Archives for May 2014

CrossReaders Book Review: River Oaks Plantation   by B. J. Robinson

CrossReaders Book Review: River Oaks Plantation by B. J. Robinson

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B00H8XZLCE” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61t2LdyhToL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”104″]

Title: River Oaks Plantation

Author: B. J. Robinson

Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

Margaret Jane Turnrow first laid eyes on River Oaks Plantation amid lush foliage and oak trees dripping with Spanish moss when she returned from her honeymoon as a petite hazel-eyed fifteen-year-old bride to the antebellum mansion. She immediately fell in love with the house and grounds and beautifying the garden with plants. Her first task involved lining the oak drive with azaleas. Determined to have the best plantation gardens, she soon recreated formal ones designed from precious memories of France, Italy, and England she’d toured on her honeymoon. Before the Civil War, she imported plants, and gardening became her passion. During the war, it was her only one. The fertile Louisiana soil loved and nursed her plants as much as she did, and they grew like the cotton and sugarcane.
Pale as a magnolia blossom, she sparkled like the sun reflecting off Lake Pontchartrain when she flashed pearly white teeth with her camellia red smile. The war would change the shy woman-child as it ravaged through her life and took its toll on the home and family life she came to know and love with all of her heart.

Before the Civil War, dashing Danny Paul Turnrow stood six-foot-two-inches, as tall and elegant as the white-columned plantation home he’d purchased on the banks of the Mississippi River. He led a charmed life as a charismatic cotton baron known as one of the richest men on River Road. River Oaks boasted over thirty-five-hundred acres of fertile Louisiana soil, mostly planted in cotton with the exception of some sugarcane along the Mississippi River banks and his wife’s gardens.
He returned from the war a different man, as broken as the pillared splendor of the South. Surrounded by cypress swamps and sugarcane fields on the river’s end and white blankets of cotton edging the dirt roads, River Oaks Plantation still stood, but the grand life he’d led turned to one of backbreaking toil. He no longer stood so tall and proud with an aching back hunched over Louisiana cotton fields.

With the future uncertain, fear lurks in his heart and soul and clouds his mind. What will sustain his marriage through the loss? Can they defend what’s most precious to them and maintain River Oaks as a working plantation? The manor home is the only legacy he has left and the only life he has ever known. Will he lose it?

Years later, Amaryllis Camilla O’Brien is stranded alone with two dogs on the top floor of an antebellum plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, as a deadly hurricane rips and roars through the city and raging floodwaters threaten to devour the old home. She discovers a yellowed diary. Will family secrets drown in the flood with her? Will the diary matter? She’s determined to save it and the dogs, or die trying. Has her grandmother left her a sinking ship?

Noah Gautreaux, the plantation manager, took vehicles to higher ground and is supposed to return, but will he make it in time to save Amaryllis and his pet girls? The old house withstood the floods of 1973, 1983, and 1993. He doesn’t think he has to worry about it floating off down the Mississippi River, but as excessive rain and wind continue to batter the area and the water continues to rise when the levee breaches, he realizes there’s a first time for everything and this could be it for the white-columned beauty of ages past. Will the plantation, the only woman he’s ever loved, and his pets drown or be blown away? Can he save what’s most precious to him? Will River Oaks ever be the same, or will Katrina destroy what the Civil War spared?

 

Review

River Oaks Plantation by B. J. Robinson is two stories in one but expertly woven together by the author to make one wonderful story of love and hardship with love winning in the end. The story begins in 1856 when Margaret Turnrow, the fifteen year old bride of Danny Turnrow, sees her new home for the first time. She thinks it is the most beautiful house she has ever seen and immediately starts thinking of the formal gardens that she will plant and she plans to model them after the gardens she saw in Europe on her honeymoon. The Civil War brought many changes and heartaches to Margaret but she had her gardens to help her through the hard times.

The modern part of the story began when Margaret’s great, great granddaughter, Camilla O’Brien, arrived at River Oaks Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, on August 29, 2005. Camilla spent many summers of her youth at the home and is overjoyed that her grandmother left the house to her and she plans to restore it to its former beauty. She had dressed to impress the manager of the plantation but when she met him she was soaked to the skin from the pouring rain. Camilla and Noah Gautreaux, the plantation manager, spent their childhood summers together but at their first meeting neither recognized the other. Soon Camilla and Noah were swept up into all the problems and dangers caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The author did an excellent job in the development of the story in the way that she interwove the story of the nineteenth century with the story of the twenty first century. I like the way the author included the diary of the great, great grandmother in the story. All the characters were so real that they seemed to came to life on the pages of the book and I felt as if I knew each one of them personally. All the action was so realistic that I was living it right along with the characters in the story especially the scenes that were taking place during Hurricane Katrina. Thanks to twenty-four/seven television coverage of Katina, I had lived through that part of the story and the author’s vivid descriptions brought the terror of Hurricane Katrina to life in the book. There were twists and turns in the plot and even a little suspense. Would Danny come home from the Civil War? Would River Oaks Plantation be destroyed by Hurricane Katrina? Would Camilla and Noah end up together?

I highly recommend this book to everyone that enjoys a great romantic story. This novel has two wonderful stories with one beginning in 1856 and the other beginning in 2005.

Thanks to the author, B. J. Robinson, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

[easyazon_cta add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00H8XZLCE” cloaking=”default” height=”43″ key=”tall-light” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”120″]River Oaks Plantation[/easyazon_cta]

This review was submitted by: Deanna Gottreu – please visit her website at www.buzzardsroostcrafts.com/blog

CrossReaders Book Review: Wren’s Nest   by Deanne Durrett

CrossReaders Book Review: Wren’s Nest by Deanne Durrett

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B009Q85TBC” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Cn7pq%2BlML._SL160_.jpg” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”100″]

Title: Wren’s Nest

Author: Deanne Durrett

Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

Awakened by frantic pounding, Joe Chandler opens his door to a blast of wind and rain and
two strangers on his front porch. The young man says, “Blake Adams said you’d
help us. I’ve been praying hard as I know how that he was right.” Hearing his
old friend’s name, Joe invites them in and as they step into the lighted room,
he realizes that the young woman is in labor and about to deliver. Joe draws on
his experience as an ex-cop to assist in the birth and as the newborn takes his
first breath, Joe vows to protect the child and his mother from whatever drove
them to his door.

As the story unfolds, Sherman Taylor tells Joe that he is trying to protect his sister after
a surrogate mother deal went bad and their unscrupulous lawyer-uncle named her
as the substitute surrogate. Sherman leaves Loren and her baby in Joe’s care
and returns to Phoenix. Before long he finds evidence that hired thugs are
after Loren’s baby. They will stop at nothing and they’re on their way to
Myrtle Hill. Joe and his team of retired cops spring into action. They don’t
know who is coming, or how soon, but trouble’s on the way. They plan to fortify
Joe’s cottage they’ve dubbed the Wren’s Nest and stand guard round the clock.
No one can come or go without their knowledge and they’re sure Loren (the wren)
is safe in the nest… but is she? This suspenseful tale has twists and turns
and the challenge of the unexpected.

 

Review

Wren’s Nest by Deanne Durrett is a great story of love, the love one gives and receives through helping others. Joe Chandler is fast asleep when a very loud knocking on his front door awakens him. He opens the door to find a young man and woman soaked to the skin in the driving rain. As they enter the house, Joe realizes that the woman is in labor but he is an ex-cop and has delivered babies before. The young man tells Joe that Blake Adams in Phoenix sent them. With this information Joe relaxes and gets everything ready for the impending birth. The young couple are brother and sister, Loren and Sherman, and they are fleeing from their lawyer uncle who has substituted Loren as a surrogate mother due to the disappearance of the original surrogate mother. After Joe learned that Sherman was Loren’s brother then he just assumed she was a single mother. Loren assured him that she was married and that her husband was in the Air Force Special Ops somewhere in the Middle East.

Deanne did an excellent job in the development of all elements of this story. Each character was so well developed that I felt as if they were close friends. Well the lawyer uncle would never be a friend but he was also so well written that one could not help but greatly dislike him, even feel a little hate, and have the desire to toss him in jail and throw away the key. The scenes were so descriptive that during the birth of the baby I could almost feel Loren’s pain and then her joy when the baby was placed in her arms. There were several twists and turns in the plot and each one seemed to be more suspenseful than the next. While reading everything that Joe and his retired cop buddies were doing to protect Loren and the baby, I did a lot of nail biting and sitting on the edge of my chair. Matilda, Joe’s neighbor and friend, added a lot of love to the story but she also was the cause of a great deal of danger and fear. The story has a happy ending and even a surprise at the very end of the story, at least it was a surprise for me. I really appreciated the way the author showed through the main characters, the importance of prayer and how helping others brings happiness to the one being helped as well as to the one doing the helping. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the Phoenix Connection Series about Joe Chandler and his retired cop buddies.

I definitely recommend this book to all readers who enjoy a clean and suspenseful story with strong Christian values and enough romance to be interesting.

Thanks to the author, Deanne Durrett, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

[easyazon_cta add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B009Q85TBC” cloaking=”default” height=”43″ key=”tall-light” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”120″]Wren’s Nest[/easyazon_cta]

This review was submitted by: Deanna Gottreu – please visit her website at www.buzzardsroostcrafts.com/blog

When the Winds Blow, Which Way Do You Bend?

When the Winds Blow, Which Way Do You Bend?

Have you ever seen a Divi Divi tree? It is almost a national symbol on the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.

As an evergreen, the Divi Divi trees have inconspicuous but fragrant blossoms. The trees’ pods, wood, and leaves have several uses. Though slow growing, they are capable of growing to 50 feet tall but will almost always be bent at a 45 degree angle due to the constant-blowing trade winds.

Because of this, the trees bend and point to the west, as the winds blow from the east. In Aruba, lost tourists are told to use the trees as a compass.

Some say the Divi Divis are bent over because of leaning into the wind; others say they are bent over because of leaning away from the wind. Either way, the trees have adapted to the winds and grow in spite of them. Their twisted Medusa-like trunks and roots will grow in rich clay soil as well as the sand.

I love these trees! I love how God speaks to us through nature. Maybe we should consider growing like the Divi Divis.

A divi divi tree on Aruba

A divi divi tree on Aruba

When the winds of adversity blow, do we bend because of the blasting currents, or do we lean along with the challenges? If we lean with the trials, we will never be blown over as long as we are rooted solidly in the Lord. We will still have our fragrant blossoms and always point the way to our Savior, being a compass for others to find their way.

Though we will have the winds of temptation, loss, distress, or others beating against us, we can adapt, persevere, and survive, no matter what the situation.

“Then they will be called Trees of Goodness, trees planted
by the LORD to show His greatness.”
(Isa. 61:3 New Century Version)

 

LynnMosher (2)_cr 2

Bio: At a time of physical upheaval in 2000, Lynn Mosher felt led of the Lord to take up her pen and write. With this new passion, she has embraced her mission to reach others through Christ-honoring literature, encouraging them in their walk and offering comfort through the written word. Lynn lives with her hubby (since 1966) in their Kentucky nest, emptied of three chicklets, and expanded by three giggly grand-chicklets, and an inherited dog. You can find out more about Lynn by visiting her website, Heading Home.

 

CrossReaders Book Review: Say It With Flowers  by Suzanne D. Williams

CrossReaders Book Review: Say It With Flowers by Suzanne D. Williams

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B00JFIOEXC” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51V-8ee9-VL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”107″]

Title: Say It With Flowers

Author: Suzanne D. Williams

Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

Benito Bottari fell in love the moment Arabella Howland walked in the door of his florist shop. However, her pending nuptials stand in the way.
It seems happiness is forbidden him again, and he must watch another woman leave with someone else.
Until a warning spoken by her best friend tells him all is not as it seems. Arabella’s in grave danger, and it’s up to him to stop it.

 

Review

Say It With Flowers by Suzanne D. Williams is the fourth book in the Italian series and this book is just as enjoyable a story as the other three. It is a delightful feel good romantic story but how could it be anything else with a handsome and sweet Italian man as the main character. Benito Bottari owns a florist and when Arabella Howland comes into the store to order flowers for her wedding, Benito falls in love immediately. It is no surprise that Arabella also feels something when she meets Benito. He has secrets in his past but he is determined to win Arabella’s heart for he has a feeling that she does not really love Fredrick, the man she is to marry. When Arabella’s best friend tells Benito that Fredrick is not what he seems and that Arabella’s life is in danger, Benito thinks he may be the only person who can help Arabella.

Once again Suzanne has done an excellent job in the development of the characters, dialogue, and plot. All the characters were so realistically portrayed that I felt as if I were friends with all of them, well not with Fredrick. I was instantly drawn to Benito and was pulling for him to win the girl. The dialogue was gripping at times and at other times my heart was melting. There were a few twists and turns in the plot and one of those turns had me sitting on the edge of my chair and chewing on my fingernails. The author definitely knows how to keep the reader reading. And during all the action that took place in the book, I was right in the middle of it for the scenes were so well written and real. You will have to read the book to learn if Benito wins Arabella’s heart.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially to those that love a feel good romantic story.

Thanks to the author, Suzanne D. Williams, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

[easyazon_cta add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00JFIOEXC” cloaking=”default” height=”43″ key=”tall-light” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”120″]

This review was submitted by: Deanna Gottreu – please visit her website at www.buzzardsroostcrafts.com/blog

CrossReaders Book Review: Organizing Your Prayer Closet by Gina Duke

CrossReaders Book Review: Organizing Your Prayer Closet by Gina Duke

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”B00E0TNCDE” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41nkGz7wd9L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”107″]

Title: Organizing Your Prayer Closet

Author: Gina Duke

Rating: 5

About the Book

This is a book about prayer, a devotional, and a 60-week journal all in one. A great resource for personal growth in the area of prayer.

Review

Sometimes I think that with all that has been published on the topic of prayer, do we really need another book? But if the statistics quoted in the summary are anywhere close to accurate, then obviously there is a need! And then I think of my personal experience in this area – ranging all the way from consistency to only being prompted by need, and most often landing somewhere in the middle. So I decided that Gina’s book was worth examining, and I am so glad I did. Sometimes a writer’s style will especially “click” with readers, and I think Gina’s message in Organizing Your Prayer Closet will do exactly that for many Christians.

This is a book about prayer, a devotional, and a 60-week journal all in one. These are just a few things readers will learn:

• Offer up meaningful worship
• Grow spiritually by overcoming sin
• Hear God with clarity
• Remember prayer requests
• How to pray with scripture
• Develop faith and confidence in the sovereignty of God

Prayer journaling is something I’ve always wanted to do, but have been unsuccessful at so far. I found Organizing Your Prayer Closet inspirational, logical, simple to follow, and filled with principles that I can easily put into practice. Gina’s ideas have already made a big difference in my prayer life.

Gina asks this question in the introduction: “Why wouldn’t I record my petitions and God’s answers, unless I don’t think He answers them?” Then she goes into ten chapters dealing with areas of prayer-closet praying, combining personal stories with a passion and knowledge drawn from years of experience. Her non-intimidating style is conversational, easy to follow, and very motivational. Most people will shy away from something that looks like it will take a lot of time, but that’s not the case here at all. This is more of a way to sort out your thoughts before entering into a time of prayer.

Gina addresses the topic of petitions as one would expect, but there were several other chapters that I especially appreciated, like praise and thanksgiving . . . freedom and forgiveness . . . learning to hear God’s answers . . . the difference between ask, seek and knock . . . trusting in God’s sovereignty. One of my favorite quotes speaks a warning to all of us: “If you are serious about your spiritual growth, Satan will get just as serious – in a different direction.”

I highly recommend Organizing Your Prayer Closet, to seasoned Christian and new believers alike.

Thank you to BookFun.org and Abingdon Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

[easyazon_cta add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00E0TNCDE” cloaking=”default” height=”28″ key=”small-light” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”cross0e2-20″ width=”120″]Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray[/easyazon_cta]

This review was submitted by: Carole Jarvis