25 Book Reviews

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Shelley Shepard Gray writes another WINNING novel!!

                            By Shelley Shepard Gray

About the Book: A young Amish woman harbors a difficult secret. Does she dare share the truth with the man she hopes to marry?

Elsie Keim doesn't want to be left behind. Her twin sister, Viola, and her older brother, Roman, have both found love and are building lives of their own. But Elsie? She's still stuck at home, being treated like a child. No one seems to consider her a capable woman-all they see are the thick lenses of her glasses, constant reminders that Elsie suffers from keratoconus and is slowly going blind.

Elsie knows there's much more to her than her disease. That's why when a new neighbor, Landon Troyer, shows some interest in her, she doesn't want anything to scare him away . . . even if it means keeping her condition a secret.

Landon is ready to start a new life and feels like Elsie may just be the right woman to start it with. But when Roman steps in and shares the truth about Elsie's illness, Landon is floored. His job is demanding and takes him away from home, sometimes for days at a time. How could he keep up with his responsibilities and take care of Elsie?

After having read Shelley Shephard Gray's books for the last few years, I know automatically when I pick up a new one, that it is going to be an excellent read. "Eventide" was no exception. It is indeed another winner in the Amish fiction genre.  This is the third book in The Days of Redemption Series, and continues the story of Elsie, her twin sister , Viola and their community. 

Shelley has a special talent of describing the characters in a realistic, detailed fashion, that grabs your attention on the first page of the book. I felt that Elsie's struggles and hurts were my own! To be able to make a connection with at least one character in a book, is a necessity for me to LOVE the story! I want to feel that I am IN the story and this one certainly complied with my need. I could also feel for Viola and Landon, the next door neighbor.  Even Roman, the older, protective brother won me over.  The feelings of frustration , compassion and empathy overcame me as I read this Amish tale.  

The community is a typical Amish one, and described in detail, so that you become a resident. I appreciated the accuracy of the Amish lifestyle.

This is a story that exemplifies the power of love! Love can overcome ALL obstacles, as long as you have faith and let God illuminate your pathway. Forgiveness is a big part of the plot and one which we all need to learn!  The fast moving plot, with surprising twists and turns along the way, kept me glued to my seat. As the events occur and change the thinking of the characters, a peace in the power of forgiveness and God's care are deeply felt. 

My one BIG disappointment in this book- it is the LAST in this series!! I just do not want this story to end. All three books stirred my heart!! I felt God's presence and there was a message in each that I needed to hear.

Definitely a five star book!! 

Purchase your copy: http://ow.ly/oBHhP

Meet Shelley: 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.

Connect with Shelley here:http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/

This book was supplied by the author and Litfuse in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Be sure to enter the contest and win these wonderful books!!

Two New Books from Guideposts: Home to Heather Creek

About the books: When the world around you falls apart, could it be that God is giving you a second chance? This is just one of the questions on Charlotte Stevenson's mind as she brings her three grandchildren to live on the family farm in Guidepost Books' Home to Heather Creek series.

 Before the Dawn begins just one week after the funeral of Charlotte's daughter, Denise. Denise's three children barely have time to process the death of their mother before they must move to the Heather Creek Farm they have never visited with grandparents they barely know. At age 16, Sam is fiercely protective of his younger siblings. Emily is 14 and desperately misses her friends. Young Christopher is only 8 and just wants to fit in. While Charlotte tries to help her grandchildren adjust to their new life, she also wrestles with her own grief and the enormous task of bringing her family together. Bob believes the fastest path to adjustment is a firm routine, with structure and chores, the same way they raised their own kids. However, that route led to Denise running away from home as a teenager and an estranged relationship with her family. Charlotte is worried about making the same mistakes she made with Denise. Is this her chance to make things right?

It is spring when the children arrive, and as Charlotte looks around the farm, she hopes the new life around them will signify hope and healing. The miracle of new life, along with God's healing touch, reminds all of them that it's always darkest just before the dawn.

 Sweet September picks up at harvest time, as the children are settling into a new school year. While the harvest should be an exciting time, the children don't seem to be getting into the spirit. Emily is struggling with farm life, Christopher spends most of his time alone, and Sam is failing school. Trying to learn from what did and didn't work with her own kids, Charlotte is determined to get her grandchildren back on track.

As tenuous family bonds threaten to break apart, a mystery on the farm might be the one thing that can bond the family together. Charlotte sets out to uncover the truth, and as the kids unite to find answers, this cobbled-together family learns more about one another and the love that binds them together.

The lives of the Stevensons and their grandchildren unfold in this captivating story of the remarkable change that comes from the love of family, the kindness of others, sheer persistence and unshakable faith. As readers follow the Stevensons' inspiring stories, it's almost impossible not feel a part of this friendly, loving community, where God's grace can be seen in every circumstance.

My Thoughts on these books:

Both of these books were a pleasure to read. Nice, light reading with a great message.  They involve a continuing saga of a family and their daily life, involving problems, challenges, joys and fears. Reality is the strong point in this series.  

The setting was a quiet farm area, sounds so cozy, doesn't it??? However, although it portrays typical country life, the characters are anything but  free of problems! We learn to know the family more through these two books. 

The characters are realistic and easy to identify with! They have appealing personalities, with some quirks and unique ideas. Charlotte, who plays an important role in these stories, was a down to earth person who had problems that are common in today's society.She became my dear friend as she encountered challenges , that could easily be mine or your's ! Many times, I just wanted to give her a big hug and tell her that it would work out just fine.

The plots are well developed, with just enough twists and turns to keep us anxiously awaiting the next  chapter. New developments hold our interest to that final page, as well as keeping us guessing about the solutions to the many problems that arise. 

I must say this there was more depth in the stories than an ordinary easy read! As the plot progresses, you find that it is actually a devotional but written as a work of fiction. God gives us second chances, when we have reached the end of our rope . We all have a life that involves some problems and worries. That is only to be expected. These books, in fiction form, prove to us that God can heal and repair - in fact, erase - our weaknesses and failures.

Looking forward to reading more in this Guidepost series!!

Books were provided by Litfuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Purchase the books here: http://ow.ly/oQGxr

About the Author: Kathleen Bauer is the pen name for a team of writers who have come together to create the Home to Heather Creek series.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Brand New "Private Justice Novel"!!!

By Irene Hannon                        
Irene has once again been successful in writing a tale of suspense! This book is a "sit on the edge of your seat" kind of story, the kind that you just cannot put down until you  have reached that last page.  

The main characters include  a runaway teen, a desperate sister and a PI who is determined to discover the truth! Laura's sixteen year old sister disappears suddenly on a frigid February day, leaving behind, only a short note, giving no indication of where she is going. It is clear that she is not wanting to found!! Laura is fearful, as she realizes the dangers of a young naive girl,  living on the street.  She decides to recruit a private investigator, James Devlin to help.  Dev knows how important it is to find Darcy immediately- the first forty eight hours can mean the difference between life and death.

However, the more Dev searches, the greater his suspicion is that there is more to just a simple runaway to find. Something very sinister is at work.... and Darcy's trail is getting "cold". 

This book is a thrilling read that succeeds in causing a pounding heart, waiting for the outcome of the investigation. It is full of suspense, with romance thrown in, resulting in wanting two single people to connect. The plot is fast paced, fear packed with deception included to throw the reader off the track. Just when you think you have figured out the mystery, another twist or turn is in the next chapter, keeping you fastened to your chair. 

The characters become part of you. They live on in your mind long after you have finished the book. They are described in such realistic detail, that you can picture them and make a real connection to them and their emotions. You feel the fear, the dangers, AND the desire to help them out along the way. 

This is truly a fast paced, suspense story, resulting in a nail biting reader and the inability to live in the "real" world, until you have finished the book.

This is a five star book!!! Go, Irene!! Waiting for the next in this series!!

"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".


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...