25 Book Reviews

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

Another Great Addition to "The Courtships of Lancaster County" Series by Leslie Gould

"Becoming Bea"
By Leslie Gould

About the book: Can Bea and Ben Turn Rivalry Into Romance?

Beatrice Zook knows God wants her to learn patience toward others. When assisting a family overwhelmed by triplets proves surprisingly successful, her confidence in dealing with others, both young and old, grows.

One person she'll never be able to find peace with though is Ben Rupp. They've known each other forever, and Ben understands precisely how to antagonize her. What neither she nor Ben will admit is that beneath all their bickering, attraction awaits. When friends decide to try and bring the couple together, will the pair be able to find true love? Or will they damage their relationship 
beyond repair?

I  thoroughly enjoyed the previous three books in Leslie's series,  The Courtships of Lancaster County, "Courting Cate". "Adoring Addie" and "Minding Molly" and this new addition, "Becoming Bea' was no disappointment. It was every bit as interesting and captivating as the others. The characters are well developed and very realistic. They are every day people with every day problems. To judge a book on its worth, I find that I must be able to identify with at least one or more of the characters in the story. This was easily done . Bea became part of me. I felt her frustrations, confusion, disappointments and yes, finally her joy! There were times that I wished that I could put my arms around her and just sooth her troubles away. The somewhat quirky characters in this book, also brought forth some giggles as they endured their daily lives full of challenges. The outcome of their actions were not always what I expected but did keep me guessing as to what would happen next.

The plot moves quickly while being interesting , with a few surprises thrown in , just enough to keep you guessing as to the next twist that the characters will have to stumble their way through. Damaged relationships are dealt with in a sensitive  manner, as the romance tends to be somewhat challenging for the couple who bicker and continually antagonize each other. Will this pair ever be able to find true love???  God can find a way, however can Bea and Ben come to an understanding allowing Him to work out His plan????

It is definitely an entertaining, somewhat light read!  A great story with a great plot line and excellent character development!  For what more could I ask!!
I highly recommend this to all Christian fiction lovers!!

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

About the author: Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 CBA bestseller The Amish Midwife, a 2012 Christy Award winner; ECPA bestseller Courting Cate, first in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; and Beyond the Blue, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice for Best Inspirational Novel, 2006. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She and her familyl live in Portland, Oregon.

Find Leslie online: websiteFacebookTwitter

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/Dcnfl 
To read other reviews of this book: http://litfusegroup.com/author/lgould

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Secrets CAN Change Lives!!

"A Promise To Protect"

By Patricia Bradley

The suspense genre is one of my favorites, I must admit! But this particular author, Patricia Bradley, is one who writes books that I especially enjoy .  Her ability to grab one's attention on the first page and maintain it to the ending, makes for a fantastic read!

"A Promise To Protect" is a story of betrayal and love, threats are made, lives are taken. A deep desire for revenge is wound throughout the plot.  The reader can feel the danger.  However, throughout, there is a sense of  faith and love , how God can deal with our problems, if only we allow Him to take control.

Chapter One :"Tony Jackson shouldn't be dying in a ritzy hotel room in downtown Memphis on a hot July night."  Now, who could ever put this book down, without reading to find out who Tony is, why is there, and what will take place next????? NOT I!! I was caught up in this confusing tale of intrigue, never quite able to figure out who the killer was or the implications that were in store for the main character, Leigh  Somerall.  Acting Sheriff, Ben Logan hadn't heard from Leigh in a very long time. After a long ago romance with her, although no contact has been made, Ben still has feelings for her, even after ten years. When she calls him out of the blue, it strikes him as very  strange. The request is made that he protect her brother, Tony. However, before Ben can get his head around this , he is challenged with a totally different job- protecting Leigh from the mysterious people who were after her brother. Leigh certainly attempts to avoid  Ben, but it is not easy. There is a secret that she has been hiding, one that may just change their lives forever.

The plot is fast paced, increasing in tension at a remarkable speed. It begins as a cliffhanger and manages to easily keep you on edge to the very satisfying end. Along  the way, there are continual twists and turns, complete surprises that keep the reader glued to the page. Not once, did I have the answers to this mystery, before another even would hit and shock me!

Patricia has well developed characters, realistic, who could easily be your friends next door. Leigh and her young son become part of you. You feel their fears, confusion and yes, their terror as well. There are mysterious assailants who shock the life out of you along the way. Throughout, you are faced with the importance of trust and faith  and the complications and devastations that secrets can cause . The thread of faith is continuous. God has answers for us, perhaps not what we desire but He knows what is best for us, if only we will pass over the reins of our lives.

This book is the second book that Patricia has written. ""Shadows of the Past", the first, which by the way is equally good, has some of the same characters, however, you could easily read this as a stand alone.

I will definitely be looking for more by this author. A five star book!!

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


Monday, October 20, 2014

Debora Coty Writes Another Winning Self Help Book for Women!

About the book: In Too Loved to Be Lost (Barbour Books, October 2014), you'll find simple, practical steps for healing, refreshment, and revitalization of spirit, body, and faith. Whether you're struggling with issues related to trust, depression, patience, relationships, hurts, or hopes. . .this humor-filled volume will deliver a much-needed smile and equip you with simple-to-implement tips for attaining the kind of guidance and belonging you crave---the kind that can only be found in the unconditional love of Papa God.

  "Too Loved To Be Stressed"' by Debora Coty, is another invaluable resource.for ALL women. No one can express the ways to help oneself as well as this talented author, in her own unique, humorous style, while still getting right to the point of problems and how we can successfully deal with them. The way the world views females is NOT the way God looks at us. Debora makes this very clear. Our success is too often dependent on looks, behavior and talents! This only leads us to fear that we will never be accepted by others. We may even attempt to outdo others and as a result , think of our God as one who judges unfairly, is ruthless and stern, when this is not even close to the truth!!  At some times in life, all of us have felt lost in our journey, some of us more than others. Hopelessness overcomes and it is felt that the battle is lost. This is not what Papa God, as Debora refers to our loving Father, desires or ever has in His plans for us.

Debora gives us easy, practical things to do in our daily lives to improve and enhance our lives. I love the simple follow up to each chapter. After giving us much food for thought , as well as realistic situations, along with a few giggles, we come to the section entitled, "Following My Personal GPS (God Powered Satellite)". Here, we are given questions regarding our own lives to think about, as well as references to Debora's personal experiences, and how we can use the contents of the chapter to improve our self worth, thereby making us happier and more content.. I particularly loved the section of Chapter 4, "Topping Off My Tank", in which we are given a list of Life Savers, easy but meaningful scriptures to memorize, one per month to help you gain power to replace your "old wimpy self"!!

Debora's books are at the top of my list in Useful but Simple self help books!! The humor with which she views life is admirable and her ability to get the point across with a laugh and biblical proof is of use to any woman, young or older. I finished the book thinking that I, too, could find simple practical ways to release my own personal struggles . You can only find this through the kind of  guidance and belonging that only found in the unconditional love of Papa God.

Definitely a five star book!! Don't miss this book. It can and will change your life.

About the author: Debora M. Coty is a popular speaker, columnist, lifelong Bible student, internationally published freelance writer, and award-winning author of numerous books, including Too Blessed to Be Stressed, and More Beauty, Less Beast. She's also an orthopedic occupational therapist, writing instructor, and tennis addict. Mother of two grown children, Debora lives and loves in central Florida with her husband, Chuck, and desperately wicked pooch, Fenway.

To read more about this author:
Find Debora online: websiteFacebookTwitter

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/CSJKG
A copy of this book was received by LItfuse , in-exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fantastic New Book!! A Definite Cliff Hanger!


By Vannetta Chapman

As I am a dedicated fan of Vannetta's , I was surprised to learn that she had written a book that varied from her usual chosen genre, Amish mysteries! I have enjoyed all of her books and wondered  what feelings this new  book would stir within me! Actually.... I started to read, with a bit of reluctance, worrying if I would love this book, as I have her others. By the time I had read two chapters, I knew, without a doubt, that this book was a true winner!!  So different, yes, BUT oh so engrossing! 

The novel includes a lovely romance between a very intense, complicated young woman and a big hearted male. The plot is wound around the whole theme of rediscovering faith. Dana Jacobs is supervisor in charge of the Dept. of Homeland Security inTaos, New Mexico. Benjamin Marshall is  newly assigned to Dana's office. He has come from a military career, certainly far from Dana's wishes. 

Ben is a deep believer of the Christian faith and truly believes that he was put in this time and place for a reason. When a local school is threatened, a case is opened which begins a chase through the Enchanted Circle and Carson National Forest, following a man whose bitterness is clearly understood by Dana. She has a justified feeling of anger against him, however it remains hidden deep inside her, eating away internally , so that it doesn't affect others. 

The plot is well developed and mind boggling , as Dana struggles to forgive, as well as to be forgiven. The message is very clear, God will and DOES forgive us regardless of the past. There are twists and turns that keep you on your toes and on the edge of your seat. You just never know what you will encounter around the next corner. Just when I thought I had figured out the mystery, the whole plot changed. I sat in wonder! I could NOT put this book down!! Proof that it was a riveting story!!  I managed to read this book in two sittings, even while on vacation! 

The characters are well developed and keep you wondering what their thoughts are. that cause them to react in the way that they do. Hidden is a fitting title, as you attempt to get into their heads to understand their complex natures. What and why are their lives such a secret??  This kept my mind in high gear !!

A GREAT read!! Well done, Vannetta!! Now , I can hardly wait for Book Two of the "Jacobs Family Series!!

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...