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?

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

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

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

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 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

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

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