Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Lost Heiress (Ladies of the Manor #1) by Roseanna M. White

Title: The Lost Heiress (Ladies of the Manor #1)
Author: Roseanna M. White
Pages: 439
Year: 2015
Genre: Romantic Mystery
Publisher: Bethany House
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Sweeping romance and mystery in the Edwardian Era.

     Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. When her friend Justin uncovers the fact that she is possibly a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea and the estate of her supposed family.

     The mystery of her mother’s death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook’s life is threatened do they draw close – but will their loyalty come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother?

     As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that their friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together?

     And then for a second time, the heiress of Whitby Park is stolen away because of the very rare treasure in her possession – and those who can save her still aren’t sure whom to trust.

My review:

     An excellent Edwardian Era romance novel!

     There are a number of incredible characters in this book. They are so well developed and with such a variety of personalities that I was intrigued by a lot of them. I loved both of the main characters, Brook and Justin, as well as their relationship with each other. I was caught up in the story of how they came to be friends and was pulling for them to sort things out and reach a happily-ever-after ending to their story.

     I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the servants and the nobility interacted with each other. Each person had their own place and they stayed there. It was also nice to see the bit of hesitation that Brook had as she was trying to figure out how things were done in this new environment to her.

     There was just enough suspense and intrigue going on behind the romance to help captivate my interest. It was a nice balance of danger and secrecy scattered throughout the book. There were a number of characters in the beginning that it was impossible to tell if they were going to be part of the good side or the evil side. I was left guessing until late in the story for some of them.

     I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. I have to give this wonderful book a rating of 5 stars. Along with that I’m highly recommending it.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Diary of a Wimpy Elf by Renae Brumbaugh

Title: Diary of a Wimpy Elf
Author: Renae Brumbaugh
Pages: 70
Release Date: November 15, 2015
Genre: School Age (7-12 year olds)
Publisher: Armonia Publishing
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a free copy of this eBook through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Most of you reading this have a sweet, cozy picture of what goes on at the North Pole. Cute little elves, tra-la-la-ing as they build wooden train sets, play with sample toys, and paint eyelashes on dollies. And while some of that does take place, let me just say . . . that doesn’t even begin to describe life at the North Pole. This book is my personal diary. It’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me Rudolph. So if you’re happy with your cozy little half-picture, walk away. This book is NOT for you. And that’s okay . . . ignorance is bliss, and believe me, I’d love to have a little more bliss in my life. But if you want to know what REALLY goes on up here . . . buy this book. Read it. And then say a prayer for me, because I need all the prayers I can get. Because life as an elf . . . it’s harrowing.

My review:

     This is an adorable look at life at the North Pole.

     Are elves real people?

     Do they have feelings and deal with relationship issues like the rest of us?

     This is an amusing look into what life may be like for the cute Santa’s helpers. All the stories I’ve ever read or seen about Santa and his helpers portrays them as happy-go-lucky cheerful little people that only want to help get the toys ready for Christmas. If you don’t want that image messed with you may not want to read this book.

     The main character is Kirby and he has a lot to deal with throughout the year. His diary takes you along with him as he goes. One of the main issues he deals with is bullying. This is such a common problem for school children. I really like how it is handled here. This is a very cute book and I really enjoyed the illustrations that are interspersed throughout it.

     I’m giving this darling book a rating of 5 stars. I do want to recommend it.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Whole World Is Changing... And I'm Too Hot to Care by Martha Bolton

Title: The Whole World is Changing... and I’m Too Hot to Care
Author: Martha Bolton
Pages: 256
Year: 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     In a world that is constantly changing, there is one thing that remains constant – the power of laughter. Since we can’t stop all the changes that keep happening to our bodies and our world as we live life on the north side of fifty, we can still laugh and learn from them. So if you love recalling the fun and simplicity of yesteryear, if you enjoyed other humor books about “middle age” by Martha Bolton, then you’ll love The Whole World is Changing…and I’m Too Hot to Care. You’ll laugh, you might even cry, and even though you still won’t be able to stop the world or your body from changing, after reading this light-hearted take on aging and life, the changes might not bother you as much.

My review:

     This is a humorous look at life after 50.

     The first half of the book was chock-full of humor and the problems of being over 50-years-old. At times it felt like the humor was being overdone during this portion of the book.

     Near the end of each part of the book there is an interview with someone else that is connected with comedy work in some way. Each one of them was asked the same set of questions. I enjoyed reading what each of these individuals said.

     Then the later portion of the book was focusing on sharing some practical suggestions to living life well after the age of 50. There was very little humor in this part. I feel that it would have been an easier book to read through if there had been more of a balance between the humor and the practical suggestions throughout the entire book.

     I’ve decided to give this book a 4 star rating because of the lopsided way it is arranged. It did give some great laughs and the suggestions were great so I do want to recommend it.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Christmas Quilt (Quilts of Love #11) by Vannetta Chapman + A GIVEAWAY!

Title: The Christmas Quilt (Quilts of Love #11)
Author: Vannetta Chapman
Pages: 247
Year: 2013
Genre: Amish Fiction
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)

About the book:

     Babies have their own schedule.

     But so does God.

     Annie’s life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community’s minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife. And most days, she finds herself taking the buggy to her brother Adam’s home.

     When her friend Leah is due to deliver her first child before Christmas, Annie becomes determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. But God’s plans are different from Annie’s, and she may not finish the quilt in time. As each piece of the quilt comes together, Annie discovers the quilt holds far greater significance than she ever imagined.

My review:

     I LOVED this Amish Christmas novel!

     Though this book is part of a series, each novel in it is a stand-alone story so they can be read in any order.

     The characters are well developed and easy to relate with. There are two main couples that are the focal point of the story. At the beginning of the book they get married in a double wedding. We have Annie and her husband Samuel, who are part of the community’s “medical” care team. The second couple is Annie’s brother Adam and his new wife, Leah.

     The story focuses on growth and maturing during a time of hardship. I truly enjoyed reading about how the whole community came around and helped the young family to deal with what they were going through. It was wonderful seeing how each person turned to God and sought Him and His help. He became their source of peace and strength.

     One aspect of the story that I got so much pleasure out of was the series of stories that Annie and Leah were telling. They did have some help from others as they were going through the process of relating stories about the nine different gifts of the Holy Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. The way that Vannetta brought this into the story and then tied everything together with this was fantastic.

     I am highly recommending this book and here on my blog it is getting 10 stars for the incredible entertainment combined with the wonderful spiritual content.

Giveaway Information:

     This is my first time doing a giveaway. I hope it goes smoothly.

     Leave a comment on this post and you will be entered to win a copy of this fantastic book. Please include in your comment your email address so that I can contact you if you are the winner. Suggested format: debbie (at) yahoo (dot) com

     I will leave it open for one week. Next Saturday, December 12, 2015, I will use Random.org to draw the winner. I will then send an email to the winner to get their mailing address. I will give them 3 days to contact me before drawing another winner. I hope to mail the book out at the beginning of the following week so they will have it before Christmas. After confirming the winner I will announce their name here on my blog.

     Good luck.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie

Title: The Sparkle Box
Author: Jill Hardie
Illustrator: Christine Kornacki
Pages: 32
Year: 2012
Genre: Children’s Illustrated
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
Format: Hardback
Note: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Sam can’t wait for Christmas! He’s excited about the parties, the food, and, of course, the presents. One gift has him especially curious – a sparkling silver box on the mantel. Sam’s parents will only tell him that the Sparkle Box is a special gift they will open together, but that they need to fill it first. Meanwhile, as Sam and his family give to people in need throughout the season, he starts to see how fortunate he really is. And on Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the mysterious Sparkle Box, what he finds inside sheds light on the true meaning of Christmas.

My review:

     This is a delightful children’s book.

     The story is very simple and a wonderful reminder as to one of the biggest joys of Christmastime. In my mind that is being able to bless others. I love the way that the parents teach their son through example and then let him figure out how much joy it brings himself.

     The illustrations are beautifully done. They are very crisp and clear.

     I am giving the sweet story a rating of 5 stars and recommending it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Without Proof (Redemption's Edge #3) by Janet Sketchley

Title: Without Proof (Redemption’s Edge #3)
Author: Janet Sketchley
Pages: 308
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Self-published
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Two years after the plane crash that killed her fiancĂ©, Amy Silver has fallen for his best friend, artist Michael Stratton. When a local reporter claims the small aircraft may have been sabotaged, it reopens Amy’s grief.

     Anonymous warnings and threats are Amy’s only proof that the tragedy was deliberate, and she has nowhere to turn. The authorities don’t believe her, God is not an option, and Michael’s protection is starting to feel like a cage.

     How will Amy find the truth?

     Michael’s feisty great-aunt and the dead man’s university-student sister are the other key players in this Christian romantic suspense set in Nova Scotia, Canada.

My review:

     This is a wonderful romantic suspense novel.

     I sympathized with Amy Silver from the moment I met her. She is such a well developed character carrying so much hurt and confusion. She has chronic pain to deal with on a daily basis. Along with that is heartache both from the accident she lost her fiancĂ© in and from her childhood. She wants desperately to truly belong and know that she is loved for who she is. Part of what prevents this is her family background.

     The first half of the book focuses mainly on this search while giving glimpses into the mystery that slowly builds. Then in the second half the suspense builds as does the danger that Amy and the two people she lives with are in. There are a number of twists about who can be trusted and who can’t.

     The story really kept my interest throughout. I have never read anything by this author before. After reading this book I will be looking for her other stories.

     I’m giving this book a rating of 5 stars and recommending it.

     I do want to state clearly for those that don’t like to read books that “preach” to them. There is a lot of discussion about the grace of God and His love. The gospel message is spelled out very clearly. It is very appropriate within the type of story this is and very tastefully done in my opinion.