Monday, December 30, 2013

Forgotten Road by Randall Arthur

Forgotten Road [Paperback]

Title: Forgotten Road
Author: Randall Arthur
Pages: 596
Year: 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Notes: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     This is a moving tale of a man searching for God’s direction.

     Nashville music star and family man, Cole Michaels, is persuaded to embrace an “American Dream” theology that promises comfort, happiness, and success. But when the unimaginable happens, Cole blames God and abandons his faith. More vulnerable than ever, he is clueless that an evil character with an unspeakable secret is using every available resource to find him.

     Can two old sages, a beautiful blonde, a violin called the Mysterious Lady, and a Triumph motorcycle help prepare Cole for his ultimate trial?

     This book is beautifully written and has a wealth of Biblical truths woven throughout the story. The “American Dream” theology that Cole has been taught is carefully examined by Cole along with the sages that step up to walk beside him and help him to learn what God and the Bible truly have to say about how mankind should live. It was an absolute pleasure to go on the journey with Cole. 

     There were many aspects of the Christian life within a church body that Cole discusses throughout this book that I was able to relate to having seen in my own life experience. I have been a Christian for over 35 years and have attended many different churches due to frequent moves with my husband having been in the Air Force for over 20 years.

     I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman

A Marriage in Middlebury [Paperback]

Title: A Marriage in Middlebury
Author: Anita Higman
Pages: 304
Year: 2013
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.

     Great Christian contemporary romance.

     Charlotte Rose Hill enjoys a comfortable life serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and down-to-earth advice for her quirky, devoted customers. The only thing lacking is someone special to share it with.

     At eighteen she denied Sam Wilder’s marriage proposal after his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship. They both moved on . . . or so she thought. When Sam walks back into her life more than a decade later, Charlotte is surprised that her heart still quickens. But is it because of his presence? Or is it because of the presence of Sam’s new fiancée?

     A second chance at love doesn’t happen often, but their past may keep them apart. Is it too late for Sam and Charlotte?

     When I started this book I immediately connected with Charlotte. I would love to have her as a friend. She is a very compassionate and comfortable character. Most of the other characters in the book are equally well developed. I liked the variety of personalities that are included in this small town. It is just like you would find in any town or neighborhood that you can go into. The people look out for each other and help each other when something happens.

     In many ways I felt challenged to take time and think about my own relationships with the people I know. I really enjoy books that not only entertain me but have the ability to help me grow to be a better person.

     I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys Christian fiction.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry

Every Waking Moment [Paperback]

Title: Every Waking Moment
Author: Chris Fabry
Pages: 376
Year: 2013
Publisher: Tyndale House
Note: I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads, First Reads giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion.

     Treha Langsam is a mysterious young woman who has fallen through the cracks, much like many of the elderly people she works with at Desert Gardens. But Miriam Howard, director of the assisted-living facility, sees her extraordinary gift and untapped potential. Treha is a whisperer of sorts, calling those who have slipped into dementia back to a life of vibrant, if only temporary, clarity.

     When a documentary team stumbles onto Treha’s story, her gift is discovered and the search for answers about her past begins. As the truth slowly unravels, Treha and those around her must each tackle a difficult question: if this is as good as life gets, is that enough?

     The elderly characters are very believable and well-written. I had a little trouble understanding the character of Treha. I believe that it is just because she is an unusual character and I’ve never known anyone like her, not a problem with the writing. The development of the story seems to be a little slow at the beginning. By the time I finished I realized that it is just because the author took time to do an in-depth development.

     I did struggle with the inserted sections that were script-like for the documentary crew. This felt very uneven and it seemed to distract me from the story. This is the problem that kept me from giving this book the full 5 stars. I give it 4 stars.

     I do recommend reading this book. It takes a good look at what life has become for many elderly people, as well as others who are different from most people.

Friday, December 6, 2013

For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall

For Every Season (Amish Vines & Orchards V3) [Paperback]

Title: For Every Season (Amish Vines and Orchards #3)
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Pages: 323
Year: 2013
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads, First Reads giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion.

     A small group of Amish has moved to an orchard outside of Unity, Maine. They are trying to get a new Amish settlement going while also trying to rehabilitate an old orchard. Rhoda Byler is established as an expert in caring for plants and trees. Her business partner Samuel King grew up on the family orchard and has moved to Maine after the family orchard was nearly completely destroyed. They are both fully committed to making King Orchards Maine a success. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in the relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Yet amidst the mounting tension between the three of them, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has long hoped 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 toward the future together.

     As Rhoda uses her gift to unpack an old secret with her Englisch neighbors, it is not her beau but the unlikely ally who 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?

     This is the first book that I have ever read by Cindy Woodsmall. I enjoyed this book very much. One thing that she does that I really appreciated, since I had not read either of the previous books in this series, was the short synopsis she had at the beginning about each of the first 2 books. It helped me immensely in understanding what had happened previously.

     Her characters were very well developed and learning each one’s personality was very enjoyable. There was a wide variety of people just as there are in real life. Each one had something in their life to deal with. This was very realistic yet in the bounds of a book, at times, I was having a little trouble keeping people and issues straight in my mind. This is the reason that I’m giving this book 4 stars.

     I do want to go back and read books 1 and 2 for this series. Then I will re-read this one and see if knowing the backstory more fully will help with this. I do recommend this book for those who enjoy Amish fiction. I would suggest that you read the first two books before reading this one though.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Shades of Mercy by Anita Lustrea & Caryn Rivadeneira

Shades Of Mercy [Paperback]

Title: Shades of Mercy: A Maine Chronicle
Authors: Anita Lustrea & Caryn Rivadeneira
Pages: 260
Year: 2013
Publisher: River North
Notes: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     This is an incredibly well written novel.

     Mercy Millar works hard to help her father on his potato farm in Watsonville, Maine. She also dreams of someday having him see her as the young woman she is, not as the son he never had. She also dreams of someday being able to move her relationship with her boyfriend Mick out from the shadows. The barrier to their being open about their attraction to each other is that Mick is a Maliseet Indian. There is a huge amount of racial tension between the white people of Watsonville and the Maliseet tribe of Maine’s Northwoods during the summer of 1954. Then suddenly disaster strikes, even though it looks surprisingly like the grace of God.

     I was caught up in this book from the very beginning. I wanted to see how Mercy and Mick would be able to navigate the rocky road of racial strife. I had heard much of the way African Americans had been treated. But I had never really heard about the harsh treatment of Native Americans other than through school history books. This book is an eye opening look at the living conditions that many of them were forced to live in, even as recently as the middle of the 20th century. My heart ached for them as I rooted for them to rise above the conditions and the way they were treated.

     This story is so well crafted and the descriptions are so clear that I can totally see the picture painted by the authors. I would love to see this made into a movie. It definitely deserves 5 stars. I highly recommend it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Miner's Lady (Land of Shining Water #3) by Tracie Peterson

The Miner's Lady [Hardcover]

Title: The Miner’s Lady (Land of Shining Water #3)
Author: Tracie Peterson
Pages: 331
Year: 2013
Publisher: Bethany House
Note: I received a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.

     This is a heartwarming look at what trusting God can do.

     Isabella Panetta has fallen in love with Orlando Calarco. She is asking her older sister Chantel to help her sneak away to spend a few minutes with him. The only problem is that the Panettas and the Calarcos have been sworn enemies for decades. As Chantel tries to help Isabella and Orlando have time together she keeps crossing paths with Orlando’s older brother, Dante. As the families deal with the aftermath of finding out about the young couples’ love for each other they find that they also have to deal with a tragedy at the mine that the men all work at in Ely, Minnesota. Is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved?

     Tracie Peterson is an award winning author and therefore it is no surprise that she has written incredible characters that quickly wormed their way into my heart. The story she developed for this book takes a very long and deep look at what unforgiveness can do to people. I was quickly drawn in and found that I needed to see how God was going to work in their lives to bring about changes. It was a very satisfying book and I was taken on quite an emotional journey along with the characters.

     There were a number of the characters that had a strong faith in God from the very beginning. There are others that didn’t see a need for Him. Throughout the book those who trusted God were encouraging the others to either trust Him more or to begin to trust Him.

     I found this to be very encouraging and uplifting to read. Therefore I give it 5 stars and highly recommend it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Stella Bain by Anita Shreve

Title: Stella Bain
Author: Anita Shreve
Pages: 272
Year: 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Note: I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads, First Reads giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion.

     This is an interesting look at memory loss.

     Stella Bain is an American woman who is found wandering in an exclusive garden in London in 1916. She only has memories going back a few months. Surgeon August Bridge and his wife Lily selflessly take her into their home and try to help her regain her memory.

     The premise of this story is very good. The slow development of the main character as well as the revelations of her past intrigued me.

     The problem that I did struggle with was it was written in the third person. Yet whenever it went into a long period of dialogue it seemed odd to me, like it had an uneven flow to it. I’m not sure if it switched from the third person or not. It just felt awkward.

     I do recommend this book based on the quality of the storyline. Yet I felt that with the distraction from the third person presentation/dialogue issue I can only give it a 4-star ranking.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Return to Me by Lynn Austin

Return To Me (Restoration Chronicles V1) (Oct) [Paperback]

Title: Return to Me (The Restoration Chronicles #1)
Author: Lynn Austin
Pages: 459
Year: 2013
Publisher: Bethany House
Note: I received a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     This is an awesome Biblical fiction novel! I give it a 5-star rating.

     After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true – King Cyrus has declared that the Jews may return to Jerusalem. There are a handful of the returnees who remember the final siege and destruction of Jerusalem. Most of them though were born in exile. Will what they have been taught about the Almighty One give them the strength and the courage to follow and trust Him?

     Iddo and his wife Dinah are one of the families that is returning. Iddo has been looking forward to this day since he was taken into captivity as a boy. He is from the priestly lineage and has studied the Torah his whole life preparing to minister in the temple. The only problem is that as a captive of Babylon there has never been a temple to minister in. Dinah was born in captivity and all she knows is life in Babylon. The emotional conflict that develops between these two is so well crafted that my heart ached for both of them as they tried to navigate the path that they are set on.

     I am amazed at the incredible amount of research that had to have been done in preparation to write this fantastic fictional account of Biblical history. There are numerous characters who are at different points in their belief of God. Each of them is well fleshed out and presented. Their relationships with each other are very easy to understand. They have very clear points of contention with each other as well as very deep connections.

     This story paints a very clear picture of what life was like trying to please God under the Abrahamic covenant and the law given to Moses. It made me very glad that I live now, under the new covenant of grace and mercy. Where our right standing with God comes through faith in Jesus Christ and the free gift we are offered by His death and resurrection.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Double Exposure (The Justice Agency #1) by Susan Sleeman

Title: Double Exposure (The Justice Agency #1)
Author: Susan Sleeman
Pages: 254
Year: 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Notes: I won a free copy of this book through a giveaway that Susan Sleeman had on her blog.

     October 18 -20, 2013 was the Christian Fiction Fall Scavenger Hunt. Susan had a bonus giveaway on her blog as part of the scavenger hunt. I had a wonderful time taking part in the hunt and reading all of the fantastic posts that each of the 25 authors wrote for it. Then on the 21st I had the added joy of receiving an email from Susan that I was one of the winners of all four of the currently available books in her The Justice Agency series. This is book #1 of the series.

     Jennie Buchanan is a photographer that unknowingly captured a drug-cartel meeting on film. Now she has become a killer’s next target. She has The Justice Agency providing her protection. The only problem with that is Ethan Justice is the one man that threatens her heart, and he is the one specifically taking charge of her protection. Which will be safer for Jennie, dodging bullets or facing the feelings stirred up by spending time with former FBI agent and ex-boyfriend Ethan?

     The plot of this romantic suspense is very well developed. The characters are well rounded and very easy to understand what makes them who they are. I really enjoyed looking at their backgrounds as they were revealed in relationship with the current situation they were in. Susan did an incredible job of building the story around the past actions and decisions affecting how people deal with current things.

     I’m really looking forward to reading the other books in this series and seeing what develops for the rest of the Justice siblings.

     This is the first book of Susan’s that I’ve ever read. I’m really looking forward to reading everything that I can find by her. She deserves a 5-star rating for this book.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry

The Beloved Daughter [Paperback]

Title: The Beloved Daughter
Author: Alana Terry
Pages: 230
Year: 2013
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     Chung-Cha (Righteous Daughter) is taken captive when her father is arrested for his faith in Christ. Her father’s declaration is, “Chung-Cha belongs to Christ, even if you destroy me, God will still watch over my daughter.” So begins her path of persecution, despair, suffering, and glory. Some of the aspects of her captivity include physical and sexual abuse. There are no explicit descriptions or profanity given though.

     This book is set in North Korea and begins in 1998. The horrors that it recounts are things that I have never thought about. I’ve heard the statement that believers are persecuted in a many different countries, yet in my sheltered existence I’ve never tried to picture what that would really be like.

     Alana Terry has taken great pains to tell a first person account of these horrors. I can’t even begin to imagine the time and heartache she had to put into researching a country that I know so little about. Her account is very vivid and heart-wrenching.

     A part of me wanted to only give this book 4 stars because of the type of story it is. Yet the writing is so well done that I realized that would not be giving Alana the credit she so richly deserves for the work that she put into creating such a well thought out story. Therefore I find that I must give another book a 5 star rating.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Jewel Series Bundle 2: Emerald Fire & Topaz Heat by Hallee Bridgeman

The Jewel Series Bundle 2: Emerald & Topaz [eBook Download]

Title: The Jewel Series Bundle 2: Emerald Fire & Topaz Heat
Author: Hallee Bridgeman
Pages: 368
Year: 2013
Publisher: Olivia Kimbrell Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     This Bundle contains books 2 and 3 from the trilogy written by Hallee Bridgeman. The trilogy is about 3 adult half-sisters that are trying to make their way in life after a very harsh upbringing.

     Emerald Fire is book 2 and it is about the second sister, Maxine Bartlett. After a peek into her childhood in the prologue we are introduced to her the morning after she marries. We are then taken on a journey to discover how they came to marry and to see how they proceed to find their way with God as their guide.

     Topaz Heat is book 3 and it is about the youngest of the sisters. As a young girl Sarah Thomas was rescued from the horrors of her early childhood through adoption. She has no real memory of the horrors that she lived through though. Since her adoption she led a sheltered life with her Christian family. Derrick DeNunzio was a poor tough street kid. He was taken off the street and made into a billionaire’s protégé. When first Sarah and Derrick met Sarah simply saw the street kid. Now a decade after meeting Derrick DeNunzio they are suddenly back in each other’s lives through their family ties. Can Sarah set aside her prejudices and open her heart to true love?

     Both of these books have fantastic characters that have been well developed and brought through journeys of redemption and transformation. Both of these books along with the two stories contained in Bundle 1 are very intricately woven so that the same characters flow throughout all of them. Each story is focusing on a different pair of main characters and yet they are all in each book. I loved the marvelous way that Hallee Bridgeman built their stories and carried this family through all three books in the trilogy as well as the novella.

     I was very moved at many times while reading both of the books contained in this bundle. At a couple of times I was very happy that I had a box of tissues close by. God’s love is so freely given and He is so wonderful to see His children through the darkest of times. These books truly encouraged me to never lose sight of that. They earned a magnificent 5 stars from me.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Talent for Trouble by Jen Turano

Talent For Trouble (Oct) [Paperback]

Title: A Talent for Trouble (Ladies of Distinction #3)
Author: Jen Turano
Pages: 344
Year: 2013
Publisher: Bethany House
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

     Another great romantic comedy by Jen Turano.

     Miss Felicia Murdock has spent four years trying to live her life in a way that the minister she believes God wants her to marry will notice her. Of course a minister’s wife must be demure and willing to work hard in the church and in charitable endeavors. When the minister she has set her sights on marries another young lady she must reconsider her whole life.

     Grayson Sumner has had his fill of adventure and wants to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman. When he is encouraged to spend time with Miss Murdock in hopes of lifting her spirits he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into trouble.

     When Grayson’s past comes back to haunt him while in the presence of Felicia will they be able to extricate themselves from the danger that arises? Will Grayson come to terms with his past and find forgiveness for the mistakes that he believes cannot be forgiven?

     Jen Turano has a remarkable talent for developing great characters. Though many times they do not behave in the manner that I have come to expect high society people in 1881 to behave they are definitely fun and extremely amusing. The friendships that have developed between the characters from the earlier stories in this series are very evident in this book as well.

     After my last review I received a comment from my sister that I seem to rate everything with 5 stars. I would just like to take a moment to explain that I’ve been reading lots of books for so many years now that I’m very aware of the style of books I enjoy. Therefore I do have a tendency to select books to read according to those tastes. This leads me to thoroughly enjoy and want to rate most books I read very highly. Please don’t dismiss my reviews just because most of them (all so far since starting this blog) receive 5 stars.

     Now that I’ve explained that, I again want to give a 5 star rating to this novel. It is a great book to read when you are feeling down and need to have something to smile and even laugh about.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

Title: Starry Night
Author: Debbie Macomber
Pages: 240
Year: 2013
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Note: I received a free Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

     A very entertaining romance!

     When I first received the email offer to sign up and review this book I thought of all of the wonderful romantic comedy Christmas stories that Debbie has written. When it arrived in the mail I started by reading her note at the beginning. She explains that this novel is a departure from her previous Christmas stories in that it is a simple romance without any of the comedy aspects from earlier works. It is exactly what she said it is, a fantastic romance.

     Carrie Slayton is trapped in writing the society-page column at a Chicago newspaper. She decides to resign from her job unless she can get a more challenging assignment for the paper. Her editor hands her a challenge: she can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores an interview with Finn Dalton.

     Finn Dalton has written a best-selling novel. He refuses to do any interviews and in fact no one has been able to locate him. He lives in the remote Alaskan wilderness. Will Carrie even be able to locate him much less get him to give her an interview?

     Debbie has done a marvelous job of developing these two very different characters. They are both easy to like and understand. I was drawn into the story very quickly and was rooting for them to be able to work out their differences and come up with a compromise that they can both live with.

     I give this book a 5 star rating. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano

A Most Peculiar Circumstance

Title: A Most Peculiar Circumstance (Ladies of Distinction #2)
Author: Jen Turano
Pages: 344
Year: 2013
Publisher: Bethany House

     Before I start on my review of this book I’d like to explain how I first became interested in it. I had picked up the Novella that Jen Turano wrote to introduce her writing to the public, “Gentleman of Her Dreams” for my Kindle. It was free so why not try a new writer. I then saw that Jen was doing a Book Banter through Facebook and decided to get on and see what she had coming out. When she started talking about the main characters for this book (the one she was discussing) I knew that I had to get it. The hero is Theodore Wilder. With my husband’s name being Ted Wilder I couldn’t pass it up. I’m glad I didn’t.

     A very funny romantic comedy!

     Two members of New York’s high society meet in Gilman, Illinois in 1880. Miss Arabella Beckett has been traipsing around the country, on her own, in support of the women’s suffrage movement. She finds herself in a bit of trouble as she attempts to help another woman out. All she can think to do is pray asking God for help. Much to her frustration help arrives in the form of arrogant, narrow-minded, Mr. Theodore Wilder.

     Mr. Wilder is a private investigator extraordinaire who set out to do a favor for his good friend Hamilton Beckett. Mr. Beckett simply wanted his sister, Arabella, located and brought home in time for his wedding. The simple favor quickly became a lengthy assignment as Mr. Wilder had to chase her across the county.

     The story is filled with many hilarious antics as many of the members of high society seem to never stay out of trouble. The characters are well developed and very enjoyable. I loved learning how Theodore’s grandparents met. Naturally there had to be some villains to defeat. How else can the hero rescue the damsel in distress.

     If you are looking for well developed and accurate historical lessons in novel format you will be hugely disappointed. If on the other hand you are looking for a light entertaining comedy to put a smile on your face then this is the book to read.

     I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it! I give it a 5 star rating.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon Jr. & Cindy Kelley

Traces of Mercy, Mercy Medallion Trilogy Series #1   -     
        By: Michael Landon, Jr. & Cindy Kelley

Title: Traces of Mercy (The Medallion Series #1)
Author: Michael Landon, Jr. & Cindy Kelley
Pages: 334
Year: 2013
Publisher: David C. Cook
Notes: I received a free Advanced Reader Copy through a Goodreads, First Reads giveaway for my honest opinion.
          Excerpt used with permission. Copyright © 2013 David C Cook. Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon Jr and Cindy Kelley.

     This is an absolutely incredible Christian fiction novel!

     At the very end of the Civil War a young woman suffers an accident that leaves her unconscious and alone. When she awakes she has no memory of who she is so she takes the name Mercy for the mercy medallion found around her neck. She’s left having to decide if it is more important to discover her past or to forge a future for herself.

     This is a very brief description of the basic storyline. The authors have done a fantastic job of developing the characters and delving into the confusion that comes from having amnesia as shown in this brief excerpt from when she first wakes up.

     “Let’s start with the very basics. What’s your name?”

     She automatically opened her mouth to reply with the answer. Surely she knew her own name. But trying to retrieve the memory in the deep, black chasm of her mind was like trying to catch the wind. There was nothing. Not a shred of anything to grasp and unfurl like a sheet where all the minutes, hours, days, and years leading up to this moment might be hiding. With frightened, heart-pumping adrenaline, she whispered her answer.

     “I don’t remember.”

     I was very fascinated to see where they took the story and how they had Mercy, as well as the people that entered her life, at this trying time deal with this troubling condition.

     I don’t know if the next book in this series is going to continue with Mercy’s story or if it will be a completely different group of characters. I do know that either way I am looking forward to the day that it will be released. Michael Landon, Jr. and Cindy Kelley are a wonderful writing team. I will be looking for their other books. I highly recommend this book. I give this book 5 stars!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano

Change Of Fortune [Paperback]

Title: A Change of Fortune (Ladies of Distinction #1)
Author: Jen Turano
Pages: 318
Year: 2012
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

     The most fantastic romantic comedy I’ve read yet!

     Lady Eliza Sumner has lost everything. After losing her family, her fiancé, and her faith, the disappearance of her fortune is the last straw. What is young lady of the nobility from England to do in 1880? Of course she must masquerade as Miss Eliza Sumner, governess-at-large, find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London. Will New York City ever figure out what hit it?

     Mr. Hamilton Beckett, widowed now for 2 years, has become the focus of much of the female members of society in New York City. Of course they have decided for him that he must remarry, whether he has any interest in doing so or not. His focus instead is on keeping his business afloat and raising his two children alone.

     When Eliza and Hamilton first meet, sparks instantly begin to fly. Then at their second meeting they discover that they have a common nemesis, causing them to join forces. Let mayhem ensue.

     Jen Turano has done a marvelous job of creating an enjoyable group of characters for this novel. I had so much fun reading this book and trying to follow all of their antics. I never knew from one moment to the next what they were going to try next. It was very amusing to see what all situations that Eliza was able to get herself into simply because she had given up on God and was trying to do things her own way. The characters were all so well developed. There was only one character that I found to be truly annoying. That was simply because he refused to listen to what he was told. He had made up his mind and didn’t want to budge.

     I’m looking forward to reading the other books that Jen has written. I’m sure that they will be just as light-hearted and entertaining.

     I loved this book so much it has to get a 5 star rating.

Gentleman of Her Dreams by Jen Turano


Title: Gentleman of Her Dreams (A Ladies of Distinction Novella)
Author: Jen Turano
Pages: 81
Year: 2012
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Note: This title is only available as an eBook.

     This novella is a fantastic introduction to a new author.

“New York, 1880
     Miss Charlotte Wilson had made a decision.
     She was going to marry Mr. Hamilton Beckett.
     The fact she’d never actually made Mr. Beckett’s acquaintance was a bit concerning, but . . . she had a plan.”

     So opens this delightful romantic comedy. When a girl has a plan and she needs help to carry it out, who can she call on? The only option is her best friend since childhood of course. So enters Henry St. James.

     Jen Turano has a wonderful talent for developing colorful and memorable characters. She has written an incredibly amusing story. There is a nice flow to the plot. I enjoyed it very much and look forward to reading more about these characters in the rest of the books she has and will write in this series.

     I definitely give this story a 5 star rating! I highly recommend it to everyone who is looking for a light-hearted tale to read.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Tattered Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Tattered Quilt

Title: The Tattered Quilt (Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club #2)
Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Pages: 320
Year: 2013
Publisher: Barbour Publishing Company
Note: I won a free copy of this book through a First Reads giveaway.

     Another amazing book by Wanda E. Brunstetter!

     Emma Yoder has now remarried and become Emma Miller. She is still the sweet, gentle woman that teaches lessons about getting along with others while teaching quilting classes. Now she has a wonderful complimentary partner in teaching in the form of her husband Lemar.

     Their new class again has a wide variety of students in it. They have joined the class for various reasons. Selma is a belittling busybody who joined the class because it was paid for by someone else. Terry is a rugged roofer who wants the chance to meet a pretty woman who is in the class. Blaine loses a bet and has to take the class as a result. Anna’s mother signs her up in a desperate attempt to keep her from leaving the Amish faith. Carmen holds tightly to bitterness while hiding her secret motives for taking the class. And Cheryl has a broken, mistrusting heart that needs as much mending as the tattered quilt that she brings to Emma to repair.

     Wanda has done a marvelous job of developing each and every one of these characters. The interactions between them are wonderful. I loved seeing how each of them developed in their personal lives and in their relationships to the other students throughout the book.

     This book is just as enjoyable as book 1 is this series and I must give it a 5 star ranking also. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club [Paperback]

Title: The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club (Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club #1)
Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Pages: 312
Year: 2012
Publisher: Barbour Books

     I really like to read Amish fiction. The whole lifestyle is so much slower paced than mine. I find them to be not only entertaining but relaxing as well.

     I enjoy Wanda Brunstetter’s books very much. She has a very clear writing style that adds to my enjoyment.

     I love the cast of characters that she has developed for this book. The central character is Emma Yoder, an Amish widow who is trying to find what she can do to be more self-sufficient. She has decided to hold a quilting class in her home. Her students include: a young woman who is looking for stability in her life, Star Stephens; Pam and Stuart Johnston, a couple who are at odds with each other; Paul Ramirez, a widowed father trying to raise his infant daughter alone; Jan Sweet, a rough and tough biker who’s been told he should look for something creative to do; and Ruby Lee Williams, a preacher’s wife who is struggling with strife within the church her husband pastors.

     They are all vastly different and yet most of them are very likeable right from the start. Even those that annoyed me at the beginning eventually turned out to have some wonderfully redeeming qualities and I liked them all by the end of the book.

     Each family represented has their own problems that they are dealing with. Wanda does a fabulous job of working each of them through their problems individually and yet with the support of the others in the quilting class. She shows that it very possible for those who are struggling to be just what someone else needs, to help them through their own difficulties.

     I give this book a resounding 5 stars. I would actually love to give it a much higher rating yet everywhere I look I see 5 as the highest rating used. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series very much.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beyond All Measure by Dorothy Love

Beyond All Measure (Hickory Ridge Novel) [Paperback]

Title: Beyond All Measure (Hickory Ridge Romance #1)
Author: Dorothy Love
Pages: 314
Year: 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Note: I received a free copy of this book from a Goodreads, First Reads giveaway.

     This is a captivating Christian Historical novel.

     After Ada Wentworth loses everything and everyone that is important to her she sets out to take a job as companion to an elderly widow, Lillian Willis, in rural Tennessee. This is a drastic change for the young lady from a well-to-do Boston family shortly after the end of the Civil War. Many of the local residents of the small town in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains view Ada as an enemy because of her Yankee upbringing.

     Wyatt Caldwell is Lillian Willis’s nephew, Ada’s new employer. After the war ended he returned to Hickory Ridge and opened a lumber mill.

     I was drawn into the story very quickly. The characters were very easy to connect to. The plot was easy to follow and did not become bogged down at any point. Dorothy Love handled the touchy subjects of the Ku Klux Klan and the freed slaves that were trying to figure out the new order of things. I wanted to see the people in Hickory Ridge work out their differences and sort out their problems. I thoroughly enjoyed the simple way that those whose belief in God was solid encouraged others to trust Him and rely on Him.

     I give this book a 5 star ranking and I highly recommend it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim


Title: The Outcast
Author: Jolina Petersheim
Pages: 400
Year: 2013
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Note: I won a free copy of this book through a First Reads giveaway.

     This is a very entertaining book!

     The front cover of the book calls it “a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter.” This is a very apt description of the story that Jolina has written. She has crafted a very intricate tale of a young woman, Rachel Stoltzfus, whose sin is visible for all to see. The deep complexities come about through the secrets that are kept hidden. How far should someone go in keeping secrets to protect another person that they love?

     The characters are so well developed that it was very easy to feel their pain and anguish throughout the story. At the same time there were some others so caught up in protecting themselves that it was very easy to dislike them.

     She does a marvelous job of showing how two people’s sin affect everyone that they are in relationship with. Not only those that are supporting and encouraging Rachel, but also those that are actively judging her.

     Jolina Petersheim showed that she truly has a marvelous talent to paint a full picture. I’m looking forward to reading anything else that she writes.

     I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Holy Estrogen! by Carol McLeod

Holy Estrogen: Every Woman's Guide to Making Her Emotions the Holiest Part of Her [Paperback]

Title: Holy Estrogen!: Every Woman’s Guide to Making Her Emotions the Holiest Part of Her
Author: Carol McLeod
Pages: 219
Year: 2012
Publisher: Harrison House
Note: I received a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     An extremely thought provoking book!

     This book takes a long, scriptural look at how God wants us to deal with the emotions that we all deal with. She looks at what type of emotional influencers we have to deal with from our past. She also explores the difference between the soul and the spirit of your inner person. Then she takes us on a journey to identify how Satan attacks women through their emotions.

     I really liked the candid way that Carol addressed normal emotional struggles and the ups-and-downs that come through regular living. She includes many humorous stories from personal experience. Every piece of advice on how God wants things dealt with is solidly supported through the use of scripture. I highly recommend that all women who want to please God in their lives read this book. It would also be an excellent book for any man to read who wants to try and understand the struggles that the women in their lives go through.

     I give this book a 5 star ranking.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blowing on Dandelions by Miralee Ferrell

Blowing On Dandelions (Love Blossoms In Oregon V1)

Title: Blowing on Dandelions (Love Blossoms in Oregon #1)
Author: Miralee Ferrell
Pages: 384
Year: 2013
Publisher: David C. Cook
Note: I received a free copy of this book from for my honest opinion.

     This is a great historical romance.

     Katherine Galloway is a gentle, loving mother of 2 girls. She has been a widow for three years. She is trying to figure out how she is going to handle everything when her mother comes to stay with them at the boardinghouse she runs. When she meets Micah Jacobs things only become more confusing for her. The handsome widower has only recently moved to town with his teenage son.

     The character development is absolutely wonderful. Miralee has not only done a complete in-depth build up of a couple of main characters. She paid attention to detail in a fairly large number of additional people in the story. The way she fleshed out the relationships and how each person’s attitudes affected the others was incredible.

     Many of the people are aware of God’s presence and it comes out in their conversations. This story helps to encourage us to remember to take time with God for help in our relationships.

     I give this book a resounding 5 star ranking. It is fabulous and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pennsylvania Patchwork by Kate Lloyd

Pennsylvania Patchwork

Title: Pennsylvania Patchwork (Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy #2)
Author: Kate Lloyd
Pages: 372
Year: 2013
Publisher: David C Cook
Note: I received a free copy of this book from for my honest opinion.

     This was a very enjoyable book.

     I will start by stating honestly that I have not read the first book in this trilogy. That said I had a little trouble at the beginning of the story feeling lost. I didn’t understand who the characters were and what their relationship to each other was. Once I had sorted these things out I was able to get into the story very much.

     Holly Fisher and her mother, Esther, are in Lancaster staying with Holly’s grandmother, Mommy Anna. She has fallen in love with the handsome Mennonite veterinarian, Zach, who takes care of Mommy Anna’s aged horse. They are engaged though Holly’s mother and grandmother feel that she is rushing things.

     She then meets a charming Amish man, and an old friend from Seattle shows up. They are both attracted to her and life becomes a tangle of doubts for her. To compound the issue she is also trying to help her mother and grandmother though their own difficult and confusing situations.

     Will they figure out what, and who, really matters before they make any commitment that cannot be changed?

     These characters seem well developed. At times some of them do seem to be a little childish in their behavior. There were a lot of side conflicts that were just a little difficult to follow and sort out at times. I’m used to Amish fiction having at least one well-grounded and calm person that acted as a voice of reason and wisdom. Occasionally I felt that this integral person was missing from the story.

     I may have only felt this confusion due to the fact that I hadn’t read the first book in the series. I look forward to reading that book and filling in the gaps in my own understanding that way. I definitely recommend reading this book. My suggestion would be to read book 1, Leaving Lancaster, first though.

     I give this book a rating of 5 stars.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Love At Any Cost by Julie Lessman

Love at Any Cost, The Heart of San Francisco Series #1

Title: Love At Any Cost (The Heart of San Francisco #1)
Author: Julie Lessman
Pages: 406
Year: 2013
Publisher: Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Note: I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway that Julie Lessman held.

     I was sucked into this story from the very beginning.

     Cassidy McClare is broken-hearted after the man she was engaged to dumps her. She leaves home to visit her cousins in San Francisco hoping that time and distance will help her heart to heal.

     Jamie McKenna has worked hard his whole life to better his station in the world. His chief goal is to give his mother and his crippled sister a safe and secure home and the surgery that his sister needs.

     At their first meeting Jamie knocks Cassidy off her feet, quite literally, in the Oakland Pier train station in San Francisco. Cassidy blows up and declares him a “pretty-boy polecat.”

     Their second meeting is when Cassidy’s family has a dinner to welcome her to town. It is just for family and a few very close friends. Jamie is one of the close friends as Cassidy finds out at dinner.

     They each feel an attraction to the other within a very short time. This sets the stage for a very delightful and comedic story as they try to sort out their feelings for each other and people they have been in relationship with in the past.

     The biggest problem they face though is that Cassidy has a deep faith in God. Jamie on the other hand feels that he has no need for God and that God has never done anything for him, his mother, or his sister.

     How do you handle the word of God when it says that a believer is not to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever? Especially when the man you love doesn’t share your belief?

     Julie has crafted an incredible story digging deeply into this problem. Her characters are marvelous and well developed. The characters are all three dimensional and very different from each other. There are a lot of incredible twists and turns that take place in the story to help them navigate these treacherous waters.

     I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. I hope that it will dig deeper into some of the other members of the McClare family that we meet in this book.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Healing Heart by Angela Breidenbach

Healing Heart (Quilts Of Love) [Paperback]

Title: A Healing Heart
Author: Angela Breidenbach
Pages: 221
Year: 2013
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book through for my honest opinion.

      I loved this book and highly recommend it.

     Mara Keegan is a widowed mother of three teenagers. Her plate is very full as she tries to run the company that she started with her husband by herself. She is also trying to keep up with what is going on in her kid’s lives and make the perfect graduation present for her oldest daughter’s high-school graduation. So much work is involved in creating the photo memory quilt and there is so little time to work on it. How will she get it all done?

     When personal medical emergencies knock her off her feet she must stop and take stock of all that she does and really look at what her priorities should be. Are those around her trying to help her in her recovery or are they trying to take over what is hers?

     Angela has developed wonderful characters throughout this story. Their personalities are rich and well rounded. I would love to have this family live near me. In fact by the end of the book I felt that I knew them better than many of the people that do live in my neighborhood, and go to the church I attend.

     This is an incredible, thought provoking book.

     We all make promises to others. Are they all made with the right intent? Can we make a promise to ease someone else’s pain that God never meant for us to make? How do we know that a task we are doing to fulfill a promise is in God’s will for our life?

     I gave this book 5 stars.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jewel Series Bundle #1: Sapphire Ice/Greater Than Rubies by Hallee Bridgeman

Jewel Series Bundle #1

The Jewel Series Bundle 1: Sapphire & Rubies

Title: Jewel Series Bundle #1: Sapphire Ice / Greater Than Rubies
Author: Hallee Bridgeman
Pages: 442
Year: 2013
Publisher: Olivia Kimbrell Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book from for my honest opinion.

          This book includes the entire love story of Robin Bartlett and Tony Viscolli. It starts in book 1 of the Jewel Trilogy, ”Sapphire Ice” where Robin and Tony first meet. It is a story of redemption and transformation.

          Robin had a very difficult childhood leaving her not trusting God or men. She still works extremely hard at 2 different jobs to provide for her two younger sisters. She has decided that it is her responsibility to put them both through college and keep a roof over their heads. She wants them to have a safe and secure home. This has left her with a heart as ice cold as her sapphire blue eyes.

          Tony also had a very rough childhood. He has turned to God and received help from believers to get a start in business. He has gone on to build a financial empire.

          When Tony buys the restaurant where Robin is a bartender they meet. They are attracted to each other almost immediately. As Robin’s job changes and they begin to build a relationship with each other will they be able to sort out their differences in outlook on life? Tony prays for the opportunity to shatter the wall of ice around Robin’s heart.

          We then come to “Greater Than Rubies” the novella that takes place immediately after the first book in the trilogy. It picks up right after Tony has proposed and Robin has accepted. They are now faced with the issues of dealing with Robin’s desire to have a private life and Tony’s position in society.

          Robin plans a dream-come-true wedding. Anxiety arises when she starts to realize the magnitude of change marriage will involve. Forgotten nightmares resurface reminding Robin of the horrors of her past. She gives in to her insecurities and cancels Boston’s “Royal Wedding.”

          Can Robin adapt? How can Tony help Robin to come out of her shell? They need God’s guidance to work through the maze of emotions and past hurts. Tony needs God’s guidance to help convince Robin of her true worth.

          These are incredible Christian romances.

          Hallee has a very smooth writing style. It was a joy to read these stories. She took the time to really develop and introduce us to each of the central characters. These included not only Robin and Tony themselves, but also Robin’s two sisters and Tony’s best friends who are his support team.

          Hallee took the time to explain both Robin and Tony’s childhoods which helped to shape them into the people that they are. This step helps us to understand where each of them is coming from as they face each disagreement and crises in their relationship.

          Hallee’s plot is well developed and clearly defined. There is no confusion as to how we reached each pivotal point.

          At each point friends and family are turned to in asking for help and guidance in how to deal with confusing emotions. The friends then help Robin and Tony to remember the need to seek God for His direction. This offers a breath of fresh air and helps us to keep in mind our need to do the same.

          My rating for each of these stories is 5 stars.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Introduction to my blog.

     Starting a blog is a very new and confusing experience for me. Yet I love to read and I love to share the books I've read with others. I've been considering this step for a few days now. I hope that the posts that I share will help someone find new authors and new books to fall in love with.

     A little bit about myself. I have loved to read since I was a young child. When I was in second grade my teacher had an incentive program for reading and writing book reports. Each time a student turned in a book report she filled out a circle (body section) for a bookworm. The first report became the head of the student's worm. They were posted on the wall of the classroom. By the end of the school year my bookworm had completed a full circle of the classroom and had begun it's second. Ever since then I've considered myself a bookworm.

     During the years that we were raising our five children I didn't have much time to read. I'm thrilled that I've been able to get back into it since they are all grown and starting their own families. I look forward to sharing reviews of the books I read here.