Sunday, December 29, 2013

All Things Hidden

Book description:  "Gwyn Hillerman loves being a nurse at her father's clinic on the beautiful Alaskan frontier. But family life has been rough ever since her mother left them, disdaining the uncivilized country and taking Gwyn's younger sister with her.

In Chicago, Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan finds his life suddenly turned upside down when his medical license is stripped away after an affluent patient dies. In a snowball effect, his fiance breaks their engagement. In an attempt to bury the past, Jeremiah accepts Dr. Hillerman's invitation to join his growing practice in the isolated Alaska Territory.

Gwyn and Jeremiah soon recognize a growing attraction to each other. But when rumors of Jeremiah's past begin to surface, they'll need more than love to face the threat of an uncertain future."

My review:  Not only is this a great story, it has wonderful spiritual truths embedded throughout the book.  A lot of Christian novels do not have many Scripture or Biblical lessons incorporated into the story.  This novel is not one of those.  I was encouraged by the verses and challenged to examine my own life and responses to the circumstances in which God has placed me.  This is a book that I could share with an unbeliever and know that not only would they be reading a great story that will hold their interest, but the seeds of God's Word will be planted into their hearts.  I enjoyed each of the characters and was immediately drawn into each of their lives.  The characters were real and the historical facts that played into the book made the story that much more interesting.  I hope the authors plan to make this a series.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sweet Olive

Book description:  "Camille Gardner came to small town Louisiana in the name of big business. But will the town of Samford change her before she can change it?
A talented businesswoman in the oil and gas business, Camille Gardner agrees to take on one last assignment for her uncle at the J&S Production Co. She would rather be anywhere than Samford, Louisiana, the small southern town where she once spent the worst month of her life. Most of all, she wants to move on to the art gallery job that is waiting for her in Denver.
To fulfill the obligation she feels to her uncle and get on with the life she dreams of, Camille needs to entice a group of rural landowners to sell their mineral rights—and allow use of their precious water for the drilling of natural gas. Instead, she finds herself drawn to the local folk art created by those same landowners, and attracted to Marsh Cameron, the attorney representing them.
Camille must decide whether family obligation—and her own plans for her future—are more important than the lives and tradition of this small community."
My review:  This book is an easy read.  Even though it was quite predictable, I still enjoyed reading it.  It was a bit frustrating having a heroine without a backbone, but she did get better by the end of the book.  I appreciated the "community" feel that was present throughout the book.  The local folk were so representative of many small towns.  The romance that developed between Camille and Marsh was pretty funny, and the encounters between the two and the landowners helped to keep me interested in the story as I read.  While this book was not a page-turner for me, I am glad that I read it.  I would definitely be willing to read other books by this author.  I received a complimentary e-copy from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Governess of Highland Hall

Book description:  "Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India.  But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents' financial support.  Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn't sure what to make of the estate's preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.

Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin's two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from financial ruin.  The last thing he needs is the distraction of a kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.

While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families-common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings.  But will William choose Julia's steadfast heart over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall's future?"

My review:  I absolutely loved this book! Carrie Turansky could quickly become another favorite author if the rest of her books are as good as this one.  Ms. Turansky did a great job inviting the readers into the lives of both the servants and the family with the governess stuck in between.  While I enjoyed the unfolding story of William and Julia, I also really enjoyed William's sister Sarah and her story.  This is a book full of drama, customs, and romance.  If you want a book with drama and romance upstairs and downstairs, this is the book for you!  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Multnomah Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Plain Peace

Book description:  "Anna loves the grandfather who raised her, but his strict adherence to the Ordnung is scaring away any boy who might be interested in her—except newcomer Jacob.
In normal circumstances Anna Byler would have her choice of any of the young men in her Amish community. But because of the strict rules enforced by her grandfather, the bishop, the available suitors are afraid to court her. Then handsome Jacob Hostetler moves to Paradise and decides Anna is worth the challenge.
Anna sees that the bishop’s legalism is dividing the community and risking the lives of its members—but her grandfather doesn’t. When she is forced to deception in order to pursue her dream of marriage and family with Jacob, Anna feels her own faith slipping. If only she could get her grandmother to help her stand up to the bishop. But Mammi is keeping secrets of her own.
Anna wants to honor her grandparents, the two most important people in her life, but her heart is divided by the rules that guide their little Amish community and the growing love she has for Jacob. How can she be true to both?"

My review:  This is another book in the "Plain" series by Beth Wiseman.  While it is not necessary to have read the other books, it did help to understand some parts of the story a little better to have read them.  I am coming to realize that there is no "usual" Amish book.  There seem to be so many different ideas among the Amish way of life, that I was not surprised by the many different circumstances in this book.  I will have to say though, I got quite a chuckle out of Mammi and her secrets.  Her secrets added an unusual twist to the plot that I did not see coming.  Anna and Jacob's story added a bit of humor to the book as well.  I enjoyed reading this book, and it gave me a desire to go back and reread the other books in the series in order to refresh my memory on some of the other characters.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book through Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Christmas Gift for Rose

Book description:  "Inspired by a true story, A Christmas Gift for Rose is a heartwarming novella of sacrifice and deep love.
Born in the midst of the hardships of the Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family. But as she prepares to marry, she's thrown into confusion when she learns the truth of her birth. She was born Englisch and abandoned when the family moved on in search of work.
Was she meant to be Amish or would she have been better off growing up with her own kind-Englischers? And was her intended's gift of discovering her birth family given out of love or fear?"
My review:  This is a novella that did not leave me thinking there should be more to the story.  I really enjoyed A Christmas Gift for Rose.  The author, Tricia Goyer, is a favorite of mine, and this is a story that did not disappoint.  She writes this book in such a way that brings the characters and story to life.  I think having daughters of my own makes it especially poignant.  The struggles that each character faced were true-to-life, and the emotions that were carried with those struggles made the story even more compelling.  A quick read, this book will leave you thinking about these struggles and the responses to them.  How would I have responded if I were in a similar situation?  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Book description:  "When Diana Brennan’s husband returns eight years after abandoning her, can she find it in her heart to forgive him?
Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her. At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word of him for eight years, Diana’s infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.
But when her husband returns, supposedly a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom. He agrees with one condition––she must give him a chance to change her mind about him."
My review:  This is a book with wonderful characters, an interesting plot, a conflict that keeps you turning pages, and just enough suspense to pique your curiosity and make you wonder exactly how the book will end.  I didn't want to put the book down and I certainly didn't want the book to end!  Robin Lee Hatcher is a wonderful writer.  Not only does she write a great story, but the story of redemption is woven throughout the pages of this book.  The Biblical truths are presented in such a way that the story is enhanced and the message is very clear without being shoved down the reader's throat.  The title of this book, Beloved, is so appropriate.  If you are looking for a great book to read, I highly recommend this one.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

For Every Season

Book description:  "Working hard to develop a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is fully committed to rehabilitating an orchard with business partner Samuel King. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in her relationship with her beau, Samuel's brother, Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Amidst mounting tension in matters of the heart and business, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has always longed for, and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. She longs for Jacob to fully be free of his past, so they can work towards the future together.

But as Rhoda uses her gift to unpack an old secret with her Englisch neighbors, it is not her beau but an unlikely ally that cheers her on. With the orchard on shaky ground and Jacob's plans in question, Rhoda is determined to see things through to harvest. But can she trust her insight to direct her path in matters of the heart?"

My review:  Somehow I missed reading the second book in this series.  It took me a little bit to figure out what was going on and get caught up on what I had missed.  I think that is at least partly why it took me several chapters to get into the book.  Once the story got moving, I enjoyed it.  I hope the author plans on writing at least one more book in this series.  I was left hanging on some parts.  This was another book, however; that is a bit unrealistic.  I expected that though, since I had already read the first book in the series.  A complicated relationship is what made this a page-turner for me.  The romantic struggles between Rhoda and the two brothers were problems that could happen to anyone.  The subsequent results were difficult, yet the author did a great job reflecting humbleness in each of the characters.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Gunpowder Tea

Book Description:  "In a case that could change her career, Miranda uncovers a love that will change her life.
When Miranda Hunt sees the classified ad for an heiress to the legendary Last Chance Ranch, she knows assuming the identity of Annie Beckman is the perfect cover. As one of the finest agents for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Miranda has been tasked with apprehending the Phantom—an elusive and notorious train robber thought to be hiding on the sprawling ranch.
But she isn’t the only one at the ranch with something to hide. Wells Fargo detective Jeremy Taggart is working undercover as well. Their true identities may be a secret, but it is impossible for Jeremy and Miranda to hide the sparks flaring between them.
Neither is about to let romance interfere with such a huge case. Besides, Miranda hasn’t removed Jeremy from her list of suspects yet. The closer they get to uncovering the identity of the Phantom, the more dangerous he gets—and no one on the ranch is safe.
The longer Miranda and Jeremy spend working together, the harder it becomes to keep their feelings in check. Their careers—and their lives—depend on solving this case. Love will just have to wait."
My review:  I really enjoyed the other "Last Chance" books by this author, but this one just wasn't as good.  I did enjoy it, it was just a bit of a let-down after reading the other ones.  The circumstances Miranda found herself in were just not very realistic.  I know this is fiction, but some things were just a little too far-fetched even for a book.  It did make the story pretty humorous, though.  Jeremy exasperated me and seemed a little unreal as well.  The mystery did keep me guessing, and I was not able to figure it out.  That alone would have kept me turning pages.  It was a quick easy read.  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, September 30, 2013

What Once Was Lost

Book description:  "On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home.  But when a fire breaks out leaving the house uninhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear "family."

With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore.  Levi agrees, with reluctance, but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy.  As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up, Christina begins to wonder if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life.  And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally - or more - in the aloof Levi?  Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?"

My review:  This book was OK, but not one that I would necessarily recommend to someone looking for a good book to read.  The plot was good, but the story itself just seemed to be lacking.  It took me awhile to finish the book just because  it didn't call my name and keep me reading until all hours of the night.  I did enjoy Tommy Kilgore, the little blind boy.  He seemed so representative of the stigma that was once placed on people who had a handicap.  Other characters were intriguing and enjoyable as well.  It was just that the story-line did not pull me in and hold my attention like a good book should.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Secret Keeper

Book description:  "With her love for all things old-fashioned, Jennifer Burns has often been told she's an "old soul," but no one is prepared for the young woman's decision to set aside her modern life in favor of the Old Order Amish world. Yet Jenny does exactly that, adopting Plain dress and settling in with Samuel and Rebecca Lapp while she works as a mother's helper for the bishop's wife--a far cry from her former job as an x-ray technician.

The people of Hickory Hollow are curious about the beautiful young seeker among them, one handsome Amishman in particular. But he is not the only man vying for Jenny's affections, and Jenny faces many challenges in the Proving time the brethren have set for her...challenges of the heart, as well as the spirit.

Will Jenny's secrets keep her from the peace she longs for? Or will they lead the way home?"

My review:  This book was a little backwards from Beverly Lewis's other books.  As a famous Amish author, Mrs. Lewis usually writes from within the Amish community possibly looking out.  This is a view of the Amish from the outside in.  Although a little unusual, this was a refreshing change from the typical Amish story.  I loved the uniqueness of Jenny coming into the community and finding that even though the Amish seem to lead a "perfect" life, they are still human like the rest of us.  I have always enjoyed reading books by Beverly Lewis and this one is no exception.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Miner's Lady

Book description:  "When Chantel Panetta's younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Calarco, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Calarcos have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella's pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando...only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando's brother.

Chantel can't deny the attraction that flares when she's with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel and Isabella's hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?"

My review:  I love reading books by Tracie Peterson.  She has become one of my favorite authors, and this book is just another example of why I look forward to reading her books.  Once again, she has created a plot with true-to-life characters and circumstances.  I was able enter into the lives of Chantel and her sister, Isabella, and feel their frustration.  This is a book that has excitement, adventure, suspense, and love.  I found myself turning the pages faster to see what would happen next, but at the same time would have loved to have stretched it out so it would last longer.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Bride for All Seasons

Book Description:  "It all started with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue . . .
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces you to four Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue prospects in the year 1870, all eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they'll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.
"And then Came Spring" by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has traveled halfway across the country to meet her match, arriving just in time for his funeral. Returning home seems like her only option until her would-be brother-in-law proposes a more daring idea.
"An Ever After Summer" by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she's not what Matthew ordered. And what's wrong with being a "Bible thumper" anyway? She's determined to show him she's tougher than she looks-and just the girl he needs.
"Autumn's Angel" by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn't come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. ­ e trouble is, there's no money to send them back . . .
"Winter Wedding Bells" by Mary Connealy
David's convinced he's not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he's gone-nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?"
My Review:  I enjoyed reading each of these short stories.  All four stories were about mail-order brides, each with an unusual twist.  I have enjoyed other books by each of these authors, and these short stories were no exception. All four authors were able to draw me into their stories and have me turning pages quickly to see what would happen next.  I was disappointed as each story came to a close, but was instantly pulled into the next story.  The only problem with these short stories was that they were...well, short!  The authors did a good job developing their stories, but inevitably they cannot develop the plot as well as they could have in a regular novel.  I would love to read a "longer" version of these stories.  Great read, however, if you need some light reading while at the beach.  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, July 31, 2013

A Hopeful Heart

Book Description:  "In A Hopeful Heart, the first novel of the new Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series from best-selling author Amy Clipston, Hannah finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her community offers her love and support after the untimely death of her husband, but an Englisher offers her the chance of a new life after her unexpected tragedy. Wealthy businessman Trey Peterson is surprised by his attraction to the gentle Amish woman who works as a housekeeper in the Lancaster Grand Hotel. They share a common bond of loss and are able to offer each other comfort and support as they journey through their grief.
Joshua Glick wants nothing more than to offer his friendship and love to Hannah and her family. Not only is he her late husband’s brother and business partner, he has always been in love with Hannah.
A Hopeful Heart is filled with surprising twists as Hannah tries to balance her life in the Amish community and her growing love for an outsider."
My Review:  The beginning of this story had me laughing out loud!  After such a humorous beginning, I was in no hurry to put down the book.  I was not disappointed.  Hannah was a woman that faced some unusual circumstances, and I enjoyed watching her character evolve throughout the book.  She did not take her faith or her family lightly, and had some intense struggles in deciding what was right.  Even though she felt like the decisions she came to were right, it did not mean everything fell into place without repercussions.  I felt like these were real-life characters with some real-life problems that were not necessarily resolved without heartache.  This was a book about life.  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 23, 2013

A Simple Change

Book description:  "Joining the communal society of the Amana Colonies isn't what Jancey Rhoder planned for her future, but when unforeseen circumstances force her family to make some difficult decisions, she chooses to give up her teaching position in a Kansas City orphanage and move with her parents to Iowa. 

Her besotted suitor, Nathan Woodward, isn't at all happy about the move and is determined to get Jancey to change her mind. And Jancey herself isn't sure what she's gotten herself into when the simple life of the Amana Colonies means she'll be assigned a job and may have to give up teaching for good. Will Nathan woo her back to the city, or will she be forever changed by the mysterious events and new relationships that await her in the quiet villages of the Amana Colonies--and decide to make this unique place her forever home?"

My review:  This is the second book on the Amana Colonies by Judith Miller that I have read.  I enjoyed the book, and I enjoyed reading a little more about this group of people.  Jancey is a transparent character who has the same struggles we all have at some time.  The theme of waiting on God runs throughout the book, and this is what Jancey struggles with the most.  Ms. Miller also includes a vivid picture of how greed can destroy an individual.  These are both great lessons to learn.  While I do not think that this particular lifestyle is Biblical, this was an interesting book to read.  It gives the reader plenty to think about.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Once Upon a Prince

Book description:  "Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by bestselling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.
Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess---just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.
The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.
Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s an ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation."
My review:  I was a little skeptical about requesting to read this book after I had read the book description, but I decided to give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It is a modern-day fairy tale that is believable for the most part.  I enjoyed the story-line, but the political twist in Prince Nathaniel's kingdom was a bit confusing.  Also, Aurora, who was one of the minor characters in the story, was a bit unbelievable.  That being said, I loved Susanna and Prince Nathaniel.  I enjoyed both characters as well as their story.  If you are looking for a fun book to take to the beach this summer, this one fits the bill.  Hopefully Ms. Hauck will continue the story in another book.  If she does, I will look forward to reading it as well.  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.   

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Barefoot Summer

Book description:  "Madison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.

In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.

To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.

Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.
Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.
But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?"
My review:  Other books that I have read by Denise Hunter were good; however, Barefoot Summer was excellent!  The characters and story line were very enjoyable and believable.  Great spiritual truths have been written into the pages of this book making it an encouraging read as well.  This is a fun summer book.  I am looking forward to more books in this series.  There are plenty of characters to get to know better, and I will love to catch up on Madison and Beckett.  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, June 26, 2013

Ripples Along the Shore

Book description:  "Caroline Milburn's husband didn't return from the Civil War. She moved to St. Charles to live with her sister's family, but thinks it's time to come up for a change. She was a school teacher before she married and California is advertising for teachers. Buddy Cowlishaw worked as a scout on two wagon trains before the war. He hadn't planned to go west again but receives a generous request that he command a caravan of wagons going west from St. Charles. When Caroline decides to apply for a teaching job in California; she attends a meeting chaired by a wagon train master and is dismayed to discover he doesn't allow single women-widows included-to join the train. Can she convince him that God's plan is bigger than his fears?"

My review:  This is the third novella in The Quilted Heart Novellas series by Mona Hodgson.  The reader does not need to have read the other two books in the series; however, it does make the book a little easier to read if you have.  There are a lot of characters to keep straight and a previous knowledge of those characters helps.  Once again, I think Ms. Hodgson did a disservice to this novella by not making it a full-length book.  She was not able to fully develop the characters or the story.  For such a short book there were too many characters to keep straight even if most of them had been introduced in previous books.  I was disappointed with the ending and like her previous book that I reviewed, I felt like I was left hanging.  The plot moved to quickly and ended too abruptly.  Ms. Hodgson had some great ideas and lessons. I just wish she would have taken the time to develop those ideas and lessons.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Quarryman's Bride

Book description:  "Emmalyne Knox and Tavin MacLachlan were destined to be together...until the tragic deaths of Emmalyne's youngest sisters. Family tradition mandates that the youngest daughter should remain single to care for her parents in their old age, and now that daughter is Emmalyne. Her father unyielding, Emmalyne surrenders to her duty, heartbroken. Tavin leaves town, equally devastated.

Years later, Emmalyne's family moves, and she and Tavin meet again. Their feelings for each other are as strong as ever, but their painful past and Emmalyne's father still stand between them. Soon both families are in the midst of the growing conflict rising between the workers at the granite quarry that Tavin's father owns and operates. When a series of near-fatal accidents occur, Tavin must figure out who is behind the attacks before someone gets killed.

Bound by obligation, yet yearning for a future together, can Emmalyne and Tavin dare to dream that God could heal a decade-long wound and change the hearts of those who would stand in the way of true love?"

My review:  Tracie Peterson really gets the reader thinking about how far an adult child nees to go to honor their father and mother.  This would probably be considered a controversial subject, but I think Ms. Peterson handles it very well.  I appreciated the character of Emmalyne.  Her character displayed strength, yet she showed her weaknesses.  Also, while hating Emmalyne's father the reader is drawn to love him by the end of the book.  Ms. Peterson did a great job showing the heart of her characters and allowing the reader to experience their circumstances with them.  I loved the plot and the unexpected twist at the end.  This is a great book and one that I had a hard time putting down.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story

Book description:  "It's a summer of change for Jennifer O'Malley. The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, and meeting Tom Peterson, and falling in love, is adding a rich layer to her life. She's sorting out how to introduce him to her family--she's the youngest of seven--and thinking about marriage.

She's falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested in a way she didn't expect, and the results will soon transform her entire family."

My Review:  This book is a novella by Dee Henderson.  I have read all the other O'Malley stories by her and they are all very involved with detailed plots.  With this one being a novella it wasn't nearly as detailed and "page-turning" as what I have come to expect from Ms. Henderson.  Even though I enjoyed the story, I was very disappointed!  I know Ms. Henderson was basically "fitting in" Jennifer's story since the ending has already been told, but I would have liked it better if she had evolved the story more.  Jennifer is a sweet character, and I loved her story.  I just wish it had been longer.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Gone South

Book description:  "Leaving frosty Michigan for the Deep South was never a blip in the simple plans Tish McComb imagined for her life, dreams of marriage and family that were dashed five years earlier in a tragic accident. Now an opportunity to buy her great-great-great-grandparents’ Civil War era home beckons Tish to Noble, Alabama, a Southern town in every sense of the word. She wonders if God has given her a new dream— the old house filled with friends, her vintage percolator bubbling on the sideboard.

When Tish discovers that McCombs aren’t welcome in town, she feels like a Yankee behind enemy lines. Only local antiques dealer George Zorbas seems willing to give her a chance. What’s a lonely outcast to do but take in Noble’s resident prodigal, Melanie Hamilton, and hope that the two can find some much needed acceptance in each other.

Problem is, old habits die hard, and Mel is quite set in her destructive ways. With Melanie blocked from going home, Tish must try to manage her incorrigible houseguest as she attempts to prove her own worth in a town that seems to have forgotten that every sinner needs God-given mercy, love and forgiveness."

My Review:  I don't usually comment on the cover of a book, but for this book I feel I must.  Gone South is actually a contemporary fiction, but the cover on the book indicates otherwise.  Even though I had read the book description before I started, the image on the front cover indicates that this book is historical fiction.  For me, it made it difficult to "get into" the book.  My mind said that I should be reading something historical, but I was not.  I never realized that a cover could have that much of an impact on what I was reading.  Once I overcame that hurtle, which was frustrating, I did enjoy the book.  I had to chuckle at some of the experiences Tish had living as a "Yankee" in a southern town.  Melanie's character was a reminder that children with learning disabilities can slip through the cracks, but  I think the author did a great job placing the two of them under the same roof even though they came from extremely different backgrounds.  They both made it work living as outcasts in a small southern town.  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, June 13, 2013

Rock Harbor Search and Rescue

Book Description: "In Rock Harbor Search and Rescue, a middle grade fiction novel based on Colleen Coble’s bestselling Rock Harbor series for adults, kids will enjoy the mixture of pets, adventure, suspense, and a mystery.
Emily O’Reilly is obsessed with all things Search and Rescue. She volunteers with the team and goes on rescue missions with her stepmom. She is even selling homemade jewelry to save up for her own Search and Rescue puppy. But when an expensive necklace is stolen from a renowned jewelry artist at Rock Harbor’s fall festival and Emily is accused of the crime, it looks like she’ll never get her puppy and be able to join the Rock Harbor Search and Rescue team.
Emily isn’t willing to give up on her Search and Rescue dreams that easily, and she sets out to find the real culprit and to restore her reputation. With a few suspects in mind, Emily is determined to uncover the truth, but she isn’t prepared for the secrets she and the Search and Rescue dogs sniff out in the process."
My Review:  I enjoyed reading this youth novel.  Colleen Coble is one of my favorite authors, but I wasn't sure if she would do as well with a youth novel.  I was not disappointed.  There is plenty of adventure and suspense, as well as lessons to be learned.  Any young girl that loves to read would benefit from reading this book.  Ms. Coble wrote a book that girls can read, enjoy, and learn from.  I will definitely be hanging on to this book for my daughters to read when they get a little bit older.  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 20, 2013

Dandelions on the Wind

Book description:  "Maren Jensen, a rejected mail-order bride from Denmark, works as a domestic on Elsa Brantenberg's farm and helps care for Elsa's granddaughter. Maren's failing eyesight has made having a family of her own seem impossible. When Rutherford "Wooly" Wainwright returns to the farm, now a Civil War veteran, he discovers that Maren has become an important part of his mother-in-law's and daughter's lives. Maren soon realizes there isn't room for both she and Rutherford on the farm and takes a job at a store in town, making it possible for Rutherford to start fresh with his family, but her absence in the home affects them all. In the end, Maren realizes God has been lighting her path all along."

My review:  This is a novella that I think should have been a longer book.  I enjoyed the characters and the story, but the book was just not long enough for the author to fully develop either one.  I was really disappointed when the book ended, because I felt like I had been cheated.  Where was the rest of the story?!  I did appreciate the spiritual lessons.  Even Elsa had lessons to learn though she was "old" and a grandmother.  I really liked that this portrayed the fact that no matter how old we get, our spiritual lives can continue to grow and learn and mature.  I also appreciated Maren's physical limitations caused by her eyesight.  We often don't think about what it would have been like to live even a generation ago where modern medicine was not advanced enough to correct what is more easily corrected today.  

Even though the book was a bit disappointing, I did enjoy reading it.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Waterbrook/Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

The Guardian

Summary:  "When Jodi Winfield comes to Lancaster to house-sit, the last thing she expects to find is a disheveled little girl alone on the side of the road. The young teacher is mystified when she learns there have been no reports of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.
Then Jodi turns her attention to Hickory Hollow--and the cloistered world of the Old Order Amish--in search of answers."

My Review:  I always look forward to new books by Beverly Lewis.  This one was not one her best, but it was still good.  The Guardian, which is part of the Hickory Hollow series, can stand alone.  It is a very easy read and the story did not take the path I expected it to take just from the title.  Jodi is a strong likable character, and I enjoyed reading about her introduction to the Amish way of life.  The story flows easily around Jodi's life as well as the Amish.  Some parts of the story I found unbelievable, but the characters themselves were endearing.  Even though this story is not a page-turner, if you enjoy stories about the Amish this a book you will enjoy reading.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Letters to Katie

Book description:  "Everything changed between them the first time he called her Katie.
Katherine Yoder has loved Johnny Mullet since they were children, but he never actively returned her affections. Like so many things in their world, he assumes Katherine will always be there. Once his horse farm is a success, then he will court her in earnest.
For several weeks, Katherine has been plagued by severe headaches and dizziness. While resting at home, Johnny unexpectedly visits, but when dizziness strikes, she loses consciousness. She awakens hours later in a hospital bed, unable to remember how she got there.
Seeing Katherine injured and vulnerable stirs something in Johnny, and his guilt compels him to spend time with her while she heals. Soon his heart begins to stir with questions: Does she even remember why he'd come to her house that day?
As Katherine struggles to recall recent memories of Johnny, a surprise visitor arrives in her already unsteady world—a man named Isaac who claims they had been writing letters to each other, even considering marriage, before her illness.
With two men vying for her attention and her memory still elusive, Katherine has never felt so divided. The answer may lie behind a door she never considered opening."

My review:  Another great book to read!  I enjoyed following the lives of both characters.  Johnny's thought processes were not unusual, and Katherine's responses were typical.  I think that is what made this book so real.  As I read, I almost felt as though this were a true story, but the amnesia and the man named Isaac kept it from truly feeling that way.  I do think that both of those parts added to the story though without seeming like  they didn't belong.  The ending was a bit unusual but very appropriate!  I thought it was a perfect ending to a wonderful story.  This book also continued the story of Laura and Sawyer, who were the main characters of a previous book by this author.  I enjoyed catching up on their story as well.  If you enjoy reading about the Amish, this is one you will want to read.  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, April 30, 2013

Wishing on Willows

Book description:  "A three-year-old son, a struggling cafe, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband.  As the proud owner of Willow Tree Cafe in small town Peaks, Iowa, she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.

So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her cafe and a vital town ministry are located, she isn't about to let go without a fight.

As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won't give up easily.  His family's business depends on his success in Peaks.  But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match.  Robin's gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.

With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal, and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of second chances."

My review:  Once again, Katie Ganshert has written a story that is real with characters that are believable.  The reader is able to enter into the lives of Robin and her son and experience what they are feeling.  Robin is a strong character with strengths and weaknesses that make her real.  Her struggles will make you sympathize with her and want to try and find some way to help.  Ian is the kind of character that you love one minute and hate the next.  The reader is left with mixed emotions about him; however,  Mrs. Ganshert was able to write the story in such a way that although the outcome was not really predictable, it was satisfactory in the end.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and 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.

What a Son Needs from His Mom

What a Son Needs from His Mom by Cheri Fuller is an excellent book for moms that have sons.  This is a practical parenting book written by a godly woman.  She covers topics such as building confidence, praying for, listening and communicating with, and developing a son's character.  While some of these topics we think we know about, Cheri Fuller adds insight and new ideas that I had not considered before.  Many are practical, some are Biblical, and all will help moms of sons no matter what stage of life those sons are in.  This is a book you will want to take your time reading in order to absorb all the information and advice that she gives.  In fact, taking notes is not a bad idea since there are so many practical ideas and helpful tips that you will want to remember.  As you read you will realize that there are plenty of things that you already knew but plenty more that you have to learn.  This is a must read for every mom with sons.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Heiress of Winterwood

Book Description:  "Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything.
Darbury, England, 1814
Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.
When the child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting to her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of their love for this little one.
Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride.
Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect.
Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them."

My review:  This is a dangerous book to start reading unless you have lots of time!  I couldn't put it down!  I finished it the day after I started it and hated to see it come to an end.  Sarah Ladd is able to pull the reader into the story from the very first words.  The characters were developed in such a way that the reader feels like she is part of their lives.  The romance is not overdone and the suspense and mystery, while a bit predictable, makes you second guess exactly what you think is going to happen.  Ms. Ladd could have continued with the story, and I would have happily kept reading.  I will certainly look for more books by this author.  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, April 2, 2013

The Rocky Mountain Heiress Collection

Book description:  "Kathleen Y'Barbo's The Rocky Mountain Heiress Collection includes the rollicking romances of three amazing young women; an adventure-seeking heiress pretending to be a governess to go west, a feisty well-to-do society girl longing to become a journalist and chase the story of a lifetime, and the millionaire's daughter who is being asked to marry for the good of the family business. Fans of westerns will find themselves transported to frontier Colorado and into stories with independent heroines, adventure, love, and ambition."

My review:   Although this book is a collection of three separate stories, the characters are intertwined.  I really enjoyed all three stories and would be hard put if I had to say which one was my favorite.  Kathleen Y'Barbo has a delightful sense of humor.  I actually laughed out loud in several places as I read.  I enjoyed the characters and was sad to see the third book come to an end.  The plots in each story were not unusual, but the twists and unexpected circumstances gave each book a freshness that kept me turning pages to see what would happen next.  I would love to read more by this author, but I would especially like to read more about these particular heroines.  Their stories made me feel like I know them.  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, March 28, 2013

The House that Love Built

Book description:  "Brooke has only loved one man, her late husband. Owen’s rebuilding after a painful divorce. Can a mysterious house bring them together for a second chance at love?
In the charming town of Smithville, Texas, Brooke Holloway is raising two young children on her own, supporting them by running the family hardware store. The last thing on her mind is falling in love. But she’s intrigued when a stranger moves to town and buys the old Hadley mansion. She’s always heard that house holds a secret—maybe even a treasure—and she can’t wait to see inside. When she meets the new owner and they spend time together, she can’t deny the attraction. Could God be giving her another chance at happiness? Or is she betraying her late husband’s memory by even thinking that way?
Owen Saunders bought the Hadley place to spite his cheating ex-wife. She’d always wanted to restore an old house in Smithville. Now he’s going to do it without her. But if anything needs restoration, it is Owen’s heart. Then he meets Brooke and her kids and finds himself tempted by love. Can he bring himself to trust a woman again?
Throw an eccentric uncle into the mix, along with the town’s teenage troublemaker, and even a finicky cat—and one thing becomes clear: God is bringing them all together for a reason."
My review:  On one hand I would say this book is a quick easy read. On the other hand, there are some deep issues that are addressed.  I enjoyed the story, and the theme of forgiveness is a thread throughout the book.  That theme is present on several different levels and reminds the reader that forgiveness is something we deal with in a lot of every day situations as well as difficult situations.  Death is also prevalent in this book.  These are only two of the difficult themes that are dealt with.  The author, Beth Wiseman, gives the reader plenty the think about while reading and even after the book is finished.  Even though these are issues we like to ignore, this was a great book to read.  There was plenty of humor, mystery, and romance to balance the book.  This is another  book by Beth Wiseman that I can recommend.  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 27, 2013

Firefly Island

Book description:  "Mallory Hale's life quickly veers off course when she falls hopelessly in love. After a whirlwind romance, Mallory finds herself leaving the bustle and action of Capitol Hill for the remote town of Moses Lake, Texas--with husband, stepson, and a U-Haul in tow.

A sweet, mishap-filled journey into marriage, motherhood, and ranch living ensues, and Mallory is filled with both the wonderment of love and the insecurities of change. But what she can't shake is the unease she feels around her husband's new boss, Jack West. Jack's presence--and his mysterious past--set her on edge, and when hints of a scandal emerge, Mallory finds herself seeking answers... and comes to realize that the middle-of-nowhere home she wasn't sure she wanted is the very place she'll risk everything to save."

My review:  This was a book that was hard for me to get into.  As I continued to read I was drawn into the story, but it took me awhile.  I did really enjoy the character development of Mallory.  Her personality continued to grow throughout the story.  The mystery of Jack West wasn't completely revealed, so it would seem another book should be written.  Even though the beginning of the book was slow for me, the author, Lisa Wingate, did a great job in developing her story and the mystery surrounding the plot.  I was disappointed when it ended and would like to read a sequel to find out more about Mallory, the small town, Moses Lake, and the mysteries surrounding them.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.   

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Matter of Trust

Book description:  "When life is murder, who can you trust?
One minute Mia Quinn is in her basement, chatting on the phone with a colleague at the prosecutor’s office. The next minute there’s a gunshot over the line, and Mia listens in horror as her colleague and friend Colleen bleeds to death.
Mia’s a natural for heading up the murder investigation, but these days she has all she can do to hold her life together. As a new widow with a pile of debts, a troubled teenaged son, and a four-year-old who wakes up screaming at night, she needs more time with her family, not less—and working Colleen’s case will be especially demanding. But Colleen was her friend, and she needs to keep her job. So she reluctantly teams up with detective Charlie Carlson to investigate Colleen’s death. But the deeper they dig, the more complications unfold—even the unsettling possibility that someone may be coming after her."
My review:   I really enjoyed reading this book by Lis Wiehl.  I had just barely started the book when knew that I would have trouble putting it down.  The plot had plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end.  Her characters were real and their lives were believable.  I hated to have the book come to an end, and I look forward to more books about Mia Quinn.  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 28, 2013

The Sky Beneath My Feet

Book description:  "Being married to a saint isn't what it's cracked up to be.
Beth's husband won't be joining the family on vacation at the beach this year. He's not even joining them in the house. Instead, Rick has holed up alone in the backyard shed. Nobody knows exactly what he's up to. Maybe he's immersing himself in prayer. Maybe he's lost his mind. Maybe he's even the modern-day prophet or the saint the neighborhood artist imagines him to be. But while "St. Rick" waits for an epiphany, Beth will have to figure out what to do with herself and their teenage sons, possibly for the rest of her life.
What happens next is both uproarious and bittersweet: a peace march turns violent, her son is caught with drugs, and she embarks on an ambitious road trip that turns into something nearly surreal. Will Beth rediscover the idealistic woman she used to be, once upon a time? Can her marriage survive Rick's backyard vigil? Will anything ever be the same? And should it be?
Truthful, comic, heartbreaking, and magical in the very best sense of the word, The Sky Beneath My Feet gently tears the veil off our egos and expectations to reveal the throbbing, redemptive, and achingly beautiful life beyond and within us."
My review:  This is a review that I really do not want to write!  I did not like this book.  The description indicates that this book will be "uproarious" and "comic".  I chuckled to myself maybe twice.  The description also uses the words "truthful" and "magical".  I found the book to be unrealistic and dare I say it...dumb.  Even though this is a work of fiction and does not have to be realistic, it is written in a way that indicates this could be someone's life.  I do not like to review a book so negatively, but there was nothing in this book that I enjoyed.  In fact, I would not have finished it if it wasn't a review book.  What else can I say?  Don't waste your time or money.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review (and was I ever honest).  All opinions are my own.         

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Threads of Grace

Book description: 
"Grace's autistic son needs a life that is safe and consistent. Seth wants to leave his flirting days behind him and settle down.

Deep in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, the beautiful and weary Amish widow, Grace Beiler, is not looking for a husband—especially one so much younger than her. But handsome and smitten Seth Wyse stumbles upon a way to help her and they marry to keep Grace’s autistic son safe from his ill-intentioned uncle.

Grace soon discovers that she is far from immune to her young husband’s experienced charm and realizes that her first marriage has not destroyed her capacity for love.
Seth Wyse seeks counsel from his older brother, Jacob, when playing the game of pursuing his wife becomes more dangerous to both his heart and life than he ever imagined.

Yet God can give Grace and Seth a passion for family and each other that teaches them the ways of the Master Quilter through the tangled and tender threads of their lives."

My review:  I really enjoyed reading this book.  The plot was much different than most Amish fiction.  I think the reminders of  "grace" added spiritual depth to the story, and the references to the threads of a quilt were aptly placed throughout the story.  Thus, the title of the book, Threads of Grace, which I love.  I do feel like the author rushed the ending of the book.  Issues with the ill-intentioned uncle were not resolved.  I also think the ending was a bit abrupt.  The author, Kelly Long, could have extended the book without it being too long.  I know I could have kept reading and was disappointed when I realized it was finished.  Not just because I didn't like how quickly it ended, but because I really enjoyed the story.  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.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Moon Over Edisto

Book description:  "The past has come knocking on Julia's door. Can she summon the courage to answer betrayal with love?

Julia’s best friend, Marney, broke up her parents' marriage years ago. Now Marney shows up at her Manhattan apartment, asking the impossible—come home to Edisto Island to care for the half-sisters and half-brother she has never known. Marney, recently widowed, has lung cancer. There's no other family to care for the children while she’s in the hospital following surgery.

Julia loathes Marney. But if she doesn’t step in, her own mother—who has never gotten over the divorce—will be called upon to take care of the children. So she heads to South Carolina to keep the peace.

On Edisto, she begins to reconnect with the place and the people and she’s been running from her whole adult life. There’s the local doctor who once stole a kiss from her on that very beach, and the siblings she’s never known—especially the sister with selective mutism named Etta who’s the keeper of nearly every family secret . . . including the very one that just might bind-up Julia’s long-since shattered heart."

My review:  When I read the book description for Moon Over Edisto I was very intrigued.  It promised to be a very unusual plot, and that's exactly what it was.  This was a book that I couldn't put down, and I was drawn immediately into the lives of the characters.  I think I was drawn quickly into their lives because of the way the author wrote each chapter from the perspective of one of six different characters in the story.  That was an unusual aspect that I really enjoyed.  While the conclusion is expected, the path to getting there keeps the reader guessing.  I was disappointed, however; in the lack of spiritual growth in the lives of the characters, but especially in Julia.  I feel that the author, Beth Webb Hart, did not take the opportunity she had to really develop the spiritual lives of her characters.  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.   

To Honor and Trust

Book description:  "Come home to magnificent Bridal Veil Island resort!

Bridal Veil Island, Georgia

Callie Deboyer arrives at Bridal Veil Island to spend the winter working as a governess for the Bridgeport family. However, she finds she can't fully enjoy the beautiful resort because questions about her future weigh heavily on her mind: Should she continue in this job she enjoys, or is God calling her to join her parents in their missionary work?

When she enrolls young Thomas Bridgeport in golf lessons, Callie meets instructor Wesley Townsend, who urges Callie to take lessons, as well. During their time together, Callie comes to care for Wes--until she discovers that he's been hiding something very important from her.

Then expensive pieces go missing from various homes around the island, and suspicion is aimed in Callie's direction. Callie wonders if this is a sign she should leave it all behind and join her parents in Africa. Considering Wesley's deceit, will he ever be a man Callie can honor and trust for the rest of her life? "

My review:  I already enjoyed one story that took place on Bridal Veil Island and was looking forward to reading another one.  I enjoyed To Honor and Trust just as much, but I was a little disappointed that the main characters from the previous book were not even mentioned in this one.  The characters and the story-line were a bit predictable, but for me that did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.  The circumstances and characters were believable, realistic, and well-written.  I look forward to reading the third book from Bridal Veil Island.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.


Book description:  "Jessica ran from her past...but can she hide from love?

Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon's Willamette Valley as the place to start over-Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from the intriguing personalities she meets-including the compassionate paramedic who desires to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her.

Will Jessica's deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all?

This heartwarming bestseller, book one in the Glenbrooke series, introduces the fascinating people of Glenbrooke in a compelling tale of romance and spiritual truth."

My review:  Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn was a fun book to read.  It was a bit unbelievable at times, but that didn't take away from the enjoyment of the story.  There was a thread of mystery throughout the book that I was unable to figure out which helped make the book one of those that is hard to put down.  Jessica is the kind of character that a reader will like from beginning to end.  In fact, I enjoyed the personalities of all the characters, and they fit together well in the story.  I have enjoyed other books by Robin Jones Gunn and Secrets is another one that I can add to that list.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Secretly Smitten

Book description:  "Summer, fall, winter, spring—Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

There’s a secret in Grandma Rose’s attic—a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?

The mystery intrigues Rose’s three granddaughters—Tess, Clare, and Zoe—and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?

Join popular romance novelists—and real-life BFFs—Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue."

My review:  I enjoyed reading more about the people in Smitten, Vermont.  I think my favorite story was the first one, and I enjoyed the thread of  mystery that ran through all four books.  What I don't like is the stories being so short.  The plot becomes too rushed and events don't seem to be as natural as they would be if the author had taken more time to develop the story.  It helps that the four stories are centered around the same family.  The reader is able to follow each of the characters a little more since they appear in all the stories to some degree.  Of the four authors, my favorite is Colleen Coble.  If she were not one of the authors, I probably would not have bothered to read 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.