25 Book Reviews

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Unforgettable Story of Faith When Faced with Fear!

Book Review of:
"Within My Heart"
By Tamera Alexander
The story  begins, with the Prologue,  in the year of 1864, following the Battle of Nashville. Tamera grabs your attention immediately with her concise description of the burying of deceased men killed in battle  and the feelings of the gravedigger.
Then, the next scene takes place in the Rocky Mountains in 1877. The main character, Rachel Boyd struggles to keep her ranch afloat with the help of her two young, fatherless sons. Financial and emotional challenges continually block her way of keeping her home secure, happy and safe.  Although she  desires to keep her independence, Rachel is forced to turn to Rand Brookston,the one man she wishes to avoid. He is a physician , just like her father was-  NOT a good memory!!
Tamera has the talent of making the characters become known to you in a personal way. You feel Rachel's distrust, feeling of fear, unworthiness and hopelessness  throughout the  story.
Rand, the new phsyician in town, who is attempting to bring modern medicine to town,  is forced to make an important decision to save someone's life. Will he fail, lose his patient and any confidence he has already gained?? You will have to read to find out the answers. Rachel's stubborn heart and soul are softened by the doctor's skill and determination to help the residents in this small community and his caring manner.
You live "on the edge" in this story, fearing for lives and the desire to somehow push them in the right direction.
Tamera Alexander is a talented author who kept my attention and involvement throughout the entire book.
An excellent book from start to finish!!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available now from your favourite bookseller  from Bethany House, a division of  Baker Publishing Group."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Raleigh Harmon Novel- A Tale of Suspense

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By Sibella Giorello
This is a book of mystery and intrigue. The main character, Raleigh Harmon is an FBI agent whose life seems impossible to solve, as does the case she is pursuing.  Raleigh is a forensic geologist, who returns to her home town, expecting a warm welcome. This is not to be!  Instead, she finds herself investigating an ugly crossburning at a  celebrity's manson.  Her boss is definitely not impressed with her involvement in this case.  Raleigh has personal, as well as career challenges throughout the novel.
This book keeps  you on your toes, with the constant mysterious murders and interwoven themes throughout the story.  When you think you have it all figured out, Sibella adds another mystery to the core storyline.
 I must admit, at times, I had difficulty keeping up with who was who and what exactly was taking place.  As this is not my favorite genre of books, it was difficult for me to stay focused on the many twists and turns. It does take place during the Christmas season, which makes some of the killings, very traumatic and you do feel empathy for the characters involve.
Raleigh does end up successful, in both solving the crime and finding  meaning in her life- so it is a happy ending, with some sad notes thrown in.  A good read for those interested in this type of book.

About Sibella: Sibella Giorello grew up in Alaska and majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College. After riding a motorcycle across the country, she worked as a features for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. She now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons. Find out more about Sibella and her other books at her website. www.sibellagiorello.com

This book was received from LitFuse in exchange for this review.  To see other reviews of this book, please go to http://litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/sibella-giorellos-the-clouds-roll-away-blog-tour.html) .

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Beautiful Christmas Story

Christmas at Harrington's
By Melody Carson
What a caring, beautiful Christmas story , this was, from beginning to end.  Christmas is approaching  and the main character , Lena, finds herself penniless, with no job or hope for the future. Although she is trying to start a new life, jobs are scarce.  Worries abound.
When a kind stranger gives her what seems like a useless gift, she is finally able to land a job, only to find herself in another negative, seemingly hopeless situation.
Lena's faith keeps her going through many trials and challenges through the Christmas season- with the help of the kindness and caring of strangers-her angels in disguise.
Melody creates great feeling in this novel- of  empathy , hope and trust in others. Her characters become very real to the reader - I could NOT put this book down. What an inspirational read for this Christmas season!!  Thank you, Melody, for reminding me that the small things we do for others can form their future and help regain their faith in God.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review of A Good Cowboy Style Fiction

Emily's Chance
By Sharon Gillenwater
This book is the second in Sharon's series called "The Callahans of Texas". The theme throughout this book is simply as stated in Chapter 1-"man meets woman. Man loves woman. Man marries woman".  BUT, this is not as simple as it sounds, at least, not to one of the main characters, Chance. In fact, it is NOT simple at all.
Emily Rose, the lovely maiden, is the other main character in this book, who has arrived at a small town in Texas to revitalize their historical museum.  She has the intention of completing the job for experience in her chosen field - to prove to her parents that her degree IS useful for something.  What Chance and Emily do not realize, is- the challenges and events that will occur in a short time span.  Emily's only desire, when she arrives at Callahan Crossing is to use this as a rung on her ladder to success- which will look good on her ever growing resume as she strives to become a big city museum curator.
Little does Emily know, that Chance, the cowboy and contractor, is going to fall for her- big time and makes a hearty attempt to keep her there- both with the town and him!!  As he helps her restore the town's history, after a disasterous fire, can he help her uncover the value of love???
Emily's main plan was to  please her parents by proving she does have a prestigious job- which she applies for, later in the story, and they have not wasted her education.
This book is a heartbreaking story of hope and healing.  The characters become very real to you as the author's talent for dialogue give them an authentic feel.  Family problems persist, relationships wobble, but peace and love overcomes all challenges. A good read, enjoyable to relax with!!  Well done!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Review of a Book that is a Work of Art with its writing of letters!!

by Susan May Warren

This book was a pure joy to review. 
Esther Lange, the main character, becomes pregnant, by a man who becomes her fiance, but true love is absent from the quick affair. It was a mistaken night of passion.  Her fiance, Linus is called off to war. Although, they had never built a true relationship, Esther truly grieves when Linus is lost in battle. She receives letters sent to her by a medic, Peter, who stayed by Linus as he lay dying. They appeared to give her comfort.
Due to the warm feeling  of receiving these letters, Esther starts to correspond with Peter, who says he is a wholesome farm boy from Iowa.  The question is:  Is he truly who he says he is ??  Although the entire book was excellent, it was the  letters that made the book  a work of art.  The letters that went back and forth between Peter and Esther were emotional, showing love and caring and written almost in a poetic style. You could actually feel what each of them was going through.  
There are secrets in this book that appear- is Peter really who he claims to be?  Is Linus really dead?  I will not spoil the storyline for you by telling you more details.
Esther does go through a great period of turmoil and hurtful experiences which she feels will hurt her little girl. She has to make many decisions of great importance.
The book concludes with a completely surprising ending. Happy but a total shock to me!!  It is definitely a  page turner and I did not want this book to end. Now I would like a follow up story. It is a story of war, not only in the world but in the inner being of the characters.  Great book that I would highly recommend!!
Book was provided by LitFuse for review purposes. More reviews can be seen on this site: http://www.litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/nightingale-by-susan-may-warren.html)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Historic Romantic Fiction at its Best!! : A Book Review

The Preacher's Bride 
By Jody Hedlund

Jody's book was inspired by the real-life story of the great hero of faith , Paul Bunyan. writer of the famous Pilgrim's Progress. Behind this great man in history was his wife and Jody has chosen to make her fictional character (although much about her is fact) , Elizabeth, into the woman that loved and stood by a man of faith and helped shape him into the hero we got to know and love.
The setting is Bedford, England and the year is 1659.  John Costin, a Pilgrim preacher has just lost his wife due to childbirth. He is left alone to fend for his small children and a newborn infant. Of course, everyone in his following thinks they know best what should be done for this tiny newborn- he is so paralyzed with grief, he chooses to think it would be best if the little one joined his mother in a better place. Then, in walks the real heroine, Elizabeth, who amidst obstacles of all sorts,  from bossy ladies to gruff men, takes over the job as housekeeper to attempt to help the situation.
John goes on his way to preach the gospel although threats are constantly made against he and his family. Elizabeth stands by him, defending his family and suffering herself, mentally and physically , in order to keep this household safe and together. Violence abounds as John refuses to bow down and stop preaching his beliefs. 
As the challenges and the warfare between people and beliefs continue, the beginnings of a loving relationship develops- whether it is true for both John and Elizabeth is for you to discover in your reading of this book.
I found this book enthralling,- adventuresome, excitement and fear all abound.  The book is certainly well written and keeps you reading until all hours of the night, as my husband can attest to!!
Well done, Jody!!!! Keep writing and I will keep reading.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dining With Joy- a Book Review

Dining with Joy
By Rachel Hauck

This book was very different from the ones I usually choose to read, but I did enjoy it very much.
Rachel has the ability to turn a serious issue into a real comedy act, and then bring us back to the serious nature in a quick turnaround.
The main character, Joy, is the "chef"  on a regionally syndicated cooking show. BUT - she has one major secret- She CAN"T cook!! But no one realizes that fact.  She has inherited the show from her father under the pretense that she is the fantastic chef that he was. When her show is picked up by a major network and given a prime time slot,  everything lets loose and flies!!!! beyond your imagination.

Then, in comes Luke Redmond, a handsome , creative chef who has just lost his own restaurant due to financial failure. He is asked to cohost the show with Joy- and she definitely feels JOY at that point-maybe he can save her.  Luke certainly becomes more than a cohost!  But, oh the trials along the way!! Joy meets so many embarrassing situations and failures- she has an enemy who really wants to see her fail. I will not tell you more as it would be a spoiler!  Wenda Devine becomes her cruel rival, although, she ends up by making Joy think of God and what is really important in life.
This is a well written book- don't know whether to call it a comedy of errors or..... Anyway, it was a fun read!
Provided courtesy of Booksneeze

Friday, October 22, 2010

Suzanne Woods Fisher has done it again!! "The Waiting" is a winner!

"The Waiting"
By Suzanne Woods Fisher
Well, Suzanne has done it again!! She has published her second Lancaster County  Secrets novel, The Waiting and it is definitely a winner!! 
The main character, Jorie's life is on hold. She has been waiting for Ben, her intended, to return to Lancaster County, settle down , join and the church and marry her.  When news arrives that Ben has been killed, her hopes are dashed, she is devastated and turns to Ben's brother, Caleb for friendship. This friendship eventually develops into love- with two broken hearts healing the other and a promise for a fresh beginnings, UNTIL their worlds are turned upside down.
The characters are so realistic and complex, you can feel their pain as they struggle with their faith and desires.  Although, the Amish are to known to have a simple life, their life is anything but that.
Suzanne has the ability to make the characters part of you and your family.
Her intertwining plots keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next event to happen- how will these challenges be met!! 
This book is not only meant for lovers of Amish fiction but for those who want to know more about the Amish lifestyle and how they deal with crises.  Definitely a page turner. Once picked up, it is hard to set aside!!

This book was provided for this review by Litfuse.

Enter to win your very own KINDLE in Suzanne Woods Fisher’s KINDLE Giveaway! Enter at the link below and then be sure to attend Suzanne’s Lancaster Secrets Book Club Party on October 28th to see if you won (and to chat about books and win one of the MANY other prizes Suzanne is giving away)!  http://www.litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/the-waiting-blog-tour.html

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book Review: Captivating Characters and a Heroine with Spunk!

A Hope Undaunted
By Julie Lessman

This novel takes place in a time of changes- the 1920's.  Julie's book has the main character, Katie O'Connor who is a feisty, "new" woman.  She definitely has goals- to become a lawyer and also have a successful, perfect husband.  Her boyfriend, Jack, appears to "fit the bill"- he is handsome, wealthy and she has him completely under her thumb.
But there appear other characters in her life with whom she has grown up and been friends with that differ very much from Jack.
Julie has a great talent in describing all of her characters in great detail, with a great passion. The two other men in Katie's life cause much uncertaintity in her goals and desires. Is she really hoping for the right things in life?  With Katie's determination and spunk, she deals with many challenges.
There are too many interconnecting plots in this book to describe, without becoming spoilers.  Katie, ends up working in a place for a summer, she least desired and with the man she least wanted to be with. Luke is the bane of her childhood existance.
Will she make the right choice-follow her plans to marry Jack, the proper, well to do young man,  or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?  Read and find out.
This is a lengthy book, but kept me enthralled with the many plots and characters that became so real to me. An excellent read!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Another book review- A Thriller - Not for the weak hearted!

Don't Look Back
By Lynette Eason

This book is definitely a true mystery thriller!!  It kept me engaged from beginning to end, trying to figure out the clues being given to solve a mystery of the most serious kind.
The main character, Jamie Cash,  a forensic anthropologist, survived a  kidnapping, meant to end in murder, twelve years ago.  She survives , after much  therapy, making a life for herself, although it is a haunting one, always looking over her shoulder in fear.  Jamie continues to be a success in her job, however, after all this time, signs start appearing that her attacker is back and ready to finish the job he started many years ago- this all takes place, just as Jamie is feeling that she is finally confident enough to have a close relationship with a man.
How will she escape a second time?  The facts leading up to her discovery that he is still around are puzzling and intriguing. Definitely not for someone who does not like visual attack scenes. At times, your heart almost stops with the suspense that is filled with gritty realism.  This book is one that can NOT be put down until the crimes are solved and I could NOT figure out the answers until they struck me in the last page of the book.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.. Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing House."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Fabulous Book by Beth Wiseman

Seek Me With All Your Heart
      By Beth Wiseman

Another great book from my favorite Amish fiction author!! What a delight to read!!
This book is a first in a new series, taking places in Colorado- called A Land of Canaan Novel.
It is still in Beth's wonderful style of writing but the Amish story takes a whole new twist- by taking place in a state not considered by many to be a residence for the Amish.

The land in this area is cheaper, so many are moving in this direction, others are trying to escape memories of strict bishops.  For the main character, Emily, she and her family have moved there due to a very personal tragedy. I will not tell you more of this, as it would be a spoiler!!  Coming from Ohio, in hope of helping heal painful memories, this family encounters more challenges. Memories seem to follow Emily wherever she is.  She has to let the Lord heal these and this book, has her work her way to that purpose.

Another character, David, moves there with his family, not really understanding why they HAD to move.  He has a serious health condition that makes him fear for his future and afraid of making commitments to anyone- even to the extent of becoming close to others.All he wants to do , is return home to Paradise, PA- until he meets Emily - and then new problems arise!!
This young couple just has one difficulty after another- each with fears, but now sharing them with each other.Can they overcome their challenges to form a lasting relationship?  You will have to read to find out!!
A great book, one you can not put down until you finish it!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Read Suzanne Woods Fisher's new book, "The Waiting"

Purchase Suzanne's new book, "The Waiting" and be ready for the Facebook Party!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher- a superb sample of Amish fiction

Amish fiction lovers- It is here - a blog tour on Suzanne's newest book, The Waiting Look for the reviews being posted during October!!
Use these links, http://www.litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/the-waiting-blog-tour.html to find out more!! Join the Facebook Party on Oct.28th to discuss the book,  meet old and new friends, visit with Suzanne and win fabulous prizes.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Time To Love, by Barbara Cameron

This book is definitely a page turner!! Jenny, the main character is a war correspondent, who is injured in her line of duty- working with children in a war zone. She is fortunate enough to be about to go to her Amish grandmother's home to recuperate- a temporary time- she thinks!! Little does she realize, Jenny meets a man who she had a crush on as a teenager and has the challenge of bridging the life she has led as an Englisher to an Amish man and life. She also has her injuries to deal with and the recovery does not happen as easily as she had hoped.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of Amish ficition as well as those who like a good mystery. I did NOT want this book to end!!Will Jenny return to her job, or will she stay, settle and marry in the Amish community which she had left behind years before???

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Novel of three best friends and their dreams !! A Book Review

In Every Heartbeat
By Kim Vogel Sawyer

This novel was most interesting and captivating.  I loved it!!
The three main characters grew up in an orphanage together and were good friends throughout their childhood  and young adulthood.  Each one had a unique background of why they ended up in an orphanage, adding suspense and questions as you read .  The current story takes place during their years at university, where they all encounter challenges, personal problems and are somewhat social misfits. 
Although they try to maintain their close friendship, others become involved in their lives, some in a positive way and some in a negative. 
Libby strives to become a journalist,  Pete- a minister and  Bennett- just wants to fit- maybe in a fraternity,anywhere where he can have fun and just belong.
When Libby makes a shocking discovery of Pete's family, the choice is apparent- will it draw a wedge between them or bring them closer together?? It has the ability to bond them in a way never anticipated, but, will they make the correct choice??

The author keeps you involved throughout the book, involving each of the three characters- in their own personal lives and in their intertwining connections.  Well done!!Sorry when it was over!!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available now from your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Amish America

 Amish America is an online newsletter that I  subscribe to. You get short emails, then can go to the longer articles from the link. Right now you can enter a contest to win 10 books - all about the Amish.What are you waiting for?? Enter, it's free!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Something New- A DVD to Review

"The Way Home"
A DVD movie based on the Inspirational True Story
Starring Dean Cain
This was a very different kind of review for me. I  had never watched a movie and then been asked to review it.  Totally different experience than holding a book in my hand and being able to flip the pages to remind myself of names, etc.
This is a story of a husband and father who is torn between the demands of his job and his family. Who is going to be more important?? It becomes evident early in the movie, that family becomes the centre of his attention in a tragic way.  Christal, Randy's wife, asks him to watch their two year old son Joe for a few minutes while she is packing for a trip. Randy becomes distracted by a work call/ computer and Joe disappears.  What a terrible feeling for the family!! Randy is overcome with grief- he wasn't being a good father- he became involved in another task rather than watching his son.
This movie also shows how a church community comes together to join in the search for the missing child. Strangers appear to help  search, as well as pray together for the safe return of Joe. 
Randy and Christal's already strained marriage now is further tested- the potential loss of their youngest child.
This is a movie, well worth watching, showing Randy's spiritual journey back to love , faith and a Godly understanding of a father's first priority- his family, NOT his job!!  Emotions run high throughout the entire movie. Will Joe be found alive, will he be found at all???
A good family movie as well as for couples struggling with what is important in their life and marriage.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An Encouraging True Story of Faith and Trust- A Book Review

"Choosing to See"
By Mary Beth Chapman, with Ellen Vaughn

All I can say is WOW!! This is truly  a book of struggle and hope- as the cover states.
This is a true (life) story of Mary Beth Chapman, her songwriter and  performer husband,
Curtis Chapman and their family, starting out as 3 children, then growing to 6.
Mary Beth's life starts out quite ordinary, but develops into something that no one can possibly plan, other than God.  She desires to live  a peaceful life and strives for stability and control, however, quickly learns that that is not to be. God is in  control, even when sometimes the results are nothing like we dreamed or wished for.
God gave her a talented, Christian husband and three great kids, but in Choosing to See, she tells us how she struggles with some of life's biggest questions- where is God when everything falls apart?  It is difficult to give the true essence of this book without including spoilers.
Let's just say, she and her husband decide their family will increase from three children to six -  through international adoption.  The adoption process is described in detailed, emotional terms- you feel you are living with them at that moment. Since we adopted our daughter,  I could feel all those mixed emotions.
When everything seems to be going so well and happiness reigns in their home, a tragedy occurs-one that no parent wants to have to deal with!!  Mary Beth tells of the struggle to survive and how to continue to believe throughout sorrow.  Although much of the book deals with extreme sadness, it ends in such  a positive way!! Sorry, can't tell you that part- it would spoil the book!!  What an encouraging story of faith that shows what God can do with a family who will follow His leading.
This book honestly tackled questions we all have at times. Why does God allow terrible things to happen? How can we survive these times??
Great book!!!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available now at your favourite booksellers from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Friday, September 24, 2010

What a Great Book for Amish fans!!

The Thorn
By Beverley Lewis

Oh, where do I start ??? This is a very difficult book to review with using spoilers!! I don't want to tell too much.  The setting is in Amish country, Lancaster County PA. Beverley describes the setting so well, that you feel you are there not only in mind but in body. 
This story involves a  young lady, Rose, her sister Hen - who married an Englisher, and a young man trying to find himself in maze of troubles.  Hen becomes the prodigal daughter who returns home, leaving her husband , to try to  go back to her Amish roots and teach her child the true faith.  In doing so, she meets many challenges, both personal and spiritual as well as with her family who believe she MUST save her marriage-  but how??? He is an agnostic and will have nothing to do with her Amish family.
Nick is a foster child who has suffered much and is struggling to find his roots. Which ones should he go to - the English or the Amish???
Rose has a struggle of her own- is she in love with someone outside the faith? She has to decide.
This is another excellent example of Amish Fiction at its best.  Beverley Lewis continues to write with detail and feeling.  I would highly recommend this to all readers. If you have never tried the Amish Fiction genre, this is a good book to start with.  Great  Book!!!!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf- Martin Communications Inc,Available now from your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing House."

What a marvellous trip!!

Our  trip to Paradise PA was SO much fun. This year, we had the pleasure of sharing our holiday with my sister (in law ),  who celebrated her 70th birthday while there.  If you are looking for a marvellous Bed and Breakfast, try Frogtown Acres. They have a website where you can see their rooms and breakfast menus. The innkeeper, Joe is the King of practical jokes and kept us in stitches during our breakfast each day. We were able to sit and watch the Amish in the fields harvesting the corn, with their teams of mules and horses, watch the buggies clip clopping down the road and travelled far and wide in Lancaster County. Of course, I bought LOADS of quilt fabric- if you are a quilter- that is where you should go- very reasonable and I  purchased a few books- like 20 or so.Lol! Now back home to do my next book review. And guess what???? It is an Amish fiction, The Thorn by Beverley Lewis!!YEAH!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Trip to Lancaster County

Well, it is that time of year again!! Our annual trip to Paradise, PA!! Amish country to see the sights, tsounds and feel the peacefulness. The faith that our Amish friends exhibit is what I greatly admire.  I will attempt to post photos when I return from this holiday of relaxation.
Quilt shops, book stores and Amish restaurants will be our destinations. We are also going to see Joseph at the Sight and Sound Theatre. What a gift!! God has given us the opportunity to observe peace at its best.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Marvellous Book of Romance- "Love, Charleston"

Book Review:  "Love, Charleston"
                             By Beth Webb Hart

Beth grabs your attention from the first chapter of her book and never fails to lose it!! She has written a beautiful story of compassion with an unerring eye to detail.
This is a story of a pastor who must leave his comfortable church to minister to those in an entirely different setting- upscale, higher class Charleston. He is a single father to one little girl who he adores. The bookd goes on to descibe his new duties and experiences. This is also a story of a family, with a marriage filled with challenges and scares- health, insecurity, family disagreements.
The main character, Lish, experiences a physical/mental disturbance that is frightening to her and all around her. Is suicide the answer? Is treatment the answer? You must read to find out. The book tells the story of  a family in crisis, poor Lish is totally confused and terrified by her physical symptoms.  Her marriage is disintegrating and she is unable to do anything about it. Her children's experiences in this sithuation are described in a detailed, empathetic way.
Meanwhile, the widower minister, finds a new love in his church community as he ministers to this needy family.
A well written book!! A true page turner!! Romance and intrigue are present throughout this creation.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Review- "The Summons to Become"

"The Summons to Become"- A Book Review
  By Rachel Chambers

The Summons to Become is a book written by a mother of 6 children, detailing her life as she and her family went through the many changes necessary when the decision was made to become missionaries in Africa.
This family story started as a normal autobiography, but then became very different, very quickly.  Rachel, a mom and wife, tells her story and her family's journey as they venture miles away to a strange country with different customs and totally different lifestyle. All this done to share and witness their faith in the Lord with those who otherwise may never become aware of the choices they have.
It is an easy read and keeps you interested throughout- with the humor, as well as the trials and tribulations in a very different culture. Raising children in an environment, such as Africa , encountering numerous problems, we would never have in North America was described in a fun, interesting tone.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and happened upon it completely by accident- sitting in a Bed and Breakfast in Ohio, talking about reviewing books, then discovering that a table mate, was an author who had just published this book. It was a pleasure to read this for Rachel and I give it a five star review.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What a Privilege to Review this book!! "Amish Proverbs"

Another Review
"Amish Proverbs- Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life"
By Suzanne Woods Fisher

This is one of the best little books I have ever had in my possession!!
Suzanne has outdone herself with this gift book of Amish Proverbs- priceless, amusing at times and very meaningful!!
When asked to choose a favourite proverb, I was extremely disturbed! ONLY one????? I love them all, BUT one stands out and is particularly meaningful to me-
"When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there."
Suzanne used this proverb in her book, "The Choice" and it struck me then how true this is.
I was also asked to post a family saying used often in my life.
This one is "Each day comes bearing its own gifts, but you have to untie the ribbons."

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing

Friday, August 13, 2010

Another Excellent Thriller to Read : "The Constantine Conspiracy"

A Great Book of Intrigue and the Power of Truth

Book Review- The Constantine Conspiracy
                            By Gary A. Parker

This book begins in Rome in AD313 and you wonder to where on earth this story is going lead!!  I thought that this was going to be a long, boring read!! Boy, was I wrong!!  The entire book was full of suspense and international intrigue, conspiracy and the power of truth.
An international playboy, Rick Carson stumbles upon a murder in his own Montana home- that of his father!  He does not expect to be the main suspect ,but it appears that that is just what he is.  He also does not expect to be caught in the middle of a 1700 year old conspiracy with connections to the very highest level of the government.
Another character enters the scene- Shannon Bridge- who is the first responder to the emergency call- showing up as a law enforcement agent....  but is she really who she says she is???? That is everyone's question, including Rick's and the reader!!Why is she so ready to help Rick elude the law if she is legitimate?
These questions remain throughout the book, keeping you in constant suspense. The author is extremely successful in connecting many ideas and time eras, all the while, keeping the reader fully engaged in the mystery- which turns into many mysteries. 
I would highly  recommend this book to those who love intrigue and complicated plots. Well done!!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing  Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Monday, August 2, 2010

An Excellent Example of Suspense Writing

Book Review
Steven James Launch Party!

"The Bishop"
by Steven James

This book was one of the best suspense thrillers that I have read for a long while.  I am not a great fan of this genre, so did not know what I would encounter when reading it.  I do question the fact that it is classed as Christian Fiction, as I did not find any reference to the faith that I feel it should have portrayed to be put in that category. That put aside, it was a fantastic read and I enjoyed it from beginning to end.  The first chapter grabs your attention and keeps it!!

FBI agent, Patrick Bower, has cutting edge skills and in this book push him to the limit when a young woman's body is discovered brutally murdered in Washington DC.  Her killers continues his spree of murders  which tend to be the perfect crimes- it seems no mistakes are made to leave clues behind to aid solving the crimes. As nothing seems to link the crimes, FBI Agent Bower faces the most difficult case yet- finding an answer to these murders is his quest. You can live this situation with him as the scenes are vividly described. Bower's personal life is crumbling around him, but he persists!  He must find the answer at all costs and he does!!

The adrenilene flowed in my veins as I read this thriller, always wanting to  know what was going to happen next-  no predictable events in this book!!   The author definitely engaged you actively in the crimes and emotions -  his and others in the story.  Well done. I highly recommend this to other readers- even those who don't like thrillers, may get "hooked".  OH, and I love the connection to the Bishop in the chess set.  What a unique idea!! Creativity flows in this author!! Now, I want to read the other books in his series!!

'Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available now at your favorite book seller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

A Great Read- "Angel Song"

Book Review:
"Angel Song"
By Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman

This book was one fantastic read!!  Kept me captivated from start to finish!!
Sheila and Kathryn have captured the true feeling of what life should be all about throughout their story.

Anne Fletcher has returned to her hometown of Charleston to celebrate her sister, Sarah's success in obtaining her master's degree. But instead of rejoicing with her, finds herself in the back of an ambulance, watching as Sarah clings and fights for life.  As they race to the hospital, Sarah talks to someone who Anne cannot see and hums a melody never before heard by Anne.
That melody stays with Anne- in the hospital chapel, then in her dreams and again in Sarah's house. Two of Sarah's neighbors have a profound effect on Anne- a young man who lends a shoulder to lean on (gets Sarah's house ready to sell) and a next door neighbor whose 12 year old Down's Syndrome child also can hear those songs and see the angels, that Anne believes Sarah also could see. He insists that these angels are looking out for Anne in ways she never imagined.
This is an excellent example of the development of faith-God reveals Himself to Anne through her new friends and supernatural events.  Anne meets many challenges along the way but finally accepts God's healing love.
This book touches the inner part of your soul as you make the journey with Anne and feel her struggles. The involvement with a mentally challenged child who has a clear understanding of faith  just gives you such a challenge!! It is so simple yet we often find it so hard to believe!!
A book well worth reading. A "hard to put down" book!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Book Review :A Missing Girl and a Corrupt Investigation- "Back on Murder"

Back on Murder
By J. Mark Bertrand

This book involves a Houston homicide detective, Roland March, who was once one ot the best!! However, he  is now very disillusioned, cynical,  and is being farmed out to  cases that are meant to be punishment to him. Finally, he comes upon an unexpected opportunity to save his previously envious career. He has the task of finding a missing daughter of an evangelist that every other cop is looking for,with  little success.  March discovers it is a multiple murder with connecting cases. He faces his past which he fears.
A positive aspect to this book is that there are no graphic descriptions of the crimes , yet you know the details of the homicides and the disappearance through the dialogue and interaction of the characters. Written in the first person, the book tends to be quite "wordy", making you know him well as a person, however, you fail to involve yourself completely in the action.  The author very cleverly connects the three crimes together and it is through March's persistence that the crimes are solved.
It appeals to an audience interested in the police detective genre without having to visualize graphic images. Well done for those who enjoy detective novels.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Historical Fiction Book Review- "Courting Morrow Little"

Courting Morrow Little
By Laura Frantz

Historical fictions are not usually my books of choice, however, I found this one to be very enjoyable and quite a page turner.
The main character, Morrow has gone through a devastating experience of having her family torn apart by the raiding Shawnee warriers. Members of her family were murdered and her brother was missing. The story commences with Morrow, as a young woman struggling with an ailing father and she must now make some extremely difficult choices about her future. Although many men vie for her hand in marriage, she she finds herself drawn to perhaps the most forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. She feels she may be betraying the members of her family, if she pursues a life with him. Or... she could marry a man she does NOT love!  What should she do??
The book takes you through her following years with many challenges and scares!!  I found myself just waiting to see how the situations were resolved.
A surprise ending was indeed enjoyable. 
Laura Frantz keeps your attention throughout the book with the details of the Shawnee raids in the communities of Kentucky. Well done!! A good read!!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing House."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"The Seeker"- Learn about the Shakers!!

Book Review:
The Seeker
By Ann H. Gabhart

When I started to read this book, I knew very little about the Shaker faith- as they no longer exist. Upon finishing the first page of  Chapter One, I had already become aware of some of their beliefs- celebacy- no marriage. Although it is fiction, there are many facts that were interesting. It is an education in the beliefs of the Shakers as well as a story about living in a Shaker community and what it involves.

Charlotte, the main character, is preparing for her upcoming marriage, when her fiance decides to join the Shakers- NOT allowing marrriage!  You feel her dismay and her agony as you read through the book. She then encounters many other problems- her father brings home a new wife who is young enough to be her sister. Both her household and her country are in a state of disarray- the country being on the brink of Civil War.
Ann keeps your attention throughout the book, having Charlotte join the Shaker community to try to gain back her fiance. Little does she know that this decision will lead her to unforeseen consequences.  Unexpected events constantly keep your attention.
Love blooms in a most unexpected way.  Charlotte is a Southern Belle in war-torn Kentucky who succeeds in her quest for love - in most surprising circumstances.
An excellent read, definitely a page-turner to the very end!!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell,a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

WOW!! "Perfectly Dateless" - an excellent young adult novel

"Perfectly Dateless"
By Kristen Billerbeck

I absolutely loved the title page where under the statement was posted "A Universally Misunderstood Novel"!! What a way to catch a young person's attention. Super way to begin a book and coax a reluctant reader into wanting to see what this book has to offer.
The main character, Daisy, has 196 days to find the right date for her prom- BUT her major problem is-how can she succeed, when her parents won't let her date- won't even let her talk to a boy on the phone!!
You have empathy with this teenage girl who is purely invisible at school- all her clothes are lame and homemade by her mom. She is quiet, with poor social skills. The author makes it very easy to identify with her and feel her hurt and humiliation. Daisy has a Diary in which she keeps track of possible dates, how to get them, how many days to the prom.... The problem is- how can she succeed when facing so many challenges??
The author keeps you guessing throughtout the book-can she talk her parents to even allow her to attend this social event?  You just have to love Daisy and the way she copes with her problems, eccentric parents included. The book is a hilarious yet warm story of a teen who just wants to be normal.  Even a geek wants to live out a dream.
Does Daisy get to the prom? Does she have a date? Read the book to find out. You certainly won't be disappointed. It is an exellent read- for all ages!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Friday, July 2, 2010

Embracing Your Second Calling- a rather disappointing read

A Book that promised a lot- but I was a bit disappointed, July 2 2010

Embracing Your Second Calling

By Dale Hanson Bourke

The topic of this book immediately caught my interest. Here I am, a woman in my 50's, and the author promises that you can "find passion and purpose for the rest of your life".

Upon beginning to read, I was very interested in the fact that she uses the fact that as we grow older, we do indeed change who we are and how we react to life and circumstances with which we are presented. That is SO true!! Dale uses the story of Naomi and Ruth to apply what she is trying to get us to understand. That was one part of the book that I especially enjoyed.

Her addition of the Reflect boxes were thought provoking, however, I was extremely disappointed with her Act boxes. Many were not practical for most people not were they things that most women would do.

I found the book centred on her life, which is fine, she wants us to see how she herself changed, however, I became tired of the "me" involved in the book. Not all of us have the money nor position to do some of the things she has been able to do. I thought that she could have given us some more practical suggestions on "HOW" to change in a positive manner.

So... although, it was an interesting and different read, I found this book did not meet my needs. Perhaps, I am beyond the age of audience of the book for whom it is written. In my 40's, I may have taken a different perspective upon reading it.

Hopefully, others can use her suggestions. I felt that I could not.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Review of "The Homecoming"

The Homecoming
By Dan Walsh

This was an outstanding story of a reluctant war hero who returns home, encountering heartbreak along his long path. You immediately identify with Shawn, who is excited about returning to his small son, although that too, involves some bitter sweet feelings. Shawn is a good Christian who has "done everything right"- for God, his country, his family, but still he is presented with challenges that you feel along with him. You  empathize with him and  feel his pain. This book enthralled me from start to finish.
All at home is not well, yet Shawn is called back to  serve his country, which he does with mixed feelings- you feel the struggle along with him.  He now requires a nanny to mind his son while he is away, even though he would prefer to be the caregiver. While he is on the road, Shawn has to make an important decision, but he has no idea of the impact it will have on his life.It could be the key to happiness and the mending of his heart or war could once again threaten his chance at a new start..
This book is a fine example of tender family feelings and the mending of a broken heart.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Book has been provided courtesy of Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communication, Inc.
Available at your local bookseller fromRevell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

ANOTHER Book Review : "A Hopeful Heart" By Kim Vogel Sawyer

Kim Vogel Sawyer has outdone herself again!! She treats readers to a love story that definitely speaks to the heart. My attention was immediately captured upon beginning the first chapter, where Kim introduces the main character, Tressa, who is alone on a train, awaiting a rather frightening, adventure. She is to attend a one of a kind program that teaches young women from the East the skills to become a rancher- OR more importantly- become the wife of one!! Unknown challenges, a new environment- will she be able to be successful?? Tressa, who was once used to a privileged life, fears she will not have what it takes to survive and the hands-on instruction in skills such as milking a cow, branding a calf, cooking up a mess of grub for hungry ranch hands!!

Upon her arrival at the "school", Tressa meets others who in similar circumstances- many trials and oppositions. To meet the "man of her dreams" becomes somewhat of a mystery- who is that man? Which of two should she be with?? Mysteries are unveiled- cattle stolen, shots fired- you just never know what will happen next!!

All in all, this book was a delightful historical fiction, with a definite
Christian influence. Surprises around each corner.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Take Your Best Shot"- a book review

"Take Your Best Shot"
By Austin Gutwein (with Todd Hillard)
The topic of this book immediately grabs your attention- the caring attitude of a nine year old boy makes a difference throughout the world!! When Austin was at this young age, he first saw a short video of a little girl, Maggie, who lived in Zambia, with her great grandmother- all of her other relatives had died of AIDS!! This short segment, done by World Vision, a nonprofit, nondenominational agency was appealing to the public to get help for these poor young victims of a tragic disease. Although I enjoyed the book, it was well written, I felt it is meant for a young adult audience more than anyone else. Austin is a wise young man who truly made a difference with his Shooting Hoops to earn money to send to World Vision to sponser a child- being far more successful than he had hoped or dreamed. He went on in his teen years to do more for this relief agency to assist those in such great need in Zambia. It would serve a purpose as a study book for a group of young people to spur them on to show how they can make a difference. For myself, it was a slow read, pleasant however not thrilling.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Newest Review -"Plan B"

"Plan B"
By Pete Wilson
Have you ever felt like you have lost total control of your life?? You have done everything the "right" way, and still things are going wrong! That is what was happening in our family, when the book, "Plan B" arrived in the mail, for me to review. It came at the most appropriate moment! Pete Wilson reaches far beyond the so called typical response to give you encouragement and hope when you feel things have gotten the best of you.
Pete refers to real life Bible stores (David, Mary, etc) and applies his theories of how to move on beyond a crisis and attain the peace for which we all search.

His first sentence got my attention, "Do you remember the day you discovered your life wasn't going to turn out quite the way you thought?" . He uses the Bible stories, his own experience and those of others to explain how to get beyond your shattered dreams and turn to Plan B- it is not all about your control, it is about accepting what God has put in front of you and dealing with it in a positive manner.
He loves us in spite of the challenges He puts in front of us.
Pete has given us hope in his writings, using Bible verses and the personal experiences.
Plan B is certainly worth the read. It gave me what I needed the day I started reading it. It is thought provoking and makes "a whole lot of sense". He provides honest hope for all of us!!

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kathy Fuller at her best, yet again!!

Fantastic Amish Fiction for Young Adults- and us oldies, too!!, May 16 2010
By Karla Hanns (Ontario, Canada)

A Summer Secret (Paperback)

Kathy Fuller has done it again!! She has written another wonderful Amish novel, "A Summer Secret" - BUT this time it is the beginning of a series, entitled "The Mysteries Of Middlefield" for young adults. This doesn't mean those of us who are a "few" years beyond that, don't enjoy it too!! The setting is in Amish country, in Middlefield, Ohio, as all of her adult Amish fiction books are, but this time she has "spread her wings"!! This mystery is for a younger audience. The main characters are thirteen year old Mary Beth, an Amish girl and her twin brother,Johnny as well as a "Yankee", Sawyer- a young runaway from the city. It seems as if poor Mary Beth is always enduring the boyish pranks and responsibility of caring for her brothers. She has found a secret peaceful place to get away from it all- in an abandoned barn nearby. Although Mami and Daed have forbidden her to go there- she needs her own space and disobeys. But, then the story becomes exciting- is this really her secret place???? This leads her to a mystery that could put her in grave danger!!! Should she tell her strict Amish parents or not??
The true Amish family life was evident in this story. The young people have normal problems and become involved in situations that are against their Christian values, somewhat. This story is a cliff hanger- what will these kids do to solve the mystery, as well as obey their parents?? The ending was quite different from what I was expecting-
a surprise which was a delight!! I can hardly wait for Book 2 to come out- AND I AM NOT the intended audience- but it is again, Amish fiction at its best!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Review- This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson

Well, folk, this is my second book review!! "This Fine Life", by Eva Marie Everson was a good read. If you like southern style romances, this is the book for you. It is well written and the descriptions of life in different situations are vividly created. From a privileged life, to a challenging situation in a short period of time, the main character encounters many problems. This book describes her spiritual walk, from a non believer to faithful Christian. With a husband, who becomes a pastor in an isolated community, Mariette must decide- is she just going to quit and leave this life- her beloved husband OR struggle to become the person she knows she is meant to be. This is a tender, unique romance, exemplifying perserverence and forgiveness. Mariette becomes a very real person in your life as you read- an ordinary person who meets the challenge with success!!

Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My First Book Review- Walk Like you Have Somewhere to Go

Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go
By Lucille O'Neal (with Allison Samuels)

I am so excited to post my first book review!! What an excellent book to start with!
Lucille describes her life as an ordinary person, with many challenges, that many of us have not faced and then living with an extremely opposite way of life as the mother of the famous basketball player, Shaquille O'Neal. She begins each chapter with a meaningful Bible verse- not only pertaining to the chapter, but one that you can use in your daily life and struggles.
Lucille's life story starts out with her as a frightened, single, teenaged mom and grows into a marvellous, confident woman of faith, with the great ability to help others in their own problem areas. Her understanding goes far beyond normal, as she has "lived the life"!
In her book, Lucille discusses her problem with physical size, place in society, poverty, then the challenge of dealing with a life changing experience. Her book concludes with a list of Bible verses that you can use to encourage yourself- God loves you in spite of your imperfections!! An excellent read!! Very much a self help book, as she states, "from mental welfare to mental health". WOW!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Finished my first full sized quilt today!!

Today, my greatest accomplishment!! I finished my first Jelly Roll quilt!! It was done in a flower pattern, soft pinks, greens and blues on a soft beige background, then the patches were set on point!! A bit of a challenge but oh , the feeling of success when the blocks were all put together. Now, comes the job of handquilting- I think this one is simply "stitch in the ditch". Wonder how long it will take!! Good feeling to get one done!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Books, books and more books!

I just finished Beth Wiseman's book, Plain Paradise, the fourth in her series. What a talented author she is !! Her portrayal of the Amish is outstanding. She gives so much of herself in her books and in this one she showed us her true heart- and faith. The main couple in the story who become engaged encounter problems that many of us have experienced . Beth has them react to some difficulties in a way perhaps thought unusual for someone in the Amish faith. To those of us who have adoption in our families, this book is easy to relate to. What a wonderful way to spend the day!! Reading Amish fiction!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Amish Book Club

To all of you out there who read Amish Fiction, there is a book club beginning tomorrow on Amish Living on Kathy Fuller's new book, An Honest Love. Many of us who quilt love the Amish and enjoy reading about them. Try the site. It is great!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beginning Quilting

I have had such a glorious time learning to quilt. My first experience was in Lancaster PA, among the Amish- who have to be the most talented quilters I have ever seen. Humble, creative, faithful souls , they are. I took half day workshop and learned the basics of handquilting, then came back to ON, Canada to begin my lessons on piecing a quilt. Luckily, I found an excellent teacher and shop and have had a positive beginning.
I have much to learn, but with help, I am sure I can "get" it right!! With my Amish built frame, I sit and relax in the evening while stitching. So.... it's not perfect.... but maybe some day it will be!! At least in someone's eyes- NOT a quilter!! Anyone can learn to quilt, I am convinced!

Another Fantastic Read by One of My Favorite Authors, Vannetta Chapman!

An Amish Proposal for Christmas  By Vannetta Chapman Synopsis: Her deepest Christmas wish will bring more than she imagined…in this novel by...