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, December 29, 2014

Home for Christmas Book Review

Stories for Young and Old

SUMMARY:  They are some of the warmest childhood memories, those unhurried evenings around the fireplace, Christmas tree, or dinner table, when there was time for a story . . . Now, with this collection, you can keep the story-telling tradition alive in your family, and pass it on to your children or grandchildren.
     Home for Christmas includes twenty time-honored favorites.  Several are by world-famous children's authors; others are little-known European tales not available in English anywhere else.  Selected for their literary quality and their spiritual integrity, they will resonate with readers of all ages, year after year.

REVIEW:  I'm sorry to say I did not like this book.  Most of the stories were sad and depressing.  There was one story where the main character was very selfish and thoughtless. When he had a change of heart, the story ended abruptly.  Some stories just drug on and on.  Since they were written by different authors and were set in completely different time periods and places, I had a hard time switching thought processes to follow along.  I hope others will find this book more appealing than I did.

This book was provided by Handlebar for review without compensation.

Love Unexpected Book Review

Beacons of Hope Series
Book One


SUMMARY:  1859, Presque Isle, Michigan - What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?
     All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.
     An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town.  He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child.  So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma.  After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger.  Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.
     Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death.  It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

REVIEW:  From the very beginning, I was drawn to Emma and her story.  My heart went out to Patrick with his job in the lighthouse at night, taking care of a very busy two-year-old and trying to keep up with the housework.  At first, I wasn't sure if I agreed with their hasty marriage, but as I read on, I saw how practical it was and how everything played out. Patrick is a character that I admired, especially towards the end of the book.  Emma's determination to make her marriage and house one of love and contentment was praiseworthy.  This is a great book.  I always look forward to this author's books and especially to more of this series.

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

Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of Captured by Love, Rebellious HeartA Noble Groom, and The Preacher's Bride, which won the 2011 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award and the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers.  Jody loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at JodyHedlund.com.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Love Without End Book Review

A Kings Meadows Romance
Book One

SUMMARY:  For two single parents with bruised hearts, it'll take more than a little courage to get back on the horse when it comes to love.
     Kimberly Welch lost her husband to a heart attack in the blink of an eye.  But she's losing her daughter slowly, in the day-to-day tension.   In three difficult years, Kimberly has gone from Seattle socialite to Kings Meadow charity case, and her daughter is not responding well to the changes.  She's becoming a sullen, cantankerous teen.
     Chet Leonard lost his teenage son in a car accident.  Then his wife abandoned him and their two remaining boys.  He tries to keep his mind on the family ranch, but if the last two years have taught him anything, it's that sometimes you just have to let the memories hurt.  Let the memories hurt, and leave well enough alone.
     But when Chet volunteers to help tame Kimberly's daughter's horse, everyone gets more than they bargained for . . . especially when eighty-four-year-old Anna McKenna shows up.
     Nana Anna has reappeared in Kings Meadows after decades away, bringing with her the magnetism and transformative joy that come from a life well lived . . . just the kind of magic that a couple of unlucky-in-love single parents need to conjure up a little courage and raise a new family from the ashes of tragedy.

REVIEW:  Robin Lee Hatcher's latest book captured my attention from the beginning and held it to the very end.  I like how Chet stays engaged in his teenage sons lives and the relationship they have.  Kimberly is a good mom who struggles to keep it together after losing everything.  Even though her relationship with her daughter, Tara, was difficult, Kimberly never gives up hope that they will be close again.  My favorite character of all is Anna.  I love her spunk and energy!!  She is someone I would love to have in my life, to challenge me to continue pursuing Christ and everything that goes with it.  I like how Anna's story is woven in between the pages of Chet's and Kimberly's.
     This is a good book that I think everyone will enjoy.

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

Robin Lee Hatcher is a best-selling author known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love.  The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 60 novels.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Swept Away Book Review

Quilts of Love
Every Quilt Has A Story

SUMMARY:  School's out for summer, but one young teacher is about to get a lesson in romance.
     Sara Jane Morgan can outwit a roomful of students, but she's no match for her matchmaking grandmother.  Grandma's plans to teach Sara Jane to quilt are actually plans to introduce her to the shy handyman Drew Stevenson, whose fix-it chores make him a frequent visitor to Grandma's house.
     Creative as well as handy, Drew makes artisan brooms - a talent that surpasses Sara Jane's awkward attempts at quilting.  But what is he hiding behind his long hair and scraggly beard?
     Attracted to this mysterious man of secrets, Sara Jane uncovers pages from his old journal online, entries Drew wrote while hiking the Appalachian Trail.  As she secretly delves into the pages of Drew's past, Sara Jane discovers a tale rife with both pain and perseverance.  Just when her heart is about to break under the weight of all she has read, an accident threatens to separate her from this man she now loves - maybe forever.

REVIEW:  This story and it's main characters are a little different from others I've read.  Drew is not your typical good-looking, chiseled heart throb you normally read about.  He looks like a mountain man, with his long hair, scraggly beard and his ability to make brooms the old-fashioned way.  But underneath all that hair is a man who lost someone he loved but who found peace along the journey in the Prince of Peace.  Sara Jane still grieves the loss of her parents who died ten years earlier in an accident after they had fought and struggles with her faith.  Grandma, in the early stages of Alzheimer's, is busy trying to match Sara Jane and Drew together every chance she gets, much to their dismay.
     The timeline was a little off towards the end.  It was like the authors were trying to hurry up and finish the story and realized they still had a lot of ground to cover.  I was pleased that the main characters did not fall in love with each other and get engaged within a month of meeting, as happens in quite a few of the stories I read.  All in all, this was an enjoyable book.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press for review without compensation.
 
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning author and a professional book reviewer.  A stay-at-home mom and home school teacher, Laura lives with her family in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.
Cindy Loven is active in the church and writes from her home in Conway, Arkansas, where she lives with her husband and their son.

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.

The Daughter of Highland Hall Book Review

Edwardian Brides
Book Two

SUMMARY:  What if the title, the estate, the life of security and splendor . . .  what if it isn't enough?
     Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must.  Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband.  With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain's elite.
     When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London's East End.  Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows.  But when Katherine is courted by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again.  Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love - and if she will choose a life of serving others over one where she is served.

REVIEW: Carrie Turansky's latest novel focuses on Katherine and her time enduring the high society social scene as she makes her debut into society.  She has matured from the frivolous and spoiled young girl to a responsible and others-minded young lady.  I like how she volunteers her time to help the underprivileged in London's infamous East End without any fear for her own safety.  I also like how she risked her own safety and place in society to help a young lady escape her abusive boyfriend, without asking for anything in return.  The only thing that left me with questions was Katherine's personal faith in God.  I saw the journey she made from someone of weak faith dependent on what she had done and when she was seeking God during her forced exile from high society but I do not remember reading her acceptance of what Jesus did for her on the cross.
     This is the second book in the series.  Although I think it is very helpful to read the first to completely understand Katherine's relationship with Julia and Jonathan's struggle with what to do after medical school, I think you will understand what is going on without reading the first one.

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

Carrie Turansky is an award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas.  She has been the winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award, and a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award and the ACFW Carol Awards and Genesis Contest.  She has written contemporary and historical romances, women's fiction, short stories, articles, and devotionals.  She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Scott, and they have five adult children and several grandchildren.

Where Treetops Glisten Book Review

Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage
and Christmas Romance During World War II

SUMMARY:  The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime.  Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas.
     Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America's involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
     In Cara Putnam's White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop.  Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements - until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
     Abigail's brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theatre in Sarah Sundin's I'll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded.  But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete's friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he's no longer the bully she once knew?
     In Tricia Goyer's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, "Merry" to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands.  Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that's precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
     The Turner family believes in God's providence during such a tumultuous time.  Can they absorb the miracle of Christ's birth and His plan for the future?

REVIEW:  The authors' of these stories did a wonderful job!  The stories moved from one to another seamlessly and, seemingly, without much effort.  All three grabbed my attention from the very beginning and held it until the very end.  In fact, when I finished them, I was disappointed because I was carried away to Lafayette, Indiana every time I opened up the pages.  The only concern I had was that two of the couples became engaged very quickly but was relieved to see that they both waited until the next year to get married.  Other than that small item, I was very pleased with these books and highly recommend them!!

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

Cara Putman is the author of twenty books including Shadowed by Grace.  She is the winner of the 2008 Carol Award for historical fiction.  Sarah Sundin is the critically-acclaimed author of the Wings of the Nightingale series, the Wings of Glory series, and the forthcoming Waves of Freedom novels.  Tricia Goyer is a prolific author of nearly forty books, including Chasing Mona Lisa, and a speaker and blogger.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Mom's Prayers for Her Son Book Reviews

Praying for Every Part of His Life

SUMMARY:  From the moment your little boy was born, you knew you were going to be doing a lot of praying.  So you may wonder, What exactly should I be praying for?
     Now the authors of A Dad's Prayers for His Daughter show you how to pray for every area of your son's life.  Rob and Joanna Teigen give you a strong foundation to build a lifelong habit of prayer for your son with a collection of specific prayers you can use to get started right now.  With engaging stories from well-known authors such as Kathi Lipp, Pam Farrel, Lisa Samra, and others, you'll learn how to pray for your son's development of character, courage, self-control, forgiveness, and more.
     Remember: you may not always understand your son, but God does!  Start asking for His guidance, protection, and blessings today.

REVIEW:  Having two boys of my own, I want to raise my sons up to be godly men of good character.  This book is a great resource to help me pray for specific needs my boys may have.  Prayers for when they need wisdom, when they are angry, stressed, or bored (all of which are happening in my house with one child or another), or when they need guidance, reassurance, or self-control are just a few of the wonderful guides included.  These prayers are helps to get you started  There are also stories from other moms of boys to help you understand that you are not alone in this journey we call motherhood.  I found them encouraging and enlightening.  This is a wonderful resource that I am going to keep close by.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 
Rob and Joanna Teigen are the authors of 88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates and A Dad's Prayers for His Daughter.  Rob is also the author of several joke books, including Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids (under the pseudonym Rob Elliott).  The Teigens are the parents of a son in college, a son in preschool, and three beautiful daughters in between and live in West Michigan.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Love Undone Book Review

 An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams 
and God's Unfailing Grace
 
SUMMARY:  A husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone.  A young woman who sacrificed her dreams.  How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?
     At the age of nineteen, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision.  For the next ten years, Jolene threw herself into family life - and then she meets Andy Fisher.  The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine-year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.
    Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him - that he is a grass widower.  As a man whose wife abandoned him six years ago, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways.  Andy wrestled with God concerning his reality and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him  . . . until he met Jolene.
     As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance - or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?

REVIEW:  This was one of the best books I've ever read.  This story captured my attention right off the bat and held it all the way to the end.  My heart went out to the main characters.  I admired Jolene and her strength.  Even with all the restrictions within the Old Order Amish church, Jolene perseveres, sticks to her guns and does a wonderful job with what she has.  Andy is doing a great job raising his son without a wife to help.  I love how after Jolene and Andy realize they had developed feelings for each other, they decided to go their separate ways to keep the other safe from gossip and scandal. I also love how when accused of adultery, Jolene stands strong and has lots of support from her family and friends.  Everything about this story is great!!  This is one you will want to look for and keep in your library.

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

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written more than a dozen works of fiction and one nonfiction book.  Her connection with the Amish community has been widely featured in national media outlets.  She's been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.  Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia mountains.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Becoming Bea Book Review

The Courtships of Lancaster County
Book Four

SUMMARY:  Can Bea and Ben Turn Rivalry Into Romance?
     Beatrice Zook knows God wants her to learn patience towards others.  When assisting a family overwhelmed by triplets proves surprisingly successful, her confidence in dealing with others, both young and old, grows.
     One person she'll never be able to find peace with though is Ben Rupp.  They've known each other forever, and Ben understands precisely how to antagonize her.  What neither she nor Ben will admit is that beneath all their bickering, attraction awaits.  When friends decide to try and bring the couple together, will the pair be able to find true love?  Or will they damage their relationship beyond repair?

REVIEW:  Out of the four books, this one is probably my favorite.  Like the other three, this book uses a play by Shakespeare as it's base.  I'm not exactly sure, but I think this one was Much Ado About Nothing.  I like how Bea steps out of her comfort zone to help Nan and Bob care for their preemie triplets.   When she does, even though her time is taken up with washing endless amounts of diapers and baby clothes, cooking for the Millers and their cabinetry workers, washing huge amounts of dishes, and helping to take care of the babies, Bea's world expands exponentially.  She makes a new friend, broadens old friendships, and becomes more independent.  Her verbal sparing with Ben is fun to watch.  The ending is probably my favorite of all.  I just like how some loose ends in the story are tied neatly together with a wonderful surprise.  
      This is the fourth book in the series.  It is very helpful to have read the other three, as the characters in those books are some big characters in this one.  Doing so will help you fully understand the story better.  This was a wonderful book and I highly recommend it.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Bethany House for review without compensation.
 
Leslie Gould is the author of THE COURTSHIPS OF LANCASTER COUNTY series and the coauthor of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife, winner of the 2012 Christy Award for Contemporary series.  She holds a MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and resides in Portland, Oregon.  Visit her online on Facebook or at LeslieGould.com.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wisdom of the Sadhu Book Review

Teachings of Sundar Singh

SUMMARY:  Known in his lifetime as India's most famous convert to Christianity, Sundar Singh (1889-1929) would not approve of that characterization.  He loved Jesus and devoted his life to knowing and following him, but he never accepted Christianity's cultural conventions, even as he embraced its stark original teachings.
     A modern Saint Francis, Sundar Singh left the wealth of his home at sixteen to live as a sadhu, or wandering holy man.  His beggar-like existence, his intense devotion, his mystical encounters with Jesus, and his simple yet profound parables became the stuff of legends.  No one who met him - including the thousands who flocked to hear him during his visits to Europe, the Far East, and the United States - remained unaffected.  
     Wisdom of the Sadhu, a collection of anecdotes, sayings, parables, and meditations, brings together the best of Sundar Singh's teachings.  Couched as they are in a distinctly Indian idiom, they probe the essence of the Gospels with unusual freshness and offer insights of great depth and value to every serious seeker.

REVIEW:  This book is a series of stories, parables, questions and teachings that is simply the gospel taught by Jesus, weaving in information about Sundar Singh's life. Growing up as a Sikh, Sundar became a Christian at age sixteen and decided to live his life as a wandering holy man, a sadhu.  He lived his life like the apostles, going into towns preaching the gospel of Jesus and trusting God to meet his needs.  He faced persecution, hunger, hardships but found joy in teaching others about Jesus. Sundar's look at life and the gospel is a simple one, but very profound.  
     To be totally honest, with so many false teachers of the Christian faith who mix other religions in with biblical Christianity, I wasn't sure what to expect with this book.  I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  I found this book very interesting and very above board.  It will challenge the reader to examine their lives, how they view others and how they look at the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I totally recommend this book who wants to stretch their lives and their understanding of the Gospel.

This book was provided by Handlebar for review without compensation.

Sundar Singh grew up in Rampur, India in a prominent Sikh family and was educated at a nearby Presbyterian missionary school.  After his conversion at age 16, he took on the ascetic lifestyle of a sahdu.  His real significance comes from the devotion and selflessness with which he spread the Gospel and in the sincerity with which he lived what he preached.  His wanderings led him through at least twenty countries on four continents, where he profoundly influenced tens of thousands of people.  In the first half of the Twentieth Century, no spiritual teacher from the East was better known.  When he disappeared in the Himalayas in 1929, the world mourned this wandering, penniless pilgrim who kept his focus on Christ.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Promise to Protect Book Review

Logan Point Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman's secret could change everything.
     Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Sommerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her - or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago - out of his head.  When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony.  But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task - protecting Leigh from the people after her brother.  With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it's no easy task.  And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.

REVIEW:  A Promise to Protect is the follow up book to Shadows of the Past.  Like it's predecessor, this novel kept my attention and kept me guessing about the final outcomes.  I like the setting, as fictional town of Logan Point is located not far from I where I grew up.  The different stories about Leigh and Ben, Ben's father, Tony and the dog fighting ring and all their difficulties were woven together seamlessly and effortlessly. The details of the mysteries involved are laid out with meticulous precision.  This is a wonderful book and series.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Patricia Bradley is thhe winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award and a 2012 Touched by Love award, and was also a finalist for The 2012 Genesis Award.  The author of Shadows of the Past, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and makes her home in Mississippi.  Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lights Out Book Review

Living in a Sightless World

SUMMARY:  How Do You Live in a Dark World?
     Travis Freeman has answered that question for twenty years, since the day he lost his sight at 12 years old to a raging illness.
     Through the years of playing football blind, to living in the glare of the national media spotlight, to serving as an equipment manager for the University of Kentucky football team, to educational and vocational accomplishments, his answer has expanded.
     Today, Travis knows that his answer is just as relevant for the sighted as well as the blind.
     For the first time, Travis shares the complete life story that inspired the major motion picture "23 Blast" as well as the insights and wisdom gleaned from a life without physical sight, but steeped in spiritual and practical vision.
     With his applications to sighed life and tips for engaging more easily with the blind, Travis Freeman's story and wisdom show us how to live - even with the Lights Out.

REVIEW:  Travis' story was very interesting and not just about him playing football as a blind person.  The difficulties he faced with the medical problems that led to his blindness were heartbreaking to me, as a parent.  I liked how he did not let his diagnosis get him down but he rose to the challenges being blind created and persevered.  I was fascinated at how he was able to play football blind and no one but his team knew it.  He also didn't ask for special treatment but did everything the other team members did while training.  Travis also goes on to show how we should accept our limitations but not to let them hold us back but going on and earning a Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate degrees.  This story was inspiring.

This book was provided by Glass Road Public Relations for review without compensation.
 
At the age of 12, Travis Freeman lost his eye sight due to a severe illness.  In spite of Travis' blindness, he played high school football, served as an football equipment at the University of Kentucky and received a Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D) from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Travis currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of the Cumberlands, and as the President of The Freeman Foundation, which is dedicated to furthering the truth that disability does not equal inability.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Buttermilk Sky Book Review






SUMMARY:  Weary of the expectations imposed on her by her strict upbringing, nineteen-year-old Mazy Pelfrey left her home in the Kentucky mountains to attend secretarial school in the genteel city of Lexington.  She was sure her life would change - and only for the better.  Everything was supposed to be clear skies from then on.
     But business school is harder than she thought it would be, and the big city not as friendly, until she meets a charming young man from a wealthy family, Loyal Chambers.  When Loyal sets his sights on her, Mazy begins to see that everything she'd ever wished to have is right before her eyes.  The ony hindrance to her budding romance is a former beau, Chanis Clay, the young sheriff she thought she'd left firmly behind.
     Danger rumbles like thunder on a high mountain ridge when Mazy's cosseted past collides with her clouded future and forces her to come to terms with what she really wants.

REVIEW:  There was a lot of potential in this novel with all the different story lines but I felt like it came up short.  I did like how Chanis was determined to do his best as the youngest sheriff and how he tried to help a couple of citizens do better, one with health issues and one who had gotten into trouble.  Mazy has a big heart and I like they way she helps Cinnamon and the girls who live in her boarding house.  In my opinion, the author could have gone into more detail about the characters and their relationships with each other.  I like Mazy and Cinnamon, even Chanis but felt like they were missing something.  The relationship of Chanis and Mazy felt forced as well as Mazy and Loyal.  The characters and story felt too shallow, like something was missing. 

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

Jan Watson's first novel, Troublesome Creek, was the 2004 winner of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest.  Buttermilk Sky is Jan's eighth novel.  She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and has three grown sons and a daughter-in-law.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Deceived Book Review

A Private Justice Novel
Book Three

SUMMARY: A grieving mother.  A mysterious child.  And a dedicated PI who's determined to solve the puzzle.
     For three years, Kate Marshall has been mourning the loss of her husband and four-year old son in a boating accident.  But when she spots a familiar-looking child on a mall escalator, she's convinced it's her son.  With poice skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help.  As the former Secret Service agent digs into the case, the boating "accident" begins to look increasingly suspicious.  But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden - and may go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.
     As Irene Hannon's many fans have come to expect, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plotline that accelerates to an explosive finish.

SUMMARY:  Everything I've come to expect in an Irene Hannon suspense novel is found in her latest book.  The story grabbed my attention right from the beginning and held it to the very end.  At first, I thought I had the story figured out regarding who took Kevin/Todd and why but I was quickly proven wrong.  The twists and turns, along with the emotional aspects of the story, kept me turning pages, anticipating what would happen next and if everything would work out positively.  Without trying to give anything away, I like how the kidnapper takes care of Kevin/Todd, how affectionate he was and that he wasn't abusive.  This is a wonderful book.  It is the third book in the Private Justice series but is also a stand-alone.  Check it out!!

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.
 
Irene Hannon is the author of more than forty-five novels, including Vanished, Trapped, and the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailer's Choice Award, and a National Readers' Choice Award.  In addition, she is a Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011.  Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hidden in the Stars Book Review

Quilts of Love

SUMMARY:  Could a quilt hold the secret to a serial killer?
     Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept help from her estranged grandmother.  Once an Olympic hopeful, Sophia's future is now uncertain, and her inability to share her eyewitness account frustrates police detectives looking for answers.  What were the criminals after?  Why did they attack Sophia and her mother?
     Detective Julian Frazier is determined to solve the case.  Distracted by the pull Sophia has on his heart and his own questions about why God could allow this senseless violence, Julian doesn't realize that an important clue could be right in front of him.  As he gets closer to solving the case, Julian wonders of his efforts will be enough to save Sophia.  Or will the murderer be back to silence her forever?

REVIEW:  I really liked everything about this book.  My heart went out to Sophia as she realizes her dreams of becoming an Olympian are over and that her mother lied to her about her past and her grandmother.  The idea of crime victim being unable to speak is original.  I loved how the author used it and how she uses a lip-reader to help both the police and victim.  The centerpiece of the quilt was a little disturbing to me when you understand its role and how it furthers the investigation but quite ingenious.  This is a great story that captured my attention from the very beginning and held it to the end.  This was my first book by this author and I look forward to reading more.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press for review without compensation.
 
Robin Caroll is an award-winning author of more than twenty novels and writes to entertain.  Her books have been recognized by several award contests, including the Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer's Choice Award, and more.  She gives back to the writing community by serving as Executive Director for ACFW.  Find out more online at RobinCaroll.com.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Bride in Store Book Review


SUMMARY:  Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early.  But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry, and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn't even in town when she finally arrives.
     Axel's business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor.  When his friend's mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store - where she quickly proves she's much more adept at business than he will ever be.
      The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school.  When Axel finally returns, their troubles are far from over, and soon Will and Eliza must decide what they're willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams - or if God has a new dream in store for them both.

REVIEW:  There were a few things I liked about this book.  Some of the main characters are not your typical ones, which is refreshing.  Eliza is not know for her beauty, especially now that she has a scar on her face, courtesy of one of the robbers; Will is very humble when it comes to treating people and, most times, refuses to take money for his services; and Irena Lightfoot, Eliza's roommate and friend, was a bearded lady with a generous heart, who had previously worked in a circus sideshow.  I liked how Eliza went after what she wanted and wasn't afraid to step out of her comfort zone.  The storyline took some twists and turns I was not expecting and I loved how the book ended.
     There were quite a few things I didn't like though.  To me, the story dragged in too many places and I found my interest waning many times.  While I like what Ms. Jagears did with Axel, his first meeting with Eliza at the store came on a little strong for my taste. There were also times I wanted to shake Will, hoping he would stop beating himself up regarding some difficult medical decisions he was forced to make.

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

Melissa Jagears, author of A Bride for Keeps, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house.  She's a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly.  Find her online at www.melissajagears.com. 

Keepers of the Covenant Book Review

The Restoration Chronicles
Book Two

SUMMARY:  In Their Darkest Hour, Where Would Hope Be Found?
     In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king's palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman and child throughout the empire in less than one year.
     Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people.  Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future - of family and love - seem impossible.
     In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss.  Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.

REVIEW:  I really enjoyed this book!!  It weaves together the Old Testament books of Esther and Ezra seamlessly.  This is the first time I've read a book that shows what the Jewish people went through and how they felt after Haman's decree went out across the Persian Empire.  While I know the events of this book are fiction, Ms. Austin made me feel like I was right there experiencing the devastation and loss, along with the joy and jubilation of being given the right to defend themselves and after the war was over.  She also shows how this event affected those living in Judah, both Jews and Gentile, and the return of Jews from Babylon under King Artaxerxes.  The parts of the returning Jews I found though-provoking were when Ezra informs the people of Judah they must now completely follow the law of Moses, given to them by God, and the consequences some had to face because they had married Gentiles who did not follow the Almighty One exclusively.  I also loved how Esther's story is woven in at the end and the discussion (by characters in the book) on why God's name is never mentioned.  Even if you find the book of Ezra boring and difficult to follow, this book will help you understand it and why Ezra made the decrees he did as governor.  Fascinating read!!
 
This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Bethany House for review without compensation.

Lynn Austin is a bestselling author and has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide.  She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions.  Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live in Michigan.  Learn more at www.lynnaustin.org.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tried & True Book Review

Wild at Heart
Book One

SUMMARY:  Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!
     Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister - and the most civilized.  Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets.  It's a risk - they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as "boys" - but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.
     Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap.  But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government?  And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

REVIEW:  Mary Connealy's latest book is unique.  The storyline of women living as men to homestead property is one I've not encountered before.  I like how she answers the questions about how they keep the townspeople from finding out.  She doesn't do it all at one time but answers them little by little throughout the story.  I also liked how Aaron tries to work out the details of Kylie's unique situation so he doesn't have to lie to the U.S. government but where the Wilde sisters keep their lands.  I also loved Sunrise, the Indian woman who helps Kylie.  She is a woman to be reckoned with who teaches Kylie a thing or two or ten about men, living in the wild, living off the land, and protecting herself.
     While I didn't have all the details figured out, I guessed quite a bit of the storyline before the events happened.  I also see the potential for future romances and storylines for Kylie's sisters, Shannon and Bailey, and some local menfolk.
     All in all, this was an enjoyable book and I look forward to reading the rest of the Wilde sisters adventures.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Bethany House for review without compensation.
 
Mary Connealy writes romantic comedies about cowboys.  She's the author of the acclaimed TROUBLE IN TEXAS and THE KINCAID BRIDES series, as well as several other series.  Mary has been nominated for a Christy Award, was a finalist for a RITA Award, and is a two-time winner of the Carol Award.  She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.  They have four grown daughters and a bevy of spectacular grandchildren.  Learn more about Mary and her books at maryconnealy.com, mcconnealy.blogspot.com, seekerville.blogspot.com, or petticoatsandpistols.com.