Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Not My Cup of Tea

June Bride
Marybeth Whalen

Book Summary: Wynne Hardy never thought she'd get engaged on a reality TV show., but when she met Andy on The Rejection Connection, the two of them hit it off. Now he's asked her to marry him, much to the public's delight and fascination. They're all set to wed on live TV in a seaside ceremony at the height of the wedding season.
But just as Wynne thinks all her dreams are coming true, her ex-boyfriend walks back into her life at the worst possible time. Steve broke her heart years ago, and she's still sorting through her feelings for him. Her heart isn't as clear as her head that it's past time to move on - even though she's engaged to Andy.
At a local TV talk show appearance, Wynne meets Meredith, who won another reality TV show - Marathon Mom - proving herself nothing of a superhero. As Wynne's beach wedding plans spin out of control, Meredith offers to help, unknowingly stepping on Wynne's secret feelings . . and exposing some secrets Meredith has been keeping to herself. Can these two reality stars get real about their feelings? Will Wynne go through with her televised wedding and be the perfect June bride the network is looking for?

Review: The story premise was solid. The characters not so clear or concise. I did not like Meredith or Andy. I did not feel much excitement for Wynne or Callum. I kept waiting for the story to pick up and before it ever did it ended. That is what bothered me the most. It had and ultra women’s lib mentality at the end. No one can not find themselves in a man by also being a couple is part of a man or woman’s identity when they are married. So there is this relationship that every woman searches for that will connect her to that man who is hers. It is as deep a mystery as our relationship in Christ. too difficult to explain and yet everyone yearns for something more…. That is what I did not find in this story. Christ is the greatest love story but when the characters are no longer seeking that with the other person than for me it is not a favorite.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

An Emotion Filled Story(ies) of Grace

Living God’s Story of Grace
Elizabeth Reynolds Turnage

Book Summary: An encouraging, vital study of the redemption stories in Scripture. If you have already learned God’s story of grace, find out what it means to live in his story in faith and hope. --Are you living God’s story, or just reading it? We know that God’s grand narrative encompasses everything and everyone, and that our own individual stories have a place in it. We believe, but often we have a hard time living our place in this great story. Though we know God is at work bringing us redemption and peace, we often doubt that he will truly rescue or comfort us in our day-to-day struggles. When this happens, when we live in fear rather than faithfulness, we try to take matters into our own hands and bring about the endings to our stories that we want. So what do we do when we start trusting and waiting in our own faithfulness instead of God’s? This encouraging, vital study of the redemption stories in Scripture helps us reflect on the stories in our own lives and surrender our trust back to the One to whom it belongs. Each chapter focuses on a Scripture passage and is broken into four main sections to aid your individual study and encourage rich group conversation. If you have already learned God’s story of grace, find out what it means to live in his story in faith and hope.

Review: This book rips you raw and rebuilds your faith! I was reading the Bible stories and the personal stories to go along with the daily walk through grace and would laugh, cry and empathize with all the stories. It was all worth it to get to the story of the $ 10.00 and lunch with a stranger. Never again can I look at a person so different from myself and not look for a common bond. That alone was worth the read. I can not express my thankfulness to Ms. Turnage for being moved to write this book it was well worth the devotion time.
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.

Blossom Street Winner!!

Blossom Street Brides
Debbie Macomber

Book Summary: #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber has won the hearts of millions of readers with her moving and inspiring stories. Now wedding bells are ringing in the tight-knit community that gathers around A Good Yarn, a store in a pretty Seattle neighborhood. Knitters come to the store to buy yarn and patterns but somehow they leave richer in friendship and love.
Lauren Elliott has waited years for her long-term boyfriend, Todd, to propose, yet he seems more focused on his career than their relationship. When Lauren learns that her younger sister is pregnant before she herself even has an engagement ring, she feels overjoyed yet disheartened. Knowing she can’t put her future on hold, Lauren prepares to make a bold choice—one that leads her to a man she never dreamed she’d meet.
Newly married to her second husband, Max, Bethanne Scranton is blissfully in love. But with Max’s job in California and Bethanne’s in Seattle, their long-distance marriage is becoming difficult to maintain. To complicate matters, Bethanne’s cunning ex will do anything to win her back.
Lydia Goetz, too, is wonderfully happy with her husband, Brad, though lately she worries about the future of A Good Yarn. As she considers how to bring in business, she discovers that someone has beaten her to the punch. Baskets of yarn are mysteriously popping up all over town, with instructions to knit a scarf for charity and bring it into Lydia’s store. Never before has her shop received so much attention, but who hatched this brilliant plan?
As three women’s lives intersect in unexpected ways, Lydia, Lauren, and Bethanne realize that love heals every heart, and the best surprises still lay ahead.

Book Review: I have always loved Debbie Macomber’s books and therefore I am prejudice in my thoughts on her books. I loved the Lydia, Lauren and Bethanne. They were great and very likable characters. Brad, Max and Rooster were great guys. I was less bowled over by Rooster - not a fan of the name. He did grow on me as a character. It is this particular reason that Debbie Macomber is a good author. Rooster was a risky character. I personally am not into men with long hair, biker guys and the like. Yet there was more to Rooster than just those things. The quick meeting and the quick build in the relationship was like my relationship to my husband made it even more fun. Rooster had an old fashion side to him that was sweet and lovable. While not suspenseful in romance it was a wonderful book. Bethanne and Max had their problems, but they were a solid couple. This is a welcome theme in a world with so many failed relationships. Lydia and Brad were the rock solid family a sweet addition to the overall book. I am very glad I got to read this story.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Random House 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.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Classic Story!

A Change of Fortune
Jen Turano

Book Summary: Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. After losing her family, her fiance, and her faith, the disappearance of her fortune is the last straw. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner, governess-at-large, she's determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London. Much to Mr. Hamilton Beckett's chagrin, all the eyes of New York society--all the female ones, at least--are on him. Unfortunately for all the matchmaking mothers and eligible daughters, he has no plans to marry again, especially with his hands full keeping his business afloat and raising his two children alone. When Eliza's hapless attempts to regain her fortune put her right in Hamilton's path, sparks instantly begin to fly. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces, but with all their plans falling by the wayside and their enemies getting the better of them, it will take a riot of complications for Hamilton and Eliza to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.

Review: This was a great book! I loved Hamilton and Eliza. There were many great secondary characters in this well paced story. From page 5 I was hooked. I read almost half in a couple of hours. The suspense was tempered right along with the witty dialogue. Agatha was fantastic! I can not wait to read her story. There was so much happening that it made for a fast and easy read where I did not want it to end. The children Piper and Ben were realistic and likable. I wonder why I have not devoured the rest of this series. I do believe that Ms. Turano is a very gifted writer who was able to keep my attention, have a number of characters that were dear and enjoyable without loosing the central focus of her story while being believable. I am so thrilled this is part of a series.
I would like to thank LibraryThing and Bethany House 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 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.