Many Sparrows (Lori Benton) – Review

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This post is part of the Litfuse Publicity blog tour for Many Sparrows.


straight-to-the-pool-room5 stars

~ About the Book ~

Either she and her children would emerge from that wilderness together, or none of them would…

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son…especially when her second child is moments away from being born. Continue reading

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First Line Friday – 22 September 2017 – Charging the Darkness (J. Rodes)


Happy Friday all! I am firmly in the grip of my First Line Friday selection this week: Charging the Darkness, which is the final book in the dystopian trilogy The Uncloaked by Jennifer Rodewald (writing as J. Rodes). If you haven’t read this series yet, you might like to check out my reviews for The Uncloaked and Tearing the Veil. If you have read the first two books in this series, then no doubt you will be as anxious as I have been to read the final installment, which releases this Tuesday, 26 September. You can also pre-order right now for $1.99!

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A Matter of Trust (Susan May Warren) – Review

5 stars

~ About the Book ~

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he’s remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can’t seem to find his footing–or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret–one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn’t so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he’ll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder–and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella’s secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other–even when disaster happens again?

Series:  #3 Montana Rescue Series
Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Release date:  4 July 2017
Pages:  336
Publisher:  Revell

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  iBooks  //  Goodreads  //  Koorong


~ Review ~

This series is just getting better and better. I love it! The great outdoors, extreme sports, man versus nature, and a nice dose of romance to round it all out! What’s more, they are such immersive reads. I could feel the spray from the powdered snow, I could feel the bone-numbing cold (if one could be said to ‘feel’ such a thing!) and I could feel the rush of adrenaline that comes from flirting with that fine line between exhilaration and danger.

Gage and Ella first met three years prior to this novel, at Outlaw Resort. Three days together was all it took for their instant rapport to develop into something deeper, and one accident and the ensuing legal case was all it took to leave everything, including Gage’s career, in tatters. That’s some pretty intense emotional conflict to be dealing with while you’re trying to navigate dangerous terrain in the middle of a snowstorm, and Gage doesn’t even know the whole story yet!

I’m a big fan of characters who handle conflict maturely, in spite of their pain. Yeah, there’s the initial anger and resentment, the “I really don’t want to deal with this” reaction, but it doesn’t take long for grace to smooth the edges as they respond to and support one another in their search for Ella’s brother. And in so many ways, the search becomes a powerful metaphor for what it means to trust God, and for the rebuilding of Gage and Ella’s relationship. It’s dangerous country, and Ella has to stay in Gage’s line, to trust his judgement, even when it doesn’t make sense. It makes for some pretty breathtaking moments, for all sorts of reasons!

As with the other books in the series, there’s a second story brewing that will no doubt be continued in a future release. But first, Ian and Sierra’s story. I can’t wait!

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ Previous Books in the Series ~

If Ever I Would Leave You 

Read my review for Wild Montana Skies or Rescue Me.

~ About the Author ~

SusanGrowing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I’m a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I’m an adventurer — having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years. Probably that’s why my characters can’t sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another — they’re too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel privileged every day to be able to write stories.

Here’s my “Official” Bio.

With over 1 million books sold, critically acclaimed novelist Susan May Warren is the Christy, RITA and Carol award-winning author of over forty-five novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill, and Summerside Press. Known for her compelling plots and unforgettable characters, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic-suspense, thrillers, rom-com and Christmas novellas.

With books translated into eight languages, many of her novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. She’s a three time RITA finalist and an eight time Christy Finalist.

Of her books, Publisher’s Weekly has written, “Warren lays bare her characters’ human frailties, including fear, grief, and resentment, as openly as she details their virtues of love, devotion, and resiliency. She has crafted an engaging tale of romance, rivalry, and the power of forgiveness.”

And Library Journal adds, “Warren’s characters are well-developed and she knows how to create a first rate contemporary romance…”

Susan is also a nationally acclaimed writing coach, teaching at conferences around the nation and winner of the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year award. She loves to help people launch their writing careers and is the founder of and, a writing website that helps authors get published and stay published. She’s also the author of the popular writing method, The Story Equation.

Connect with Susan:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter

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Word Nerd Wednesday – Full stop or period?


Welcome to the middle of the week, Word Nerds! I started out today on an innocent quest to discover why American-English has named that little dot at the end of a sentence a period, while British- (and Australian-) English prefers the term full stop.

Turns out I should have packed a lunch!

One thing led to another, and before I knew it I was knee-deep in the history of punctuation itself. Talk about a grammarian’s heaven!

There’s far too much for me to share here, but if you’re interested, the BBC article The Mysterious Origins of Punctuation is a great place to start. Our humble little full stop or period had its beginnings way back in the 3rd Century BC, when the Alexandrian librarian Aristophanes decided there must be a clearer way to communicate in writing than runningallofyourwordsandletterstogether. It made reading something of a chore, to say the least!

Aristophanes’ original system punctuated for the length of a pause rather than grammatical function—a logical way to punctuate in a culture where persuasive speaking was more highly regarded than written language. He devised three different dots aligned with the middle, bottom, and top of the line called a commacolon, and periodos respectively, with the periodos indicating the longest, or full, pause.

Punctuation remained fairly arbitrary right up until the development of the first printing presses, but it’s fairly easy to see how both terms came to be associated with the dot that we now place at the end of a sentence. Period refers back to the original term periodos, used by Aristophanes, and full stop refers to the effect, if you will, of reaching a full-length pause at the end of a sentence, as opposed to a shorter pause, such as might be indicated by a comma.

Having said that, it seems as though the two words did retain distinct meanings even into the early 20th Century: the dot used in abbreviations such as etc. was a period, whereas the dot used at the end of a sentence was a full stop. Exactly when or why American-English and British-English diverged on this point and began applying their preferred term ubiquitously is unknown.

Now, with the advent of the internet, we have yet another name for that little dot; namely, dot! Perhaps we haven’t reached the end of this story yet…

Which term do you use? Period or full stop?

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Top Ten Tuesday – My Fall (*ahem* Spring) TBR


I’m back to Top Ten Tuesday after a two-week hiatus! And this week’s topic from the girls at The Broke and the Bookish is one of those topics that I don’t even pretend to limit myself to a mere ten books! However, I have managed to be somewhat restrained. Limiting this list to books that are actually releasing between September and November went a long way towards that restraint!

And obviously, this is actually my Spring TBR, because here in the antipodes, spring is in the air!



Read my reviews for Crown of SoulsA New Shade of Summer, Rule of Lawand Magnolia Storms.




Looks like I have an enjoyable few months ahead. How’s your Fall/Spring TBR looking?

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Magnolia Storms (Janet W. Ferguson) – Review

Don’t forget to check out my Meet the Writer feature on Janet W. Ferguson and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Magnolia Storms.

4-5 stars


~ About the Book ~

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting—even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction/Contemporary Romance
Release date:  15 September 2017
Pages:  280
Publisher:  Southern Sun Press

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  iBooks  //  Goodreads

~ Excerpt ~

“Hello, Josh.” The voice slammed him like a punch to his stomach. Not Cammie.
This tone was low and strong, yet sultry. The slight Cajun accent. Maggie. That voice that could gut him from miles away, even after all this time.
Words froze in his throat.
“Are you going to say anything?”
“Why do you have Cammie’s phone?”
“We’re in a crisis, and you need to get back here ASAP.”
Fear clawed at him now, shredding his composure. “Is J.D. okay? What’s happened?” His voice cracked.
“Your son is fine.” Her tone softened for half a second. “Cammie’s injured her vertebrae. Some delivery guy wasn’t paying attention and hit reverse instead of drive. Knocked into her hard.”
“Oh, Maggie. I’m sorry.” Though thankful J.D. was safe, his stomach still sank. Maggie’s family had been through too much already. Lost so much already. His gaze traveled to the window, past the American flag whipping in the wind, to the gales rocking the murky water before them. Somewhere in the depths, her father had been buried.
“Yeah. Me, too.” A wistfulness carried over the distance, snagging his heart. “Is there someone else here who could pick up J.D.?”
Apparently she didn’t keep up with his personal life. Which, given the way his ex-wife had dumped him, maybe was best. It was embarrassing enough looking like a failure to the people who knew. “I’ll leave as soon as we reach Venice.” Too bad they weren’t already back.
“Really?” The sharpness returned. “They’ve still got y’all out in this wind? And there’s a hurricane entering the Gulf as we speak.”
“We’re fine, Maggie. That storm’s days away.” He could picture the fire in those chocolate eyes framed with the longest black lashes he’d ever seen, wild curls falling down her shoulders.
“Right.” A dramatic sigh crossed the airwaves. “So, a few hours?”
As fast as he could. Did the woman want him to jump ship and start swimming that way? He shook his head and held in the sarcasm. He wouldn’t dare say something like that to her. “Yes, ma’am. See you in a few. Promise.”
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Joshua Bergeron.”
Abruptly, the call ended. A lot like the way their relationship had ended years before.

~ Review ~

As I read this book, I often had the words of that well-known hymn circling round in my head:

“Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?”

Maggie Marovich knows all about storms—both literal and figurative—but she’d rather avoid them altogether than rely on an anchor. Wouldn’t we all?! She’s faced the loss of both of her parents, and when her best friend and the love of her life refused to give up his dream of piloting ships—the very job that cost her father his life—she walked away, losing him, too. Now her sister Cammie faces the prospect that she might never walk again. Why has God abandoned her? Why does it feel like he ignores her prayers?

Josh Bergeron has often regretted not being there for Maggie after her father died. After all, he knows all too well what it feels like to be abandoned. But he’s never regretted becoming a ship pilot. Now he has the chance to be there for Maggie as she struggles to care for her sister’s ten-year-old daughter and their eight-five-year-old Aunt Ruth, keep her sister’s antique store running, AND prepare for the hurricane building off the coast. But watching Maggie with J.D. revives all the dreams he once had for them, and this time she’ll be breaking two hearts when she inevitably leaves again. Unless he can convince her to give them another chance…

It was all too easy to identify with Maggie. She’s loyal, compassionate, and resilient (some people might call it stubborn!), but she’s driven (or perhaps held back) by self-preservation, and nothing sends her into self-preservation mode like being around Josh Bergeron. The emotional and romantic tension crackled between these two every time they were on the same page. Josh’s adorable three-year-old son J.D. was a different story, though. He won Maggie’s heart from the get-go, meaning her wall of self-preservation was often going up and down around Josh like a malfunctioning portcullis!

Maggie has little choice but to accept Josh’s help, and as they work together she begins to learn what it means to have a Comforter and a Saviour who will be an anchor through life’s storms; to take one moment at a time, to count her blessings amidst the storm, and to see that God can work good in and through all situations.

An engaging and enjoyable read!

I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ About the Author ~

Janet FergusonJanet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

Connect with Janet:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Instagram

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Weekend Book Buzz – 16/17 September 2017

Weekend Book Buzz

It’s been a busy weekend for me this weekend, with a flying visit (literally and figuratively!) to Melbourne to see TWO of my favourite groups in concert together. If you’re a fan of a cappella vocal music and you’ve never heard of Australian vocal group The Idea of North, or Swedish vocal group The Real Group, then you need to fix that pronto!

But that’s probably not why you’re here, and there’s plenty of bookish news to share too, so let’s get down to business, eh?

Continue reading

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