25 Book Reviews

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Katie's Journey to Love - Jerry Eicher's Newest Novel- A True Winner!!

Book Two of The Emma Raber's Daughters Series

Jerry Eicher has done it again!! I do believe that this is his best book yet!!

The main character, Katie, never fit in ANYWHERE! At school, at home, at church, in the community!  Why? Because her mother was considered "strange" by the Amish community in which they lived. Katie never thought that her maam  would remarry, not with the reputation of being so odd!! 

Of course, Katie also didn't believe that she would ever have a male interested in her. She was shocked to become the object of Ben Stoll's attention. He, being a popular, handsome young man, is much desired by the whole single female population!!  Katie truly believed that she would be forever labelled as "Emma Rader's daughter" forever and always be an outsider to the other Amish youth.

BUT , things change!! Mamm marries Jesse Mast and Katie finds herself riding in Ben's buggy!! What a surprise !! Maybe all things are possible, even marriage????

Katie travels to Europe with her new friends to visit the birthplace of the Amish faith. She was very reluctant to accept the invitation as she did not have the money to cover her airfare or accommodations, however, to her surprise, the expenses are unexpectedly paid by an anonymous donor.  Katie's life is definitely looking up!

BUT then  her world crashes down upon her!! The worst betrayal anyone can imagine , has struck.  Will God see her through? Will Katie listen to His quiet voice and come through this a better person???

What a fantastic read! I felt that Katie became part of me. I cried with her in her misery, rejoiced with her in joys, and worried about her in trying times. Her feelings became mine. Jerry shows his talent at character description vividly in this book!  To so easily identify with a character, to me, makes a great book! The plot was full of intertwining plots that had unexpected turns as often as I turned the pages. The shock that I experienced when Katie's world dissolved around her was unimaginable. I could not believe that the previous events could end on this negative note...... but at the next turn, I saw Katie become a stronger, more faithful, thus happier person, due to the turn of events. 

Jerry also has the talent of portraying the Amish lifestyle accurately. That is something I look for in an Amish fiction book. If it isn't realistic, I don't want to read it!

All I can say, is "WOW!"  This is a five star book! Don't miss it. Definitely worth the read.

This book was received from the author and Harvest House Publishers in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Romance + Comedy= A GREAT Read!!

"Undeniably Yours"
    By Becky Wade

What a fabulous debut novel!!! Using an independent, feisty female, romance and comedy, all included in this book, made for a super read!! 

The main character, Meg Cole, experiences a tragedy in her life, in more than one way!  Her father dies very unexpectedly , and she is forced to go back home to Texas to the family home, "Whispering Ranch" to take over the ownership as well as leadership!! This is certainly NOT a task Meg desired!! In fact, it was the furthest thing on her mind! She is fearful that she will not only lose her patience but her sanity as well. This ranch is the home to thoroughbred racehorses. Meg desperately wants to just sell it all, however,  the manager, Bo Porter convinces her to give him six months to prove the importance and success of the training he does here. 

Bo makes an attempt to resent this determined woman who is trying to change his life and do away with the only job he has ever wanted. BUT , this is the interesting complication...... he feels a desire to protect Meg instead of exploding in anger at her. You can now see where this is going. Is Bo going to be successful in winning not only his job, but his new love??

The blow hits, when a their fragile bond is broken by a force from Meg's past.  Will their faith in God and belief in His wisdom to work through this circumstance   be strong enough to retain and earn one another's love????

The characters in this book were realistic, quirky and somewhat humorous individuals.  They  grabbed your immediate attention and maintained it throughout this novel. At times, I found I wanted to give each of the couple a good shake and some practical advice. It was impossible not to become involved in this story.

The plot , although rather simple, girl meets boy, etc. sounds dull and predictable HOWEVER. it was anything but that!! Becky Wade used a developing plot ending in a climax that was completely surprising. There was just the right amount of twists and turns , humor, romance and conflict to make it a great read.

This book would appeal to all fiction lovers, particularly those that like varied plots. It is just not your typical everyday book.

Definitely worth the read!!

A Note From The Author:             

  I happen to love stories about love.  Romance novels are absolutely, 100%, no-doubt-about-it, my favorite kind of book. 

        We romance readers are destined to suffer the disdain of others from time to time.  But we know our own minds, don’t we, ladies?  We know exactly why we read romance.  We know why we can’t stop turning the pages of a good book even when it’s hours past the time when all the prudent people went to sleep.  We know why a particular hero makes our hearts pound.  We know why a moment of courage or sacrifice makes us cry.  Ultimately, we know that stories with everlasting love at the core are the most uplifting, entertaining, fun, and positive books around.  And that is why we read them.  

        God is good, isn’t He?  Out of His grace He’s given me the opportunity to serve Him as (are you ready for this?  it’s a mouthful) an author of inspirational Christian contemporary romance novels.  I love my job!  

        My goal?  To bring you the very best stories I possibly can.  But even more than that, to bring God glory.  Before I sit down to write I always pray, “May You become greater and may I become less.” John 3:30.  I hope, in reading my books, that you’ll find God to be very great, indeed.  
        Thanks for stopping by.  “May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7.

Author Becky Wade

Book was provided by the author and Bethany House in exchange for an honest and fair review.

To purchase this book, read more  reviews, or to join a discussion group go to :

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Brand New Book from Shelley Shepard Gray!

By Shelley Shepard Gray                
"ray of light"

Bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray brings inspirational romance to life in this sweet tale of love in the Amish community, Ray of Light, the second installment of her Days of Redemption series.

Roman Keim just wants a break from the family drama at his snowy Ohio home when he heads to an Amish snowbird community in Florida. There he meets Amanda Yoder and her daughter Regina who soon are warming his heart. But will Roman return to Ohio or will he stay and help the young widow embrace a second chance at love?
The author of the series Sisters of the Heart and Seasons of Sugarcreek, Shelley Shepard Gray delivers an honest, tender love story in Ray of Light, featuring the challenges of faith, family, and romance.

My Opinion:
Shelley Shepard Gray certainly kept up her high standards in this book! 
Her characters are realistic and well developed. LOVED these characters! I felt that they were part of me. The emotional turmoil and challenges were so well described that I could feel myself tying up in knots and wanting to pray for them.  They became part of my family. THAT is what makes a great book! To be able to completely identify with the characters is the key!

The plot was outstanding, as in all of Shelley's books. You can feel the drama and it becomes very much a part of you. The twists and turns keep you guessing , as to the outcome. Just when you believe that you have figured it out, a surprise is just around the corner.

Will the characters wait upon the Lord and have the patience to follow His plan? Is there hope for a second chance?  Shelley makes us refer to our own life circumstances- do WE wait for an answer? Do we listen to God and take a second chance to repair our lives??

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/l5Xy7

If you wish to read more reviews about this book, click on the following link::                   

About the Author:

Shelley Shepard Gray is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the "Sisters of the Heart", "Seasons of Sugarcreek", "Secrets of Crittenden County", and Families of Honor series. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Book was supplied by Litfuse and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

An Innocent Mistake Causes a Lifetime of Consequences!

Be sure to enter the contest and attend a fabulous FB party!!

One winner will receive:
  • A Nook HD
  • The Offering by Angela Hunt 
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 4th. Winner will be announced at the The Offering” Facebook Author Chat Party on June 5th. Connect with Angela for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Angela will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books and other fun prizes throughout the evening.
So grab your copy of The Offering and join Angela on the evening of June 5th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

By Angela Hunt 

About The Offering:

From bestselling author Angela Hunt, the heart-wrenching story of a young mother who unknowingly gave away her own child after serving as a surrogate for a childless couple.
After growing up as an only child, Amanda Lisandra wants a big family. But since she and her soldier husband can't afford to have more children right away, Mandy decides to earn money as a gestational carrier for a childless couple. She loves being pregnant, and while carrying the child she dreams of having her own son and maybe another daughter. . .
Just when the nearly perfect pregnancy is about to conclude, unexpected tragedy enters Mandy's world and leaves her reeling. Devastated by grief, she surrenders the child she was carrying and struggles to regain her emotional equilibrium.
Two years later she studies a photograph of the baby she bore and wonders if the unthinkable has happened---could she have inadvertently given away her own biological child? Over the next few months Mandy struggles to decide between the desires of her grief-stricken heart and what's best for the little boy she has never known.

My Thoughts of this Book:

Angela Hunt is an extremely talented author. The subject she chose for this book is one that is often in the news and one that many of us have experienced. Infertility seems to be hitting more couples all the time- or else, people are just freer to discuss it. The first chapter grabbed my attention, as my husband and I had experienced the difficulty of not being able to have children. Angelas book is one that you begin to read and cannot put down. The topic and plot attached itself to me and would NOT let go! I HAD to finish this book. What a page turner!!

The character are so realistically described that I cried with them, as well as rejoiced at a success. They were so easy to identify with that they became part of me. Amanda, the surrogate, was a kind, caring person who was striving to do her best for two families- her own and a childless couple.  When an unexpected tragedy occurs, you feel her intense pain and agony. Giving up the child she is carrying is more of a sacrifice than she had thought. Every pain is felt by the reader. The adoptive couple, from France, is also in a conflict situation. Their problem in having a biological child is one that I could completely understand- the stress, the pain, and the waiting.

The plot was full of unexpected twists and turns. Just when everything seemed to be going smoothly, another surprising incident would occur, and it did not stop, even when the baby was given over to the adoptive parents. The drama kept going on!!  Many times, I was completely surprised by the new event. The drama and tenseness of particular parts were wonderfully described, so that you were on the edge of your chair waiting to see what would happen. 

What a great book!! A current topic! A drama unfolds in such a unique way, that you can not possible stop reading, until you have finished!!
Definitely , a five star book!! I will be watching this author!

To read other reviews: http://litfusegroup.com/author/ahunt 

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/l6HiW

Meet Angela: 
With over four million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the bestselling author of more than one hundred books, including "The Nativity Story". Hunt is one of the most sought-after collaborators in the publishing industry. Her nonfiction book "Don't Bet Against Me", written with Deanna Favre, spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Angela's novel "The Note" (with sales of over 141,000) was filmed as the Hallmark Channel's Christmas movie for 2007 and proved to be the highest rated television movie in the channel's history. Angela's novels have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RITA, the Christy Award, the ECPA Christian Book Award, and the Holt Medallion. She often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers' conferences, and she served as the keynote speaker at the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers' national conference. She and her husband make their home in Florida with mastiffs. In 2001, one of her dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest dog in America.

Book was supplied by Litfuse and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Another Excellent Read: The Courtships of Lancaster County Series

" Adoring Addie"                    Adoring Addie (The Courtships of Lancaster County Book #2)
   By Leslie Gould

Leslie's first book of this series, "Courting Cate" , was a fantastic read, with this second book, "Adoring Addie" being equal, in the realm of Amish fiction. Her talent in grabbing your attention on the first page and hold it throughout the book is exceptional.

The story involves a new Romeo and Juliet conflict, however in a very different twist- in an Amish family and community!  Two families, the Cramers (Addie's family) and the Mosiers (Jonathan's family), have been furious with each other for so long that no one actually remembers the cause of the feud. The funny thing is that these families have not had anything to do with each other and have disliked the other for  years and years.  Things have cooled... somewhat, until the unthinkable happens!! Jonathan and Addie fall head over hills in love with each other. BUT there is a real conflict here!! Addie's mother and father have already planned a wedding for her- BUT not to HIM!! They wish her to marry Phillip Eicher, a stolid and boring individual who just happens to be the bishop's son.  The situation, although dramatic,  is told with some humor. Addie's aunt Nell  becomes involved in trying to help her solve the problem in a peaceful way. 

Jonathan and Addie decide that the only way for them to share the future , is to reconcile the two feuding families. However, this presents quite a challenge, as no one seems to recall the cause of the disagreement!!  They find themselves digging into the past to see what separated these two Amish families.  A challenge arises! Will their love be strong enough to seem them through this process or will it forever separate them and ruin their chance of happiness????

 I did wonder, how on earth, would the author be able to base this , an Amish book, on "Romeo and Juliet"???  Leslie Gould managed to pull it off in style and turn it into a wonderful tale that inspired and entertained. She was able to entwine many aspects of that great play into her own story!  What a great talent is exhibited!!  

The  characters were well described and believable, as well as entertaining and somewhat comical, each in their own way. I did want to shake Addie at times, and give her some advice!!  But then again, that is what made it such a good book. I could identify with her and felt I was living with her at that precise moment.  Leslie also described a few characters to become very annoying and quite difficult to like. This just added to the story , as you felt a rather intense dislike for the chosen groom, Phillip.

The plot was entertaining and continually filled with surprising twists and turns. I found myself comparing it to Romeo and Juliet to attempt to figure out what would happen next.

A FIVE star book!!!  You won't be disappointed in this read! Appealing to Amish fans as well as those who love a good romance.

"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".

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Beverley Lewis Continues Her Hickory Hollow Series

Guardian, The  "The Guardian"
          By Beverley Lewis

This third book of Beverley's Hickory Hollow series was certainly no disappointment! It was on par with her usual quality of Amish fiction! It is another of her creations that encompasses romance, drama and mystery in her unique style of writing.

The main character, Jodi Winfield, grabs our attention right away, with her independence and desire for peace. Her arrival to housesit in Lancaster comes at a perfect time. The last thing that she expects to find is a disheveled , little girl all alone on the edge of the road. How did she get there?? Who was she?? Why was she there??  Jodi, who is a teacher, is completely mystified. There has been no news reports of a missing child. The sweet little girl is no help, as she does not yet speak English, common among the Amish who have not been to school yet.
This child did NOT appear out of nowhere, although it seems as if she did!!

This discovery of the little one makes Jodi turn her attention to Hickory Hollow. It is no longer simply a house sitting vacation. It is a search for answers into the cloistered world of the Old Order Amish. What Jodi discovers is to completely change her life and vision for her future.

The characters in this book are extremely well described and developed. The cover of this book first attracted me, with the photo of a beautiful little Amish girl. But the attraction did not stop there. Each person in this story became close to me. I could easily identify with them. Jodi's feelings became mine. I felt every joy, fear and confusing thought that she experienced. 

Just the right amount of drama and mystery was included to make this book a page turner. The plot had many twists and turns that kept me reading long after bed time. Intertwining plots were present to keep the reader involved. 

Beverley Lewis is the author who initiated the Amish fiction genre and made it such a success. She continues to do so with her great ability in story development and creativity.

Definitely a five star book!! Eagerly awaiting the next book in the Hickory Hollow series!

"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".

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Very Different Cookbook!

'Product Details"Mennonite Girls Like to Cook"

This cookbook was certainly not what I expected when I agreed to review it. I expected the normal type book, with the recipes organized in sections and straight forward instructions. Boy, was I wrong!! 
This book is full of stories , as well as mouth watering recipes, beginning with birth and ending with life! The recipes are divided into sections under life celebrations, such as birth, childhood, marriage , and so on. Each begins with a section describing that specific part of life, in poetic form, or essay. Very thoughtful insight into the stages of life are well described. Then come a section of recipes to use on that particular occasion.

I was somewhat disappointed in the recipes. To be honest, I expected old fashioned Mennonite recipes. There were none to be seen!! This book was packed full of fashionable recipes that the in crowd would adore!! Me,..... not as much. Don't get me wrong, the recipes are fantastic, just not those that have been around for generations.

This book would be perfect for those planning one of these life events!! Your company would rave for weeks about the meal served! I did really enjoy the descriptions of life changes. They were thoughtful and made me really think about how they DO affect us as a person.

The Mennonite Girls share recipes to honor all of life. Join the girls for brunch celebrating a child's birth, campfire cooking with family, and even the more somber celebrations of a life well-lived. Filled from cover to cover with devotional reflections, personal stories, and beautiful photos, this book contains much more than recipes—it will soon become your kitchen companion for life's celebrations.

"Book has been provided courtesy of MennoMedia and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Herald Press, a publishing imprint of MennoMedia".

A Love Story Like No Other !

     By Dee Henderson

This book is a continuation of Dee's O'Malley Series and is no disappointment!! What a fabulous love story this is!!
Jennifer O'Malley is a busy physician who has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, Texas. Meeting and falling in love with a fellow doctor was not really in her plans, but it happened any way! Tom Peterson, a surgeon,  becomes a very special friend to Jennifer, adding something wonderful to her life that she has never experienced. While busy sorting out how to introduce Tom to her family, one of seven members, she begins to think of marriage. 

Learning to know and love God is an important part of the story. Tom is a dedicated Christian and encourages Jennifer along in her search for peace, love and forgiveness. In the midst of Jennifer's acceptance of God's love, her faith is tested in a way that is totally unexpected. The results will change her entire family.

I guarantee that this book will make you think!! It will make you appreciate life and all that the Lord has given to us. The characters were well described and so realistic that you felt their every heartache and pain. 

The plot, although not complicated, had totally unexpected twists and turns. I was take by complete surprise by the ending of the book. Sad, but in another way, happy! It is a pure example of what happens when we work according to God's plan and follow him, even when we feel down and reluctant to do so. This book was an easy read but captured me in a way that a book rarely does. It made me think and try to apply this story to my life. What do I need to do to become more obedient to God's plan???

Definitely , a five star book.

"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".

Thursday, May 9, 2013

These two books are for all pet lovers!! And might make the rest of you like pets too!!!

 Product Details                                    
 "The Cat that God Sent"                          
     By Jim Kraus

Meet Petey, your not-so-average cat-on a mission from God

Disillusioned young pastor, Jake Wilkerson, has just arrived at his new assignment in the small rural church of Coudersport, Pennsylvania. Also new on the scene is Petey, a cat of unknown origins and breed-but of great perception.

As Jake sets about doing the business of ministry, Petey's continued interference brings chaos to the community of curiously off and eccentric people-residents like the faith-avoiding veterinarian Sally Grainger and Tassy, a young runaway with a secret. An expert at hiding his fears, Jake wonders if all this-and the cat to boot-is more than he can handle. What is Petey's real "mission"? Perhaps something larger than Jake---or even Petey---can possibly know.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/kuEWy

My Review: 

I was very much a skeptic when beginning to read this book, thinking to myself, "Who wants to read a book where the cat actually speaks, in any fashion, to a human??" Well, I must admit , within a couple of chapters, I was hooked!
This is a very well written book. Although cats do not really communicate all that well ordinarily, the story had me convinced that Petey really did have an important role in Jake's life and he fulfilled that. The characters involved were all very well developed and all had their little quirks that contributed humor and interest to the plot.  My emotions were caught up with this young pastor who was starting out and in need of so much support. AND to think- his success all came about due to a cat who cared about him and wanted love in return. They both met the other's needs.
The plot was simple but meaningful. I HAD to finish the book to see how Petey did in his purpose! Did he succeed?

The author was very successful in leaving the reader wondering..... Does God use our pets for His purpose- to help carry out His plan???  This truly whimsical story makes you smile as you discover Petey's purpose in Jake's life.

"The Dog that Talked to God" 


Recently widowed Mary Fassler buys a Miniature Schnauzer, Rufus, and her world is turned sideways in the midst of her grief. It seems that Rufus speaks. And not just to her. He also talks to God. When Rufus begins sharing advice that could result in major changes, Mary gets the feeling the pooch might not be steering her in the right direction. Or, is she just afraid to take the leap and discover something she desperately needs? Only Rufus...and God...knows.

My Review:
As I do LOVE dogs, I was eager to read this book , to see how Jim Kraus made it believable - that a dog could actually TALK!

I did enjoy this book, however, the fact that the dog actually spoke, in words, aloud, rather put me off, at first. As I read, and the plot developed , I found myself forgetting the quirky beginning, and began to enjoy the true meaning that Jim was trying to get across to the reader. 

The characters were realistic and although all had their little quirks, were well developed and believable. Mary, the widow , became my friend and throughout the story, I just wanted to give her a hug and tell her it would be okay. Rufus, the rather strange acting dog, fulfills his purpose in her life. Once he has accomplished God's plan for her, he stops talking. 

The plot is slow moving but interesting. Many of the events were a complete surprise, while others were quite predicable.

I found this book enjoyable, as an easy to read story , good for a relaxing few hours.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/kuEZH 

Meet Jim:

Jim Kraus grew up in Western Pennsylvania and has spent the last twenty years as a vice president of a major Christian publishing house. He has written more than twenty books and novels, including the best-selling The Dog That Talked to God. He and his family live outside of Chicago with a sweet miniature Schnauzer and an ill-tempered Siberian cat named (of course) Petey. www.jimkraus.com

Read other reviews about these books:

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These two books were received, courtesy of Litfuse and the author , in exchange for a fair and honest 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...