Thursday, February 26, 2015

Where Trust Lies

Book description:  "She loves her friends and students in the West, but family obligations have called her home. Where does she truly belong?
After a year of teaching in the Canadian West, Beth Thatcher returns home to her family. She barely has time to settle in before her mother announces plans for a family holiday--a luxurious steamship tour along the eastern coast of Canada and the United States. Hoping to reconnect with her mother and her sisters, Beth agrees to join them, but she quickly realizes that things have changed since she went away, and renewing their close bond is going to be more challenging than she expected. 

There's one special thing to look forward to--letters and telephone calls from Jarrick, the Mountie who has stolen her heart. The distance between them is almost too much to bear. But can she give her heart to Jarrick when it will mean saying good-bye to her family once again--and possibly forever? And will she still want to live in the western wilds after the steamship tour opens up a world of people and places she never imagined?

Then comes a great test of Beth's faith. Someone in her family has trusted the wrong person, and suddenly everything Beth knows and loves is toppled. Torn between her family and her dreams, will Beth finally discover where her heart truly belongs?"

My review:  I enjoyed this book more than I did the first one in this new series, although I still think that this is not the best that Janette Oke can do.  Beth's character is well-developed, but I think that Jarrick needs to be developed  more.  He seems to be an important character, but is left in the shadows. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the shipmates, but it dragged on a little too long and then ended too abruptly.  I enjoyed the setting on the ship, and the different ports-of-call.  That is an unusual setting especially for this time period.  Overall, this book was good, but not great.  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, February 5, 2015

A Brush with Love

Book description:  "Revealing the beauty in other women might be Ginger Winters’s specialty—but it will take an unexpected kind of love to help Ginger see the beauty in herself.
Ginger Winters drapes her hair over her right shoulder and adjusts the scarf around her neck to cover her scarred, withered skin. She’s had the scars since she was twelve, but she’ll never get used to the ugliness.
The fire changed Ginger’s life, but out of the pain and humiliation of her own disfigurement, one quality unexpectedly emerged: a gift for bringing out the beauty in other women. In a twelve-year ascent from top salon jobs in New York, Atlanta, and Nashville, Ginger traveled the world as personal stylist to country music sensation Tracie Blue. The success was almost enough to make her forget her own appearance.
Almost. Now that she’s opened her own salon in Rosebud after a dozen years away, the truth is staring Ginger in the face again: she’s still that girl, ugly and scarred, forever on the outside looking in. And this weekend she’ll be looking in as “beauty-maker” for the Alabama society wedding of the decade.
But when high-school crush Tom Wells shows up looking for a haircut, Ginger’s thinly veiled insecurities threaten to keep her from love once again . . . despite Tom’s best efforts. Can this professional beauty-maker manage to recognize the beauty in herself, or are some scars too deep to powder over?"

My review:  This was a fun quick read.  The story was just not long enough to fully develop the characters or the plot.  However, there are great lessons to be learned from this book, and an unexpected "mystery" that added to the plot.  This is another novella in the Year of Weddings. While better than some, it was not my favorite.  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.

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.