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.