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?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms Book Review

A Romance from the Heart of Amish Country

SUMMARY:  Annie Martin loves the Plain ways of her Old Order Mennonite people, like those revered by her beloved grandfather.  Retreating from a contentious relationship with her mother, Annie goes to live with her Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.
     But as spring moves into Pennsylvania and Annie spends time among the cherry trees with the handsome Aden Zook, she wishes she could forget how deeply the lines between the Old Order Amish and the Old Order Mennonite are drawn.
     Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm?

REVIEW:  This book was a delight to read.  The struggles Annie faces with her immediate family (difficulties with her mother, brothers who torment her when they can, a father who is no longer around but sends money to help support the family) is one we all can related to.  When she goes to stay with her grandfather for a while, she helps out the Zooks, a neighboring Old Order Amish family that her grandfather has known and helped for many, many years.  Annie falls in love with Aden Zook but the differences in their faiths are obstacles that may keep them apart.  I like the way the author weaves this story together along with the secondary one of Aden's twin brother Roman, who depends on Aden for so much after a horrific accident a few years earlier caused Roman to lose the use of his legs.
     The ending is great.  I wasn't sure how it was going to end.  I knew how I WANTED it to go but wasn't sure for a bit exactly how the author was going to work it out.  This is a wonderful book I know you will enjoy.  My eleven-year-old daughter loved it too!!

This book was an Advanced Reader Copy provided by Waterbrook Multnomah without compensation.  I was not formally asked to review it but wanted to share this wonderful book with my friends and readers. 

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.  She is the author of six novels, two novellas, and Plain Wisdom, a work of non-fiction co-authored with her dearest Old Order Amish friend.  Cindy lives in Georgia with her family.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Heart's Safe Passage Book Review

The Midwives Series

SUMMARY:  One woman takes the treacherous journey towards redemption and love.
     All Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia.  But when she refuses to accompany her pregnant sister-in-law to help save her husband from prison during the War of 1812, Phoebe finds herself pressed aboard a British privateer.
     Captain Rafe Docherty promises to get Phoebe's brother-in-law out of prison in exchange for information Rafe needs to exact revenge on the man who destroyed his family.  As he realizes his attraction to Phoebe, she determines to get ashore before her patient goes into labor - and before her own heart is in danger.  But an enemy in their midst threatens to end their plans - and their very lives.

REVIEW:  This book is good and story is great but there are a few things difficult for me.  Good/Great parts:  Phoebe is a widow who has to face the unforgiveness in her heart towards her abusive dead husband when she tries to help Rafe as he searches for the man who had his wife and parents killed.  She is strong and stands up for what she believes, takes care of her sister-in-law Belinda (even though Belinda has her kidnapped, lies about how far along she is in her pregnancy, and is only focused on rescuing her husband), and even takes care of the crew members when they are hurt or injured.  Rafe cares for his daughter and does what he can to make sure she continues her education while on board his ship since she won't say at the boarding schools he selects for her.  He cares for the men on his ship, even those who are out to seek to hurt him in any way possible.  Derrick is a former slave who works with Rafe.  He and Jordy, a man who has been with Rafe since he was a little boy, both look after and prays for Rafe, hoping he will end this search and find his way back to God.  I like the ended of the story with it's many twists and turns.
     The Not So Great parts: the author goes into GREAT detail about the ships the characters are on and all that goes on aboard in regards to the rigging and such, so much so that I was lost many times just trying to follow along in the story and felt like I was getting tangled in the ropes.  There seemed to be something more involved in Rafe's relentless pursuit of James Brock other than his having Rafe's wife and parents murdered, especially when it came to Belinda and her husband's connection to Brock.  There was also the problem I had in understanding why Phoebe insisted on getting help from her friend Lord Dominick.
     All this said, it was a good book with a great story of forgiveness. This is the second book in THE MIDWIVES series, the first being Lady in the Mist.  Check it out for yourself and see what you think.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the Mist, A Necessary Deception, and several other novels.  She won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 for Family Guardian.  Laurie Alice writes full-time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry of dogs and cats.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Words Spoken True Book Review

SUMMARY:  One woman stands ready to defend her newspaper . .  even if it means losing out on love.
     Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father's newspaper offices.  With ink in her veins, she can't imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write news that matters.  Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855.
     When Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over a competing newspaper, the battle for readers gets fierce. After Adriane and Blake meets at a benefit, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore.  Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune 's future.  Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story - and the girl.
     Set against the volatile backdrop of political and civil unrest in 1850s Louisville, this exciting story of love and loyalty will hold you in its grip until the very last page.

REVIEW:  The author did a wonderful job in telling this story.  The characters are interesting and very well developed.  The story line is interesting, setting the mood and the scene for the upcoming elections and the conflicts that ensue.  I like how Adriane fights against the restraints society puts on women and finally standing up for herself when she decides to break off her engagement despite the backlash from her own father and the problems it causes their newspaper. I like how Blake Garrett doesn't compromise his values in upholding what he believes in regards to reporting the news.  Being the "new kid in town," he does try to fit in by attending different social events but he isn't afraid to stand up to the local power bosses.  The ending has many twists and turns, some I thought I had figured out, others that took me by surprise.  This is a great book.  Check it out for yourself.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

This book is available February, 2012 by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, at your favorite retailer.

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several novels, including Angel Sister and the Shaker novels The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, and The Blessed.  She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in Kentucky.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Everything Romance Book Review

A Celebration of Love for Couples
Creative tips for romancing the love of your life
Gift ideas for anniversaries and special occasions
Inspiration for memorable romantic dates
Love letters to warm your heart
Special recipes for special times

SUMMARY:  Romance is always in season when you're in love.
     Ready to create romantic memories?  If you're looking for new and unique ways to celebrate love, capture the heart of your true love, or simply enjoy each other's company, Everything Romance offers all of this and much more.
     Inside you'll find.....
  • Ways to engage your loved one with conversation starters for couples
  • Fun and creative date and gift ideas for any budget
  • Heartwarming love stories and poems
  • Love busters and love boosters to add fun, zing and zest
  • Trivia about the history of love and romance
  • Recipes to fan the heartflames
 Why wait for a special occasion to share the joy of being in love?  Opening Everything Romance is like opening a door to romantic adventure - any day, any time!

REVIEW:  This book is for more than getting ideas for your special someone for Valentine's Day. It is filled with tips, ideas and more for anyone looking to add a little something extra to their relationship or to help get you out of a rut any time of the year. Included are letters written by Jack London, Mark Twain, John Keats, and Pierre Currie (among others) to the loves of their lives. Also, there are stories about "Perfect Pairs" such as Bogart and Bacall, Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett, John and Nellie Wooden. There is poetry, quotes (some famous, some not so famous) and some great short stories. Some of my favorite features are the Trivia regarding anniversaries, kissing, romance and weddings, the "Did You Know" segments and the sweet prayers. They even included ideas for date nights (I know my hubby and I could use some of these!) with your spouse or significant other. Check this book out if you are looking for ideas to add a little something extra to your relationship or if you just want to let your special someone know you still care. Great book and very easy to read.

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

David Bordon and Tom Winters are partners in Bordon-Winters, LLC, a book concept and packaging company that produces successful books and gift products.  Among their previous titles are the popular "101 Things You Should Do" series.  This volume joins one of their beautiful gift books, Everything Christmas.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When The Smoke Clears Book Review

Deadly Reunions series
Book #1

SUMMARY:  After a brush with death due to equipment failure, smokejumper Alexia Allen is ordered to take time off while the incident is under investigation.  She makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion.  Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she is confronted with murder, arson - and a handsome detective.
     But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past.  As she struggles to accept and forgive her family's past, she must also decide if the secret she's been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.
     Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension you've come to expect from Lynette Eason, When The Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the Deadly Reunions series.

REVIEW:  This book is a page-turner from the get-go.  Alexia hasn't been home in ten years, since graduation night, and has only talked to her family a handful of times.  While she is on leave after a nearly fatal accident at work, she decided to attend her ten-year class reunion and recuperate from her injuries.  Whoever caused Alexia's accident on her job seems to be intent on getting rid of her because trouble follows her across the country to her childhood home.  Hunter is the detective trying to figure out who is after Alexia while trying to keep her safe from harm.  He is also an old school friend who had a crush on her while they were in school.  Together they try to solve both the mystery surrounding her accident at work and whoever her stalker/attempted murderer is.
     There is also a sub-story (I guess you would call it that) that started when Alexia's friend, Jillian Carter, saw something she wasn't suppose to graduation night.  Frantic, Jillian leaves town and disappears off the grid after talking with Alexia and Serena, her best friends, but not telling them anything about what happened.  Whoever she saw now wants her dead along with her high school friends, who he thinks knows what happened.  Both stories are intertwined.
     This is the first book in the series, Deadly Reunions.  This book was awesome.  I would love to see what the big mystery is Jillian holds on to with her life and if anything happens to Serena.

This book was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for review without compensation.

Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Lynette Eason is the author of several romantic suspense novels, including Too Close to Home, Don't Look Back, and A Killer Among Us.  She is a member of American Fiction Christian Writers and Romance Writers of America.  Lynette graduated from the University of South Carolina and went on to earn her master's degree in education from Converse College.  She lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children.