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?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Wedding Chapel Book Review

SUMMARY:  A lonely wedding chapel.  Build as a tribute to lost love just might hold the long-awaited secret to hope and reconciliation.
     For sixty years, the wedding chapel has stood silent and empty.  Retired football hall-of-famer Jimmy "Coach" Westbrook built the chapel by hand, stone by stone, for his beautiful and beloved Collette Greer, whom he lost so many years ago.  The chapel is a sanctuary for his memories, a monument to true love, and a testament to his survival of the deepest pain and loss.
     Photographer Taylor Branson left her hometown of Heart's Bend, Tennessee, to make a new life for herself in New York.  She had lots to run away from, not least of all a family history of broken promises and broken dreams.  Love catches Taylor off guard when she falls for Jack Forester, a successful advertising executive, and their whirlwind romance leads to an elopement - then to second guesses.  Jack, in spite of his very real love for Taylor, is battling his own demons and struggles to show her his true self and the depths of his love for her.
     Taking a photography assignment in Heart's Bend, Taylor is thrown back into a past of family secrets buried deep beneath the sands of time.  When Taylor and Coach's journeys collide, they each rediscover the heartbeat of their own dreams as they learn that the love they long to hold is well worth the wait.

REVIEW:  Rachel Hauck's latest novel is phenomenal!!  There are four main characters whose stories flow seamlessly together.  The novel moves from current day to the late 40s/early 50s without causing confusion or without any lag.  My heart grieved when the characters went through their trials and separation.  It cried when the characters faced the hurts and secrets of the past and rejoiced when they found acceptance and love.  It is a story of loss, hurt, and secrets but also of forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation.  Excellent and incredible story!!  This is will be one I recommend to everyone!! 

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group, Zondervan, and Fiction Guild 
for review without compensation.

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author.  She is a RITA and Christy Award finalist.  Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times.  Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and two pets and writes from her ivory tower.

Monday, December 21, 2015

When Love Returns Book Review

The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Riddled with doubt and lingering regrets, will Suzanne and Paul find strength in God to explore a second chance at love?
     It wasn't easy to move back to the Old Order Mennonite community from which quiet, responsible Suzanne Zimmerman was shamefully sent away as a pregnant teen.  Since returning twenty years later to take care of her mother, Suzanne and Alexa - the daughter she raised as her own - have spent months rebuilding relationships with her family.
     Now with the upcoming wedding of their biological daughter, Suzanne and Paul find themselves drawn to one another once again - but with new challenges to face.  They have been single parents with painful pasts.  Can Paul and Suzanne find the strength to rebuild the loving relationship that was torn apart by their teen pregnancy so long ago?
     Suzanne must also let go of Alexa as she heads back to Indianapolis to visit friends, and with hopes of finding her birth parents.  Leaving the bed-and-breakfast in Suzanne's apprehensive hands, Alexa embarks on a journey that will certainly change her life completely.  Can mother and daughter trust God to restore all things in His timing?

REVIEW:  This book is about reconciliation and restoration.  Even though most of Suzanne's family has reconciled with her and her return, there are a few relationships that still need to be mended.  Through love, patience and prayer, those tears are mended completely.  Even though Alexa wants to meet her birth family, she struggles with anger over the circumstances surrounding her abandonment and directs it towards her birth mother.  I love how even though all parties in this book do what they can to facilitate and manipulate events, God's perfect timing prevails.  
     This was a wonderful book and a sweet ending to this trilogy.

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books 
for review without compensation.
 Kim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling, award-winning author highly acclaimed for her gentle stories of hope.  More than one million copies of her books are currently in print.  She lives in central Kansas where she and her retired military husband, Don, enjoy spoiling their granddarlings.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Golden Braid Book Review

SUMMARY:  The one who needs rescuing isn't always the one in the tower.
     Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man.  She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses.  She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep.  But there are two things she is afraid other mother might never allow her to do:  learn to read and marry.
     Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted.  After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel's hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again - this time, to the large city of Hegenheim.
     The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight - Sir Gerek - Rapunzel in turn rescues him farther down the road.  As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read.  Could there be more to this knight than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?
     As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life.  In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery is about to be revealed after seventeen years of lies.  How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny?  And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl no one to turn to?

REVIEW:  Having grown up on the fairy tale and watching the movie Tangled with my kids, I am familiar with the basic story of the girl with the long golden braided hair.  This story is a faithful retelling with some additional twists and fresh changes to make it new and refreshing. The author grabbed this reader's attention from the beginning and held it until the sweet ending.  I love how Rapunzel tries to be as independent as she can by learning all kinds of trades and self defense, while trying to honor her mother.  She uses this desire to learn to talk Sir Gerek into teaching her to read, not just in German but also Latin so she can read both the New and Old Testaments of the bible.  Rapunzel is charming without being pretentious, and even though she fights against the strong hold her mother has, she still loves her.  The way the truth of Rapunzel's past is revealed slowly, but not so slow as to aggravate the reader.  I love how everything comes to light to both her and her real family.
     This is a delightful book that readers of all ages will enjoy.

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

Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer's Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader's Choice Award for Best First Book.  Melanie earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and missionary.  She lives with her husband and two daughters in Alabama.  Visit her online at, Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks or Twitter: @melanieauthor.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

An Amish Christmas Gift Book Review

Three Amish Novellas

SUMMARY:                                Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston
     Naomi has begun to believe that she isn't meant to find love, but she might receive more than she has ever hoped for this Christmas.
     Twenty-four-year-old Naomi King has all but given up on marriage and children.  As Christmas approaches, Naomi is certain that her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family's quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings.  Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down.

An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid
     Abigail has driven other suitors away, but can Micah find a way to show her he cares?
     Being a caregiver for Micah Zook's grandmother is the answer to Abigail's prayers. In fact, the elderly lady keeps finding ways to set Abigail up with her grandson.  Despite Abigail's constant chatter, Micah realizes he's beginning to care for her - until he makes a decision that leaves her feeling betrayed.  With Christmas in their midst, can Micah find a way to reconcile with Abigail and to reveal the true feelings of his heart?

A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin 
      Frannie Mast returns to Bee County for Christmas, but her heart stays back in Missouri with an Englisch farm boy.
     Frannie knows her parents have the best of intentions when they send her back to Bee County, Texas, to live with her aunt and her aunt's new husband, Mordecai.  After all, Frannie knows nothing can come of a relationship with Rocky, the handsome Englisch farm boy back in Missouri.  But all bets are off when Rocky follows Frannie to Texas to plead his case.  Could he be the Christmas gift to end all gifts?

REVIEW:  These Christmas novellas focus on finding the one person who God has for you, even if they do not fit everyone's mold of the "perfect" person.  In Naomi's Gift, Naomi's mom thinks Naomi is too bold and doesn't need to show interest in any man.  Caleb's sister has the perfect girl in mind for widower Caleb and tries to discourage his interest in Naomi.  I like how they did not let those around them decide their fate but let God guide them.
    An Unexpected Joy is probably my favorite one.  I LOVE how Abigail gives from her heart and how she puts everyone in front of her own wants and needs, giving up the one thing she wanted most of all to help a family member then adds to a gift she made for herself and gives it to a homeless man she had met one other time.  I like how Micah, at first turned off by Abigail's constant chatter, later finds it appealing and comforting.  He is also attracted to Abigail's huge heart and her very giving nature.
     When I first started reading A Christmas Visitor, I wasn't sure I would like it.  Rocky struck me as a stalker, when he leaves everything behind and follows Frannie from Missouri to Texas.  He faces all sorts of difficulties on the road and again when he finds the Amish community.  I kept expecting him to unleash anger onto Frannie but it never came to fruition.  I did like how Frannie was determined to stay within the Amish community and how Rocky sought help and direction from the leaders of this private society.  The timeline of their romance was also positive.  Most books have their main characters fall in love within a few weeks.  Frannie and Rocky met in Missouri and even though they never dated, they did spend a lot of time together.  She moved to Texas in August/September, with Rocky following about three weeks later. They aren't even allowed to date and their time together is severely limited until Christmas.  I like the Christmas surprise Rockey and Frannie's family had as Frannie's Christmas present.
    These three novellas are fun Christmas reads.  Check them out for yourself.

This book was provided by Fiction Guild for review without compensation.

 Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series.  Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA.  Amy holds a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC.  Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled-rotten cats.  Visit her online at, on Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks or Twitter: @AmyClipston.

 Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA bestselling author of the Heaven and Earth series.  She's a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children.  When attending Farris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms.  Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life.

Kelly Irvin is the author of the Amish of Bee County series, the Bliss Creek Amish series, and the New Hope Amish series.  She has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.  The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism.  She has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter, mostly in Texas-Mexico border towns.  She has worked in public relations for the City of San Antonio for twenty years.  Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-seven years.  They have two young adult children, two cats, and a tank full of fish.  In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.  Follow her on Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin or on Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Every Girl Gets Confused Book Review

 Brides with Style Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  How can she choose between the love she thought she lost and the love she stumbled upon in the aftermath?
     Katie Fisher and Brady James may be a match in heaven, but that doesn't seem to guarantee them a happily ever after accompanied by angelic choirs.  Katie's almost-finance' Casey is back in Fairfield, ready to rekindle their relationship.  And there's nothing Katie's parents want more than for their small town girl to leave Dallas and come home for good.
     But can she really leave Brady behind?  And will she ever be able to wear that gorgeous wedding dress she won?

REVIEW:  If you are looking for a book that will make you laugh out loud or chuckle softly, you need to pick this one up.  Katie's friends and family want the best for her and are determined to let her know, even if everyone speaks all at one time.  The parts about Queenie, Katie's grandmother, getting married and her bridal showers will bring a blush to your cheeks and a hardy laugh when you read about the gifts eighty-year-old women give the eighty-year-old bride and the conversations they have when they cannot hear each other.  Katie's struggle to decide between Brady and Casey seems to be more between the people in her hometown than Katie herself.  Though,she does struggle some when Casey starts calling her. 
     This is the second book in the series.  You definitely need to read the first one or you will be completely lost about what is going on and about the conflicts that occur. 
     This is a fun book that you will not want to put down.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter.  An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner.  She is the author of the hugely popular Weddings by Bella series, the Backstage Pass series, and the Weddings by Design series, as well as Every Bride Needs a Groom.  She lives in Texas.  Learn more at

All Is Calm All Is Bright Book Review

Two Christmas Novellas

SUMMARY:  Return to two of Colleen Coble's most beloved settings - Bluebird Ranch and Hope Beach - for holiday romance and mystery!
It's going to be an unexpectedly romantic Christmas at Bluebird Ranch.

     Brendan Waddell has always considered Bluebird Ranch a little piece of heaven: an idyllic ranch that pairs abused children with abused horses, run by one of his Marine buddies.  Now, it seems just the place to spend Christmas recovering from an on-the-job injury.
     Lauren Everman first came to the ranch as a foster kid, but now knows it's the perfect hideout.  As the witness to a murder, Lauren needs somewhere to lie low.  Her beauty immediately catches Brendan's attention - but so does her secretive behavior.  This Special Ops Intel man knows a woman on the run when he sees one.  Can he trust her, or is she putting the ranch at risk?  One thing is certain: he's going to do everything he can to keep her safe so he can see what magic Christmas brings.
A romantic Christmas wedding at Tidewater Inn gives Delilah's unique gifts a chance to shine.  
But will her light be snuffed out before the bride and groom say "I Do"?

     As manager of the Tidewater Inn, Delilah Carter has been planning a spectacular Christmas wedding for her friend, Elin Summerall.  But when Delilah's car is forced off the road and into the ocean, she finally has to admit that the strange phone calls she's been receiving lately may be more than just pranks.
     Sherriff Tom Bourne has always had a soft spot for Delilah, and he's determined to protect her.  He hopes to win her heart by giving her the surprise gift of a lifetime . . . but first he has to make sure nothing happens to her before Christmas Day.
     It's the season of miracles.  But will both Elin and Delilah get the ones they need this holiday season?

REVIEW:  If you like a little mystery with your Christmas stories, this book is for you.  Each story has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing as to whodunit and why.  I like how both Lauren and Delilah are concerned more for their friends than for themselves.  They both are determined to focus on their friends' events (children's Christmas party and wedding) than let the circumstances around them put a damper on things.  Even if you have never read any of the author's books about Bluebird Ranch and Hope Beach, you should not be lost.  Both mention characters from other novels but does an admirable job of explaining who's who when needed.
     There were a few things though that I wondered about.  Both are set during the Christmas season but neither really focus on the Reason for the Season.  A few passing comments are made about faith but it is not in the forefront.  Also, the timeline of the romances are very quick as both come to fruition in just a few short weeks, but this is a common complaint of mine.
     This is a pleasant book that I would recommend.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Colleen Coble is a RITA Award finalist and author of several bestselling romantic suspense novels, including Tidewater Inn and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series.  Visit her website at  Twitter: @colleencoble  Facebook: colleencoblebooks