Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Great Read for a Snowy Day!

  "Christmas At Rose Hill Farm"
         By Suzanne woods Fisher

When offered a book to review by this author, I must say that I never hesitate!! In fact I am excited to see what new adventure will arise!  Her books tend to be a learning experience, as well as an enjoyable one. Suzanne Woods Fisher writes in her unique style  of  storytelling, while giving you information of things that I would never have known. 
The main character in this book is Bess Rieh, who is busily preparing Rose  Hill Farm for her very own Christmas wedding. The surroundings and season will make a perfect spot for this special occasion, except there is one problem, a VERY big one- her groom is not who she thought it would be. Billy Lapp is a rose rustler for Penn State who has grown far away from the Amish lifestyle in which he was raised. He has no desire to have anything to do with Stony Ridge, his family or Bess. Bess is in total agreement with this. After all, who in their right mind would want to think about a man who left the community without a word or any explanation?? She is determined to move on with her life, thus agreed to marry Amos Lapp, who is Billy's cousin and just happens to be Billy's very best friend.  Oh the tangled webs that life gets us into!!! The wedding of Bess and Amos is approaching quickly, when suddenly Billy is called to the scene, not by choice and certainly not by desire!!

A "lost rose" is discovered at the rose farm and Billy is sent to track down its origins. He arrives unwillingly and has a plan, get there, identify this rose and GET OUT as fast as he can. However, an obstacle blocks the best laid plans. Billy has a difficult time identifying the rose and after encountering Bess after all this time, is unable to forget that sweet face. He is not the only confused individual! Bess finds herself questioning the wisdom of her upcoming wedding. Her emotions are confused and as complicated as a spider's web! What should she do?? Listen to her heart or continue with her practical  plans?? 
As the history of the rose unweaves, Billy and Bess , and yes , even Amos realize the miracles of Christmas.

I must say I was caught up in Bess' life immediately. She quickly became very real to me , a person with whom to identify. Her problems were realistic and many times, my desire was to just give her a big hug and tell her things would be okay. Billy was the most frustrating young man!! He  had me ready to throttle him for his unwillingness to give in to his heart. What a stubborn young man!!! 
The plot moved  quite quickly and had some surprising twists and turns. Just enough to keep one interested. The information that I learned about roses was amazing and the best part was that it was introduced in such a way that one doesn't realize the amount of new knowledge being absorbed.

All in all, a lovely Christmas read, putting you in the mood of the season.

This book was supplied by Revell, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Great Book to Get You in the Mood for Christmas

"The Christmas Cat"
  By Melody Carlson

This is definitely a Christmas story that you cannot miss!! A book that will be a hit for animal lovers and yes, perhaps it will touch the heartstrings of others as well!!

Garrison Brown finds himself, not so willingly , at the home of his beloved Grandmother who has just passed away. He has the difficult job of sorting her belongings, including the unusual , six cats who need homes. This sounds easy, but he finds his somewhat quirky grandma has made some stipulations in her will regarding the homes of these felines who were close to her heart, that complicate the task. In fact, Garrison is flabberghasted at the requirements the homes must meet.  He hopes to dispense with this task quickly- especially since he is severely allergic to cats!! However, his grandmother's instructions sure don't allow for speed. The future homes of her furry children must meet some challenging requirements! Garrison has to match six cats with just the right owners!! Is is possible?? NOT an easy job for a young man!!As he strives to make this happen, Garrison finds himself perhaps meeting his own match!! Will these meowing creatures help him improve his life by introducing him to the "perfect" young woman??

Melody Carlson makes her characters unique and rather quirky, likeable and appealing to one's sense of humor. I must admit these people make you giggle with their rather different traits and personalities. I found myself sympathizing with Garrison as I share his allergy to cats.

The plot moves fairly quickly and even has a few unexpected twists and turns, making this novel an easy read, but very enjoyable.

If you are looking for an amusing Christmas read, then this is the book for you. It has a clear message throughout that makes you think. Perfect to read in front of a fireplace on a cold evening before Christmas.

This book was provided by Revell in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Author of "Double Take" Writes Another Hit!

     "Trading Secrets"
      By Melody Carlson

Books by this author are always a joy to read. Easy reads that take you to a world not too different from our own, however always unique in story line. This novel involves a combination of the Englischer and Amish worlds. You know the old saying "girl meets boy", well this is the case but with a twist, Englisch girl meets Amish boy, but with a shock in store for the young man!! A rather big earth shattering shock for him!! He has been writing to Micah Knight for years, being her Amish penpal, all the while believing that Micah is a male. She is aware of Zach's misconception, however, keeps it a complete secret. She is so afraid that if he finds out, he will not continue to write to her. 

Micah has shared her deepest feelings and thoughts with Zach. He has seen her through some tough life situations and she fears the loss of this friend. But, now, Micah finally has the chance to meet her penpal in person!! She wants nothing more than to experience Amish life on Zach's farm, but she is more than a little anxious and she should be!! Will he be furious at her for decieving him all these years?? Will she lose her valued friendship??? What will be his family's reaction???

Indeed, this story is one of the result of deception that leads to somewhat heartbreaking complications. It really makes us think of what can happen when we keep secrets. Is it ever a good plan?? I think not!!

The characters are very well developed, realistic and  have everyday problems. YES ! This is one big problem!! All caused by being deceitful! I immediately felt a connection to Micah. What seemed like a little thing when she was younger, grew as she did, to become a bigger complication in life. I felt for her as she struggled with a plan. Her heartaches and fears became mine. As she wondered why she had ever  kept such a secret, I looked at myself and examined myself . Had I ever done anything like this?? Maybe not in the same way, bu† in letting others think things without correcting them. 

The plot is well developed and keeps moving quickly. We are kept wondering what the outcome will be, as new twists and turns erupt in each chapter. 

As always, Melody Carlson has a clear message throughout the book. It is one that the reader will think of and ponder long after finishing the last chapter. 

Love Melody's books!! A great read!

This book was supplied by Revell, in rxchange for a fair and honest review.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Grandmother's Last Wish!

   "Quilted by Christmas"

          By Jodie Bailey

About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. TheQuilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

About the book: 

A grandmother's last wish is to communicate God's love through an Irish chain quilt.
Taryn McKenna believes she's easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree---something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle-schoolers she teaches.
When Taryn's grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project---an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?
Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

My Thoughts:

This is a story of second chances, something we all hope we have, especially when our life experiences don't always turn out to be what we had hoped. Every book in this "Quilts of Love Series" has been such a joy to read. Each has its own message, however a common theme shines through all of them ! There is always hope, forgiveness, love, if only we give God a chance to lead us in our trudge through our daily challenges. This book, by Jodie Bailey, was no disappointment. It involves a very special quilt, as do all the books in the series, but is unique in how the author uses it as a focal point . 

The main characters were well developed and full of personality. You could easily picture them in your mind as you read about their fears, challenges, joys and yes, even failures. These characters had a depth to them so that you could become part of them. They came alive!  Taryn and Justin had a "relationship" full of complications and unanswered questions. Their personal struggles were described in such detail and so realistically that you wanted to step into the story and give some advice and even a few hugs. Secrets in the past stepped out to haunt Taryn. The feisty nature of Jemma came through loud and clear.

The plot moves quickly and has just the right number of twists and turns to keep the reader entranced.  A hand stitched Irish chain quilt holds the message of healing that Taryn desperately needs, but will she let the present , new, uplifting events heal her past and form her future????  As I moved through the story, I would just think that I had figured out the purpose of the quilt, when a new challenge would appear and change my focus!!  

This is a great read and the strong message shines through. You cannot change the past however you can use it to improve the present and indeed , even the future!! God has an answer for all of us. Will Taryn listen to that small quiet voice????

About the Author: 

Jodie Bailey is Tarheel born and bred. After 15 years as a military spouse, she settled with her family back in North Carolina. She is the author of the military suspense novel Freefall and is a contributor to a devotional for military families, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home. While not working on her next novel, she teaches middle-schoolers to love writing as much as she does.

Connect with Jodie: websiteFacebookTwitter

This book was supplied by Litfuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.
To read more reviews of this book : http://litfusegroup.com/author/jbailey

This book was supplied by Litfuse in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sarah Price Writes Another Winning Novel in the Amish Fiction Genre

"An Amish Buggy Ride"
     By Sarah Price
I have enjoyed all of the books written by this author, so fully expected to love this one as well. What I did NOT expect, was to think that it was the BEST yet!! I knew that Sarah is a talented gal who writes from the heart, but this book is one that has a message that stayed with me long after I  had finished reading it! 
The main character, Kate Zook, is a quiet Amish young woman who is always responsible and prides herself on fulfilling her role in being a "good daughter".  However, on one horrible snowy night, Kate does the unthinkable, she speaks her mind and appears to play a part in an earth shattering accident. 
Kate is left feeling extremely guilty for her role in the accident that left her brother injured, thus takes it upon herself to devote herself to his care. She  even takes over his chores in her father's fields. Her brother, David, deeply resents Kate and continually torments her and makes her feel inferior to all others. She becomes isolated, lonely and fearful.
Kate gets very little support from anyone in her home, however, her situation becomes apparent to Samuel, a local young man who has recently ended his wild years, rumschpringe. He has once again  returned to the fold and is totally intrigued by Kate's gentle, loyal ways to her cruel brother. Romance grows, as does tension. Kate so desires happiness, but David's rage becomes worse and worse. In order for her to ever develop a loving relationship, she must first forgive herself and accept the forgiveness of the Lord. The question is, will David  damage her life forever or can Kate , with God's help, eventually feel the love and forgiveness that God offers so freely to all?
This book has a very clear message. It is a story of mistakes, choices and forgiveness. In order for us to ever live a happy life, content in our Christian path, we must let God take over and have total control. God will forgive us, but can we forgive ourselves???? You must seek before you will find!!
The characters were realistic and well developed. I felt Kate's pain, as well as her frustrations, fears and confusion. She was easy to identify with, and quickly became a good friend who I wished I could hug and help make the hurts go away. I must say, the description of David was so real to life, that I felt my anger grow, on behalf of his sister!!  He made me so frustrated!!! I had to bring myself back to reality to calm down. He was a make believe character, however, I tended to forget that!!! Sarah did a fantastic job making thischaracters so true to life. 

The plot moves quickly with just enough twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of the chair. The unexpected was just around every corner. Sarah has done a superior job at describing events and reactions to them that would be typical in an Amish community. I felt that I was living along side this calm farm, filled with turmoil at each new challenge. 

This book is a great read for all Amish genre lovers and for those of you who have not been attracted to this type of book, try it. Sarah writes "out of the box" . Not a typical Amish tale!! That is what makes a great book!!

This ebook was supplied by the author for review purposes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sometimes, Love Has Its Own Timing!!

"Bluebonnet Lake"
 By Amanda Cabot

Before I begin my review, I must admit that I was convinced that this was a great book, only because I loved the title!!! I absolutely love bluebonnets and have only seen them, when vacationing in Texas!! So... that is my confession!!

I had thought of Amanda Cabot as an author of historical romances, but she has certainly started off her contemporary romance series, Texas Crossroads, with a bang!! A great, easy read, totally enjoyable!

Kate Sherwood, a marketing maven, is used to a fast paced world full of challenges and changes. The last thing she wants to do is end up at Rainbow's End, a dilapidated resort in Texas Hill Country. Her presence in this dull, forsaken place, has occurred due to her ailing Grandmother's request to spend some time together at a place full of priceless memories. The resort is where she and her deceased husband spent a glorious week, fifty years ago! What she remembers of the inn, is certainly NOT what Kate sees when she arrives. While there, spending quality time with her Grandma, who Kate is sure is not long from her deathbed, she encounters the handsome, Greg, who she assumes is the inn's hired handyman. There is more than meets the eye in this good looking unassuming Texan.

As much as Kate fights it, there is a definite attraction and promise of a romance.Sparks fly whenever Greg and Kate are together.  Can there be a future, between an overpowering excutive and a seemingly passive, quiet Texan????  Is there more to this situation than the casual eye can see???

I fell in love with the characters immediately in Chapter one. They are all realistic, easy to know, and become part of you, as you read this romance. Yes, there are challenges, some problems, some surprises, in each of them, but they remain lovable and people that you wish you could get to know better.

The plot, while often slow moving, just suits the story  perfectly. The slow , easy life of a vacation at a resort is present , even when some twists and turns in the actions takes one by surprise. There are many personal conflicts that appear unexpectedly. Just enough to keep you reading.

This is story of transformation. A pleasant, romantic change! Amanda Cabot writes in style which is both easy to read and very enjoyable. I felt a sense of peace as I finished this book. I was satisfied and happy. What more could a reader want???

I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Revelations of a Rock Princess

              "The Reason"
              By Lacey Sturn

Lacey is a young lady who tells her own story in this book that seems to both a memoir and a devotional. She tells her life story in a stirring manner that tugs at our heartstrings throughout. While doing this, Lacey also gives us ways to avoid as well as deal with some of her extreme challenges , some that can change one's life forever.

Lacey tells the story of her life in a wise and powerful manner. She is honest and open about ALL, the good, the bad and the very ugly!!! The story begins with Lacey planning to kill herself, the last day of her old life. As an Atheist, who hated all Christians, she only thought of church as a place where hypocrites got together. These individuals to her, were all fakers and simpletons. On this particular day, Lacey had a screaming match with her grandmother, ending up in in the back of a sanctuary, hating everyone!!!  But what occurred in that room at that time is "The Reason" that she is still alive today.

In her book, this hard rock princess tells her powerful, heartwrenching story of physical abuse, depression, struggles with suicidal thoughts ..... BUT it all ends with her salvation!! What an answer to life's problems!!! Throughout the book, Lacey encounters difficult questions: Why am I here, Why am I empty? What good is life???  Each of has a purpose in life, but do we let God take over and show us what it is?? Not all of us come from the life that Lacey had to contend with, however, what we can take away from this book, is the way in which, when you reach the bottom, the worst of the worst, there IS a person who can lift us up and heal our hurts. Lacey went from desperation to redemption, but only because God made it possible. She shows us how to "give up" our troubles and listen to the only one who can save us!

When I first opened this book, I thought to myself, "Oh this doesn't apply to me. I have never experienced anything even similar to Lacy. However, I was wrong,  BIG TIME! Even though my trials are different and seem insignificant in comparison, I can take away a lot from this book. How I look at myself and others is a way that the Lord can use  me. We can't look at others and see only self evident appearances , but must see them through kindness and God's love. What is in our innermost soul is what is important. The hurts and depression are so often overlooked, as we are too busy  being presumpuous. We need to exhibit the love that the Lord puts in us, helping others, and at the same time finding a deep inner peace ourselves.

 Lacey, the former rock princess, planning suicide, has allowed God to guide her life. She now is a speaker for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and its Rock the River events. What a life change this young lady has experienced! She tells her story well, while giving you the inspiration to do what you can to change others' lives as well as your own.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.