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.