Reviews for the Top 5 Books

(1)The Familiar Stranger
Christina Berry
Moody Press
Reviewed by Cindy Loven
An accident, leaves one man horribly injured, and in a drug induced coma, and another man dead. Denise rushes to the hospital to be with her husband, Dr. Craig Littleton. He was injured when a car hit his parked car beside the freeway. But who was the man who died? And why was he with Craig? And why was Craig parked alongside the freeway? Why was he arguing with the strange man, as passing motorists noticed? What was going on?
These questions plague Denise, but the police clear up the mystery, sort of, it seems. They discover the dead man was William Rodain, a patient of her husbands. But why he was with Craig, was still a mystery.
Denise stands beside Craig, amazed at how different his personality is, as he is slowly recovering. He has trauma induced amnesia, and doesn't remember her or their sons. Hopeful that his homecoming will jog his memory, they all look forward to him coming home and getting well.
Follow this fascinating, fast paced story from beginning to end. See Denise fall in love with her husband all over again. Discover her kindness and developing friendship with the daughter of the man who died in the accident. See the boys grow into a loving and better relationship with their dad. Discover secrets, that hurt and should never had to be revealed. Learn about the infidelities that Craig indulged in before the accident. See forgiveness at its most merciful. A wonderfully written book, this debut novel from Christina Berry will most definitely be a book to share with friends and family. Discussion questions for book groups and clubs included. 5 stars 334 pages $13.99 US
Disclaimer, no payment was received for this review, only compensation was the book, sent from the publisher or publicist which was used to write the review

(2)This review is the property of ArmchairInterviews and was done at their request, for their site.
Cottonwood Whispers
Jennifer Erin Valent
5 stars
Reviewed by Cindy Loven
Cottonwood Whispers, is Jennifer Valent's second book, a sequel to Fireflies in December, set to be released in September 2009. While this book is a sequel, it easily stands alone, without having read the first book. Ms. Valent has a wonderful story telling ability that shines through the pages of this book.
Meet Jessilyn, a young girl in 1936, who lives with her parents and a friend Gemma, whose parents have died. Nothing overly unusual about this, with the exception that Gemma is black and Jessilyn and her family are white, and a black girl living with a white family was not something done in that area or time.
Jessilyn comes to terms with growing up, and her fondness for a young man who is a close friend of the family, and she learns to deal with conflict and grief as mishaps strike their small town. A young child is run over and dies, an arrest is made in the crime. Jessilyn and her parents and many others in the town are positive that he is innocent, Gemma knows he is innocent, because she knows who did run over the little girl. This novel is full of suspense, faith and life and this author has brought it all to us in this wonderful book. The ending of this book gives me hope that there will be a third book.
Jennifer Erin Valent is the winner of the Christian Writers Guild's 2007 Operation First Novel Contest, for her first book Fireflies in December, she lives in Central Virginia. You can learn more about her on her website www.jennifervalent.com . 338 pages 12.99 US
(3)The Hope of Refuge
An Ada's House Novel
Cindy Woodsmall
Waterbrook Press
Reviewed by Cindy Loven
Cara Atwater Moore was on the run, again. Crazy Mike had found her again, and he had really scared her this time, and she had to disappear for good this time. Flashes of childhood memories and her mother's diary guide her toward Amish country.
Ephraim Mast, worked hard in his father's cabinet business. Keeping it going, to support his father and his family, after his father became ill with a heart problem. His sister Deborah is planning her wedding to a local boy who works with Ephraim in the cabinet shop. Life is going smoothly. Their community is finally healing and going forward, after a horrible crash that took the life of Ephraim's mother and many others in their small Amish community.
When a strange English woman and her daughter show up hiding on his property, he knows he does not need this headache. However, he has memories of a small girl who came to visit years ago, with her mother. He is sure this woman is that same girl. More than that he is certain the Lord is speaking to him, to show her the Way, and to show her, her family that she does not even know she has.
The Hope of Refuge is a book that will grab your attention and keep you there till you have read the last page. Wonderfully written, with a underlying message of redemption, this book is truly a book that you will not want to put down. Cindy Woodsmall has brought us a five star book with The Hope of Refuge. 341 pages $13.99 US

(4)A Gift of Grace
Kauffman Amish Bakery Series Book 1
Amy Clipston
Reviewed by Cindy Loven
Two neices, all of sudden Rebecca and Daniel Kauffman find themselves raising two neices, Rebecca's sister Grace, who left the Amish community when she was young and married and English man, has died in a tragic accident and left her sister as guardian over her two daughters.
Rebecca and Daniel, married fifteen years and childless, now have two teenage 'daughters' who have totally different values and ideals than they do to deal with. Teenage attitudes abound, and Amish values are stretched beyond the limit as this family tries to learn to live together. Follow along as Jessica and Lindsay, learn about Amish life, and as Daniel and Rebecca learn that there is a big difference in raising children who were born into your Amish family than bringing English children into your home. Cry with the family as they go through hard times, laugh as they laugh.
Amy Clipston, has brought us a wonderful book, with her first published book. This book, was well written, a beautiful story and I look forward to more books from this author. Interspersed between each chapter are wonderful Amish recipes for you to try out. A book worth sharing and recommending to others. 323 pages $10.99 US

(5)Maggie Rose
Daughters of Jacob Kane Book 2
Sharlene MacLaren
Whitaker House
Christian Fiction/Historical
5 stars
Reviewed by Cindy Loven
Maggie Rose Kane, has a deep conviction that God wants her to go to New York. Convincing her father was another story, but eventually Jacob Kane conceded that he should not stand in the way of the work of the Lord. So, twenty year old Maggie, finds herself on her way to NYC to work in a orphanage, Sheltering Arms Refuge.
Luke Madison, a news reporter was a young man deep in grief and anger. Gaining justice and seeing people answer for their actions was his goal. His aunt, fiancée and her mother had all died in a tragic accidental fire aboard a ship. Negligence was the cause and he was bent on seeing someone pay.
Two people from very different lives, with different view points, and beliefs both wind up at the Sheltering Arms Refuge. Maggie as a new employee, sent on a mission by God. Luke, to do a story for his newspaper, sent there by his boss.
Follow along as they rescue a young orphan girl from a seedy brothel/saloon. Cry as they board the “orphan train” taking their young charges to new families. Stand in awe as God works in each of their lives, and draws them close.
The second book in the Daughters of Jacob Kane Series, Maggie Rose easily stands alone. This book will not require having read the first one, to understand it and enjoy it. Sharlene MacLaren has written a book, a story of love, redemption, faith and hope. A story that will give you insight into the history of the orphan trains. A story that will touch your heart, and make you want to read more about the Kane daughters. Definitely a book to share with friends and family. Be sure to visit Sharlene's website at www.sharlenemaclaren.com Watch for book 3 in the Daughters of Jacob Kane series, due out Spring 2010. 427 pages.


  1. Haven't tried one of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series yet. Looks interesting. I have such a long list of books to read. I guess I better get on it.

  2. Cindy, thank you again for featuring THE FAMILIAR STRANGER as one of your top picks for the year. I'm honored!