Monday, December 31, 2012

Shadow on the Quilt by Stephanie Grace Whitson - Review of the 2nd book in The Quilt Chronicles series

Juliana Sutton couldn't believe she found what she thought was to be Sterling's surprise for her. Little did she know that after the beautiful night they'd just shared, instead she'd discovered a devastating secret he was keeping. When she opened the locket there was an inscription, To my P.L.S.T.S., with a woman's portrait, Sterling's profile and a lock of white-blonde hair. She spends the time trying to figure out what to do while she waits for Sterling to return, she finally gives up and heads to bed when she hears the fire bells ringing in town, moments later Sterling's aunts, Theodora and Lydia appear after also hearing the bells. Aunt Theodora had tried to call Sterling at his office but didn't get an answer so the fear was that his office was on fire while he was still working. Juliana and Aunt Theodora take the buggy to town while Aunt Lydia stays home in case anyone calls or brings word while they are in town finding out where the fire is.

Fortunately the fire is not the Sutton offices but Goldie's, the local brothel. As they sit in the buggy looking for Sterling, Juliana see's them bring out blonde haired Nell Parker, one of the girls and then, and pull a sheet over her face but they didn't find Sterling. It wasn't until the next day that they found out he died in the fire. Juliana not only has the locket problem but now she has to play the proper grieving widow of Sterling Sutton.

The aunts have been working on an autographed quilt for charity when one day Juliana discovers the name Pamela Lindermann, this is one she doesn't recognize. The undertaker Marvin Lindermann doesn't have a daughter but she connects the name with the initials P.L. so she has the name removed from the quilt, but will the shadow of that name on the quilt be forever in engraved in her memory?

Stephanie did a wonderful job on this story, I found myself pulled into feeling Juliana's pain. She shows Juliana's strong feelings for her husbands aunts and how she will do anything to keep them from suffering the way she is. Juliana somehow finds the strength to move ahead with her life, but what is in store for her, you'll have to read this book on your own to find out. I think you will find yourself being pulled in too.

I read my e-books while I'm in the truck going to town or traveling, paperbacks at home, and let me tell you that I was always anxious to go somewhere and have someone else drive so I could read. I think this second book was a lot better than the first one. I really liked The Key on the Quilt too, but something about this one touched me. I don't know if there is a third one coming out but I am on the lookout for it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley <> book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Where Love Grows by Jerry S Eicher - Review of the 3rd book in his Fields of Home series

Susan has returned home, still not sure if she wants to stay and give Thomas another chance or if she'll return to 'the world' as Steve the hired hand calls it. Teresa, the reason she returned to her Amish home, has fallen in love and will soon be married and Teresa's son, Samuel, will have a real daedt. Teresa keeps trying to convince Susan to give Thomas his second chance, so she's been trying.

About a week before Teresa's wedding, who has become like an adopted member of the Hostetler family, Menno, Susan's dad, gets a letter referring to his past that causes him mixed feelings. The morning of the wedding he tells Anna, his wife, about it but they go on as if nothing is wrong. Although, he is thrilled with the news in the letter, it may cause problems in the Amish community.

When a stranger shows up the day of the wedding then comes again the next morning to talk to Menno, Susan is in shock! Menno and Anna go to Deacon Ray to explain the situation to him and he is not happy. Deacon Ray will need to take this information to the other ministers and decide what to do with it. The next Sunday service would be communion Sunday, the day Menno and Anna will find out if one or both will be placed under the ban.

How is all of this affecting Susan and what will she do with her life now? After seeing Thomas talking to another girl in her own house on Teresa's wedding day, they were alone on the Hostetler couch, it reminds her of why she left the first time and now with what she's found out about her father's past, she's very unsure of things. Will she want to return to Asbury Park or will she stay and work through all of her inner turmoils.

Susan has a lot of things to think about right now in her life and this book shows what strong faith and the support of loved ones can help you get through.

Very enjoyable story, this kept me interested and I read late into the night not putting the book down until I couldn't keep my eyes open. I would encourage those of you that like Amish books to read this series, a continuing story about Susan Hostetler.

I received this book from Harvest House Publishers for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Amish Kitchen by Beth Wiseman, Kelly Long & Amy Clipston - Review

There are three beautiful stories in this book, A Taste of Faith by Kelly Long, A Spoonful of Love by Amy Clipston and A Recipe for Hope by Beth Wiseman. Each story is about a different family in Paradise, Pennsylvania, they are all friends with the ladies meeting on Saturday afternoons at The Daily Bread for a time of fellowship and prayer.

A Taste of Faith is the story of Fern, single and living with her grandmother who raised her after her parents died. She is the one everyone goes to for treatments when they are ill or injured rather than go to an English doctor. Her grandmother was always trying to find her someone to marry but Fern had no desire for a husband, she was satisfied with her garden.

A Recipe for Hope has Hannah running her parents' bed and breakfast since her father had his first stroke. Stephen decides he has to move from his hometown, after his fiancee is killed in an accident which he blames himself for, and finds himself staying at Paradise Inn. Stephen tries to find a job with no luck so needing to keep busy he starts doing repairs around the Inn. Hannah's parents don't like the idea of a single man renting a room where their single daughter lives, even though there are always other guests there. Her parents get so upset that they even bring the Bishop in on the situation.

A Recipe for Hope finds Eve's house damaged by a storm that blew a tree onto it. She finds her family moving back to her parents house temporarily, she has never felt close to her mother and is not looking forward to living under her roof again, even for a couple of months. She knows her mother has Parkinson's Disease, but didn't realize how bad until she's living with her again, but her Mother won't go to an English doctor, she only wants to use Fern's treatments.

I was so excited to get this book and I was not disappointed. They were all wonderful stories but, Beth's contribution, A Recipe for Hope, really pulled at my heartstrings. My mother had alzheimers and some of the things Eve's mother is going through really touched home with me. All of the stories were wonderfully written.

At the back of the book there are Recipes for Herbal Medicinal Treatments, 45 Old Order Amish Recipes and A Reading Group Guide. Anyone that likes Amish stories or any of these authors really should get this and read it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, December 10, 2012

Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof - Review of the 1st book in The Cadence of Grace Series

Shy, innocent and pretty, 17 year old Lonnie Sawyer is just biding her time at home until she turns 18 in a few months so she can go live with her Aunt Sarah, her mother's sister, and make and sell soap. Living high in the Appalachian hills, they are poor and Lonnie suffers from an abusive father. Gideon O'Riley is a ladies man and known in the area for being in trouble all the time.

One evening Gideon takes Lonnie's brother up on the idea of walking Lonnie home. They make their way through the hills and when he gets her home tries to steal a kiss. Lonnie refuses, something new for Gideon, no girl has ever refused his advances. Lonnie has a change heart and decides to let him have one kiss. When he tries to go too far, she hits him and runs off to the safety of her house, praying the whole way that her father didn't see.

A couple of days later when she returns from her Aunts house she discovers that her father must have seen the kiss because he's accusing her of being soiled and demanding that Gideon marry Lonnie. She tried to tell them that nothing happened, when she asked Gideon why he didn't speak up and tell the truth, he told her that he tried. Gideon fearful of being on the wrong end of her father's gun begrudgingly goes along with the wedding and Lonnie had no choice so they were married the next day.

Lonnie moves in with Gideon's family, where the home was already overcrowded, Gideon kicks his two brothers out of his room so they aren't too happy. Gideon's mother hates the Sawyer family but his sister really likes Lonnie. His father doesn't say much as his mother seems to run the household, except when it came to making Gideon marry Lonnie. It appears as if Lonnie may have gone from one abusive home to an unhappy home where she isn't loved or wanted. She begins to wonder if she will be just as bad off as she was at home.

After a short time Gideon decides to take off for Stuart to fulfill his dream. They have little to eat, it's cold and it's taking longer than Gideon thought it would when they meet Bert. Bert brews and sells moonshine so he shares some with Gideon and they get drunk, when Bert starts making insinuating remarks about Lonnie, Gideon chases him off. The next morning he awakes with a hangover that's when Jebediah Bennett comes upon them and points his rifle at him, he doesn't know what he's gotten them into now.

This was a book that grabbed and held my interest. The farther I got into the story, the less I wanted to put it down. I think this may have been the first book I've read by Joanne and I am looking forward to reading the second one, Though My Heart Is Torn due out in April of 2013.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling - Review of the 2nd book in the Wild West Wind series

Cassie Lockwood has found the land of her Father's dreams. She has brought along some friends, Chief, Micah and Runs Like a Deer. Upon locating the land she finds a family living there by the name of Engstrom. Adam Lockwood and Ivar Engstrom were co-owners of the land but when Adam won half of the Wild West Show from Jason Talbot in a poker game he moved on, with plans of returning someday. That day never came but Cassie did return to a land she never knew.

Mavis and Ivar had four children with three of them still living there with her, Ransom, Lucas and Gretchen. The children were never told that there was another name on the title of the land and they are not happy to just be finding out about it. It doesn't really bother Gretchen much because she is in love with Cassie's horse, Wind Dancer but Ransom is beside himself and Lucas, well Lucas is a ladies man so to speak and had seen Cassie in town and fell in love with her even before he knew who she was.

With both Adam and Ivar passed on the boys are afraid of what is going to happen now that they have a 'new' co-owner, does she plan on taking everything they have worked all of their lives for? Ransom has been talking about reopening the gold mine and panning for gold but Lucas wants to sell the property and move on. With Cassie showing up everything is even more up in the air, she has no interest in Lucas and wants to live on the land of her Father's dreams.

Mavis loves Cassie from the time she lays eyes on her and insists she will live on the property, she and her companions will live up the hill where the old (original) cabin was built but needs a lot of repair work done, the two women in the cabin and the two men in the Wild West Show wagon. That is until the townspeople that don't like the Indians come out making trouble.

This book was even better than the first one and it still leaves you hanging. I will say again that I love Lauraine's books and you will not go wrong if you invest in this series.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Valley of Dreams by Lauraine Snelling - Review 1st book in Wild West Wind series

Cassie Lockwood grew up in a traveling Wild West Show, she is an amazingly skillful trick rider and sharpshooter. Her parents have both passed away and she has continued to travel with the show with "Uncle" Jason, her father's best friend and partner, continuing to manage it. Too late Cassie finds out that "Uncle" Jason was a very poor manager and he's run the show into debt and it's about to be taken by the bank. All of the money she let him keep out of her pay is also gone, except for a roll of bills he hands her when she confronts him after he announces to everyone that they are on their own, out of a job. Jason does let her keep her horse Wind Dancer and the Wagon as her father had owned those, he also lets her keep some of the animals including George, the old buffalo.

Two of the crew go with her, Chief and Micah, in search of the valley of her father's dreams. He talked about the valley in Argus, SD all of the time. They leave very early the morning after the announcement and find themselves in the middle of a blizzard and staying in one spot for several days, they get robbed, and find an injured Indian woman, Runs Like a Deer, along the way.

They reach Argus and meet with some acceptance and some resistance, the community is experiencing some cattle rustling which hasn't occurred for years. Will they be blamed for this, after all they are new in town and their group includes two Indians? Some people are friendly and a few try to chase them out of town because of the Chief and Runs Like a Deer.

Oh Lauraine! You really did leave me hanging at the end of this book. I got the second book in the series, Whispers in the Wind, to review for Bethany House but did not want to read it until I read the first one so I bought it, and boy am I glad I did. I had a hard time getting into the book, it took me until about the 8th chapter, but was so glad I continued, and people, DON'T read this series out of sequence! The way Lauraine ends Valley of Dreams, you absolutely have to continue reading.

I've read so many Lauraine Snelling's books, all of the Red River of the North, Return to Red River, Daughters of Blessing, Home to Blessing and Dakotah Treasures series and have loved them all. I think this series will be worth my time also, she has not let me down. Keep up the good work Lauraine and I would suggest if you like her writing, do NOT pass this series up.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Faithful to Laura by Kathleen Fuller - Review

Laura Stutzman came to Middlefield, OH to find the man who had pledged his love to her, then left leaving her with a broken heart, broken spirit, and with all of her family's money that they'd saved for 30 years. She blamed herself for the loss of the family savings and that's why she went looking for him, not because of her broken heart. When she did find him he attempted to kill her. Now she felt like she couldn't go home until she could earn the money to replace what they'd lost, but who would hire her looking the way she did now.

Sawyer Thompson, an Englisher, was adopted by Lucas and Anna Byler after his parents had died and he got abused while in foster homes. He loved his parents, biological and adoptive, he was allowed to mix both worlds and it was his decision as to whether he'd join the Amish Church or not.

Adam Otto's parents still are not talking to each other but Emma has agreed to marry him. Emma's grandma is happy for them but Adam's parents are showing no excitement over what he felt they had always wanted. When he told his mom and she told him to tell his dad, when Adam finds him, all he can talk about is Adam's time living as an Englisher. Adam admits to sleeping with a girl twice, so his dad tells him that he has to inform Emma. Deciding his father is right, Adam goes to Emma, Emma doesn't know quite how to handle this information until she has a talk with her grandmother.

Leona, Emma's grandma, goes to talk to Norman, Adam's dad, and tells him that he has to share his secret with his wife. Norman follow's Leona's advice and confesses his sin to Carol, but they are still two people living separately in one house and trying, although not doing a very good job of it, to hide what is now their secret from their son.

Laura gets a job working for Lucas Byler and isn't working their very long when Cora Easley bursts onto the scene and disrupts the happy Byler family. She's trying to get Sawyer to leave and move to New York with her, claiming to be his grandmother. Cora goes so far as to pay Laura off so she'll help convince Sawyer to go with her.

This was a great read with a several story lines intertwined somewhat. Kathleen really held my interest with this one. You will have to run out and get this book because you really have to see what the secrets are, does Laura ever confront the thief that stole her heart and the family savings and is Cora really Sawyers grandmother. Wonderful writing Kathleen.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 22, 2012

Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller - Review

Emma Shetler doesn't know if she'll ever get used to losing those she loves, first her father three years ago, now her mother to cancer and in between, two years ago, the love of her life Adam Otto walked away to go live among the Englishers. She did still have her beloved grandmother, her father's mom, and her sister Clara, who she didn't get along with very often, and her family. Leona, her grandmother, and Emma have piles of medical bills to pay along with the expense of keeping the farm up, her horse, Dill, is lame and can't pull her buggy. Things don't look good, the bills just seem to keep piling up.

Unbeknownst to Emma, Leona has written to Adam to let him know about Emma's mom and to tell him that there is something wrong with his mother. She isn't sure what, but she thinks it would be a good idea if he came to check up on her. Adam does come to Middlefield against his better judgment, when he left it was not on good terms with his dad, but he had to see his mom for himself.

To say the least, Emma is surprised to see Adam and even more surprised when she finds out it was her grandmother that asked him to return. He tries to help her by checking on Dill and anything else she needs, she refuses any help. She's afraid to let herself get used to having him around only to have him leave again. Clara dislikes Adam even more than Emma, she has contempt for him.

After the funeral Peter King, Clara's husband, invites Emma and Leona to move in with them. This irritates Clara because they can't afford two more mouths to feed. Peter's been out of work for a long time, their pantry is about empty and they only have two bedrooms, one for their two boys and baby Magdalena was still in their bedroom.

When Peter's cousin Mark shows up on their doorstep she gets mad that Peter asks him to stay on with them. She'd just explained things to Peter about their situation, as if he didn't know, but since he's family Peter feels he has to offer. Now Peter, Clara, Junior, Melvin & Magdalena were all in one bedroom. Mark soon befriends Clara though and backs her up about an idea to turn her grandfather's wood shop into a yarn and fabric store. Emma strongly disagrees, that would mean selling her grandfathers tools and she couldn't stand losing all the memories after just losing her mom.

Even though Adam is back and trying to be her friend again and help her around the farm, Emma knows he'll leave soon. Clara doesn't trust Adam and thinks it might be a good idea for Mark to get to know Emma, after all he's family and Adam isn't. Adam doesn't trust Mark, Mark doesn't like the way Adam acts around the family, and Emma really wants nothing to do with either of them.

When Emma's grandmother gets sick and has to stay in the hospital for two weeks a lot of things happen around the farm, some very devastating things. You will want to find out for yourself.

I really enjoyed this book, it always interests me when people leave the Amish and have to come back home when they are under the bann. I have seen banned people treated different ways and it's interesting as to why they left in the first place and what their feelings are once they return.

I purchased this book because I received the second one in the series, Faithful to Laura, to review and I think it's so much better when you can read the books in order. I will say that I'm looking forward to reading the second book and I'm not telling you how she fits in the first book.

The Memory Jar by Tricia Goyer - Review

Sarah Shelter still misses her best friend several years after she drowned. Patty taught Sarah a lot about life, she is the one that got Sarah started on her first memory jar. Not only did she lose Patty, but after the drowning she lost Patty's brother, Michael, who she had a huge crush on. Patty's mother could not take living in Montana with so many memories so they moved.

Sarah has had a hard time moving on with her life and throws herself into baking, mainly cupcakes. She has found a new man she thinks she'd like to spend the rest of her life with, Amos. Amos doesn't show her much interest, although he's friendly, he's not ready to see any one girl.

Jathan has come to Montana from Berlin, OH to find himself, he is being forced into working in a factory so his dad and brothers can build furniture in their small shop. They need Jathan to bring in some steady money to help support the entire family. Jathan isn't interested in woodwork, he likes to bake and do bookwork.

Sarah, Amos, Jathan and some others go on a hike in the mountains, the same mountain trail that leads to a cabin Patty and Sarah had found when they were young and it leads to the lake where Patty had drowned. Sarah twists her ankle and decides to wait while the rest of the group proceed. When it starts getting dark she's afraid they forgot about her and starts limping back down the trail. On the way she sees a different path and decides to take that, she soon comes to a dead end and it's too late to try to make it all the way back down so she decides to wait the night out there and prays a bear doesn't find her.

Jathan is worried about Sarah and tells the rest of the group to go ahead on down the other side of the mountain and to send for help if he and Sarah don't meet them at the bottom. When Sarah is not where they left her, he sees her footprints and follows her trail, luckily he takes the same trail she did and finds her sitting on a log. They end up spending the night in the woods and getting to know each other. In the morning they wake up early and head on down, where they meet the rescuers heading up the mountain along with her parents.

During Sarah's recovery Jathan helps her with her baking and they get to know one another better. They are soon talking about his mother's bakery back in Ohio and they are both having ideas of their own that seem to be about the same things, baking together and spending more time together so they can get to know even more about each other. When Jathan gets called home after his dad had a stroke and they aren't sure he'll even survive, things don't look too good for their future.

When Jathan gets home and sees his dad, he can't talk, he feels even more like he's being forced into working at the factory. Not only that, Anna, his mother's friends daughter, thinks they will be married. The two mothers have talked about their marriage since they were little kids. Jathan talks to his dad, even though he can't answer, and tells him of his new plans, plans to bring Sarah to work in the bakery with his mom and his aunt. They will start selling cupcakes, he will do the books and he is not going to work at the factory.

Sarah arrives in Berlin, goes to work at the bakery and soon business is booming. There is a problem though,  the regular customers are no longer coming in because of the changes that have been made, suggestions made by Sarah. Jathan's mom and aunt voice their opinion and he finds himself firing Sarah immediately and going to work in the factory. It seems the mother that wanted her son to marry Sarah now wants nothing to do with her, not only that she doesn't want her son to have anything to do with her.

Now Sarah has to figure out what she's going to do, she likes Ohio but can she stay there, should she go back to Montana to her family and how soon does she have to make a decision.

Tricia does a wonderful job of keeping you interested in this story, she tugs at your heartstrings for sure. There are ups and downs, just like life has, and what a wonderful friend Sarah had in Patty and it's amazing the things she taught Sarah about life in their young lives that helped her later on. The idea of a memory jar is a beautiful idea and the things Patty says it can teach you. Tricia gives you a lot of things to think about are plentiful.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley <> book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

Susanna's Christmas Wish by Jerry S Eicher - Review

Susanna Keim married Herman Wagler after being jilted by Matthew Yoder who happened to be her sisters brother-in-law. Matthew and Susanna had been going out for two years and were engaged when he decieded to leave the Amish. He wanted Susanna to go with him but she refused so the engagement was broken since he is under the bann.

After a few months she finally agreed to let Herman take her home and since his Mamm agreed, he asked Susanna to marry him. She agreed even though she wasn't as in love with him as she'd been with Matthew, she thought she could grow to love him just as deeply.

Thanksgiving is around the corner and then there will be Christmas, she could hardly wait until Christmas day to spend with her family at her Mamm and Daedt's house. They always had a large family breakfast with everyone then spent the day enjoying the visiting and snacking before everyone would leave to go home. She knew that the Wagler's didn't celebrate new Christmas, they kept with the old Christmas, but she didn't think it would be a problem. Herman finally told her that they would not be going to her parents home because their family tradition would be as the Wagler tradition was always celebrated, the old Christmas. Susanna just didn't know how she would tell her family this and how she was going to get through this holiday season.

To make things worse, when she goes to her sister Mary's house to help prepare for Thanksgiving dinner she sees an Englisch car parked by the barn, she doesn't think too much about it until Mary meets her at the door and tells her that Matthew showed up the night before. Now she has to tell Herman that Matthew is back just after they'd had their first argument. When they return to Mary's for Thanksgiving dinner, Matthew still hasn't left like he said that he would, making the day very stressful for them. Not only is he there, he wants to talk privately to Susanna, she refuses, but he does catch Herman as he's getting the buggy ready to leave.

On the way home Susanna and Herman have quite the conversation and all does not go well. Herman stays out in the snowstorm until early morning making himself sick. Matthew has talked to the preacher stirring up trouble, and meddling Ivy, Herman's mother, comes over and stirs up more problems. This marriage doesn't seem to be going too well at this point.

I really did enjoy this short story! It gives you a glimpse into how, what I get the impression of anyway, a lot of Amish marriages start out. The bride and groom are just friends, marry for convenience (marrying a widow or widower to help with children for example), or because they are getting past the 'marrying age' and want to hurry and do so. Some couples grow to love one another and some don't, but they stay married regardless. Herman and Susanna have a lot of things working against them at a time that is supposed to be happy, being newlyweds and the holiday season. You'll have to read to find out what happens.

I would recommend that you get this book to read this holiday season, you won't be sorry.

I received this book from Harvest House Publishers for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley <> book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Season for Tending by Cindy Woodsmall - Review

Rhoda Byler has enjoyed working in her garden since she received her first blueberry bush from her Daed as a birthday gift when she was a little girl. He continued giving her one plant every year on her birthday and now she has a garden of all kinds of berries and herbs. She owns Rhode Side Stands, selling home canned goods by mail order and in stores. She had other uses for her herbs and that along with her intuitions cause everyone in town, Amish and English, to think she practices witchcraft.

She loves gardening so much that she ignored her sister's plea's to go to town one day so Emma went by herself. Suddenly she had a feeling that Emma was in trouble, went looking for her and tried to get to town because she knew that Emma was about to get shot. This didn't help her reputation with the people in town. Rhoda now blames herself for Emma's death and other than her family, she only has one friend, Landon, and English man who helps her mail her in Rhode Side Stands.

The King family comes to know Rhoda because Leah King went to a party at her neighbors house and passed out in Rhoda's garden. Samuel, Leah's brother, comes to get her and shows an interest in Rhoda's garden and canning business. When they run into trouble with King's Orchard apple trees, Samuel remembers what he saw there. He and his brothers, Jacob and Eli, go to Rhoda and try to talk her into helping them out by canning their salvageable apples.

Rhoda is very reluctant but the King's keep trying to talk her into it. She is forced to dig up her herb garden because of rumors and one night when everyone is gone, someone comes and runs over all of her berry's and ruins the rest of her garden. Will this influence a change of mind for Rhoda and what happens when a tornado hits King's Orchard?

Cindy did her usual good job on this book. I wondered at first what kind of story this would be, but there is a wonderful story here. The bad thing, at the end of the book you think you know what is going to happen in Rhoda's life but there is that hint that things may take a different path in the next book. Come on Cindy, how long do we have to wait? ? ? ?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, October 4, 2012

When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer - Review

Amy Knackstedt is looking for a new start in Weaverly, Kansas after losing her husband in a grain elevator accident. She hopes to leave the questions behind as to the reason for his death, the insurance has paid her and she wants to move on with her three children. With the help of her community they helped her to find a house and get her moved, now she won't have to face the questioning looks, whispers and turned heads when she walks down the street.

When Tim Roper, a former Mennonite, left home as a young man, his father told him never to return. Tim moved to Weaverly for a new start, which he got. He eventually bought an apple orchard, married Julia and they had a son. One day everything changed for him, after the loss of his wife and son, he started playing the 'what-if', game. Then when a new Mennonite group moved to town, he hated his life even more, he wanted nothing to do with them because of his old memories.

Tim discovered his new neighbors when Porter and Adri were found in his orchard. Porter had climbed one of the apple trees and little Adri was picking the blossoms. After Porter fell out of the tree, Tim took the kids home and informed Amy to keep her children off of his property. Not only did he not want kids living next door to him and invading his memories, they were also Mennonite. Then the dreams started and he didn't know what to do.

Shortly after getting settled the men of her new community came to Amy and asked if they could have their Sunday meetings in her house until they could find another place large enough to meet. Amy agrees but when Tim hears their singing for the services and the friendly mingling afterwards, he gets more irritated than ever.

This is a story about dealing with the loss of loved ones and trying to move on. The stories they have will pull at your heartstrings. Kim does a great job of keeping you interested and wanting more. It was hard to put this book down. Have you ever lost a spouse and/or child, how did you deal with it?

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Dearest Naomi by Jerry & Tina Eicher - Review

Eugene Mast and Naomi Miller are in love an plan to marry, but first Eugene has his heart set on leaving Indiana to teach at a Mennonite school in Iowa. This means nine months of hardly seeing each other and lots of letter exchanges.

You can follow their activities in the letters and see how they each handle missing each other, getting through the days with only thoughts and memories, looking forward to getting a special letter in the mail, the disappointment when there isn't one, and looking forward to the day when this is over and you can finally capture that dream of being married and starting a family.

This book reminds you of the days when people used to find letters in the attic written by parents or grandparents. Eugene and Naomi reread their letters over and over, as our ancestors did I'm sure. Oh what this modern world is making us miss out on, sure you can print off an email or text and save it, but it just isn't the same as having something in someones own handwriting.

I had a hard time reading this book as the style wasn't to my liking. This had nothing to do with the content, which I did find to be interesting and enjoyed some of the stories. I used to try to keep diaries when I was little but couldn't do that either, maybe that's why it was a hard format for me to read, it kind of seemed like a diary to me but it was two people doing the writing.

I received a copy of this book from Harvest House Publishers for review. All they want is an honest review, the opinions stated above are my own.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley <> book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman - Review

Susan Reynolds, divorced and mother of 17 year old Angie wants to sign on to do a three month 'experiment' living the 'simple life'. She asks her sister-in-law Julie Charlton to leave her husband in California and take 16 year old Whitney and 13 year old Brian to the midwest with her. The sisters-in-law get along well but were raised in two completely different worlds, doing this for Susan will mean five people living in one farm house without modern conveniences.

Julie is tired of her life, she doesn't cook well, doesn't keep her house clean enough, and is constantly on the run for her husband, kids and different committees. She really has no time for herself or to enjoy her family. Susan on the other hand is an uptight perfectionist, she can cook, her house is spotless and she wants to do this so she can write a book to have enough money to give her daughter everything, regardless of whether her Angie wants the same things or not. Basically Susan thinks her life, and Angie's, depends on the success of this venture.

Kendra, the producer for the Lisa Lee show will stop at nothing it seems to make the series a success. One example, the first task to be filmed is Julie, the non-cook, making a shoo fly pie. Since nothing ever turns out for Julie, Susan coaches her for two days before the filming, just the preparation of the pie though since they don't have a stove in the house yet. They get the stove on the day of filming but they didn't expect it to be a wood burning stove!

Susan is the domineering person in the book and is constantly pushing everyone to work, work, work, because of course everything has to look and be perfect. Julie is the one that tries to live the simple life and is soon enjoying the fun times spent with the kids. Oh, and thanks to Susan, the kids have to attend school even though it's summer. She gets very upset because she doesn't think the schooling they get in the one room schoolhouse, with just their three kids, is good enough.

Kendra doesn't help things since she is very demanding, lets them know plans at the last minute and comes across as an unfeeling rude person, kind of like Susan. It doesn't help that Susan didn't share with Julie how much she's depending on this series being a success, so Julie can't figure out why she's even more pushy than normal.

After one event involving Angie, Susan's honest, well behaved, daughter, they are at odds and it could cause the cancellation of Susan's contract and also, unbeknownst to Susan, Kendra has offered Julie a continuing series instead of Susan.

This is the first book of Kathryn's that I've read and I will be reading some more of them. I thought it was kind of a slow start, mainly because I requested the book by looking at the cover and the title, lol, yes, I'm one of those, so I didn't realize what the story was about. If I see something that looks like an Amish story, I want it! I really did enjoy the story once I got into it, and it can teach us a lot about slowing down, quit demanding so much of ourselves. We also need to remember that a simple life doesn't mean less busy, but it isn't as hectic.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Touching the Sky by Tracie Peterson - Review

It's June of 1865 in Corpus Christi, Texas, the war is over and life here would forever be changed. Laura Marquardt and her family were Union supporters during a war that pit family against family and neighbor against neighbor. Now that the war is over they would like to put their differences behind them and get on with life. The Union military had a unit of black soldiers to try to help keep the peace because there's a group of former Confederate soldiers who have a vendetta against the Union and their supporters.

Captain Brandon Reid finds Laura in an alley and accuses her of being up to no good and tells her to be on her way. He is in for a surprise when he attends a party at the Marquardt home and who should the angel be that is playing the piano and singing beautifully but Laura Marquardt, a strong Union supporter.

Laura has a sister, Carissa, who is the real social butterfly of the family and has drawn the attention of Malcolm Lowe. Malcolm has a secret reason for courting Carissa, he's the leader of the group trying to restart the war because he's mad that they lost. Laura is concerned about Carissa when she announces that they will be married and soon, she doesn't think Malcolm is the man that he pretends to be. Carissa refuses to be talked into waiting until she knows him better so they get married with her parents blessing.

Events cause Laura to wonder what Malcolm is up to so she watches and listens closely when he's around.
After the wedding Malcolm seems to keep Carissa hidden, there are no visits, they don't go to church, etc.
When Laura and her Mother finally see Carissa after a couple of weeks, Laura notices bruises on her arm. Carissa claims it's from moving furniture. Several weeks later, after not seeing Carissa again and being told to leave them, the newleyweds, alone by Malcolm, Laura takes her Mother and goes to visit Carissa. There is no answer and the front door won't budge, they go to the back door where there is still no answer to the knocking but the door is unlocked so they enter. As they are walking through the house calling to Carissa Laura notices there is a steel bar bolted on the inside of the front door. When they get no answer from Carissa,  they threaten to come upstairs looking for her. Carissa comes out and her whole body is covered with bruises. She says she fell down the stairs, Laura doesn't fall for that story, so they take her home to recover.

Captain Reid officially retires from the military but silently continues to work with them to try and find out who's behind the murders of the black soldiers and Union officers. As he's doing this he starts seeing Laura, without telling her about the army's suspicions of Malcolm Lowe and his role in the investigation.

Just what is going on in the Lowe marriage and how will it involve Laura? Will Captain Reid ever confide in Laura what he suspects and what he is doing? What will happen to the Lowe's, will their marriage survive?

This is a view of what life was like for one family after the war and how it affected people living in the same town that shared two different views. Tracie really held my interest and did a great job with this story. It's about sister helping sister and finding faith in God when you think he won't help you because you did too much wrong in your past.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chasing the Sun by Tracie Peterson - Review

When Hannah Dandridge's father lost his second wife he made Hannah break off her engagement and take care of Andy and Marty, her half-brother and sister. He made things worse for her by moving them to Texas where he became partners with Herbert Lockhart. In return for the work Hannah's father did he got ownership to the Barnett property. The Barnett's left Texas to fight with the north so the property was considered abandoned. William Barnett only went because his father ordered him to, he didn't believe in war and wanted to stay on the ranch but did as his father told him.

Hannah's father had to return to Mississippi because his mother was ill and there wasn't any family left in Mississippi since Hannah's grandfather and brother had been killed in the war. She was left to care for Andy and Marty at the ranch as they waited for his return. Herbert took it upon himself to watch over the Dandridge children, he really wanted to marry Hannah but didn't want the children underfoot when they married.

William Barnett made his way home after being shot in the leg and losing his father and brother in the war. It took a long time as he had to travel at night by foot and travel was slow due to his injury. He finally reaches his ranch to find it doesn't belong to him any longer. Hannah allows him to sleep in the bunkhouse with the help, how can she kick him off of the property that he used to own and thinks he still has a right to.

Herbert informs Hannah that he's had news that her grandmother passed on before her father even arrived and has been laid to rest. Hannah is confused as to why her father hasn't written her or returned home and finally Herbert tells her about a letter he received stating that her father has died and included is a will stating that she is to marry him. He also tells her that she doesn't own the property because due to money problems her father had signed the land over to him before he left for Mississippi.

What is going to happen now, she doesn't own the land, Herbert Lockhart does and he's insisting the she and the kids move to town when they marry. William Barnett insists that he's still the owner and has asked a judge to look into it. Either way, she no longer has a home for her and the children and she's not ready to get married.

I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the second one in the series. Andy has to learn to trust God after his father died and Hannah learns about forgiveness. This is the first book in the Land of the Lone Star series.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Her Restless Heart: Stitches in Time Book 1 by Barbara Cameron - Review

Mary Katherine lives with her Grandmother, actually she feels like she was given a new lease on life when her Grandmother asked her Father if she could live with her and help in her shop in town. Mary Katherine's Daed never treated her right and ridiculed her about everything. There was no physical abuse but there was emotional abuse, not only to Mary Katherine but toward her Mother also. Weaving was Mary Katherine's favorite thing to do and since moving in with her Grandmother she was free to weave whenever she felt like it.

Jacob has known Mary Katherine since they attended school together. What she didn't know was that he loved her quietly, he never said or did anything to let her know. Love and marriage was the farthest thing from her mind though, she wanted nothing to do with any man, she thought all men were like her Daed. She was confused as to where she belonged in this world, she has an Englisch friend, Jamie, and sometimes feels like the Englisch world would be a lot better than being Amish.

When Daniel, another schoolmate, returns from Florida to sell the family farm, he shows an interest in Mary Katherine. Jacob doesn't like what he see's and starts to show an interest also. Mary Katherine doesn't realize that they are both vying for her attention.

When Mary Katherine's Mother has a heart attack she returns home to take care of her because she knows her Daed won't do anything for himself and her Mother will be doing the daily chores before she's completely recovered. She was right too! Her Daed had not changed at all during the time she'd been staying at her Grandmothers house, IF he ever talked to her, it was to cut her down. She finally had enough of his treatment and leaves, taking off walking to town on a rainy day.

What will happen to Mary Katherine? You'll have to read for yourself, no hint from me. I really did enjoy this book, I think it's the first book I've read that Barbara has written and I must say that I'm looking forward to finding some more by her. You will not be sorry if you purchase this one.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley <> book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Reviews

I just want to say I'm sorry I haven't posted any reviews in quite a while but it has been a very stressful 5-6 weeks for our family. Roger, my husband, had some repair work done on his back, 8 screws, 2 spacers, about a 4 inch rod put in, and they took bone marrow from his hip to mix with the 'mortar' for placement of this hardware. He was in the hospital for 6 days and came home, was doing good for 2 days then started getting sick. Through the night of the 4th day he really took a turn for the worse and I had him taken back to the hospital by rescue unit.

We were not happy with the care he'd gotten in the hospital, so I had him taken to a hospital closer to our home and he got great care for the 2 days he was there. Unfortunately, on the evening of the second day the surgeon wanted him transferred back to the original hospital where he'd done the surgery. He was transferred late that night, after being transferred the nurse noticed that his eyes drifted down and to the left a lot so they did an MRI and thought he had an aneurysm, the surgeon had him flown by helicopter to a larger hospital with better neurologists, making that his third hospital in less than 12 hours.

That was a very bad day for us as it seemed like we were not getting any good news or definite answers until late in the day when they said that he did NOT have an aneurysm, which was the good news. The diagnosis ended up being a bacterial infection on his back and spinal meningitis, the problem was they could not diagnosis which kind of meningitis he had, they could not do a spinal tap because of the infection on his back. He was taken back to the 'second' hospital (which was the one we were not happy with) the next day. The following day the surgeon reopened his large incision to make sure there was no infection at the surgical sites or around the hardware, which there was not, thank God.

Roger was completely sedated for 6 days, our out of town kids, and their families, came down from Nebraska and Iowa and spent 4 days, making 14 people in our house. They left once the ventilator and feeding tube were removed and they were able to talk to him. His Mother also flew in from Kansas and was here for a month.

Roger is home now and doing better, but he has a LONG way to go. He can't walk well, his right leg is numb most of the time and he has a drop foot. I thank God for getting us all through this and I'm very appreciative of the prayers from family, friends, and family's friends who prayed for us and continue to do so. The surgeon, Dr. Manzanares, has been fantastic, he is a good Christian man who also prays for Roger. I don't know that I could have gotten through all of this if it wasn't for his support and his fighting the hospital on some things for Roger.

I will try to get the review posted of a book that I finished the day before all of this started and I'm trying to get more reading done but it seems like when I sit down to read is when he needs help getting to the bathroom or something. I think he has ESP, lol, since he's not a reader he always teases me about not needing books and calls them trash, at the same time he lets me buy books.

Thank you for your patience.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall - Review

Sylvia Fisher's beau Elam finally asked her to marry him, but was she ready to give up everything she loved for him. She loves Elam but has spent most of her life helping her father on the dairy farm even to the extent of making suggestions to improve the farm and her father listened to her. Will Elam be willing to let her have an opinion in their marriage or will he expect her to take on the Old Order Amish role of the woman managing a household and raising babies only. When she finds out that Elam signed a contract with her father to take over half of the farm without asking her, it makes her wonder even more what her role would be in their marriage.

When Sylvia takes too long to give him an answer, Elam marries her sister Becky. Sylvia's father won't let her leave the farm so she stays home but after a dangerous incident she demands that he let her leave. She moves to Michael and Dora Blank's dairy farm to help him. Since she's left home her father refuses to let her have any contact with anyone in her family so she soon feels like Michael and Dora are her family.

The Blank's are in desperate need of help since their son Aaron left several months ago and Michael suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. Aaron is an alcoholic, driven to drink by the treatment from his dad after his sister was killed in a freak accident, which they each blames himself for. Aaron gets help for himself and returns home to help his dad and talk his parents into selling the farm. He wants them to help run an Amish appliance store, which he has put money down on to purchase, in three months.

Michael continues to treat Aaron terribly while he accepts the help he is giving them on the farm. Sylvia dislikes Aaron because his plans will ruin her plans to live their and farm, since she feels like she'll never be able to return home again. It is a constant battle, difference of opinions, will any of them ever give in, it seems to be two against one? Will Sylvia ever get to see her parents and sisters again and where will home be for her? When Aaron realizes that Sylvia has become a like a hermit, not going to church, not seeing friends, etc. he forces her to take time off from work which she also resents and thinks he's trying to get her to agree to selling the farm.

Cindy did her usual great job and held my interest and jogged my memory of the first book so I wasn't lost. Sylvia, Michael and Aaron are all three strong willed people with their own plans. I have a lot of family members like that so it hit close to home for me. I read the first book in this series a long time ago, thought I had the second one but discovered I didn't. I plan on going back and reading the second one though. This is a good story about personal struggles and how different personalities deal with them.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Through Rushing Water by Catherine Richmond - Review

Sophia Makinoff is positive Congressman Montgomery is going to propose to her today. He has arrived at the school where she teaches so she is hurrying to get downstairs to him as all of the students and other teachers are watching. Much to her disappointment, as she nears her destination, he is announcing his engagement to her roommate. She can't stay at school now to face the humiliation so she signs up with the board of Foreign Missions so she can serve in the Far East, like China. Sophia is in for another disappointment when she is assigned to the Ponca Indian Agency in Dakota Territory.

She finally reaches her assignment after a long, fearful trip and teams up with Reverend Henry Granville, his mother Nettie, James Lawrence the government agent and Will Dunn the carpenter. This is the team that is supposed to teach the Ponca Indians to be American. The government is supposed to by paying the Poncas for their land and supplying them with supplies and tools to build homes, plant crops, and educate them. The government is failing to do their part but the Poncas are learning, doing their part. They trust the government until so many promises fall through they are losing their faith in them but with the help of the team their faith in God is getting stronger.

Dakota Territory was not Sophia's choice but she is soon fighting for them. Sophia takes it upon herself to write letters to friends, the school she taught at and her old church for donations so the people will have shoes, socks, clothes and learning materials. She also writes the government letters telling them how they are failing the Poncas.

The letters did more harm than good, it seems she'll have to move on after falling in love with what she's doing and the people she came to help, without completely finishing her job. The whole team is moving on, thanks to the very grumpy Reverend, Sophia has a new job to go to, but her fight for the Poncas doesn't end there. You will have to read the book to get the real story, sad as it is, and how she continues to help them after leaving.

Catherine wrote a story that lets you know how badly the white people, our government, treated the Indians who they promised to pay for their land but fell down so badly on their part. You get a whole new outlook from this perspective. I'm not much of a history person, and I won't say this came as a shock to me, but it does make you stop and think how could anyone treat another human being the way our government treated them.

I enjoyed this book even more because it takes place in areas that I'm familiar with, the Black Hills was a favorite vacation spot of my step-dad's when I was younger. She talks about the Yankton, SD, Sioux City, IA and Omaha, NE as well as the newspapers from those areas, the same one's we have there today. I was raised there so it brought this closer to home for me.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, June 25, 2012

Deeply Devoted by Maggie Brendan - Review

Catharine Olsen, from Holland, was willing to be a mail-order bride to start her life over. Peter Andersen, in Wyoming, wanted a mail-order bride because he couldn't find a woman to suit him, even with his mother's unwanted help.

Both parties left parts of their lives out of the letters that they exchanged over several months. Peter sent the money for her voyage, but didn't tell her that his mother, Clara, desperately wanted him to marry Dorothy Miller so he didn't let his mother know that he was even writing to Catharine, yet alone planning on bringing her to America so they could marry. Catharine used the money she had left from her parents shipping business, after they died and left her guardian over her two sisters, to pay for the voyage for Greta and Anna. Peter didn't know anything about her sisters or the fact that she'd been married in her past life.

Peter picks Catharine and the girls up at the hotel and takes them to lunch to discuss things, still not realizing the sisters will live with them, then the problems begin because as they are leaving his mother is arriving, sees him with the 'ladies' and demands to know what's going on. Peter invites his mother to the wedding and she shows up with his grandmothers wedding ring that 'he was going to give to Dorothy' and tries to stop the wedding that way. Catharine doesn't let her get away with it and agrees to marry Peter.

Since Clara's ploy with the ring didn't work, she hires a private investigator to check Catharine out. She thinks Catharine is out to get Peter's money and will prove it, she thinks anyway. The investigator discovers that Catharine was married before but his associate can't find a divorce decree! Clara wastes no time in letting Peter know this piece of information.

Can Peter trust Catharine, why didn't she say anything to him about her previous marriage, she didn't tell him about her sisters coming, what else might she be hiding. Can Catharine believe that Peter loves her, he didn't tell her that he dated Dorothy, he didn't tell his mother that she was coming and he was going to get married, what else might he be hiding? Will this marriage survive all the secrets?

An enjoyable book to read and yet again, another book that shows you should be honest in all things and trust God to lead you in your life. Maggie did a fine job of keeping me interested, so yes, I'm anxiously waiting for the second book in The Blue Willow Brides series, Twice Promised, to come out in September for the Kindle and in October in paperback.

I won this book at, I was not required to read the book or post a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings - Review

Rosa and Louise Garner returned to Louise's home in Priarie Lea, Texas. Louise, her husband Eli and son Mack rented their property in Texas and had moved to Ciauhtlaz, Mexico. Rosa's mother encouraged her to help the Americanos and as she grew to know them, so did her interest in their religion and her parents' disapproval. Eli didn't like the way the pagan girl, Netnetl and Mack got along so he suggested Rosa marry Mack. Being without her own family, due to her no longer worshiping Santa Muerte, Saint Death, she accepted the offer to marry Mack, even though she knew that he loved Netnetl. She believed that Mack would learn to love her, but he never did. Eli and Mack worked in the mines and when there was an explosion Mack made it out alive and went straight to Netnetl, not Rosa, then he went back in looking for his father and neither one came back out. She then felt she'd stolen the love that belonged to someone else and this was her punishment, married less than a month and her husband is now dead.

Rosa loved the Garner family and would do anything for her widowed mother-in-law and returned to Prairie Lea with her to try and save the family property. When they arrived in town they went to the courthouse and found out that the tenants hadn't paid the taxes for the four years they lived there and Rosa and Louise would have to come up with $160.00 in three months, by August 15th. Rosa worked day and night trying to earn the money.

Weston Garner, Mack's cousin, lived nearby but was rarely around and quite the loner since his wife had died, he felt like he was to blame for her death. He helped his family as much as he could in any way possible. From the time he and Rosa met they kept their distance. Rosa felt guilt and she didn't deserve any happiness so she was satisfied living with Louise on Garner land. Weston felt the same about himself because he married Cora, a city girl, and brought her to this country and she ended up dying in his care. The problem is they could each feel an attraction for the other but kept pushing it away.

It's August 14th and they don't have enough money, even with selling the chickens Rosa brought with her, so Louise tells Rosa part of the story of Naomi and Ruth and how Ruth went to Boaz. Rosa didn't want to do this but there was no other way, she didn't know the whole story but went to the barn where Weston slept anyway. She slept in the hay but he didn't stay there with her. When she was returning home in the morning filthy Jay Tillerton, a brute that abused his wife, had tried to rape Rosa and threatened her more than once, caught her on the trail. Luckily one of Weston's men was close enough to see Tillerton confront Rosa and sent him packing, but since she was seen leaving Weston's barn, Rosa's protector that day told Weston. Now all he could do was to marry her to save her reputation, even though nothing happened between them, and pay the property off so Tillerton couldn't get his hands on Garner property.

Rosa feeling guilty about what she did very reluctantly married Weston but was determined to pay him back the money he paid in back taxes and then they could divorce. Molly, who thought she was going to get Weston to marry her tried to talk Rosa into filing for an annulment. After thinking about it Rosa thought that would be the best for both parties.

There is so much to this story, I haven't even touched it in this review. So much happens up to this point that I want you to read for yourself, and even a lot more after. I loved this book. It shows how you can be so wrong if you don't let your thoughts be known and what you may lose, your heart and a happy future. Don't be afraid to trust God and listen to what your heart is telling you. Great job Regina!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert - Review

Wildflowers from Winter
by Katie Ganshert
Bethany Quinn, now an architect in a Chicago firm, never wanted to go back to Peaks, Iowa, her hometown. Her mother and paternal grandfather still live there and when she left there 10 years ago she never looked back. She did keep in touch but never returned and never planned on returning either.

Ruth, her mother, sent her a message one day to let her know that her best friend's husband died and Robin needed her. She wasn't going to go until she learned that Dan, her grandfather, had a heart attack, so reluctantly she went for what was supposed to be a quick visit. After all who would want to go home to a town that treated her like she was crazy, all because they think she tried to kill herself. 

Her father had been injured in a farm accident and that's when Pastor Fenton started tearing her family apart. When her father accidentally drowned in the bath tub, Pastor Fenton got under her skin even more.She blamed him for her mother moving them from the 500 acre farm into town, to a run down trailer in a run down trailer court, drove her to swim to the bottom of the public swimming pool, she was sent for counseling and none of the kids wanted anything to do with her anymore besides the fact that the adults all looked at her funny.

Bethany returns to Chicago and gets a call that Dan had another heart attack but did not survive this one. She returns once again to Peaks for the funeral. At the reading of the will she finds out that her grandfather left the 500 acres of farmland to her but he left the house, and the land it sits on, to Evan Price, who has taken care of the farm for Dan for five years. The two don't get along and Bethany wants to sell her 500 acres but it will be hard to do since Evan is planning on keeping the house.

When she returns to Chicago she finds out that her firm is downsizing and she no longer has a job, not only that she finds out that Dominic, her boy friend of about 3 years, is moving to Florida because he got a job offer there. Bethany returns to Peaks to take care of selling her land and stays with Robin who also happens to be Evan's sister-in-law. Robin is pregnant with her dead husbands baby and is a christian, Bethany does not like God because of Pastor Fenton.

Katie keeps things moving in this book, at first I wasn't too sure about it, but she did draw me in. Be sure you have some tissue handy when you get to the end, you'll need them! I don't normally read this genre, just once in a while, but I did end up really enjoying this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, June 8, 2012

Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Song of My Heart
by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Sadie Wagner excitedly rushed into the house to share the letter she'd received from her cousin Sid, who'd moved from Indiana to Goldtree, Kansas. Sid had found her a job working in a mercantile owned by sisters Melva and Shelva Baxter and she would also be able to fulfill her dream of singing in an Opera House that their brother Asa, Sid's boss, was opening. She didn't know that Sid had ulterior motives in having her come to Goldtree. Sadie really needed a job because her step-father, the only papa she really knew since her father had died when she was very young, got hurt in the mines and was unable to work until his leg healed and there were no jobs in her hometown.

Thad McKane was hired by Goldtree's town council as sheriff when they started hearing that someone in the area had a bootlegging operation. Thad took the job even though he felt his true calling was to preach, as soon as he found the bootlegger he planned on moving on to preaching.

Thad was drawn to Sadie from the time he met her and took her for her first walk through town, when she asked about the opera house, he told her there wasn't one in town, this confused her since Sid had told her there was one opening soon. When she asked Sid about it he showed her where it was, it was a beautiful soundproof room under the mercantile where she was working. Sadie and Thad got closer and were falling in love and Sadie agreed to court him. Sid was not happy with the time they spent together and tried to come between them whenever he could.

Within a couple of weeks she was singing hymns and ballads on Friday and Saturday nights to a full house. Not long after that Asa asked if she would sing for private parties on Tuesday nights and the pay would be $5.00, $2.00 more than she was getting paid per night for Friday and Saturday. It would be three hours and it was by private invitation only and she was to tell no one about the Tuesday nights. When she saw the sheet music for the songs Asa wanted her to sing and the dress he wanted her to wear, she told him that she'd changed her mind. Asa threatened her with firing her completely and firing Sid also. He also told her that she couldn't spend anymore time with Thad, since he was the sheriff Asa was afraid Sadie would slip up and mention the Tuesday night singing. She needed the money to send home even more by this time as her step-father had died and her mother, sister and three brothers had no other income. She sang one night and couldn't do it again.

When Sid returned to town from a delivery he'd been on, she told him about the Tuesday nights. Sid confronted Asa and he threatened him and told Sid that if he went down, Sid and Sadie would go down with him because he would tell the sheriff they were in on the bootlegging operation. Sadie agreed to ride with Sid on a short delivery so they could talk. Thad came upon them and was going to arrest them but Sid asked to talk to him so they went behind a bush and the next thing Sadie heard was a gunshot and Sid was running back to the wagon and taking off. She kept turning around but never saw Thad come out of the bush. Now what was she going to do, her cousin killed the man she loved but had broken up with, she'd sung to men that were drinking and she felt she'd disappointed her papa all because she wanted to help her family and Asa threatened her. Where could she turn now?

Kim had me hooked from the first sentence when Sadie squealed with delight and went bursting through the door yelling because she'd gotten a letter from her cousin, and she kept me hooked throughout the entire book. This story was a wonderful read and I found it hard to put down. You really do need to go get this book and read it, you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When Love Comes My Way by Lori Copeland - Review

When Love Comes My Way
by Lori Copeland

Tess Wakefield is on her way to Michigan in 1873 to close down the Wakefield Timber camp that she inherited from her Grandfather. She left the camp at a very young age with her Mother, a few years later her Mother died and Talbot Wellington-Kent, a family friend, became her guardian until she became of age. Tess was more interested in staying in Philadelphia running her hat shop and opening more, this is with encouragement from Talbot, who is now her fiance, he also agrees that she should sell the timber camp.

After going as far as she could by train she boards a rickety old wagon along with Fedelia Yardley, who is to be the new schoolteacher at the camp, and a few men. On the way the wheel came off of the wagon and everyone was thrown into the icy river, two people managed to survive, Tess and the driver. Jake Lannigan, the camp foreman called Big Say by everyone, knowing the new schoolteacher was to arrive on that wagon, assumed that was the survivor. He did know that Tess was scheduling a trip but didn't know when to expect her. Fedelia was unconscious for a while and lost her memory. The only luggage found was Fedelia's and the woman didn't have an engagement ring on, further assuring Jake that this was Fedelia, although in his mind he really didn't think so, he felt it was Tess. Upon awaking, everyone around her told her she was Fedelia, she knew the name sounded strange, but didn't know anything so she accepted it.

Several days later she was shown her 'tiny' room in the corner of the bunkhouse for the 200 or so jacks. Oh she had privacy, it was enclosed, but it was tiny! Even though she still hadn't regained her memory she started teaching school, but she couldn't figure out why she would become a schoolteacher when some of the kids seemed to know more than she did. Tess spent almost as much time, if not more, studying for her lessons as the children did after she assigned them. And the kids, they were ruffians! Tess didn't give up though, she even learned a lot about the timber business and soon loved where she was in her life, even if she did think she was Fedelia. Not only did she love her life, she was falling in love with Jake and he was falling in love with her.

Will she ever remember who she is and will Jake ever be sure of who she is? If the truth is ever known will she hate Jake for not being honest with her and return to Philadelphia and Talbot? Has Talbot just forgotten her so he can live in comfort with her money or will he go to Wakefield Timber camp looking for her?

Lori did not disappoint, she pulled me in and I had to read late into the night. You will find yourself laughing and loving this book. Highly recommended.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley <> book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Following Your Heart by Jerry S Eicher - Review

Following Your Heart
Second in Fields of Home series
by Jerry S Eicher

Susan Hostetler, her friend Teresa Long and Teresa's baby, Samuel, are settling in at Susan's parents, Menno and Anna, home. Teresa is loving the Amish life and looking forward to going to her first church services. The women are busy doing their Saturday cleaning when they hear a buggy pulling in the drive way, it is Deacon Ray, coming to talk to Menno. After the Deacon leaves, Menno goes inside to deliver the bad news, Teresa is not allowed to go to services! She is disappointed but it doesn't deter her, she asks if they can at least take Samuel with them, she is determined to give him a better life than she had.

Susan's former beau, Thomas, wants to win her heart back and comes up with a plan. He thinks if Teresa can find a beau and get married maybe he'd have a better chance. Thomas goes to Yost Byler, a man old enough to be Teresa's father, has a filthy house, doesn't clean up himself even and hardly talks to anyone, and convinces him to go to Deacon Ray and offer to marry Teresa on the day of her baptism if he'll let her go to classes. Deacon Ray thinks it over and talks to Menno about it. When Menno explains the plan to Teresa, she gladly agrees to it. After all, she'll get to join the Amish and will have a father for Samuel, a father that will raise him to be a good Amish person and support him. She will do anything for Samuel.

When Deacon Ray's son, James, see Teresa for the first time, he can't take his eyes away. As he studies her he tries to figure out what she's up to, what she and Susan have going on. He does do a pretty good job of figuring Teresa out in his mind.

Susan is not happy at all that Teresa is required to marry Yost and throughout the book tries to talk her into going back to Asbury Park, and she'll go with her. Susan isn't very happy being back at home even though she knows her parents are getting older and need help on the farm. It is Teresa that keeps Susan home, she refuses to leave and feels she deserves old Yost Byler, no matter how bad he is, for the sins of her past.

Teresa is the stronger and more determined one of the two girls. Teresa's coming stirs up a few problems not only in the community but also with Menno, he starts having trouble sleeping because he remembers his past and wonders if an Englisha girlfriend really did lose his child that she was carrying. James has strong feelings for Teresa but his father, the Deacon, orders her not to even talk to him.

I think I enjoyed this book more that the first one, it held my interest. I know that Susan had left the community and came back because of Teresa and Samuel, but I was still impressed at how she wanted to return to the English world and Teresa was the one to encourage her to stay and to give Thomas a second chance. What a strong person Teresa turned out to be, giving the lifestyle she was raised in.

Wholeheartedly recommended as a good read!

I received a print copy of this book from Harvest House Publishers and a ebook copy for my Kindle from Net Galley. I was not required to give a positive review, this review is my opinion.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley <> book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”