Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thank you, God, for Blessing Me

Max Lucado has taken his beloved character Hermie and written a little Hermie book for preschoolers. Thank you, God, for Blessing Me is little Hermie's prayer of thanks for all the blessings that God has given him. A very short but poignant prayer that preschoolers can relate to and copy. Little Hermie is thankful for everything from personal needs to friends. Even though it is a short book, parents can take time with their preschooler to expand on being thankful for the things God has specifically given them. I love the pictures and the front cover caught the eye of my three-year-old right away. She enjoyed just looking at the pictures even before I read the book. Thankfulness can be taught to very young children, and this is an excellent book to help with that lesson. I am sure we will be reading it often. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Tommy Nelson, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers, through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lonestar Angel

From the back of the book: Five years ago Eden and Clay Larson's baby was stolen and never found. Eden blamed herself, Clay lost himself in work. Their young and rocky marriage ended. Or so Eden thought.

Now Eden's moved to a new town. She's found faith and is trying to rebuild her life. She's even dating again-a sweet guy who plans to marry her someday. But then Clay arrives out of the blue and delivers shocking news: they're still married. What's more, Clay has been searching for Brianna all this time. And he believes he's found her: their daughter is in Bluebird, Texas, at a youth ranch.

To uncover the truth, Eden and Clay sign on as counselors at Bluebird Ranch. Working together, they rediscover their love for each other. But danger is closing in-Eden, Clay and their young charges are in jeopardy. As they fight to save their family, Eden realizes that God has been fighting for them all along. And His plans are for a more abundant life than they've dared to hope.

My review: As I began reading this book, I was quickly reminded why I enjoy books written by Colleen Coble. I was immediately pulled into the story and didn't want to put it down. In fact, I finished this book the same day I started it. Ms. Coble has woven a story of intrigue that will keep you guessing. I was able to put together some of the pieces as I read, but was not able to put it all together. It was a fast-moving plot with plenty to keep you on the edge of your seat. Her characters are down-to-earth and believable. An underlying message of trust could be found throughout the book but not in a "preachy" way. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and even though it is the fourth book in a series, it can stand alone. I do look forward to reading the first three! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Christmas Singing

From the front flyleaf: Gideon Beiler has loved Mattie Eash since they were children. But when faced with unexpected circumstances, he makes up an excuse to end their engagement. He doesn't want to lie to her, but he believes that telling Mattie the truth will be more hurtful.

Brokenhearted, Mattie moves from Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania, to Ohio, where she pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator. She finds a new beau-a man offering the secure relationship Gideon has denied her.

When Mattie is forced to return to Apple Ridge, she and Gideon must confront the suffering created by his dishonesty-and address the powerful emotions that continue to bind the two childhood friends.

My review: The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall is a beautiful love story. She has chosen to take the Amish out of their comfort zone to weave the backdrop of this story. Even though the Amish tend to live in their own "little world," this story is a reminder of how their lives can and do interact with the world outside. They have misunderstandings, hurt feelings, pain, sickness, and heartache just like anyone else and do not always react in the way that even they have been taught. Ms. Woodsmall has written a simple yet poignant story that you won't want to put down. Her characters are easy to relate to, and the lessons are relevant for everyone. I look forward to reading more by this author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Wonder of Your Love

From the back of the book: Katie Ann Stoltzfus lives in the small Amish community of Canaan, Colorado. At forty she is widowed and raising her first child. But baby Jonas will never know his father, and Katie Ann wonders if her Heavenly Father hasn't forgotten about her as well. Is it really God's plan for her to be a single parent?

Eli Detweiler has come to Canaan for a wedding and a long vacation. Having raised six children following the death of his young wife, Eli is finally an empty-nester. He's enjoying the slower pace of having no none to care for but himself.

When Katie Ann and Eli meet there is an instant connection. Yet as strong as the attraction is, they both acknowledge that a romance would never work. He is done parenting, while she has just begun.

But as their friendship slowly blossoms into feelings that are as frightening as they are intoxicating, Katie Ann and Eli question if the plans they made for themselves are in line with God's plans.

Can Katie Ann entrust her heart to another man, and rediscover the wonder of God's love?

My review: I enjoyed the last book I read by Beth Wiseman and was excited to read this one as well. The Wonder of Your Love certainly kept my attention without any problem. I enjoyed catching a glimpse of the characters from the previous book I read, as well as getting to know new characters in the same Amish community. Beth Wiseman included an interesting mix of Amish and English characters which I thought made the story line that much more enjoyable. The characters Katie Ann and Eli were at opposite points in their life, and I liked how Ms. Wiseman weaved their lives together. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I have a hard time with how the Amish are portrayed. This is only the second book I have read by this author, so I did not mention it in the review of my last book by her because I wasn't sure if that was typical of her books. She doesn't seem to want to make them truly Amish. I haven't studied and don't know a lot about the Amish way of life, but Ms. Wiseman seems to make them more "worldly" than they should be. Her books have just left me a bit confused. I do look forward to reading more by this author, and maybe I am the one that needs to learn a little more about the Amish. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Shadows on the Sand

From the back of the book: Carrie Carter's small cafe in Seaside, New Jersey, is populated with a motley crew of locals...although Carrie only has eyes for Greg Barnes. He's recovering from a vicious crime that three years ago took the lives of his wife and children-and from the year he tried to drink his reality away. While her heart does a happy Snoopy dance at the sight of him, he never seems to notice her.

When Carrie's dishwasher is killed and her young waitress disappears, Greg finds himself drawn into helping Carrie solve the mysteries...and into her life. But when Carrie's own painful past becomes all too present, her carefully constructed world begins to sink.

Will the fragile relationship she's building with Greg implode from the weight of the baggage they both carry?

My review: I would not consider Shadows on the Sand an excellent book, but it was good. The author chose to cover a lot of "stuff" in the lives of her characters, but the biggest theme seemed to be forgiveness. The mystery was intriguing and kept me reading. The romance was appropriate and not overdone. I enjoyed the characters and setting, and I look forward to reading more books by Gayle Roper. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.