Come along on the spiritual journey of four friends.

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Deb’s Dozen: Life’s never easy, but faith in God and friends makes living worthwhile.

Barefoot is the third book in the Sensible Shoes series and in some respects, touched me more deeply than the other two. The deeply spiritual journey of Sensible Shoes, the closeness the characters gained carried over into book two, Two Steps Forward, Barefoot brings us yet another level further into the journey of these four women: Meg, Charissa, Hannah, and Mara.

Life interferes with the desires of each woman to go deeper spiritually. Hannah struggles with the new relationship she’s found and what her ministry will be. Charissa, pregnant, finds her well-ordered life and career spinning away from her control. Mara fights her antipathy toward her soon-to-be-ex-husband and grapples with how to handle her two, very different sons. Sweet Meg tries to get over her broken relationship and her broken dreams.

Each of them in their own way works to merge their day to day life with their spiritual life. Each of them is more or less successful. All of them are vibrant characters you identify with intimately. Brown has created characters who teach us how to walk in faith and more closely with God despite our daily problems. These women aren’t perfect; they’re real—and they’re friends—and they become our friends as well.

You will want to take this journey with them. From Sensible Shoes to Two Steps Forward to Barefoot, the trip is one every woman should take. Five stars.

SpiritualSharon Garlough Brown is “a spiritual director and co-founder of Abiding Way Ministries, providing spiritual formation retreats.” She has an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminar. She and her husband, Jack, have ministered in Scotland, Oklahoma, England, and West Michigan. Sharon, like her characters, is real—and a friend.

InterVarsity Press gave me a copy of Barefoot, but I was in no way obligated to write a review. If you purchase the book(s), I earn a small amount from the sale.

Time-travel, love, and second chances …

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Deb’s Dozen: Life regained. What will he do with the new breath granted him?

In Firefly Cove, the second book of the Miramar Bay series, Davis Bunn has written a time-travel book of a different sort. Reminiscent of Somewhere in Time, the Jane Seymour-Christopher Reeve movie based itself on a novel, Time After Time, Firefly Cove also involves lost loves.

Lucias Quarterfield has been ill practically his whole life. Because of his illness, he’s become a loner-afraid of friendship because doctors tell him he might die at any time. Surprisingly, he matures and eventually turns a car dealership into a chain. The only relationship he’s formed is with Jessica Waverly during a time in Miramar Bay. Now told he is finally dying, he heads to Miramar Bay to find Jessica, which he does, only to end up dying in her arms.

Forty-nine years later, Luke Benoit finally succeeds in committing suicide-or did he? While being wheeled to the morgue, Luke wakes up. However, he has no memory of Luke nor of Luke’s life. Psychologist Asha Meisel and her supervisor, Dino Barbieri are puzzled. Luke is not reacting normally to this near-death experience.

Bunn, as always, has created wonderful characters. I loved Asha and her hidden crush on Dino. Their interaction forms much of the substance of the book. Strong woman and bull-headed man-boy, can I relate to that! Luke has a voyage of discovery to make as well. And time? Well, time can heal wounds … and cause new ones. You’ll love this fascinating book with the interesting interaction among the characters as they unravel the puzzle of Luke, love, and second chances. Available December 26, 2017. Preorder! Four stars!

Time TravelDavis Bunn is a prolific author with dozens of awards including a Lifetime Achievement award from the Christys and over seven million books in print. He and his wife, Isabella, live part time at Oxford University in England, where he is Author in Residence and part time on the Florida east coast. As Thomas Locke, he writes fantasy, speculative, and young adult fiction.

Kensington Books gave me a copy of Firefly Cove, but I was in no way obligated to write a review.

The Christmas Blessing: Love and Acceptance

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Deb’s Dozen: Unmarried woman, young baby, fiancé dead, no money, nowhere else to go.

Melody Carlson has written a poignant story, The Christmas Blessing, about a young woman during World War II. While living in San Diego, Amelia had met and fallen in love with a young pilot. A wartime romance, short and sweet. They’d acquired their marriage license and planned to be married the next day. But James got orders to report for active duty that night. He left for war and left her pregnant.

Not wanting the stigma of being an unwed mother, Amelia quit her job as a beautician and moved across town to another salon. But she knew she needed more for her baby, Jimmy, named after his dad. Eventually, she found out James’s plane had gone down and he was lost. Practically destitute, unwilling to lean on the support of her roommate any longer, she headed out by train to the small town of Rockford where James’s parents lived. Amelia hoped they would accept her and her son.

While on the train, Amelia’s wallet was stolen with the remainder of her savings and what money she’d received from selling her engagement ring and buying a plain gold band. What was she going to do now? She didn’t want to just present herself and her son on her in-law’s doorstep, but her money was almost gone and her son was ill.

A sweet, sweet story. Formulaic to be sure, but worth the read. Amelia is a lovable woman and her father-in-law, Doctor Bradley, a prince of a man. Her mother-in-law? Well … Melody has written a Christmas novella that should stand the test of time. Three stars.

ChristmasMelody Carlson is a much-published author with over two hundred books and six million copies sold. Several of her books are Christmas stories. She and her husband live in central Oregon.

Revell Books gave me a copy of The Christmas Blessing, but I was in no way obligated to write a review.