The First Gardener

Cover: The First Gardener

When I saw the title The First Gardener, My mind first went to the thought that it would be about Adam or perhaps God as the ultimate First Gardener. I had no idea what it would be about, but it stands to reason that if the spouse of the head of state is The First Wife, then the one who takes care of the grounds must be the First Gardener. This is a novel of heart ache and turmoil but also of forgiveness.
Who has not lived in the world of “what if” or “if only i” or even blaming our selves? This is the world Mackenzie, the wife of the Governor of Tennessee lives in. It is a hard life, one that takes its tole on the health and welfare of the human body. It causes us to look at life and those around us through skewed eyes. Jeremiah, the First Gardner plays the capacity of adviser as well as the gardener in this heart rending, thought provoking novel. Although I had my suspicions, what the actual tragedy is, that is mentioned on the back cover of the book, does not come out until near the center of the story.
Well told, with compassion and insight, the characters grow in their journey, dealing with the hard issues of life. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to delve into a thought provoking novel.

MY REVIEW 

When I saw the title The First Gardener, My mind first went to the thought that it would be about Adam or perhaps God as the ultimate First Gardener. I had no idea what it would be about, but it stands to reason that if the spouse of the head of state is The First Wife, then the one who takes care of the grounds must be the First Gardener. This is a novel of heart ache and turmoil but also of forgiveness.

Who has not lived in the world of “what if” or “if only i” or even blaming our selves? This is the world Mackenzie, the wife of the Governor of Tennessee lives in. It is a hard life, one that takes its tole on the health and welfare of the human body. It causes us to look at life and those around us through skewed eyes. Jeremiah, the First Gardner plays the capacity of adviser as well as the gardener in this heart rending, thought provoking novel. Although I had my suspicions, what the actual tragedy is, that is mentioned on the back cover of the book, does not come out until near the center of the story.

Well told, with compassion and insight, the characters grow in their journey, dealing with the hard issues of life. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to delve into a thought provoking novel.

Dry As Rain

2012 Christy Award finalist, Contemporary standalone category. 
From the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans comes a powerfully moving story that tests the limits of love’s forgiveness. Like many marriages, Eric and Kyra Yoshida’s has fallen apart slowly, one lost dream and misunderstanding at a time, until the ultimate betrayal finally pushes them beyond reconciliation. Just when it looks like forgive and forget is no longer an option, a car accident gives Eric the second chance of a lifetime. A concussion causes his wife to forget details of her life, including the chasm between them. No one knows when—or if—Kyra’s memory will return, but Eric seizes the opportunity to win back the woman he’s never stopped loving.

Dry As Rain

Cover: Dry as Rain

2012 Christy Award finalist, Contemporary standalone category.
From the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans comes a powerfully moving story that tests the limits of love’s forgiveness. Like many marriages, Eric and Kyra Yoshida’s has fallen apart slowly, one lost dream and misunderstanding at a time, until the ultimate betrayal finally pushes them beyond reconciliation. Just when it looks like forgive and forget is no longer an option, a car accident gives Eric the second chance of a lifetime. A concussion causes his wife to forget details of her life, including the chasm between them. No one knows when—or if—Kyra’s memory will return, but Eric seizes the opportunity to win back the woman he’s never stopped loving.

 

MY REVIEW

 

This novel really stretched my mind…as Eric grew from a self centered, inconsiderate husband who had willingly committed adultery with a co-worker, to one who was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to win back his wife in a marriage going south fast. Told from his point of in the first person present, gives the reader first hand knowledge of Eric’s thoughts (which also includes his intentions) and actions. It was an interesting read as I have not often read this type of novel as told from the male character’s perspective. I would have to say I think Gina managed very well in portraying this. I appreciated how his friend and fellow worker tried to keep Eric on the straight and narrow, though I am not sure that in real life we would always have a friend who would be willing to step out and face us.

Having his wife Kyra living in the shadows of not remembering the recent pass gives Eric a type of blank page to work with. It was rewarding to me as a reader to see how Eric tried to redeem himself of his past indiscretions and misdemeanors first with works and then with the truth. I appreciated the fact that this story is told with candor and realistically deals with the theme of unfaithfulness and comes to a satisfactory conclusion.

I would love to recommend this novel to my friends, especially those who have read novels that deal with the theme of unfaithfulness to a spouse with an unsatisfactory ending. Those who do not like romance novels should find this equally engaging, and those who do like romance in their stories will enjoy this one as well.

 

This novel can be found where ever fine books are sold.

Heart Echoes

Cover: Heart Echoes

In the aftermath of a massive Los Angeles earthquake, the perfect existence Teal Morgan-Adams has built begins to crumble. Teal’s daughter, Maiya, is determined to learn the identity of her biological father, despite the loving devotion of her stepdad, River Adams. But that’s a secret Teal hoped would remain buried forever. She has never shared the truth with anyone . . . not her family, not River, not even Maiya’s father.

As Maiya’s rebellion escalates, Teal receives tragic news from her sister and decides to take Maiya home to Cedar Pointe, Oregon, a place she’s avoided most of her adult life. But will her already-strained marriage survive the distance and the secrets she’ll be forced to face there? And can Teal erase the lies that echo in her heart?

 

MY REVIEW

 

This is truly a story of the heart…and heart echoes. Altough Tyndale catagorizes this novel as contemporary fiction, which it really is, it is so much more. It will transend the ages, because it deals with issues that face each generation, each age and era. The truth will make you free is not just a cliché, it is a fundamental truth. Forgiveness is necessary for the victim to face a life of meaning. These are just a few of the things that The Heart Echoes deals with and brings to the forefront in this captivating novel. No, I have not dealt with the exact themes that are portrayed here, but who has not dreamt of a life that would be better if only someone had not done that, or if they would only notice me. But often reality is that life might have been worse if I had gotten what I wished for.

Not knowing your parent might throw you a curve ball, whether you never knew them (as in adoption or as this story says it) or whether they abandoned you. But we can not change the past, we can only change our reaction or attitude to it. And our memories of the past may or may not be what actually happened, as Teal finds out in The Hear Echoes. Memories are, after all, our rendition of what has happened, and are shaped by our own thoughts, emotions and history.

This is a well written novel about relationships with our siblings, parents and close loved ones. I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good romance, but also one that causes us to look into our own lives and learn from it.

 

This book is available where fine books are sold.

The Fourth Fisherman: How Three Mexican Fishermen Who Came Back from the Dead Changed My Life and Saved My Marriage

We each came to a moment of brokenness;
what we found there was God.
And he was enough.It was the subject of headlines around the world:  Three Mexican fishermen in a small open boat without any supplies, drifting for more than nine months and 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean. Through blistering sun and threatening storms, they battle starvation, dehydration, hopelessness, and death. Their lifelines? An unwavering faith and a tattered Bible.Thousands of miles away, Joe Kissack, a successful Hollywood executive, personified the American dream. He enjoyed the trappings of the good life: a mini mansion, sports cars, and more. He had it made. Yet the intense pressure of his driven and high-powered career sends him into a downward spiral, driving him deep into suicidal depression, insidious addictions, and alienation from his family. His lifelines? A friend and a Bible on the table between them.

Thoughtfully told with candor and humor, Kissack weaves together the incredible true voyage of fishermen adrift in the sea and his own life’s journey as a man lost in the world. It is a story that will buoy your spirit and renew your hope and faith.

MY REVIEW

Joe Kissack did an awesome job of writing the story of the 3 Mexican Fishermen who survived almost ten months on the ocean in 2006. By writing this story as a comparison between the faith that helped the fishermen as they battled the extreme difficulties and the problems we face in our life, he brought the reader into the story. It is very well written, and the simularities of the sharks of the ocean and the sharks of the world are clearly explained.

By opening his own life to the public, he faced his own fears and insecurities, and so shows us how God can save us from our own trials. What do we have in common with mexican fishermen or the Joes of the Hollywood world? Well, we all have obsticles to overcome, whether it is our own natures, our childhood fears or attitudes. Honestly, I was reluctant to request this book because I did not think I would enjoy it. Once again, I was proved wrong, and am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to read this. I saw things in a different way than I had before. I would rcommend this to everyone, whether you prefer non-fiction books or fiction novels.

i received the ebook free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers through their Blogging For Books program for the purpose of reviewing. i was not required to write a positive review. The opinions stated are my own.

Promise Me This

Book Description

Publication Date: January 20, 2012
Michael Dunnagan was never supposed to sail on the Titanic, nor would he have survived if not for the courage of Owen Allen. Determined to carry out his promise to care for Owen’s relatives in America and his younger sister, Annie, in England, Michael works hard to strengthen the family’s New Jersey garden and landscaping business.

Annie Allen doesn’t care what Michael promised Owen. She only knows that her brother is gone—like their mother and father—and the grief is enough to swallow her whole. As Annie struggles to navigate life without Owen, Michael reaches out to her through letters. In time, as Annie begins to lay aside her anger that Michael lived when Owen did not, a tentative friendship takes root and blossoms into something neither expected. Just as Michael saves enough money to bring Annie to America, WWI erupts in Europe. When Annie’s letters mysteriously stop, Michael risks everything to fulfill his promise—and find the woman he’s grown to love—before she’s lost forever.

MY REVIEW

Cathy Gohlke has written a phenominal emotional and poignant novel based on the happenings of the times around the sinking of the great Unsinkable Ship the Titanic and the War to end all wars World War I. The reader is drawn to the gutter rat – Irish orphan and abused child Michael Dunnigan and the up and coming gardener Owen Allen and his orphan sister Annie. Loyalty and generosity are perhaps their biggest and at the same time worst virtue. Enter Aunt Elizabeth, jealous, bitter and everything evil. How this all contects together, is for you, the reader to find out.

Christ’s unending, unconditional love shines brighter against the dark background of the world and this brilliant light shines through the book. There were times when my heart was heavy and I hardly wanted to turn the page for fear of what would come to view about the world and the lives of the characters of Promise Me This, but then, I needed to find out how things would end. I have read enough novels of this type that end realistically, not necessarily as I as the reader would want them to.

This novel is very well written, and the discriptions of first of all the Titanic as well as the world as it was then very vivid. I could almost see the massive amounts of plants and luxuries afforded to those sailing in the ship, and the countryside in New Jersey at the nurseries. The war scenes were just as graphic, and those that have too much imagination might want to skim over parts of this. But don’t let that stop you from picking up an awesome novel. Right and Good does triumph over Evil.

 

You may purchase this book anywhere great novels are sold.

Attracted to Fire

Attracted to FireSpecial Agent Meghan Connors’ dream of one day protecting the president of the United States is about to come true. Only one assignment stands in her way. After the vice president’s rebellious daughter is threatened, Meghan is assigned to her protective detail on a secluded ranch in West Texas. Unfortunately, working with Special Agent in Charge Ash Zinders may be as tough as controlling her charge. Ash has a reputation for being critical and exacting, and he’s also after the same promotion as Meghan. But when the threats escalate and security on the ranch is breached, it becomes clear this isn’t the work of a single suspect—it’s part of a sophisticated plan that reaches deeper and higher than anyone imagined. And only Ash and Meghan can put the pieces together before it’s too late.

 

MY REVIEW

I just finished this fast paced action filled drama about the work of the secret Service Special Agents. This is one suspenseful novel that I had a hard time putting down, even though I knew I desperately needed to sleep. There were numerous conflicts to keep the adrenaline flowing – between the two Secret Agents (Secret Agent Meghan Conner and Secret Agent in Charge Ash Zinders, nicnamed A2Z) who were competing for the same office, the men and women thrown together on a working ranch, the vice president’s daughter and those trying to keep her safe, and even after the reader was told who the villains were, this continued.

I enjoyed learning how the characters learnt to trust each other and God in spite of the evidence they had, which is perhaps the main core of the novel. Trust between child and parent, learning to differentiate between what emotions tell you and what reality tells you. Mix in the angst of an angry daughter using drugs and alcohol to deaden perceived hurts and you have the making of a hair raising ride. Hang on tight, or get off. This book is not for the faint hearted who are looking for a rocking chair read.

I was so involve with all the action happening, I am not sure that I noticed much about the area in Texas where the Dancin’ Dust Ranch is located. The novel was well written and it took a while after I was done for my heart beat to slow down to normal. Good thing, because I want to sleep tonight.

 

This book is available at all the major bookstores including Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble, and Christianbooks.com