Sunday, December 23, 2012

Waiting for Morning

Book description:  "Molly Hatfield comes to Arizona Territory seeking stability and security. But living in Cactus Patch provides her with more than she ever dreamed.

There is nothing Molly wouldn’t do for her teenaged brother, Donny. Blaming herself for the accident that left him wheelchair bound, Molly has dedicated her life to his care. But in 1896, gainful employment for a woman is hard to come by. So when Molly learns that an eccentric rancher in Cactus Patch, Arizona, is looking for an heiress—someone to take over management of the ranch in exchange for future ownership—she jumps at the chance to provide a real home for her brother.

However, Molly didn’t bank on meeting Dr. Caleb Fairbanks, the town’s charming unmarried doctor. Caleb has a way with Molly that makes her nervous. But it’s how he is with her brother that really alarms her. Caleb sees past the wheelchair and genuinely likes Donny, but Molly fears he’s putting unrealistic ideas into her brother’s head. Falling in love with Caleb would threaten everything she’s worked for, even her brother’s future happiness. But it could be the very reason God brought her to Last Chance Ranch."

My review:  This is one of those books that was good, but didn't hold my attention.  I had enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was looking forward to reading this one, however; it was nowhere near as good as Dawn Comes Early.  The intensity that was in the first book was missing in this one.  I think the plot for this story was a good one, it just was not developed as well as it should have been.  Also, the purpose for Molly being in Cactus Patch, Arizona was to inherit a ranch and that seemed to get lost in the rest of the story.  Even though this is the second book in the series, it can stand alone.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.   


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Season for Tending

Book description:  "Old Order Amish Samuel King needs to keep the family apple orchard profitable in a day when corporate farming has taken over. Thirty miles away, Rhoda Byler is known for her green thumb and successful canning business, but her father must take back her two-acre grove. Samuel believes he has an answer to both of their business needs, but when he learns that community members speculate that the unusual Rhoda practices magic, he removes his business offer. Weeks later a tornado destroys his orchard and he, too, must find a new start. Samuel decides to join a group of Amish who will establish a new settlement in Unity, Maine. Unaware of Samuel's plans, Rhoda has joined a different group of Amish heading for that same destination. "

My Review: This book had an unusual unrealistic twist that normally I would not care for, however; it was not overdone, so I really enjoyed it.  I certainly don't want to give anything away, so I am going to be vague in some of my comments.  My feelings changed toward some of the characters as the book progressed.  In some books, after reading the synopsis, I expect that to happen.  I did not expect that from this book.  It would not matter except the ending left me hanging which I did not like.  This is another book that pulled me in quickly, and I stayed up late the second night to finish it.  I loved the story and the characters, and I eagerly await the sequel so that I can climb back into their lives and find out what happens next!  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Waterbrook/Multnomah press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 17, 2012

An Amish Christmas

Book description:  "Christmas Cradles by Kelly Long -- When Anna Stolis takes over for her aunt, the local Amish midwife in Paradise, Christmas night heats up with multiple deliveries, three strangers' quilts, and the help from resourceful and strong Asa Lapp, whose job it is to get Anna through a dangerous blizzard to complete her midwifery rounds.

A Miracle for Miriam by Kathleen Fuller: This Christmas, Miriam must decide whether to guard herself or accept the love of a man who once broke her heart.

A Choice to Forgive by Beth Wiseman: Lydia, a widow who has given up on love, is shocked when Daniel-- a past love-- returns to the Order, and her life.

One Child by Barbara Cameron: This snowy Lancaster Christmas Eve will see two couples’ lives changed by the birth of one child."

My review:  I really enjoyed reading each of these Christmas novellas.  Three of the four had the same three couples in them, but each focused on a different couple.  It is always fun to read stories that are entertwined to some degree.  Since none of the stories are very long, it is a perfect book to start during a busy time of year.  It was easy to quickly finish one story and put the book down to take care of other responsibilities before resuming my reading.  If you are looking for an enjoyable feel-good holiday book that also offers spiritual encouragement this is a book that would fit that criteria.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas in Apple Ridge (Three-in-One Collection)

Book descriptions: 
The Sound of Sleigh Bells  "Beth Hertzler is unable to let go of a past tragedy, but when she discovers a large, intricately, carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth's soul responds.  Determined that her niece meet the gifted artist, her aunt tracks him down, but it's not that simple-will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she's always dreamed of and a second chance at real love?"

The Christmas Singing  "Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve.  Brokenhearted, Mattie moves away and pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator, and even finds a new beau.  But when Mattie is forced to return home three years later, will learning the truth behind Gideon's rejection restore her Christmas joy-or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?"

The Dawn of Christmas  "Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it's time to come home and settle down.  Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance.  To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan-but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down.  Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?"

My review:  Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall is three novels in one that would make a great Christmas gift.  Each book has characters that are real, as well as problems and hurts that are real.  Although each book is set in Apple Ridge they can stand alone.  I enjoyed reading each story, and learned a few lessons along the way.  These stories are quick reads with plenty of depth to each character.  Since the stories conclude during the Christmas season, they are a great read to get you into the holiday spirit.  Readers that enjoy Amish fiction will not want to miss out on this one.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Silent Night

Book description:  "As Christmas day nears, Bree and her faithful search-and-rescue dog Samson follow the trail of a troubling mystery into the snowy forests of Rock Harbor.

Bree Matthews is preparing for Christmas guests, but her heart is reeling from the recent and tender loss of her unborn child. Her sister-in-law, Lauri, suddenly turns up on the doorstep of the lighthouse home Bree shares with her husband, Kade, in Rock Harbor. Secretive and withdrawn, Lauri seems curiously intent on discovering what happened to a parachuter who disappeared in the North Woods along Lake Superior's icy shore.

As Bree and Samson, her search-and-rescue dog, plunge into the search, Bree wonders if Lauri may know more than she’s admitted about the parachuter. And then the clues lead them to the trail of a young woman whose family fears the worst about her disappearance.

Will the search on this snowy, silent night lead Bree and Samson to more than clues about the missing girl? And will Bree’s prayer for a baby ever be answered?"

My review:  The only thing wrong with this book is that it is too short!  I always enjoy reading books by Colleen Coble and this book was no exception.  Although Silent Night is only 64 pages long, Ms. Coble is still able to weave an intriguing tale that you cannot put down.  Readers that enjoy her Rock Harbor series will not want to miss this one.  I felt like I was catching up with old friends.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

A Home in Drayton Valley

Book description:  "Hoping to escape the poor conditions of 1880 New York, Tarsie Raines and her friends Joss and Mary Brubacher and their two children set off for Kansas aboard an unusual wagon train.  But when tragedy strikes on the trip across the prairie, Tarsie is thrown into a partnership with Joss that leaves them both questioning God and their plans for the future.

As their funds dwindle and nothing goes as planned, will they give up and go their separate ways?  Or will God use their time in Drayton Valley in a way they never expected."

My review:  There are so many emotions in this book.  Kim Vogel Sawyer jumps into several deep issues with a theme of trusting God throughout.  At the beginning of the book, I did not like Joss a whole lot.  As I continued to read he seemed to grow on me, and by the end of the book I was cheering for him to make the right decisions.  This is a story with depth.  Anyone that likes historical fiction would enjoy reading this book.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

The Breath of Dawn

Book description:  "Corporate turnaround specialist Morgan Spencer, dubbed the "success guru," has a Midas touch in business. But losing his wife sent him to the brink, and his two-year-old daughter, Livie, is all he's living for--until they encounter a woman whose trouble just might draw him out of his own.

Four years ago Quinn Reilly did the right thing. Now the man her testimony put in jail is getting out. Though she has put up barriers to protect herself and those around her, she has come to care for the Spencer family, especially the winsome Livie and her mercurial father. Unwilling to put them at risk when the threats begin, she requests something she hopes the super-successful Morgan might be able to deliver.

Fixing problems is what Morgan does best, but his counterproposal takes them in a direction neither is equipped to handle. Determined to confront the past, will they survive to build a future? "

My review:  Kristen Heitzmann is quickly becoming a favorite author!  This is a book that I could not put down.  Romance balanced with intrigue kept me turning pages until late at night.  While this book can be read without reading the other books in the series first, I wish I had read the other ones first.  Partly because Ms. Heitzmann is such a good author and I hate to have missed the other books, and partly because I felt like I was missing out on the lives of some of the other characters.  This is not "light" reading.  Be prepared to enter into the lives of each of the characters.  Ms. Heitzmann does a wonderful job making her characters real!  If you are looking for a good book to read...this is it!  I received a complimentary e-copy from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Every Perfect Gift

Book description:  "Ethan and Sophie long to share a future together. But the secrets they’re not sharing could tear them apart.

Sophie Caldwell has returned to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee after years away. Despite the heartaches of her childhood, Sophie is determined to make a home, and a name, for herself in the growing town. A gifted writer, she plans to resurrect the local newspaper that so enchanted her as a girl.

Ethan Heyward’s idyllic childhood was shattered by a tragedy he has spent years trying to forget. An accomplished businessman and architect, he has built a majestic resort in the mountains above Hickory Ridge, drawing wealthy tourists from all over the country.

When Sophie interviews Ethan for the paper, he is impressed with her intelligence and astounded by her beauty. She's equally intrigued with him but fears he will reject her if he learns about her shadowed past. Just as she summons the courage to tell him, Ethan’s own past unexpectedly and violently catches up with him, threatening not only his life but their budding romance."

My review:  Every Perfect Gift is the third and final book in the Hickory Ridge Romance series by Dorothy Love.  Even though part of a series this book can stand alone.  I enjoyed reading this final book and following Sophie's story.  I felt like there were a few loose ends throughout the book, but overall I don't think it detracted too much from the story.  This is a good book to start if you don't have a lot of consistent reading time.  It is easy to put down and then pick up where you left off.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.   


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lovelier Than Daylight

Book description:  "Susanna is a lady of principles who values family above all. Johann seems to represent all she despises . . . but appearances can be deceiving.

In 1875, Susanna Hanby is headed off to college in Westerville, Ohio, when she discovers her sister Rachel and Rachel’s children have disappeared. Susanna suspects that Rachel’s alcoholic husband knows more than he’s saying and she vows to uncover the truth.

Johann Giere is heir to a successful German-American brewery in Columbus, but longs for a career in journalism in New York City. When Johann signs on as the supplier for a new saloon in Westerville, his and Susanna’s paths cross and sparks fly. A fiery temperance crusader, Susanna despises Johann’s profession, but she cannot deny the attraction.

When Susanna learns that Rachel’s children have been indentured to orphanages in the city, she despairs that her family will be fractured forever. But Johann makes Susanna an offer she can’t refuse—pitting her passion and her principles against one another.

If she can find a way for her head and her heart to be in harmony, a future lovelier than daylight awaits her."

My review:  For me, this was a book that was hard to get into.  The story-line just seemed to fall flat, and I actually put the book down for several days without missing it.  I think the author, Rosslyn Elliot, had some good ideas, and a redeeming quality was the fact that many historical facts were included in the story.  It was evident that Ms. Elliot did a lot of research to insure historical accuracy.  There is certainly nothing wrong with the book, and there is plenty of controversy to keep a discussion going for a long time.  I just did not find it to be one of my favorite books.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Prayers of a Stranger

Book description:  "While visiting the Holy Land, Amanda answers the prayers of a stranger . . . and begins an amazing Christmas journey.

Amanda Vance is ambivalent about her husband’s idea for a big family holiday up north. Last year she planned a special Christmas in their own home, carefully preparing a nursery and the keepsake ornaments for their newborn. Now that room stands as empty as her heart.

Then a neighbor’s mishap turns into a last-minute chance for Amanda to take a much-needed vacation to tour the Holy Land.

An extraordinary turn of events allows Amanda to help answer a young mother’s plea for healing. Then, filled with a sense of awe, Amanda visits the place of Jesus’ birth. There she discovers anew the miracle of the Christ child—God incarnate as a tiny, vulnerable baby.

Her return to Florida marks a momentous shift in her soul and in her marriage as she begins to realize that her journey didn’t end in the Holy Land. And that God doesn’t just answer prayers of strangers . . . but also those of her own heart."

My review:  The events of this book take place during the Christmas season.  It is a simple story with a lot emotion, and  the characters and their situations are real.  Davis Bunn has a way of making a story come to life and pull the reader into the lives of the characters.  I did not want the book to end.  I enjoyed getting to know the characters that stayed in Florida, but I really enjoyed traveling to the Holy Land with Amanda.  I felt like I had journeyed there with her as she touched the lives of those she met and began her own journey of healing.  A great reminder that even though we might be hurting there are those who have hurt just as much or greater than us.  It is when we stop to make their pain our pain that we can begin to find healing for our own soul.  This is a wonderful story.  I highly recommend it!  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program.  All opinions are my own.    

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Wreath of Snow

Book summary:  "On a reluctant visit home, an icy reception from her family in Stirling sends Meg Campbell fleeing for the train station, determined to spend the holidays alone in Edinburgh. When snow delays her departure, Meg pours out her heart to fellow traveler Gordon, an affable newspaperman who asks all the right questions, even as he keeps his own heartache under wraps. Then an unexpected turn of events finally points them both in the right direction: home. This stand-alone novella captures the unexpected gift of forgiveness and the hopeful stirrings of new love."

My review:   The only thing I don't like about this book is that it is too short!  Liz Curtis Higgs is a great storyteller, and A Wreath of Snow is a wonderful story!  I couldn't put it down.  Even though this is a novella, Ms. Higgs did a great job developing her characters.  She packs a lot into such a short story, and the message of forgiveness is very clear.  While parts of the story were predictable, the ending contained an unexpected twist which added to the intrigue of the story.  Ms. Higgs shows her readers that love and forgiveness are truly possible with God.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Twice a Bride

Book summary:  "Willow Peterson is at a crossroads. Standing alone over her father's fresh grave, she ponders the question she's seen etched on everyone else's face. Will this loss send her over the edge too, as her husband's death did? She has come back once from the devastating effects of loss, started fresh in Cripple Creek, Colorado, and might find her second chance at love working as a portrait artist for photographer Trenton Van Der Veer. With help of the spirited Sinclair Sisters, can Willow embrace God's plan to overcome her past and provide a home for her?"

My review:  I really enjoyed reading more about Willow Peterson after being introduced to her in a previous book about the Sinclair Sisters.  Her character is funny, honest, and real.  It was also fun seeing what was happening in the lives of the Sinclair Sisters.  Twice a Bride is a book that can stand alone, but if the reader has read other books about the Sinclair Sisters it makes this book that much more interesting.  The author does a great job digging deeply into the lives of her characters and Willow was no exception.  Trenton Van Der Veer's character was a perfect compliment to Willow's character, and I enjoyed his part in the story as well.  This was a book that I did not want to put down, and although the ending was predictable there were plenty of circumstances leading up to the ending that were not.  I look forward to reading more about Willow and the Sinclair Sisters.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Waterbrook/Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Trouble With Cowboys

Book description:  "Only one pair of boots—and the cowboy wearing them—can get Annie out of the mess she’s in.

Annie Wilkerson is Moose Creek’s premiere horse trainer and equine columnist for Montana Living. Money is tight as she tries to put her kid-sister through college and provide for her young nephew. When Annie’s column is cancelled, she’s given first shot at a new lovelorn column—and she can’t afford to turn it down. Only problem is . . . Annie’s never been in love.

Always resourceful, she reluctantly strikes a deal with the town’s smooth-talking ladies’ man Dylan Taylor: She’ll work with his ailing horse, Braveheart, if he’ll help her answer the reader letters.

Working closely with Dylan is harder than Annie imagined, and she quickly realizes she may have misjudged him. But her unwavering conviction that cowboys are nothing but trouble has kept her heart safe for years. And she can’t risk getting hurt now.

The more Annie tries to control things, the more they fall apart. Her feelings are spinning out of control, and her sister’s antics are making life increasingly more difficult. Annie knows she needs to turn the reins over to God, but surrender has never come easily.

When Dylan reveals his feelings for her, Annie doesn’t know what to trust—her head or her heart. The trouble with this cowboy is that he might just be exactly what she needs."

My review:   This book was an enjoyable quick read.  Although The Trouble With Cowboys is part of A Big Sky Romance series, it can stand alone.  While the reader will encounter characters from other books in the series, the story focuses on Annie and Dylan.  Their story will keep you turning pages, so that they will see what everyone else in the book as well as the reader knows will happen between them.  Denise Hunter is able to weave a fun story that also has a spiritual lesson.  I enjoy her writing style, and her ability to make the reader fall in love with her characters.  I recieved a complimentary e-copy this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

His Love Endures Forever

Book description:  "An unplanned pregnancy. An absent father. Can love really endure all things?

Danielle Kent is anything but Amish. But as destiny would have it, she has fallen in love with an Amish man.

Now she’s 18, pregnant, and hopeful that the child’s Amish father—Matthew Lapp—will do the right thing and marry her. She knows Matthew plans to leave his Colorado settlement for a life in the Englisch world. But that plan never included a baby.

When Matthew walks away from her and their unborn child, she has nowhere to turn. Her unlikely friendship with Levi offers some comfort—yet they have so little in common. This wasn’t the plan she had for her life, and she has never felt so alone. She doesn’t want to be pregnant. Doesn’t want to be Amish. Doesn’t want to trust God.

And yet.

God has plans beyond what her mind can imagine . . . loving plans to show a lost young woman that His love never fails but endures forever."

My Review:  This is another great book by a great author!  His Love Endures Forever is a great reminder that God's love does endure even when the circumstances in life seem to indicate otherwise.  The story also reminds us of the power of forgiveness.  The characters were real and down-to-earth.  The reader could put himself in the shoes of any of the characters.  I also enjoyed reading more about Danielle, who was introduced in another book.  This is a great book to read with great lessons.  I couldn't put it down!  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Truth About Grace

Book description:  “Is the experience of God’s grace in your life a thrilling thing? Just thinking about the fact that God, by His own sovereign plan, decided to be gracious to me is overwhelming. There is nothing greater than receiving grace upon grace.” —John MacArthur

"Simple definitions can make grace feel like an obvious―even mundane―concept. Nothing could be further from the truth. Grace is the defining feature of the Christian faith. Once we understand how undeserving we are and how much favor we’ve been given, grace becomes shocking, thrilling, inspiring, and contagious.

Best-selling author and pastor John MacArthur illuminates this profound concept with verse upon verse of Scripture. He also shows that misunderstandings about grace have led to some of the church’s greatest problems, perhaps because grace is her most precious gift.

For decades, MacArthur has encouraged countless Christians to develop a deeper understanding of the Bible and a greater respect for God’s truth. In The Truth About series, he now gathers his landmark teachings about core aspects of the Christian faith in one place. These powerful books are designed to give readers a focused experience that centers on God’s character and how it applies to their daily walk of faith."

My review:  This is not a long book, but John MacArthur has packed it full of great truth!  A mature believer will not necessarily learn anything new, but will certainly find great encouragement in their walk with Christ, as well as necessary reminders that all Christians need to hear.  New believers will find this book very helpful in understanding more about the grace of God and how God's grace is manifested in our lives.  MacArthur uses numerous verses throughout the book to support what he says, and he does not hestitate to tell it like it is.  This is a great book that every believer would benefit from reading.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger program  in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To Love and Cherish

From the back of the book:  "Melinda Colson has been waiting months for Evan, the assistant gamekeeper at the Bridal Veil Island resort, to propose.  Without an offer of marriage, she must return to Cleveland with the family she works for as a lady's maid.

Evan isn't afraid of hard work, and he hopes to be promoted soon.  He wants to marry Melinda-but not until he's sure he can support her and a family.

Letters strengthen their romance until a devastating storm strikes the island.  With no word from Evan, Melinda knows she must journey back to Bridal Veil in search of her beloved.

But the hurricane isn't the last calamity to shake up Bridal Veil.  Melinda finds a new job on the island, but still no offer of marriage comes her way.  Has she given her heart to the wrong person?  Will she ever find a man to love and cherish?"

My review:  I love the setting of this story.  Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller have once again done an outstanding job in creating a wonderful setting.  Having grown up on the Gulf Coast, hurricanes are not unknown to me, but I never stopped to think what it would have been like to have experienced one 100+ years ago.  This story allows just a glimpse of what it might have been like to have lived on an island and survived such a storm.  I also loved the characters, even the ones that were "unlovable".  Each character made the story come alive.  This is an excellent book!  One that you won't want to put down.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

When Hope Blossoms

From the back of the book:  "Amy Knackstedt hopes a new start in Weaverly, Kansas, will help heal the pain of losing her husband and provide a better future for her three children.  But her new neighbor, Tim Roper, is not pleased to have an Old Order Mennonite family living next to his apple orchard.  Tim left the Mennonite faith years ago and doesn't want any reminders of his former life.

Yet when circumstances throw Amy and Tim together, they form a friendship that surprises them both.  Will past hurts always be a barrier between them, or will this tentative relationship blossom into something more?"

My review:  I really enjoyed reading When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  The simplicity of the story draws the reader in, but the characters will keep you reading.  This is a story with events that could happen to anyone, so the reader is able to relate.  The characters that Ms. Sawyer created could be anyone that I know, and I enjoyed reading their story and getting to know them.  I have read many Amish novels, so reading a story about the Mennonites was an interesting change.  This was another book that I didn't want to put down, and I look forward to reading even more stories by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Be Still My Soul

From the back of the book:  "Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent-she's used to fading into the background within her family and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills.  Though they are poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith.  But when handsome ladies' man and bluegrass musician Gideon O'Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate.

Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon- a man she barely knows and does not love.  Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.

Her distant groom can't seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie's God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?"

My review:  There are not many books that I read where I really do not like one of the main characters.  This is one such book.  While I enjoyed the book, Gideon's character was one that I just could not like.  The book was written in such a way that I think that is what the author intended, and  I was sure that I would change my mind by the end of the story.  I just wasn't sure how the author, Joanne Bischof, would be able to accomplish that mind change.  Although predictable and frustrating, I enjoyed the story and by the end of the book I found myself actually liking Gideon.  I think this a good debut novel, and  I would certainly be happy to read other books by this author.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Multnomah Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Song of the Brokenhearted

Book description:  "Ava has a loving family, a beautiful house, and a solid faith.

Suddenly, her ideal life will be completely broken . . . in the best of ways.

Ava’s life is full of great things. Her daughter is getting married to just the right guy, her husband’s company has kept them financially thriving for years, her son is a freshman in high school, playing football and doing well, and the ministry she started is keeping her busy as she reaches out to those with “broken hearts.”

Then it all falls apart. Ava’s safe world becomes unanchored, and she is forced to face the childhood she’s run away from her entire life. Just as she’s trying to sift through the pieces, the doorbell rings and Ava is confronted with the surprise of her life.

Ava must set out on a journey that takes her back home—something Ava hasn’t done in twenty years. As she travels across the state of Texas, strangers offer her kindness and remind her of the meaning of hope and forgiveness.

It is in this journey back that Ava discovers God in a new way. She sees she's been hiding her brokenness behind good deeds and a safe life. Learning what it means to lose it all is just the start of Ava’s journey – as is the new song God is writing on her heart."

My review:   I have read one other book by these two authors, Sheila Walsh, and Cindy Martinusen Coloma, and in that book, Sweet Sanctuary, they tackled several tough issues.  This book, Song of the Brokenhearted, was no different.  Ava's world seems to fall apart as life begins to throw some pretty hard curve-balls, and  I was not able to predict the events that unfolded as I read.  I was drawn into the story and couldn't put it down!  The theme of forgiveness that runs through the book never gets old.  We always need reminders, and this book is a great reminder.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.    

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Faithful to Laura

Book description:  "Laura’s Amish faith requires her to forgive, but she can only think of revenge.

Laura Stutzman leaves her Kentucky community for Middlefield, Ohio, with one purpose: to find Mark King, the man who pledged his love to her, then left. She can’t move on with her life until he explains why.

Sawyer Thompson is a Yankee who spent his teen years in an Amish home. Now an adult, he has to make a decision—go back to the life he knew as a child or join the church. Having suffered loss at a young age, he understands Laura’s anger, but is determined to follow God’s will and forgive. As their friendship grows, Laura begins to let her guard down.

New information about Sawyer’s past threatens the couple’s budding relationship. Both Laura and Sawyer will need to release the anger they’re storing in their hearts and forgive the people who’ve harmed them. As Laura struggles to trust God, will Sawyer do whatever it takes to remain faithful to Laura?"

My review:  This book started out very confusing.  Faithful to Laura is the second book in the Middlefield Family series, and I think if I read read the first book in this series it wouldn't have been so bad.  There are a lot of characters to keep straight, and if I knew their stories it would have made reading this book a lot easier.  I enjoyed the story, and there were several surprises that kept things interesting.  I wouldn't mind reading the first book in the series if I come across it, but I don't think I will make a special effort to find it.  I enjoyed Faithful to Laura, but it was one that I could take or leave.  I received a complimentary e-copy from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Touching the Sky

From the back of the book:  "Though their first encounter is hardly auspicious, Laura Marquardt soon discovers herself drawn to the dashing Captain Brandon Reid.  As an officer over the colored troops, he eagerly supports her desire to educate blacks and seek harmony in a town where the defeat of the South is a bitter reality.

When Laura's sister marries her Confederate beau, Laura finds herself in a difficult situation after overhearing a discussion with frightening consequences.  In her heart she feels she should confide in Brandon, but Laura fears to do so may endanger her sister's life.  Yet as the stakes continue to rise and Brandon's motives for pursuing her come into doubt, Laura questions where to turn...and wonders if her own dreams of love may be forsaken."

My review:  This is book two of Tracie Peterson's series Land of the Lone Star.  I enjoyed the first book in the series, so I was looking forward to reading this book as well.  I think I enjoyed this one a little bit better.  Tracie Peterson is able to create believable characters and although a few of the situations the characters found themselves in were a little unbelievable it did not detract from the story.  While Ms. Peterson did include a couple of the characters from the previous book these books can stand alone and be read in any order.  Readers who enjoy historical fiction will enjoy reading this series.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

A Path Toward Love

Book description:  "Katherine came home to forget her past.  The last thing she expected is a hopeful future.

Young widow Katherine Osborne returns to her family’s rustic camp on Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. She’s determined to live a quiet life, but her socialite mother is equally determined to push her into a new marriage while she’s still young.

Andrew Townsend has known Katherine since they were children. An attorney who is successful, but not wealthy, he knows she is socially out of his reach. But he’s curious what changed the free-spirited girl he once knew into this private, somber young woman.

Katherine has kept hidden the details of her unsuccessful marriage. When past sins come to light, she must turn to God for the courage to be honest. But how can she trust the God she feels has let her down? When she confides in Andrew, their relationship takes a dramatic turn into uncharted territory.

Amid impossible obstacles, two young people must learn to trust enough to walk the path that God has cleared for them. A path that leads to healing and restoration. A path toward love."

My review:  A Path Toward Love is another book that I enjoyed reading.  Cara Lynn James has written a story that is a quick easy read.  There is nothing exceptional about her writing, but she can weave a good story.  I was able to finish the story in a couple of days.  While not my favorite author, I do look forward to reading more of her books.  I received a complimentary e-copy from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


From the back of the book:  Does your relationship with God seem broken?  Full of silence and distance?  Do you ever want more than just an "okay" walk with Christ?  After conducting extensive research, including more thatn 70,000 surveys.  Back to the Bible leaders Arnie Cole and Michael Ross found many Christians feel the same way.  But they also discovered the secrets that help believes grow and thrive spiritually.  And they want to share what they discovered with you.

Filled with honest stories and real-life examles, "Unstuck" provides you with practical and proven ways to encounter Scripture daily, connect with God, and revitalize your faith.  Stop just going through the motions and learn how to tap into God's Word to live out the life He desires for you.

My review:  Unstuck is one of the most practical books I have ever read.  The authors Arnie Cole and Michael Ross don't give a step-by-step plan to draw closer to God and then say their book is finished.  There is also a website dedicated to helping believers in their daily walk with God.  Every Christian would benefit from this book.  It will encourage those who are thriving in their Christian life to keep on, and it will be a wonderful encouragement to those who are "stuck" to know that they aren't alone and there is way to get "unstuck" and have that relationship with God that they desire but don't know how to achieve.  The authors have written this book in a way that is easy to read and understand and give practical "homework" at the end of each chapter to get the reader started on the path to having a fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

This Scarlet Cord

Book description:  "Within one of the Old Testament’s most famous battles lies one of its most tender love stories.

Hidden within the battle of Jericho is the story of Rahab, a beautiful and brave young Canaanite woman who aided the Israelites by hanging a piece of scarlet cord from a window. This act of faith changed her life by placing her in the genealogy of Christ.

Rahab is the beautiful youngest daughter of a Canaanite farmer, taken to Jericho for the pagan New Year celebration so that her father can find her a wealthy spouse. Sala is the only son of an Israelite merchant, in Jericho as a spy for Joshua’s army. Their love would have been destined for heartache, were it not ordained by God.

When Rahab finds favor with the king, and is to become his ritual bride, she abandons the pagan gods who have abandoned her and pleads with the One True God of the Israelites for deliverance. With her prayer answered, she vows to deliver Jericho to Joshua, risking her life to do so.

Motivated by love and empowered by a new faith, Rahab saves her family, and secures her future as one of the most important women in the Bible."

My review:  When reading this book, readers have to remember that this is a fiction book.  This Scarlet Cord is a carefully woven story with historically significant events included.  There are plenty of Biblical characters, but the Bible does not give a lot of information about Rahab, so there is very little Biblical fact found within this story.  Joan Wolf has written an intriguing tale and did a great job imagining the course that Rahab's life might have taken.  Readers are reminded that no matter what a person has done God can still use that person to accomplish His will.  This is another story that sent me back to the Bible to the book of Joshua to read what little the Bible records about Rahab.  There are some events in the story, though tactfully detailed, that would not be appropriate for young readers.  I would recommend that parents read this book first in order to decide if it would be appropriate for your children.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tidewater Inn

Book description:  Welcome to Hope Beach

Where the sea breeze is fresh, sun sparkles on sand . . . and trouble appears with the force of a hurricane.
Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the seaward shore of Hope Island could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.
But Libby soon realizes that only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brothers and sisters are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, Libby’s under suspicion for the crime, and her handsome lieutenant clearly doubts her innocence.
Libby’s dream-come-true is becoming a nightmare. Can she find her friend and establish her innocence? Must she sell Tidewater Inn and lose her family again? Or can she find a home for her heart on the beautiful shores of Hope Island?

My review:  This is another great book by Colleen Coble.  There is plenty of suspence and romance as well as spiritual lessons.  The characters were real and well-developed and the setting was perfect.  There were plenty of twists and surprises that pulled me into the story and kept me reading until I finished the book late at night.  Ms. Coble incorporated characters from previous books as well.  That seems to make the characters even more real and exciting for the reader that already knows them.  I look forward to reading more by Colleen Coble and possibly running into these  new characters in future books.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Cleaning House

From the back of the book:  "Do your kids expect clean folded clothes to magically appear in their drawers?  Do they roll their eyes when you suggest they clean the bathroom?  By racing in to make their lives easy, have you unintentionally reinforced your children's belief that the world revolves around them?

Dismayed at the attitude of entitlement that had crept into her home, Kay Wyma got some attitude of her own.  Cleaning House is her account of a year-long campaign to introduce her five kids to basic life skills and the ways meaningful work can increase earned self-confidence and concern for others.

With irresistible humor and refreshing insight, Kay candidly details the ups and downs of equipping her kids for such tasks as making beds, refinishing a deck chair, and working together.  The changes that take place in her household will inspire you to launch your own campaign to dislodge your kids from the center of their universe."

My review:  Cleaning House is an extremely practical book!  Kay Wyma details exactly what she did to teach her children responsibility around the house.  Each month of the year she introduced a new task or responsibility for her children to learn.  This is a book full of humor as Mrs. Wyma shares the reactions, failures, and successes that her children experience.  Scattered throughout the book is advice and ideas from other experienced moms that Mrs. Wyma looks up to.  These were also very helpful.  At the end of each chapter Mrs. Wyma shared briefly what she and her children had learned that month.  As a mother of three, I was encouraged to continue incorporating daily chores into the lives of my children.  There are many ideas that I look forward to trying and many things that I had not thought to have my children do at such a young age.  This is a book that I will keep close at hand and refer to often.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Travelers Rest

From the back of the book:  A young woman determined to honor her commitment...   An injured soldier convinced life is no longer worth living...  A retired doctor certain it's too late to be forgiven... 

Jane Morrow has a dilemma, and love alone may not solve it.  Her faith has never been strong, yet somehow she hopes God will answer her prayers and tell her what to do.  The answer she finds may not be at all what she expected...

My review:  Travelers Rest caught my attention in the first few sentences, and I didn't want to put it down.  Ann Tatlock tackled several difficult issues in this book that drew me into the lives of the characters from the very beginning.  There are many thought-provoking situations that really make you consider how you would react or what you truly believe.  Ms. Tatlock did an excellent job weaving the lives of the characters together with some suprising twists along the way.  While I was able to predict the outcome of the book there were other parts that I was not able to predict.  I am looking forward to reading more books by this author.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Fiddler

From the back of the book:  A wrong turn in a rainstorm leads Englisher Amelia Devries to Michael Hostetler-and the young Amishman's charming Old Order community of Hickory Hollow.  Despite their very different backgrounds, Amelia and Michael both feel hemmed in by the expectations of others and struggle with how to find room for their own hopes.  And what first seems to be a chance encounter might just change their lives forever.

My review:  The name Beverly Lewis pretty much sums up the content of this book.  This is another Amish story by a well-loved author.  In this book Ms. Lewis takes the reader back to Hickory Hollow, the setting for several of her other books.  It was fun to catch up a little with some of her characters, as well as be introduced to some new ones.  The story-line was enjoyable albeit predictable.  I think there are probably many readers that can relate to the expectations both Amelia and Michael feel they have to live up to.  I look forward to reading more about these two characters.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Through Rushing Water

Book description:  Sophia has her life all planned out—but her plan didn’t include being jilted or ending up in Dakota Territory.

Sophia Makinoff is certain that 1876 is the year that she’ll become the wife of a certain US Congressman, and happily plans her debut into the Capitol city. But when he proposes to her roommate instead, Sophia is stunned. Hoping to flee her heartache and humiliation, she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions on a whim.

With dreams of a romantic posting to the Far East, Sophia is dismayed to find she’s being sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the bleak Dakota Territory. She can’t even run away effectively and begins to wonder how on earth she’ll be able to guide others as a missionary. But teaching the Ponca children provides her with a joy she has never known—and never expected—and ignites in her a passion for the people she’s sent to serve.

It’s a passion shared by the Agency carpenter, Willoughby Dunn, a man whose integrity and selflessness are unmatched. The Poncas are barely surviving. When U.S. policy decrees that they be uprooted from their land and marched hundreds of miles away in the middle of winter, Sophia and Will wade into rushing waters to fight for their friends, their love, and their destiny.

My review:  I was excited to read another story about the Indians during the time of the treaties with the US government.  I have read two other books recently along this same line and have found these stories very interesting.  Once I received this book, Through Rushing Water, I realized the author, Catherine Richmond, is the lady that also wrote Spring for Susannah.  I really had no intentions of ever reading any more of her books, since I did not like the book Spring for Susannah.  Obligated to now read Through Rushing Water, I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  Mrs. Richmond has chosen a very interesting story line, but her plot is not well-defined.  She has too many loose ends and the story jumps around too much.  Although her main characters have a lot of information attached to them, they do not have a lot of depth.  Mrs. Richmond does have a sense of humor which I enjoyed in this book.  She also introduced a group of Indians to me that I had never heard of before.  This has peaked my interest to read more about the Ponca Indians.  While I think this book is better than her last one, I have to say that I have no intentions of reading a third one by this author to see if she continually gets better.  There are so many other books that I would rather read by authors that I enjoy.  For Mrs. Richmond's sake, I'm sorry I could not give this book a more positive review.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hope Springs

Book Description:  In a small Southern community where everyone is holding tight to something, the biggest challenge may be learning to let go.

Hope Springs, North Carolina, is the epitome of small town life—a place filled with quiet streets where families have been friends for generations, a place where there’s not a lot of change. Until three women suddenly find themselves planted there for a season.

Janelle Evans hasn’t gone back to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely ill, she decides to extend the stay. It isn’t long before she runs into her first love, and feelings that have been dormant for more than a decade are reawakened. And when Janelle proposes a Bible study a the local diner--and invites both African American and Caucasian women she has met--the group quickly forms a spiritual bond . . . and inadvertently adds to underlying tension in the community.

Becca Anderson is finally on the trajectory she’s longed for. Having been in the ministry trenches for years, she’s been recruited as the newest speaker of a large Christian women’s conference. But her husband feels called to become the pastor of his late father’s church in Hope Springs. Will small town living affect her big ministry dreams?

And Stephanie London has the ideal life—married to a doctor in St. Louis with absolutely nothing she has to do. When her cousin Janelle volunteers to stay in Hope Springs and care for their grandmother, she feels strangely compelled to do the same. It’s a decision that will forever change her.

As these women come together, facing disappointments both public and private, they soon recognize that healing is needed in their hearts, their families, and their churches that have long been divided along racial lines. God's plan for them in Hope Springs—and for Hope Springs itself—is bigger than they ever imagined.

My review:  This is a wonderful story with themes such as loving God, loving your neighbor, and forgiveness.  I had a hard time getting started on the story though, because I was trying to figure out who everyone was.  I think the author, Kim Cash Tate, introduced too many characters too soon in the book.  Once I got rolling, I was able to keep everyone straight for the most part.  I think that most of the characters had been introduced in other books by the author, so if I had read those stories first it probably wouldn't have been so bad.  The story itself can stand alone.  Mrs. Tate had some unexpected twists that I did not see coming, which made the story that much more interesting.  Overall, I enjoyed the book and would like to read the other books that she has written.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.   

Garden of Madness

Book description:  The Untold Story of King Nebuchadnezzar’s Daughter.

For seven years the Babylonian princess Tiamat has waited for the mad king Nebuchadnezzar to return to his family and to his kingdom. Driven from his throne to live as a beast, he prowls his luxurious Hanging Gardens, secreted away from the world.

Since her treaty marriage at a young age, Tia has lived an indulgent palace life. But when her husband dies and a nobleman is found murdered in the palace, Tia must discover who is responsible for the macabre death, even if her own newfound freedom is threatened.

As the queen plans to wed Tia to yet another prince, the powerful mage Shadir plots to expose the family’s secret and set his own man on the throne. Tia enlists the help of a reluctant Jewish captive, her late husband’s brother Pedaiah, who challenges her notions of the gods even as he opens her heart to both truth and love.

In a time when few gave their hearts to Yahweh, one woman must decide if she is willing to risk everything—her possessions, her gods, and her very life—for the Israelite’s one God. Madness, sorcery and sinister plots mingle like an alchemist’s deadly potion, and Tia must dare to risk all – to save the kingdom, and to save herself.

My review:  Tracy L. Higley has written a very intriguing story!  She has amazing word pictures throughout this book, Garden of Madness.  I think her fictionalization along with Scriptural facts was very tastefully done.   For me, the book was a little slow getting started; however, once I had read several pages I couldn't put it down.  I found myself reading late into the night.  Ms. Higley is a new author for me, and I am looking forward to reading other books by her.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Arms of Love

Book description:  The year is 1777. America is in turmoil. And Amish life is far different than today.

Pennsylvania in the late 18th century, once called William Penn’s Woods, was an assortment of different faiths living together for the first time in American history. Included in this tapestry was a small and struggling population called Amish.
Surrounding this peaceful people were unavoidable threats: both Patriots and the British were pillaging land and goods for the sake of the war, young Amishmen were leaving the faith to take up arms and defend freedom. A simple walk in the untamed forests could result in death, if not from bullet or arrow, then from an encounter with a wild animal.
Amid this time of tumult, Adam Wyse is fighting a personal battle. To possibly join the war efforts and leave his faith, which would mean walking away from the only woman he’s ever loved: Lena Yoder. But for that love he’s made a promise that may keep them apart permanently.

My review:  Set in the year 1777, this Amish story is different than most.  Kelly Long chose an unusual time period, but I think that helped make this a very interesting story.  It gave a different perspective and insight into the lives of the Amish.  I enjoyed the characters as well as the story-line.  The struggles the characters faced were believable and real.  The reader is able to enter into the lives of the characters and feel the pain as well as the joy.  Ms. Long wrote a "real-life" story with a surprise ending.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chasing the Sun

From the back of the book:  When her father disappears in war-torn Mississippi, Hannah Dandridge finds herself responsible not only for her younger siblings but also for the Texas ranch her father recently acquired.  A marriage of convenience could ease her predicament...but is it the true desire of her heart?

Wounded soldier William Barnett returns home only to find out that his family's ranch has been seized.  Though angered at this turn of events, he's surprised to discover that it is a beautiful young woman with amazing fortitude who is struggling to keep the place running.

Despite these circumstances, Hannah and William form an uneasy truce...and an undeniable attraction builds between them.  In a land where loyalties are divided in a country ravaged by war, is there any hope that the first blush of love can survive?

My review:  Chasing the Sun is the first book of the new series Land of the Lone Star by Tracie Peterson.  This is another book I enjoyed so much that I had a hard time putting it down.  It kept me reading till late at night.  Parts of the story were a little far-fetched, but I guess that is the liberty an author has when writing a fictional story.  I will definitely be looking forward to reading book two in this series.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wildflowers from Winter

From the back of the book:  A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built the life she dreamed of during her trailer-park teen years.  An unexpected call from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa.

Determined to pay her respects to her past while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long.  Then unexpected inheritance of five hundred acres of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.

Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years.  When Bethany is left the land, Evan must fight her decisions to realize his own dreams.  But even as he disagrees with Bethany's vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.

For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn't seem like the path to freedom.  Is letting go the only way to new life, love, and a peace that she's not even sure exists?

My review:  Katie Ganshert is a new author for me, and I enjoyed reading her book Wildflowers from Winter.  Bethany's story is so real and believable.  I felt like I knew her.  Her struggles and her journey toward peace represent the struggles that so many of us face.  The book seemed to come to an end a little abruptly, but otherwise I thought this was an excellent book.  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.

The Secret Path of Destiny

Book description: In "The Secret Path of Destiny", a young, disabled, German-American girl, named Isolde, and her destitute mother reach out for a lifeline being offered by a widower in the German town of Fredericksburg, Texas. The year is 1865, and the two travel from New York City through the aftermath of the Civil War. But another war is brewing, this time with Native Americans, and Isolde and her mother are heading right into the heart of Comancheria, the homeland of the Comanche. It is not the Comanche Isolde fears, but her mother’s new employer, who becomes her stepfather. Isolde realizes he is a cunning man who is not who he pretends to be. As the situation worsens, Isolde is forced to make a life-changing decision to escape; desperate, she seeks refuge with a Comanche Indian, who befriends her at first, but later joins a warring band of Comanche. Her malevolent stepfather pursues her across Texas, turning her life upside down. Eventually, Isolde accepts the difficult circumstances of her life and realizes that a person’s destiny is often hidden from view because the path is sometimes rocky.

My review:  This is another great book by M.B. Tosi.  Once I was finally able to start reading this book, I couldn't put it down!  I was totally drawn into the story and into the lives of the characters.  Once again, Ms. Tosi has combined historical facts with a fictional story.  The Secret Path of Destiny is about the Comanche, and I enjoyed reading the history about the Comanche during this time period as much as I enjoyed the fictional story.  Ms. Tosi is a wonderful story teller, and I look forward to reading more of her books.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from WestBow press through the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Song of My Heart

Book description: Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent-though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job.

Thad McKane comes to Goldtree to investigate reports of a boot-legging operation. Once he earns enough money from the sheriff work, he plans to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

Thad is immediately drawn to the lovely young singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house. but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he wonders if she's far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes Thad has come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?

My review: I enjoyed reading Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer. The plot was a bit unusual for the time period but written in such a way that made it seem plausible. I especially enjoyed the two sisters and loved the humor that they added to the story. This is an easy book to read with no surprise twists. If you are looking for a little bit of humor, a little bit of suspense, and a few life lessons, then this is a book you will enjoy. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Sacred Path of Tears

Book description: The Sacred Path of Tears is a journal written by a young Cheyenne Indian woman, nicknamed Mokee, during the Indian Wars in Kansas in the late 1860s. After Mokee and her companion observe the Sand Creek Massacre, they warn the other Indian camps along the Smoky Hill River. They take cover in a barn near Salina, Kansas, where they are discovered by a widow and her two sons. Mokee’s companion leaves to join the fight against the white soldiers but hating war, Mokee, with her lighter coloring, gains a safe haven with the widow’s family. She finds a mentor in the well-educated widow and embraces the opportunity to read and write English. As her life unfolds, Mokee is torn between two worlds at war and the two men she loves, one a white settler and the other her companion, who has become a Cheyenne Dog Soldier. Though war is her constant shadow, Mokee tries to find the purpose for her life and a path of peace in her war-torn world.

My review: This is a great book! It is a work of fiction, but there is also a lot of historical facts throughout the book. The fact that it is written like a journal allowed the author, M. B. Tosi, to include historical information in such a way that Mokee became part of true events. I think that added a depth to the story that would otherwise not have been possible. The Sacred Path of Tears is the first book in The Indian Path Series. Each book focuses on a different group of Indians. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from WestBow Press a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Need You Now

Book description: When big-city life threatens the safety of one of their children, Brad and Darlene Henderson move with their three teenagers from Houston to the tiny town of Round Top, Texas.
Adjusting to small-town life is difficult for the kids, especially fifteen-year-old Grace who is coping in a dangerous way.
Married life hasn’t always been bliss, but their strong faith has carried Brad and Darlene through the difficult times. When Darlene takes a job outside the home for the first time in their marriage, the domestic tension rises.
While working with special needs children at her new job, the widowed father of one of the students starts paying more attention to Darlene than is appropriate. Problem is, she feels like someone is listening to her for the first time in a long time.
If Darlene ever needed God . . . it’s now.
Experience a family’s triumph over lies, betrayal, and loss while still clinging to the One who matters most.

My review: Beth Wiseman has tackled more tough issues in her book Need You Now. I don't want to give anything away, but this is a book that will really make you think. Ms. Wiseman has written a great story that will hold your interest until the end. I do feel that more could have been written on the two major issues that she addressed. The book ended too adruptly, and I don't think things were sufficiently resolved for the reader. Hopefully Ms. Wiseman plans to write more about the Henderson family in future books. I think it will be great if she does continue their story. I also think Ms. Wiseman introduced too many characters with stories of their own. If she chooses to write more about each of those characters that would help. If she chooses to let this book stand alone, I will be very disappointed! I do recommend this book, and I commend Ms. Wiseman for not being afraid to tackle such tough issues. Christians need to realize that these types of things are going on around us even in our Christian circles. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How We Love Our Kids

From the back of the book: Having problems with your kids? What if you are the problem and you just can't see it? "How We Love Our Kids" offers a unique approach, to help you as a parent transform your kids by making specific changes in how you love. It's the only parenting book that reveals the unseen forces that shape every interaction with your kids.

  • Identify which of the five love styles you have.

  • Discover the surprising dynamics that shape your parenting.

  • Get rid of your "buttons" so your kids can't push them.

  • Create a close connection with your kids that will last a lifetime.

  • Learn the seven gifts every child needs.

Based on years of research in the area of attachment and bonding, How We Love Our Kids shows parents how to overcome the predictable challenges that arise out of the five love styles and helps parents cultivate a secure, deep connection with a child of any age. Retool your reactions and refocus on how you love. Start today. Watch your kids flourish and thrive as they receive what was missing in your love.

My review: This is a parenting book that is much different than any other parenting book you will read. It is a book that focuses more on the parent than on the child and is a very interesting book to read. I think this is a great resource for any parent. Just understanding some of the concepts that are presented can be very helpful and eye-opening. I would highly recommend this book to every parent, even the ones that seem to be sailing along fairly smoothly with their kids. There will be bumps in the road with your children and this book can help you understand why those bumps are there. Milan and Kay Yerkovich have written this book in such a way that anyone can understand. It is an easy book to read with plenty of real-life stories to keep you interested. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Brush of Angel's Wings

Book description: Rachel and Jordan's feelings for each other are hostile at first, but angelic intervention helps the two discover peace . . . and perhaps love.
The youngest and last unmarried of four sisters, Rachel Hartlzer spends most of her time helping with barn chores. Her role abruptly changes when her father hires Jordan Engles, the son he always wanted.
As Jordan takes on brotherly roles around the house, like escorting Rachel to the youth singing, the enmity between the two grows. Besides, Jordan has one foot in the Englisch world and is determined not to get involved with an Amish girl.
Neither realizes that God has sent an angel, Nathaniel, to help mend their hearts. The angel’s intervention helps them find peace and healing in accepting God's will for their lives.

My review: This is another book that I really enjoyed reading, but I am not sure I like all of the book. I enjoyed the story as well as the characters. I'm just not sure how I feel about the angels. They did add some depth and understanding to the story. However, it would seem the author, Ruth Reid, has attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to an angel. I think I understand why she chose to include the angels, I just do not agree with the way they are portrayed. I enjoy reading Amish stories and have read quite a few by several different authors. I am looking forward to reading more by Ruth Reid. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Wedding Dress

Book description: Four brides. One dress.
A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.
Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift—and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress—or feel certain she should marry Tim?
Then Charlotte purchases a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new, shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed”?
Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history—and its new bride—begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the beauty of finding true love.

My review: There were parts about this book that I loved and parts that I didn't like. I loved the idea of a wedding dress that was worn by four different brides over the span of one hundred years. I enjoyed reading about the journey the dress had taken. Rachel Hauck did a great job weaving the story of the dress, as well as entertwining the lives of the women that wore the dress. I don't want to give away too much, but I will say that the imagery Ms. Hauck intended was not clear enough throughout the story. The spiritual aspects were not strong enough. This is where I get to the part I did not like. The man in the purple vest did not fit in with the story line. He made things seem too weird. I believe Ms. Hauck intended for him to be part of the spiritual aspect along with the dress, but in my eyes it was not successful. I did not care much for Tim either. His character should have been stronger to fit with the rest of the story. Even though there were parts I did not like about the story, I did enjoy reading it. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

From the back of the book: Annie Martin loves the Plain ways of her beloved grandfather. Retreating from a contentious relationship with her mother, Annie goes to live with her Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.
But as spring moves into Pennsylvania and Annie spends time among the cherry trees with the handsome Aden Zook, she wishes she could forget how deeply the lines between the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite are drawn.
Can Annie and Aden find a placed for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm?

My review: The Scent of Cherry Blossoms is another good book by Cindy Woodsmall, but I did not like it as well as I liked the other books I have read by her. Some of the scenarios seemed a little unbelievable, although they did make for a good storyline. I enjoyed being reintroduced to some of the minor characters from previous books and getting to know them a little better. Once again, I appreciated the way Ms. Woodsmall was able to make her characters real in their personalities and struggles. If you enjoy Amish stories, I definitely recommend that you read this one. It just wasn't my favorite. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Dawn Comes Early

Book description: Disgraced dime novelist Kate Tenney fled the city that banned her latest novel for the emptiness of the desert. Answering an ad to be “heiress” to a vast cattle ranch in the Arizona Territory, Kate hopes ranching turns out to be as romantic as she portrayed it in her novels.
But what awaits her is a life harder than the one she just left. There is no room for mistakes on a working cattle ranch, and Kate is ill-prepared for her new life. She quickly learns that dawn comes early. But she is tenacious.
Having been abandoned by a string of men, Kate has no intention of ever marrying. But she didn’t expect to meet Luke Adams, either. Luke awakens feelings inside Kate she doesn’t recognize, and his steady presence is a constant distraction. She has only written about love in the past, never known it herself. But her feelings for Luke stand in the way of all she has to gain if she is chosen as the heir.
Perhaps God brought Kate to the barrenness of the desert to give new life to her jaded heart.

My Review: I enjoyed reading Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley. I especially loved Kate and the comical situations she found herself in, but all of the characters fit so well in the plot. This is a great western romance with plenty of humor thrown in. Anyone who enjoys a good romance will want to pick this one up. I look forward to reading the next book in this series. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Beauty for Ashes

From the back of the book: She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home.

After losing her husband in the Civil War, Carrie Daly is scared she will never have the family she longs for. Eligible bachelors are scarce in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, but Carrie Daly has found love. Not the weak-in-the-knees kind, but something practical. Still, she isn't quite ready to set a wedding date with Nate Chastain.

Griff Rutledge is a former member of Charleston society, but has been estranged from his family for years. He’s determined to remain unattached, never settling in one place for too long. But when asked to train a Thoroughbred for an upcoming race in Hickory Ridge, he decides to stay awhile.

Despite objections from the townsfolk, and her fear that true happiness has eluded her, Carrie is drawn to Griff's kindness and charm. It will take a leap of faith for them to open their hearts and claim God's promise to trade beauty for ashes.

My review: Dorothy Love is a new author for me, and I enjoyed reading Beauty for Ashes. Carrie is a character that readers can relate to. She struggles with balancing duty to family and living her own life. Her character is developed well throughout the book, and I felt like I really got to know her. This is a simple book with everyday issues, and all the characters and circumstances were believable. I did feel a little lost with some of the minor characters, and look forward to reading the first book in the series so that I can get to know them a little better. I also look forward to reading the next books in this series. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction would enjoy this book. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Heart of Gold

From the back of the book: Against Shannon's wishes, love stakes its claim in her heart. Will she discover treasure or treachery?

When Shannon Adair accompanies her minister father to the western gold rush town of Grand Coeur, she's certain she'll never be happy away from her beloved Virginia, even though the South is still gripped in civil war.

Wells Fargo driver Matthew Dubois isn't sure the lovely Shannon belongs in Idaho Territory either, but he is a desperate man. His widowed sister is dying and leaving her young son, Todd, in his care. Matthew wants to return to driving coach for the express company soon—so he'll have to find a wife to look after the boy when he's away.

Shannon is determined not to lose her heart to a man who is neither a Southerner nor a gentleman. But love stakes its claim. Now, will her heart survive learning the truth behind the courtship?

My review: I enjoyed Heart of Gold by Robin Lee Hatcher. Her plot is good, but I think she could have developed it a little more. I enjoyed the characters of Shannon and Matthew, but I think they could have had a little more depth. All in all it was a good read, however; there really wasn't anything that made me say, "Wow, that was an awesome book!" I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a light easy read. I would also read more by this author. She just wouldn't be my first choice. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Beyond Molasses Creek

From the back of the book: Three lives are bound by a single book . . . and the cleansing waters of Molasses Creek.

Having traveled to the ends of the earth as a flight attendant, Ally Green has finally returned to the Lowcountry to bury her father as well as the past. But Vesey Washington is still living across the creek, and theirs is a complicated relationship--he was once her best friend . . . and also part of the reason she's stayed away so long. When Ally discovers a message her father left behind asking her to quit running, it seems her past isn't through with her yet.

As Ally's wandering spirit wrestles with a deep longing to flee again, a young woman on the other side of the world escapes her life of slavery in the rock quarries of Nepal. A mysterious sketchbook leads Sunila Kunari to believe there's more to her story than she's ever been told, and she's determined to follow the truth wherever it leads her.

A deep current entertwines the lives of these three souls, and a destiny of freedom, faith, and friendship awaits them all on the banks of Molasses Creek.

My review: When I first started reading this book, Beyond Molasses Creek, I had a hard time getting into it. The more I read however the harder it was for me to put it down. Nicole Seitz has taken three individuals that are completely different and entertwined their lives. Though written in the present, Ally, Vesey, and Sunila take the reader on a journey that spans fifty plus years and hundreds of miles. Ms. Seitz's word pictures are amazing, as well as her ability to tell a story. The only disappointed I had with the story is one that seems to be too common with Christian authors. While God and heaven are mentioned and Ally specifically is searching, Ms. Seitz does not take the opportunity God has given her to share the specific good news of the gospel, or encourage the believer in their walk with God. I believe that every Christian author should use their God-given talents to point readers to their Heavenly Father and the promises found in His Word. Ms. Seitz is a wonderful story-teller and I look forward to reading more of her books. I can only pray that if Ms. Seitz herself is searching, that she will find Christ and the peace that only He can give, and then share that Christ with her readers. I received a complimentary e-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 Harvest of Grace

From the back of the book: Although Sylvia Fisher recognizes that most Old Order Amish women her age spend their hours managing a household and raising babies, she has just one focus—tending and nurturing the herd on her family’s dairy farm. But when a dangerous connection with an old beau forces her to move far from home, she decides to concentrate on a new start and pour her energy into reviving another family’s debt-ridden farm.

After months in rehab, Aaron Blank returns home to sell his Daed’s failing farm and move his parents into an easier lifestyle. Two things stand in his way: the father who stubbornly refuses to recognize that Aaron has changed and the determined new farmhand his parents love like a daughter. Her influence on Aaron’s parents could ruin his plans to escape the burdens of farming and build a new life.

Can Aaron and Sylvia find common ground? Or will their unflinching efforts toward opposite goals blur the bigger picture— a path to forgiveness, glimpses of grace, and the promise of love.

My review: The more books I read by Cindy Woodsmall the more I look forward to reading them all. The Harvest of Grace is another book in the Ada's House series. Ms. Woodsmall has taken the characters of Aaron and Sylvia and shown that even the Amish struggle with the same sin-nature we all have. Just because the Amish live within a strict community doesn't mean they are immune to fleshly desires. But, Ms. Woodsmall has also shown that the forgiveness of God extends to all and is freely given. I enjoyed reading about Aaron and Sylvia as well as catching up with other charaters from the Ada's House series. Ms. Woodsmall writes about real people in real-life situations, and that is one of the things I appreciate about her books. This book was no exception. I received an e-copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Softly and Tenderly

From the back of the book: Maybe out there in the country she could catch her breath, learn to breathe again.

Happily married and owner of two successful boutiques, Jade longs to begin a family with her husband, Max. But when she discovers that Max has an illegitimate son—who he wants her to help raise—Jade’s life is turned upside down.

She flees to her childhood home, a rambling Iowa farmhouse, with enough room to breathe. There—while her mother’s health grows fragile, and the tug of her first love grows stronger—Jade begins to question everything she thought she knew about family, love, and motherhood. In the wide-open landscape, Jade begins to see a future that doesn’t rest on the power of her past but in the goodness of God's tender mercies.

My review: Once again I am reading a series out of order. Softly and Tenderly is the second book in the Songbird series by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck. I started with the third and have not read the first one yet. The authors did pretty good filling in background information, but I highly recommend reading these books in order. I enjoyed this book but not as much as the third one, Love Lifted Me. The authors have incorporated tough issues into the plot that can happen to anyone, and it serves to remind the reader that we have to constantly guard our hearts. This is another book that will draw the reader into the lives of the characters. I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.