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.