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?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas in Apple Ridge Book Review

Three-in-One Collection:
The Sound of Sleigh Bells
The Christmas Singing
The Dawn of Christmas

     Beth Hertzler is unable to let go of a past tragedy, but when she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth's soul responds.  Determined that her niece meet the gifted artist, her aunt tracks him down, but it's not that simple - will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she's always dreamed of and a second chance at real love?

     Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve.  Brokenhearted, Mattie moves away and pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator, and even finds a new beau.  But when Mattie is forced to return home three years later, will learning the truth behind Gideon's rejection restore her Christmas joy - or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

The Dawn of Christmas
     Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her missions trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it's time to come home and settle down.  Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance.  To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan - but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down.  Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other and embrace a future together?

REVIEW:  Since I have already reviewed the first two books, I have added the links to those reviews to the titles above.  Just click on it and you will go to that review.  This post will deal mainly with the last book, The Dawn of Christmas, and the book as a whole.
      Sadie is a great character.  She has become somewhat independent living with the Mennonite community for the last four years.  She doesn't want to get married and resists her mom's attempts to set her up on her visits home.  She is determined to stay with the Mennonite community but when the couple she works for decided to sell their store, Sadie has to decide if she wants to go to Peru to work with the locals or if she needs to move back home.
     After seeing his brother hurt when his wife left him and his friend Daniel jilted the evening before his wedding, Levi decides he does not ever want to get married.  His mom has other ideas and keeps trying to arrange dates for him.  I like Levi.  He is loyal to his family and friends.  He helps Sadie as she tries to decide what to do by helping her sell her homemade candles and soaps in the local store.
     This is a great story.  Sadie and Levi work together to help each other out and, in doing so, end up falling in love.  This novel goes great with The Sound of Sleigh Bells and The Christmas Singing.  Cindy Woodsmall's characters from The Scent of Cherry Blossoms even figure briefly into the storyline.  This book is a great read!!

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

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of ten works of fiction and one work of nonfiction, whose connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media and throughout Christian news outlets.  She lives outside Atlanta with her family.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Bridesmaid Book Review

Home to Hickory Hollow
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania - the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis's celebrated Amish novels began - with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.
     Joanna Kurtz has made several trips to the altar, but never as a bride.  The young Amishwoman is a closet writer whose stories aren't her only secret.
     Eben Troyer hopes to make Joanna his bride - if he can ever leave his parent's farm in Shipshewana, Indiana.  Yet Eben's hopes to build a life with Joanna hinge on his brother's return from the English world . . . .

REVIEW: This was a good book but sometimes the story seemed to drag when it came to the long distance courtship of Joanna and Eben.  That said, I like the idea of them meeting on the beach, each with their secrets: her - writing stories; him - his camera and pictures.  I also like the bridesmaid storyline:  Joanna has been a bridesmaid three times which superstition means she will become an old maid and never marry.   When she and Eben start writing and developing a close relationship, Joanna wonders if this notion is just an old wives tale or if it will become true.
    You do not need to read the first first book to read this one.  It stands on it's own with a few references to the first book.

 This book was provided by Bethany House for review without compensation.

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, has more than seventeen million books in print.  Her stories have been published in eleven languages and have regularly appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, including the New York Times and USA Today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Safe Harbor Book Review

Edge of Freedom Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  New York City, 1897
     She came to America searching for her brother.  Instead all she's found is a web of danger.
      Cara Hamilton had thought her brother to be dead.  Now, clutching his letter, she leaves Ireland for America, desparate to find him.  Her search leads her to a houseful of curious strangers, and one man who claims to be a friend - Rourke Walsh.  Despite her brother's warning, Cara trusts Rourke, revealing her purpose in coming to New York.
     She's then thrust into a world of subterfuge, veiled threats and attempted murder, including political revolutionaries from the homeland out for revenge.  Her questions guide her ever nearer to locating her brother - but they also bring her closer to destruction as those who want to kill him track her footsteps.
     With her faith in tatters, all hope flees.  Will her brother finally surface?  Can he save Cara from the truth about Rourke . . . a man's she's grown to love?

REVIEW:  This was a good book but a little hard to follow at times.  Sometimes trying to keep track of all the characters, their relationship to each other and how they were involved with Cara's brother Eoghan was difficult at times.  I liked how Cara was determined to find her brother in New York City even though she had no idea how to even locate him to keep who she was a secret even though it was really difficult.  I also love the boarding house she lives in and all the ladies she rooms with.  They support her and she's there for them when times are rough.  This is a good book and I am eager to read the next one in the series.

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

Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author whose work has been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network and The Christian Pulse.  Elizabeth's debut novel, Where the Truth Lies (coauthored with Janelle Mowery), earned her the 2008 IWA Writer of the Year Award.  Her first historical novel, Love Finds You in Calico, California, was given four stars from Romantic Times.  And her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership, its first year seeing more than 17,000 visitors.  She is also an accomplished speaker and teacher.  Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in Texas.  To learn more abut her work, visit

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas Roses Book Review

SUMMARY:  Celia Anderson doesn't have a husband on her Christmas wish list.  But when a traveling carpenter finds lodging at her boardinghouse, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man - the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas.  It would take a miracle, though, to find roses during a harsh Wyoming winter.
     But Christmas, after all, is the time for miracles...

REVIEW:  This is a sweet story by Amanda Cabot.  I like how Celia doesn't bow down to the common idea that she remarry.  If she did, she wants it to be different from her first marriage, which was arranged.  She is determined to give her daughter the best she can, even if that means avoiding the intentions of her well-meaning suitors.  Mark Williams has one goal in his mind - to find the father that left when he was a young boy.  I like how Mark pitches in around Celia's boardinghouse, helping wherever needed while he takes a break from his search.  Once he finds someone connected with his father's past, Mark helps the man by working on his cabin and treating him like family.  My favorite part is the Christmas roses Celia gets and all that is tied into them.  This is a fabulous book that will warm your heart.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

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

Amanda Cabot is a popular speaker and the author of Paper Roses, Scattered Petals, Tomorrow's Garden, and Summer of Promise, as well as a number of novels under various pen names.  She's an avid traveler who finds inspiration for new stories in her travels and enjoys sharing new parts of the country with her readers.  A former Easterner, she now lives in Wyoming.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Christmas Pony Book Review

SUMMARY:  With the Christmas around the corner, the Turnbull family is in need of a few small miracles.
     It is 1937, and Lucy Turnbull knows better than to wish for a pony this Christmas.  Her mother has assured her in no uncertain terms that asking for a pony is the same as asking for the moon.  Besides, the only extra mouths they need at their boarding house are the paying kind.  Then an interesting pair of strangers comes to town, and Lucy's world changes forever.

REVIEW:  In typical fashion, Melody Carlson does not disappoint.  She makes you feel the desperation of the times: the woman willing to take in boarders and to extra laundry to help make ends meet, the little girl who only wants a pony of Christmas but there's no way her family can afford it, and the repairs that need to be made but cannot due to the lack of money and a husband.  She also helps you feel the hope of the season:  two new boarders show up when they are needed, someone to help with the repairs, and the miracles of Christmas.  This is a wonderful book can help you get into the Christmas season.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Available Sept 2012  at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's.  She is the winner of a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market.  She lives with her husband in Oregon.