Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ada's House Trilogy

Book description:  "The Hope of Refuge
Two very different women are pulled by their strongest desires. Deborah Mast joined the Amish church and longs to marry her fiancĂ©, but he is changing. Cara Moore is forced to look into a life that was meant to be hers. Will Ada’s House help them realize their hearts’ desires or will it force them to accept what life has done to each of them? 

The Bridge of Peace
Living out her passion for teaching, Lena Kauffman’s work is suddenly interrupted by a series of pranks and accidents targeted toward her and her students. When tragedy strikes her dear friend Grey Graber’s family on school property, the school board begins to blame her for the trouble. As grief and confusion take their toll on Grey and Lena’s friendship, they are both forced to face a new reality that may offer the peace and love they each long for.

The Harvest of Grace
Fleeing a terrible mistake, Sylvia Fisher dedicates herself to saving the failing Blank farm. When prodigal son Aaron returns, he is surprised by this unusual farmhand who opposes all his plans. Will Aaron and Sylvia’s unflinching efforts toward opposite futures mask the bigger picture—a path to forgiveness, grace, and the promise of love?"

My review:  This collection of three books was one that I hated to see come to an end!  I enjoyed all three and would have a very hard time choosing one to be my favorite.  As each of the first two stories came to an end I was quickly drawn into the next one.  As the third one ended, I hated to see the trilogy end.  The characters felt like family and the stories were very thought-provoking.  Each title accurately represents the theme in each book: hope, peace and grace.  Ms. Woodsmall has a way of telling a story that makes you feel as if you are right there in the middle with many lessons to learn along with the characters.  If you are a fan of Amish books, this is a trilogy you won't want to miss!  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When Mercy Rains

Book description:  "Suzanne Zimmerman was only seventeen and pregnant when her shamed mother quietly sent her away from their Old Order Mennonite community in Kansas. With her old home, family, and first love firmly behind her, Suzanne moved to Indiana, became a nurse, and raised a daughter, Alexa, on her own.

Now, nearly twenty years later, an unexpected letter arrives from Kansas. Her brother asks her to bring her nursing abilities home and care for their ailing mother. His request requires that Suzanne face a family that may not have forgiven her and a strict faith community. It also means seeing Paul Aldrich, her first love.   

Paul, widowed with an eight-year-old son, is relieved to see Suzanne again, giving him the chance to beg her forgiveness for his past indiscretion. But when he meets Alexa, his guilt flickers in the glare of Suzanne’s prolonged secret—one that changes everything.

Suzanne had let go of any expectation for forgiveness long ago. Does she dare hope in mercy–and how will her uncovered past affect the people she loves the most?"

My review:  This is a wonderful book! The guilt, hope, forgiveness, and mercy that are found on the pages of this book are very real and convicting.  This is a book where the reader can place herself into the lives of the characters and feel the overwhelming peace that forgiveness brings.  I loved the story and the characters and stayed up way too late finishing the book. An intriguing tale that I hated to see come to an end.  I will be anxiously awaiting the next book in this series.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

An October Bride

Book description:  "She wants to make her father's dream come true. She doesn't realize her own dream has been in front of her the whole time.
Emma Tate isn't a risk taker, so everyone in her small Midwest town is surprised when she suddenly becomes engaged to lifelong friend Jake Sawyer. No one but Jake and Emma know the true reason they're getting married-so Emma's dying father can walk her down the aisle.
While Jake and Emma plan an autumn wedding together, it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications-the biggest being their true feelings for each other.
In this novella by award-winning author Katie Ganshert, a young woman must reconcile her dying father's dreams with her own dreams for love and for her future."
My review:  This is one of the novellas in "A Year of Weddings" that I love.  I love the story, the characters, and the ending.  A lot of novellas are not easily developed in a short amount of space, but Katie Ganshert did a great job developing An October Bride.  I have enjoyed reading her novels in the past and I certainly enjoyed reading An October Bride.  I read the whole book in one sitting on this rainy afternoon.  If you need something quick to read that will pull you in and hold your interest until the end of the book, this is the book for you.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Matter of Heart

Book description:  "Texas born and raised Jessica Atherton is a wealthy young woman whose heart was broken when the man she intended to marry wedded another. But her world is upended when two new men come into her life, and both manage to stir her heart.

Harrison Gable is a successful young lawyer with ambitions that match Jessica's dreams. His warm, attentive manner and thoughtful gifts make her feel special.

Austin Todd, a former Secret Service agent, enjoys working now as a Texas Ranger cattle inspector. But after learning of forged gold certificates and missing printing plates, he's drawn back into the world of intrigue and agrees to help solve the case. Jessica is drawn to his kind nature and the unspoken pain she sees in his eyes. 

If Jessica follows her heart, where will it lead?"

My review:  This is another great book by Tracie Peterson.  She is able to write in such a way that the reader feels like part of the family.  In a few places it was a little hard to keep all the characters straight, but overall the story flows smoothly.  The characters are well-developed and it was great to catch up with a few of the characters from the first two books in this series.  Even though A Matter of Heart can stand alone, it is helpful to have read the first books.  Parts of this story relate to things that happened in the first parts of this series.  A Matter of Heart can be enjoyed more if you are familiar with the characters and the background from which this story was written.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

The Daughter of Highland Hall

Book description:  "Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain’s elite.

When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London’s East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love—and if she will choose a life serving others over one where she is served."

My review:  I enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was really looking forward to reading this one.  I was not disappointed, but for me it wasn't as good as the first one. The story was well-written, but it just didn't seem to go deep enough.  I didn't get pulled into the lives of the characters as I would have liked.  I did enjoy seeing the transformation in Kate from a spoiled child in the first book, to a mature young woman by the end of this book.  There was also plenty of humor with Kate's aunt planning her every move.  The author also gives the reader plenty to think about as far as his own priorities and spiritual health.  A very clear presentation of the gospel makes this book an excellent resource to give to unbelieving friends and acquaintances who like to read.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Love Undone

Book description:  "At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.

Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.

As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?"

My review:  A Love Undone is another great Amish novel.  I loved the characters and enjoyed catching up a little with characters from a previous novel.  This isn't a story that you just enjoy.  This is a story that will make you feel like part of the family.  You will be pulled into the lives of the characters and will hate to see the story come to an end. There are unexpected events and deep emotions throughout the book that will keep you turning pages.  The only part of the book I didn't like was the ending.  For such a deeply emotional book, the ending was rushed.  The book wasn't so long that the ending couldn't have been a little longer.  I know I could have kept reading since I hated to see it come to an end.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

An August Bride

Book description:  "Kelsey vowed never to love a cowboy again. But then she meets Brent.
After a cowboy broke her heart, Kelsey Wilcox traded in her boots for flip-flops and a bistro on the beautiful sandy beach of Corpus Christi. Two years later, still not believing in happy endings, she is about to endure a weekend of torture at her cousin's beach wedding. Not only will she be forced to watch yet another wedding, but her great-aunt and her two best friends-aptly nicknamed "the matchmaking posse of Mule Hollow"-are coming to the wedding, and Kelsey is sure to be on their radar.
Brent Corbin has had his share of bad luck with women and isn't looking for love or looking forward to the weekend of wedding festivities as a groomsman for his friend. When he sees a commotion on the beach and what appears to be a mermaid in distress, he doesn't hesitate to dive to the rescue. His attention is instantly captured by the woman he's saved and it turns out they're part of the same wedding party. But the instant Kelsey spots his soaking wet boots she wants no part of him.
Thrown together through the weekend and with the meddlesome encouragement from the matchmakers, Brent is determined to pursue Kelsey and change her mind about cowboys. Sparks fly at this August wedding as Kelsey and Brent dance a rocky Texas two-step toward a beach wedding of their own."
My review:  An August Bride is another great "A Year of Weddings" story.  There is plenty of romance, humor, and fun to keep the reader turning pages until the very end.  I have enjoyed this series and was looking forward to reading this novella as well. I was not disappointed.  If you want a quick, enjoyable, summer read this is the book for you.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.