The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble – Implausible

The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble is the second book I’ve read by this author.  What drew me to the book was the setting along the coastline of Washington, the mystery of what happened to the missing sister, a little romance with some home renovation mixed in.  I wanted to like this book more than I actually did.

The story is about two sisters Ellie and Mackenzie Blackmore, one of whom is missing and presumed dead.  She leaves behind a mystery of a life that wasn’t what it seemed.  Thrown into the mix is Grayson Bradshaw, an investigator for the US Coast Guard, who is looking into a missing shipment of illegal drugs that has ties to a terrorist.  One of the prime suspects is Mackenzie and that news doesn’t sit too well with Ellie who just wants to find her sister.

What I liked about The House at Saltwater Point:

  • Grayson was very honest, forthright, nice and likeable.
  • I kind of liked his relationship with Ellie, but they went from an adversarial relationship to romance and I wasn’t quite sure how they crossed that bridge.
  • I liked the subplot of Grayson finding out that he was adopted and had biological sister and family whom he knew nothing about.
  • I enjoyed the setting of Lavender Tides, the description of the town, the townspeople and friends, waterfront, beaches and scenery.
  • I liked the home renovation career of Ellie.

What I wasn’t too keen on:

  • The storyline was rather convoluted and had too many subplots going on.
  • The story and characters weren’t very realistic. Especially, the two small town sisters trying thwart a terrorist attack.  There were times that the sisters did a better job than the FBI and Coast Guard in trying to stop the terrorists.  There sure didn’t seem to much of a police presence considering the seriousness of what was going on.
  • Early on in the book Ellie takes in a helpless small kitten. Periodically, the kitten would be mentioned but for the most part it wasn’t part of the story.  I found it distracting.  That part of the story was unnecessary and didn’t contribute to the storyline.
  • At times the story seemed the drag.
  • The characters weren’t very realistic. My favorite was Grayson, a very nice man…but he was a little too perfect.

Colleen is really good at setting a scene and describing the place and helping the reader see it in their mind.  However, the storyline was not plausible and the characters weren’t deep or realistic…much of it was very surface level.  I think that’s where it lost me, I didn’t connect with the characters.

If you just want to read a mystery to escape for a while you may enjoy The House at Saltwater Point.

Colleen Coble is a Christian author, but there nothing much about faith included in this book.  It’s clean, no profanity and or sexual immorality, and I appreciate that.  But nothing much regarding faith and characters talking about God or praying or faith being lived out in their everyday lives.

I wanted to like The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble.  There were parts I did enjoy, but I think the implausible storyline and lack of depth the characters were too much to overcome.

I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers and BookLook for the opportunity to read The House at Saltwater Point for free in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

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Five Minute Friday – Loved Even When I Don’t Feel Like It

I’m participating in today’s Five Minute Friday writing challenge.  If you like to write or need some inspiration be sure to check it out.

Today word prompt:  Loved

Goodness…when I first read today’s Five Minute Friday prompt of loved…I thought oh no, what can I write about love.

Let me tell you a secret…I don’t think there’s been too many times in my life when I can honestly say I’ve felt loved.  Why…not sure entirely.  Not sure if it’s part of the baggage that some adoptees feel?  Maybe, maybe not.

When you don’t feel loved…you start thinking you are unworthy of love and something is wrong with you.  Is there something wrong with me?  Absolutely and with the world too.

First and foremost, I’m a sinner and I live in a broken sinful world.

But the thing that helped change me is when I was saved…when I recognized my sin, repented and believed in Jesus Christ and His perfect and complete atoning sacrifice on the cross paying the penalty for my sin.

That was done out of love.  Love of God the Father who came up with an outrageous plan to save sinners.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  1 John 1:10

Love of the Son, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself up for me and all who would repent and believe.

Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. – John 15:9

My Five Minutes Ended

Sometimes…I may not feel God’s love or feel loved or deserving of love…but now I can go by what I know…what recorded in Scripture.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). – Ephesians 2:4-5

Because of God’s love for me…may I now walk in love.  Love of God first and love for others.  I have a long way to go…but praise God…He has given me the Holy Spirit and the Bible to help me grow, learn and change.  Forgiveness for times I fail and fall short.  Abundant grace and mercy daily.  Assurance that my sin debt…all of it…was paid in full.

Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. – John 15:9

We love, because He first loved us. – 1 John 1:19

How about you?  Do you feel loved?  Do you know that God loves you?  Do you know that He made a way for you to be saved from your sins?  It’s through Jesus Christ and His death on the cross.  To know that truth…pick up your Bible or read it online.  Where to start…how about the Gospel of John in the New Testament.  Don’t wait one more day.  For today is the day of salvation.

 

Discipline from the Father’s Hand

From the heart of the Father
Through the work of the Son
A call to the church to be holy and sanctified

Commanded by the Savior
Authority given to the church
Discipline one caught up in sin

The honor and glory of the Lord to be upheld
Protect the flock and keep her pure
A healthy reverence and fear of sin

Do not neglect
Nor turn a blind eye
To the one going astray

Serious measures must be taken
With the aim to restore
A repentant sinner to the Lord

Proper sense of shame
A tool in the hands of the Lord
To bring one to repentance

The one who knows
Go in private to the brother gone astray
Confront, admonish with the aim to reprove

With ongoing rebellion
Bring two or three witnesses
Rebuke and correct

When faced with open defiance
Hand them over
Remove them from your midst

Be warned dear church
First examine yourself according to the Word
Ensure your heart and mind are right before the Lord

Be filled with genuine love for the sinner
With gentleness and humility
Desire to forgive

From the heart of the Father – Love
Through the work of the Son – Forgiveness
A broken and contrite heart He will not despise

By Susan Wachtel
August 12, 2018

Hurricane Season by Lauren K Denton – A Simple Treasure

One of my favorite things is finding new authors whose books I love.  I found a wonderful book and author when I read Hurricane Season by Lauren K Denton.  Wow…loved this book!

The storyline is what first caught my eye.  A couple, Betsy and Ty, own a dairy farm in Alabama and they are always busy with the day to day operations of the farm.  In recent years they’ve struggled with infertility and it’s taken it’s toll on Betsy and Ty’s relationship.  Entering into the equation is Jenna when she suddenly springs a surprise on her sister, watching her two young children, while she heads off to Florida to work on photography as part of a mentorship program.  It’s something she’s longed to get back into for years.  The threat of a hurricane may not be the only storm brewing on the horizon.

Hurricane Season was simple, yet deep.  It was beautiful but dealt with the difficult and hard things of life.  It showed the beautiful and extraordinary things about ordinary lives.  I loved the characters, their relationships and looking back at what’s shaped them.  I loved the beauty of the farm and the retreat in Florida, captured so beautifully by the author.  The characters were decent good people who I would want to know.  There were some profound thoughts and observations shared throughout the book that made me think about my own life.

I loved reading Hurricane Season by Lauren K Denton and I look forward to reading her future books.  I want to go back and read her first book, The Hideaway.  I would describe Lauren as a safe writer.  What I mean by that is that she takes the time to develop a story and lets the readers get to know the characters.  She doesn’t manipulate the storyline and characters don’t make stupid thoughtless decisions, just to advance the story or grab the reader’s attention.  Lauren knows how to make the ordinary both interesting and beautiful.

It’s with pleasure I highly recommend Hurricane Season by Lauren K Denton.  I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers and BookLook for the opportunity to read Hurricane Season in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

Precious Friend

Precious Friend-2

She’s like a breath of fresh air
Or a ray of sunshine
Lighting up the room

Sharing what she loves
Giving of herself
She delights in, inspires and encourages others

Gifted by God
Recreating the beauty around her with paint
Capturing a moment in time with her camera

The Lord and His Word are never far from her thoughts
She’s sees His hand in creation
All around her analogies of what God and faith are like

Never an unkind word comes from her mouth
Gratitude and thanksgiving flow from her heart
A gentle, peaceful spirit and ever so kind

So grateful I am, for my precious friend

 
Susan Wachtel
July 27, 2018

 

 

The Church in Babylon Study Guide by Erwin W Lutzer – A Timely Reminder and Call to Be Prepared

In a world that seems to be fast spinning out of control, we unfortunately see some churches and people who believe they are Christians that seem to have no moorings to which they are anchored.  We live in perilous times, especially for churches that do not hold fast and firm to the foundational truths taught in Scripture.

Pastor Erwin Lutzer has written a new book and study guide, The Church in Babylon.  Its message is timely and will hopefully spark a study in God’s Word that will encourage believes to know what God says and choose to live in light of truth found in Scripture.

Topics include Finding God in Enemy Territory, Keeping the Faith in a Hostile Work Environment, Courage to Confront a Deadly Enemy, Calling out the Lies of the Culture, and Prayerless Pulpits, Satisfied Saints and Spiritual Blindness.

The Church in Babylon is thought provoking.  The study guide includes some good questions for people to examine their knowledge of Scripture and compare it secular culture’s views.  I appreciate that Pastor Lutzer is uncompromising to the truth that God gave us in the Bible and that he reinforces his arguments with Scripture.  More and more the church will face pressure and disapproval from a culture that is guided by feelings, not facts.  Pastor Lutzer doesn’t shy away from controversial topics that are affecting our culture and making their way into our churches.

Until I started reading the book, I didn’t realize it was just the study guide for The Church in Babylon.  Even as study guide, it was very good.  I’m sure I would like the book even more.

I recommend Erwin Lutzer’s new book and study guide, The Church in Babylon.  I would like to thank Moody Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read The Church in Babylon Study Guide in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

The Church in Babylon by Erwin Lutzer will be published August 7, 2018.

Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley – Do you like a good whodunnit?

The whodunnit storyline of Justice Betrayed by author Patricia Bradley is what caught my attention.  This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I didn’t know what to expect.  I’m not an Elvis fan and I’ve never been to Memphis, but I love a good mystery, filled with intrigue and the challenge of solving a cold case.

Detective Rachel Sloan is asked in by Vic Vegas, an Elvis tribute artist, to help solve a murder mystery from seventeen years ago that may somehow be related to her own mother’s murder.  At first, Rachel’s not too sure about this, after all it’s a cold case and she’s working in the homicide division.  But after Vic turns up dead she wonders if there may be something more to the case he wanted her to investigate.

It took a few chapters before I got interested in the story.  The story started out kind of slow and there were a lot of characters introduced early on and it was hard to keep track of them.  But I’m glad that I kept on reading because before long the story picked up pace and I was hooked.

I liked the characters, especially the relationship between Rachel and Boone, and enjoyed the mysteries and trying to figure out whodunnit.  Patricia did a good job giving the reader a feel for what Memphis may be like and the fascination with Elvis that continues to this day.

I appreciated that Justice Betrayed doesn’t contain profanity and immoral sexual situations.  There wasn’t a lot of the Christian faith in this book, a Scripture verse and Rachel acknowledging that she had stopped turning to God because her prayers for justice seemed to be unanswered.  I would have liked to seen more of the Christian faith woven into some of the characters and storyline.

If you like a good mystery, that will keep you guessing to the end, read Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley.  I look forward to reading her other books.

I would like to thank Revell Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.