Nursing in These Healing Hills is Rewarding

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Deb’s Dozen: Fran, a nurse-midwife, trains in the Kentucky mountains and falls in love.

The Frontier Nursing Service (FNS) supplies nurse-midwives to the people of the eastern Kentucky Appalachian area. Ann Gabhart, in These Healing Hills, tells us the fictional story of one of them.

Francine Howard left behind her life in Cincinnati to train as a nurse-midwife. She had been jilted by her supposed fiancé and felt led to a new area and life. She’d signed on with the FNS with their promise of “Your Horse, Your Dog, and a Thousand Miles of Kentucky Mountains to Serve.” Learning to be a midwife, to catch babies, was only part of the job, however. She had to milk the cow, take care of the horses, tend a garden, and take care of all the odds and ends of ailments and injuries that came her way.

As Fran learns her job, she falls in love with the mountains and the mountain people. Instead of keeping her distance from them, she becomes part of their family–especially one, the Lockes. Their son Woody is a help at the station as well as a sometimes guide, sometimes gossiper, all the time talker. Daughter Sadie is mourning her dad, but Fran breaks through the sorrow with kind words-and leaves eardrops for her ailment. Then married daughter Becca returns and brings music to their lives. And the son who has been at war comes home-and crosses Fran’s path in the woods. Granny Em, an almost mythical character, speaks wisdom into Fran’s life.

You’ll want to read These Healing Hills. The book is alive with love of Kentucky Appalachian area. You can feel the mountain breezes, taste the cool waters of the creeks, and smell the flowers in bloom. Fran is an amazing character you immediately care for–she is courageous, has common sense, and is the type of nurse we’d all like to have. The Lockes live too–you’ll chuckle at Woody’s antics, want to play with Sadie and Priscilla, her doll, and sing along with the women to brighten your day. And you’ll be exasperated with Ben when he comes home from the war. I highly recommend These Healing Hills–your spirit will be healed too. Five stars.

NursingAnn H. Gabhart is, to quote her bio, the bestselling author of many novels, including Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Love Comes Home; several Shaker novels such as The Outsider, The Believer, and The Innocent, along with The Heart of Hollyhill Series. As A. H. Gabhart, she is the author of The Hidden Springs Mysteries Series. Ann’s country roots go deep, and she and her husband still live on a country farm just over the hill from where she was born in a farmhouse built around a log cabin. Find out more at

Revell Books gave me a copy of These Healing Hills, but I was in no way obligated to write a review.

True Love Enters Troubled Waters

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Deb’s Dozen: Neither fire nor waves nor hurricanes nor mistakes can forestall true love.

Wow! This episode of the Montana Rescue series has everything: fire, rogue waves, a hurricane, being lost in that fire, being lost in those waves. And lost loves, wannabe loves, existing loves, newfound loves. Susan May Warren has written something for everyone in Troubled Waters. All that to say that you need to have read the other books in the series to understand what’s going on in this one and to keep track of the characters.

Troubled Waters is Ian and Sierra’s story, but Pete and Jess, Sam and Willow, Chet and Sam’s mom, Vanessa and Hayes all have their moments too. Ian is a multi-billionaire who started PEAK rescue services and then gave it to the town. One of his oil wells has blown a gasket and started a fire ravaging the area. Some of his software caused the blown gasket and he has been fined millions of dollars and feels the guilt to tray and rebuild and repay what has been lost. Ian’s former assistant, Sierra, who he fired twice and who left him finally, works for PEAK on dispatch and as the admin. Sierra bakes cookies when she’s nervous and upset. Six dozen cookies later, Jess has been rescued from the fire by Pete who conveniently has just come back to town. Everyone has secrets, some of which are uncovered in this story.

Abrupt segue to Galveston and the Caribbean. Sierra has talked Ian into letting her use his yacht to host a fundraiser to buy a new helicopter or pay for the repairs on the old one which was damaged in a rescue during the fire where Jess got lost. So off on a cruise go Sierra and Ian and Dex (Ian’s best friend) and Noelly (Dex’s sister) and Vanessa and Hayes. Sierra hopes to convince the four wealthy friends of Ian’s to donate toward the cause. And then, things start to happen …! You’ll have to read the book to find out the rest. I’ve read the rest of the series and enjoyed getting to know Ian and Sierra better as well as Pete and Jess in Troubled Waters. Three stars instead of four due to needing a scorecard to track the characters.

Troubled Waters, True LoveSusan May Warren is a much-awarded, multi-published author with over a million books in print. She’s won a RITA and multiple Christy and Carol awards, the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards. Find her on Facebook at Susan May Warren Fiction, @SusanMayWarren on Twitter, or

Revell Books gave me a copy of Troubled Waters although I was in no way obligated to write a review. #RevellReads @RevellBooks

Speculative Fiction: The Recruits & Renegades Rock

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Deb’s Dozen: Sean and Dillon use their adept powers to save the world-again!

Renegades is the second book in Thomas Locke’s Recruits series. I posted about Recruits, the first book, “Beautifully fashioned and written new world … a beyond many will wish is reality. Thomas Locke has outdone himself with The Recruits series. Five Stars.” I loved watching twins Sean and Dillon become aware of and use their new powers–enjoyed watching them fall in love with Carey and Elenya. You will certainly enjoy the first book if you love speculative fiction and great characters.

Almost the first thing we learn in Renegades is that Sean and Dillon have split from Elenya and Carey–what we felt was soul-bonding in Recruits was just another romance. Supposedly, Elenya would want to be the controller in her marriage and Carey loved who Dillon was, not who he was becoming–an adept Warrior.

Okay, the girls are gone–on with the new assignments. Seth and Dillon are summoned back to Earth because the son of a senator has been kidnapped and their powers are needed to find him before he’s delivered back in pieces. Successful, they transit home only to be arrested and imprisoned for those actions. The story becomes convoluted at this point with new villains and new heroes being introduced. And then there are dragons! And a new love interest for Sean.

I liked Recruits better than Renegades, perhaps because the concepts were being introduced for the first time as well as the characters. I found only the character of Logan as well-developed as the twins. However, the book is a good read–I’m anticipating the next in the series. A great addition to the realm of speculative fiction. Four Stars.

Speculative FictionThomas Locke is the pseudonym for Davis Bunn, a prolific writer who has won just about every award there is as well as the Christy Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in Oxford, England, half the year where he is Writer in Residence, and half the time on the east coast of Florida. He’s always loved speculative fiction and has several new series in that realm.He’s also a great guy with a heart for teaching and helping new authors. You’ll love his books.

Revell gave me a copy of Renegades, but I was in no way obligated to write a review.