Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need In A World Telling You What You Want by Maria Goff | Christian Life Review

Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need In A World Telling You What You Want by Maria Goff

Book review disclosure.

Finding What You Need In A World Telling You What You Want
Christian Life

This is a book about discovering what we really need. There are a lot of second-best options, but we weren’t made to live a second-best life. Finding what we actually need is different than what we are often offered. There are many books full of opinions, steps and programs. This isn’t one of them. This is about craving the things that matter. Things that don’t just work, but last. In a life that may seem to be all fun and games with an endless supply of balloons, author Maria Goff shows how this life is also lived with intentionality, passionate purpose, and a little planning—all of which make a life rich in legacy. But she had to figure out the help she needed first in order to live the beautiful life God wanted for her and wants for us. Love Lives Here is a collection of stories that include the ways Maria and her husband, Bob, navigated family their way, without clear instructions or a road map. It’s about what they learned to make their lives meaningful and whimsical and how they created a space for their family to grow together while they reached outward.

My Thoughts

Love Lives Here is the most poignantly beautiful book that I've read in some time. My heart was captured from the foreword by Maria's husband Bob Goff. His words echo what every woman wants to hear about themselves from their man. 

Each chapter that follows stands alone yet a theme of love and grace winds through the entire book. While reading through Maria's thoughts about past experiences I found pieces of my own story woven in. I've had many of the same experiences and I'm sure that you have too. Some of the stories made me laugh and others made me weep. But regardless of the emotion that was brought forth the leading hand of God was present. 

The theme of the book is obviously love. That love is manifested in the lives of the Goff family. The way that they love each other and others will stick with me for some time. They leave no doubt about where their ability to love comes from. It is a gift from God. As you read through the book it is abundantly clear that this gift is readily available to you and me.

I heartily recommend this book to everyone. Whether you are in a hard spot or not this book will speak to you. I think it would also make a wonderful gift for a friend that needs a little lift in their spirit. 

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Maria Goff

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A Lady In Disguise (The Daughters of Hampshire #3) by Sandra Byrd | Gothic Romance Review

A Lady In Disguise by Sandra Byrd

Book review disclosure.

Daughters of Hampshire #3
Gothic Romance

In this intriguing novel of romance, mystery, and clever disguise set in Victorian England, a young woman investigates the murder of her own father.

After the mysterious death of her father, Miss Gillian Young takes a new job as the principal costume designer at the renowned Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. But while she remembers her father as a kind, well-respected man of the Police Force, clues she uncovers indicate he’d been living a double life: a haunting photograph of a young woman; train stubs for secret trips just before his death; and a receipt for a large sum of money. Are these items evidence of her father’s guilty secrets? His longtime police partner thinks so.

Then Gillian meets the dashing Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Their attraction is instant and inescapable. As their romantic involvement grows, Gillian begins to suspect even Lockwood’s motives. Does Lord Lockwood truly love her? Or is his interest a front for the desire to own her newly inherited property? And what should she make of her friend’s suggestion that Lockwood or men like him were involved in the murder of her father?

Soon Gillian is convinced that her father has left evidence somewhere that can prove his innocence and reveal the guilty party. But someone wants to stop her from discovering it. The closer she comes to uncovering it, the more menacing her opposition grows. With her life on the line, Gillian takes on an ingenious disguise and takes on the role of a lifetime to reveal the true killer—before it’s too late both for her and for those that she loves.

My Thoughts

A Lady In Disguise is the third and final book in the Daughters of Hampshire series. Of the three books included in the series it is by far my favorite. If you've not read the first two books, never fear, each are stand alone titles so you can read them in any order. 

After reading the series I am convinced that Sandra Byrd will be a name synonymous with Gothic romance in the future. She has taken all of the elements from our beloved old school Gothics and brought them forward with a few updated twists. 

While most of the action takes place in London there is still a run down estate that lurks in the background. The heroine's parents are gone and her father's death has a mystery surrounding it. There are characters that should be trustworthy but they aren't. There are those that are trusted but shouldn't be. And there are certainly those that waffle back and forth between trustworthiness and sinister motives. The tension of figuring out the truth is delicious!

A Lady In Disguise is a wonderfully entertaining tale but it also has a great bit of depth. Mixed among the mystery and intrigue is the very real truth of the ill treatment of women and children. Sandra Byrd gives us a glimpse into the hidden-in-plain-sight world of the poor, child labor, and prostitution. 

My favorite overriding element of the book was the fact that while we as ordinary people can't help the masses we can reach out and make a difference in the life of an individual. Think of the impact if we would each reach out to just one other individual and lift their burden. The domino effect would be massive. 

I look forward to reading the next series of Gothics from Sandra Byrd. I would recommend this book and the entire series to those that enjoy mystery and intrigue mixed with a bit of historical romance. If you have a book club this would be a wonderful choice. Lots of different discussion possibilities are included in the stories.

Other Reviews For This Author

Mist of Midnight
Bride of a Distant Isle
Forever Friends series
The One Year Be-Tween You & God Devotions For Girls
To Die For
The Secret Keeper
Roses Have Thorns

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Sandra Byrd

Disclosure of materials.

Justice Delayed (Memphis Cold Case #1) by Patricia Bradley | Romantic Suspense Review

Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley

Book review disclosure.

Memphis Cold Case #1
Romantic Suspense


Eighteen years ago, TV crime reporter Andi Hollister's sister was murdered. The convicted killer sits behind bars, his execution date looming. But when a letter surfaces stating that the condemned didn't do the crime, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the bottom of it. After all, this case is personal: the man who confessed to the crime is Will's cousin. Andi and Will must find the real killer before the wrong person is executed. But what can happen in only a week? Uncovering police corruption, running for your life, and, perhaps, falling in love?

With the perfect mixture of intrigue and nail-biting suspense, award-winning author Patricia Bradley invites you to crack the case--if you can--alongside the best Memphis has to offer.

Read an excerpt.

My Thoughts

Cold cases are fascinating to me. You know that someone out there has the answer, it's just a matter of finding that person. The other thing that I am intrigued by is a case of wrongful conviction. It's interesting to see the reaction of people when the wrongfully convicted person is exonerated. Don't the people involved want the correct person imprisoned?

That's where we find ourselves in Patricia Bradley's newest novel. There is a convicted murderer on death row awaiting his sentence in a little over a week. The crime was awful and it seemed pretty clear cut that they got the right guy, but then a letter that says differently brings doubt about the conviction.

Andi Hollister is a crime reporter and is closely related to the case. The victim was her beloved older sister. For years Andi has believed they arrested the right guy. But now things just aren't quite adding up. With the help of the Memphis Cold Case Unit she dives right in to find out the truth.

Will Kincaide is the detective assigned to the cold case. It's also very personal to him. The convicted criminal is his cousin. Will has never been able to believe that his cousin was capable of such an act. Now he has the chance to prove it.

If you've ever read a Patricia Bradley novel you already know you are in for a ride. The timeline of a week makes all of the action tight and intense. The continual twists and turns keep you flipping pages long after you should have put the bookmark in. I won't spoil the end but it was something that I didn't see coming until the very last. I enjoyed how developed the characters were. You could feel the agony of wanting justice yet also wanting to make sure it is the correct person. The tension between the facts and not wanting it to be so was palpable. If you love a little romance mixed in with a suspenseful story then this is the book for you!

If you are part of a reading group you can download a set of discussion questions here.

Other Reviews For This Author

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Found: Psalm 23 by Sally Lloyd-Jones | Children's Book Review

Found: Psalm 23 by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Book review disclosure.

Illustrations by Jago
Juvenile Nonfiction (ages 4-8)

God is my Shepherd.
And I am his little lamb.

With lyrical text from The Jesus Storybook Bible and new, engaging illustrations, Psalm 23 comes alive for young children like never before. Snuggle up with your little one as you both discover God's Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreakable, Always and Forever Love.

My Thoughts

We are big fans of both Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jago. Sally's words and Jago's illustrations have combined to produce some of our favorite books. Our all time favorite is of course The Jesus Storybook Bible. We've used that resource for several events in our house including our Advent readings. In fact right now we're preparing to us it for our Lent and Easter readings.

Found: Psalm 23 is taken from that wonderful book. While the words are the same the illustrations are new. And in my opinion the new pictures are even more beautiful than the originals. 

I really like the idea of a separate book that focuses in on this chapter of Scripture. Most of us have it memorized but Sally's paraphrase allows the reader to take a fresh look at it and grasp the concepts it contains. What a beautiful thing to teach your little one that God's love is "never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, and it is always and forever."

If you have a preschooler this book would be a perfect fit for your family library. I also think it would make a great birthday present, Easter basket filler, or baby shower gift. It's a padded board book so it will stand up to lots of reading and turning of pages by little hands.

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Sally Lloyd-Jones

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My Heart: Every Beat Surrendered To Our Unchanging God by Julie Manning | Christian Living Review

My Heart: Every Beat Surrendered To Our Unchanging God by Julie Manning

Book review disclosure.

Julie Manning
Christian Living

What if you were told there's a possibility you would not be alive to see this afternoon or wake up tomorrow morning? Do you think you would live differently?

How would this reality affect every single moment of the life you have been given?

Julie Manning was in the middle of giving birth to her second child when doctors noticed an irregularity in her heartbeat. Within six weeks, tests revealed it was no one-time occurrence. This ultra-capable mom, wife, marathon runner, and pediatric nurse practitioner was in active heart failure, finding herself at risk for experiencing a sudden cardiac death.

My Heart is the first-person account of Julie's journey from then to now--from a healthy woman's normal expectations and self-reliance to the surrendering of her dreams, plans, and deepest desires into the hands of our unchanging God. Part retelling and reflection, part in-the-moment prayer journal, her story takes you with honest vulnerability into the jaws of fear and suffering, and speaks realistic hope into your own story, leaving you with well-fought, well-placed confidence for the road ahead. It's what her heart would like to say to you . . . about the faithful, loving, impeccably trustworthy heart of God.

My Thoughts

I think a universal fear of every mother is that something will happen to them while their children are young and they will be left to grow without her. I know it was an underlying fear of mine and that of my friends. In My Heart Julie Manning finds herself facing that scenario head on.

For all intents and purposes Julie's life had been relatively normal. She married the love of her life, she had a very fulfilling career, and they had a darling boy and were soon expecting a second one. Then out of left field an unknown heart condition appears.

I will admit that for the first half of this book I was in desperate need of Kleenex. Julie's story is gut-wrenching. All of those mommy fears came true. Second opinions didn't give different answers. Begging and pleading to God didn't change the circumstances. But what slowly began to emerge was beautiful. In the midst of such brokenness, healing was found. Her heart was still broken but her soul had found rest.

Julie's journey is one that we are all on. We may not have a life-threatening physical condition, but we all have broken hearts that need healing. I enjoyed Julie's willingness to let us look in on her private struggle. She allows herself to be vulnerable in order that you and I will see how Jesus broke through all the changes and became the unmovable and unchanging force in her life. You can't help but be inspired by her words and encouraged to take similar actions in your own life.

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Julie Manning

Disclosure of materials.

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