Vintage National Parks, #2) by Karen Barnett

Artist Olivia Rutherford uses a contrived personae to present herself to the art world.  Frank, her agent, encourages Olivia to do some contract images for Scenic magazine. The catch is that the images need to be from Yosemite National Park.  The Vanderbilts accompany her as companions and Clark is hired by the magazine to serve as Olivia’s guide.

Olivia, though, lost her father to an accident at Yosemite and she is not sure she can get any work done at the park with the ghosts of that incident.  She has kept the accident and death private; it isn’t part of her Olivia Rutherford role.

In addition to the support from Frank, her agent, Olivia owes her aunt for taking care of her twin, younger sisters.  Olivia is the breadwinner for the orphaned family and it’s important for her to give her all to the Yosemite project.

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As I’ve visited Yosemite, I could see some of the beautiful vistas that Olivia was painting.  I greatly enjoyed the story and look forward to more in this series.

Thanks to Waterbrook and Multnomah Press for the ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: 223 Orchard Street by Renee Ryan

It’s about two sisters who come through Ellis Island and need to make a go of it in the Bowery district of NYC. Their aunt is their sponsor. Shannon, the younger, pines for her fiancé who didn’t board the ship to NY with her. The older sister, Katie O’Connor, is a talented seamstress who seems to have more connections than most in her station. It’s a romance, with a brooding, Dr. Titus Brentwood, looking for redemption from a surgical procedure gone wrong.
It was a quick read. I found myself wanting more in this story. There didn’t seem to be a big conflict.

Thanks to Waterfall Press for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: The Celebration (Amish Cooking Class #3) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

This series continues in the Amish Cookies classes offered by Heidi. She decides this time to offer them to children in order to get her two foster children more engaged with other area kids. There are many stories behind the home lives of each of the children. We have a single, widowed dad. There’s the spoiled daughter of two successful professionals. There’s the dedicated, and always worried about money/expenses mom with two great sounding kids and one wayward teen. We meet the separated parents and their two children. Plus, we have the daughter/mom pair struggling with the new adoption revelation. The story seems intended to appeal to a variety of family structures so that all readers can see the normalness of so many different backgrounds.
Thanks to Barbour Publishing, Inc. for an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

Fleeing to the New World for religious freedom, Mary Elizabeth along with her widower father and brother David, are among the Pilgrims who were severely tested on the crossing to Massachusetts.  William, not a religious man, is hired on as a carpenter. Abandoned as a child, he was finally taken in by a benefactor who encouraged William to be part of the Mayflower voyage.

Both young adults, Mary Elizabeth and Williams are drawn to one another.  Circumstances on board, though, are tenuous and many perish. The late season landing in Massachusetts was unexpected; the group was aiming for current day New York City area.

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I felt the author did a great job portraying the difficulties of the voyage and the peril involved in the first year in the New World.

Thanks to Barbour Publishing for providing me an ARC for a  review in my own words.

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REVIEW: The Heart Between Us: Two Sisters, One Heart Transplant, and a Bucket List by Lindsay Harrel

Megan Jacobs, library assistant, and her architect, twin sister, Crystal, have a strained relationship. This is due to Megan’s constant health issues prior to a heart transplant 2-3 years before the story begins. Megan takes the step to meet the family of the her heart donor. That puts into motion a bucket list of activities, developed by the young heart donor. Megan and Crystal embark on a world tour to check off the items on the list. Along the way their hearts soften and they find their way back to one another. There are, however, other matters of the heart that are more complicated and the sisters need to work together and with God to move forward.

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Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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