Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

www.biblegateway.com


Friday, June 17, 2016

The Quieting Book Review

The Bishop's Family
Book Two

SUMMARY:  It was a well-laid plan - but it wasn't her plan . . .
     It's all her grandmother's fault.  For the last few months, Abigail Stoltzfus has helped her father with his genealogical research, hoping that breaking through a client's brick wall would also break his melancholy.  But now her intrusive grandmother has set her sights on marrying off Abigail and insists she come to Stoney Ridge, where there is a plethora of eligible bachelors.
     Except that Mammi is mistaken.  There are no eligible bachelors in Stoney Ridge, barring one, and he's all wrong. Dane Glick has the wrong last name and the wrong relatives - including the bishop who is at odds over a church matter with Abigail's uncle, minister David Stoltzfus.
     As the conflict grows, setting family against family, it's becoming clear that the path to a solution may lead to a Quieting - a removal of a church leader.  But for which one?  And when Abigail stumbles onto a curious connection during her genealogical research, it could help David solve one problem - but will it create another?

REVIEW:  Reading this book, and this series, is like watching your favorite television series.  There are a lot of stories going on at the same time.  While the focus of this book was on Abigail and Dane, I preferred the parts that were about David and Birdie.  Abigail's obsessive compulsiveness with keeping everything organized was distracting.  I like how it really helped in her genealogy research but, like everyone in David's house, it made me a little crazy.  Dane's passiveness was a little too passive for most main love interests.  I like how he still wanted to help Abigail with her research into his family tree even though other family members did not like her or what she was doing.
     David's desire to help his community is one to be admired.  After finding out how Freeman took control of who became a minister instead of letting God choose, I like how David follows Jesus's command in Matthew 18:15-17 in confronting him.  I also like how he and Birdie, a very unlikely couple, work together, in solving the dilemmas David faces.
     The ending of the book was unique.  The way the author tied Abigail's genealogy research with David's problems and created an original solution was excellent and very enjoyable.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning bestselling author whose most recent novels include Anna's Crossing and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish.  She lives in California.  Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter@suzannewfisher

They Were Christian Book Review

The Inspiring Faith of Men and Women
who Changed the World

SUMMARY:  What do Abraham Lincoln, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Louis Pasteur, Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, and John D. Rockefeller, Sr. have in common?  They all changed the world - and they were all Christians.  With passion and precision, Cristobal Krusen brings to light the little-known stories of faith behind twelve influential people of history.
     They Were Christians reveals the faith-filled motivations of these important world figures who made some of the most outstanding political, scientific, and humanitarian contributions in history.  Discover the true stories behind
  • the founding of the Red Cross
  • the family crisis that drove America's favorite president to his knees
  • the supernatural call that led a beautiful English socialite to save thousands of soldiers
  • and more
The fascinating profiles of these faithful history makers will encourage, entertain, and inspire you to deepen your faith, pursue excellence in your vocation, and serve others.

REVIEW:  This book was a very interesting read.  It consists of twelve brief biographies that, as the author described, tells "the rest of the story."  The stories are concise and go into just enough detail to keep the reader from getting boring and keep their attention.  Each person described is known for their inventions, contributions to medicine, or how they changed the thinking and beliefs of their time.  Most are not as well known about their walk with Christ.  Some started their walk with Jesus at an early age; some came to know Christ and His forgiveness of sin later.  But each one strived to emulate Jesus in their pursuit of peace, understanding and in helping their fellow man.
     While I am not a big biography fan, this is one book I really enjoyed reading and will keep on my shelf.  Check it out.  You might just learn something new.

This book was provided by Baker Books for review without compensation.

Cristobal Krusen is a screenwriter, film director, and author who has lived and worked in Latin America, Australia, and the United States.  In 1988, he founded Messenger Films, a nonprofit film production company.  He studied English literature at Harvard University and also studied film and television at NYU and the Art Center College in Design.  He currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Anchor in the Storm Book Review

Waves of Freedom Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  In the time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love?
     Nothing slows Lillian Avery down - not her personal challenges and certainly not America's entry into World War II.  She finally has a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston.  The demands of her new job energize her.  But society boy Ensign Archer Vanderberg's attentions only annoy - even if he is her brother's best friend.
     During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-Boasts on vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast.  Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves - and with drowsiness.  Could their be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling?
     As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question.  But can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affections?

REVIEW:  This book tackles some difficult subjects - physical disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and women working in traditionally men's roles.  Lillian wears a prosthesis on her left leg after a childhood accident.  That, along with being a woman, makes it very difficult for her to find a job, much less one as a pharmacist, since those positions were held by men.  After the sinking of his previous ship, Arch deals with PTSD.  He observes men on his new destroyer having the same issues coping by taking strong medication that starts to interfere with their job performances.
     Lillian's determination to break through the barriers is admirable.  She does the best she can and doesn't back down from adversity.  Along the way, she starts to win people over and their attitudes start to change as they see her instead of just her sex.  She uses a painful episode in her past to help her in a very difficult situation to bring criminals to justice.
     Arch finds out that he is not along in struggling with the death and destruction he's witnessed on the sea.  I like how he works to find another way besides drugs to help the men under his command and breaks up the prescription drug ring causing the damage.  Even though he hates the wealth and status he was brought up with, I was impressed with how he uses it to help others with PTSD and other wounded warriors.
     The author kept me guessing as to how the drug ring would be captured and how all the relationships that were hurt and wounded would mend in the end.  
     This is the second book in the Waves of Freedom series.  It stands well on its own but reading the first book will fill in the gaps around some of the other characters.  This is a remarkable book and a wonderful series.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Revell 
for review without compensation.

Sarah Sundin is the award-winning author of the Wings of Glory and Wings of the Nightingale series, as well as Through Waters Deep.  During WWII, her grandfather serves as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England.  Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.  Learn more at www.sarahsundin.com

Monday, June 6, 2016

Through the Shadows Book Review

The Golden Gate Chronicles
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Brokenness.  Rubble.  Healing.  Rebuilding.  God grows life out of ashes; how will He redeem Elizabeth's past mistakes?
     Two years ago, the building of San Francisco were shaken off their foundations and burned to the round in the devastating earthquake and fire.  As the city rebuilds brick by brick, new hope is rising.  But Elizabeth King is also trying to rectify the rubble in her own life - and she's not sure anything will be able to erase her past.  But she doesn't anticipate finding new love.
     Helping to right her wrongs, Elizabeth commits herself to helping young girls escape brothels in Chinatown, one of the darkest sections of San Francisco. 
     When she meets rising attorney Charles McKinley, who desires to save the city from corruption, and has dashing good looks to boot, she can't help feeling hopeful.  However, she soon realizes while many loved ones may not turn away after discovering her secret, the man she loves will have no choice:  Elizabeth's past bears great consequences for both their futures.

REVIEW:  Trying to make up for her past wrongs, Elizabeth moves to San Francisco to help Donaldina Cameron by teaching her rescued girls how to sew and to play the piano.  She also goes with Donaldina into the heart of Chinatown to rescue those girls who want to escape the brothels and opium dens where they are held.  I like how Elizabeth leaves her comfortable life to help those who are coming from horrible situations to minister to them.  As she does, she sees the grace of God working in her own life.  As she faces her painful past and when all is revealed, I like how Donaldina stands beside Elizabeth when her job is in jeopardy. I also like how Charles does not bow to corruption but fights against it, even though it puts him and his future in a precarious position with powerful people. 
     This is a wonderful novel and a great end to this series.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press 
for review without compensation.

Karen Barnett is the author of Beyond the Ashes, Out of the Ruins, and Mistaken.  Named the 2013 Writer of Promise by Oregon Christian Writers, Karen lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.  Visit her website at KarenBarnettBooks.com

The Beautiful Pretender Book Review

A Medieval Fairy Tale

SUMMARY:  After inheriting his title from his brother, the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride.  What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise?
     The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast.  He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king's approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.
     Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn't select her as his bride.  Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught.  No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.
     Despite Avelina's best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice.  And try as she might, she can't deny her own growing feelings.  But something else is afoot in the castle.  Something sinister that cold have far worse - far deadlier - consequences.

REVIEW:  This is magnificent book very loosely based on the fairy tale of The Princess and the Pea.  The author does an incredible job keeping my attention throughout the tale and keeping me guessing as to how it would end.  Avelina/Dorothea is an admirable character.  As she gets to know Reinhart, the margrave, she starts to develop feelings for him.  Because she knew she wouldn't be able to follow through with her feelings, she selfishly sets them aside and promotes her new friend Magdalen in a good light in hopes the margrave will pick her for his bride.  When trouble rises and previous threats come to fruition, Avelina/Dorothea does not cower but does what she can to protect the margrave and his land, even though it may cost her life.
     This story is well-written and enjoyable.  Melanie Dickerson is one author I will continue to look for and read.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Thomas Nelson Publishers
for review without compensation.

Melanie Dickerson is a two-time Christy Award finalist and author of The Healer's Apprentice, winner of the National Readers' Choice Award for Best First Book in 2010, and The Merchant's Daughter, winner of the 2012 Carol Award.  She spends her time writing romantic medieval stories at her home near Hunstville, Alabama, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Visit her website at www.MelanieDickerson.com.  She can also be found on Twitter: @melanieauthor and Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Together at the Table Book Review

Two Blue Doors Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Great love, like great food, always involves risk.
     Three months ago, Juliette D'Alisa's world changed.
     In a bittersweet series of events, her mother's health took a turn for the worse.  Juliette and her brother opened their restaurant together to rave reviews, but her romance with Memphis immunologist Neil McLaren ended in anger and tears.
     Now as autumn sweeps into the Pacific Northwest, Juliette feels that she's finally on the cusp of equilibrium.  The restaurant continues to thrive, and her family is closer than ever.  She and sous-chef Adrian are seeing each other, both in and out of the kitchen.  Just when she thinks her world might stop spinning, a trip to the waterfront brings a familiar face across her path.
     Rather than dwell on her personal life, Juliette throws herself into work and research.  After reading her grandmother's letters from war-torn Paris, she still wants to know the full story - and she'll travel across countries and oceans to find it.
     But even Juliette can't outrun the man who stole her heart.  As she finally uncovers the truth about her family history, what will it mean for her own chances at lasting love.

Recipes and Readers Guide Included

REVIEW:  Oh. My. Goodness!!!!  I love this book, this series, everything!!  I got so caught up in Juliette's story and the letters of her grandmother, it was difficult returning to reality when I would have to set the book down.  The author kept my attention all the way through this novel and the series.  As Juliette worked her way through the letters, and eventually her grandmother's journal, I would get frustrated when the characters would have stop reading because I was anxious to see how everything worked out for Mireille and her little family. I also loved how Juliette came through her many trials stronger and better than before.  The way Juliette's life, and Mireille's, work out was satisfying, uplifting and inspiring.  
     This is one series you will want to check out.  You will need to read the other two books in order as each builds on the previous one.  It is one that will have a permanent place on my bookshelves.  This is one author that will be top on my list.

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books 
for review without compensation.

Hillary Manton Lodge loves nothing more than an good story.  She is the author of several novels, including the Two Blue Doors and the Plain and Simple series.  In her free time, Hillary enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and exploring her most recent hometown of Portland, Oregon.  She shares her home with her husband, Danny, and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Shiloh and Sylvie.

An Amish Market Book Review


SUMMARY:  All the color and variety of a quaint Amish shop in a charming collection of novellas by four of your favorite authors.  Feel free to come in and browse!

Love Birds by Amy Clipston
While Ellie Lapp and her mother are still mourning the loss of her brother, Seth, Ellie starts working at one of the gift shops in town.  Seth's friend Lloyd is talented at carving wooden birds, but his father disapproves and expects him to take over the family farm someday.  Ellie sees the beauty in Lloyd's creations and insists Lloyd sell the birds in the gift shop where she works.  As Ellie and Lloyd spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings for one another, but she accidentally betrays his trust.  Will she lose any hope of a future with him?

A Bid for Love by Kathleen Fuller
Every week, Hannah Lynne brings her home-churned butter to the local market.  And every week, Ezra stops by to purchase some.  Hannah Lynne knows not to read too much into it - Ezra is a confirmed bachelor and barely even glances her way, despite any hope to the contrary.  But when Ezra bids an exorbitant amount to win the quilt she had her heart set on, Hannah Lynne can't stop her heart from taking over her mind.  Could Ezra finally be in the market for love?

Sweeter Than Honey by Kelly Irvin
Shattering a jar of pickled beets wasn't the impression Isabella hoped to make on her first trip to the local Combination Store of Bee County, Texas.  But as embarrassed as she was by the accident, she didn't think it warranted the frosty reaction from the handsome manager of the store, Will Glick.  As she soon learns, though, Will's heart has been broken one too many times.  And now, for some reason, Isabella finds herself determined to be the one to repair that broken heart and renew his faith in love.
Love in Store by Vannetta Chapman
Stella Schrock works at the Old Mill in Nappanee, Indiana, with new employee David Stoltzfus, a recent widower.  When strange happenings begin occurring around town, it appears as if someone wants to close the mill.  Stella and David have to work together to solve the mystery of what is happening at the Old Amish Mill, and in the process they might just find that God has more in store for their future than they would ever have dreamed possible.

REVIEW:  My favorite of these stories is probably A Bid for Love.  The idea of Ezra buying all of Hannah Lynne's butter when he already had enough was so sweet.  I also like how he searched out the buyer of the quilt Hannah Lynn favored just to get it back for her.  There were a few times I got frustrated with the characters for their lack of communication, but if they communicated correctly, the story may not have been as good.
     My next favorite was Love Birds.  Ellie's determination to help her mother make ends meet after the death of her brother, their only source of income, is admirable.  Even though Ellie goes about getting Lloyd to sell his birds the wrong way, I like how Lloyd figures out a way to sell them without going against his father's wishes and ends up helping Ellie and her mother.
     Love in Store is a different story and was very refreshing.  I like how the main characters are older and neither are looking for a love interest.  Even though Stella was difficult, I like how she started to soften up as she spent time with  David.  The mystery they solved had me guessing whodunit until the end.  Vannetta Chapman's stories have not disappointed yet.  This one is definitely included in this impression.
      I had a harder time getting into the novella Sweeter Than Honey.  I like how Isabella is different from the other teens during their rumspringa and is not interested in trying to find out what life is like outside their Amish community.  Will's strong work ethic is admirable and his concern for the local teens and the community is deeply heartfelt.  Isabella and Will bring out the best but stretches each other beyond their comfort zones.  One thing I found a disheartening is how Will and the Amish community do not want to have anything to do with Jesse, his brother who left to follow God's leading to become a pastor.  I understand the reasoning of being not wanting those who left around for fear others in the Amish community might decide to leave, too.  But, if they are doing God's work and ministering to other believers, shouldn't that be excused?  I don't know.  It was a good story once I got into it.
      At the end, there are all kinds of cool recipes for items mentioned in the book.  I may have to try out a few.

This book was provided by Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers
for review without compensation.

Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series.  Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA.  Amy holds a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC.  Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats.  Find her on Facebook: Amy Clipston and on Twitter:@AmyClipston.

Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including A Man of His Word and Treasuring Emma, as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield.  Visit her website at www.kathleenfuller.com.  She is also on Twitter at @TheKatJam and Facebook: Kathleen Fuller.

Kelly Irvin is the author of The Beekeeper's Son, the critically acclaimed first novel in teh Amish of Bee County series.  Kelly is also the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and teh New Hope Amish series.  She has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.  Visit her on Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin or on Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author.

Vannetta Chapman is author of teh best-selling novel A Simple Amish Christmas.  In 2012 she was awarded a Carol Award for Falling to Pieces.  She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania.  Visit Vannetta's website: www.vannettachapman.org, Twitter: @VannettaChapman and Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks.