Monday, September 12, 2016

A Love Transformed

Book description:  "When her husband, Adolph, dies suddenly, Clara Vesper is stunned. Not grief-stricken, as their marriage had never been a love match, but staggered by what might become of her and her children. For years she designed the sapphire jewelry that made her husband's company a fortune, but she has little money in her own name and soon discovers that she has inherited nothing. Fearing for the welfare of her two small children, she decides to take them to her aunt and uncle's ranch in Montana, the only place she has ever been happy.

But much has changed since she last visited the Montana ranch, both for Clara and for those she was forced to leave behind. And when dangerous secrets from her late husband's past threaten everyone she loves, Clara must fight to remain where she can fulfill her dreams."

My review:  This month I had a hard time deciding which book to review for Bethany House. It was this book or Beverly Lewis's new book, The Wish. I obviously chose this book by Tracie Peterson and was not disappointed! This is the third and final book in the Sapphire Brides series. Don't worry if you haven't read the other two, all three books can stand alone. I would have a very hard deciding which of the books in this series is my favorite. Clara's mother was actually one of my favorite characters. Although I didn't like her as a person, she added a great element to the story. Clara was a strong character that had a backbone when she had to have one. She was meek to a certain point, which is a great quality, but she did not allow herself to be run over when the situation called for strength. This was one of those books I stayed up way too late reading! I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Just a Kiss

Book description:  "Riley Callahan’s plans to reveal his secret feelings for his best friend are derailed when his life is drastically altered in Afghanistan.
Watching the love of his life fall for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he’s officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley’s tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend’s heart once and for all.
But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he’s heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that’s left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.
Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances Riley is adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he’s hiding. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she’s poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up with the money needed to save it.
As the weeks wear on, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into uncharted territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in?"

My review:  I would have a hard time choosing a favorite book or character from this series, A Summer Harbor, by Denise Hunter. Just a Kiss is the third and final novel in this series. It does stand alone, but you certainly do not want to miss the first two books.  I anxiously waited for this book to be released and was not disappointed! The struggles that Paige and Riley had were real and were characters that I could become connected to. Denise Hunter is also able to handle difficult topics without making them too light or too heavy, and there were many lessons, which were woven throughout the story, that will cause the reader to stop and think.  This is such a wonderful story that you will not want to miss!  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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Where Hope Prevails

Book description:  "Elizabeth Thatcher's highly anticipated return to her beloved Coal Valley after a long summer with her family back east is filled with surprises . . . and not all of them good ones, in her estimation. Maybe the worst one of all relates to her treasured students. Can she adapt and learn to cope with this enormous change?

Her Mountie, Jarrick Thornton, hasn't yet proposed, but she already knows what her answer will be. His duties take him away from the valley much too often, in her view, but the two of them, with patience and understanding--and one significant misunderstanding--are learning to know each other better. 

The dark cloud looming on the horizon in Beth's mind, though, is filled with questions about where their future might take them. As a member of the RCMP, Jarrick is stationed wherever his superiors send him . . . but what about her teaching position in Coal Valley?

Beth attempts to do her best with each obstacle she faces, but does she rightly assess each situation as it surfaces? Good intentions don't always lead to good results. . . ."

My review:  I think that each book in this series gets a little bit better. This was my favorite of the three books in this series. In my opinion, Where Hope Prevails had more substance to it. The plot was more developed and the characters seemed to grow as well. I always appreciate when an author of Christian fiction places Biblical truths in the very center of the story. This is one such book. I would like to have seen more of the relationship between Beth and Jarrick. Time wise there was plenty of time for their relationship to develop, but it was not included in the story. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Guide Me Home

Book description:  "Working in the massive cave might allow 
Rebekah the chance to bring joy back to her family.
But will it claim more than it gives? 

After tragedy leaves its mark on Rebekah Hardin’s family, she plans to help her parents and six siblings honor her beloved brother’s memory and alleviate their poverty by working as a guide in the dangerous cave system. Kentucky’s renowned Mammoth Cave presents profitable opportunities in for hardworking, capable men. But Rebekah is determined and if it means presenting herself as a himself, then she’s up to the job.  
     
Under the wing of experienced guide Tolly Sanford, “Reb” begins to learn the complexities of the cave and the two are joined by an aspiring young cartographer, Devlin Bale. 
     
The university student has traveled to the hill country to map tunnels—not to fall for a girl in disguise. Can the God who designed miles of underground astonishment shape Devlin’s ambitious plans and free Reb from the weight from the past?" 

My review:  As I began to read, for some reason I did not like the idea that Rebekah was going "undercover" as a boy in order to secure a job. That is not normally something that bothers me, but it just it didn't seem to fit Rebekah's character in this book.  It didn't take long, however, for the author, Kim Vogel Sawyer, to convince me she knew what she was doing. Devlin also didn't seem to fit Rebekah, but Mrs. Sawyer created a wonderful story-line that quickly changed my mind. I also enjoyed getting to know Rebekah's family especially her sister, Cissy.  Mrs. Sawyer has once again created a story and characters that will stay with the reader long after the last page has been read.  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.  

The Courtship Basket

Book description: "Years ago, a picnic basket brought two hearts together. For Rachel and Mike, history may be about to repeat itself.
Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Determined to keep her mind off the pain, she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities.
Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns that his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal.
With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship.
The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope for the future?"

My review:  This book is the second in a series. I enjoyed reading this book, but have to wonder what I missed because I didn't read the first book. There was a lot that happened, and the story moved along quickly. I found myself turning pages quickly in order to "keep up".  I thought the picnic basket was a really neat idea to use as a thread throughout the story. The story surrounding the basket is intriguing, and I look forward to reading a book devoted to the basket's beginnings. I enjoyed Rachel, but thought her a bit shallow at times. I think she could have had a little more depth. Mike is one of those characters that you want ask what you can do for him.  The reader is able to see the growth of his character as the story progresses. I look forward to reading the next book in this series as well as reading the first one.  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, July 18, 2016

Fraying at the Edge

Book description:  "The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago. Now she’s immersed in the Englischer world, getting to know her mother and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana’s worldview. Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend living Englisch, can help steady Ariana’s tilting ground between the two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals?

At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spend several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life—no electricity, no technology, no fun. What the young woman can’t leave behind is her addiction to illegal prescription drugs and deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn’t belong in either family.

New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have. Can they find the wisdom and strength they’ll need to follow God’s threads into unexpected futures?"

My review:  This is another amazing book by Cindy Woodsmall! Fraying at the Edge is the second book in the series The Amish of Summer Grove.  I would recommend reading these books in order. There is so much that happens in the first book, Ties that Bind, that you don't want to miss. Once you read Ties that Bind you will be scrambling to buy a copy of this book and then be sorely disappointed when you come to the end and realize you have to wait for the third book to be written. That is how good this series is. I find myself wanting Ariana and Quill to get together, but at the same time I really like Rudy who she is currently planning to marry. I don't know how Ms. Woodsmall is going to resolve that one but I can't wait to find out. From start to finish and even beyond, this book will not let you go. 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.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Beauty Refined

Book description: "Phoebe Von Bergen, the daughter of a German count, is excited to visit America for the first time while her father purchases sapphires in Helena, Montana. Little does she know, however, that her father's intentions--both for her and the gemstones--are not what she thinks.

Ian Harper, a lapidary working in Helena, finds the dignified young woman staying at the Broadwater Hotel more than a little intriguing. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie--a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom. 

Meeting Ian has changed everything for Phoebe, and she begins to consider staying in America, regardless of her father's plans. But she may not be prepared for the unexpected danger that results when her family's deception begins to unravel."

My review:  Even though I enjoyed reading this book, it is not one of my favorites by Tracie Peterson. This is the second book in the series Sapphire Brides, but these novels stand alone. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. Ms. Peterson always has such interesting characters and this novel was no exception. The historical references always make a historical novel that much better and A Beauty Refined included some interesting history. Even though this wasn't one of my favorites, I still highly recommend this book. Tracie Peterson is an amazing author. You won't be disappointed! I received a complimentary e-copy from Bethany House publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.