Sunday, December 21, 2014

Where Treetops Glisten

Book description:  "Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana. 

In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help. 

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’sI’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart. 

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?"

My review:  This set of novellas follows three different members from the same family.  I really enjoyed the way the authors collaborated on the family, time period, and Christmas songs to tie all the stories together.  In "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" Tricia Goyer did an exceptional job balancing the seriousness of WWII with the Christmas and romance theme that is expected in a book like this. It would be hard to pick a favorite of these three novellas.  I enjoyed all three and the fact that all the stories were about the same family helped the book to feel more finished than most novellas.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

An Amish Second Christmas

Book description:  “When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth Wiseman
Katherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store.
“Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth Reid
Joy was expecting a wedding proposal from Henry; what she got instead was news of another woman. But when her heartfelt letter to a cousin ends up in the hands of a young cabinetmaker, an unexpected correspondence between two strangers gets interesting fast.
“A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen Fuller
Anne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving . . . in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins.
“The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia Goyer
Vanilla crumb pie has been Esther’s mem’s calling card for decades. But when Esther finally gets her hands on the secret recipe, she discovers that vanilla crumb pie is more than just dessert . . . it’s bachelor bait.  

My review:  This book has some fun Christmas stories with the predictable ending.  Plenty of humor, romance, and nostalgia made this a perfect book to read during the holiday season.  I enjoyed all of them, but I think my favorite was "Her Christmas Pen Pal".  I really enjoyed the story-line and the characters.  Even though these are novellas, I think the authors did an excellent job developing each story.  If you need a quick read this holiday season, I highly recommend An Amish Second Christmas.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A November Bride

Book description:  "Sadie McAllister is fastidious to a fault-but that serves her well as a personal chef to her clients in Denver. But her earliest attempt at managing romance was a bust when Erik Davis declined her invitation to the school's eighth grade Sadie Hawkins Dance.
Having celebrated the big 3-0 by ending a relationship, Sadie is tired of romantic relationships-by-text. The only man she knows willing to put down his iPhone and have face-to-face conversations with her is Erik. It's time to put a 21st-century twist on the Sadie Hawkins' tradition of a woman going after her man. He may not be the hero of her romantic dreams, but she can propose to Erik and achieve some sort of happily ever after with her best friend.
Erik is good at two things: his freelance job and maintaining casual, no-one-gets-hurt relationships with women. What is Sadie thinking, proposing to him? This is marriage-not a middle school dance. Erik decides to show Sadie what romance looks like when the man takes the lead. And while he's at it, he'll prove just how wrong they are for each other. But when he realizes he's fallen for her, can Erik convince Sadie his just-for-fun dates were the prelude to "'til death do us part"?"

My review:  This is the final book in the "Year of Weddings" novellas.  I think it is a great book with which to end the series.  I enjoyed both Sadie and Erik.  There is plenty of humor to go with this down-to-earth story, and this is one novella that did not feel rushed.  I think the fact that Sadie and Erik had known each other so long set the stage for a quick romance.  This is a great quick read!  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.    

Friday, November 28, 2014

Love Unexpected

Book description:  "All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters."

My review: I enjoy reading historical fiction that is carefully researched and presented accurately.  Love Unexpected is one those books.  The historical aspects that were woven into the story were very intriguing.  I didn't realize the Great Lakes had trouble with pirates. This is a story full of grace and forgiveness.  The characters are real and well-developed and their problems and circumstances are not far-fetched.  There is just enough suspense and romance to pull the reader into the story and yet not be overdone.  I was really looking forward to reading this book after reading the short prequel.  I was not disappointed!   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, November 26, 2014

Ada's House Trilogy

Book description:  "The Hope of Refuge
Two very different women are pulled by their strongest desires. Deborah Mast joined the Amish church and longs to marry her fiancé, but he is changing. Cara Moore is forced to look into a life that was meant to be hers. Will Ada’s House help them realize their hearts’ desires or will it force them to accept what life has done to each of them? 

The Bridge of Peace
Living out her passion for teaching, Lena Kauffman’s work is suddenly interrupted by a series of pranks and accidents targeted toward her and her students. When tragedy strikes her dear friend Grey Graber’s family on school property, the school board begins to blame her for the trouble. As grief and confusion take their toll on Grey and Lena’s friendship, they are both forced to face a new reality that may offer the peace and love they each long for.

The Harvest of Grace
Fleeing a terrible mistake, Sylvia Fisher dedicates herself to saving the failing Blank farm. When prodigal son Aaron returns, he is surprised by this unusual farmhand who opposes all his plans. Will Aaron and Sylvia’s unflinching efforts toward opposite futures mask the bigger picture—a path to forgiveness, grace, and the promise of love?"

My review:  This collection of three books was one that I hated to see come to an end!  I enjoyed all three and would have a very hard time choosing one to be my favorite.  As each of the first two stories came to an end I was quickly drawn into the next one.  As the third one ended, I hated to see the trilogy end.  The characters felt like family and the stories were very thought-provoking.  Each title accurately represents the theme in each book: hope, peace and grace.  Ms. Woodsmall has a way of telling a story that makes you feel as if you are right there in the middle with many lessons to learn along with the characters.  If you are a fan of Amish books, this is a trilogy you won't want to miss!  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When Mercy Rains

Book description:  "Suzanne Zimmerman was only seventeen and pregnant when her shamed mother quietly sent her away from their Old Order Mennonite community in Kansas. With her old home, family, and first love firmly behind her, Suzanne moved to Indiana, became a nurse, and raised a daughter, Alexa, on her own.

Now, nearly twenty years later, an unexpected letter arrives from Kansas. Her brother asks her to bring her nursing abilities home and care for their ailing mother. His request requires that Suzanne face a family that may not have forgiven her and a strict faith community. It also means seeing Paul Aldrich, her first love.   

Paul, widowed with an eight-year-old son, is relieved to see Suzanne again, giving him the chance to beg her forgiveness for his past indiscretion. But when he meets Alexa, his guilt flickers in the glare of Suzanne’s prolonged secret—one that changes everything.

Suzanne had let go of any expectation for forgiveness long ago. Does she dare hope in mercy–and how will her uncovered past affect the people she loves the most?"

My review:  This is a wonderful book! The guilt, hope, forgiveness, and mercy that are found on the pages of this book are very real and convicting.  This is a book where the reader can place herself into the lives of the characters and feel the overwhelming peace that forgiveness brings.  I loved the story and the characters and stayed up way too late finishing the book. An intriguing tale that I hated to see come to an end.  I will be anxiously awaiting the next book in this series.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

An October Bride

Book description:  "She wants to make her father's dream come true. She doesn't realize her own dream has been in front of her the whole time.
Emma Tate isn't a risk taker, so everyone in her small Midwest town is surprised when she suddenly becomes engaged to lifelong friend Jake Sawyer. No one but Jake and Emma know the true reason they're getting married-so Emma's dying father can walk her down the aisle.
While Jake and Emma plan an autumn wedding together, it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications-the biggest being their true feelings for each other.
In this novella by award-winning author Katie Ganshert, a young woman must reconcile her dying father's dreams with her own dreams for love and for her future."
My review:  This is one of the novellas in "A Year of Weddings" that I love.  I love the story, the characters, and the ending.  A lot of novellas are not easily developed in a short amount of space, but Katie Ganshert did a great job developing An October Bride.  I have enjoyed reading her novels in the past and I certainly enjoyed reading An October Bride.  I read the whole book in one sitting on this rainy afternoon.  If you need something quick to read that will pull you in and hold your interest until the end of the book, this is the book for you.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Matter of Heart

Book description:  "Texas born and raised Jessica Atherton is a wealthy young woman whose heart was broken when the man she intended to marry wedded another. But her world is upended when two new men come into her life, and both manage to stir her heart.

Harrison Gable is a successful young lawyer with ambitions that match Jessica's dreams. His warm, attentive manner and thoughtful gifts make her feel special.

Austin Todd, a former Secret Service agent, enjoys working now as a Texas Ranger cattle inspector. But after learning of forged gold certificates and missing printing plates, he's drawn back into the world of intrigue and agrees to help solve the case. Jessica is drawn to his kind nature and the unspoken pain she sees in his eyes. 

If Jessica follows her heart, where will it lead?"

My review:  This is another great book by Tracie Peterson.  She is able to write in such a way that the reader feels like part of the family.  In a few places it was a little hard to keep all the characters straight, but overall the story flows smoothly.  The characters are well-developed and it was great to catch up with a few of the characters from the first two books in this series.  Even though A Matter of Heart can stand alone, it is helpful to have read the first books.  Parts of this story relate to things that happened in the first parts of this series.  A Matter of Heart can be enjoyed more if you are familiar with the characters and the background from which this story was written.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

The Daughter of Highland Hall

Book description:  "Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain’s elite.

When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London’s East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love—and if she will choose a life serving others over one where she is served."

My review:  I enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was really looking forward to reading this one.  I was not disappointed, but for me it wasn't as good as the first one. The story was well-written, but it just didn't seem to go deep enough.  I didn't get pulled into the lives of the characters as I would have liked.  I did enjoy seeing the transformation in Kate from a spoiled child in the first book, to a mature young woman by the end of this book.  There was also plenty of humor with Kate's aunt planning her every move.  The author also gives the reader plenty to think about as far as his own priorities and spiritual health.  A very clear presentation of the gospel makes this book an excellent resource to give to unbelieving friends and acquaintances who like to read.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Love Undone

Book description:  "At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.

Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.

As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?"

My review:  A Love Undone is another great Amish novel.  I loved the characters and enjoyed catching up a little with characters from a previous novel.  This isn't a story that you just enjoy.  This is a story that will make you feel like part of the family.  You will be pulled into the lives of the characters and will hate to see the story come to an end. There are unexpected events and deep emotions throughout the book that will keep you turning pages.  The only part of the book I didn't like was the ending.  For such a deeply emotional book, the ending was rushed.  The book wasn't so long that the ending couldn't have been a little longer.  I know I could have kept reading since I hated to see it come to an end.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

An August Bride

Book description:  "Kelsey vowed never to love a cowboy again. But then she meets Brent.
After a cowboy broke her heart, Kelsey Wilcox traded in her boots for flip-flops and a bistro on the beautiful sandy beach of Corpus Christi. Two years later, still not believing in happy endings, she is about to endure a weekend of torture at her cousin's beach wedding. Not only will she be forced to watch yet another wedding, but her great-aunt and her two best friends-aptly nicknamed "the matchmaking posse of Mule Hollow"-are coming to the wedding, and Kelsey is sure to be on their radar.
Brent Corbin has had his share of bad luck with women and isn't looking for love or looking forward to the weekend of wedding festivities as a groomsman for his friend. When he sees a commotion on the beach and what appears to be a mermaid in distress, he doesn't hesitate to dive to the rescue. His attention is instantly captured by the woman he's saved and it turns out they're part of the same wedding party. But the instant Kelsey spots his soaking wet boots she wants no part of him.
Thrown together through the weekend and with the meddlesome encouragement from the matchmakers, Brent is determined to pursue Kelsey and change her mind about cowboys. Sparks fly at this August wedding as Kelsey and Brent dance a rocky Texas two-step toward a beach wedding of their own."
My review:  An August Bride is another great "A Year of Weddings" story.  There is plenty of romance, humor, and fun to keep the reader turning pages until the very end.  I have enjoyed this series and was looking forward to reading this novella as well. I was not disappointed.  If you want a quick, enjoyable, summer read this is the book for you.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The River

Book description:  "Tilly and Ruth, two formerly Amish sisters, are plagued by unresolved relationships when they reluctantly return to Lancaster County for their parents' landmark wedding anniversary. Since departing their Plain upbringing, Tilly has married an Englisher, but Ruth remains single and hasn't entirely forgotten her failed courtship with her Amish beau.

Past meets present as Tilly and Ruth yearn for acceptance and redemption. Can they face the future in the light of a past they can't undo?"
My review:  The beginning of The River did not flow very smoothly, but once I got into the book a little way the story line seemed to move along more easily.  I think there were too many "voices" at the beginning and that caused things to be a bit disjointed.  Once I got into the book I thoroughly enjoyed it. Beverly Lewis has a way of telling a story that makes the characters come alive.  This is another great Amish fiction that is a bit out of the ordinary.  The unusual plot makes for a great read!  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Deadly Business

Book description:  "If the hours don't kill you, the accused just might.
Mia Quinn is a Seattle prosecutor working on high profile cases in the Violent Crimes unit while juggling the impossible demands of single parenthood. Her husband, Scott, was killed in a car crash that homicide detective Charlie Carlson now believes was no accident. Charlie's instincts and professional record make it impossible for Mia to refute the evidence she'd rather not believe.
When the powers that be refuse to reopen the case, it's up to Mia and Charlie to investigate, all the while trying to deny a growing attraction between them. Was her accountant husband really in league with nefarious criminals? And who is the young woman whose photo they find on his computer?
Uncovering the truth may hurt Mia in more ways than one."
My review:  A Deadly Business is another book that kept me up late at night.  Great characters, unexpected twists, and a page-turning plot are all included this book.  This is the second book in the Mia Quinn mystery series.  Although you don't have to read the first one to enjoy this one, you won't want to miss either book.  If you love a good suspense novel, this one will fit the bill perfectly.  The author, Lis Wiehl, will keep you on the edge of your seat as you read.  I look forward to the next book in this series.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A July Bride

Book description:  "Can she forgive the man who left her at the altar?
Alyssa Pennington dated Brendan Myers for three years before she accepted his proposal. For almost a year, Alyssa's friends and family helped her plan a lovely wedding to take place in the church she'd grown up in. It was the happiest day of her life when she walked down the aisle to be united with the man of her dreams. But when Brendan left her at the altar, Alyssa was consumed by humiliation, embarrassment, and a broken heart that wouldn't allow her to trust anyone. Especially Brendan.
Brendan Myers knows he will spend the rest of his life regretting what he did to Alyssa, the only woman he's ever loved. Without her, his life is empty. In one fateful moment, he'd panicked, destroyed their future, and ruined everything. Now he plans to win her back.
But winning back his bride might prove much more difficult than he can imagine. And even if he does get her to the altar again, will she think turnabout is fair play?"
My review:  This book is my least favorite in the "A Year of Weddings" novellas.  The characters had no depth and the story line was not believable.  In fact, it was pretty ridiculous.  I usually enjoy books written by Beth Wiseman, but this one is very poorly written.  Don't waste your time with this book.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

With Every Breath

Book description:  "In the shadow of the nation's capital, Kate Livingston's respectable life as a government worker is disrupted by an encounter with the insufferable Trevor McDonough, the one man she'd hoped never to see again. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and business is the only reason he has sought her out now. 

Despite her misgivings, Kate agrees to Trevor's risky proposal to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis. As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor's past, his hidden depths fascinate her. However, a shadowy enemy lies in wait and Trevor's closely guarded secrets are darker than she ever suspected.

As revelations from the past threaten to destroy their careers, their dreams, and even their lives, Trevor and Kate find themselves in a painfully impossible situation. With everything to lose, they must find the strength to trust that hope and love can prevail over all."
My review:  Elizabeth Camden is another new author for me, and I enjoyed reading her book.  A few things were a little unbelievable, but those parts still made for a good story.  I was able to figure out one of the mysteries, but there were plenty of other things that came as a surprise as I read.  I don't want to spoil anything, so suffice it to say, this is a book that will keep you guessing and turning pages in anticipation until the very end.  Another enjoyable part of the book was the sparring between Trevor and Kate.  They kept me chuckling as I read.  I will certainly be on the lookout for other books by this author.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

The Butterfly and the Violin

 "And then came war . . .
Today. Sera James spends most of her time arranging auctions for the art world’s elite clientele. When her search to uncover an original portrait of an unknown Holocaust victim leads her to William Hanover III, they learn that this painting is much more than it seems.
Vienna, 1942. Adele Von Bron has always known what was expected of her. As a prodigy of Vienna’s vast musical heritage, this concert violinist intends to carry on her family's tradition and play with the Vienna Philharmonic. But when the Nazis learn that she helped smuggle Jews out of the city, Adele is taken from her promising future and thrust into the horrifying world of Auschwitz.
The veil of innocence is lifted to expose a shuddering presence of evil, and Adele realizes that her God-given gift is her only advantage; she must play. Becoming a member of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, she fights for survival. Adele’s barbed-wire walls begin to kill her hope as the months drag into nearly two years in the camp. With surprising courage against the backdrop of murder and despair, Adele finally confronts a question that has been tugging at her heart: Even in the midst of evil, can she find hope in worshiping God with her gift?
As Sera and William learn more about the subject of the mysterious portrait—Adele—they are reminded that whatever horrors one might face, God’s faithfulness never falters."
My review:  I absolutely love The Butterfly and the Violin!  Once I started reading, I couldn't put this book down. I think the author, Kristy Cambron, does a great job fitting two stories and time periods together.  She moves back and forth between the two time periods, but in such a way that the reader is never lost.  She makes the story come alive with characters that are real and a storyline that includes true historical events.  I was kept on the edge of my seat through the whole book, was pleasantly surprised with the ending, but was also sad that the book had ended.  This is a story that will stay with you long after you are finished reading.  With this debut novel, Kristy Cambron shows great potential.  I am already anticipating the next book in this series.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Four Weddings and a Kiss

"In 1885 five western preachers sit around a campfire talking about unlikely couples they've seen God bring together.
Spitfire Sweetheart by Mary Connealy
Maizy Place is an unruly tomboy. When she causes an accident, injuring neighbor Rylan Carstens, she becomes his unlikely caregiver. Rylan has never noticed how pretty his infuriating neighbor is, and he never expected to fall in love.
Love Letter to the Editor by Robin Lee Hatcher
Molly Everton is the outspoken daughter of the town newspaper's owner. When her father brings in an outsider to be editor, she tries to drive him out of town. But Jack Ludgrove is not intimidated. He’s resolved to change Molly's mind about him—as an editor and as a man.
A Cowboy for Katie by Debra Clopton
Katie Pearl is uninterested in men and love. But she needs help on her ranch and hires Treb Rayburn, a wandering cowboy looking to make a buck. Will Treb change Katie’s mind?
Courting Trouble by Margaret Brownley
Grace Davenport is either the unluckiest woman alive—or a killer. When her third husband is found dead, Grace is arrested. Attorney Brock Daniels isn't interested in the case—until he meets Grace. Only a miracle will prove her innocence, but the joining of two lonely hearts may be their saving grace."

My review:  If you have never read books by some of these authors, these novellas are a great way to find out what you think of them.  The beginning gives a bit of an introduction to the stories that will follow, and I thought it very appropriate and engaging.  I loved Maizy in Spitfire Sweetheart.  She kept me laughing and guessing what would happen to her next.  In Love Letter to the Editor, I appreciated Jack and his attitude toward Molly.  A Cowboy for Katie was my favorite.  Debra Clopton did an excellent job making Katie weak and strong at the same time.  Katie's physical issues were portrayed in such a way that the reader understood what she was going through.  Courting Trouble I have to say was my least favorite.  I think because the story-line just didn't ring true to me.  It was fun to read, but it just wasn't real.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Captured by Love

"Michigan Territory, 1814
A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger
discover firsthand the high price of freedom.

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love."

My review:  I love getting a glimpse of history in historical novels.  Captured by Love is a book full of adventure that is centered around historical events.  Judy Hedlund does an excellent job developing her characters and drawing the reader into the story.  Danger, unexpected twists, and romance make this is a book that you won't want to put down.  The characters are real with real struggles and fears, and they also have placed their trust in a God that is real.  I appreciate the message of faith and trust in God that is found in the pages of this book.  I look forward to reading more by this author.  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 18, 2014

Seagrass Pier

Book description:  "Seagrass Pier is the perfect place for Elin to hide from a killer, but an old love's ability to see her true heart could be her undoing.
When Elin Summerall contracted a virus that damaged her heart, she was lucky to get a transplant. At first it was an overwhelmingly good gift. But then she began to remember a murder she never witnessed—the murder of her heart's donor.
When she reveals what she knows to a disbelieving police officer, she's exposed as a witness and must flee for her life to a remote cottage on Hope Beach.
Fearing what might happen to her daughter and mother, she asks Marc Everton for help, though she hasn't seen him since the night her father died. She remembers that night with shame, and she never told Marc about their daughter.
Marc is less than convinced that Elin's "memories" are real. He is blindsided by the news about his daughter, but for her sake, he agrees to help. Then he begins to notice the small ways Elin is different. She now likes coffee, her musical tastes have changed, and she's ditched her jeans and sneakers for dresses and high heels.
As Elin tries to stay alive and bring the killer to justice, she begins to doubt her own identity. Did her new heart save her life only to cause her to lose herself? And if she's really changed, why does her new heart love Marc just as much as her old one did?"
My review:  This was another good book by Colleen Coble but not my favorite.  The part of the plot that includes Elin's memories that come from her heart donor is one that I have read before.  I just can't remember the book or the author.  I enjoyed the characters and the mystery, as well as the diary entries that gave the history and mystery of the house at Seagrass Pier, but the "memories" and preference changes that Elin has are just too unrealistic.  All in all it is still a book that will  draw the reader in and hold their interest until the end.  I received a complimentary e-copy from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Child of Mine

Book description:  "Flight instructor Jack Livingston has been raising his eight-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents' lives. When he travels, Natalie is tenderly cared for by her Amish nanny, Laura Mast, who loves the little girl as her own.

Eight excruciating years ago, Kelly Maines's baby was kidnapped. Determined to find her child, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. And now, with the clock ticking, one last clue from a private investigator ignites a tiny flame of hope: Just a few miles away lives a young girl who matches the profile. 

Can this be, at long last, Kelly's beloved daughter?"

My review:  I loved this book and couldn't put it down!  The characters became real and the surprises didn't end.  I don't want to spoil the book, but suffice it to say, I didn't come close to figuring everything out. I think that this is Beverly Lewis's best book yet.  She and her husband did an exceptional job with the unusual plot, characters, and message.  I can't say enough good about this book.  Child of Mine should be at the top of a summer reading list.  I would love to read a sequel, but at the same time I would be hesitant.  Child of Mine would be hard to top!  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, June 5, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beautiful

Book description:  "Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. 

If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?"

My review:  This is a very emotional book, and the title is very appropriate.  I loved the book, but I especially loved the message.  God loves to take what is broken and make it something beautiful. Unconditional love and forgiveness are two themes that permeate the pages of this book.  The characters will enter the life of the reader and become real and personal.   Katie Ganshert did an amazing job writing this book.  It is one that I will not soon forget.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

A May Bride

Book description:  "She thinks she has prepared for her wedding all her life . . . but it seems she may have forgotten the most important part.
Ellie Martin, a country girl in Atlanta, has dreamed of a traditional wedding all her life-a wedding just like the one her younger sister is planning back home. Their single mom will pay for Alexa's wedding, but Ellie started her own wedding fund years ago. She only needs to find a groom.
At a wedding at her church, Ellie bumps into a man who's one of the guests. She's noticed him around the neighborhood, but today he introduces himself as Gray Whitby. They embark on a whirlwind romance, but her mother doesn't trust freewheeling men like Gray.
When Ellie risks her own future for her sister's sake, Gray feels betrayed. Will he always play second fiddle to Ellie's family?
Will Ellie and Gray reconcile their differences so her dream wedding can come true, or will the romance they've begun come crashing down?"
My review:  A May Bride is another good novella from the "A Year of Brides" series.  This one has a unique plot that shows that romance doesn't always run smoothly, and the family dynamics play a huge role in the relationship.  I enjoyed this novella, but it is not better than A March Bride.  That one is still my favorite. Though novellas tend to be a little rushed, this one didn't feel as rushed as some.  I also found A May Bride to be very down-to-earth.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.    

A Mother's Secret

Book description:  "Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love. But will the errors of her past destroy this dream forever? Carolyn Lapp longs to have a traditional Amish family. But she lives on her brother’s farm with her parents and her 15-year old son, Benjamin. Carolyn has never revealed the identity of Benjamin’s father and lives daily with the guilt and shame of her youthful indiscretion. Her brother simply will not forgive her. His answer is to arrange a practical marriage for Carolyn to Saul, a widower with a little girl. But Carolyn isn’t convinced that Saul really loves her and believes he is simply looking for someone to help raise his daughter. When Benjamin causes trouble at a local horse auction, horse breeder Joshua Glick decides that he must be taught a lesson. Carolyn and Joshua are unmistakably drawn to each other, but Joshua mistakenly assumes that Benjamin is Carolyn’s brother. Carolyn fears that if he discovers the truth, her past will destroy their budding romance. After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. But which of them will give her the family - and the unconditional love - she’s longed for?"

My review:  This wasn't the best Amish novel I have ever read, but it was very good.  This book was the second in a series, but it could stand alone.  I did enjoy catching up with the characters from the first book though.  I appreciated the Biblical truths that were present throughout the book.  I liked how Carolyn handled her situation while continuing to be respectful to those that judged her.  A Mother's Secret gives a great example of how we should treat others.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

Book description:  "To escape a brutal stepfather and an unwanted marriage, Tamsen Littlejohn enlists backwoodsman Jesse Bird to lead her overmountain to western North Carolina's Watauga settlement. Trouble pursues in the form of Ambrose Kincaid, a determined suitor convinced she's been kidnapped and taken against her will. Trouble awaits in the form of a divided frontier community. The State of Franklin has been declared, yet many settlers remain loyal to North Carolina. Threatening the contentious settlers from without is the renegade Chickamauga warrior, Dragging Canoe, who seeks to sweep the lot of them back east across the mountains. In her bid for freedom Tamsen Littlejohn bargained for none of this, especially not for her growing attraction to her unlikely rescuer. When pursuit finally catches up with them, having fallen in love with Jesse Bird could prove the greatest risk of all."

My review:  This is a fast-paced, can't read fast enough to see what happens next kind of book!  I loved it!  I especially loved Tamsen and Jesse.  The author, Lori Benton, has created characters that you feel like you get to know personally, and a story that leaves you wishing it would never end. I don't want to give anything away, but there is more mystery in this book than I realized.  I didn't even see it coming, but I thought the ending well-written.  I highly recommend this book, but don't start reading it too late in the evening.  You will never make it to bed!   I hope Ms. Benton plans to write a sequel.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.        

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Heart's Pursuit

Book description:  "A Colorado beauty abandoned at the altar. A rugged bounty hunter haunted by his past.
In this dramatic historical novel by best-selling author Robin Lee Hatcher, two wounded hearts join forces in a pursuit across the Old West. Silver Matlock is a Colorado beauty in search of revenge against the man who stranded her at the altar and fled with the remnant of her family's fortune. She is determined to find the man who betrayed her trust. Jared Newman, rugged as the West itself, is relentless in his pursuit of lawless men---but unable to escape his own tragic past. Hardened by his life as a bounty hunter, he must learn to forgive before he loses his soul. Joining forces, the two set out in search of Silver's betrayer. The handsome but embittered Jared finds himself powerfully drawn to the beautiful woman whose drive for justice equals his own. But lack of honesty keeps Silver and Jared from fully trusting each other, even as a shocking revelation intensifies their pursuit of the cunning - and deadly - quarry."
My review:  The book description is a little misleading.  The Heart's Pursuit is a dramatic novel, and the facts from the description are accurate; however, it is an easy read and not nearly as intense as it sounds.  If you have read other books by Robin Lee Hatcher you will find that this book is not typical for her, although it is still a very enjoyable book to read.  I enjoyed the story-line, the characters, and the twist to the plot even though I was able to figure it out.  I don't know if the author intended for the book to "feel real", but it doesn't and that is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is a fun unrealistic story.  If you need a light book to read, The Heart's Pursuit will fit the bill.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.   

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Book description:  "When asked what he does for a living . . .
Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: "I'm in the Navy." But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping her crew trained and alert during ninety-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and handles it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating around the Pacific Rim, the Navy is glad to have him.

Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, with a lovely smile, and very smart. She's a civilian, yet she understands the U.S. Navy culture. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him.

Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. A breakup she didn't see coming, though, has her focusing all her attention on what she does best--ocean science research. She's on the cusp of a major breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop's perspective and help. Because what she told the Navy she's figured out is only the beginning. If she's right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter."

My review:  I loved this book!  This is the first of Dee Henderson's newest books that I have read.  I am so glad she is writing again!  This is a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat and quickly turning pages.  Even though there are some technical parts in the story, they are well explained and easy to understand.  Ms. Henderson also keeps you guessing when two guys enter the picture trying to win Gina's heart.  She writes in such a way that makes the reader cheer for both guys.  I actually hated to see one "lose".  Ms. Henderson makes her characters seem so real that the reader feels like they have become part their life.  That is one of the reasons I love her books so much.  She is a master story-teller!  I can't wait to read her next book.  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 8, 2014

Seasons of Tomorrow

Book description:  "More settled in her heart than ever before, Rhoda Byler feels a newfound confidence living in the Old Order Amish settlement she helped establish in Orchard Bend, Maine. Time has helped to heal the wounds of Rhoda’s recent severed relationship, and she finds that even her unusual gift of profound intuition is less of a burden as she continues to seek God’s wisdom for her future. She is happy to be working alongside the King family and the love of her life as they tend and nurture the settlement’s orchard.
Yet when Leah King’s involvement with Englischer Landon Olson becomes known outside of the Maine community, her disregard of the Ordnung could threaten all the Orchard Bend Amish are building. In the midst of addressing the discord, a shocking tragedy challenges the young settlement like never before, threatening to uproot Rhoda’s peace and the future of everything she holds dear.
When several members of Orchard Bend Farms are displaced, the estranged King brother is called upon to return. Can those who founded the new Amish community in Maine unite Or will the lingering pain of past hurts and present struggles result in the end of their dreams?"
My review:  I think this was a great end to an enjoyable series.  I still think that Rhoda's intuition was a little far-fetched, but in this book it was less about her intuition and more about the lives and stories of the people.  The struggles and problems that the characters had were well-developed and reasonably resolved.  The new characters that were introduced fit quite well into the story and added depth to the existing characters.  As I neared the end of the book, I wondered if Cindy Woodsmall would be writing another book for the series.  It seemed as if the reader was going to be left hanging, but she managed to wrap it up quickly and in a satisfactory way.  This was a very interesting series despite Rhoda's intuition.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.   

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An April Bride

Book description:  "War changes everything . . . even their love.
Bride-to-be Stella Carson can't wait to marry her longtime sweetheart Marshall Henderson. But Marshall has been away serving his country and has suffered a head wound. After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he has distanced himself from Stella, asking her not to visit him in a Washington, D.C., hospital. Marshall returns to Louisiana just four weeks before the wedding, but as the big day draws near, Stella wonders if the man she's loved for most of her life has become someone else.
Can true love conquer all for Stella and Marshall, even the tragedy of war?"
My review:  Although novellas aren't my first choice, I am enjoying the "A Year of Weddings" novellas.  An April Bride, while not my favorite, was still pretty good.  Not only does a lot have to happen in a short amount of time because the book is short, a lot has to happen because of the time frame in the book.  The author, Lenora Worth, crams a lot of story in the pages of this book.  I enjoyed reading it, but some of the actual time frame was confusing as I read.  For awhile it seemed like more time had passed than what actually had.  I think Stella was a little too romanticized rather than real although the author did try for it to be more balanced.  I think part of that comes from the fact that she didn't have a whole lot of book space to make her more real. Stella and Marshall will however, make you think, give a few sniffles along the way, and stay with you for a few days after you finish the book.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Zondervan through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

A Lady's Honor

Book description:  "Society is concerned about her honor, but Elizabeth must realize her worth doesn't lie in her inheritance.
In order to avoid a forced marriage to a dangerous man, Elizabeth Trelawney flees London. An unexpected stranger arrives to help her, and as they elude her pursuers across Cornwall in the night, Elizabeth realizes her rescuer, Rouan Curnow, is familiar.
Their differences in social status kept Rouan from pursuing a courtship with the lady his heart wouldn't let him forget. Now because of dangerous smugglers and local murders, the two are plunged into a reckless alliance that rattles Rouan's fledgling faith in God.
The closer they get to Bastian Point-Elizabeth's true home-the more she realizes it is the only place she longs to be. Even the sight of its solid structure perched on the cliffs makes her feel safe. Elizabeth is the most likely to inherit Bastian Point if Grandfather never learns she spent the night, however innocently, with a near stranger.
As spring warms into summer, Elizabeth finds herself torn between wanting to be the perfect grandchild and her growing love for a man of whom no one will approve as a match for her, a man she knows she shouldn't entirely trust. Unsure whether she is being foolish or following the right path, she sets out with Rouan on a quest to find the true culprit behind the local violence.
Their quest leads them to danger, and she must choose whether to follow the man she loves or cling to the safety of her family home."
My review:  This book was a little slow starting for me, but it soon became a book I didn't want to put down.  The plot moves quickly with a few twists that keep the reader guessing.  The author, Laurie Alice Eakes, is able to paint amazing word pictures that take you into the story with the characters.  Her characters have depth and a realness to them.  I like that Elizabeth isn't your typical heroine.  Her struggles, emotional and spiritual, are real as well as her actions.  If you enjoy romance, mystery and suspense, then this is a book that you will want to read.  It gives you all three with spiritual lessons as well.  I look forward to reading a sequel.  I received a complimentary e-copy from Zondervan through the Booklook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.