Monday, April 14, 2014

A Pleasant Twist in Hickory Hollow

The Last Bride
Beverly Lewis

Book Summary: Of her Old Order parents' five daughters, Tessie Miller is the last to marry. She has her heart set on Amishman Marcus King, but Tessie's father opposes the match. Impetuously, Tessie and Marcus elope to the English world, then return to Hickory Hollow to live as singles, trusting they'll convince the Millers to give their love a chance over time. But when the unthinkable happens, Tessie faces the almost-certain censure of the People. Will she find a reason for hope in spite of her desperate plight?

Review: I loved this book. I was reserved in thinking this was just another Beverly Lewis story, but I could not have been more ignorant of what she had up her sleeve!!! I loved this book! It was Beverly Lewis’ best to date. I was so sad when events turned so horrible wrong and there stood Tessie having to cope with the outcome of her marriage. I cried and than things grew and changed. I mourned right along with Tessie and was as surprised as she was how life changed and turned around again. Than there was the secondary story of Mandy and her husband. This book had more inside its 336 pages than I could have ever thought possible. I want another book in this series! Going back to Hickory Hollow, PA was so very worth it. New or old time reader of Beverly Lewis will not be disappointed in this poignant story.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked for a favorable review.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Roller Coaster Ride to the End!!

Murder Simply Brewed (An Amish Village Mystery)
Vanetta Chapman

Book Summary: When the coffee shop manager is murdered in Middlebury’s Amish Artisan Village, two women from different walks of life must join together to solve the mystery. Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright is optimistic about the growing profit from her collection of Amish shops---until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a solitary hole in the front window and the store manager lying next to the espresso machine, dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register. When Amber hires a young Amish woman, Hannah Troyer, to take over the shop’s duties, the two women become fast friends---as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death is a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren't convinced. Clues that don't add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and a blossoming romance---all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to reveal answers to the mysteries around them.
Book Review: This is going to be a fantastic series!!! This book was awesome. I was at the edge of my seat waiting for the other shoe to drop and when it did it was a wild roller coaster ride. There were thrills throughout. The wild ride in Amber’s car and the chilling suspects were all around at time. They seemed to know when and how to pop up. I could hardly make it to the end without screaming out loud. Unfortunately there is not way to read with your eyes closed so I had to take a deep breath and ride this thrill ride to the satisfying end. The end so heart felt it made the entire book a rich lesson in love. Not just the romantic kind. Well done Ms. Chapman if I wasn’t hooked before I would be now!
I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Fiction for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

May Bride

A May Bride (A Year of Weddings Novella)

Meg Mosely

Book Summary: Ellie has prepared for her wedding all her life . . . but she has forgotten the most important part. Ellie Martin, a country girl living in Atlanta, has dreamed of a traditional wedding all her life---a wedding just like the one her younger sister is planning back home. Even though Ellie is realizing her dreams in the big city as an up-and-coming real-estate agent, she’s missing a key ingredient to her plans for the future: a groom. Then Ellie meets Gray Whitby---at a wedding of all places. Gray is handsome and fun, and he sweeps her away in a whirlwind romance. In a matter of months, Ellie knows Gray is 'the one,' but her mother isn't so sure, judging Gray to be the freewheeling type, like Ellie's runaway father. When Ellie jeopardizes her own future for the sake of her sister, Gray feels like he'll always be second to Ellie's family. Can Ellie and Gray find their own way together amidst the demands and perceptions of others or will their romance end before it has truly begun?

Book Review: I really liked Ellie. She was great. Very realistic and fun to read. It is the only reason I continued to read. I did not like Gray. I kept waiting for him to get better but he only became more tolerable. The differences between families was realistic and Ellie’s mother was a bit of a bore but that made her more realistic. Alexis and Eric were fun secondary characters and their relationship and situation was realistic. I loved the mention of Publix and subs. The life Ellie lived was very real and comfortable. The idea of her gardening was fun and Pastor Mike made it sweet. Overall a worthy read, despite my discomfort with Gray.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Fiction for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

A Fun and Fantastic Christmas

The Dawn of Christmas
Cindy Woodsmall

Book Summary: Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it's time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan-but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?

Review: I loved Sadie and Levi. It was great to see all the previous Christmas Novella characters back. The story line was great and fun to read with great dialog going between Sadie and Levi. Like every Cindy Woodsmall book it has some teary eyed moments that were quite worth it. I can’t wait for the next book!. I enjoyed the off beat traits that Sadie had and Levi was a great companion to her. It is a rare gem of a story and look forward to visiting them in the future.
I would like to thank Waterbrook Press and Blogging for Books for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Bride

An April Bride
Lenora Worth

Book Summary: A charming wedding novella set in the spring. What will happen when love and wedding plans come together this April? War changes everything . . . even their love. Bride-to-be Stella Carson can't wait to marry her longtime sweetheart Marshall Henderson. But Marshall has been away serving his country and has suffered a head wound. After being diagnosed with post-traumatic disorder, he has distanced himself from Stella, asking her not to visit him in the Washington, D.C. hospital. Marshall returns to Louisiana just four weeks before the wedding, but as the big day draws near, Stella wonders if the man she's loved for most of her life has become someone else. Can true love conquer all for Stella and Marshall? Even the tragedy of war? A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.

Book Review: I found this to be a good book overall. For me it was sweet and interesting. I liked Stella and Marshall, they were believable and it was easy to empathize with their predicament. The background characters were fun and easy to enjoy them. I enjoyed the overall story line, although the ending was a little too easy. I did not find this to be as fast of a read as the previous but well worth the effort to finish. Really was looking forward to an elaborate ending and it seemed to be much more simple than that. I believe that was my expectation and not in any way something that the author set up.
The tension built as the story was drawing to the end and I wanted fireworks. Sometimes simple and sweet last longer.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Fiction for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Thrilling Mystery!

Butterfly Palace
Colleen Coble

Book Summary:Elegance and wealth. Privilege and politics. The extravagance of the Butterfly Palace overwhelmed Lily’s senses and nearly smothered her painful memories. She pushed away her misgivings . . . She was perfectly safe in this huge house. Austin, Texas—1904: Abandoned by the love of her life and still mourning the loss of her mother, Lily Donaldson has turned her back on the pain and come to Austin for a fresh start, working for the Marshall family as a kitchen maid in their luxurious mansion, the Butterfly Palace. The tasks before her are legion, and her mistress less than pleasant, but at least Lily’s new life will be, if nothing else, distracting. But one night, while serving at a dinner party, Lily recognizes the man who abandoned her, Andy, her liaison from the livery stable, the blacksmith’s son . . . sitting among the distinguished guests. Though he recognizes her, Andy does not acknowledge her aloud, and Lily is left reeling, flabbergasted, and irate. But before she can get an explanation, the path of the Servant Girl Killer swerves very close to the Butterfly Palace, sowing terror among the maids. Having come to Austin to start anew, Lily suddenly feels trapped in a spider web. How can she know who to trust in a house where lies come dressed in fine suits and deceit in silk gowns the colors of butterfly wings?

Review: This was a thrilling read!! I loved the premise and all the characters. They were well written and enjoyable. Lily was a great hero. She cared about everyone. Belle who had started off with a heart but arrogance due to her class turned into a great woman. Drew exciting and dashing. I loved that the secret passage in the house. It was sad when victims were killed and well written. It was the last 20 pages when the events intensified that I slowed down. So much was happening so fast in 20 pages it made it difficult to keep going. I just loved the entire story. The position of Lily as a maid was the gem in this story. Someone with so little power, yet she was able to be helpful and a sleuth.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Thomas Nelson -ficton for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Helpful Advice most of the Time

The Passion Principle: Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage
Shannon Ethridge

Book Summary: Move beyond the mechanics of sex to a rich and rewarding connection!
God’s desire is for couples to enjoy vibrant sexual relationships without inhibition, awkwardness, fear, resentment, guilt, or shame. With honesty and frankness, life coach and best-selling author Shannon Ethridge opens the minds of both husbands and wives to embrace a lifestyle of passion and pleasure. Divided into four sections, The Passion Principles helps couples celebrate the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical dimensions of sexuality. Questions include:
• What was God thinking when He created sex?
• Why do humans think about sex so much?
• Will there be sex in heaven?
• How did we get such different ideas about sex and love?
• How can I get past his or her sexual past?
• How can I help my spouse heal from the sexual abuses he or she suffered?
• What if my heart is telling me I married the wrong person?
• How can we balance mismatched sex drives?
Some chapters end with questions for personal contemplation or for couples to use as conversation starters, and other chapters end with prayers that foster a deeper spiritual and emotional connection, making this book a perfect guide to a more passionate love life.

Book Review: It was an interesting read. Good things about the book: it was an honest, straight forwards information about marital relations. There were numerous topics addressed and information about them in detail provided. She provides great comfort to many people who are seeking information and no one to turn to. When young people with or without experience sincerely seek information this book can provide them a place to turn. She is faithful to sex being between married couples. Her responses are direct and do hold to the sanctity of marriage. She is respectful to her husband and men as head of their households. Things I disagreed with: At times the Bible is not consulted. This began with due to Ms. Ethridge’s declaring that the Bible is silent on marital sex. I agree the mechanics are not touched. I hate to say this but sex is not the glue that holds a marriage together. In this sex drenched society it is easy to miss that sex is not everything. Love is a choice. To disregard what the Bible says about marriage is the heart of the problem. When a topic is ‘What if my heart is telling me that I married the wrong person?’ - regardless of the answer is trouble. This exposes the heart of how people think about marriage. It is not a commitment for the long haul, it is a consumer demand of what I want.
While Ms. Ethridge does not negate that marriage is important. She has great love for her husband. Freedom to enjoy sex seems to be the overarching theme. Generally not a problem yet if this is all that one pursues eventually you will feel let down. I am glad that Ms. Ethridge and her husband have a giving relationship. That is what should have been discussed because that is the basis for her freedom.
I would like to thank BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.