Friday, August 4, 2017

Gathering the Threads

Book description:  "Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,
Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—
or completely rip them apart?

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?  

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart."

My review:   I was so excited to finally read the final installment of this series, The Amish of Summer Grove. I was certainly not disappointed, and was pleasantly surprised with the plot. While it did end the way the reader would expect, the path you take to get to the ending was not what I expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters became like family and it was fun to see them develop through the story. Gathering the Threads challenges the reader to examine the reasons behind the convictions you have. Definitely a thought provoking book. If you have not read the first two books in this series, I would recommend reading them first. Some series you can jump into in the middle, but in my opinion this series needs to be read in order. I have enjoyed all three and hate to see the series come to a close. I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Beloved Hope

Book description:  " Flanagan survived the massacre at the Whitman Mission, but at terrible personal cost. Safe now in Oregon City, the gentle rhythm of tending her family's flock of sheep is slowly healing her mind and soul, but her precarious new peace is shattered when Hope is asked to testify against the Cayuse responsible for the massacre. She's not sure she can bear to relive the events of those horrific days, but neither can she risk her attackers being released if she doesn't tell her story.

As Hope struggles to make her choice, an Army lieutenant named Lance Kenner becomes an unexpected ray of light in her life. Perhaps she is still capable of love after all. But will Lance still want her if he learns the whole truth of what happened to her at the mission? Or are the secrets that lie in his own past more troubling?"
My review:  Tracie Peterson tackled some difficult issues in this book and did an outstanding job handling these issues. Hope's journey would have been challenging to write, but Mrs. Peterson was able to develop Hope's character as well as the story in a realistic way. I especially appreciated the historical references and how well actual events were able to be included in the story line. I think those references really helped the story come alive. Beloved Hope will invoke a myriad of feelings in the reader and cause some self introspection. This is a great read that I highly recommend! I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sweetbriar Cottage

Book description:  " Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.
Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.
Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.
But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.
As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?"
My review:  While the book description gives the impression that at least part of the plot is fun and light-hearted, it really is the absolute opposite. There are definitely some light-hearted and funny moments, but the author, Denise Hunter, delves into some very difficult subjects. The story unfolds carefully, and I appreciated the "flashbacks" that gave a lot of the back story. It would take much more than one book to really unpack the depth and gravity some of these topics contain, but for the amount of space she had in one book, Denise Hunter handled it very well. Some of the circumstances that Noah and Josephine found themselves in were a bit unrealistic, at least with all of them put together in just a few short days. But this is a work of fiction after all, so that is to be expected to some degree anyway. I really enjoyed this book and wish that it wasn't a stand-alone novel so that I could read more about Noah and Josephine. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

You'll Think of Me

Book description:  "Her mother abandoned her, her father disowned her, and her husband left her. Can Brooklyn be convinced that it is possible to forgive the greatest of betrayals?
Brooklyn Myers escaped her broken home and her embittered, unloving father by eloping to Reno at the age of 17. But when she was pregnant with their first child, her husband abandoned her as well. Not welcome back home in Thunder Creek, Brooklyn stayed in Reno and raised her daughter Alycia on her own, doing her best to make sure Alycia never knew the heartache and rejection Brooklyn herself had known.
When her estranged husband Chad Hallston dies, he leaves the family home in Thunder Creek to his daughter. Believing it is the best way to give her daughter a stable home, Brooklyn does what she thought she would never do. She goes home to the orchard and wine country of Southwest Idaho. There, she encounters Chad’s best friend, Derek Johnson, a part time sheriff's deputy who also owns an organic produce farm next door. Derek was never a fan of former bad girl Brooklyn Myers, but he made a promise to his dying friend that he would be the father to Alycia that Chad had never been.
Although Derek and Brooklyn get off to a bumpy start, he and Alycia quickly form a bond. And soon, Derek realizes that he wants Brooklyn to trust him too . . . even knowing that her trust won’t come easily. And then he realizes he wants even more than her trust. He wants to win her love.
While Brooklyn may be tempted to give her heart to Derek, risking her daughter’s happiness is another story. Will Brooklyn hold onto her self-reliance for dear life, or will she come to understand that the greatest gift she can give her daughter is showing her how to love and trust others?"
My review:  This was a fun enjoyable read even though there was not real depth to the plot. It was definitely predictable. The author touched on many topics but did not delve very deeply into the many issues that were presented. The characters were a perfect fit for each other, but I think that Brooklynn especially could have been developed more. While I don't regret reading this particular novel, it is not one of Robin Lee Hatcher's best. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.

With You Always

Book description:  "One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters. She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children's Aid Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west. But the promise of the society's orphan trains is not all that it seems.

Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his brother's shadow. When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance. The conditions to win? Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn't be from more different worlds. The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they've been working toward?"

My review:  While I really enjoyed this book, it was more about women traveling west in order to find work instead of orphans heading west to find homes. This book had a great plot though given that that particular historical detail is not often heard. I think Jody Hedlund did a great job portraying the difficult circumstances many women found themselves in as well as the reality they had to endure in order to do what they could for their families. The unique challenge that is presented made for a great plot, and the relationship between Elise and Thornton was well-balanced and fit in perfectly with challenge that Thornton faced. I have really enjoyed reading books by this author, and I felt that this particular book was one of her best. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Threads of Suspicion

Book description:  "Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's Missing Persons Task Force. With so much public fanfare surrounding the launch of this elite investigative team, the political stakes are high, and the team will have to produce results--and quickly.

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. As Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood over the disappearance of a college student, David searches for a private investigator whose last case involved a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But the questions that lie just beneath the surface in Evie's personal life are also begging for answers."

My review:  I really enjoyed this book, but in my opinion it wasn't one of Dee Henderson's best. For some reason I seemed to get bogged down in the middle of the book. Usually I'm able to read through her books very quickly, but this time I didn't have as much time to read. There might have been too much time between my reading sessions that caused me to get bogged down. As always, Mrs. Henderson clearly included the gospel message, which I so appreciate. Overall it was another good book by a great author. I am looking to forward to reading the next books in this series. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, April 14, 2017

If I'm Found

Book description:  "Is Dylan hunting Casey to prosecute her or protect her?
Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist that he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.
As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and just may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail.
In this riveting sequel to the USA Today bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness. Is Dylan a provision from the God who loves her, or another heartache yet to happen?"

My review:  Wow! This book was worth waiting for! The first book in this series, If I Run, was amazing and left the reader hanging. I have been anxiously waiting for the sequel, and now I am anxiously waiting for the third and final book in this series. If you like suspense, this is the series for you. The overall plot is complex and the sub plot in this book kept me just as captivated as the plot itself. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, yet I didn't want to turn them fast in order that the book might last a little longer. The characters are real, and you feel like Casey is family by the time you finish the book. Terri Blackstock writes some of the best suspense novels available. This is a series that you won't want to miss! I received an e-copy from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.