25 Book Reviews

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lynette Sowell's Second Book in Her Pinecraft Series is ANOTHER Winner!!

"A Path Made Plain"
  By Lynette Sowell

When one thinks of Amish fiction, the usual setting is in Pennsylvania, Indiana or Ohio, CERTAINLY not in the sunny state of Florida. Lynette's first book in this series, "Seasons of Pinecraft", entitled "A Season of Change" totally captivated me and I must admit, this second one did the same! I absolutely loved the location! Knowing that Pinecraft is a real place where many Amish and Mennonites vacation, as well as some who are permanent residents, made the story very real to me.  The setting is one that I easily picture in my mind.

The main character, Betsy Yoder, has been totally devastated. She is heartbroken after being left by a man who also left the Order to marry someone else. Betsy finds solace in her talent of baking, owning a successful bakery in the village of Pinecraft. She offers the most delicious desserts from her Amish heritage. She has been successful in finding contentment  in her hard working life and so is totally shocked when some feelings appear involving the new baker, Thaddeus Zook, a former Amish man. He is NOT one to whom she should be attracted. He has a wild streak and a great liking for leather and motorcycles!!

Thaddeus has NO desire to rejoin the Amish community. He is only in Pinecraft , due to a personal need of refuge from an adversary attempting to track him down. He tries desperately to fight the growing attraction that he feels for Betsy, as he realizes that she has an intense devotion to her faith and family, while he cherishes his freedom.

Can Thaddeus and Betsy meet on a commmon ground?? Does God have a plan to combine their lives ?? How will God satisfy the needs and desires of this young couple??

Lynette has a special talent in describing her characters in a realistic way. They become so important to the reader that one wishes to be able to give advice, pray with them, and at times, just give them a big hug.  You feel their confusion, challenges, heartaches and joys. 

The plot moves quickly and successfully involves both mystery and romance, while keeping us in the Amish genre.  Just as I would think I had figured out some answers, a new twist or turn would appear in the next chapter.  This book holds one's attention from beginning to end!! In fact, I had great difficulty putting it down to deal with daily life!! It is truly a sit on the edge of your seat type of book.

I am looking forward to the next in the series!! 
This book is a five star!! I LOVE it , Lynette. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to review it. 

This book was provided by the author and the publisher, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Brand New Amish Mystery by Popular Author, Vannetta Chapman!

                                                   "Murder Tightly Knit"
                  By Vannetta Chapman

What a fantastic surprise to receive in my mailbox!! As I unwrapped this book, the cover immediately grabbed my attention! So different, so appealing, I could hardly wait to begin reading!! Usually, my attention is not drawn as much to the cover as to the author's name and title, however, this book has a highly attractive and appealing picture. Combined with the title, who wouldn't be attracted ???

Vannetta has combined two of my favorite genres, mystery and Amish. This book, "Murder Tightly Knit" is the second in "The Amish Village Mystery Series"  and is every bit as enthralling as the first, ""Murder Simply Brewed".

The characters drew me into the story from the first page. Hannah Troyer knew that something was amiss at The Cat's Meow Yarn Shop in the little town where the Amish and Englisch mingle every day. It is normally a nice quiet, touristy Artisan Village where people come to enjoy a cup of coffee, a delicious meal and shopping for crafts. It is the last place that you would expect to be involved with a grisly murder. The Cat's Meow has been closing at strange times, with the manager, Mary who is normally calm and dependable, disappearing without a word to her friends.  An Englisch man has been observed loitering in the back of the story, raising a few suspicions.

Now, in the small town of Middlebury, Indian, a young man, Owen has been discovered dead on the Pumpkinvine Trail, a path leading toward the village. The clues are scarce. One of the few leads are to The Cat's Meow, one that is just not understandable to Mary's good friends. How could she ever be involved??? A sweet lady who is dedicated to the Amish faith !!

This murder becomes complicated as strange clues appear. The FBI are called in . However, Hannah and the village manager, Amber are in no mood to wait for them to figure out the mystery, what they already know, no one from the Amish Village killed Owen. Amber and Hannah need to work quickly to restore the harmony back to the Amish community, Who killed Owen??? Certainly, not one of their own!!! What secrets will the FBI discover???

This story started off with a bang on the very first page and the mystery and whodunit feeling continued until reading the last page. What appears to be a simple murder, turns into a complicated plot full of unexpected twists and turns. There was nothing SIMPLE about this mystery!!  Unusual government involvement turned up totally unexpected complications! Just when I thought  that I had all the answers, silly me, there would be a highly detailed clue, one that was a total shock!! 
This book is definitely not one to read if you have jobs to do around the house. You just wont get them done!! I could not put it down, much to my husband's dismay, particularly at mealtime!! 

The characters became part of me . I wanted to join them in their search for the clues. At times, I found myself so worried about them that I must admit, they became my best friends. They were active within me, talking to me as I read! Yes, sounds odd, but that is how highly involved I was in the plot and these wonderful people. 

Vannetta has done it again!! She has written a five star book!! I can hardly wait for the next!!

This book was provided by the author and publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Brand New Author to Explore!

"The Journey Home"
    By Hope Kesler

Amish fiction just happens to be one of my favorite genres, however , this author is brand new to me, as she is to many others. As this book was offered to me by Hope, herself , to read and review, I wondered what kind of book I would encounter. It is a novella, short, but would it appeal to my liking??? This really seemed like a silly question, once I started reading this book!

Since I do read a LOT of Amish fiction, I am familiar with common themes and settings. It was a pleasant surprise to find that Hope Kesler wrote from a perspective quite different from the norm. It really appealed to my interest, from the first page. The only real negative thought while I was reading, was that this book is just WAY too short!

Birdie, the main character, was brought up Amish, however, her personality is quite different from what you expect from an Amish young lady. She is far from submissive and definitely has a mind of her own, keeping her feelings NO secrets from friends and family. The relationship that Birdie has with her father is not one that is kind or desirable. Although he is a deacon in the church, quite a honored position, he actually lied to get her to return home to take care of her ailing mother. Faith describes these characters in such a realistic manner that early in the book, they become part of you. There were times when I just wanted to shake Birdie's dad and shout at him. NO, it isn't very Christian like, but he greatly disturbed me by his cruel attitude toward his sick wife and kind daughter. 
It has been kept a secret from the community that Birdie was living in the Englische world. In fact, her father lied, so as to not shame himself .
Caleb appears in the story and brings with him the true kindness that is generally part of the Amish faith. He and Birdie find themselves attracted to one another. BUT.... does Birdie wish to return to her Amish roots?? Would Caleb,who is new to the community, but finding a place in his comfort zone, ever leave his new job and home, for a woman???  
The message is clearly laid out in this book. The Amish are not exempt from problems that everyone else encounters. The plot was well developed, with the common theme throughout- people in all faiths can make mistakes and have battles within.

My desire is that this author continues to write and PLEASE write longer books!!! I thoroughly enjoyed this one!!

This ebook was received from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sarah Price Writes a Very Different Kind of Book!!

"Plain and Simple Traditions"
"Amish and Mennonite Holidays"

           By Sarah Price

I have read many of Sarah's books and each is written in an appealing style, but I must say that EACH and EVERY one is a complete surprise. Yes, she is indeed a talented author, but she just keeps me on the edge of my seat, wondering the topic of her newest book!! You just never know!!!

This book is certainly unique and one that Sarah's personality shines through. The book portrays her love and understanding of both the Amish and Mennonite communities. Since my background also hails from the Mennonites, I am always aware of inaccuracies in many books.  They may not bother other readers, but to me , they are important! I am happy to say this was not the case with this seasonal book.

 Sarah manages to do a good job of combining personal stories and interesting tidbits about the lives and celebrations of these two conservative, religious communities. Included in the book, are delicious recipes that have been around for years, tested and true! The kind of food that is filling, easy to prepare and basically "comfort food".  I believe that the simple recipes using everyday things usually kept in our cupboards, actually reflects the simple lifestyles of these people, often known as the Plain People.

This book is one which would appeal to those who are just being introduced to The Plain Communities, as well as those of us who already entranced by their importance of family, keeping to their beliefs and heritage in spite of the world around them . Their strong beliefs that have kept them going for centuries are still being practised. What does this all tell us?? God is great and good to those who put their faith in Him. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Some have said they would like more details about the personal lives of the Amish and Mennonites. Sarah has given you a taste of it and to further understand, you can simply do some research OR as I do, read some of Sarah's Amish Fiction books. In them, she gives much info about the everyday life.

This ebook was received from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

"What is the secret that could shipwreck both of their lives????"

            "Love Unexpected"
             By Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund truly writes from the heart and soul.  I have read her award winning books, "Captured by Love"and "The Preacher's Bride"  and did not believe that any other book could be better!! Just shows what I know!! "Love Unexpected" takes us to a totally different setting with very different characters. 
All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home but when her steamboat sinks near Presque Isle, she is once again left destitute with nowhere to lay her head. A very unlikely solution appears. Patrick , the lighthouse keeper , has just lost his wife and is having great difficulty caring for his child as well as doing his job. A travelling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might  just be the answer to each other's problem. A very hasty marriage takes place between the two of them and Emma finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this very handsome but strangely quiet gentleman. Nothing in Emma's aimless life has prepared her for motherhood, parenting a toddler and managing a rather unique household. 

Emma soon has some suspicians! Patrick appears to be hiding something from her and then she hears a very disturbing rumor abouth the circumstances surrounding his former wife's death. Her great desires for a home and family could end up in disaster, leaving her once again in dire straits!! Can Patrick and Emma solve their problems, allowing God to work out His plans for this little family???

The setting of this book appealed to me immediately. Upon reading the first page, you are thrown into a very different place, with strange and unusual things happening. There is NO way that you can stop reading , without finding out more. This book grabs your interest and has you on the edge of your seat until you read the very last page. 

The characters are realistic and so well described that they become part of you. You feel their every hurt, desire, joy and challenge. I just wanted so much to put my arms around Emma telling her that she would be just fine.  Patrick , although a frustrating character, with a very different personality , appealed to your sympathy at once. His past problems made him into what he was, sincere, but leery of the good nature of others. He sure did have his reasons.  The toddler was one who you wanted to pick up , cuddle and reassure that all would be well.  Jody certainly has a strength in her description of characters, and getting them involved in your life. 

The plot is one that is puzzling and keeps you guessing. Just when you think you have the mystery solved another twist or turn in the plot occurs to confuse you again. I spent many several late nights reading, as I just could not turn out the light until I knew all was well in Emma's world.

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".

Friday, November 28, 2014

A True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor

                                      By Katariina Rosenblatt

This book is one that is not for the faint hearted! It is a true story of a young girl who experienced the most dreadful childhood of which you can dream. Although it is a dismal tale, there is a clear message throughout, there is HOPE, even on the darkest days and Katariina discovers this in a most heart wrenching way.

I was reluctant to read about this subject matter. Certainly not a read that I would recommend for children, but a subject of which we should all be aware. Sex trade is alive and well, yes, even in our country!  It is one that we would all like to avoid and wearing our blinders, say it doesn't take place here, however this is a false supposition. This would be a great resource for youth leaders and those working with young adults in any situation. I, myself, found it difficult to read. It is not a heartwarming story . In fact, I had to force myself to finish the book, but it was a worthwhile eye opener.

Katariina was a lonely and abused young girl who just wanted to be love, seeking attention from whomever would give it. She was the perfect target. On an ordinary day, she met a confident young woman, someone who appeared to have everything that Katariina wanted. She pretended to be a friend while slowly luring her into a child trafficking ring. Katariina became trapped in a circle of false friendships, threats, drugs and violence. 

Katariina shares her experiences and how she escaped. Now, she is free to help other individuals. Unfortunately, sex trafficking is everywhere!! Yes, even close to home. There is hope!! But only the Lord can help an individual escape. He is now using Katriina to help others.

Humans just happen to be the second most trafficked product in the black market, only surpassed by drugs. Would you believe that according to the RCMP, over 800 people are trafficked through Canada every year. Canada just happens to be considered a source and destination for men, women and children being used for prostitution. Scary but true!!!

I was rudely awakened by the subject matter of this book. Never in my deepest thoughts, had I dreamt that this could happen to so many people in the privileged country of Canada. This book proved to me that an individual will do anything for love and acceptance. Low self worth can be dangerous to oneself. 

I must recommend this book, although it was not one of my favorite reads. It truly brought some deep distressing facts to the forefront of my mind. Can I use this in the future to others?? A tough read?? Yes, indeed! But definitely worth it!

**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.**

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Romance for the Holidays

"Love Without End"
By Robin Lee Hatcher      

This author has very quickly become one of my favorites!! Robin writes emotionally charged stories of faith, courage and love. Her talent to engage the reader on the first page and keep her/him glued to book is outstanding!! I absolutely loved this book. In "Love Without End", Robin once again takes us to King's Meadow, Idaho. Although this book is a first in her new series, the setting is one that her faithful readers recall from a previous book. 

Synopsis: (from book cover)

For two single parents with bruised hearts, it’ll take more than a little courage to get back on the horse when it comes to love.

Kimberly Welch lost her husband to a heart attack in the blink of an eye. But she’s losing her daughter slowly, in the day-to-day tension. In three difficult years, Kimberly has gone from Seattle socialite to Kings Meadow charity case, and her daughter is not responding well to the changes. She’s becoming a sullen, cantankerous teen.

Chet Leonard lost his teenage son in a car accident. Then his wife abandoned him and their two remaining boys. He tries to keep his mind on the family ranch, but if the last two years have taught him anything, it’s that sometimes you just have to let the memories hurt. Let the memories hurt, and leave well enough alone.

But when Chet volunteers to help tame Kimberly’s daughter’s horse, everyone gets more than they bargained for . . . especially when eighty-four-year-old Anna McKenna shows up.

Nana Anna has reappeared in Kings Meadow after decades away, bringing with her the magnetism and transformative joy that come from a life well lived . . . just the kind of magic that a couple of unlucky-in-love single parents need to conjure up a little courage and raise a new family from the ashes of tragedy.

This book is one of a kind!! It intertwines two wonderful romances, one in the past and one in the future. Robin weaves them together in such a way to create a beautiful story. The two main characters, Chet and Kimberley have NO intention of falling in love and in fact, fight this feeling every step of the way. The everyday challenges and joys experience by all of us are addressed in such a matter that you become part of the drama as it plays out. Two separate families, each with their own unique set of problems, present obstacles to any romance that can possible develop. The characters are realistic and so well developed, that at times I would become so immersed in the story that I worried and fretted alongside them. Nana Anna became a beloved friend, one from whom I wished I could get some advice for myself. She is such a kind, warm soul that you at once have confidence in her ability to seek God's direction and impart her special knowledge. 

The pace of the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. It was fast moving and full of action and deep feelings, with intertwining twists and turns at every corner. This book kept me reading long into the night!!

The message is very clearly set out and evident throughout the book. God gives us second chances! There is redemption possible  for all who will take them. We have to be open to God's plans, even though they often seem to differ from our's. 

This book is a masterpiece!! I can hardly wait for Book two in this series, "A 
King's River Romance". 
Definitely a five star book!!

About the Author: 

This book was provided by Litfuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.

To see more reviews of this book:http://litfusegroup.com/author/rhatcher
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/EjjGc 


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Great Read for a Snowy Day!

  "Christmas At Rose Hill Farm"
         By Suzanne woods Fisher

When offered a book to review by this author, I must say that I never hesitate!! In fact I am excited to see what new adventure will arise!  Her books tend to be a learning experience, as well as an enjoyable one. Suzanne Woods Fisher writes in her unique style  of  storytelling, while giving you information of things that I would never have known. 
The main character in this book is Bess Rieh, who is busily preparing Rose  Hill Farm for her very own Christmas wedding. The surroundings and season will make a perfect spot for this special occasion, except there is one problem, a VERY big one- her groom is not who she thought it would be. Billy Lapp is a rose rustler for Penn State who has grown far away from the Amish lifestyle in which he was raised. He has no desire to have anything to do with Stony Ridge, his family or Bess. Bess is in total agreement with this. After all, who in their right mind would want to think about a man who left the community without a word or any explanation?? She is determined to move on with her life, thus agreed to marry Amos Lapp, who is Billy's cousin and just happens to be Billy's very best friend.  Oh the tangled webs that life gets us into!!! The wedding of Bess and Amos is approaching quickly, when suddenly Billy is called to the scene, not by choice and certainly not by desire!!

A "lost rose" is discovered at the rose farm and Billy is sent to track down its origins. He arrives unwillingly and has a plan, get there, identify this rose and GET OUT as fast as he can. However, an obstacle blocks the best laid plans. Billy has a difficult time identifying the rose and after encountering Bess after all this time, is unable to forget that sweet face. He is not the only confused individual! Bess finds herself questioning the wisdom of her upcoming wedding. Her emotions are confused and as complicated as a spider's web! What should she do?? Listen to her heart or continue with her practical  plans?? 
As the history of the rose unweaves, Billy and Bess , and yes , even Amos realize the miracles of Christmas.

I must say I was caught up in Bess' life immediately. She quickly became very real to me , a person with whom to identify. Her problems were realistic and many times, my desire was to just give her a big hug and tell her things would be okay. Billy was the most frustrating young man!! He  had me ready to throttle him for his unwillingness to give in to his heart. What a stubborn young man!!! 
The plot moved  quite quickly and had some surprising twists and turns. Just enough to keep one interested. The information that I learned about roses was amazing and the best part was that it was introduced in such a way that one doesn't realize the amount of new knowledge being absorbed.

All in all, a lovely Christmas read, putting you in the mood of the season.

This book was supplied by Revell, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Great Book to Get You in the Mood for Christmas

"The Christmas Cat"
  By Melody Carlson

This is definitely a Christmas story that you cannot miss!! A book that will be a hit for animal lovers and yes, perhaps it will touch the heartstrings of others as well!!

Garrison Brown finds himself, not so willingly , at the home of his beloved Grandmother who has just passed away. He has the difficult job of sorting her belongings, including the unusual , six cats who need homes. This sounds easy, but he finds his somewhat quirky grandma has made some stipulations in her will regarding the homes of these felines who were close to her heart, that complicate the task. In fact, Garrison is flabberghasted at the requirements the homes must meet.  He hopes to dispense with this task quickly- especially since he is severely allergic to cats!! However, his grandmother's instructions sure don't allow for speed. The future homes of her furry children must meet some challenging requirements! Garrison has to match six cats with just the right owners!! Is is possible?? NOT an easy job for a young man!!As he strives to make this happen, Garrison finds himself perhaps meeting his own match!! Will these meowing creatures help him improve his life by introducing him to the "perfect" young woman??

Melody Carlson makes her characters unique and rather quirky, likeable and appealing to one's sense of humor. I must admit these people make you giggle with their rather different traits and personalities. I found myself sympathizing with Garrison as I share his allergy to cats.

The plot moves fairly quickly and even has a few unexpected twists and turns, making this novel an easy read, but very enjoyable.

If you are looking for an amusing Christmas read, then this is the book for you. It has a clear message throughout that makes you think. Perfect to read in front of a fireplace on a cold evening before Christmas.

This book was provided by Revell in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Author of "Double Take" Writes Another Hit!

     "Trading Secrets"
      By Melody Carlson

Books by this author are always a joy to read. Easy reads that take you to a world not too different from our own, however always unique in story line. This novel involves a combination of the Englischer and Amish worlds. You know the old saying "girl meets boy", well this is the case but with a twist, Englisch girl meets Amish boy, but with a shock in store for the young man!! A rather big earth shattering shock for him!! He has been writing to Micah Knight for years, being her Amish penpal, all the while believing that Micah is a male. She is aware of Zach's misconception, however, keeps it a complete secret. She is so afraid that if he finds out, he will not continue to write to her. 

Micah has shared her deepest feelings and thoughts with Zach. He has seen her through some tough life situations and she fears the loss of this friend. But, now, Micah finally has the chance to meet her penpal in person!! She wants nothing more than to experience Amish life on Zach's farm, but she is more than a little anxious and she should be!! Will he be furious at her for decieving him all these years?? Will she lose her valued friendship??? What will be his family's reaction???

Indeed, this story is one of the result of deception that leads to somewhat heartbreaking complications. It really makes us think of what can happen when we keep secrets. Is it ever a good plan?? I think not!!

The characters are very well developed, realistic and  have everyday problems. YES ! This is one big problem!! All caused by being deceitful! I immediately felt a connection to Micah. What seemed like a little thing when she was younger, grew as she did, to become a bigger complication in life. I felt for her as she struggled with a plan. Her heartaches and fears became mine. As she wondered why she had ever  kept such a secret, I looked at myself and examined myself . Had I ever done anything like this?? Maybe not in the same way, bu† in letting others think things without correcting them. 

The plot is well developed and keeps moving quickly. We are kept wondering what the outcome will be, as new twists and turns erupt in each chapter. 

As always, Melody Carlson has a clear message throughout the book. It is one that the reader will think of and ponder long after finishing the last chapter. 

Love Melody's books!! A great read!

This book was supplied by Revell, in rxchange for a fair and honest review.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Grandmother's Last Wish!

   "Quilted by Christmas"

          By Jodie Bailey

About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. TheQuilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

About the book: 

A grandmother's last wish is to communicate God's love through an Irish chain quilt.
Taryn McKenna believes she's easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree---something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle-schoolers she teaches.
When Taryn's grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project---an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?
Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

My Thoughts:

This is a story of second chances, something we all hope we have, especially when our life experiences don't always turn out to be what we had hoped. Every book in this "Quilts of Love Series" has been such a joy to read. Each has its own message, however a common theme shines through all of them ! There is always hope, forgiveness, love, if only we give God a chance to lead us in our trudge through our daily challenges. This book, by Jodie Bailey, was no disappointment. It involves a very special quilt, as do all the books in the series, but is unique in how the author uses it as a focal point . 

The main characters were well developed and full of personality. You could easily picture them in your mind as you read about their fears, challenges, joys and yes, even failures. These characters had a depth to them so that you could become part of them. They came alive!  Taryn and Justin had a "relationship" full of complications and unanswered questions. Their personal struggles were described in such detail and so realistically that you wanted to step into the story and give some advice and even a few hugs. Secrets in the past stepped out to haunt Taryn. The feisty nature of Jemma came through loud and clear.

The plot moves quickly and has just the right number of twists and turns to keep the reader entranced.  A hand stitched Irish chain quilt holds the message of healing that Taryn desperately needs, but will she let the present , new, uplifting events heal her past and form her future????  As I moved through the story, I would just think that I had figured out the purpose of the quilt, when a new challenge would appear and change my focus!!  

This is a great read and the strong message shines through. You cannot change the past however you can use it to improve the present and indeed , even the future!! God has an answer for all of us. Will Taryn listen to that small quiet voice????

About the Author: 

Jodie Bailey is Tarheel born and bred. After 15 years as a military spouse, she settled with her family back in North Carolina. She is the author of the military suspense novel Freefall and is a contributor to a devotional for military families, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home. While not working on her next novel, she teaches middle-schoolers to love writing as much as she does.

Connect with Jodie: websiteFacebookTwitter

This book was supplied by Litfuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.
To read more reviews of this book : http://litfusegroup.com/author/jbailey

This book was supplied by Litfuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sarah Price Writes Another Winning Novel in the Amish Fiction Genre

"An Amish Buggy Ride"
     By Sarah Price
I have enjoyed all of the books written by this author, so fully expected to love this one as well. What I did NOT expect, was to think that it was the BEST yet!! I knew that Sarah is a talented gal who writes from the heart, but this book is one that has a message that stayed with me long after I  had finished reading it! 
The main character, Kate Zook, is a quiet Amish young woman who is always responsible and prides herself on fulfilling her role in being a "good daughter".  However, on one horrible snowy night, Kate does the unthinkable, she speaks her mind and appears to play a part in an earth shattering accident. 
Kate is left feeling extremely guilty for her role in the accident that left her brother injured, thus takes it upon herself to devote herself to his care. She  even takes over his chores in her father's fields. Her brother, David, deeply resents Kate and continually torments her and makes her feel inferior to all others. She becomes isolated, lonely and fearful.
Kate gets very little support from anyone in her home, however, her situation becomes apparent to Samuel, a local young man who has recently ended his wild years, rumschpringe. He has once again  returned to the fold and is totally intrigued by Kate's gentle, loyal ways to her cruel brother. Romance grows, as does tension. Kate so desires happiness, but David's rage becomes worse and worse. In order for her to ever develop a loving relationship, she must first forgive herself and accept the forgiveness of the Lord. The question is, will David  damage her life forever or can Kate , with God's help, eventually feel the love and forgiveness that God offers so freely to all?
This book has a very clear message. It is a story of mistakes, choices and forgiveness. In order for us to ever live a happy life, content in our Christian path, we must let God take over and have total control. God will forgive us, but can we forgive ourselves???? You must seek before you will find!!
The characters were realistic and well developed. I felt Kate's pain, as well as her frustrations, fears and confusion. She was easy to identify with, and quickly became a good friend who I wished I could hug and help make the hurts go away. I must say, the description of David was so real to life, that I felt my anger grow, on behalf of his sister!!  He made me so frustrated!!! I had to bring myself back to reality to calm down. He was a make believe character, however, I tended to forget that!!! Sarah did a fantastic job making thischaracters so true to life. 

The plot moves quickly with just enough twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of the chair. The unexpected was just around every corner. Sarah has done a superior job at describing events and reactions to them that would be typical in an Amish community. I felt that I was living along side this calm farm, filled with turmoil at each new challenge. 

This book is a great read for all Amish genre lovers and for those of you who have not been attracted to this type of book, try it. Sarah writes "out of the box" . Not a typical Amish tale!! That is what makes a great book!!

This ebook was supplied by the author for review purposes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sometimes, Love Has Its Own Timing!!

"Bluebonnet Lake"
 By Amanda Cabot

Before I begin my review, I must admit that I was convinced that this was a great book, only because I loved the title!!! I absolutely love bluebonnets and have only seen them, when vacationing in Texas!! So... that is my confession!!

I had thought of Amanda Cabot as an author of historical romances, but she has certainly started off her contemporary romance series, Texas Crossroads, with a bang!! A great, easy read, totally enjoyable!

Kate Sherwood, a marketing maven, is used to a fast paced world full of challenges and changes. The last thing she wants to do is end up at Rainbow's End, a dilapidated resort in Texas Hill Country. Her presence in this dull, forsaken place, has occurred due to her ailing Grandmother's request to spend some time together at a place full of priceless memories. The resort is where she and her deceased husband spent a glorious week, fifty years ago! What she remembers of the inn, is certainly NOT what Kate sees when she arrives. While there, spending quality time with her Grandma, who Kate is sure is not long from her deathbed, she encounters the handsome, Greg, who she assumes is the inn's hired handyman. There is more than meets the eye in this good looking unassuming Texan.

As much as Kate fights it, there is a definite attraction and promise of a romance.Sparks fly whenever Greg and Kate are together.  Can there be a future, between an overpowering excutive and a seemingly passive, quiet Texan????  Is there more to this situation than the casual eye can see???

I fell in love with the characters immediately in Chapter one. They are all realistic, easy to know, and become part of you, as you read this romance. Yes, there are challenges, some problems, some surprises, in each of them, but they remain lovable and people that you wish you could get to know better.

The plot, while often slow moving, just suits the story  perfectly. The slow , easy life of a vacation at a resort is present , even when some twists and turns in the actions takes one by surprise. There are many personal conflicts that appear unexpectedly. Just enough to keep you reading.

This is story of transformation. A pleasant, romantic change! Amanda Cabot writes in style which is both easy to read and very enjoyable. I felt a sense of peace as I finished this book. I was satisfied and happy. What more could a reader want???

I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Revelations of a Rock Princess

              "The Reason"
              By Lacey Sturn

Lacey is a young lady who tells her own story in this book that seems to both a memoir and a devotional. She tells her life story in a stirring manner that tugs at our heartstrings throughout. While doing this, Lacey also gives us ways to avoid as well as deal with some of her extreme challenges , some that can change one's life forever.

Lacey tells the story of her life in a wise and powerful manner. She is honest and open about ALL, the good, the bad and the very ugly!!! The story begins with Lacey planning to kill herself, the last day of her old life. As an Atheist, who hated all Christians, she only thought of church as a place where hypocrites got together. These individuals to her, were all fakers and simpletons. On this particular day, Lacey had a screaming match with her grandmother, ending up in in the back of a sanctuary, hating everyone!!!  But what occurred in that room at that time is "The Reason" that she is still alive today.

In her book, this hard rock princess tells her powerful, heartwrenching story of physical abuse, depression, struggles with suicidal thoughts ..... BUT it all ends with her salvation!! What an answer to life's problems!!! Throughout the book, Lacey encounters difficult questions: Why am I here, Why am I empty? What good is life???  Each of has a purpose in life, but do we let God take over and show us what it is?? Not all of us come from the life that Lacey had to contend with, however, what we can take away from this book, is the way in which, when you reach the bottom, the worst of the worst, there IS a person who can lift us up and heal our hurts. Lacey went from desperation to redemption, but only because God made it possible. She shows us how to "give up" our troubles and listen to the only one who can save us!

When I first opened this book, I thought to myself, "Oh this doesn't apply to me. I have never experienced anything even similar to Lacy. However, I was wrong,  BIG TIME! Even though my trials are different and seem insignificant in comparison, I can take away a lot from this book. How I look at myself and others is a way that the Lord can use  me. We can't look at others and see only self evident appearances , but must see them through kindness and God's love. What is in our innermost soul is what is important. The hurts and depression are so often overlooked, as we are too busy  being presumpuous. We need to exhibit the love that the Lord puts in us, helping others, and at the same time finding a deep inner peace ourselves.

 Lacey, the former rock princess, planning suicide, has allowed God to guide her life. She now is a speaker for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and its Rock the River events. What a life change this young lady has experienced! She tells her story well, while giving you the inspiration to do what you can to change others' lives as well as your own.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Great Christmas Read to Put You In The Mood!

"Where Treetops Glisten"

Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War 11

By Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman and Sarah Sundin

This book is such a delight to read!! It is put together by three beloved authors of World War 11 era fiction. These talented ladies combine their efforts, as they introduce us to the Turner family . Each of the three siblings have their own love story filled with all that Christmas is dreamed of, taking place in Layfayette, Indiana. I found this book to be unique and especially well developed as the authors managed to connect the characters in a very special way.  You become part of this famiy as you move from one story to the next. It is certainly a well written nouvella.


The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime
Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas
Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America's involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
In Cara Putman's White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements---until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail's brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin's I'll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete's friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he's no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, "Merry" to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that's precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
The Turner family believes in God's providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ's birth and His plan for a future?

My Thoughts :

I approached this book with a few reservations. I tend to NOT like to read nouvellas as compared  to a full length book, as they usually leave me feeling as if the stories are incomplete and I want more!! BUT to my surprise, this was NOT the case. These three fantastic authors managed to connect their stories in such a way that one just led into the next, making the reader feel satisfaction at the end of the book. It was one continuing family tale of the Turner clan.

Each author writes in her own unique style, while still centering on a Christmas story of love, family and loyalty. The focus on the importance of family was made evident in all three tales.  The character are all very real people with very real problems, those that were common in the era of the World War 11. How they dealt with them varied with the characters, and made the book even more enthralling. While the stories differ in style, they come together to emphasize  one very thought provoking message. When all is done, war, worries, family problems, what is really important??? God's purpose in providing peace and thankfulness is clearly evident throughout.The Christmas season is one which promotes this feeling and all three authors have done their job well. Family loyalty and love is more important than anything else we could dream of. AND God makes it all possible.

The plots are well developed and all contain many unexpected twists and turns. I enjoyed each one, never knowing what event, challenge or feeling would possess me on the following page. 

Definitely. a charming Christmas tale that well describes the times of the Wrold War 11 era and its problems and complications!! God met our needs then as He does now!!

A fantastic read!! Don't miss it.

This book was supplied by Litfuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About the Authors:

RICIA GOYER is a prolific author of nearly forty books, including Chasing Mona Lisa, and a speaker and blogger. 

CARA PUTMAN is the author of twenty books includingShadowed by Grace. She is the winner of the 2008 Carol Award for historical fiction. 

SARAH SUNDIN is the critically-acclaimed author of the Wings of the Nightingale series, the Wings of Glory series, and the forthcoming Waves of Freedom novels.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/BwVP9

To read other reviews of this book: http://litfusegroup.com/author/glisten

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...