Thursday, June 30, 2022

Among the Innocent by Mary Alford REVIEWED

About the Book:

When Leah Miller's entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah has left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after an Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family's deaths.

As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can't help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning.

What will it mean for Leah--and Dalton--when the full truth comes to light?
My Thoughts:
"The inevitable showdown coming had been a decade in the making.  When it was over, would any of them be left standing?" (p.140)

This is the question the reader asks the entire way through this novel!  Alford's book begins with the murder of an innocent Amish girl, and spirals first one way then another, until the reader's head is spinning and heart racing as much as the main character, Leah Miller.  Leah's head can barely focus on one harsh reality before she is forced to face another. Her life as a police officer began with a strong desire to protect those around her, and that includes the members of the Amish community in which she was raised.  To watch innocent girls lives taken brings back her own childhood trauma, but her desire to face her fears, and her obsessed killer is stronger than her fears.

Working alongside Dalton Cooper - a man with his own fears - helps Leah navigate the chaos that flows through her community as a killer rises among them and seems to stay one step ahead of them no matter how hard they work.  This story line is as fast paced as anything I've ever read, and I can honestly say I couldn't wait to pick it up and see what happened next! 

I believe this is my first time reading one of Mary Alford's books, but I guarantee it won't be the last!  I love it when I can't figure out what's going on, and the tension builds bit by bit until you barely stand it! That, to me, is a fun read!!  You  will thoroughly enjoy this novel, and you will not escape without losing few characters along the way.  The killer in this book has a voracious appetite for mayhem! Buckle up for a wild ride!!

About the Author:

Mary Alford is a USA Today bestselling author who loves giving her readers the unexpected, combining unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots that result in stories the reader can't put down. Her titles have been finalists for several awards, including the Daphne Du Maurier, the Beverly, the Maggie, and the Selah. She and her husband live in the heart of Texas in the middle of 70 acres with two cats and one dog. Learn more at


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Friendly Mouse by Sophia R. Tyler REVIEWED

About the Book:

 A Small Mouse with a Big Heart Changes the World One Friend at a Time. . .

Mouse is a field mouse who loves living in the country, but works in the city. This leaves him with a major problem: he is constantly late for work. In the face of losing his job, Mouse makes a bold, faith-filled choice that could cost him everything.

An unexpected story about how a little mouse overwhelmed with his own struggles finds himself to be the miracle prayed for by another.

For more information, go to:

My Thoughts:

"I decided to choose kindness, no matter what anyone else does."  (p.29)

Mouse reminds me of something I easily forget kind always.  This is a picture book that kids will easily relate to, because they all always watching and listening and know when their parents are struggling.  This book also holds powerful truth reminders for the adults reading to the children in their lives...model the behavior you want to teach them!

Mouse also reminds us that others  - adults too - are always watching the behaviors we model.  Kindness doesn't always result in generous gifts from others, but there are many intangible gifts that kindness brings our way  - like friendship!   Every adult I know has difficult people in their lives, and if we choose to react with kindness, we are often surprised at the way God meets our needs, both physical and emotional!

I love this picture book and can't wait to share it with the little people in my life!!  Enjoy!

About the Author:

Sophia R. Tyler thinks back on the countless nights spent with her mom and sisters, reading books before bed. Ending the day by escaping into books with her sisters and mom, brought her feelings of warmth, safety and coziness. And ever since then, books have had that same effect. She hopes that the Jesus-inspired morals resonate with readers and brings similar feelings to those she felt as a kid.

Sophia likes to think about times people have shown kindness to her in times of need and how much that meant to her. The Friendly Mouse is a sweet reminder of how acts of kindness can go a long way. A comedian and actor named Robin Williams said it best: "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, so be kind, always.”

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Barabbas Legacy by M.D. House REVIEWED

 About the Book:

In this poignant capstone to the trilogy, the man called Barabbas—infamous former thief, murderer and prisoner turned Christian—and his wife Chanah continue their mission of spreading the gospel across the known world as cauldrons of political and military chaos boil across the Roman Empire. Nero is increasingly erratic, and it’s only a matter of time before the sharp knives of imperial politics finish him off. Various successors vie for position. Who will strike first, and who will come out on top?

Meanwhile, the rebellion in Judea has intensified, the Jewish zealots exerting great influence over the minds of the people. General Vespasian and his son Titus aim to put a permanent end to the insurrection. How many lives will ultimately be sacrificed on the great altar of Jerusalem? Can the Jewish nation survive the fulfillment of Jesus’s prophecy? What will become of the Jewish Christians and the apostles and sisters who lead them? And where will Barabbas and his family find lasting peace?

My Thoughts:

"If any of you came here thinking this would be easy, I hope you realize now it will not." (p. 313)

Establishing the first churches within the Roman Empire and the known world was anything but easy, but it is what the apostles and disciples dedicated their lives to after Jesus commissioned them before ascending back to His Father.  In this third installment of Barabbas' story you get a front row seat to the intense labor involved in every aspect of this journey.  The travel alone makes me exhausted.  I can't imagine the time and labor involved in getting from one place to another.

Barabbas and his family answer their call to become leaders in the early church.  They must leave family and loved ones behind, knowing they may never see them again this side of heaven. Relationally, this is a very realistic story.  The disagreement between the apostles, between believers and non believers is real and sometimes intense. It's not so very different from today, sadly.   Human nature, without the transformative power of the Holy Spirit remains unchanged throughout time.

My only criticism of this book, is that establishing the church seems too focused on temples of worship and statues in memorial.  In one passage the apostle talk about the "regional headquarters " and I'm not sure that was even the point.  I wouldn't have paid it any mind, but it kept being referenced, and I personally didn't like it.  Maybe Barabbas' faith needed concrete things to see and touch (beautiful temples and statues) but it detracted from the depth of faith I wanted to believe he possesses. 

If you want to experience the establishment of the early church in fiction, the Barabbas story is a good place to start.  It was not an easy or quickly established network, and many times it cost folks everything - life itself.  Enjoy this installment of the Barabbas story!

About the Author:

M.D. HOUSE is the author of The Barabbas Legacy, as well as the first two books in the series, I Was Called Barabbas and Pillars of Barabbas. He also wrote the science-fiction novel, Patriot Star, with a sequel coming in 2022.

Before beginning his second career as a writer, he worked for twenty-five years in the world of corporate finance, strategic planning, and business development. Now, he lives in the mountains of Northern Utah with his wife, where he spends his time writing and enjoying his children and grandchildren.

Learn more about M.D. House and his work at