Sunday, January 25, 2015

Steadfast Heart

Book description:  "Despite her spoiled upbringing, twenty-year-old Lenore Fulcher isn't pretentious. She simply believes a marriage should be built on true love. Her father, however, thinks she's wasted enough time searching for the perfect husband. He wants to marry her off to one of his business partners--who is seventeen years her senior--an idea that is out of the question for Lenore.

Kolbein Booth, a young lawyer from Chicago, arrives in Seattle looking for his headstrong sister, who he believes may have answered an advertisement for mail-order brides. Sick with worry, he storms into the Madison Bridal School, demanding to see his sister, only to learn she isn't there. But Lenore Fulcher is, and something about her captures his attention.

Is this the man Lenore has been searching for? She may not have long to find out..."
My review:  Tracie Peterson is one of my favorite authors, but this book does not live up to her usual quality.  The book description is deceiving, because most of the book centers around Abrianna, who is Lenore's best friend.  The little bit of story that there is for Lenore is very shallow and unrealistic. However, I did enjoy Abrianna.  Her character has a lot more depth and her story is what kept me reading.  I was also very disappointed in the ending.  The story shifted back to Lenore, ended quickly, and left many loose ends; one of the loose ends being Abrianna.  I will only be reading the next book in the series in the hopes that Abrianna's story will be finished. This book is just not what I have come to expect from Tracie Peterson.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.    

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Woodland Miracle

Book description:  "Grace feels like she can't measure up to those around her, and Ben could use a good dose of humility.
In their small northern Michigan district, where women outnumber men three to one, Grace doesn't believe she will ever attract a husband, especially with her limp. Tired of struggling both emotionally and physically, Grace is ready to see the specialist in Ohio, even if it means going against everything she's heard about God's grace being sufficient.
Ben Eicher is a young man from Pinecraft, Florida, whose carefree ways have caused him to lose his father's respect-again. According to Ben, though, life shouldn't be so serious that it suffocates all the fun. When he is sent to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to get his life back on track, he never thought it would mean working alongside a woman-especially a hardworking one like Grace. The last thing Grace wants is another friendship with a man who pities her.
Meanwhile, the Amish community becomes entangled with two potentially dangerous men on the run. When Ben discovers Grace has been kidnapped, he sets out to find the woman who has captured his heart and risks his own life when he attempts to lure the captors away.
Grace must learn that God's love is sufficient, and Ben is left to ponder whether he belongs back in Florida, or in the northern woods-with Grace."

My review:  This is another Amish novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The characters pull you into their story and become like family.  There is plenty of trouble to keep you on the edge of your seat, as well as plenty of surprises.  This is a story that will help you evaluate your own ideas and opinions.  Ruth Reid did an excellent job of writing a story that not only entertains but exhorts as well.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.   

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Where Treetops Glisten

Book description:  "Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana. 

In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help. 

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’sI’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart. 

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?"

My review:  This set of novellas follows three different members from the same family.  I really enjoyed the way the authors collaborated on the family, time period, and Christmas songs to tie all the stories together.  In "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" Tricia Goyer did an exceptional job balancing the seriousness of WWII with the Christmas and romance theme that is expected in a book like this. It would be hard to pick a favorite of these three novellas.  I enjoyed all three and the fact that all the stories were about the same family helped the book to feel more finished than most novellas.  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. 

An Amish Second Christmas


Book description:  “When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth Wiseman
Katherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store.
“Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth Reid
Joy was expecting a wedding proposal from Henry; what she got instead was news of another woman. But when her heartfelt letter to a cousin ends up in the hands of a young cabinetmaker, an unexpected correspondence between two strangers gets interesting fast.
“A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen Fuller
Anne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving . . . in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins.
“The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia Goyer
Vanilla crumb pie has been Esther’s mem’s calling card for decades. But when Esther finally gets her hands on the secret recipe, she discovers that vanilla crumb pie is more than just dessert . . . it’s bachelor bait.  

My review:  This book has some fun Christmas stories with the predictable ending.  Plenty of humor, romance, and nostalgia made this a perfect book to read during the holiday season.  I enjoyed all of them, but I think my favorite was "Her Christmas Pen Pal".  I really enjoyed the story-line and the characters.  Even though these are novellas, I think the authors did an excellent job developing each story.  If you need a quick read this holiday season, I highly recommend An Amish Second Christmas.  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.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A November Bride

Book description:  "Sadie McAllister is fastidious to a fault-but that serves her well as a personal chef to her clients in Denver. But her earliest attempt at managing romance was a bust when Erik Davis declined her invitation to the school's eighth grade Sadie Hawkins Dance.
Having celebrated the big 3-0 by ending a relationship, Sadie is tired of romantic relationships-by-text. The only man she knows willing to put down his iPhone and have face-to-face conversations with her is Erik. It's time to put a 21st-century twist on the Sadie Hawkins' tradition of a woman going after her man. He may not be the hero of her romantic dreams, but she can propose to Erik and achieve some sort of happily ever after with her best friend.
Erik is good at two things: his freelance job and maintaining casual, no-one-gets-hurt relationships with women. What is Sadie thinking, proposing to him? This is marriage-not a middle school dance. Erik decides to show Sadie what romance looks like when the man takes the lead. And while he's at it, he'll prove just how wrong they are for each other. But when he realizes he's fallen for her, can Erik convince Sadie his just-for-fun dates were the prelude to "'til death do us part"?"

My review:  This is the final book in the "Year of Weddings" novellas.  I think it is a great book with which to end the series.  I enjoyed both Sadie and Erik.  There is plenty of humor to go with this down-to-earth story, and this is one novella that did not feel rushed.  I think the fact that Sadie and Erik had known each other so long set the stage for a quick romance.  This is a great quick read!  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.    

Friday, November 28, 2014

Love Unexpected

Book description:  "All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters."

My review: I enjoy reading historical fiction that is carefully researched and presented accurately.  Love Unexpected is one those books.  The historical aspects that were woven into the story were very intriguing.  I didn't realize the Great Lakes had trouble with pirates. This is a story full of grace and forgiveness.  The characters are real and well-developed and their problems and circumstances are not far-fetched.  There is just enough suspense and romance to pull the reader into the story and yet not be overdone.  I was really looking forward to reading this book after reading the short prequel.  I was not disappointed!   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, 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.