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.