Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Fun and Quick Read

December Bride
Denise Hunter




Book Summary: Happily ever after begins today. The honor of your presence is requested at a December wedding. Every couple has a love story. Join us for a year of contemporary, seasonal wedding novellas, releasing in e-book every month. Each e-novella will include an excerpt from another wedding story in the Year of Weddings Collection as well as a list of the author’s full-length novels.

Review: This is the story of Seth and Layla. I really enjoyed the main characters. But just as well written were the Jennifer and Jack. They were so real you wanted to see Jennifer be exposed for stealing Jack from Layla or at the very least that Jennifer and Jack not get along. But that was not the point of the story. Seth was a great guy and the decorating for Christmas was the most fun a book has been about Christmas. I really like Seth and Layla, but at times Layla did not understand that even in small towns you can become somebody. They had great chemistry and the story was a quick read.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Publihing 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.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mixed Bag

A Hopeful Heart (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel)
Amy Clipston




Book Description: In A Hopeful Heart, the first novel of the new Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series from best-selling author Amy Clipston, Hannah finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her community offers her love and support after the untimely death of her husband, but an Englisher offers her the chance of a new life after her unexpected tragedy. Wealthy businessman Trey Peterson is surprised by his attraction to the gentle Amish woman who works as a housekeeper in the Lancaster Grand Hotel. They share a common bond of loss and are able to offer each other comfort and support as they journey through their grief. Joshua Glick wants nothing more than to offer his friendship and love to Hannah and her family. Not only is he her late husband’s brother and business partner, he has always been in love with Hannah. A Hopeful Heart is filled with surprising twists as Hannah tries to balance her life in the Amish community and her growing love for an outsider.

Review: I loved the majority of this book. I liked the characters and the setting. The story line was sad at the start. Yet the book was not gloomy overall. I did find it difficult to believe that leaving the Amish life could be so easily resolved and that it would be harder than anyone could imagine. I believed the way Hannah’s mother-in-law treated her especially when Hannah was friendly with an Engilsher. I found much of the book to be realistic. In my own personal opinion I think that Hannah was a selfish about pursuing her own desires since the Amish are raised to be community minded. I felt very mixed by the end of the book and that is really where I still am.
I would like to thank Book Sneeze and Zondervan Publishing 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.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Waited So Long For This!!

For Every Season: Book Three in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series
Cindy Woodsmall







Book Summary: Working hard to develop a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is fully committed to rehabilitating an orchard with business partner Samuel King. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in her relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother, Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Amidst mounting tension in matters of the heart and business, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has always longed for, and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. She longs for Jacob to fully be free of his past, so they can work towards the future together.

But as Rhoda uses her gift to unpack an old secret with her Englisch neighbors, it is not her beau but an unlikely ally that cheers her on. With the orchard on shaky ground and Jacob’s plans in question, Rhoda is determined to see things through to harvest. But can she trust her insight to direct her path in matters of the heart?

Review: I have grown to love this series more and more! There were so many great things about this particular book in the series. 1st More of the main characters Rhoda, Samuel and Jacob. 2nd Interesting twists with the characters and the story line. 3rd The secondary characters are a huge bonus to the books. I was so looking forward to the conclusion (even though I know there is another book coming). The reigning question who does Rhoda choose?! I just had to know. I know who I wanted but how would it look and how would it come about. It was all worth reading and waiting for! But the end seemed abrupt and disjointed. Like someone took the last 10-20 pages off and I would be left with hundreds of questions. I guess that is why there is now a 4th book…… I am glad with the results I just would like it to be happy. I felt deflated and out of sorts when the end came.

I would like to thank Library Thing and Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing 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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Fantastic Sequel!!!

The Winnowing Season
Cindy Woodsmall






Book Summary: The tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community—and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them? On the eve of their departure to begin a new Old Order Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is shocked to discover that choices made by her business partner and friend, Samuel King, have placed her and her unusual gifts directly into the path of her district’s bishop and preachers. She is furious with Samuel and is fearful that the Kings will be influenced by the way her leaders see her, and not what they know to be true—that Rhoda’s intuition is a gift from God. Jacob King won’t be swayed by community speculation. He loves Rhoda, believes in her, and wants to build a future with her in Maine. But when the ghosts of his past come calling and require him to fulfill a great debt, can he shake their hold before it destroys what he has with Rhoda? Samuel has a secret of his own—one he’ll go to great lengths to keep hidden, even if it means alienating those closest to him. Throwing himself into rehabilitating the once-abandoned orchard, Samuel turns to a surprising new ally. Book 2 of the Amish Vines and Orchards series asks: can the three faithfully follow God’s leading and build a new home and orchard in Maine? Or will this new beginning lead to more ruin and heartbreak?

My Review: I was amazed at how quick a read this was. It was worth reading every minute of it. I loved how much more the characters grew and changed in such a short time. The plot grew greater with all the little details swirling around this book. I think that Rhoda and Samuel are the best of the book. It is very hard to pick which of the secondary characters I liked best. There was very little to complain about. I found between book 1 and book 2 a seamlessness that was like coming in out of the cold. I liked the move to Maine after all the stress of Rhoda going before her elders. I was disappointed that Jacob left and for so long. Jacob's situation from his past was getting a little old but seemed more controlled by the end of the book. This is just another fine example of Ms. Woodsmall's superb writing just enough to hook me into the 3rd even 4th book and look forward to each an every word!!

I would like to thank Blogging for Books and Waterbook Press 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.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Fantastic New Series!!!

A Season for Tending
Cindy Smallwood




Book Summary: In a community where conformity flourishes, seeds of Rhoda's odd behavior were planted long ago. Can she cultivate her relationships with the same care and tenderness that she gives her beloved garden? Old Order Amish Rhoda Byler's unusual gift and her remarkable abilities to grow herbs and berries have caused many to think her odd. As rumors mount that Rhoda's "gift" is a detriment to the community, she chooses isolation, spending her time in her fruit garden and on her thriving canning business.
Miles away in Harvest Mills, Samuel King struggles to keep his family's apple orchard profitable. As the eldest son, Samuel farms with his brothers, the irrepressible Jacob and brash Eli, while his longtime girlfriend Catherine remains hopeful that Samuel will marry her when he feels financially stable.
Meanwhile, Samuel's younger sister Leah is testing all the boundaries during her rumschpringe, and finds herself far from home in Rhoda's garden after a night of partying gone badly. But Leah's poor choices serve as a bridge between Rhoda and the King family when a tragic mistake in the orchard leaves Samuel searching for solutions.
Rhoda's expertise in canning could be the answer, but she struggles with guilt over the tragic death of her sister and doesn't trust herself outside her garden walls. As the lines between business, love, and family begin to blur, can Rhoda finally open up to a new life? And what effect will this odd, amazing woman have on the entire King family?

Review: I really like Cindy Smallwood’s writing style. While this book took me a little while to get into it was worth the effort. Once I got into the flow of it I was hooked! The characters were fresh and completely different from anything I have read by her. This was a well thought out series and I look forward to the next two. This story made me laugh, cry and realize that Rhoda was truly a fresh face for Amish readers. The Kings were fun and lively. While problems seem to plague all of them Rhoda, Landon and the Kings are realistic and fun. I knew what was coming at the end and I was still hanging on the edge of my seat when the events finally came about. Poor Rhoda really needed the Kings and they needed her. Her Daed was fantastic and truly a great addition to the entire story. I want to see more of him. There are so many different things going on at once that I wished I could read faster. I needed time to soak up everything too!
I would like to thank Edelweiss, Library Thing and Waterbrook Press 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, July 31, 2013

On My Reading List

Right now on my reading list are:











Cindy Smallwood's
A Season For Tending











Amanda Flower's
A Plain Scandal
















Amy Clipston's
A Hopeful Heart

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Introducing A Unique Overview!

Introducing the Old Testament
Tremper Longman III




Book Description: An abridged edition of the bestselling book An Introduction to the Old Testament, this rich guide makes Old Testament scholarship accessible to the average reader. Renowned Bible scholar Tremper Longman III gathers the best in historical research and literary analysis to lead the reader through each book of the Old Testament. Most significantly, Longman explores the meaning of each book in light of its cultural setting. Abbreviated chapters highlight key research discoveries, ensuring that the information is both significant and manageable. Including questions at the end of each chapter for group discussion or personal reflection, Introducing the Old Testament makes the words, history, and culture of biblical times come alive for readers. Laypersons as well as church leaders will take away a solid understanding of the historical background and theological message of the Old Testament and be inspired to apply biblical truths to their lives.

Review: This was a well laid out book with pretty consistent format. I liked the summary that started each new book of the Bible and how it laid out the overview. Than it was author and when the book was written. I personally think that Christians can get stuck on this and found that at times a lot was dedicated to this. I believe that this can cause others to stumble or lead to pointless arguments. One of my favorite overviews was how does this anticipate the Gospel. While I personally believe the Bible is a one story of the Gospel from Genesis forward to Revelation. Overall it was a brisk introduction to the Old Testament. From Bible Book to Bible book there were some variations and extra topics but this did not alter the flow of topics or consistency of the general layout.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Publishing 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, July 24, 2013

Anathema is a great read

Anathema
Colleen Coble




Book Summary: When Hannah refuses to forgive a terrible sin she becomes anathema--shunned. But the real question is, can she forgive herself? Visitors come to Parke County, Indiana to enjoy the lush farms, to buy the Amish quilts, and to experience the peaceful ways of the Amish families who live there. But when a double murder rocks this quiet community, the Amish residents resolve to forgive even this unfathomable offense. Hannah, however, finds forgiveness out of reach--both for the murderer and for herself. She harbors a secret shame: while the crime was committed in her own home, she was out meeting with her forbidden love, her English beau, Reece. The elders of the community insist that Hannah must forgive her family's killer or be shunned. When Hannah refuses, she runs away with Reece, leaving behind the only life she's ever known. Years later, Hannah must journey back to the place she no longer calls home. Can she find the forgiveness and belonging she so desperately desires?


Review: I enjoyed this story very much. While it was an Amish mystery it was not about being Amish. It was about making mistakes, paying for them emotionally and mentally. Not only was this a great mystery it was a psychological thriller. The person who did harm to family was controlling her without her knowing it was even occurring. That is what made this such an amazingly good thriller. I read it quickly and was not disappointed by the outcome. Thanks to Colleen Coble for this enjoyable read!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Not My Cup of Tea

Illusion: A Novel
Frank Peretti




Book Summary: Dane and Mandy, a popular magic act for forty years, are tragically separated by a car wreck that claims Mandy's life-or so everyone thinks. Even as Dane mourns and tries to rebuild his life without her, Mandy, supposedly dead, awakes in the present as the nineteen-year-old she was in 1970. Distraught and disoriented in what to her is the future, she is confined to a mental ward until she discovers a magical ability to pass invisibly through time and space to escape. Alone in a strange world, she uses her mysterious powers to eke out a living, performing magic on the streets and in a quaint coffee shop. Hoping to discover an exciting new talent, Dane ventures into the coffee shop and is transfixed by the magic he sees, illusions that even he, a seasoned professional, cannot explain. But more than anything, he is emotionally devastated by this teenager who has never met him, doesn't know him, is certainly not in love with him, but is in every respect identical to the young beauty he first met and married some forty years earlier. They begin a furtive relationship as mentor and protégée, but even as Dane tries to sort out who she really is and she tries to understand why she is drawn to him, they are watched by secretive interests who not only possess the answers to Mandy's powers and misplacement in time but also the roguish ability to decide what will become of her. Frank Peretti has crafted a rich, rewarding story of love and life, loss and restoration, full of twists and mystery. Exceptionally well written, Illusion will soon prove another Peretti classic.


Review: I love Frank Peretti’s writing style. His characters are very realistic. Illusion had all of that and more. For me I found the beginning very difficult because it was one tragedy after another. Dane lost his wife in a car accident; Mandy/Eloise loses her father, mother and essentially her life. I found for me that there was a lot of magic and I found that to take up a lot of the book. While interesting for a while it became stale. The relationship between Dane & Mandy/Eloise was difficult and challenging. There was a lot of mystery where I felt like I was missing essential information to sort through any of the events going on. The ending had a lot of wrap up that placated the events for me I just was not sure I could buy it. I feel very sad that I did not enjoy it more and some of it may be the hype I had about the return of Frank Peretti. I do believe I will read his next book and more than anything I am glad that he is better from his illness of the past. It is for that I am most happy with.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Howard 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.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A New Classic

And the Shofar Blew
Francine Rivers




Book Summary: He seemed like the perfect pastor to lead Centerville Christian Church. She was the perfect pastor's wife." When Paul Hudson accepted the call to pastor the struggling church, he had no idea what to expect. But it didn't take long for Paul to turn Centerville Christian Church around. Attendance was up-way up. Everything was going so well. If only his wife could see it that way. Still, he tried not to let her quiet presence disturb him. She knew something wasn't right, and it hadn't been for a long time. . . . Eunice closed the bedroom door quietly and knelt beside her bed." I'm drowning, God. I've never felt so alone. Who can I turn to but you, Lord? Where else does a pastor's wife go for help when her marriage is failing and her life is out of control? Who can I trust with my anguish, Lord? Who but you?" Grasping her pillow, she pressed it tightly to her mouth so that her sobs would not be heard.

Review: This was a well written book about a pastor, his family and a church that became huge. Paul Hudson and his wife were compelling as a couple that began to fracture because as the church grew Paul became consumed by growing this church into a mega church. She became immersed in their child, supporting Paul’s needs, the Bible and Bible Study. There were hints possibilities of straying and relationships yet Eunice was a devoted wife. When everything crumbles that is when Paul finally wakes up to the ruin of his relationships. Ms. Rivers is a wonderful wordsmith. This book of fiction is a Biblical example of what fidelity is in practice for not just Eunice but the Church.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ahead of Its Time

Echoes
Robin Jones Gunn





Book Summary: In this dramatic contemporary romance by bestselling author Robin Jones Gunn, Lauren Phillips enters the wild, uncharted territory of the Internet on her home computer and "connects" with a man known only as "K.C." As she struggles to recover from a broken engagement, Lauren keeps busy by working full time and striving to finish her college degree. But her correspondence with K.C. quickly becomes the thing she loves most...and the source of dreams she cannot bear to relinquish. When the opportunity comes for them to meet after a year of corresponding, Lauren faces a tough choice: Is she willing to risk everything...including a broken heart? Readers will stay "on-line" to find out in this bestselling former Palisades release, now the third book in the new Glenbrooke series.
Will Lauren risk losing her heart...to a man she's never met? Lauren Phillips tries to keep busy while recovering from a broken engagement. Then one day, through her home computer, Lauren accidentally connects on the Internet with a mysterious man she knows only as K.C. Lauren's e-mail relationship with K.C. quickly becomes the thing she loves most in life..and the source of dreams she cannot bear to relinquish. After a year of corresponding, the opportunity appears for them to meet. Lauren faces a tough choice: Is she willing to risk everything...including another broken heart?

Review: I really enjoyed this book and series. I was not sure about this particular title when I first picked it up. I hemmed and hawed about reading it. Once I started it I was sorry that I waited so long. Since I read the books out of order I was already familiar with the main characters. They were a great mix and contrast in story line from the other books in the series which made it a good ongoing series and single. There is no need to read them in sequence or you can just read one of them. Although once you read one you are going to want to know how the other stories come about. Lauren and KC are more common today than when this story was written, I think and that is what makes this more timeless.

A Good Mystery

Dangerous Mercy
Kathy Herman





Book Summary: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. --Matthew 5:7 When eighty-five-year-old Adele Woodmore moves to Les Barbes to be near the Broussards--and her namesake, their daughter--she wants nothing more than a comfortable, quiet life. Employing men from Father Vince's halfway house for the homeless to do odd jobs and landscaping, she delights in the casual conversation she has with them, the fledgling friendships, and the idea that she is helping them get back on their feet. A series of murders in Les Barbes has cast a pall over the town and, in fact, one of Adele's handymen becomes a person of interest to the police. But Adele cares for these young men, she "knows" them, and continues to show them kindness in spite of her friends' concern. And then one day a murderer walks through Adele's defenses, sits down at her kitchen table ... and they begin to talk ...

Review: There are many good qualities in this book. They mystery was ongoing and not surprising overall with the resolution. I enjoyed reading about all the previous characters. That made so much of it worthwhile. I did find it slower to get into. Once it took off it was a quick read and I wanted to know how it was going to be resolved and that Adele was going to be OK. I thought the wrestling match Adele had with herself and others about forming relationships with the men from Haven House. That was a great part of the book and something very real when you are doing ministry. The only thing that was sad and true about ministry is that doing ministry alone is unfortunate because many times the people of God forget that we are to be partners in ministry privately and corporately. Overall it was a good read and was very realistic. The ending was remarkable and worth the wait.
I would like to thank Net Galley and David C. Cook 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.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Completed Trilogy!!

The Reckoning
Beverly Lewis





Book Summary: Katherine Mayfield, the new Mistress of Mayfield Manor, always dreamed of a fancy "English" life. But as the seasons pass, she finds herself grieving the loss of her Amish family and dearest friend, Mary Stolzfus. Shunned from the Plain life she once knew, Katherine finds solace in volunteer work with hospice patients--a labor of love she hopes will bring honor to the memory of her birth mother. Unknown to Katherine, her long-lost love, Daniel Fisher, is desperate to locate his "Sweetheart girl," only to be frustrated at nearly every turn. Meanwhile, she delights in the modern world--once forbidden--cherishing the attention of Justin Wirth, her handsome suitor. Her childhood entwined with Daniel's, yet her present life far removed from Lancaster County, Katherine longs for the peace that reigned in her mother's heart. And once again, she is compelled to face the heritage of her past.

Review: In part 3 of this series we have come through terrible discovery to tragic events and a mild medium for Katie. Now we are coming to a conclusion of sorts. What will be Katie’s future and who will she marry. The biggest changes for Katie are to come. She adjusts to life without her birth mother and learns to enjoy this new found world she lives in. She has a nice suitor and yet for Katie she longs for greater peace. Will she remain with Justin or will Daniel find her and recapture her heart. These are the questions that come with the conclusion to this series. A truly enjoyable conclusion with a roller coaster of emotions, while each book stands on its own merits but for greatest enjoyment is to read them all. Looking forward to the final Hallmark movie and DVD of this series, too.

Genesis a book worth digging through

The Promised One
Nancy Guthrie





The Promised One provides a fresh look at the book of Genesis, leading women in discovering how its stories, symbols, people, and promises point to Christ. Over ten weeks of study, participants will see Christ as the agent of creation, the offspring who will crush the head of the serpent, the ark of salvation, the source of the righteousness credited to Abraham, the substitutionary sacrifice provided by God, the Savior to whom the whole world must come for life, and much more. 
Each weekly lesson includes questions for personal study, a contemporary teaching chapter that emphasizes how the passage fits into the bigger story of redemptive history, a brief section on how the passage uniquely points to what is yet to come at the consummation of Christ's kingdom, and a leader's guide for group discussion.
Nancy Guthrie is the kind of author that brings out little gems that show a bigger picture of the book of Genesis. It is a must read for anyone that would like to explore Genesis. I have enjoyed that this book is an easy read and the format is easy to read while going through Genesis. I have look long and hard for books that delves into Genesis and that is exactly what Nancy Guthrie does.

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

A Quick Read

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Tullian Tchividjian





Jesus + Nothing = Everything is the equation that Tullian Tchividjian took away from a year of great trial and turmoil. He describes the bitter divisions that soured the beginning of his pastorate at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and the personal anchor that he found in the overwhelming power of the gospel. The book of Colossians forms the basis of Tchividjian’s call for Christians to rediscover the gospel and continually reorient their lives around Jesus. 

Tchividjian insists that many who assume they understand the gospel fail to actually apply its riches to their lives. He takes particular aim at self-righteousness, which motivates moral behavior by fear and guilt. In contrast, the gospel of grace, with the radical freedom that it brings, provides the only sustainable motivation for Christians. This book delves into the profound theological truths of the gospel, yet the message is intensely practical—Tchividjian sounds the call for believers to lean hard on Christ in every area of every day.
This book was easy to read through and at times Pastor Tchividjian goes on so much with the title it is almost numbing and tiresome. His main point is well taken in that we bring nothing to our Lord when he bestows salvation on us and that anything we try to bring are filthy rags. The events that lead to this book are the same trials every believer experiences when they are doing the work of the Gospel. The world hates this message, there is no other way they could live if they did not do all they could to destroy the Jesus of the Bible. Which is the main point of any trial. Thank be to God that this trial was one that he was able to grow closer to the Lord.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Crossway Publishing, Inc. for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Stellar Sequel!!

Lightkeeper’s Bride
Colleen Coble





Book Summary: When Katie answers the call of duty, she awakens the call of her heart. Katie Russell loves working as a telephone operator in Mercy Falls, California. But since childhood she has been expected to marry well. Her family presses for an engagement to wealthy bachelor Bartholomew Foster and though he doesn't stir her heart, their engagement promises a secure financial future. Working the phone lines one evening, Katie overhears a chilling exchange between her friend Eliza and a familiar male voice. Katie soon learns that Eliza has diappeared, and the crime may be linked to another investigation by handsome new lighthouse keeper, Will Jesperson. Katie and Will soon form an alliance. An alliance that slowly blossoms into something more. Despite the danger surrounding her, Katie is powerfully drawn to Will. But she is not at liberty to marry for love. And though society forbids their growing affection, Katie can't help but notice Will's sense of peace. It's a peace that rests on his trust in God--a trust that Katie has never had to depend on, with her future so clearly mapped out before her.
But the more Katie uncovers of the mystery, the more she discovers about herself, her past, and the brilliant future that could be hers if only she has the courage to trust in God and follow where her heart so fearlessly leads.

Review: Such a pretty cover and a thrilling book to go with it. Kept me at the edge of my seat from almost the start! I liked the Katie and Will very much they were fun together and trying to guess who did it and what else was going on was mind teasingly fun. Those are the things that keep me going through the book. I really liked how well everything went together and how I did not doubt the timeline of events. Colleen Coble has had me as a faithful reader since the first book I read of hers. I have yet to be disappointed.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Reading

I also review for Netgalley, booksneeze and above the treelines edelweiss!




along with reading for myself. This is my favorite hobby!

Lightkeeper's Daughter

Lightkeeper’s Daughter
Colleen Coble





Book Summary: With the lies of the past behind her, Addie finds love . . . and discovers her true Father. Addie Sullivan leads a quiet life in a northern California lighthouse. She mourns the death of her father and endures her mother's bitterness, until the night a storm brings an injured stranger and a dark secret to her home. The man insists she is not who she thinks she is, but rather "Julia Eaton"-the child long lost and feared dead by her wealthy family. Seizing the chance to be reunited with the Eatons, Addie leaves her lighthouse home but decides to keep her true identity a secret until they can unravel the mystery. Addie loves the Eatons' palatial home tucked away among the California redwood forests. She feels secure with the jovial family, adores the young boy who is her charge as governess, and finds romance with his father John, a young widower. But sinister shadows overtake Addie's joy. As dusty rooms and secret compartments give up their clues about her past, Addie finds a faith and a love she could never have guessed. To embrace this new world of promise is to risk her life; but to run away is to risk losing the greatest love she's ever known.

Review: I love lighthouses so I was drawn to the cover and the location immediately. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. That ‘what if…’ idea is always a fun idea to explore. I liked Addie and her compassion on the woman who raised her. It had great twists and turns that made for and exciting read with some whimsy that made for better fiction within some of those twists. I enjoy Colleen Coble’s writing very much. I can get to the nail biting parts where I am hesitant to see where this turn will take me in the story and am always delighted with the outcome. The background characters were fun and made me struggle to think of who will be the next main characters in this great trilogy.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Must Read!!!!

Shattered
Dani





Book Summary A Thrilling New Romantic Suspense from the Genre's Newest Star

Piper McKenna couldn't be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed--but despite the evidence, Reef swears he's innocent. And Piper believes him.

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon's career.

With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada's rugged backcountry--and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

Review: Part 1 - I am half way through this book. I was hooked at about the 3rd page!!! My brain is going a mile a minute to figure out the ‘who and whys’ of this mystery!! This is just the right amount of intensity and mystery. I also like the characters! Landon is fantastic and you just want to root for him in every way. I like Piper more and more as the story goes along, but she seems very young at times and naive about things at times yet other times she is on the mark. Reef is the perfect dupe for the murder and headstrong which makes him great. Had some difficulty with Kayden, because she can be one who doubts everyone around her and unrealistic about life in her environment (very believable because not every character is picture perfect). Really looking forward to reading Darcy's story!! Liked her immediately and the fact that they think she is some small time ski journalist is great. The background story of Gage and Meredith is great (although it may have been mentioned in the previous book which I have not read) and tantalizing when the next book comes out more answers and probable questions will keep me hooked! I agree with the fanfare I hear about Dani Pettrey this is one well written book! More to come when I finish!

The Final outcome!! The last half did not disappoint! I was on the edge of my seat with the travel, the waiting and the extra events with all the background characters. I have seldom read a book where there were so many characters that really were building blocks to the background and keep me entertained at the same time. I loved it. I really liked the ‘dead ends’ and other type of redirects it was fabulous. I hung on every word not wanting to miss a thing!
I would like to thank Library Thing and Bethany House Publishers 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.


Please forgive the reprint on some of this I just had to post my initial thoughts at the start and wanted to reprint to make it in one place!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shattered (Part 1)

Shattered
Dani Pettrey





I am half way through this book. I was hooked at about the 3rd page!!! My brain is going a mile a minute to figure out the 'who and whys' of this mystery!! This is just the right amount of intensity and mystery. I also like the characters! Landon is fantastic and you just want to root for him in every way. I like Piper more and more as the story goes along, but she seems very young at times and naive about things at times yet other times she is on the mark. Reef is the perfect dupe for the murder and headstrong which makes him great. Had some difficulty with Kayden, because she can be one who doubts everyone around her and unrealistic about life in her environment (very believable because not every character is picture perfect). Really looking forward to reading Darcy's story!! Liked her immediately and the fact that they think she is some small time ski journalist is great. The background story of Gage and Meredith is great (although it may have been mentioned in the previous book which I have not read) and tantalizing when the next book comes out more answers and probable questions will keep me hooked! I agree with the fanfare I hear about Dani Pettrey this is one well written book! More to come when I finish!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Intense Ride!!

Rosemary Cottage
Colleen Coble





Book Summary: Amy came to Rosemary Cottage to grieve, to heal, maybe even find love. But there’s a deadly undertow of secrets around Hope Island…. The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She’s even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It’s always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben’s disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder. Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine’s father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can’t help being drawn to Hope Beach’s new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina. Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other…and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden?


Book Review: The mystery was a lingering scent in every aspect of the book. I liked the lead characters although sometimes Amy was a little annoying at points but overall enjoyable. Curtis was a little judgmental about Ben when his sister too had a history, but no more so than anyone would be. I liked Edith and the sheriff along with the main characters to Tidewater Inn. It was a great continuation although there was no need to read the other book to be able to enjoy this book. The cover picture is what really drew me to this book and the inside of the book made it worthwhile by itself. I read this with some putting it down because of the intensity of the story. I am now hopeful to visit these characters again in the next book. It was a wild ride in the last 3rd of the book but what a fun and suspenseful one at that.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Thomas Nelson Publishing 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.

Gets Better Every Time

Clouds
Robin Jones Gunn





Book Summary: This bestselling former Palisades release is book five in the new Glenbrooke series by award-winning author Robin Jones Gunn. Shelly Graham has moved home to Glenbrooke, where she's flooded with memories of her high school sweetheart, who took off for Europe after they broke up. But when Shelly travels to Germany, she suddenly runs into the former boyfriend who has filled her thoughts. Learning that Jonathan is engaged, Shelly hides her feelings for him. After returning home, however, she must face these feelings, especially after her path crosses Jonathan's yet again. Only this time, if they can find the strength to be honest, they just might discover what God has in store. She remembers their childhood with longing their parting with regret... Coming home wasn't supposed to feel this way. After five years as a flight attendant, Shelly is home again, in a house alive with happy memories. Yet she feels strangely lost. Without direction. Alone. Where is Jonathan Renrield when she needs him? Jonathan, her best friend nearly all her life, her first and only love. Shelly hadn't meant to hurt him when she left him behind to chase her dreams. And she misses him more than she's ever admitted. When they unexpectedly meet in Germany , Shelly manages to hide her feelings from Jonathan-and his fiancée. But she can no longer hide them from herself. Will she ever be ready to tell Jonathan the truth? Will she have the chance? Not until a business trip takes her to charming Glenbrooke , Oregon does Shelly finally understand: only the truth can set her free. But is it too late for her and Jonathan?

Review: I grow fonder of this book every day. When I first read it I enjoyed the twists and the turns, the clever dialog and how well written it is. I now can appreciate it from time and experiences and realize that sometimes what we look for when we are younger have flaws that bring us rewards greater than we can ever imagine. For me this is just such a book because a first love is precious but to mature it and care for it are a tremendous responsibility. It is always romantic to ponder the ‘what ifs’ in life. This book delves into this with heart wrenching moments and with many exciting backdrops of Germany and Oregon. I enjoy the ancillary things in books sometimes more than the big themes for me it is upon those little details that build believability. It is always a pleasure to read a writer who crafts a well written tale. Thanks to Robin Jones Gunn and God for the gifts he gives of ideas along with the talent to write.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Great Ending

Woodlands
Robin Jones Gunn





Book Summary: The charming town of Glenbrooke, Oregon, welcomes readers once more to delight in a contemporary love story. In this all-new offering in the heartwarming Glenbrooke series, bestselling author Robin Jones Gunn's characters get two lessons on love: it's not based on performance and its motives must be pure. When Leah Hudson, the "ugly duckling" among beautiful sisters, meets mysterious newcomer Seth Edwards, she thinks someone could love her after all. Their friendship grows, but Seth has things he must work through before he can open himself to anyone. An unexpected inheritance serves to complicate matters that strike to the core of Seth's and Leah's hearts and faith.
Leah Hudson loves to give. But when others want to give back? Well, that's another story entirely!
After years of pouring herself out for others, Leah, an average twenty-seven-year-old woman, finally finds herself receiving. She has her own cottage in Glenbrooke, wonderful friends, a great job at the hospital, and the attention of Seth Edwards, the new guy in town. She even wins a cruise to Alaska when she accidentally dials the number of a radio station! So why can't Leah relax and enjoy this new season of her life? When an inheritance of fifty acres of prime Oregon woodlands is left to her-with a certain condition attached-Glenbrooke's town lawyer, Collin Radcliffe, prompts Leah to question Seth's motives for his interest in her. Only by turning her affections in a new direction will Leah be able to hear the true song of this springtime of her life.

Review: This was a great standalone book and to the series. I learned so much from the entire series! This book was one of my favorites in the series. I looked forward to the reprint of these books. They were so sweet and enjoyable. It was easy to like Leah she was the kind of person anyone would want as a friend. The Biblical woman Leah and this character were similar and it was such a memorable pairing that this is one of the things that resonated with me most. I liked the romance and all of the windfalls Leah had but for me the Biblical reference was the greatest.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Revisiting Old Friends

Waterfalls (Glenbrooke Series #6)
Robin Jones Gunn





Book Summary: Pretty, spunky Meri has never had a problem holding her own with attractive men. But her trip to Glenbrooke, Oregon, takes a decidedly interesting turn when she finds herself sharing a picnic with a man who makes her heart beat in triple time. When she discovers her picnic partner is none other than movie star Jacob Wilde, she loses her characteristic cool and ruins everything! The next time their paths cross, the tables are turned. Jacob is eager to publish his children’s books, and Meri, as an acquisitions editor, is the woman he needs to impress. She’s more than willing to let him work at it. Partnering on a project, Meri and Jake begin to spend a lot of time together. As Meri learns to distinguish the real Jake from his Hollywood persona, she can’t help but be drawn to him. But what will it take for him to see her in a different light—and realize she has more to offer than her editorial expertise?

Review: This is a book I have read more than once. The entire series was a favorite! I really liked the characters in this story. I found Meri to be a character I can identify with and thought that the other characters who were reoccurring to blend nicely with this book. You can read as a standalone or the entire series. I have read them out of order. The fact that this is a 2nd or 3rd reprint is what makes this series one that stands the test of times in Christian Fiction. I can honestly say this series had a huge impact on me the first time I read them and the second time was like reminiscing with old friends.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mixed Feelings

To Love and Cherish
Tracie Peterson & Judith Miller





Book Summary: Escape to a Beautiful, Historic Island Resort, Bridal Veil Island, Georgia 1898 Melinda Colson has been waiting months for Evan, the assistant gamekeeper at the Bridal Veil Island resort, to propose. Without an offer of marriage, she must return to Cleveland with the family she works for as a lady's maid. Evan isn't afraid of hard work, and he hopes to be promoted soon. He wants to marry Melinda--but not until he's sure he can support her and a family. Letters strengthen their romance until a devastating storm strikes the island. With no word from Evan, Melinda knows she must journey back to Bridal Veil in search of her beloved. But the hurricane isn't the last calamity to shake up Bridal Veil. Melinda finds a new job on the island, but still no offer of marriage comes her way. Has she given her heart to the wrong person? Will she ever find a man to love and cherish?
Review: I tried real hard to like this book. I gave it time and I mulled over how Melinda must feel and Evan must feel but at the end of the day I was lukewarm. I did grow to like Melinda the best and thought that Evan was just so bland. He may have had the best intentions but really only worked to please her with words when she did not get what she wanted. Even when she was happy he seemed to snub her at times. I think both these authors are talented and this was an awkward plot. Where do you go with a topic for a long period of time with a part time meeting place? Make the female character that starts out exceedingly responsible and mature do something flighty? That did not fit. I can understand how others would find this to be great because all things aside Melinda was smart and had been wealthy. She understood the ways of the rich although her mother taught her kindness and grace. There were many places about prayer and how we fail to do this with the big decisions. That was a grounding reminder that Melinda acts as I do.
I would like to Bethany House Publishing 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.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Blessing

Psalms, Volume 2
Kathleen Nielson





Publisher Summary: In this second study of the book of Psalms, Kathleen Nielson takes us on a tour of additional well-chosen individual psalms, helping us to take them in deeply, savor their poetry, and receive from them the very breath of God. Then she goes a step farther—not only teaching the Psalms to us, but teaching us how to keep teaching ourselves, by providing additional psalms for individual study. Learn from the Psalms how to praise and pray, and learn from Kathleen how to learn the Psalms.

Review: I love this book. I prefer things like this printed form because it is a great tool to write in. The greatest part of this book and series is that you dig into so many places in scripture. I find it to be a great way to go through the Psalms and tie in scripture of relevance. This is one of my favorite things is how well scripture goes with scripture. I find it a true gift when someone is able to do this. It is through these workbooks and reading scripture that I have become better at doing this. Thanks be to God for Kathleen Nielson sharing her gift in these books and by the reading of His Word.
I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing 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, July 3, 2013

Unique Organizing

The Home Office Handbook
Lorie Marrero





Book Summary: An organized home office is within your grasp. Get a grip on your home office with these handy pointers! This handbook is for entrepreneurs, telecommuters, stay-at-home parents, and home-based business owners, complete with video bonus lessons and printable reference sheets online.
Review: There were a lot of practical ideas in the book. I liked the layout overall. Sometimes I found the information provided to be limited to one website or person (sometimes was a friend of the author). This was not an example of professional referral. Yes, it is OK to provide a friend or someone who has provided a service for you well as the referral. Although by just providing one referral and that is a friend seems limiting and preferential. Things do not always work out especially when written in the pages of a book. I found some of the advice to be a personal preference and a demand placed on the reader to do ‘as I say’ only requirement. It could shut someone’s ears because people want assistance and help dealing with this not an autocratic requirement by some they have never met. When you are face to face there is a personal relationship that can demand you can demand more of them.
I did find some of the information refreshing and helpful. There were new references that I had not heard of and was able to look into. Many times there were 2 or 3 places to get information and this was particularly helpful because when you are paying for something shopping around is key to customizing for and individual or family needs. Over all an easy read with a lot of information that can be utilized for assistance with a home office.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Greenleaf Book Group 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, July 2, 2013

One of my Favorites

Newlywed Games
Mary Davis





Publisher Summary: Every woman will relate to Newlywed Games, a hilarious romantic comedy about a "little white lie" that grows into a very big problem. Meghann Livingston invents a husband to soothe her dying mother. But when her mom miraculously recovers, then comes for a visit, Meghann is hard-pressed to explain her "husband's" absence! Before Meghann can come clean, her handsome, elusive boss, Bruce Halloway, inadvertently steps into her romantic charade ... and to Meghann's shock and horror, insists upon playing "son-in-law" to her mom. The masquerade's success depends upon them playing their newlywed games extremely well. But when they do, both Meghann and Bruce -- even as they struggle to overcome the consequences of their deceptions -- find themselves falling in love ... for real!

Review: This was a fantastic book. I just loved the whole premise. The struggle the couple had being dishonest and falling in love for real. It was funny, quick paced and all around fun! I would reread parts of this book again. It was just so unique. This author has some smaller books but I would love to see her have another longer book to enjoy. Her characters were fresh and realistic. The plot was continuous and had no deviation from its purpose. A must read for every romance reader. I read fiction to see how people work situations out with believability and Ms. Davis did this up right. It was a pleasure to read the first time or the 3rd time.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Worth the Wait

No Safe Harbor
Elizabeth Ludwig





Book Summary: She came to America searching for her brother. Instead all she's found is a web of danger. Cara Hamilton had thought her brother to be dead. Now, clutching his letter, she leaves Ireland for America, desperate to find him. Her search leads her to a houseful of curious strangers, and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh. Despite her brother's warning, Cara trusts Rourke, revealing her purpose in coming to New York. She's then thrust into a world of subterfuge, veiled threats, and attempted murder, including political revolutionaries from the homeland out for revenge. Her questions guide her ever nearer to locating her brother--but they also bring her closer to destruction as those who want to kill him track her footsteps. With her faith in tatters, all hope flees. Will her brother finally surface? Can he save Cara from the truth about Rourke... a man she's grown to love?

Book Review: The cover of this book is what drew me in first. I really was looking forward to reading this book and was not disappointed. I liked Cara and Ana. The premise and some of the details was complex regarding the civil unrest in Ireland. I was not always clear about who was on which side. Overall there seemed to be no good side that at some point in civil issues everyone loses something tangible as in the case of this book families were separated and/or divided. I loved the characters and how complex they were on the whole. The current secondary characters set up nicely for the next in the series. The mystery dragged at times and I am hopeful that it was due to setting up the series and the future characters which would help make all of them flow together. I think the real mystery was more subtle than Eoghan on the run from his civil enemies. This is a timely novel about significant division in a nation and the sides’ people choose.
I would like to thank Library Thing and Bethany House Publishing 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.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Great Standalone

The Bridesmaid
Beverly Lewis





Book Summary: Twenty-seven-year-old Joanna Kurtz has made several trips to the altar, but never as a bride. The single young Amishwoman is a closet writer with a longing to be published something practically unheard of in her Lancaster County community. Yet Joanna's stories aren't her only secret. She also has a beau who is courting her from afar, unbeknownst even to her sister, Cora, who, though younger, seems to have suitors to spare. Eben Troyer is a responsible young Amishman who hopes to make Joanna Kurtz his bride--if he can ever leave his parents' farm in Shipshewana, Indiana. Yet with his only brother off in the English world, intent on a military career, Eben's hopes for building a life with his dear Joanna are dimming, and patience is wearing thin. Will Joanna ever be more than a bridesmaid?
Review: It took me a while to get into the book when I started but then it took off!! I breezed through it. I had mixed emotions about Joanna and Eben in the beginning. I was not disposed to like Cora Jane especially with some of the things she did but Joanna had such a real and amazing love for her sister. I loved going back to Hickory Hallow. That was a special treat, especially with the recent movies of Shunning and Confession that have come out. I really found it to be fun to see where Katie grew up with that community today.
I really could empathize with Joanna about the way the Pastor was. I think that it was a little more than necessary since the Pastor’s admonishments were heavy handed to Joanna alone. If true than he should have included her parents in the talk since she lived in their home. Than to include her parents in it at the end when he amended his conditions was less realistic
Over all it was a great standalone book that was well put together with realistic characters and an interesting premise along with some fun complications. The ending was almost too convenient but realistic because life does work out that simply in the end.
I would like to thank Library Thing and Bethany House Publishers 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.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Memorable Book

Hangman's Curse
Frank Peretti





Book Summary: They could be anyone, anywhere . . . even the person walking by you right now. The Veritas Project is their code name--but only a handful of people know teens Elijah and Elisha Springfield have been covertly commissioned by the President to investigate strange mysteries that delve into the paranormal and supernatural. Their charge is to find out not only what happened, but why--the veritas (Latin for truth) behind the seemingly impossible phenomena.
Their new assignment: Hangman's Curse In Baker, Washington, three popular student athletes lie in an incoherent coma, with loss of muscle coordination, severe paranoia, and hallucinations. It's whispered that they're victims of Abel Frye--a curse that's haunted the school since a student died there in the 1930s. Now the curse is spreading, and students are running scared. The Veritas Project must go undercover to find the truth . . . before it's too late.

Review: I loved this book. I picked it up at Costco and I read it from beginning to end! This was years ago and yet parts of the witty dialog and storyline still comes to my mind. I remember how I could not put it down. The characters were well written and realistic. I think Veritas Project itself was a cool concept. I found the children to be fun and smart without being a disrespectful pair. They were characters I cheered on and wanted to read more of. The parents were intelligent and part of the team with each person having their own specialty. It is the way families should be portrayed rather than the typical dumb parents, smart kids. My only criticism is that there were only two books but that is tempered by a deep respect for Mr. Peretti who had serious vertigo, I believe around the same time. Now that he is writing again I hope he will pen more of these tails. I also seldom read youth fiction but this was a smart and snappy read many age groups.

Monday, June 24, 2013

4 Fun Stories

Secretly Smitten
Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, & Denise Hunter






Book Summary: Summer, fall, winter, spring—Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery! There’s a secret in Grandma Rose’s attic—a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic? The mystery intrigues Rose’s three granddaughters—Tess, Clare, and Zoe—and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women? Join popular romance novelists—and real-life BFFs—Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.

Book Review: Like all the stories very much. I think it would be hard to pick a favorite. Even the one that I was least interested in became very enjoyable to the point of wanting to know how it ended. I like the carryover ‘mystery’ involving Grandma it was a good link between the stories. I liked Denise Hunter’s story because it tied everything up very well. Not all series do that. Grandma’s mystery did not have a very exciting climax which was sad but with a limit to the length and content of the story something had to be decreased and left to one’s imagination. I am looking forward to reading Smitten now.
I would like to thank Net Galley 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.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Transforming Change from My Original Desire

Unbreakable
Nancy Mehl





Book Summary: Mennonite Romantic Suspense Sure to Thrill Readers
Gentle and unassuming, Hope Kauffman has never been one to question the traditions of her Mennonite upbringing. She quietly helps her father run Kingdom Quilts and has agreed to the betrothal he arranged for her with the devout but shy Ebbie Miller. Despite the attempts of Hope and other Kingdom residents to maintain the status quo, changes have already begun to stir in the small Mennonite town. The handsome and charismatic Jonathon Wiese is the leader of the move to reform, while Ebbie insists Kingdom must remain true to its foundation. When Hope's safety is threatened by a mysterious outsider, she can't help but question what she's always been taught about the Mennonite tradition of nonviolence. As it swiftly becomes apparent the threat Hope faced is only the beginning, the town that's always stood so strong finds itself divided. With tensions high and their lives endangered by an unknown enemy, will Hope and the people of Kingdom allow fear and division to break them or will they draw on the strength of the God they serve?

Review: I thought the book got better and better as I continued to read!!! It started out slow for me, about 1/3rd into the book I could not put it down. I really found the mystery fun. It was not a huge who did it but definitely ‘a who will Hope chose to marry.’ I made up my mind and was very pleased that is the way the story went. I would have been so disappointed if it went any other way. I just could not see the outcome being satisfying had Hope’s choice been different. For me I was transformed in my opinion by the halfway mark. It is a good read when how you feel changes dramatically by the end of the book. I am looking forward to reading the 3rd in this series. It has been a fun series thus far. The people of the town have grown and changed which is part of the fun. There was a lot of sadness at the start of the book and that is what contributed to the slowness because it was such a tragedy to get through.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House Publishing 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.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Ending Changed Everything For Me

Beauty to Die For
Kim Alexis and Mindy Starns Clark






Book Summary: Juliette Taylor walked away from her career as a supermodel twenty-five years ago. Now approaching fifty - an emotionally complex milestone -- she co-owns a beauty supply company that makes skincare products for salons and spas. Her niche is pampering Christian women who usually spend more time caring for others than for themselves under the slogan: Isn't it time someone took care of YOU for a change? When Juliette arrives at the Palm Grotto Spa to host a spiritual retreat, she runs into an old modeling colleague, Raven, who had always been disliked in the industry for many reasons. She isn't there for the retreat; in fact, her presence at the spa is somewhat mysterious. Not long after Raven makes a cryptic threat to Juliette, the unsympathetic back-then beauty is found dead, poisoned by something in the green clay of a chai soy wrap. The following morning, a banner for the retreat has been unceremoniously altered: It's your turn to be nurtured, to be restored . . . to be murdered. Suspicion is directed at Juliette who has history with Raven and certainly knows how to use beauty products. But for murder?! Now she must find the real killer before the police really take care of her.


Review: I found some the beginning to be slow. There was much background that merged with the present. That was nicely done overall. I found the mystery to be small in comparison to the romance. The mystery was actually well woven into the story. I thought that the suspense of the mystery could have been increased to make it a page turner. The ending was great and made reading the entire book fantastic. I found Marcus to be a little too good to be true. Didi, Crystal and the Stone family were great. They helped move the story along and were extremely believable. I am looking forward to the next book in the series with great anticipation of how the characters will continue in their relationships with each other, especially Didi and Marcus. While I would like more suspense I do think the way it was written is the way real mysteries unfold with little suspense and a lot of timing. I did guess who did it but more out of pure guessing than sleuthing. The ending brought me to tears and totally changed how I viewed the entire book.

I would like to thank Net Galley and B & H Publishing Group 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.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Differrent Sort of Christian Fiction

Always the Baker, Never the Bride
Sandra D. Bricker






Book Summary: In Always the Baker, Never the Bride, readers fell in love with Emma Rae and Jackson, and they’ve gotten more acquainted with them in the two books that followed. But now it’s time for the diamond to meet the road as Jackson fields an offer to sell The Tanglewood, a move that will uproot this high-flying family act once and for all. Get reacquainted with all of the lovable and quirky characters from the first three books as your favorite diabetic baker figures out if she'll achieve her greatest goal of all: Will Emma, at last, become FINALLY the Bride?

Review: I am of a double mind about this book. The characters were streamlined throughout the series. There are obviously differences between older writers than Ms. Bricker. The main thing is a widening generational gap an example is tattoos. I am not fond of them. I never have, it has nothing to do with faith and tattoos it is more of a how I look at marking up my body. After reading one review who stated that the Christianity was not overpowering I would say it is nonexistent other than some weak poorly stated places. How can one be a Christian and not pray for the things which seldom to never occurred. Another minor but irritating point for me personally is the descriptions used ‘her smile stretched..’ it brought up pictures of rubber bands to my mind. Many of these things may seem petty but for me they interrupted the flow of reading. I found the main characters to be selfish – no children plans because they want to live in Paris not for missions but for them to enjoy it. There were a number of these things that were disturbing. I did like the supporting characters and there were a lot that surrounded this series. I liked Hilda a very real character and Aunt Sophie. These were two great characters that truly helped the main characters. I would still recommend the book because the book did have a great conclusion to this series, but this book was more secular than Christian fiction.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Abingdon Publishing 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.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thankfully this story has been told

Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story
Ken Tada , Joni Eareckson Tada with Larry Libby





Book Description: This is the true love story of Joni and her husband of 30 years, Ken Tada. A love story showing what it truly means for a man and a woman to live in love ... in sickness and in health. Even the honeymoon wasn't easy. Did Ken realize what he was getting into when he proposed to Joni, a quadriplegic woman? As their marriage years moved on, Ken became increasingly overwhelmed by the never-ceasing demands of caring for Joni, who begins to experience chronic, extreme, nightmarish pain. Ken sinks into depression, and the couple finds themselves on parallel tracks in life, married and living under the same roof but drifting apart emotionally. But as they fight for their marriage and find their way through the mazes of depression and pain, they wrap their two lives around their rock---Jesus. During Ken's denial of Joni's diagnosis, and Joni's thoughts of how wonderful a quick exit to heaven would be, they experience a personal visitation with the savior you will never forget.

Review: I found this to be a great read. Easy to get absorbed in it and so well written that I could not put it down. It was like being let into a side of Joni that is hidden. I felt privileged to read this story. It was the first ebook that I made notes in and highlighted things. That says a lot since I was storming through this book rapidly. There were many things that made me cry and laugh. I enjoyed the frank honesty of their life together. So many things were precious like their meeting and how sweet Ken was during their dating and up to their wedding. He was more the unknown in this story and it made the man into a real person. I can honestly say that any disability makes a life interesting. I have thought a lot about pain and the changes that occur while married. There is no guarantee that the state of one’s abilities will remain even young. It is more realistic to understand the in sickness and in health. I can empathize with the chronic pain and the cancer on top of it was a lot to wrestle with. I have often thought that the church has lost her understanding of suffering. To me this has been a struggle and found the resounding theme to be that of the Bible with life there is suffering. I am so appreciative to have the privilege to read and review this book. As the beginning promised this is the real love that is lost today. Not easy and not neatly packaged but definitely a love story of all time.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Publishing 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, May 15, 2013

A Dynamic Read

The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers On The Moors)
Sarah Ladd







Book Summary: Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything.
Darbury, England, 1814
Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met. When the child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting to her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of their love for this little one. Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride. Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect. Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them.

Review: I really enjoyed this book. This is my first book written by Sarah Ladd but it will not be my last. The entire story was captivating. I loved Amelia and Graham they were great and very realistic. Many of the events were realistic but also not difficult to predict. The dialog and secondary characters were unknown which easily made everyone suspect. All of which merged perfectly with events as they unfolded for the characters. It was not difficult to figure out who was the kidnapper but the extent that this person went to acquire money was startling. I liked the resolution to events that were very realistic and yet the very end left so many more questions than answers. I felt let down because there were some loose ends that I wanted to see resolved. I am hoping that some of these things get resolved in the next book in this series………. Over all this was a thrilling read with dynamic characters.
I would like to thank Book Sneeze 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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Mixture of Classics

The Tutor’s Daughter
Julie Klassen





Book Summary: Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes? The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.... When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?
Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor's Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast--a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions--where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.

Book Review: I really enjoyed Emma, Henry and Aunt Jane. They were great characters that you really felt like they were friends and people you could relate to. I found the mysteries to be fun. I like the one on the north wing, although it ended too quickly. I like the events that came from that but I would have liked a couple more nights of fear from it. The BIG mystery was easy to figure out. The only disappointing thing was when Emma believed the very people she knew were liars. That bothered me tremendously. Somehow they should have someone duped into lying to her, because she should have known they could not be trusted. The relationship between Emma and Henry was great. How they went from being at odds to friends was great to watch. I would recommend this story to anyone. It was full of fun memories like Jane Eyre, Mansfield Park (for me). I did not really see any Downton Abbey in it because Carson the Butler far exceeds Davies.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House Publishing 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.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Not yet done but very engrossed in this book

Tutor's Daughter

Julie Klassen







From the moment I started this book I have been hooked. Every light I stop at, every spare minute I have, When I have to wait for anything I read as much as possible. I think this is the most enjoyable historical book I have read recently!! I am so hooked on the mystery I can not wait to finish and than the sadness that it is over will descend!!

Better than Expected!

Seattle Cinderella

Gail Sattler





Book Description: A modern Cinderella and her cohorts are enchanted by love in Seattle. Cindy is forced into running her late father’s muffler shop and employing horrid step-sisters, Annie and Zella. Can she garner the emotional energy needed to protect her heart against Luke’s princely charms? Annie Wilson’s past misdeeds have tarnished her reputation. Can she prove to herself and Brent that she’s a changed woman? Zella is busy writing her own life story. Will it involve murder or romance? Farrah, Cindy’s godmother, has caught a younger man’s eye. How long can she deter his advances? Will God make these couples’ dreams come true?

Review: Each story was a great stand alone. My biggest problem is that when I think of Cinderella, I am prone to not like the stepsisters. That took some time to deal with the other stories after Cindy. I also struggled at the start to get into the series. But once I did they took off and were enjoyable. I liked the fact that they did not try to gloss over the rocky relationship the girls had. They were quick and easy to read.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. 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.

Monday, April 15, 2013

An Intense Sequel

Safe in His Arms

Colleen Coble





Book Description: Sometimes it takes a stranger to see you as you really are.
Under Texas Stars, #2 Born and raised on sprawling Texas land, Margaret O’Brien prides herself on her competence as a rancher. But her father believes she’s made for more than just dawn-to-dusk work. He wants her to have the love of a good man, to raise children, to build a life. But Margaret gave up such dreams years ago. She’s convinced no man would have her, that the ranch is her life now. So when Margaret’s father hires Daniel Cutler as a new foreman, she’s frustrated and suspicious. Then an overheard conversation links him with a gang of bank robbers, and she’s downright worried. Daniel swears he’s not involved, but Margaret’s not convinced. She knows the man still has secrets. But would a criminal be so kind and talk so convincingly of his faith? As a series of tragic “accidents” threatens all she holds dear, Margaret must decide what to trust: her own ears, her best judgment . . . or what her heart keeps telling her.

Review: I enjoy the story line very much it was well woven into the Blue Moon Promise book. Margaret was great at the start and the end. I had a little trouble with her ‘I can fix anything’ even a dangerous band of bank robbers. That seemed unrealistic that she had so little sense. I did like the events that occurred after her attempt to help went way off track. Daniel was everything I thought he was in career and character. The ‘bad outlaws’ were well written and with them being mostly in the peripheral was much more dramatic. The side mystery was no surprise but the accomplice was a surprise. I found the action at the end to be intense and draining so real that I wanted to rest between suspense filled events!! Looking forward to book 3??!!!
I would like to thank Net Galley 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.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Storylines solid the language a bit much

The Quakers of New Garden
Claire Sanders, Ann E. Schrock, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Susette Williams





Description: Four Quakers of New Garden face trials of the heart. When Josiah Wall postpones his marriage to Ruth Payne for a second time, Ruth is reluctant to give him another chance at love. Deborah Wall is thrilled to work at a hub of the Underground Railroad, until wounded Nathaniel Fox—a bounty hunter for runaway slaves—is left to her care. Leah Wall struggles to turn a marriage of convenience into a marriage of love. Christian Jaidon Taylor pursues Quaker Catherine Wall—but she’s convinced their differences will forever keep them apart. Will these women withstand the test of love?

Review: I really liked the story lines for all the books. They were well thought out and easy to read except for the ‘thee’ ‘thou’ and like language. It was OK at the start but became a noose during the reading because the weighed down the dialogue. I struggled through this with the start of each story until I could block it out. It seemed to me that it should have been phased out and I doubt that it would have bothered me. They were fun to see them blend from one part of the family to the next with characters that would pop into other stories. I am glad that I read it over all and look forward to hearing good things from these authors in the future.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. 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.

Finally the Author I have been waiting to read!!!!

Depression

Margaret Ashmore





Publishers Summary:The periods of depression that we all share can range from having a bad day to grieving the loss of a loved one. Our fallen world harbors a broad spectrum of suffering that, while never the same for each individual, has always been part of the human condition.
Yet Margaret Ashmore reminds us that however difficult our circumstances, they cannot determine whether our lives are ruled by joy or by depression . . . the choices we make in light of those circumstances do. She lays before us a set of godly choices we can make in our own “dark night of the soul” to seek God’s freedom from our dominating depression.

Review: I have waited years for Margaret Ashmore to write a book! I was so excited that I read it quickly. She writes the same way she teaches with honesty and good solid Biblical principles that are truly a blessing!!! It was truly a blessing to come to understand a more Biblical view of depression. The most memorable thing to me was something her father said, ‘I knew the sun would come up in the morning.’ and the idea of fighting depression rather than surrendering to it. It goes on from there with little gems of truth and wisdom that I believe the Lord has richly blessed Margaret with. I look forward to other books from her. I hope she does not keep me waiting another 10 years!
I would like to thank Net Galley and P & R Publishing 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.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Finally The Mystery is Solved

Found: The Secrets of Crittenden County
Shelley Shepard Gray





Book Summary: A murder is solved and a quiet Amish community must deal with the repercussions. Amid the surprising revelations, can a newfound love survive? As the search for Perry Borntrager's killer continues, Jacob Schrock feels like his world is about to crumble. Right before Perry went missing, he and Jacob got into a fistfight. Jacob never told anyone what happened that terrible night. He's good at keeping secrets-including his love for Deborah, Perry's sister. But when Deborah takes a job at his family's store and their friendship blossoms, Jacob senses everything is about to be revealed. Deborah has been searching for a slice of happiness ever since her brother's body was discovered. When the police start questioning Jacob, Deborah can't believe that the one person she's finally allowed in could be the one responsible for her brother's death. Will she believe what everyone seems to think is the truth . . . or listen to her heart, and hope there is still one more person who is keeping secrets in Crittenden County?

Review: I really have enjoyed the entire trilogy. So much has changed since the series began. I laughed and cried when the mystery was solved. The people kept their secrets close to their hearts. It was an emotional end and everyone had a hand in the death of Perry as Deborah told her parents. It was an anticlimactic end that rounded out the mystery that loomed over so many people’s heads. I was surprised by who did it, for I had figured someone else for the murder. But as is true in life murder is passion run amok. Ms. Gray’s ending was much more realistic and tragic. It was definitely a series worth reading. Thanks for the ride Ms. Gray and making vividly real the many characters in your story.

I would like to thank Edelweiss and Avon Inspire 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.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

This Story Turned Out to be Everything I Thought it Would

Amish Kitchen
Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston & Kelly Long




Book Description: The Amish Kitchen is the Heart of the Home – and the Ideal Setting for Stories of Love and Hope. Fall in Paradise, Pennsylvania, always brings a brisk change in the weather. This season also ushers in unexpected visitors, new love, and renewed hope for three women. Fern has a green thumb for growing healing herbs, but longs for love to bloom in her life. Then the next-door neighbor’s oldest son, Abram, comes running into Fern’s kitchen seeking help for his little sister. The crisis soon leads to a promise of romance—until mistrust threatens to end the growing attraction. Nearby, Hannah runs her parents’ bed and breakfast, Paradise Inn—but her life feels nothing like Paradise. She longs for a man of integrity to enter her life, but never expected him to knock on the front door looking for a room. Will she be able trust Stephen with her future once she discovers his mysterious past? When a storm blows a tree onto Eve’s farmhouse, she has little choice but to temporarily move her family into her parents’ home. Outside of cooking together in the kitchen, Eve and her mother can’t agree on anything. But this may be just the recipe for hope in healing old wounds.
Review: This was a fun trilogy. The stories stayed with me even when I went on to my next book. I was getting these stories confused with what I was currently reading, which is the mark of good storytelling. Fern’s story was a lot of fun. It reminds me that even when one thinks there time for marriage is gone and are surprised to find that not to be true. I cried, laughed and rejoiced with all these characters. They truly were their own stories and yet they overlapped with just the right amount of blending to make it believable. Hannah’s story was exciting to see how these two unique characters were going to get along. Hannah’s parents were enjoyable and provided for a cute side story. I liked Eve and felt a bit of connection to her challenges at home. I would recommend this book to anyone.
I would like to thank Booksneeze 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.