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


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Rescued Hearts Book Review


SUMMARY:  Children's clothing designer Mary Wade Kimball's soft spot for animals leads to a hostage situation when she spots a briar-entangled kitten in from of an abandoned house.  Beaten, bound and gagged by the two thugs inside, Mary Wade loses hope for escape when a third villain returns with supplies.
     Discovering the kidnapped woman ratchets the complications for undercover agent Brett Davis.  Weighing the difference of ruining his three months' investigation against the woman's safety.  Brett forsakes his mission and helps her escape, the bent-on-revenge brutes following behind.
     When Mary Wade's safety is threatened once more, Brett rescues her again.  This time, her personal safety isn't the only thing in jeopardy.  Her heart is endangered as well.

REVIEW:  Something I really liked about this book was how the author did not give everything away in regards to the suspense in the book.  Reading through the story, when I thought I had everything somewhat figured out, a new twist was added.  The characters are likeable and relateable, except for the kidnappers.  One of my favorites was Brett's grandma.  She is someone I want to be like when I am much older. The ending was great.  I like how everything Mary Wade was worried about works out because she stood up for what she believed, even though it was not what her parents wanted.  This was a good book that keeps you turning pages.  Check it out.

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

Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master's degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College.  Her publications include two novels, Irish Encounter and Mars . . . With Venus Rising, as well as nonfiction articles.  A member of ACFW, RWA, and SinC, she writes for SeriousWriter.com.  She and her husband live in North Carolina and enjoy visits with their two daughters and twin sons.  Visit her at hopetolerdoughterty.com.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Gift of Christmas Past Book Review


SUMMARY:  At twenty-seven, Hadley is still trying to get free of the weight she's carried all her life - entering foster care at age five, getting arrested at seventeen for arson, and losing her boyfriend, Monroe, when she needed him most.
     Monroe never wanted to walk out on Hadley.  He'd understood her, from her desire to help children with speech issues to her intense temper.  But when she was arrested, he became haunted by what he knew and convinced his only choice was to end their relationship.
     Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialist in the field of speech therapy.  They meet again...thrown together to help a four-year-old girl who's been rendered mute after being rescued from an apartment fire.
     Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized young girl and her family.
     Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

 REVIEW:  Some people never get a break in life.  It seems like everything is against them and everyone judges them for things they didn't do, just by how they are perceived.  Hadley is one of those people.  Facing struggle after struggle, Hadley uses the experiences to make herself a stronger person who is more attuned to those hurting around her and those not given a fair chance.  Her faith in God is what gets her through the most difficult circumstances.  I like how Hadley is determined to give others the benefit of the doubt no matter how many others disagree.  She also is determined to help Chloe overcome her speech difficulties and to give her her voice back, even if it means she has to work with Monroe to accomplish it.  I also like how resourceful Hadley and Elliott, her best friend, are.  They stretch the little bit they have (food, clothes, housing, etc) and are very creative.  This and their amazing work ethics are something we all should aspire to do.  These things help Hadley and Monroe navigate the troubled waters of their past and give them strategies for the future.
     This book shows second chances are possible, if you just give them the opportunity.  This is a fabulous story with a wonderful ending.

This book was provided by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall 
for review without compensation.

Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction.  She's been featured in national media outlets such as ABC's Nightline and the Wall Street Journal.  Cindy has won numerous awards and has been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards.  Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.  She can be found online at cindywoodsmall.com.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife and mom of three.  She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade.  She is very excited about their first coauthored book.  How could a Southern gal not enjoy research time in Asheville, North Carolina, as part of the job?

Many Sparrows Book Review


SUMMARY:  Either she and her children would emerge from that wilderness together, or none of them would ........
     In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories.  The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife, Clare, and their four-year-old son, Jacob, on a remote mountain trail.
     When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare finds herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can recover her son ... especially when her second child is moments away from being born.
 
REVIEW:  This book was amazing, as all of Lori Benton's books are.  She delves into emotions, situations and events that make you think long and hard about the characters and how you might act if you were put in the same position.
     This story is not an easy one.  I can't even being to imagine how I would have reacted if I was in Clare's position: pregnant, and in labor, with only her small son to keep her company.  Then, at the apex of her precarious situation, her son disappears into the wilderness.  After Jeremiah and Clare locate Jacob, they cannot simply walk into the Shawnee camp and take him home.  The time it takes and the way Jeremiah and Clare maneuver around the obstacles they face is mind boggling.  It is a development of patience, love, endurance, and understanding.  I love how the author weaves Clare's faith and the struggles she has with God into the story.
     This is a wonderful novel that everyone should read.

This book was provided by the author for review without any compensation.

Lori Benton was raised eat of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years.  Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history.  When she isn't writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband.  She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, Christy nominee The Wood's Edge, and A Flight of Arrows.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Pretender Book Review

A Blackguard in Disguise
Caselli Family Series
Book One

SUMMARY:  South Dakota: 1975
     Eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beers in a bar and loaded guns were kept under the counter.  Frankie Valli sang My Eyes Adored You and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.
     It's within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again.  Their lives were mysteriously intertwined - and had been for many years - yet they had no idea.
     From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart – and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride’s deception.

REVIEW:  I've been thinking about this book and review for a while now.  It's one of those stories that stays with you a long time after reading.  There were some things I really liked and some that were just different - not bad, just different.
     I like the concept of the book and the characters.  Sometimes it felt like I was right there in the room with the characters.  Quite often I wanted to grab a few of them by the back of their neck and ask them what they thought they were doing, that they were being really stupid and presumptuous.   Other times, I cheered them on when they showed their mettle.  The story reminds me of the movie The Notebook in, after they were separated, how there were near misses and misunderstandings.  I liked how Tillie's life and Noah's life run parallel to each others in so many different ways and getting to see how each other lives without the other perosn in their life.
     The story line, and the possibilities of what could happen in future books, is intriguing.  I like how the author gives you a taste of events to come.  I also like how some people aren't always who you think they are, good or bad. 
     One thing that was different was how the story and characters flowed.  Okay, sometimes when I am reading, I wonder what the other characters are thinking during a particular scene.  For example, if the family is all in the room when a boy comes to pick up the daughter for a date, I have wondered what everyone (Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, boy, daughter) is thinking at the time.  This author shows you what everyone's thoughts and conversations are during scenes.  At first, I couldn't figure out why suddenly the parents are having a conversation with the brother when the scene had been focused on the daughter talking to her sister-in-law.  But after reading a while, I began to see what the author was trying to do and it became a little easier.
     Another thing that was different was how the author focused on other family members and their spouses, showing scenes of their lives that didn't seem related to the main characters' stories.  Yeah, it's interesting to hear their conversations about events in their lives but the book is not about them. 
     This was an intriguing book.  My interest has been piqued about the rest of the series.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Reata Publishing 
for review without compensation.

Ta'mara Hanscom lives with her husband Jim in Northwest Iowa where they enjoy watching the Detroit Tigers, BBQs and taking care of their rescues - two cats and one Pomeranian.  For more information about the author, visit www.tamarahanscombooks.com.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Christmas Blessing Book Review


SUMMARY:  She's determined to give her baby a better life.  Could a Christmas miracle make it possible?
     Not long after she receives the news in 1944 that her baby's father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope.  Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant's paternal grandparents.  The only problem is, they don't know that she - or their grandson - exists.
     When Amelia discovers the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son?  Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma?

REVIEW:  Amelia has not had an easy life, and early on, she faced her challenges head on.  When she receives news of her fiance's plane crash, I like how she faces her circumstances and does the best thing for her son.  Even though she is scared and faced with a VERY difficult choice, she still puts her son and his needs above her own.  I admire Amelia in that she is willing to do whatever it takes to give Jimmy the best in life, even if it means making major sacrifices.
     At first, I wasn't sure I was going to like Helene, James' mom.  She comes off as the stereotypical woman born into money with everything just right.  But, as the story unfolds, you see she hides her true feelings behind a mask, afraid to let the world she how she really feels.  I came to appreciate her love for her family, which eventually includes Amelia.
     The ending of the book is the best by far.  I loved how the author brought reconciliation not only between Amelia and James' parents but between Helene and her son-in-law and also with James' decision to become a pilot.  This is a great book to read, especially between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It is a fairly quick read and enjoyable.  I really liked it and hope you do, too.

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with combined sale of more than six million.  She is the author of several Christmas books.  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.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Return Book Review

Amish Beginnings Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  In a wild country, the true cost of love may be more than they can bear.
     Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans - but then she never had to.  Not until the night she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid.  Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she's developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.
     Greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort.  She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Han's hunger for revenge.  But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?
     Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of pre-revolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.

SUMMARY:  Sometimes God works in ways we don't understand to take us to places spiritually, physically and emotionally we would never go on our own.  Betsy soon finds out how God uses her time as an Indian captive to help bring her to an understanding of Himself and others around her that she wouldn't have otherwise had.  It also makes her stronger than she ever thought she could be and helps her when she needs to make difficult decisions.
     Tessa is like most of us; we want what we can't have.  When we finally get a taste of it, we want more, even if it isn't God's best.  Tessa makes decisions that come back to haunt her and influences others to make bad choices.  I like how she owns up to her mistakes and does what she can to make restitution.  
     The ending was different in that one character's story was left open ended while others were tied up neatly.  I liked how this novel closed with all kinds of possibilities that only God knows the ending.  This book is set about twenty-five years after the first and second ones.  Even though I read the first one but not the second, I was able to follow along without any trouble, especially since there was a Cast of Characters to help fill in any blanks.  This is a good book and a good series.

This book was provided by Revell for review without any compensation.
 
Susanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna's Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series.  The Bishop's Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish.  She lives in California.  Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @susannewfisher.

A Name Unknown Book Review

Shadows Over England Series
 Book One

SUMMARY:  She's out to steal his name.  Will he steal her heart instead?
     Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets - instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she's offered the challenge of a lifetime - determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany.  After all how does one steal a family's history, their very name?
     As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein.  Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence.  But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown - so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels.  When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.
     When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth - about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

REVIEW: The summary of this book drew my attention.  There were so many questions floating around  - how does someone prove they are a loyal citizen?  How does someone steal a name? Why did Peter keep his office locked up and why was no one allowed entry without his permission, not even his loyal housekeeper?  What did he do with the typewriter on his desk all day?  Where did Peter's father and grandfather put all the important paperwork about their immigration to England from Germany?  How was the Holstein family connected to the British royal family so that the men were advisors to the present and past rulers of England?  As I read, little by little these questions were answered, albeit, some quite slowly.  I liked the mysterious air attached to this story with the secretive Mr. V and the details Rosemary slowly discovers about the Holstein family.  Sometimes it was hard to keep the information together because each piece of the puzzle was very slowly revealed.  As I read, I wondered what Rosemary would do with the information she was gathering for Mr. V and about how was behind the attacks on Peter's house.  I like how the book ended because it was not what I expected and the way it sets up for another book in the series.
     This book was different from others I read in that it was slower in revealing the details need to absolve the problems Peter was facing but, not everything is answered quickly in real life either.  This is a good book and recommend it to someone wanting a little mystery.

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

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her.  When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself.  Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her series set in Britain.  She makes her home in the breathtaking mountains of West Virginia.  You can learn more about her and her stories at www.roseannawhite.com.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Gathering the Threads Book Review

The Amish of Summer Grove Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves, will Ariana's new perspectives draw her family closer together - or completely rip them apart?
     After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised.  Yet her excitement is mixed wit an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she's learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community.  Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana's Daed doesn't understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority.  Will she sow seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?
     Meanwhile, Skyler Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana's arrival threatens to unravel Skylar's new identity - and her sobriety.  Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities closer to His heart.  
     Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

REVIEW:  Cindy Woodsmall does a phenomenal job bringing an end to Ariana and Skylar's stories and all the intricacies involved with these families.  There were times when I wondered what choices Ariana would make and how it would play out.  When I thought I might have it figured out, the author would throw something else in play to change my thinking.  Skylar was a hard one to love all throughout the series.  Her animosity towards the parents that raised her, her biological parents and Ariana was exhausting.  But, I love how she grew as a woman, when she let God work in her heart and learned from those around her to become a better person.  Ariana also had some difficult choices to make.  The decisions she made were ones that causes her some pain but I love how they were perfect for her. 
     This is an amazing series. The books must be read in order as each one builds on the previous story.  The details that the author goes into were difficult to follow at times because there were so many moving parts but all were very important to the end game and makes for a fantastic read.  I highly recommend this series.

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

Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of early twenty works of fiction and non-fiction with more than a million copies sold.  Her connection with the Amish community has been featured in national media outlets such as ABC's Nightline, the Wall Street Journal, and a National Geographic documentary on Amish life.  Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Season to Dance Book Review


SUMMARY:  Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back.  Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.
     Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes every thing.
     Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement.  With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus.  But the ghost of his late wife, Ana's own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success.  Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

REVIEW:  I'll be honest.  There were many times while reading this book that I thought about putting it down and not reading any more.  It was not the story line. I found it engaging and captivating.  The problem I had was the actions of Ana.  This is not your typical clean Christian fiction.  While it doesn't go into details, Ana makes some bad decisions, which in turn leads to more bad decisions, and on and on.  But, as I continued to read, I realized this novel is a story of Ana's faith journey.  It is not neat, clean or quick.  It is messy, complicated and takes a long time for her to realize her need for a personal savior, Jesus.  God doesn't forget Ana while she is in the midst of her mess but sends people, events, and "coincidences" to let her know she is not far from His thoughts.  Even when life is looking its bleakest, God reminds her that He is right there with her. 
     This is a book that should be read by anyone who wants to see how Jesus loves us even when we don't deserve it and those who just want to experience God's grace again.

This book was provided by the author for review without any compensation.

Patricia Beal has danced ballet since her childhood and has performed with pre-professional companies in South America, Europe, and the United States.  She graduated magna cum laude from the  University of Cincinnati with a B.A. in English literature and worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S.Army for seven years.  Her feature story on a day in the life of "Bad Luck Squad" in Iraq won a Keith L. Ware award in print journalism.  She's an army wife for life, an army editor, and forever a ballerina.  Patricia writes from El Paso, Texas, where she lives with her husband and two children.  A Season to Dance is her first novel.  Visit her website at www.patriciabeal.com.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Legacy Book Review

Secrets of the Shetlands series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  The dramatic conclusion to the Secrets of the Shetlands.
     Loni Ford's unexpected inheritance of substantial real estate - not to mention a title - in the Shetland Islands has caused more than a stir in the quiet fishing hamlet of Whales Reef.  How can life ever be the same with an outsider - and a woman at that - playing such a pivotal role in the life of this traditional community?  But it isn't just the locals who have deep misgivings about the current situation.  Loni herself never imagined this in her wildest dreams and wonders whether she's cut out for it.
     Loni would hardly let herself acknowledge that she's falling in love - with Whales Reef, with its hardy people, and with local chieftain David Tulloch, whose inheritance she has usurped, at least in the eyes of some.  Or has she merely been seduced by the simple, peaceful way of life that exists here?
     Yet life in Whales Reef is rarely without drama.  Deeps rifts exist between certain lifelong neighbors, and when a dead body is discovered, suspicion is cast in the direction of the Tulloch family.  How Loni and David face up to this challenge will profoundly shape their relationship, as well as the future of the island.

REVIEW:  This book was a satisfying conclusion to this Secrets of the Shetlands series.  I like how everything was wrapped up neatly, with quite a few surprises, by the end.  The author goes into great detail within Emily and Brogan's story, tying it together with Loni, David and their friends stories.  How he kept everything straight is amazing.  Now, I don't know if I would call it a dramatic conclusion to the series but this novel answered questions about Loni's family's past and solves a mystery.  Probably my favorite part is the change in Hardy.  I also like how each person's faith is subtly woven throughout their lives and actions.  Their faith is not flimsy but strong, vibrant, and growing.  You can see Christ and His teachings through the behaviors of the characters. 
     When you read this series, you need to read the books one after another.  Each book picks up where the one before left off and they refer to incidences and characters mentioned throughout the stories quite frequently.  A "Cast of Characters" was really needed since some characters are only mentioned a few times but become an important part the memories and saga.  

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

Michael Phillips is a bestselling author who has penned more than seventy books, both fiction and nonfiction.  Michael and his wife, Judy, spend time each year in Scotland but make their home near Sacramento, California.  Visit Michael's website at www.fatheroftheinklings.com.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Grounded Hearts Book Review


SUMMARY:  A brave midwife.  A wounded pilot.  A risky secret.
     In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral.  Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for.  When midwife Nan O'Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she's taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she'll face imprisonment.
     Still, something compels Nan to take in "flyboy" Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare.  While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection - and an unbreakable bond.
     But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband's death and made her question ever loving again.  As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

REVIEW:  While parts of this book was interesting, there are quite a bit that I found a little disheartening and concerning in a book that was supposed to be Christian fiction.  While reading, I learned about Ireland's neutrality during World War II and how difficult life could be for those who were found helping anyone involved in any way with the action.  In Grounded Hearts, the militia groups, and their affiliates, would arrest anyone thought to be harboring, in their eyes, a fugitive.  When Nan took in Dutch after he crashed his airplane in a nearby bog, she decided to hide him while he healed from his injuries.  Doing so, she took a great risk to her reputation as the local (and only) midwife for the area.  Also, reading about the treatment of the arrested fugitives in Ireland was eye-opening and shocking, in a good way.  The adventure Nan and Dutch had trying to get him across the border to Northern Ireland was funny at times.  I also liked how Nan steps out of her comfort zone and finds there is more to life when you just take a little risk.
     One disheartening and concerning part was how the local Irish men were portrayed.  They were shown to be ignorant, overbearing, and totally clueless about the actions of their wives.  All they were concerned about was having the house taken care of and their needs met.  They were portrayed as being drunk as soon as it was "socially acceptable."  As their wives took control of the situation Nan found herself in, the men of the village didn't have a clue about what was happening.  While I like having strong women characters, I don't like it at the expense of the men.
     Another concerning part was how the attraction between Dutch and Nan was illustrated.  There were times when I became a little uncomfortable reading about how they felt and what each other found attractive.  It was more descriptive than I usually find in Christian novels and was mentioned at every turn.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Waterfall Press 
for review without any compensation.

Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers.  Her grandmother lived with them and was a constant source of stories about life in Ireland and about saint and ancestors long gone from this earth.  Jeanne credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother for her love of storytelling.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jane of Austin Book Review

A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility

SUMMARY:  Just a few years after their father's business scandal shatters their lives, Jane Woodward and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop.  The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister, Margot, and Jane's tea plants, determined to start over yet again.
     But life in Austin isn't all sweet tea and breakfast tacos.  Their unusual living situation is challenging, and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia.  When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the charm grows deeper.
     While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune - retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett.  Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected - Texas.
     In this modern spin on the Austen classic Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn't so far away.

REVIEW:  When I read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen the first time, I found it difficult due to the 18th century writing and language.  Throw in some dry British humor and it took me MUCH LONGER to finish than usual.  After watching the movie staring Kate Winslett, Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman about a thousand times :-D I understood it a lot better the second time.  So, when I got the opportunity to read this modern retelling of one of my favorite movies, I couldn't resist.  It also helped that it was written by one of my new favorite authors.
     Jane of Austin was a delight to read!!!  I didn't want to put it down but my boss and family insisted I do the jobs I'm supposed to do.  It was MUCH easier to read and comprehend than the original.  I fell in love with the characters, cried when they cried, laughed when they laughed, and smiled at all the happy parts.  Jane, or Marianne, is the main character.  I liked seeing everything from her point of view.  It helped me understand the original character's actions, reactions and responses a little better.  There were so many things that I enjoyed about this book.  I like how the author used local southern (and Texas) cuisine, tea shops and scones (as well as wonderful recipes) as a part of the story.  The flow of the action and dialog flowed easily.  I found myself excitingly turning pages and disappointed when it ended.
     Whether or not you are a fan of Jane Austen or the movies based on her books, this is one book that you need to read.  I promise, you will NOT be disappointed. It's amazing!!

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

Hillary Manton Lodge is the author of the critically acclaimed Two Blue Doors series and the Plain and Simple duet.  Jane of Austin is her sixth novel.  In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, graphic design, and finding new walking trails.  She resides outside of Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and two pups.  She can be found online at www.hillarymantonlodge.com.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Wings of the Wind Book Review

Out From Egypt series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Can vengeance give way to forgiveness when one woman's destiny becomes entangled with the very enemies she sought to destroy?
     Motherless and raised alongside her brothers, Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting.  When her father and brothers are killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family.  The one thing she never contended on was surviving.
     Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, has spent his share of time on the battlefield and is shocked to find an unconscious woman among the casualties.  Compelled to bring her to a healer back at the Heb
rew camp, he's unprepared for the consequences of what he intended as an act of compassion.
     In order to survive, Alanah must unite with her enemy.  But will a terrible revelation drive her toward an even greater danger?

REVIEW:  This book was interesting and opened my eyes to how God set the Israelites apart from the Canaanites and other kingdoms.  While it is strictly fiction, I like how the author uses her characters to show us God's bigger plan.  Alanah was a Canaanite who was rescued and taken in by Tobiah, an Israelite.  As she learns about the God of Israel and His laws, she sees how those laws protect everyone in the camp: families, widows, orphans, foreigners and the nation as a whole.  I like how when she faces some major troubles, Alanah remembers God's provision and trusts Him to take care of her and those around her.  Seeing how God took care of His people by doing the unusual and with out of the box thinking to accomplish the impossible made the Old Testament become more real. 
     This book is the third in the series.  Each book stands alone, separated by about twenty years, but does refer to characters and incidences in the others without making the reader seem like they missed something if they didn't read one of the other books.  
     I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading others by this author.

This book was provided by Bethany House for review without any compensation.
 
When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), Connilyn Cossette is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure out-of-print history books.  There is nothing she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible and uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus.  Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives near Dallas, Texas.  Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Essential Amish Cookbook Book Review

Everyday Recipes from Farm & Pantry


SUMMARY:  Taste the goodness of Amish life.
     Bestselling cookbook author and food columnist Lovina Eicher brings together the best of Amish cooking as she shares traditional Amish recipes along with her own kitchen tips and secrets.
     These easy-to-follow, authentic recipes are prepared every day in countless homes in Old Order Amish communities.  In this richly illustrated cookbook with step-by-step photographs, learn Amish cooking just as if you were in Lovina's kitchen.  Make the hearty, similar dishes that the Amish cook together and serve at home, church services, and weddings.

                         Peach Muffins                                   Shoofly Cake
                         Caramel Pecan Rolls                         Grandma's Butterscotch Pie
                         Amish Macaroni Salad                      Fresh Corn Salsa
                         Asparagus Egg Casserole                  Sweet Dills
                         Homestyle Pot Roast                         Hot Pepper Butter
                         Lovina's Homemade Bread               Green Tomato Jam
                         Oven Crusty Chicken                        Amish Wedding Nothings

REVIEW:  I love cookbooks.  This one is no exception.  As stated, the recipes are easy to read and follow.  The pictures, not only of food but life in general within the Amish community, are beautiful.  I like the little tidbits Lovina added to each recipe about favorite recipes, tips, and cute stories.  Some of the recipes are for large quantities so you to make sure you read the recipe closely beforehand because you may need to make some adjustments BEFORE you start cooking.  I like how in the back there are recipes that are for VERY LARGE groups of people.  So, if you are ever in need, you already have some recipes to choose from.
     The recipe my daughter Hannah and I chose was Banana Cookies.  They were similar to banana bread but much lighter and covered in icing.  They were delicious.  Unfortunately, they were really soft but I think that was from the substitutions my daughter and I had to make.  We didn't have any shortening so we used butter instead, in addition to the butter that was called for.  We ran a little short of flour but we made due.  We used fresh and frozen bananas.  My oven and stove are giving me fits so I ended up baking them longer to make sure they were complete cooked.  I ran out of milk so I used buttermilk in the icing and thought it works perfectly. 
     There are a few other recipes I want to try: homemade bread, breakfast casserole, egg dutch, overnight French toast, squash casserole, outrageous chocolate chip cookies, and many more.  Can't wait to start cooking more.

This book was provided by Herald Press for review without any compensation.
 
Lovina Eicher is author of the syndicated column, Lovina’s Amish Kitchen, which appears in 40 newspapers around the United States and on a weekly blog maintain by her editors. She is the author of several cookbooks. Lovina and her husband have eight children and live in rural Michigan.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Angel's Share Book Review


This book was read and reviewed by guest commentator, Jennifer Campbell, one of my wonderful and fabulous sisters-in-law.


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

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sandpiper Cove Book Review

Hope Harbor Series
 Book Three

SUMMARY:  Wishing for things that can never be is foolish - or is it?
     Hope Harbor police chief and single mom Lexie Graham has zero time for extracurricular activities - including romance.  Ex-con Adam Stone isn't looking for love either - but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief?  When Lexie enlists Adam's help to keep a troubled young man from heading down the wrong path, sparks begin to fly.  Could it be that God may have a different - and better -  future planned for them than either could image?  Lauded by Literary Journal as "as master at character development," Irene Hannon welcomes you back to this charming Oregon seaside village.

REVIEW:  Irene Hannon did another great job with Lexie and Adam's story.  I like how both overcome many obstacles and stereotypes to just enjoy each other's company.  Adam's willingness to step out of his comfort zone, face his past and help a young man turn his life around while he still has a chance was inspiring. I like how, with Adam's advice and guidance, Lexie is able to face a painful part of her past and forgive herself.  I also like how, when faced with heresay and conjecture about Adam and the work he is doing with Brian, Lexie stands up for what is right and publicly supports Adam. 
     This is an excellent story and have really enjoyed this series.  This book, as with the others in this series, is an excellent stand alone.  I would encourage you to read the others, even though they only briefly refer to the main character of the other novels.  They will give you a better feel for Hope Harbor and its residents.  From what I understand, Ms. Hannon will write more set in this small town.  If she does, I so look forward to reading them.

This book was provided by Revell for review without any compensation.

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane, and the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series.  Her books have garnered dozen of honors, including three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America.  She is also a member of RWA's elite Hall of Fame.  In addition, she has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pursued Book Review

The Nikki Boyd Files
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Nikki Boyd's flight into Nashville was routine - until the CRASH LANDING at the airport.
     When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing - and no one will admit she was ever there.  When she learns that Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial, Nikki wonders if her disappearance from the crash site means she's running from trouble - or straight into it.  Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.
     Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris has planted danger around every turn in this can't-put-it-down thrill ride that will leave you stunned.

REVIEW:  As the summary says, this story will have your head spinning with everything that happens.  Nikki goes from one jaw-dropping event to another so quickly it's hard to catch your breath.  Considering this whole story happens in just 48 hours, it's a lot to take in and process.  It's a good story.  I enjoyed everything I read, but so much happens to Nikki, it's really hard to take in.  After a while, I started to wonder just what else could she go through and just how much more she could take, especially since she was running on very little sleep and very little to eat.  Good thing this is just fiction and not real life so someone would be needing a lot of therapy.
     This is the third book in this series.  It can stand alone but it so much better if you read the other ones.  The ending was good.  I'm pretty sure this is the end of the series.  If it is, too bad.  I would really like to see how Nikki and Tyler's relationship plays out.  It would also be neat to see if she gets more information about her lost sister, and maybe even find her.
     If you are interested in reading a book that will hold your attention and take you on a wild ride, you need to pick this one up.  I don't think you will be disappointed.

This book was provided by Revell for review without any compensation.

Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 and 2015 from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta.  The author of nearly thirty books, including Vendetta, Missing, and the SOUTHERN CRIMES series, Harris and her family have spent more then thirteen years living as missionaries in southern Africa.  Learn more at www.lisaharriswrites.com.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Still Life Book Review

Chesapeake Valor Series
Book Two

SUMMARY:  Someone is out there.  Watching her.  Waiting.
     Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime-scene photographer.  She expected to be laughed at, but crime-scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright - and changed her life.  But six months ago, when he feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.
     Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejeced her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit for which her friend modeled.  But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead - and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot.  Worse, her friend can't be found, and so Avery immediately calls Parker for help.
     As Avery, Parker, and their friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

REVIEW:  This book had a lot going on, which was sometimes distracting and hard to follow.  Not having read the first book, I wondered if parts of Parker and Avery's relationship was covered in it because it felt like I was coming in from behind.  Then, their friends all had something going on - finding very slim evidence of a friend that disappeared many years ago, an upcoming marriage, a potential relationship between a couple of characters - which just added to my befuddlement at times.  Also, there were two different matters going on in regards to Avery's friend that disappeared that made it difficult at times to figure out who did what within the timeline and keep everything straight.  
     That said, the story was very engaging but darker than anything else I've read by this author.  The villain was very creepy and disturbing.  His actions were even creepier.  I like how Avery was determined to do everything possible to find Skyler, even if it meant going places and seeing people from her dysfunctional past that she had left behind years earlier.  I like how Parker saw Avery for who she was now, not her actions in the past.  Though he struggled with memories of his deceased girlfriend, he is determined not to let it affect the present and his attraction to Avery.  
     This was a good book.  As I mentioned, the story was darker and more menacing than other novels by this author but I am looking forward to reading the others as they come out, and, one day, the first one.

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

Dani Pettrey is the acclaimed author of the ALASKAN COURAGE romantic suspense series, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, Silenced, and Sabotaged.  Her books have been honored with the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award, among others.  She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, a son-in-law, and two super adorable grandsons.  You can find her online at www.danipettrey.com

When Tides Turn Book Review

Waves of Freedom Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  In a time of war, sometimes battles take place in the heart.
     Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face.  Eager to do her part for the war effort, she joins the Navy's newly established WAVES program for women.  Perhaps there she can convince people that there is more to her than meets the eye.
     Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills in the fight against German U-boats and hoping to admiral.  The last things he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess.  Convinced that romance will interfere with his goals.  Dan is determined to stay the course, no matter how intriguing a distraction Tess is.
    But love, like war, is unpredictable.  When Dan is shipped out at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he finds himself torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help the beguiling Tess root out a possible spy on shore.  Could this fun-loving glamour girl really be the one?

REVIEW:  The author had her main characters face many different trials, where various facets of their character and personality were cut, smoothed, and polished.  Tess, trying to show others, as well as herself, that she was something more than just a pretty face.  She was intelligent, quick thinking and could make even working late fun. I like how she reached out to others and helped others realize their hidden potential.  When faced with difficult tasks, she faced them head-on, even risking her life to safe a friend.  
     Dan was determined to follow the same path his mentor had taken.  When difficult circumstances arose, I like how he realized he needed to make changes and head in a different direction or he was going to fail.  When faced with impossible circumstances, I like how, at first, Dan reacted like we all do, with anger and frustration.  But, then he realized that he needed to respond in a godly manner, events worked themselves out and justice was served.
     This was a great conclusion to a wonderful series.  Since this is the third book, it is very helpful to read the others to understand different references made and the relationships all the characters to each other.  I always look forward to this author's books and this book, and series, just added to it.

This book was provided by Revell for review without any compensation.

Sarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters Deep and Anchor in the Storm, as well as the WINGS OF THE NIGHTINGALE and the WINGS OF GLORY series.  A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist.  During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy, and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force.  Sarah lives in California.  Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Home at Last Book Review

A Chicory Inn Novel
Book Five

SUMMARY:  When the world just sees mistakes, God sees beautiful opportunities for love and grace.

     Link Whitman has settled into the role of bachelor without ever intending to.  Now he's stuck in a dead-end job, and as the next Whitman wedding fast approaches, he is the last one standing.  The pressure from his sister's efforts to play matchmaker is heavy as he helps his parents at the Chicory Inn.
      All her life, Shayla Michaels has felt as if she straddled two worlds.  Her mother's white family rejected her African American father without even knowing him.  Her father's family also disapproved, but they eventually embraced Shayla as their own.  After her mother's death and her brother Jerry's incarceration, life has left Shayla's father bitter; her niece, Portia, an orphan; and Shayla responsible for them all.
     Everything changes one icy morning when a child runs into the street and Link nearly hits her with his pickup.  Soon he is falling hard for the little girl's aunt, Shayla, the beautiful woman who runs Coffee's On, the bakery in Langhorne.  Can Shayla and Link overcome society's view of their differences and find true love?  Is there hope of changing the ugly perspective of the world around them into something better for them all?

REVIEW:  This is the fifth and final book of the Chicory Inn series.  Since I had not read any of the others, I was worried I would get lost.  The author does a fantastic job keeping the focus on the two principal players, Shayla and Link, with the characters of the other books taking minor roles.
     With that said, this book was very enjoyable.  It makes you think about how you view others who may be different from you outwardly, whether socioeconomic, job status, housing, or marital status, but who are just like you on the inside, where it counts.  Once you get past their outer facade, you begin to see people made in God's image.  Shayla struggles with how people see her.  She has a difficult time understanding why Link would be interested in dating her.  Link only sees her beautiful soul, not the color of her skin.  He has a hard time understanding the extent of the problems Shayla experiences as a woman of mixed race.  I like how the author shows the reader both character's viewpoints and experiences and helps him or her understand it a little better.
     The story line moves at a good pace and keeps the reader engaged.  My favorite part isn't the ending but happens at almost the end.  Can't tell you what it is; you'll just have to read it for yourself. 

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press
for review without any compensation.

Deborah Raney's books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers' Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists.  She and her husband, Ken recently traded small-town life in Kansas - the setting of many of Deb's novels - for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita.  Visit Deb on the web at DeborahRaney.com.

The Elusive Miss Ellison Book Review

Regency Brides
A Legacy of Grace
Book One

SUMMARY:  The arrival of the new Earl of Hawkesbury has the entire village aflutter - everyone except Lavinia Ellison, that is.  In fact, in Livvie's eyes, he is just as arrogant and thoughtless as his brother - who stole the most important person in her world.
    Nicholas is weighed down by guilt, by ancestral obligations, and by the legacy of war.  He hadn't anticipated that a perfunctory visit home would engage either his mind or heart.  Then the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride.  But between society's opposition, his brother's reckless past, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles for the two of them to ever truly get along.
     Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister's daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past their painful histories and presumptions to a humbled appreciation of God's grace and the true strength of love.

REVIEW:  This book was rather enjoyable.  The dialogue between Nicolas and Lavinia was fun and engaging.  Grace is woven throughout this story.  Lavinia experiences it as she learns the truth about her mother's family and shows it time and time again to Nicholas and her mother's relatives, along with the villagers, especially those in need.  Nicholas learns how to accept grace shown to him and, in turn, learns how to show it to others in the community and in his circle of friends.  The latter half of the book is probably my favorite, and something every girl dreams of.  I only wished I could see a drawing of some of the "items" Lavinia inherited.
     If you like fairy tale endings and your wildest dreams coming true, this book is for you.  It was an easy read.  I can't wait to read the other books due in this series.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Kregel Publications
for review without any compensation.

Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children.  A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn's novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests.  She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Home to Paradise Book Review

The Coming Home Series
Book Three


SUMMARY:  When dream collide, will true love be enough?
     Rose Anna Zook has watched her two older sisters marry two Stoltzfus men and has always thought she and John, the third Stoltzfus brother, would marry, make a home together, and have children.  But John has other ideas.  He's enjoying his Rumschpringe in the Englisch world a little too much and isn't interested in returning to the Amish community - especially to marry.
     In this highly anticipated final book of the Coming Home series, Rose Anna is determined to bring her man back into the Amish fold.  John is equally determined to live his life free and unencumbered.  Who will win this battle of wills?  Will love prevail?
 
REVIEW:  How can two people so intent on staying in their own separate world break down the walls to, hopefully, find common ground?   John is determined to never go back to the Amish life style, even though it is harder than he thought and not as much fun.  Rose Anna is determined to never leave the Amish community and to do what she can to bring John back.  
    I like how Rose Anna realizes she is being manipulative and decided to let John come back on his own, if he ever does, even if it is without her help.  She does what she can to show him Christ's love but is there for him if and when he needs it.  Rose Anna's work with the abused women's shelter is very admirable.  She uses something she is good at (making quilts) to help those at the shelter gain confidence in themselves and their own abilities.  
     John is having a difficult time making ends meet so he works three jobs or more just to stay afloat.  I like how he finally finds a job he loves when he let's God work in his life.  Neil helps John repair a very difficult relationship, and in the end, helps John find where he truly belongs.
     My favorite part is how everything works out in the end.  God can bring happiness through sorry.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press 
for review without any compensation.
 
Barbara Cameron has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish.  She is the best-selling author of more than 40 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award.  Her books have been nominated for Carol Awards and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award from RWA's Faith, Hope and Love chapter.   Barbara resides in Jacksonville, Florida.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Amish Weddings Book Review

Neighbors of Lancaster County Series
Book Three

SUMMARY:  Will Love Be Enough to Fix What Tragedy Threatens?
     Gregarious Rose Lehman, who's always the life of the Amish youth singings, is determined to marry the bishop's son, Reuben Byler - until the handsome Army buddy of her future brother-in-law shows up in Lancaster County.  In comparison to Trevor, Reuben seems downright boring.  Trevor shares Rose's sense of fun and adventure, and her easygoing disposition.
     When her sister Lila is injured in a devastating accident, Rose finds herself with more freedom than she's ever experienced in her life.  Only Reuben seems to notice, but he never voices his concerns.  Part of her relishes the freedom she's found with Trevor, but the other part wishes Reuben would finally express his love and "fight" for her.  Have her choices ruined her best chance at love, or is there another path to happiness she just hasn't seen yet?

REVIEW:  The stories of Rose and Reuben and Lila and Zane were easy to follow but took turns I didn't expect.  The story of Rose was different than any other I've read before.  She makes some bad decisions and goes through a lot but she learns who she is.  I like how the author handled the events Rose goes through and how they are resolved.  Lila and Zane are engaged but events keep happening to postpone their wedding.  Zane, an Amish convert, struggles to follow the rules and regulations, especially after Lila's accident.  Lila is determined to do things on her own without help but, struggles with letting Zane help her with events after the accidents.  I like how Zane is determined to keep helping Lila in any way possible, even if it means pursuing paths that are usually "Englisch." 
     Not having read the other two books in the series, the only difficult part was keeping everyone and their backstories straight.  A "cast of characters" would have been fantastic to keep everyone straight.  Some family members make quick appearances while others are intertwined with Rose and Lila.  
     This was a good book but, at times it seemed like something was missing.  It may have been my not reading the other books to get the full back story.  

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

Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 CBA bestseller The Amish Midwife, a 2012 Christy Award winner; CBA bestseller Courting Cate, first in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; and Beyond the Blue, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice for Best Inspirational Novel, 2006.  She holds an MFA in creative writing and lives in Portland, Oregon.  She and her husband are the parents of four children.  Learn more about Leslie at www.lesliegould.com.