25 Book Reviews

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.

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...