Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe (review)

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Miracle at the Higher Grounds CafeMiracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After Chelsea Chambers discovers that her NFL husband Sawyer has been cheating on her, inheriting the family café and coffee shop in San Antonia is the perfect out. She, with 12-year-old Hancock and six-year-old Emily move into the upper floor of the Victorian house above the Higher Grounds Café, determined to put new life into the family’s 40+-year-old establishment.

But just after she opens, a letter from the IRS arrives demanding back taxes. When she contacts Sawyer about releasing funds for this, she discovers he has spent all her nest egg on his own money problems. Is her dream of running her own business doomed before it ever gets underway?

Chelsea’s dilemma alerts heaven’s minions and soon Samuel, her clumsy but loveable guardian angel is up to his neck in her daily affairs.

Fantasy intersects reality in Max Lucado’s novel Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café—a book that addresses issues of family, prayer, forgiveness and second chances. It’s an easy read and Lucado’s signature deftness with words makes it a fun read as well:

“ ‘ Who’s that?’ said the young magician who had turned his smartphone into an IMAX screen. The image stretched as far as the east is from the west: Sawyer Chambers in the arms of another woman. A redheaded beauty. A triple threat—younger, thinner, and prettier” – Kindle Location 289.

Discussion questions at the end help us hone in on the timeless truths this story delivers with subtlety and grace. Readers of all ages will enjoy this inspirational, ends-well tale.

I received Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe as a gift from the publisher for the purpose of writing a review.

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Riptide (review)

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Riptide - by Eric E. WrightAshlyn Forsyth joins her husband Craig on St. Simons Island (Georgia) so they can work on their relationship. But when, after only three days, he hands her an envelope and then drives off with a female colleague from work, Ashlyn fears she’s been had.

Craig’s letter requesting a divorce and stating that he is dropping out of sight blindside this middle-aged marriage counselor/deacon’s wife. Surely, with her relationship experience, she should have seen it coming!

But Craig’s actions are only the beginning. The cancellation of all her credit cards, the seizure of their house in New York, and the visit of two FBI agents prove how serious is the trouble Craig and his investment agency are in. Soon Ashlyn is herself in a cat-and-mouse chase with the Russian mafia in Riptide by Eric E. Wright, a tale that kept me on the edge of my seat for most of its 328 pages.

Main character Ashlyn, struggles inwardly with why God is allowing these bad things to happen to her, will her young-adult children be safe, and who is she now that her marriage is falling apart and she no longer has the credibility to run her counseling business. Remy Jeandeau, a rough-around-the-edges but gentle shrimp fisherman keeps popping up whenever Ashlyn is in the thickest trouble. Soon she’s also fighting feelings about him that she knows a married woman shouldn’t be having.

The St. Simons Island setting, with its laid-back lifestyle and beautiful scenery is a contrast to the story’s dark elements. Wright’s descriptive yet efficient writing style is a good vehicle for this tale with scenes that range from lyrical to danger-filled. The hunt and chase segments are masterfully rendered; I felt like I was watching them on a big screen.

Readers who enjoy complex characters thrust into a world of danger and intrigue, where characters are driven to the edge and forced to dig deep to survive will enjoy Riptide. Watch for this Harbourlight book from Pelican Ventures, due to release in March of 2014.

I received a digital copy of Riptide from the author for the purpose of writing a review.