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


Monday, November 24, 2014

The Christmas Cat Book Review


SUMMARY:  After years abroad, Garrison Brown finds himself at the home of his beloved grandmother who has just passed away.  He must sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes.  While he hopes to dispense with the task quickly - especially since he is severely allergic to cats - his grandmother's instructions don't allow for speed.  She has left some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends.
     Can he match the cats with the perfect new owners?  And is it possible that he might meet his own match along the way?

REVIEW:  This was actually a fun book to read.  I enjoyed seeing how Garrison sorted out his grandmother's wishes and how he found homes for all of the cats.  The people he met along the way ended up becoming friends of his.  The creativity and detail his grandmother went into to provide for her "babies" was sweet and thoughtful.  My favorite parts were the "surprise" that was given to each of the new owners after they met all the qualifications and requirements and the growth of Garrison.  This was a great holiday story.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than six million.  She is the author of several Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, as well as The Christmas Pony and A Simple Christmas Wish.  She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice.  She and her husband live in central Oregon.  Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.

Trading Secrets Book Review


SUMMARY:  The truth may set you free - but it might also land you in some uncomfortably hot water.
     Over the years, Micah Knight has exchanged many letters - and many secrets - with her longtime Amish pen pal, Zach.  But Micah's kept quiet on the biggest secret of all - the fact that despite her name, she's a girl.
     Now Micah finally has the chance to meet her pen pal face-to-face.  She wants nothing more than to experience life on Zach's Amish farm, but she's more than a little anxious.  Will he be angry at her for deceiving him all these years?  And will she risk losing his friendship to find something more?

REVIEW:  Let me first say, this is a teen novel.  Since I have a teenager, I wanted to see if this would be something she might be interested in.  This is not the typical novel I usually read.  There were a few things I read that raised my concern.  Even though Micah and Zach had communicated for years through letters, they had never talked on the phone or met in person.  Micah's dad lets her go to visit Zack, taking a bus BY HERSELF and didn't seemed that concerned.  He is not in contact with her except for an occasional text message for a week while she is at a stranger's house.  I also was concerned at the portrayal of Zach's parents.  I know not all families, even the Amish, aren't loving and supportive but reading how these "godly" people treated their son didn't set right with me.  I guess I just like everyone to be happy and loving.  This book was okay and I was disappointed.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than two hundred books, including the Dating Games series, the Life at Kingston High series, Double Take, A Simple Song, and My Amish Boyfriend.  She has received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice.  Melody and her husband live in Oregon.  Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Surprised by Love Book Review

 The Heart of San Francisco
Book Three

SUMMARY:  She can turn the head of the man spurned her - but can she turn his heart?
     When Megan McClure left San Francisco to study in Paris, no one would accuse her of being poised and pretty.  But on the other side of the Atlantic, this wallflower blossomed into a beauty with big dreams.  When she returns to California and accepts an internship at the district attorney's office, she's thrilled that her life is taking shape.  But the exciting opportunity quickly loses its glow when she discovers she'll be working alongside Devin Caldwell, who mercilessly mocked her at school - and with whom she was hopelessly enamored.
     Bram Hughes is the best friend to whom Megan has always turned for support and advice.  But when she seeks his counsel about working with Devin Caldwell, Bram's vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a little sister.  He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?

REVIEW:  Of the three books in this series, this one is my favorite!  I love how Megan has come into her own, making a few minor changes to her appearance that makes major waves at home.  She takes the DA's office by storm, making her name for herself with the projects she is given being completed thoroughly and in a timely manner.  My favorite part was how a bunch of loose ends are tied up and the surprises that occur at the end of the book.  This is a great end to this series.  I look forward to reading more by this author.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston series, the Winds of Change series and The Heart of San Francisco series.  The recipient of seventeen Romance Writers of America and other awards, Lessman was chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 and 2012 Readers' Choice Awards.  She resides in Missouri with her family.  Learn more at www.julielessman.com.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Review

An Amish Love Story

SUMMARY:  Bess Riehl is preparing Rose Hill Farm for her Christmas wedding, but her groom isn't who she thought it would be. Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge, his family, or Bess. And that suits Bess just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word, without any explanation? It's time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes to Amos Lapp, Billy's cousin and best friend. But as Bess and Amos's wedding day draws near, her emotions tangle into a tight knot. She loves Amos. Yet she can't forget Billy.
     When a "lost" rose is discovered at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. Get in, identify the rose, and get out. That's his plan. The only catch is that he's having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose, and he can't get those tropical blue eyes of Bess Riehl out of his mind.
      As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy---and Amos, too---that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.

REVIEW:  Susanne Woods Fisher's 25th novel does not disappoint.  She writes a wonderful book of love, imagined betrayal, and confusion.  My heart went out to all the main characters and the tough decisions that had to be made and loved how a couple of minor characters who played very important roles.  This is a wonderful book and look forward to many more by this author.

 This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secrets series, the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace.  She is also the coauthor of an Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp.  Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting.  She is also a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines.  She lives in California.  Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

At Bluebonnet Lake Book Review

Texas Crossroads Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  Her life is set to warp speed.  His is slowing to a crawl.  But love has its own timing.
     Marketing maven Kate Sherwood's world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing.  The last thing she wants to do is grind to a halt at Rainbow's End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country.  Still, she cannot deny her ailing grandmother's request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week fifty years ago.  There, Kate meets Greg, who appears to be the resort's unassuming handyman.  But there's more to Greg than meets the eye - billions more, in fact.
     Kate isn't looking for romance, but she can't deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together.   Could there be a future there?  Or will Kate's long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?
     Amanda Cabot invites you to step into a place away from the pressures of the day.  You might be surprised by what you find at Rainbow's End.

REVIEW:  This was a fun book.  Kate's grandmother, Sally, is fun-loving and keeps Kate on her toes.  Kate loves the woman who raised her and would do anything for her, even taking a month off work to spend time with Sally in a run-down resort.  The author made Rainbow's End and Dupree, Texas come to life.  The employees of the resort and the shop owners in town are fun and interesting.  There were a few surprises.  I loved how everything tied up in the end.  
     There was one thing I found difficult.  The quickness of the relationships of Kate and Greg and Sally and Roy was a little much.  I understand that it is just a book but I prefer my heroes and heroines take more than a month to decide to get engaged.  Other than that, I loved the book and would recommend it to others.  I am looking forward to the rest of the series to come.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses.  Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers' Best.  She lives in Wyoming.  Learn more at www.amandacabot.com.

A Matter of Heart Book Review

Lone Star Brides
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Texas born and raised Jessica Atherton is a wealthy young woman whose heart was broken when the man she intended to marry wedded another.
     But her world is upended when two new men come into her life, and both manager to stir her heart.
     Harrison Gable is a successful young lawyer with ambitions that match Jessica's dreams.  His warm, attentive manner and thoughtful gifts to make her feel special.
     Austin Todd, a former Secret Service agent, enjoys working now as a Texas Ranger cattle inspector.  But after learning of forged gold certificates and missing printing plates, he's drawn back into the world of intrigue and agrees to help solve the case.  Jessica is drawn to his kind nature and the unspoken pain she sees in his eyes.
     If Jessica follows her heart, where will it lead?

REVIEW:  I really like Jessica and her determination to find more out if there is more to life than just trinkets and gowns.  Her search for answers for what she thought was important and what was really important shows her persistence to make changes for good in her life.  I like how she reached out to Alice, mended the fences between them and they became great friends.  I loved how she learned how to cook and take care of a house instead of just having the servants wait on her and take care of her every need.  Her choice of suitors in the end shows just how far she had come in her walk with the Lord and in her search for answers.
     This is the third book in the Lone Star Brides series.  Having only read the first book, I did get confused many times, trying to keep everything and everyone straight.  That said, this is a good series that I would recommend for anyone looking for a good read.

This book was provided by Bethany House for review without compensation.
 
Tracie Peterson's love for history and research fuel the bestselling stories she writes.  She is the author of more than one hundred novels and the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award.  Tracie and her family live in Montana.

Quilted by Christmas Book Review

Quilts of Love
Every Quilt Has A Story

SUMMARY:  Taryn is keeping a secret she never should have kept.
     You're needy.  Manipulative.  You used me.  In Taryn McKenna's last conversation with high school sweetheart Justin Callahan, his angry words rooted themselves deeply into her heart.  After Justin abandons her to join the army, Taryn vows to never love again.  And she decides to keep a closely guarded secret from him - forever.
     Focused on being completely independent, Taryn pours herself into teaching high school in Hollings, North Carolina, and helping her spunky Grandma Jemma.  But when Jemma's health takes a turn for the worse and Justin reappears, Taryn's emotions get more tangled than a knotted piece of thread.
     A hand-stitched Irish chain quilt holds the message of healing Taryn needs.  But will she realize the depth of God's unconditional love for her?

REVIEW:  This novel drew me in from the very beginning.  I think we all can relate to feelings of inadequacy and loss, and Taryn's story could help you find some comfort.  Taryn is a strong woman who is determined to never be considered needy again.  I think she takes after her Grandma Jemma who is determined to do things on her own terms and not let anything get her down or stop her from doing what she wants.  One of my favorite parts is when Justin helps Taryn work on a family quilt for Taryn's cousin.  I also like the healing that takes place in Taryn's life and how Taryn and Justin's relationship was not rushed after they start admitting they were attracted to each other.
     If you are looking for a fun Christmas book to read, this is the one for you.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press for review without compensation.
 
Jodie Bailey is a middle school teacher, the author of the military suspense novels Freefall and Crossfire, and a contributor to Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home, a devotional for military families.  You can find her on the web at JodieBailey.com.