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.