25 Book Reviews

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Friendships Grow and Romance Blossoms along with the Mysteries in the Village of Ivy Hill

"The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill"
          By Julie Klassen


The Bell is a coaching inn located in the village of Ivy Hill. Jane Bell, a genteel lady,  takes over  the innkeeper's position after her husband suddenly dies. She has absolutely no idea of how to manage a business, however since the village depends on the inn, and a large sum of money is owed, she must quickly step into her husband's shoes and find a way to save the inn. 

Jane's mother in law, Thora, although having a distant and strained relationship  with her son's wife, steps up to help . Thora was at one time the mistress of The Bell. She is now struggling to overcome her losses and find a purpose for the future. As she and Jane attempt to work together to find a solution for the inn's problems, two men from Thora's past arrive on the scene. Although she has vowed to never marry again, they both vie for her attention, trying to win her over. Will she give them a second chance at love??

The bank, under the control of a meddlesome. untrustworthy manager, applies pressure upon the ladies to pay what is owing, a huge amount. It appears as though several men have vested interests in this business, including a stranger who arrives in the village. Why are his plans so secretive? Who is he and what does he want?? Will Jane succeed in restoring the Inn to its former position??? Will she be able to fill the emptiness in her heart???

My Thoughts:

Julie Klassen once again writes  historical fiction  full of accurate facts of the times and uses quotes from the British Regency to enhance the story. . Her  talent for story telling is evident in this tale of a female taking on the role of an Innkeeper, in times when this is rarely accomplished.  It is also a tale of two females who have not had a good relationship in the past however are trying to work together to have a failing business succeed. 

The characters are  realistically and well described. I found Thora to be a somewhat quirky and prickly individual who irritated me with her criticisms and her feelings of being superior to all others. I was able to identify with Jane as she attempted to maintain peace while being sorely tried by her mother in law's opinions. 

The setting was well described in a charming fashion . I could easily visualize the village and its charming residents. 

The plot moved very slowly. It seemed to take a long time to become involved and totally understand what was going on with the various residents of Wiltshire. However, once engaged, I was eager to discover how the novel would end. 

I must admit that this was not one of my favourite books by this well known author. I am hoping that the next book in the series has a more satisfying ending, as the characters are now well developed and alive in my thoughts!!

This book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House, Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and is now available at your local booksellers. The opinions expressed are honest and my own. 

Everyone Loves Weddings!! Especially Amish Weddings!

                                   "Amish Weddings"
          By Leslie Gould


Rose Lehman is always the life of the Amish youth singings, a social event that the young people look forward to, a fun time for them to play volleyball, sing, and have refreshments, a place where romantic relationships often begin. Rose is one determined young lady. She has one goal in her life- to marry the bishop's son, Reuben Byler. However, another handsome young man suddenly appears on the scene. Trevor is an Army buddy of Rose's future brother in law. He appears to be much more exciting than Reubon, a quiet, somewhat boring man. Trevor's sense of fun and adventure appeals to Rose who shares those qualities. 

A devastating accident takes place. Rose's sister, Lila is badly injured. Suddenly, Rose discovers a freedom that she has never had before. Reuben notices this change, however, being a patient man, never voices any concerns. Part of Rose loves this new found freedom, while on the other hand, she wishes Reuben would show some spunk and fight for her love!  Will Rose choose the exciting, uncertain path of love with Trevor or will she stick with her faith and remain faithful to her intended???

My Thoughts:
This book is the third in Leslie Gould's "Lancaster County" Series. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two and was eagerly awaiting the third. This novel was certainly no disappointment. It captured my attention in the first chapter and maintained it until the last page!

The characters were realistic and well developed, in fact, so much so , that at times, I wanted to give them a good shake to wake them up to the good things that they were ignoring that were right in front of them. Immediately, I was drawn into the lives of Rose and Reuben and became part of their rocky relationship. I wanted to shout at Rose and give her a good shake!  Why couldn't she see how good she would have it if she remained faithful to her beliefs?? 

The plot moves steadily with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. Sensitive subjects were addressed that we normally don't think of when reading the Amish genre, making this a unique and interesting read.  The turmoil that Rose's family experienced was felt deep within me. It seems as if everything that could go wrong, did!

The focus on Christian values and the importance of keeping one's faith in the darkest moments shines through this book. Our selfish plans are not always the ones that God chooses to give us. The importance of depending on God's will is evident throughout the challenges in the story. 

This is a five star book!! An entertaining read that keeps the reader guessing!!!

This book was a gift . The opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Vannetta Chapman Writes ANOTHER Winning Novel!!

         "Raging Storm"
     By Vannetta Chapman


in the Darkness,
Anarchy Awakens
When a massive solar flare wiped out all modern technology across the globe, the small town of Abney, Texas, was thrown into chaos. Shelby Sparks and her teenage son, Carter, have found refuge, but Shelby knows she can't simply remain hidden. Carter is a type 1 diabetic in need of insulin—and Shelby will risk her life traveling to Austin to make sure he gets it.

Shelby's best friend and high school sweetheart, Max Berkman, won't even consider letting her make the perilous journey alone. Together, they manage to reach the capital—only to discover that while things are desperate in Abney, Austin has turned into an urban nightmare on the brink of anarchy.

Shelby and Max's search for medical supplies will lead them into terrifying territory, where the only thing more uncertain than finding what they need is the hope of making it out of the city alive.
* * *
In this second book in an eerily plausible, action-packed dystopian series, survival will be threatened and faith will be put to the ultimate test as a raging storm engulfs America.

My Thoughts:

Having read Vannetta's first book in this series entitled "The Remnant". I was eagerly anticipating the adventures that this book would bring!! Never would I have thought that I would be "hooked" on Dystopian fiction!! BUT, I am now (at least with the author being Vannetta Chapman)!! Her first book, "Deep Shadows" had me on the edge of my seat with my heart pounding ! I am pleased to say that this second book was certainly no disappointment!! It is totally believable , thus very frightening. The situations that occur could happen in our lifetime. It is a story that is written is such realistic and believable detail, that it stays with you long after you have finished reading. I found myself searching deep within, am I ready to cope with the challenges and disasters that the characters met on a daily basis??

The characters are ordinary people just like you and I! But what they encounter is everyone's nightmare! They are easy to identify with and I found myself  so deeply involved in their lives that I worried about them and so wanted to reach out to help! I had to remind myself that this is  a work of fiction!!  Shelby and Max were indeed dear, caring Christians who were struggling to survive! The desire to succeed was clear! Their challenges became mine as I walked along beside them in this roller coaster ride of life. The valleys were so deep that the hills seemed very low!! 

The plot moved steadily and quickly with twists and turns cropping up at the most unexpected moments. I had many questions and suspicions however they constantly were disrupted and proven wrong as a new problem appeared on the scene. 

This book is most definitely a cliff hanger!! I am barely hanging on as I await the next in this series!! The ending cropped up so quickly, it hit me with a giant bang!! I HAVE to find out what will happen next!!

Get writing , Vannetta!! I can't wait too long!!

This book was a gift. The opinions expressed are honest and my own.

A Fantastic Collection of Amish Novellas By Our Favorite Authors!

"An Amish Home"

By : Beth Wiseman
       Amy Clipston
       Ruth Reid
       Kathleen Fuller


A Cup Half Full by Beth Wiseman—Sarah Lantz always dreamed of the perfect home, the perfect husband, the perfect family. When she married Abram, she knew she was on her way to securing her perfect life. All of that changes in one moment when an accident leaves her unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair, dashing all of her dreams. As Abram starts to transform their home, Sarah begins a transformation in her spirit, and she begins, once again, to see her cup as half full.
Home Sweet Home by Amy Clipston—Down on their luck and desperate after they are evicted from their small apartment, Chace and Mia O’Conner reluctantly take Chace’s Amish boss up on his offer to rent them the daadihaus located on his property. They are certain they will never feel at home in the rustic cabin without any modern conveniences, and they start to blame each other for their seemingly hopeless situation. But with the help of their new Amish friends, Chace and Mia begin to enjoy their cozy cabin and realize that home really is where the heart is.
Building Faith by Kathleen Fuller—Faith Miller knows that carpentry is an unlikely hobby for a young Amish woman, but she loves the work and it keeps the memory of her grandfather alive. So when her cousin asks Faith to build the cabinets in her new home, Faith is only too happy to take on the job, even if it is the most ambitious project she has ever taken on. The only catch is that she has to work with her ex-fiance, Silas. As they work to build Martha’s kitchen, can they put the past behind them and start to build faith in one another again?
A Flicker of Hope by Ruth Reid—Fifteen years ago, Thomas and Noreen King were blissful newlyweds. Young, naive, and in love, life was rosy . . . for a while. Then trials and tribulations rocked their foundation, shattering them emotionally, and soon, their marriage was in shards. All hope for restoring their previously unshakable union seems lost. When fire destroys their home, Thomas and Noreen are left to sift through the rubble. As uncovered items from the remains of the house shake loose memories of the past, Thomas and Noreen begin to draw closer and a flicker of hope—and love—is re-ignited.

My Thoughts:

All I had to do was look at the cover of this book to know that it was going to be a marvellous read!! How would I know that ??  The novellas are written by four talented authors who always write in their own unique style using a wealth of knowledge background of the Amish. As I am reviewing Beth Wiseman's contribution, I will address her story. 

Beth portrays the characters in such  realistic detail that I immediately found myself  deeply involved in their lives. I quickly identified with Sarah, the main character. Although the Amish life is often portrayed as one full of peace, faith and  an intense belief in God, these individual DO experience hardship  and trials, just as you and I do. At times, their faith is under fire!  Sarah is an example of a fine Christian woman who thinks that she is beginning to experience  her marriage of dreams .... when tragedy strikes!  I was drawn deeply into the story as Sarah's hardships and challenges are described in  such a way that it made me stop and think. What would I do  in this time of deep sorrow??? Sarah's husband became very dear to me as he made his best attempts to cope and encourage her to look at life in a positive way. Our lives are continually changing but now always in the way we planned!  

The plot moves quickly with surprising twists and turns, keeping the reader thoroughly engaged from beginning to end.  I have to admit that I read this story in one sitting, simply because I could not put the book down!! My attention was quickly captured and I just had to find out how Sarah coped with her new way of life. 

The four novellas easily lead into one another, although they are also stand alone stories. I highly recommend this book! It is a FANTASTIC collection. Do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in the Amish lifestyle , even if it is a short while. 

This book was received as a gift. The opinions expressed are honest and my own. 

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...