25 Book Reviews

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Historical Fiction At Its Best! A great romance!

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"The Maid of Fairbourne Hall"
              By Julie Klassen

Julie has outdone herself by writing another winning novel, using her talents of creating characters who are engaging and full of mystery and intrigue. The characters are well described and so alive, they become part of you. You can feel the adventure and hardships that each goes through. She capably includes  mystery  and danger into the plot , while developing a romantic theme throughout the book , in fact, there is more than one romance alive in this story.

Julie is able to keep you glued to the book by using her talent to create a scandalous mystery with secrets and romance that you can only imagine.  She is often compared by many as a modern Jane Austen, which is an accurate description.  

Synopsis:  The main character, Margaret flees her mother and stepfather's home in London to avoid being forced to marry a dishonorable man. Her stepfather knows that she is to come into a huge inheritance and wishes his nephew to marry her , in order to get his hands on the money. Mary runs, as she feels that is her only escape, with her lady's maid and takes a position in a household as a servant, doing jobs that have always been done for her. She has always been "The Lady" , not the maid. 
What is a complete shock , is that she ends up in the household working for the family of two former suitors.  Margaret, with a disguise and new name , fumbles her way through some jobs, that most of us would rather not even discuss.  Will she be discovered and forced out of hiding??  Will her stepfather get her inheritance and force an unwanted marriage upon her, or will she rekindle an old romance with a former suitor?? 
This book takes us into a different world- one of "belowstairs world" of a 19th century English manor. Appearances are very deceiving. Just because it is a manor , does not exempt it, or those in it,  from becoming involved in mystery, intrigue and danger. 

A great book!! Well done, Julie!! This is a great compliment from a fan who normally does not like Historical Fiction!! BUT , I could not put this book down!

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About Julie:
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Link to buy the book:

This book was provided by LitFuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

An Engaging Story by Inspirational Speaker and Author

 Product Details

                           "Blue Moon Bay"
             By Lisa Wingate

Lisa has continued to write in her creative style, with a depth and certainly great joy and wit.  Her skill in describing her characters do not differ in this novel. She again is successful in enabling you to identify with the variety of characters in her story. And they are very different from one another!! But you feel the pain, challenges and success and yes, eventually joy  of each one of them.  
The plot of this book intrigued me from the first chapter. The main character, Heather is a professional, successful architect , yet the book begins in her not so pleasant past memories.  I had no idea where this was leading. Lisa continues this trend throughout the book. I would just think I had figured out the whole theme and story and then another twist would occur in the plot.  It did take me a while to completely understand where this story  was heading.  But I enjoyed every moment of my confusion. LOL

Heather, the Seattle architect makes a trip back home to the tiny town of Moses Lake, Texas. This is certainly not in the plans for her future success, however ,  it is  much needed - a promotion depends on the sale of the family farmland.  Heather has nightmares of this place and has never wanted to return but is determined to go, then return to Seattle , with the signed contract in her hand- the VERY next day. Does it every go that easily?? Not for Heather!  
Heather meets totally unexpected , underlying currents going on in her old home and with her entire family. She has not been close to her mother for years but now very strange things are going on. She can not figure out what- and neither could I!! I was completely mystified.   Her family is steeped in deep secrets of which she has had not knowledge. There seems to be some very illegal matters taking place , involving the town banker.  Heather has to decide - are her family and friends crooks or crusaders??  Her extended visit is necessary in order for her to discover the truth- before she loses everything she has ever worked for .  
It is truly a complicated theme and keeps you thinking throughout the book.  What is really going on?? So MANY secrets and hidden meanings!!

A fantastic book, Lisa!! You have done it again!! Congratulations on a book well done!

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A New Amish Series to Love!

Product Details"Her Restless Heart"   
                    By Barbara Cameron

Barbara has again come up with a new winning Amish Series, entitled, "Stitches in Time".  This book immediately appealed to me, a quilter, as the setting of  "Her Restless Heart", Book 1, is an Amish shop that sells quilts, woven crafts, knitting, amongst other Amish made crafts.   The shop is owned by the grandmother , Leah , who has taken her grandaughters under her wing, to help her in the shop, in addition to help them deal with problems in their lives.

The main character, Mary Katherine, is dealing with many challenges. She has had a difficult time at home, with a stern father, who seems to disapprove of all she is interested in and fails to show her any of the love that she desperately desires. Her desire to weave and love of beautiful colors is totally against his idea of a good Amish girl's thoughts and desires. She is still single and has not yet become a member of the church.
Mary Katharine finds herself caught between the traditions of her faith and the pull of the Englisch lifestyle. She is even more confused when her friend, Daniel arrives from Florida, and seems to feel a similar restlessness.  His new life away from Lancaster County seems so appealing.
On the other hand, Jacob, a long time friend, has been in love with her for a very long time. He is terrified that he will lose her to another!!
Which young man will she choose to be with? Will she join the Amish faith and remain loyal to her roots??
Barbara does an excellent job of describing the confusion and the tests that this young woman feels. You feel with the characters, as a young woman's faith is tested. Barbara has once again shown her talent in accurately describing the Amish faith and the need for all of us to experience love. Amish are no different than Englischers in this regard. The romance and the challenges are presented so well. I can hardly wait for Book Two to find out what happens to Mary Katherine. Will it deal with her? Who else from this shop will become involved?

Great book, Barbara!! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Am eagerly waiting for the next book!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Another winner from Shelley Shepherd Gray

"Missing"Product Details
By Shelley Shepherd Gray

Shelley Shepherd Gray has again written a winning book. Her series entitled "Crittenden County" is going to be made up of thought provoking books. You can tell by "Missing"
Shelley deals with the idea of change in this novel. There is a decision made and then it causes a ripple effect- within a family and a community.  This community feels great guilt for not worrying more about a young man when he went missing. They wonder if his death could have been avoided. So many issues are dealt with in this book. The main character , Lydia, discovers she was adopted, but this is not made known to her until she is an adult. How does that affect one's life? How can they adapt?God provides a helpmate for her, Walker , who seems to always be there in her times of need- and there are MANY!!
I loved Shelley's Amish saying at the end of the book, "It is better to make new mistakes than to repeat old ones"!! Very meaningful after reading this book.
My only problem with this book, was------ I did not want it to end. It did not come to a conclusion, satisfactory to me. Well, I guess , I just have to read book 2 in the series, The Search, which comes out in June.
You left me hanging, Shelley!!! A great book with great characters!! Can hardly wait for the next one.

Another Winner from author Terri Blackstock

      "Downfall"Product Details
By Terri Blackstock

When I want to read a well-written Christian mystery/thriller, I always go to see what recent books, Terri has published. I, then know, that I will not be disappointed with the content of the book. Her books are ALWAYS  cliff hangers, with meaningful messages. The characters are realistic, well described , and the families encounter the same kind of problems that anyone could have- BUT hopefully do not!!  "Downfall" was no exception!!! I loved this book. It was full of tense situations, nightmares that none of us want to have- BUT you certainly feel you are there with this family as they deal with drug problems, threats , as well as a mother's distrust of her daughter.  Terri does a fantastic job of describing a family situation in which the members are all hurting in one way or another- and you FEEL these . You just want to put your arms around the characters and say, "It WILL be okay!"  
Terri deals with the difficult subject of drug abuse, which is so common in today's society.   Trying to save loved ones is so heartbreaking.  The main character, Emily, is a recovered drug addict, however, things occur that make her mother suspect that she is using again.  Emily is extremely hurt that her mom would exhibit such distrust in her, as she really is not! She is being put in  circumstances that make her look suspicious and even spends time in jail, although innocent. A mystery surrounds her. Who and why does someone want Emily to look guilty of things such as drug abuse and worse, much worse? Emily's brother , Lance, also suffers, while trying to help a friend. This book is one in which  drug abuse and intervention appear, but Terri shows how God can heal and repair the brokenhearted.
This last book of the Intervention series gives families hope . God can fix these problems, if allowed.
I loved the thought provoking theme and the continuous action in this book. 
Thank you , Terri, for dealing with this difficult subject in a sensitive, helpful way. AND you did it with your creative writing skills involving such mystery.
This ebook was provided by abovethetreeline.com in exchange for review.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Some photos of quilts made by the Quiet Quilter

I guess since my blog is entitled, "The Quiet Quilter", I should post some photos of some recent quilts that I have completed. I am not an expert, by any  means , and get weekly instructions from Kindred Spirits Quilt Co. It is a hobby that seems to go along well with my other favorite thing to do- READ!! And my favorite genre: AMISH FICTION!!

So here are some examples:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Thriller - not for the meek!

"Heart of Ice"
By Liz Wiehl, with April Henry

I had very mixed feelings while reading this book.  It certainly fits the category of a thriller and is listed on the cover as "a Triple Threat Novel". It does live up to that description. This novel is very authentic and compelling- both streetwise and sophisticated. I must say, it is extremely fast paced and is so full of twists and turns that it keeps you guessing until the end.
The main character is a twisted killer, although on the outside appears to be a beautiful and a successful businesswoman.  She has the most chilling personality that I have encountered for a very long time- with her desire to kill and want others dead.  I must admit, that this is not my type of book to read. Others, who enjoy descriptive thrillers would love it. I prefer a little less detail , maybe because this book made me feel fear so extreme that the enjoyment of reading lessoned. I am sure that that was the author's intent and she did accomplish that !!

Synopsis:  There are seemingly random crimes occurring.  Theft, fraud, arson, murder!! But it turns out that they are indeed not random acts- they are a well planned game- one which is deadly. All arranged by one woman who is beautiful, clever and lethal.

Elizabeth has a heart of ice, although to look at her, you would never dream it possible.  She is a master manipulator who convinces strangers to do the unthinkable acts. But, she begins to become a bit to secure and gets a little too close to the action.  
When she catches the eye of an FBI agent, after killing a  young reporter, Elizabeth's act begins to fail. Little do the agents know, they are on a first name basis with the  very one committing the crimes!! Are one of them on her list? Will they be the next killed in her game??
Those who LOVE thrillers, would enjoy this book.
The book was provided by Booksneeze in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Friday, February 3, 2012

What a Thriller!!! NOT a bedtime story!!

"When the Smoke Clears"When the Smoke Clears: A Novel (Deadly Reunions)
     By Lynette Eason 

I have loved every one of Lynette's books that I have read, and this one was no exception!!  The plots thicken as the books progress and this book, in particular, kept me on the edge of my seat, as I read it. There is so much variety in plot changes that you are constantly enthralled and keep guessing what will happen next. And guess what- my guesses were NEVER correct!!

Lynette's characters are realistic to the point of becoming part of you. I could feel the fear and the danger, as the plot thickened. The description of the events , along with the characters  just kept you guessing and ever fearful of what would occur next. This is definitely a fast moving tale filled with non stop action. I could not turn those pages fast enough nor read quickly enough to suit me.  This story manages to involve murder but not in a gory sense , but in a way, that brings friends back to the fold and forced to face the past, not always pleasant. The Christian aspect is throughout the book as God is needed to protect and heal old wounds.

The main character, Alexis, a smokejumper, has had a brush with death, due to equipment failure. Totally devastated, she is ordered to take time off her job while the matter is investigated. She is under suspicion. Alexis makes a sudden decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion- both of which cause her  stress and do not have positive memories attached to them.  Trouble follows her, much to her shock and distress. Within an hour of arriving in her old home, she encounters a murder , arson and.... a handsome detective.  
The conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of the past. Alexis discovers and remembers  disastrous times in the years gone by. Forgiveness is a big part of this book. She must forgive her family's past, before moving ahead with the future.  A secret that has been hidden for years comes  to light and must be faced. 
Meanwhile, someone is appearing to murder her for an unknown reason, also killing anyone who gets in the way.  This is a book that is full of suspense and romantic tension. God is left to work on this family and the town. There is an ending to this book that is a total surprise. 
A great thriller full of family issues, forgiveness, love and the healing touch of God.

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A New Author to Amish Fiction! Don't miss this one!!

"Leaving Lancaster"Product Details
     By Kate Lloyd
I am always curious when new authors appear, writing my favorite genre, Amish fiction.  Kate Lloyd became a Facebook friend before I even knew that she was a writer!! We discussed the Lancaster , PA area , places to go, things to see, etc. Then, low and behold, I discover that she is preparing to  publish a book, entitled, "Leaving Lancaster" !! Surprise!!

This is Kate's second book to hit the market, the first being, "A Portrait of Marguerite".  Kate has done her research well. Her facts and information about the Amish are accurate and sensitive to their feelings.

Synopsis of book:
The main character, Holly Fisher, is in her thirties and longs for a family.  She has grown up in Seattle without a dad, or extended family and her greatest longing is to belong- have a sense of a heritage. Suddenly, her mother, Esther, reveals what has been kept secret for many years. Holly does have a grandmother  and uncles who are alive and have a great desire to meet her. They are begging Esther to return to her home- BUT here comes the great shock- it is in Lancaster PA on a farm in an AMISH community.  Holly had  had no idea of her Amish background that her mother chose to abandon before she was born.  
Esther is terrified to see her mother  and siblings, although guilt ridden. She begs Holly to accompany her to see her before she dies. BUT, can this trip  heal old wounds and fullfill  secret longings??  Will Esther be forgiven for deserting her faith?  Will the family become whole again?? Will Holly find that for which she has been longing?
You MUST read this book to find out!!

I loved the well described characters. I felt Holly's pain and desires. Her desires , confusion, happiness became part of me.
The plot was well developed. There were many surprises along the way, which kept me reading way beyond bedtime!! I read this book in two days- I HAD to know how all of the challenges were met!!   A great book , with great characters and a great plot!! What more can you ask for??

Well done, Kate! Looking forward to your next Amish book!!
Book was provided by David C. Cook and the author in exchange for a review.

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...