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?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Deeply Devoted

SUMMARY:  She is staking her future on a man she's never met.  Can she learn to love him?

     When Catharine Olsen leaves Holland for Wyoming as a mail-order bride, she brings some extra baggage with her:  two sisters, her mother's set of Blue Willow china, and a tragic past.  As she steps off the train, Peter Andersen is glad to see that she is everything her letters showed her to be.  But he is a bit perturbed by her unexpected companions.  How will he support them all?  And what other secrets might Catharine be keeping from him?
     Filled with sweet romance and vivid characters, Deeply Devoted highlights a clash of cultures as a highborn European and a simple wheat farmer learn to love one another and trust God with the past - and the future.

REVIEW:  Catharine goes through a lot of changes in this story.  After she loses her parents when their ship goes down at sea, she is left to raise her two sisters and deal with the loss of the family shipping business.  Once living in elegance in Amsterdam, she moves to Wyoming to marry a wheat farmer she's only met through letters.  Catharine was raised with servants and now has to learn how to cook, clean, garden and help her husband with the chores around the farm.  Instead of complaining about her losses and all the upheaval of her life, Catharine digs in and does her best to adapt to her new surrounding.  One thing I didn't like in the book (and it is just a personal preference) is when problems arose between Peter and Catharine, they didn't discuss them with each other, which caused even bigger problems.  They both wanted to wait until "the timing was better."  Other than this, I thought this was a great book.

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Maggie Brendan is the author of No Place for a Lady, The Jewel of His Heart, and A Love of Her Own.  A member of the American Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, and Georgia Romance Writers, Maggie lives in Georgia.  Visit her at   

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Harvest of Grace Book Review

An Ada's House Novel

SUMMARY:  Reeling from an unexpected betrayal, Sylvia makes a painful mistake that forces her to seek work far from her family.  Can she find relief from the echoes of her past...or will they shape her future forever?
     Although Sylvia Fisher recognizes that more Old Order Amish women her age spend their hours managing a household and raising babies, she has just one focus - tending and nurturing the herd on her family's dairy farm.  But when a dangerous connection with an old beau forces her to move far from home, she must concentrate on a new start and pour her energy into reviving a debt-ridden farm.  
     After months in rehab, Aaron Blank returns home to sell his Daed's failing farm and move his parents into an easier lifestyle.  Two things stand in his way:  The father who stubbornly refuses to recognize that Aaron has changed and the determined new farmhand his parents love like a daughter.  Her influence on Aaron's parents could ruin his plans to escape the burdens of farming and build a new life.
     Can Aaron and Sylvia find common ground?  Or will their unflinching efforts toward opposite goals blur the bigger picture - one revealing the path to forgiveness, glimpses of grace, and the promise of love?

REVIEW:  This is the third and last book in the Ada's House series but it more than lives up to the previous stories.  Sylvia steps out of the traditional Old Order Amish woman's role to take care of her family's dairy cows.  Taught and encouraged by her grandfather, she hopes to continue making improvements and to make the farm more profitable.   Sylvia's father is less supportive, hoping she will marry and settle into a more traditional role.  When she turns down her suitor's proposal for marriage, Elam marries Sylvia's sister.  For these reasons and more, Sylvia leaves to work on the Blank farm to work and, inadvertently help heal Aaron's relationship with his family and fall in love.
     The stories of Cara and Ephraim and Lena and Grey are concluded.  After much struggling, Cara is able to show God's love, grace and mercy to her father, seeing how deeply God can heal old wounds. 
     This is an awesome follow-up to the other two books The Hope of Refuge and The Bridge of Peace.  I love how the author weaves her stories together and resolving seemingly impossible problems.  I highly recommend this book and this series.

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for review without compensation.
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline, in the Wall Street Journal, and in other media.  She is the author of the Sisters of the Quilt series, the Ada's House novels, The Sound of Sleigh Bells and Plain Wisdom.  Cindy lives in Georgia with her family.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Heart Revealed Book Review

SUMMARY:  Her heart is tied to a youthful vow... but can true love set it free?
     Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston, running for her life.  Her emotional wounds have finally faded, and her life is now full of purpose and free from the pain of her past.  But when she falls for her friend Charity's handsome and charming brother, Sean O'Connor, fear and shame threaten to destroy her.  Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together?  Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she's ever know?
     Filled with intense passion and longing, deception and revelation, A Heart Revealed will hold you in its grip until the very last page.

REVIEW:  This book was AWESOME!!!  I had a really hard time putting it down.  This is second of two phenomenal books I've read recently.  Everything about the characters and the storyline grabbed my attention: Charity's friendship with Emma that is so strong Charity would do anything to help Emma;  the O'Connor family who looks past Emma's physical scars and sees the beautiful woman she is inside; the long standing deep friendship between Sean and Emma;  Emma's determination to keep her wedding vows even though her husband was abusive, lives in a different country, and she hasn't seen him in ten years; and last, but not least, the depth of Emma's relationship with Jesus Christ, knowing He helped heal her of abusive past and will always be there for her.  Emma is probably the best heroine I've ever read (and I've read a TON of books).  Julie Lessman did an outstanding job on this book.  She has written several others about the O'Connor family and I want to try to find them.  I'm sure they are as good as this one.

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Julie Lessman is the popular author of A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied, as well as A Hope Undaunted, which was one of 2010's Booklist Top Ten Inspirational Fiction winners.  Lessman has garnered several writing awards, including ten Romance Writers of America awards.  She lives in Missouri.  You can contact Julie through her website at 

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Lancaster County Christmas

SUMMARY:  Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband, Sol, the Christmas gift they have both longed for – news that a baby was on the way.  But as usual, she is disappointed.  The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big Amish family isn’t likely to become a reality.  Will those empty chairs at the table ever be filled? 
     Then a winter storm raging outside blows an impatient young woman and her husband into the Riehl home on Christmas Eve – into a much slower pace of life.
     Both couples are about to find out if they can weather the storm – and if miracles still happen at Christmastime.

REVIEW:  Mattie and Jaime are complete opposites – Mattie is Amish and loves the slow country life.  Jaime is a city girl who impatient, not content to stay where she is. Mattie loves cooking for her family while Jaime barely knows her way around a kitchen.  Mattie wants a large family; Jaime isn’t sure she even wants children.  When a major snowstorm (and an accident with Jaime’s car) throws these women together, along with their husbands, they all learn more about themselves and each other than they ever thought they would.  I love how Jaime and Mattie show each other what is missing in their lives and they learn how to solve some of their own problems.  I really liked how Mattie saw the good in everyone, especially her cousin Zach who was known to be a troublemaker.  Jaime’s husband, C.J., was inspirational too in that he never gave up, whether it came to his junior high students, a Search and Rescue event, or his marriage.  This is a great book.

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

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, and The Search, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace.  Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  Benedict eventually became the publisher of Christianity Today magazine.  Suzanne is the host of a radio show called Amish Wisdom, and her work has appeared in many magazines. She can be found on line at or on Facebook Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Deadly Pursuit Book Review

SUMMARY:  A stalker with deadly intent...    A woman who protects children...    An ex-Navy SEAL turned police detective.

     Social worker Alison Taylor has a passion for protecting children.  But now it seems she needs protecting.  When her tormentor's attentions take a violent turn, she calls in reinforcements - her police-detective brother, Cole, and his new partner, ex-Navy SEAL Mitch Morgan.  As her relentless stalker turns up the heat and the danger intensifies, Mitch takes a personal interest in the case.  Because protecting Alison has become more than a job; his future depends on keeping her safe.
     Filled with nail-biting suspense and heart-melting romance, Deadly Pursuit is Irene Hannon's storytelling at its very best.

REVIEW:  This is the second book in the Guardians of Justice series but you would never know it.  The story is wonderfully told and kept me guessing how she was going to pull everything off up until the end.  The characters are very personable and real.  At times, I felt like I was right there in the midst of the story seeing everything unfold.  This book is one of two of the best I've read recently.  I will definitely be on the look-out for her other books and any upcoming ones.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Irene Hannon is the author of more than 35 novels, including the bestselling Heroes of Quantico series and Fatal Judgment.  Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and two Reviewer's Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine.  She lives in Missouri.  Meet Irene Hannon at