Baggage Claim Book Review

About the Book

Baggage Claim
Click to purchase

Book: Baggage Claim

Author: Cathe Swanson

Genre: Christian Suspense/Romance

Release Date: February 14, 2017

 

There had to be at least one healthy branch on his family tree…

Who can he trust?

Ben Taylor, widower and father of four lively children, enjoys his easy, uncomplicated life. He likes his work and has a competent nanny to manage his household. Everything is good until he decides to seek out his biological parents and discovers a family tree with tangled roots and broken branches.

His comfortable life crumbles when he gets caught up in a criminal network of fraud and conspiracy at his new job. When Ben is forced into a dangerous alliance, he scrambles to find a safe situation and protection for his children before setting out to clear his name—all without getting himself killed in the process.

A nanny with a past…

Becoming a nanny was the perfect solution when Teresa Cooper needed a place to hide ten years ago, but now that she’s no longer in danger, she’s ready to move on and make a new life for herself. When Ben asks her to take the children to an unknown relative in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she finds herself in hiding again, this time with four children in tow.

As the children explore the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula, Teresa begins to wonder about God’s plan for her future. Who is this stranger Ben trusts with his children? Why here? Can a city-bred nanny find joy in this wild corner of God’s creation?

About the Author

Cathe Swanson lives in Wisconsin with her husband of 32 years. They enjoy spending time with their family and being outdoors, kayaking, hiking, birdwatching aPicturend fishing, but summer is short in Wisconsin, so it’s important to have indoor hobbies, too. Cathe has been a quilter and teacher of quiltmaking for over 25 years, and she enjoys just about any kind of creative work, especially those involving fiber or paper. She enjoys writing stories with eccentric characters of all ages. Her books will make you laugh and make you cry – and then make you laugh again.

My Review

My first thought amounts to this: Baggage Claim – not a cookie cutter book. Cathe spun a story with suspense, romance, and intrigue that kept me on the edge of my seat. Although the book had a slow start, the children endear you to them and make you laugh. I thought all the characters were lovable (well, except for the bad guys). From irresponsible, fun-loving Ben and secretive Teresa to four crazy kiddos and one mystery man Jonah, you’re gently tugged into their life. And you never want to leave. The reality that we all have baggage is woven through the story from beginning to end.

To be honest, this isn’t normally my kind of book, but that didn’t matter. The unexpected ending left me satisfied, but wanting more. From the first pages to the end, I wasn’t sure how all the problems would be sorted out, but she wrapped them up in a unique way. I highly recommend this book.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I give this book a four-star rating.

Guest Post from Cathe Swanson

When I was in high school, I thought I might like to become an occupational therapist. Instead, I got married, had babies, raised the children and launched them into the world. I took a few years to regroup, and then I started thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Shortly after that, my dad had a stroke, and when he came home from the hospital, I was fascinated by the work of the visiting therapists. I did some research and learned that physical and occupational therapy assistants make pretty good money and are able to do the best part of the job – the therapy. Therapists are often bogged down in paperwork and periodic assessments. The assistant has all the fun, and it’s just a 5-semester program.

So I trotted on down to the local community college and asked what I had to do to get signed up. The counsellor talked for a while about prerequisites, petitions, waiting lists, internships, and other such things. Eventually I realized she was trying to tell me that I was too old to embark on this career. Too taken-aback to be offended, I went home and wrote a book about it instead. After all, I’d invested a lot of time in research.

I’d been writing stories for years, and already had the bones of Baggage Claim. Once I gave my young hero a job as a physical therapy assistant, the story took on life. My mother’s interest in genealogy had sparked a question: What if a nice, normal person wanted to track down their biological family and it blew up in their face? So that’s where I sent my hero, and as one of my reviewers said, “It was not a Hallmark moment.”

I’m very happy as an author and have no real interest in becoming an occupational therapist. Indeed, that rejection was a turning point for me. I could have pushed forward and got that degree, but instead I went home and wrote. I have no regrets.

Blog Stops

March 28: Books. Books. And More Books.

March 28: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

March 29: Chas Ray’ s Book Nerd Corner

March 29: A Greater Yes

March 30: Genesis 5020

March 31: Reading Is My SuperPower

April 1: Quiet Quilter

April 2: autism mom

April 2: Avid Reader Book Reviews

April 3: Moments Dipped in Ink

April 3: Faithfully Bookish

April 4: Inklings and notions

April 5: Blossoms and Blessings

April 6: Blogging With Carol

April 7: Carpe Diem

April 7: A Baker’s Perspective

April 8: Christian Bookaholic

April 8: Karen Sue Hadley

April 9: History, Mystery and Faith

April 9: Bigreadersite

April 10: His Grace is Sufficient

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cathe is giving away Grand prize themed gift box that will include:
A decorative suitcase boxPicture
Earl Grey Tea
A handmade mug rug
A pretty mug
14 handmade all-occasion cards
And a paperback copy of Baggage Claim!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b2c8

April 10: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

21 Days of Grace Book Review

About the Book

Book: 21 Days of Grace

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Click to purchase. 

Author: Compiled by Kathy Ide

Genre: Devotional

Release Date: March 24, 2015

Love fiction? Looking for a devotional? Check out 21 DAYS OF GRACE, book one in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series (published by BroadStreet Publishing Group). Fictional stories followed by brief life applications written by best-selling Christian novelists and debut authors, including Angela Hunt, Cindy Woodsmall, and Deborah Raney. Great for individual or group study.

About the Author

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Kathy Ide is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and the editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. She’s a full-time freelance editor and writing mentor, working with Christian authors of all genres at all levels. She teaches at writers’ conferences across the country and is the director of the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She’s a co-owner of the Christian Editor Network LLC and founder of the four divisions that comprise the CEN: Christian Editor Connection, The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, PENCON, and The PEN Institute. To find out more about Kathy, visit www.KathyIde.com

My Review

21 Days of Grace is a beautiful collection of short stories. Each story is built with truth woven with emotional situations and deep characters. The stories are well written and pull you in within seconds. Despite the short story format, the authors manage to make each story feel complete. Each day starts with a story and ends with a life application. The layout is attractive and easy to read.

My one reservation is that not each day includes a Bible verse connection. I prefer for my devotionals to always connect to Scripture. If you enjoy fiction, this is a great light devotional. I personally prefer to start my day with an in-depth Bible study and end with a lighter devotional. I would prefer to use this for the latter. I don’t think it fully replaces a deep Bible study, but it still draws spiritual truths in a unique way.

I give this collection five stars. I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Guest Post from Kathy Ide

I’ve always loved Christian fiction, and I’ve seen the power of fiction to touch hearts and change lives, both firsthand and hearing about the experiences of others. But you know, in my quiet times with the Lord, reading a chapter from a novel just doesn’t seem quite appropriate. So a devotional with short fiction stories seemed like a great solution. And you can take these purse-sized devotionals wherever you go, to read when you have a few minutes of down time. It’s a great way to get “inspiration on the go.” And they make fantastic gifts for friends and loved ones.

Blog Stops

March 23: Reading Is My SuperPower

March 23: A Reader’s Brain

March 24: ASC Book Reviews

March 24: autism mom

March 24: It’s Storytime with Van Daniker

March 25: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

March 25: Inklings and notions

March 26: Blossoms and Blessings

March 26: The Power of Words

March 27: Lighthouse Academy

March 27: Because I said so – and other adventures in parenting

March 28: Moments Dipped in Ink

March 28: A Greater Yes

March 28: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

March 29: Captive Dreams Window

March 29: Donna’s BookShelf

March 29: Southern Chelle

March 30: Pause for Tales

March 30: The Scribbler

March 31: Carpe Diem

March 31: Faithful Acres Body Soul Spirit

April 1: A Baker’s Perspective

April 1: Splashesofjoy

April 2: Christian Bookaholic

April 2: Karen Sue Hadley

April 3: Ashley’s Bookshelf

April 3: Lane Hill House

April 4: Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet

April 4: History, Mystery and Faith

April 5: God is Love

April 5: Reader’s Cozy Corner

April 5: Simple Harvest Reads

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away:

1st – 4th place winners: A set of all four devotionals in the series.
5th & 6th place winners: An autographed copy of 21 Days of Grace with a novel written by one of the contributing authors!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b2cd

 

 

 

 

Buried Secrets Book Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Buried Secrets

Picture
Click to purchase. 

Author: Rachel J. Good

Genre: Amish Romance

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Overcome the past and any other obstacles that stand in the way of the future God has planned for you.

Three years after the accident that almost claimed her life, Emma Esh has recovered physically but has no memory of the year before the accident. When she moves to a new community to help her sister Lydia and brother-in-law, Caleb, prepare for the birth of twins, she falls for their neighbor Samuel.

But the twins’ premature birth, a visit from the Englischer Emma once dated, and the sudden return of her memory threaten Emma’s romance. After the secrets of her past are revealed, will love be able to overcome all obstacles?

 

About the Author

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Inspirational author
Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – Sisters & Friends series, Love & Promises series, and two books in the Hearts of Amish Country series – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books and the contemporary novella, Angels Unaware, part of the Hope Chapelseries. Rachel also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. She loves reading (of course!), traveling, and spending time with her five children and three grandchildren. Visit her at her website, Facebook, author page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You also can sign up for her quarterly newsletter here.

My Review

Buried Secrets was a page-turner that kept you guessing as you read. From what I understood, this was the second book in the series, but I could read it as a stand-alone. I thought Emma and Sam were easy to relate to and the author dealt with amnesia in an interesting manner that seemed honest and true.

However, I was distracted by some formatting issues. There was head hopping with no scene breaks which gave me no clue that I was changing point of view until too late. Also, there were inconstancies with first and third person that could have been remedied by placing the first person in Italics to show that the person was talking to themselves as I have seen previously in fiction. These were both minor issues that took away from the readability of the book, but did not take away from the interesting plot development.

There was a sweet message of forgiveness and love in the story interwoven through secrets that could not remain buried in the past. It brought a different angle to the contemporary Amish lifestyle and dealt with some challenging cultural issues while remaining true to God’s Word.

I would give this book three stars. I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions are my own.

Guest Post from Rachel J. Good

Readers who have read Change of Heart, the first book in the Sisters & Friends series, will remember Emma as the wild teen who defied her family. Her older sister, Lydia, tried to prevent Emma from making mistakes during Rumschpringe, the Amish running-around time. Throughout most of the story, Lydia and Emma were at odds with each other, but in the end, the family needed to forgive Emma and show her God’s love.

In Book 2, Buried Secrets, Emma has no memory of her rebellion, so she’s devastated when she finally does remember. Then she must confront her past, learn to forgive herself, and also ask for and accept God’s forgiveness. Sometimes when we’ve done things we’re ashamed of, we struggle to believe that God can forgive what we’ve done. But God’s mercy has no limits. Emma needs to open her heart to that truth. As she does, she discovers an important lesson: Some mistakes in the past can never be undone, but God can forgive anything.

Authors often write about themes that are close to their hearts, and I’m no exception. Many times, after I write a novel, I look back and see how God directed me to tell a story containing lessons I needed to learn. In Change of Heart, Lydia discovers that judging other people or suggesting ways they can improve their lives can be a form of self-righteousness. God used my young daughter to point that out to me, but it’s a lesson that bears repeating. And as I finished the novel, I clearly saw it as a reminder not only to Lydia, but also to me.

Emma’s story also blessed me by reminding me how deep and wide God’s love is for each of us. No matter how we’ve failed, He never stops loving us, and His forgiveness is only a prayer away.

I also hope to remind readers that “all things work together for good for those that love God.” So often we expect hardship when we do God’s will, but He has promised to give us the desires of our hearts. Lydia learned in Change of Heart that God’s will was so much better than anything she could have planned, and Emma, too, comes to realize that, by trusting God to direct her life, she is blessed many times over.

Has God ever given you a desire of your heart? To enter the giveaway, share one of God’s blessings in your life. And let’s rejoice together at the many wonderful things He has done for each of us.

Book Excerpt

Emma concentrated on the plants beside her. Gardening soothed her, made her feel whole again. The spring sunshine warmed the ground and sent comforting rays through her cloak as she bent over the soft, moist earth. She lifted a seedling from its pot and inhaled the savory tomato-y aroma. Then she pinched off the lower leaves, set it in the hole, and gently bent the stem before covering it with soil.

Whoosh. A heavy weight slammed her backwards, smashing her head against the ground. Gasping, desperate to suck some air into her crushed lungs, Emma opened her eyes to find a furry face inches from her own. A huge mouth opened, revealing pointy white teeth. Then a wet pink tongue scraped across her cheek.

“Bolt,” a deep male voice commanded. “Off.”

A handsome stranger, black bangs hanging in front of his eyes, bent over her, his hand outstretched. “Ach, I’m so sorry. She slipped out the door again.” He clamped his other hand on the Irish setter’s collar and pulled the dog off Emma, leaving muddy paw prints across her skirt.

Still dazed, Emma lay where she’d fallen, gazing up at him, unsure whether the rapid pattering of her pulse was from her recent fright or from looking into the greenest eyes she’d ever seen.

“Are you all right?” Worry crinkled his brow.

“I–I’ll be fine.” Ignoring the hand he’d extended, she tried to sit.

The stranger dropped to one knee beside her. “Don’t get up if you’re hurt. Is there someone I can fetch?”

“I don’t need help.” Heat flooded Emma’s cheeks when her words came out sharply. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “Please forgive me.” Then pinching her lips together, she steeled herself to sit without assistance.

“There’s nothing to forgive. I’m the one who let my dog escape.” The words were barely out of his mouth when the Irish setter twisted free and bounded off, crushing the rows of seedlings Emma had just planted.

“Oh, no!” The stranger dashed off after the dog, swerving to avoid the tomato plants the setter had crushed. Gasping for air, he made a desperate tackle, landing a few feet beyond the garden, the dog wriggling under him. With a firm grip on the Irish setter’s collar, he stood, the front of his shirt, galluses, and black pants splattered with dog hair and dirt.

Emma suppressed the urge to giggle at his sheepish expression, the clod of mud clinging to his forehead, and the panting dog struggling to jerk free of his hold.

He pinched his lips together as he studied the mess. “I’m so sorry. Let me put Bolt in the house. Then I’ll help clean up.”

“Bolt?” Had he called the dog that earlier? Emma had been too distracted to pay attention. Now she couldn’t hold in her mirth.

Rather than taking offense, the stranger glanced down with a rueful expression, then joined in her laughter. “Jah,” he said between hearty chuckles. “Short for Lightning Bolt. She zigs and zags so fast I can’t catch her sometimes.” He waved a hand toward the disaster in the garden. “Like she did here. And now look at me.”

Emma did, and her laughter ended in a sharp intake of breath. And then his eyes met hers, and she stopped breathing altogether.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading Buried Secrets as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Rachel

Blog Stops

March 9: autism mom

March 9: A Baker’s Perspective

March 10: Inklings and notions

March 11: Reading Is My SuperPower

March 12: Blossoms and Blessings

March 13: Bigreadersite

March 13: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

March 14: Bibliophile Reviews

March 15: Carpe Diem

March 16: Blogging With Carol

March 16: Splashes of Joy

March 17: Chas Ray’ s Book Nerd Corner

March 18: Connie’s History Classroom

March 18: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

March 19: Moments Dipped in Ink

March 19: Just the Write Escape

March 20: A Greater Yes

March 20: Christian Bookaholic

March 21: His Grace Is Sufficient

March 22: Rhonda’s Doings

March 22: Karen Sue Hadley

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a full box of Whoopie Pies freshly baked for you from a bakery in Amish country, along with copies of Angels Unaware, the brand new Amish Words and Proverbs Coloring Book and Amish Quilts Coloring Book #1 (Large Print Edition), an autographed copy of Change of Heart, and an Amish cookbook!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b160