Monday, December 30, 2013

A Miracle of Hope by Ruth Reid - Review of the first book in An Amish Wonders Novel series

Josiah Plank, a widower friend of Eli Wyse, has agreed to marry Eli's sister, Lindie. He has promised to give Lindie his name but not his heart. Eli takes Lindie to Michigan where Josiah lives, when they get off the bus Josiah asks to talk to Lindie privately. He has the money for her return ticket if she doesn't want to marry him, what he doesn't know is that Lindie feels like she has no choice. Lindie will not only be Eli's wife but she will care for his eight year old deaf daughter, Hannah.

Lindie is in a tough situation since she has to learn to communicate with Hannah, live with a man she doesn't love and is pregnant. Josiah didn't want a wife but needed help with his daughter and with keeping his home up. They both thought they'd suffered enough heartache but there is more to come. Hannah runs away a lot and keeps to herself, she likes to draw and seems to special gift from God.

I absolutely loved this book and wish I knew how to express how much I enjoyed it. I read it in two days which is very good for me with a book of this length. I loved the story, the characters and the events. Ruth did a fantastic job with this story and I am really looking forward to the next book and I can't even find a title for it. This book is due to be released tomorrow, December, 31,2013, hurry up and get it you won't be disappointed.

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.”

Saturday, December 28, 2013

An Angel by Her Side by Ruth Reid - Review of the third book in A Heaven On Earth Novel series

The angel Elias has his hands full in this book and Razzen is still interfering. Katie Bender saves her students when a tornado hits the school but the school is ruined along with a lot of other buildings in the area. Seth Stutzman is working on the beehives for his brother-in-law when the tornado hits and runs to the cellar under the school too. Amos, Seth's widowed brother-in-law despises Katie so much that he pulled his children out of school and they don't even attend church services. When Amos's oldest daughter Leah runs away from home and Amos goes blind, Seth has no choice but to ask Katie to come daily and help with the children.

When the people decide not to rebuild the school because of the cost and all the other repairs that are more important, Katie finds herself out of a job and may have to move in the grossdaadi haus at her brothers place. When Katie applies for another teaching job and does not get it she realizes it isn't losing the job that she's upset about, it's a broken heart again.

I really did enjoy this series, I like the way Ruth has the angels appearing and talking to the characters. It brings to life the fact that there are angels watching over us we just don't realize it, and they aren't always helping in a positive way. I would encourage others to get these books and read them and this is a continuing series so I would suggest you start with the first one "The Promise of an Angel" then the second which is "Brush of an Angel's Wings". Great job Ruth!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe by Irene Brand and Anita Higman

by Irene Brand
When Julia Mayfield returns from serving in the WACs in World War II she attempts to fulfill her only sisters dying request, to take her son to his dead father's family in Mistletoe, Kentucky. The trip to Mistletoe was a test in itself, she wasn't used to children, her nephew didn't really know her and when she gets off the bus in Booneville she has no way to get to Mistletoe and Booneville has no hotel. When she finally makes it to her sister's in-laws, they have locked themselves away in their house since hearing of their sons death and they don't know about Bobby so when she goes knocking on their door Bobby's grandfather threatens to kill her if she doesn't get off of his property. Now she has a decision to make, stay there and try to fulfill the promise she made to her sister or return home.

by Anita Higman
A baby was left on the steps of The Little Bethlehem Shoppe in the village of Noel, Missouri. Albert Goodnight, a single man, was the owner of the shop and found her sound asleep a wicker basket. Albert adopted Holly Rose but it was never discovered who left her or who her mother was. The residents of Noel knew the story and it was never talked about, until now that is. Someone told an author about the story so he decides he wants to write a story about Holly Rose Goodnight, if she'll agree to it. 

I really enjoyed "An Appalachian Christmas" and found it entertaining to read but "Once Upon A Christmas Eve" did not seem as good to me. I liked the story but had trouble keeping interested in it, like it was dragging to me, but you have to know that I prefer more historical genre over modern day, so that could be my problem. All-in-all they were both nice Christmas stories and I feel that others would enjoy both.

A Plain Scandal by Amanda Flower - Review of the second book in An Appleseed Creek series

It hasn't been long and there is another mystery in Appleseed Creek, girls are getting attacked and their hair is being cut, men's beards are being cut and now there is even a murder. Chloe Humphrey along with Timothy Troyer and the authorities are investigating to see if they are all connected and why. There are several suspects, both English and Amish suspects. Some people are beginning to call Chloe the 'Amish Whisperer'.

Another good read by Amanda and yet again I found myself putting my paperback book aside and reading my Kindle at home! As I was finishing the book I kept thinking in the back of my mind about how much I enjoyed reading Trixie Belden, Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew mysteries when I was younger. I am so looking forward to getting the third book "A Plain Disappearance", I guess I should have asked for that for Christmas, darn, maybe I can ask for it as a New Year's gift.

If you like mysteries and Amish stories you will love this series, I can't say enough about Amanda's writing, it is great and really pulls you into the story. She has just enough suspects that you don't get confused but it's still hard to solve the crime until you get very close to the end.

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.”

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Biltmore Christmas by Diane Ashley, Sylvia BArnes, Rhonda Gibson and Jeri O'Dell

Four stories about four sisters who lost their parents when they were young then raised in a orphanage by Mama Elsie. They left the orphanage one be one as they became old enough to find a job to support themselves. The authors did a good job of bringing out the personality of each sister. I read this book pretty fast making it a good read for Christmas time.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Plain Death by Amanda Flower - Review of the First book in An Appleseed Creek Mystery Series

Becky Troyer is walking alone on a country road as she's leaving her Amish home for the English world when some burly men see her and try to get her into their green truck. Along comes Chloe Humphrey in her loaded down car looking for her newly rented house in Appleseed Creek, Ohio and seeing a girl alone, walking along a green truck with a disgusting looking man giving her a bad time, she takes a chance and stops to see if the girl needs help. Becky gets in with Chloe and now Chloe gains a houseguest and soon becomes the target of the two men in the green truck with a murder mystery to follow.

I've been wanting to read this series for a long time but as my 'to be read' list kept getting longer and longer it seemed like I was forgetting about it. For some reason I would think about reading the series, then would pick something else out. Finally I decided this is the time and it was a GREAT book. Now I wish I'd read it sooner, this book keeps you guessing and I wasn't quite sure who the target was or who was after the target. Amanda did a wonderful job!

I read this on my Kindle and I normally only read my Kindle when I'm in a vehicle, waiting in a doctors office, etc., but the closer I got to the end of this book I had to finish it TONIGHT! So, yes, I even read at home, my paperback had to wait! I will be starting the next book, "A Plain Scandal" tomorrow as I wait for my granddaughter to get out of school.

If you like Amish books and you like mysteries, you'll love this book. It's a great combination of Amish, English and a good mystery.

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.”

Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall - Review

There are three wonderful stories in this collection by Cindy Woodsmall. Two of them I'd read before, "The Sound of Sleigh Bells" and "The Christmas Singing" and one new story "The Dawn of Christmas". I reread the first two and enjoyed them just as much as I did the first time, I could not put the book down. The third story was just as enjoyable to read as the first two.

I like the fact that they were all connected, the characters knew each other. Cindy did a wonderful job of bringing the three stories together. Also, the fact that they would get out in bad snowstorms, I love that, it reminds me of my step-father, whenever there was a blizzard he JUST HAD to go someplace. We were a lot warmer though as we were in a car with a heater, except for the time we got stuck and had to walk about a mile.

Cindy draws you in and makes you feel like you are dealing with the heart tugging problems each person has to deal with. That is what keeps you reading late into the night, wanting them to realize that they are not seeing the whole story and they should listen to their heart. I think we are all guilty of that sometimes, especially when we have been stung before when the feelings are what we 'want' to feel, not what God wants for us. A definite must read!

Love Finds You on Christmas Morning by Debby Mayne and Trish Perry - Review

by Debby Mayne
William Tronnier has been attracted to Lillian Pickard since last Christmas when he met her at a party, William is wealthy and Lillian is penniless. Lillian thinks it strange when William offers her a ride home in his automobile, a new thing in 1926 and her parents don't like the idea at all. William is as persistent about them being together as Lillian and her parents are insistent that they don't belong together, being in two different social classes.

by Trish Perry
Nikki Tronnier has taken a job in her hometown so she can fulfill her lifelong dream of purchasing her family home. Drew Cornell is working in town and finds an old home that has been on the market for over a year and makes a bid and buys the house out from under her just when she's saved enough money to make her own bid. Nikki met Drew while walking her boss's dog and Drew was walking his dog. When Nikki discovers Drew bought the house she dreamed about buying she doesn't tell him. When Drew finds out he offers to sell it to her and walk away.

These are a couple of great Christmas stories that I enjoyed. They were pretty fast reads and hard to put down, especially "Deck the Halls", I love Christian Historical's, that could be why. But picking up with one of the family members in modern day was a nice. If you are looking for some short Christmas stories I would encourage you to read these two.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Plain & Fancy Christmas by Cynthia Keller - Review

Rachel King and Rachel Lawrence were born in the same hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania 2 days apart, both were raised in loving families, one was raised Amish and one was raised in the English world. Elle, Rachel Lawrence's nickname, was raised in Manhattan in an affluent family, she is single and has a good job. She has one brother and one sister and is very successful in her career. Rachel Yoder (King) was raised in Lancaster and has several brothers and sisters. She is a widow of three years and has a daughter Katie, 11 years old.

Rachel and Katie have moved back home with Rachel's parents since her husband passed because she couldn't handle the farm on her own. She isn't real happy living there, but life is good and she is Amish through and through. Elle is settled in her own apartment in Manhattan but gets stressed with her job, otherwise life is good for her too.

Things change drastically when both women receive a letter from a nurse who worked at the hospital they were born in. It seems she was married to a doctor who was an alcoholic and he got so he was going to work drunk, that's when the mix-up happened, he sent Rachel King home with the Lawrence's! She covered it up for her husband so he wouldn't lose his job and be ridiculed, he would never be able to get another job anyplace, and she loved him deeply. She is dying when she decides it's time the girls know the truth. Now the two have to deal with this 'mix-up' for the rest of their lives.

Just imagine how you would feel if this happened to you, not only are they raised in different areas of the country, but completely different lifestyles. How would you deal with this, would you immediately want to meet your biological parents, how would you explain this to your children if you have any (like Rachel does)? How would you feel if the other woman came to meet her parents and you felt she was treated better than you had been your whole life? Do you think you would consider the other woman and what she was feeling or just think about yourself, would you want to talk to her or would you just try to bury the whole thing and live the life you were put into?

A VERY interesting book, I like the way Cynthia tells the feelings of the two women and how they dealt with what happened. I know this has happened and I don't know how I would deal with it. Wonderful look into a difficult situation. I would suggest this book as I found it very good. I think this is the first book I've read by Cynthia and I will be looking for more.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

An Amish Miracle, three Amish novella's by Mary Ellis, Ruth Reid and Beth Wiseman - Review

Three novella's all taking place in the same community by three different authors, all are among my list of favorite authors. Two of the main characters are good friends, Hope Bowman and Rosa Hostetler and Becky Byler is a younger person in the community. All three stories deal with modern day circumstances and tell how the ladies deal with them. I could associate with one of the stories more than the others but they were all very touching and I really enjoyed this book. These women each show their strength and their strong faith.

I would recommend this book to those who like stories that deal with personal feelings and trying to overcome those feelings, no matter what the outcome may be. "An Amish Miracale" goes on sale December 3, 2013.

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.”

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Pioneer Christmas Collection - Review

Nine short, wonderful, Christmas stories written by nine authors: Lauraine Snelling, Margaret Brownley, Kathleen Fuller, Marcia Gruver, Cynthia Hickey, Vickie McDonough, Shannon McNear, Michelle Ule and Anna Urquhart.

I really enjoyed this book, these stories, and they are all quick reads. Of course there were some that touched my heart more than others as I'm sure any reader would feel that way, having different stories touch their heart. They take place in a variety of  locations and even though they aren't long, they are great reads. I think there will be something special for all Christian Historical Fiction lovers in this book. I have read books by many of these authors and have found some new ones that I will be watching for. Thank you for putting this collection together.

The Frozen Trail by Lisa Dayley - Review

This is the story of 18 year old Emma Girdlestone as she and her family trek across the United States to Zion, the land of milk and honey, otherwise known as Salt Lake City, Utah in 1856. The Willie Handcart Company was reluctantly leading 500 people from Iowa City to Salt Lake, the people voted to go even though the Willie Handcart Company had no carts available and they were all out of supplies because it was too late in the year to leave. Carts were quickly built, minimal supplies collected and quilts, mittens, scarves, etc. were quickly made to supply the group that wanted to head out anyway.

Lisa does a great job of detailing the problems of the people, the deaths, amputations performed on the trail, running out of food, the strong determination and faith these people had. I remember when I was in high school my step-dad, my brother and I took off in a blizzard, you have to know that my step-dad always seemed to like to do that, I think it's a man thing, and we got stuck about a mile outside of a small town, we lived 15 miles from town. We had to get out of the car and try to get to town, I can still remember how cold I got and can only imagine how these people survived, it had to be their faith.

I had never read any books about Mormon's so I thought I'd give it a try, it isn't the story I expected but I did get into it wondering what was going to happen to them as they struggled through the snow, winds, blizzards, climbing mountains and many other complications. An interesting book indeed.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Awakened Love by Laura V Hilton - Review of the third book in The Amish of Webster County series

Katie Detweiler is very bashful and is verbally bullied by Patsy Swartz. She manages the the bakery/deli at a local bed and breakfast and is beginning to think she'll never marry and have a family. When Abram Hilty comes to stay with his relatives in Seymour, Missouri he sees Katie and is immediately attracted to her, but so is his cousin Micah.

Abram tries everything to convince Katie that she will someday be his frau. She doesn't believe him since he has a girlfriend back home in Shipshewana, Indiana and Patsy keeps telling her that she's courting him and they are going to get married. Katie feels like he is wanting to court her because of a dare and everyone in the community is laughing at her.

Abram is keeping something secret and when Katie discovers a secret about herself her world is turned upside down. Abram is very supportive until he is ordered back to Shipshewana by the Bishops there.

I didn't think this book could be any better than "Surrendered Love" but I was wrong. Abram so reminded my of my husband when we first met, he was determined that we would be married after only knowing each other for a couple of weeks but I kept telling him no. Well we were married five months after meeting and have now been married 42 1/2 years, so he did win. We didn't have the complications that Katie and Abram had though, so that is where the story differs to begin with.

Laura may have outdone herself with this series, I loved, loved, loved it! This is one of those series that I feel you must start with the first book as the main characters, the girls, are best friends so each book is a continuance of the previous one, sort of.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Surrendered Love by Laura V Hilton - Review of the second book in The Amish of Webster County series

While Jenna Kauffman is doing the personal shopping for the homebound in her Amish community she thinks she recognizes the policeman as the boy she'd always hoped to marry and drops oranges all over the floor. Troy Troyer, better known to the Amish as Hiram Troyer, ran away as a teenager and knows he'll never return to the Amish, he would never be accepted back even if he tried to.

Jenna is co-guardian, along with her parents, to her niece Meghan. Jenna's sister left the Amish also and now she can't handle Meghan so she sent her to live with Jenna and her parents. Well as Jenna leaves the store she's confronted by two police officers, one of which is 'Troy' Troyer. It seems Meghan hasn't even been in town two weeks and is already getting in trouble, as she continues with her shenanigans, Jenna and Troy seem to be thrown together a lot.

Jenna discovers she is still interested in Troy and Troy seems to reciprocate those feelings. Things can't go any further though because he has a secret and can't bring himself to tell anyone, that's the end of it. As if his emotions aren't tearing him up enough he accidentally shoots Jenna's daed.

What  a great book! I hated to put this one down. How many times do we, as humans, do things and then regret them later and can't forgive ourselves? If we can't forgive ourselves how will anyone else forgive us, even if they are family or someone we love? We have to remember that all we have to do is ask God for forgiveness and then we need to forgive ourselves, we can do this with God's help if we just ask him.

Needless to say, I'm starting the next book, "Awakened Love", as soon as I'm done writing this review. I would encourage you to get your hands on this series, you will really enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Hope Revealed by Karen Baney - Review of the fourth book in Prescott Pioneers series

Mary Prescott is working her fingers to the bone trying to support herself and her two children, Eddie and Beth, since her husband, Reuben Colter, left them. Every time a dead man is found she is asked to come and identify her husbands body, the problem, so far none of them have been Reuben so she continues to live in fear that he'll return.

One night after the children are sleeping she hears a knock on the door, as fear grips her, thinking it is Reuben returning, she answers to find a strange woman. This woman reveals a secret about one thing Reuben did to her that she never knew about, a new low for Reuben even. A few days later Mary is told that her father secretly left her some money so she makes a decision to move west to Will Colter's, Reuben's brother, ranch hoping if Reuben does return he won't know where to find her and the children.

It isn't long after arriving that she discovers she isn't safe at all. Mary will do anything to protect her children, even if it means not telling Will everything. When Will finds out what she's been hiding he to kick her out of his home but Hannah, his wife, won't let him do that.

I think this is the best book in the series, I found myself with tears running down my cheeks several times. Oh the things Mary had to go through in her marriage and the things she found out about her husband that she never knew, but she kept her strength and moved forward. You really do need to read the whole series, I think anyway, to get the full impact of this book. In the first three you only get a glimpse of how hard it was being married to Reuben Colter but you need that to realize just how mean a human being he really is.

I would definitely recommend this book, this series! I really enjoy Karen's writing and will be looking for more books from her.

Monday, November 4, 2013

What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer - Review of the first book in the What Once Was Lost series

Christina Willems has been running the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor on a small farm outside of Brambleville, Kansas since her father passed on. This is the only life she has known, helping others who are less fortunate without a place to live. When the kitchen mysteriously catches fire Miss Willems finds herself taking all of the residents to town in search of temporary homes, too bad they aren't all staying in nice happy homes. She notifies the mission board that funds the home, of the fire and their needs, in hopes that they'll order the repairs done so everyone can return home.

It seems like anything that can go wrong after the fire does go wrong, and more! Tommy, the blind boy staying with Levi Johnson, gets lost. Tommy also knows a secret so not only does he feel like people don't like him because of his blindness, he's also getting bullied and is very afraid. Miss Willems and Cora live in a single room in a boarding house in exchange for cooking and serving meals for mean Mrs Beasley. Wes is sleeping in the stable, others are sleeping in close quarters too, some in good homes and others in not so good homes.

When the two representatives come to investigate the property they inform Miss Willems that they will be closing the doors and she no longer has a job. This doesn't stop her from trying to get the house repaired and the residents back home. It is taking so long that some of the residents are finding places on their own, the mission group takes some of the children to Topeka to an orphanage, it seems like she may no longer be needed if this continues, but it still doesn't stop her. Even going to jail doesn't affect her caring heart.

I had trouble with this story at first because I read the prequel and the story isn't what, rather who, I expected it to be about but I soon gained interest and by the end of the book I didn't want to put it down. Yes, I did stay up late, until I was falling asleep and had to put it down, then picked it up first thing in the morning to find out what I was wanting to know. Then there was even more that kept me interested, I had to find out what was going to happen next!

I will be watching for "Just As I Am" to come out later this month, the next book in this series which sets the stage for Kim's next novel, "Echoes of Mercy" due out in January, 2014. 

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.”

Healing Love by Laura V Hilton - Review of the first book in The Amish of Webster County series

Kristi Lapp, an Amish midwife, and Shane Zimmerman, an English veterinarian new to the area, meet when he notices her buggy turned over in a ditch. He stops to make sure no one is hurt and discovers Kristi. She's unconscious and he calls to have her transported to the hospital. Her parents are out of town so he stays with her daily until they return. When her parents return and her daed sees an attraction forming he demands that Shane stay away from Kristi.

Shane tries to stay away from Kristi but it seems circumstances keep throwing them together. Kristi has a Siberian husky, Chinook, who needs exercise daily so Shane takes over doing that since Kristi can't walk and will need a lot of therapy. Even though they are each falling for the other, there are some things that are keeping them apart, she's Amish and he's English with Amish grandparents, neither one knows if they want to 'change' or if they want to ask the other to 'change'. Next is the fact that she's a midwife, he blames a midwife for the death of his wife and baby. Finally Kristi's daed is determined to marry her off to a good Amish man, even if he's already had three wives and has many children.

I had been wanting this book for a long time, as well as the next two in the series. When I won the third book I mentioned that I was going to buy the first two and Laura was kind enough to send them to me, she really blessed me by doing so. I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to reading the last two, Surrendered Love and Awakened Love. I would highly recommend this series to anyone that like reading Amish books.

Oh, did I mention the fact that I was VERY surprised at the ending, I think you will be too. Wonderful job Laura!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer - Review

Rose should be married to Jonathan by now but when he enlisted in the military she broke the engagement off. Jonathan has returned and she's doing her best to avoid him but then she finds out that she isn't truly Amish so will she be accepted in the community any more than he is. Jonathan was a medic, he didn't even carry a weapon, she's an Englischer raised Amish, will things ever be right in her life again?

This is a very touching story and you need to have some tissues ready, especially at the end.Tricia did a wonderful job of messing with your feelings for such a short book, mine were totally captured with this story.

The Grace That Leads Us Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer - review of the Prequel to What Once Was Lost series

Alice Deaton was happily married to Oscar with two children, Laura and Francis in Florence, Kansas. That was until Oscar went to help an elderly neighbor and had a heart attack and died. Now Alice has to find a way to support the children and herself on no income, the home they rent is paid for through Oscar's paycheck so she doesn't even know if they'll have a roof over their head. Oh, and when she went to apply for a job at the bank, the banker ends up telling her that Oscar has owed him money for three years, so now does she not get a job but she owes him money she didn't know about. She struggles without telling anyone about what a hard time she's having, that is until the preacher's wife finds a crumpled up letter from Alice's widowed sister-in-law telling her that she has no room for them to come and live there.

This was a short quick read and I'm now wondering what will happen to Alice, Laura and Francis. Alice appears to be a woman who will do anything to for her children so we will see how the future turns out when I read What Once Was Lost, I'm really looking forward to it.

Danger in Amish Country - Review of the omnibus by Marta Perry, Diane Burke and Kit Wilkinson

There are three short stories in this book, Fall From Grace by Marta Perry, Dangerous Homecoming by Diane Burke and Return to Willow Trace by Kit Wilkinson. Each one is a mystery and each one held my interest so I read this very quickly I really did enjoy them. A couple of the authors were new to me and I will look for more books written by them. If you like Amish and/or mystery I think you will enjoy the stories.

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.”

An Untamed Heart by Lauraine Snelling - Review of the first book in Songs of Blessing series

Ingeborg Strand loves the summer when several members of her family spend time at the Strand seter. It is a very busy time for them but they have a lot of fun and the best part is being away from her mother. Ingeborg loves her mother but she is constantly being criticized and feels like her mother doesn't like her. It is so peaceful at the seter, except this year. When a stranger, Nils Aarvidson, is found almost dead by the river, Ingeborg being the oldest has to figure out a way to get him up the hill and to their cabin so she can try to save him. She doesn't plan on falling in love and when he returns to his family in Oslo, Nowray she feels in her heart that she'll never hear or see him again. Then she receives a couple of letters from Nils saying he's coming to visit after Christmas, he hasn't forgotten her after all.

I have read all of Lauraine's books, and there are many, about Ingeborg Bojorklund living in the Dakota Territory as well as two of her other series, I love her books. I enthusiastically picked up this book to read and was not disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed finding out about Ingeborg's life as a younger woman, how she learned to be such a strong woman and why she would go into her deep dark places in her mind. There will be three more books in this new series and, yes, I'm already anxious for them to be published so I can read them. I don't know any of the titles yet but will be watching for them.

If you have not read any of Lauraine's books I do encourage you to read them. I would not pass any of them up. Thank you Lauraine Snelling!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake - Review of the first book in Prairie Promises series

Clara Field and her Aunt Doreen Edgerly are headed for Oregon for a new start in life. Doreen married a very cruel man so she would be able to raise Clara after her parents were killed. She didn't know how bad a life she would have with that man and he detested Clara. Now it is Clara's turn to do something for her aunt, and that is to start over. It is unusual for a wagon train to take on a wagon with no man but there is a man who has agreed to help them in exchange for meals so they are headed for Oregon. Their wagon isn't the best and they have a very ornery oxen who likes to eat leather and wander off. These things cause a lot of delays for the wagon train and they eventually find themselves left behind to go the rest of the way on their own, two women on their own. They make it to Buttonwood two days after the wagon train passed through.

They don't know what they are going to do when Josiah Reed, owner of the Buttonwood Feed and Dry Goods Store offers them a place to live in return for them taking care of his house and fixing meals along with helping out at the store when he needs help. Clara and Doreen have no choice but to take him up on his offer. Josiah has plans to leave town for a while after his son arrives to oversee things, this is where the bride bargain comes in, he wants Saul to stay in Buttonwood and not return to Baltimore. As a reward for getting Saul married to one of the five single girls in town (six counting herself, but she isn't including herself in the running, although Josiah is) then she and her aunt can have his house and he will build himself another one. It's rather interesting the way she tries to get Saul alone with all of the girls, especially since two of the families don't get along AT ALL.

This is a nice story and really kept me interested. Kelly did a good job and I'm looking forward to reading the next two books, The Bride Backfire and The Bride Blunder, knowing Kelly's books they'll be just as enjoyable as this one was.

A Dream for Tomorrow by Melody Carlson - Review of the second book in Homeward on the Oregon Trail series

The Martin's, the Dawson's, Brady and the rest of the wagon train are continuing on their trek to Oregon. They encounter some rough traveling, some loses and some inconveniences, like Elizabeth having to share her wagon with a grieving Mrs Taylor. Remember Mrs Taylor disapproved of the Martin's, Dawson's and most of the rest of their unit, but it is with Elizabeth Martin that she chooses to travel with after the tragic loss of her husband and her beloved organ.

The wagon train splits with more travelers going to Oregon than planned on when they started out. The split means that Eli has to lead the small group to California and leave the group Elizabeth is in. This gives Will a chance to court Elizabeth. Clara, Elizabeth's mother thinks he will make a good husband for her, but does Elizabeth want that?

I thought I had the third book in this series but find I don't so I guess I have to go buy it because Melody left me wanting to know how things go once they reach Oregon. Will it be as bad as her sister-in-law said it is, will Elizabeth give in and marry Will? Oh I like it when this happens but I hate it too, lol, it means buying more books, lol.

This has been a good series so far, can you imagine learning geography the way JT and Ruth are learning it, by traveling the Oregon Trail. I would recommend this book/series to anyone that likes reading Christian Historical genres. Melody shows the faith one must have had to travel like this.

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, September 30, 2013

It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist - Review

Cullen McNamara finally agreed to set a wedding date with Wanda Sappington the day before he's forced to take his invention to the World's Fair in Chicago. His father has faith in him and has taken every last bit of money he has and made all the arrangements without telling Cullen, that way Cullen can't refuse to go, there are no refunds. His father also knows that Cullen has to get off of the farm because of his allergies.

It is so loud in the building where Cullen is located and he thinks he's losing sales because he can't hear when the people try to talk to him about his invention. When it's suggested that he learn to lip read, he finds the woman he saved, Della, is the teacher so he strikes up a deal with her to teach him. He can't afford lessons so he explores the exhibits of her choice in the evenings while she teaches him. Cullen and Della spend every evening together and he finds it hard to concentrate on his lessons because he finds himself thinking about her more and more. He loves Wanda but Della is the one on his mind.

He is having a hard time learning and is still losing sales. Cullen decides to have a demonstration but that gets sabotaged as does his exhibit. Not only has he wasted six months at the fair, he's lost the money his father invested and in turn they will lose the farm. Then when he thinks things can't get any worse, Wanda shows up unexpectedly and demands to get married immediately.

I just love Deeanne's books and this one is no different. A wonderful story about how people looked down on the deaf, even if a person was just starting to lose their hearing, which was the cause of some of the loss of Cullen's sales. Also I loved reading about the world's fair and the 'new' ferris wheel, elevator, etc., things we take for granted today and how they amazed people in 1893.

Katie's Forever Promise by Jerry S Eicher - Review of the third book in Emma Raber's Daughter series

Katie Raber's life is looking promising, she is the new teacher, Ben is out of her life, and Norman Kuntz is taking her home from the singings on Sunday's. She even feels like things are getting better with Mabel, her new sister, but she shouldn't plan on too bright of a future.

Ben gets shot on his first day home from jail and they don't think he'll live so at the request of his parents she visits him while he's unconscious and his mother is there the whole time. The community finds out about it and some are out to make trouble for her. She's finding out that Norman has a dark side and between him and Mabel things get worse and she soon loses her teaching job, in the middle of the year, they don't even wait for the school year to be over before firing her.

Jerry did a great job on this book, there are a lot of things going on and, again, I found I was putting myself in Katie's position and wondering what I would do. I don't think I could have kept my mouth shut as well as she did. Katie pushes on and moves forward with her life with as positive an attitude as she can have in her situation. Amish book lovers will really enjoy this series.

Thank you to Harvest 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.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Hope is Found by Joanne Bischof - Review of the third book in The Cadence of Grace series

Gideon O'Riley gets the go home free card from Cassie but he makes a stop at the courthouse in Stuart, Virginia to make sure the annulment will go through without any problems. When he manages to see the judge, he is insistent that he needs to talk to Cassie in person and Gideon should go on and he will be in touch with him as soon as things are finalized.

Lonnie has finally started to move on with her life and finds herself falling in love with Toby McKee, a young reverend that is finding himself falling in love with Lonnie. She fights her feelings as long as she can and when Toby finally proposes to her she accepts. After all the happy tears everyone at the Bennett house sits down to eat as there is a knock on the door. Lonnie opens the door to see Gideon standing there.

As Gideon, Lonnie and Toby try to get along while waiting to hear from the judge, things get tense. The night the letter arrives it doesn't bring good news, but it isn't hopeless either. Gideon is so on edge that he and Toby get into a fist fight. Jebediah forces the two men to work together and neither one is allowed in the house any longer. The tension continues but they do learn to work together. Lonnie has the hardest time trying to decide which man she loves the most. Gideon can see that she loves Toby and Toby can see that she loves Gideon, one will have to give in and leave or they will have to continue going on the way things are until Lonnie can make a decision.

Joanne did a great job on this series and this last book had my eyes watering sometimes. I didn't know what was going to happen, for sure until the very end, I kept going back and forth between the two men. She did a good job of keeping a secret. I also appreciated the faith she included in the book, it isn't easy to always keep your faith strong or change from a life without faith and be willing to give up someone you love if that is what you feel God wants you to do because that is what is best for that person.

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.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fired Up by Mary Connealy - second book in Trouble in Texas series

Glynna Greer is opening up her diner and the Regulators are helping her move her things to town after saving her from a long painful life with her husband Flint Greer. The diner business is doing good even though her cooking makes everyone sick. Dare Riker, the doctor in the group of Regulators, is doing a good business though, thanks to her cooking. The men go to the diner just to look at the beautiful Glynna and won't give up eating her food.

As they are moving her things to town Glynna and Dare are just about killed by an avalanche, next Dare's house catches fire and he just about dies in that fire. Dare doesn't know but the rest of the Regulators decide someone is trying to kill him so they start standing watch on his house at night. They have at least two suspects, Glynna's son Paul and Lana Bullard, her husband was Flint's right hand man but had disappeared after her husband was killed. Lana holds Dare responsible for murdering her son and her husband and Paul doesn't want his mother to ever have anything to do with any man again after the way his father treated them and then Flint treated them even worse. Or it could be someone that is holding a grudge from when he was in the Andersonville prison during the Civil War.

I can understand why Paul feels the way he does and he's old enough to feel like he's responsible for his family now so he will do anything to keep his mother, his sister and himself safe from ANY man. Lana has her reasons, but does she really? People and their grudges, some just can't seem to get rid of them. It is so much better if you can forgive, and that's for yourself, not the one you're forgiving.

I love Mary's books and she didn't fail me with this one. Just another one I can add to my favorite list!

Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund - Review

Susanna Smith, the daughter of a preacher, grew up in Massachusetts in what some would call the lap of luxury, not high society, but not poor, in other words hers was a family of good standing in the community. When she sees Benjamin Ross defend a murderer she remembers him from her school days and starts looking at him differently now, but since he comes from a farm family her mother would never let her marry him, even if she thought she wanted to.

When Susanna finds a woman in the woods with no shoes and bleeding feet, she gives her the shoes off of her own feet. This is where the trouble begins for her, soon she finds out that the woman is a runaway indentured servant and is being chased by a very cruel man who would just as soon kill her as to take her back to her owner, so Susanna lets her hide in their barn without telling her parents. This causes her parents house to be torn apart by the British Lieutenant Wolfe. Things begin to get worse so she soon finds herself asking Benjamin Ross to help her with some of the situations she finds herself in and this brings her close to him yet she doesn't like him because of the things he seems to support.

This book is not one of my normal genres but I love Jody's writing and I got totally into this story! I love the strong will Susanna has and how she's willing to stand up for the less fortunate even if it means putting her own life in danger, and Ben is there to help her even though he knows that is all she wants from him, is help for a young lady in fear for her life.

Oh yes, run out and get this one friends, I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

The Miner's Lady by Tracie Peterson - Review of the third book in Land of Shining Water series

The Panetta's and the Calarco's families have been bitter enemies for generations, since before they both moved to America and started working in the mine fields. The newest generation only knew that their great-great-grandfathers were best friends until they fought over a mule, since each generation got more bitter toward the 'other' family. Chantel Panetta has just returned home from her year in Italy visiting her grandparents to find out her sister, Isabella, has a secret, she's in love with Orlando Calarco! Not only are they in love with each other, Isabella wants Chantel to help cover up their secret meetings by distracting Orlando's older brother Dante when she goes to meet Orlando.

Chantel and Dante are bound to follow in the family traditions of detesting each other. After a mining accident Chantel's dad is ready to forgive the Calarco family but Dante and his father are not ready to forgive the Panetta family. Isabella and Orlando run off with Chantel's help when they find out Orlando's father is going to send him to Italy to get him away from Isabella. Chantel follows the couple first to warn them that Dante is looking for Orlando to take him back home and Dante follows Chantel, without her knowing it, to find Dante, then the sparks fly in more ways than one. When Dante wakes to find Orlando missing again and that Chantel helped the couple escape you can only imagine the anger he has.

This reminds me of the Hatfield and McCoys, lol, it was a fun book to read. Chantel and Dante seem to be very strong characters and keep the story moving along. You'll have to read and see what happens with the two sisters and two brothers along with the rest of the family from both families.

I really enjoyed this series with each book being completely different but really interesting and entertaining. I would suggest this series for my friends to read.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Westward Hearts by Melody Carlson - Review of the first book in Homeward on the Oregon Trail series

Elizabeth Martin lost her husband three years ago and is raising her two children on her own. She still wears black and manages to continue running their farm. When Elizabeth and the children to to her parents for Christmas her brother comes home in a foul mood and refuses to join them for Christmas Eve dinner, not only that his fiancee isn't with him. Elizabeth goes to talk to him and finds out that the wedding is called off because his fiancee is now the wife of his best friend and they have left town. Matthew is devastated and after a week or so he decides to head to Oregon.

Going to Oregon, this brings back the memories that Elizabeth and her husband had always planned on going to Oregon to join his family who had already gone out there. The more she thinks about it the more she wants to go, when the kids hear about it they want to go too. The only thing holding her back is leaving her parents here all alone. When the parents find out everyone is moving to Oregon, they finally decide to go too.

Westward Hearts takes you through the planning, the preparing and getting on the Oregon Trail. But Melody Carlson, just how could you leave me hanging out there in the middle of the trip at such a crucial time! Elizabeth is a person of faith but as they move on she is soon learning more about faith from her young daughter. I really enjoyed reading this and was so disappointed where Melody ended it but I'm also glad that I have the next book in the series "A Dream for Tomorrow" on my Kindle!

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, September 2, 2013

Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark

Miranda Miller lost her mother when she was only five years old. Her Aunt Jane (AJ) came down to Louisiana to take her back to Manhattan to raise her, Miranda was in such bad shape that she wouldn't talk to anyone and only stared, it took a lot of counseling and time before she could finally communicate. Miranda is now married to Nathan and has a five year old daughter Tess, she has a job at the Manhattan Musuem restoring artwork. Miranda has a hard time becoming close to anyone in her life because of the events that happened during her first five years of life, it's like she has an invisible wall around her to keep people at a distance but she doesn't know why.

AJ has been receiving letters from Willy Pedreaux, the old caretaker of the antebellum estate that Miranda inherited from her grandparents, but never let Miranda know. Jimmy Smith brings in a painting that he'd like restored which starts a string of strange events. The problem is it didn't really need restored but just cleaned, as she was checking the painting out she noticed a symbol that jogged her memory but couldn't quite place where she'd seen it before. Jimmy insisted on leaving the painting with her and left the museum, he was a very strange acting man. Since this was a Friday Miranda and AJ always met for lunch but on her way to meet AJ, two men attacked her, ripped her shirt up her back from her waist to her shoulders, gagged her with a rag, grabbed the bottom hem of her pants legs and pulled them up to reveal her ankles and calves, ripped off both shoes and socks then grabbed a fistful of hair while pushing her face onto the cold, slimy cement floor. They kept going back and forth in her hair until they found what they were looking for, finally satisfied, they just left her.

She left the building and went to the closest business and had them call the police then called AJ to come and get her. After AJ helped her get cleaned up she told Miranda about the letters from Willy. Later at home telling Nathan about the incident and the conversation with AJ, they discover that their home has been bugged. Miranda decides she has to go to the Bayou to see Willy and find out what this is all about. She leaves the next morning and after she's at the estate a few hours Willy, on his deathbed, tries to tell her everything but dies before he gets all of the details out.

There are many 'secrets' to be discovered in this story and Mindy does a good job of keeping them a secret until the end. If you like mysteries you'll enjoy this book, I have no problem in recommending it to other readers. I am also looking forward to reading some more of Mindy's mysteries.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall - review of the third book in the Amish Vines and Orchards series

Rhoda Byler along with her brother Stephen's family, and Jacob, Samuel and Leah King and her best friend Landon Olson have relocated just outside of Unity, Maine to bring back to life an old apple orchard on 15 acres of ground. Landon, the only non-Amish in the group, will live with his grandmother in town but the rest will share one house to begin with.

Things happen when Jacob, who is always gone when she needs him the most, becomes jealous of the relationship between Rhoda and Samuel, who is always there to help her through her problems that arise, so Rhoda finds herself having to move out of the shared housing. The three of them find themselves in a strained relationship with each other because of the brother's love for Rhoda and her love for both brothers. She tries to prove her love to Jacob by agreeing to leave and go back to Pennsylvania once he joins the church and they can be married.

I really enjoyed the way these characters kept trying to figure out where they wanted to go with their lives, some wondered if they should stay Amish or not and others if they were doing the right thing for themselves and others. If Rhoda goes through with marrying Jacob, will it tear the two brothers apart even more? If Jacob marries Rhoda how will they be able to live and work on the same land as Samuel? Samuel loves Rhoda and Jacob, is it best for them if he doesn't say anything? Who will give in and how will it end, will they all end up with broken hearts?

You really can't pick up the story by just reading this book, you do have to start with the first book in the series,  "A Season for Tending", then read the second one, "The Winnowing Season", NOW you can read this one then the fourth one comes out in April 2014 titled "Seasons of Tomorrow".

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.”

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Quarryman's Bride by Tracie Peterson - Review of the second book in the Land of Shining Water series

Emmalyne Knox and Tavin MacLachlan had loved each other since childhood and they were to be married in a few weeks when tragedy strikes, a tornado struck and tore their farm to shreds and killed her two younger sisters along with many others in the area. The MacLachlan's took the Knox family in until they could rebuild their home. Unfortunately Emmalyne's dad had other ideas, at the grave site after the funeral he informed the rest of the family that they would be moving that day to Minneapolis, Minnesota and Emmalyne would not be getting married. Since her younger sisters were now dead and her two older sisters were already married it was her responsibility to remain with the family to care for her mother and dad. Emmalyne had a younger brother but the responsibility fell to the youngest girl in the family.

The MacLachlan's convinced the Knox's to wait and leave the next morning, that night Tavin and his sister tried to get Emmalyne to elope but she refused. She was broken hearted and knew Tavin was too but she felt that the Bible made it clear that she had to honor and obey her father. Once they left town, Tavin left too, moving all over, doing different types of jobs, anything to try and forget Emmalyne, he rarely even wrote home. Letters from home rarely reached him but when the one telling about his father being ill and his brother-in-law being killed leaving his sister gravely depressed did he decided to return home, 11 years later.

Eleven years later is when the Knox family returns to St Cloud, Minnesota because of a job offer by Tavin's dad who'd bought a quarry. Robert MacLachlan found a very run down farm for the Knox's to rent and put Gillam to work while Emmalyn works like a slave to make the house livable. When Robert asked Gillam to come and work for him he had no idea Tavin would soon be returning home, so the day Tavin walked into the office at the quarry Gillam was not happy and told Tavin to stay away from his daughter.

Oh Tracie, you did a fantastic job of getting my dander up when it comes to Gillam Knox! I could have just slapped him silly if he was near me, lol, I just wanted to yank him right out of that book and knock some 'feelings' into him. The way Emmalyne did what her dad ordered her to do is to be admired, but at the same time I think she did it for more for her mother's sake. If it wasn't for Emmalyne and her faith I don't know what would have happened to her mother, I'm not sure she would have lived, I think she would have died from a broken heart.

I would highly suggest this book to my reading friends, I think Emmalyne shows more strength and faith than I would have had. She gave up a lot, what would have probably been a happy life in exchange for a life of emotional abuse.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Icecutter's Daughter by Tracie Peterson - Review of the first book in Land of Shining Water series

Merrill Krause lived in Minnesota and dedicated her life to caring for her father and six brothers since her mother died when she was only eleven years old. Not only did she do the usual womanly duties, she also helped with the animals and with the icecutting, the family business. Needless to say she didn't get the pampering without spoiling that her mother wanted her to have.

Rurik Jorgenson lived in Kansas with his brother on the family farm. When he was young his father agreed to commit Rurik to an arranged marriage with Svea Olsson but when Rurik tells her that he's leaving for Minnesota to help his Uncle Carl, Svea gets mad and calls the engagement off.

Rurik has always like building furniture since his farfar Jorgenson and Uncle Carl taught him when he was little. Carl has always helped the Krause's with the icecutting but since he's sick he volunteer's Rurik to go in his place. Merrill and Rurik find they are harboring feelings for each other but have not voiced them to anyone, not even each other. When Svea and her brother Nils, Rurik's best friend from childhood, show up unexpectedly in Minnesota the trouble starts for Rurik and soon ruins his reputation. Svea and Nils are very insistent Rurik follow through with the marriage even though she called it off when he left town. Something is not right here!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end and had another LATE night trying to get to the end. Tracie does her usual good job of pulling you right into the story. I hurriedly started the second book, "The Quarryman's Bride" and already I would like to knock someone silly in that book.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Adoring Addie by Leslie Gould - review of the second book in The Courtships of Lancaster County series

Addie Cramer is the only girl in the family with six brothers. The Cramers have a Hatfield vs McCoys relationship with the Mosier family. It hasn't always been this way, Addie's Daed and Dirk Mosier were best friends from the time they were little boys, until something happened and they became enemies. This disagreement has carried over to the next generation, at least as far as Addie's brothers are concerned.

Addie's parents want her to court and marry Phillip Eicher, the bishops son from the neighboring district, and she's considering it but just isn't sure it's what she wants. When she notices a strange man in their field one evening and at their house the next day for the BBQ she learns that his name is Jonathan Mosier, Dirk's son, and his family is moving back to the area to care for Dawdy Mosier.

You'd think with Addie being the only girl she'd be treasured and maybe spoiled (as spoiled as any Amish child would be that is) but no, she can't do anything right as far as her parents and two oldest brothers are concerned. She still tries to please them in every way possible, she's never done anything wrong, that is until Jonathan comes to town.

Your heart will break for Addie, I found myself wanting to give that family a piece of my mind to wake them up. Leslie really yanks on your heartstrings and you will NOT be able to put this one down until reach the end! If the next book, "Minding Molly" is anything like this one, I can hardly wait and it says it won't be out until February of 2014, DARN!

A must read! ! ! !  Oh, and have your tissues nearby while reading "Adoring Addie".

The Message On The Quilt by Stephanie Grace Whitson - Review of the third book in The Quilt Chronicles series

Emilie Rhodes is an only child and she really wants to be a journalist, to write real news. Her editor father pacifies her by giving her an assignment to write a Ladies News column, which consisted of upcoming events with dates and times. When he catches her helping the typesetter he even takes that away from her. As Emilie prepares for the 1890 Chautauqua series with her cousins, the Spring Sisters, she comes up with an idea for a series of articles. This she does with the help of Noah Shaw, known as "The Man of Many Voices" but she submits them anonymously with the rival paper in Beatrice, NE.

Noah Shaw follows the circuit for the Chautauqua series but while in Beatrice he learns about Colonel Josiah Barton who could maybe tell him some things about his parents, at least his mother. He never knew his father and his mother died when he was young but he remembers the stories she used to tell him and the only thing he has is the quilt on which she stitched pictures of her life in the west.

Emilie and Noah can feel the connection with each other practically from the time he saves her from a snake in the middle of the night and then sees her home. Noah decides to go with Colonel Barton to trace the trail his mother took, Noah isn't sure if/when he returns if Emilie will still want him. You can sense what Noah's feeling in his heart as he goes on this very emotional trip.

As I was reading and Noah would tell about the pictures on his quilt and the stories to go along with them, I was trying to imagine what it looked like to a young boy, now a young man, then it all becomes clear in the end.

What a wonderful series this has been, I so loved it and I hate for it to end, I hope Stephanie can come up with some more stories. Stephanie makes it so you hate to put the book down, such a great job of writing. I'm definitely looking for more of her books.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pennsylvania Patchwork by Kate Lloyd - Review of the second book in Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy

Holly and her mother Esther Fisher are living in Esther's family home with her mother Anna. The rest of Esther's family has moved to Montana so she and Holly are taking care of Mommy Anna, as Holly calls her grandmother. Both women, Holly and Esther have a lot of decisions to make about their future and the closer they get to thinking they know what they want, the more complicated things become.

This is a pretty busy story and keeps you guessing which direction they are moving toward. Esther's husband to be, Nathaniel, has to leave town to search for his first wife, Holly becomes engaged to a mennonite but finds herself falling for Armin, Nathaniel's brother, and to top that off an old friend comes from Seattle to visit and wants her to marry him.

As all of this is happening her grandmother is very sick and Esther gets a box from an old friend of her husband with the most bizarre contents. The contents are from Samuel, Esther's supposedly deceased husband, but what is in the box isn't something he would send to Esther and Holly and kind of throws Mommy Anna off the deep end which causes her to get even more forgetful.

Kate did a good job of keeping me guessing as to what was going to happen and I must say that I was surprised in Holly's decision. Another good read for all of you Amish book lovers out there. Don't forget to read "Leaving Lancaster" first to get the background for this story!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Catherine's Pursuit by Lena Nelson Dooley - Review of the third book in McKenna's Daughters Series

Catherine Lenora McKenna grew up as an only child, the daughter of Angus McKenna. She lived with her father and aunt Kirstin, her mother's sister who came to live with them after her husband died. On the day of her 18th birthday she hears Angus and Kirstin arguing, when she hears her name she interrupts demanding to know what they are arguing about. This is how she finds out that she is one of three, a triplet! As she prepares for her birthday party she is very depressed thinking about her sisters that died.

After a few weeks Angus is finally ready to answer all the questions Catherine may have. She is surprised when she finds out that her sisters are alive and living with two different families and Angus has no idea where they are because he promised the families that he'd never try to take them back. Catherine takes it upon herself to go looking without telling Angus.

This has been a very heartwarming series from beginning to end. Angus has struggled with the decisions he made for 18 long years, now that he's told his daughter the truth he has to deal with the consequences. He has hopes that if Catherine does find her sisters, will she, and her sisters, ever forgive him for making the decision he did, knowing in his heart that may never happen.

Lena does a beautiful job writing about this subject and telling the feelings from all sides. All three of these books kept me up late and not wanting to put them down. I would encourage anyone that likes Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, etc. to purchase this series (all three books at one time), believe me you will want to pick up the next in the series as soon as you finish the previous one.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mary's Blessing by Lena Nelson Dooley - Review of the second book in McKenna's Daughters series

Mary Lenora Murray had loving parents but a very hard life. She knew that she was adopted but didn't know who her mother and father were or why they gave her away, she did know though that she was loved by her adopted parents. Mary had two older sisters, a younger sister and two younger brothers. Her mother and two older sisters died from cholera when she was eleven so she had to grow up fast and at a young age. Once her mother had died Mary had to take care of her father and siblings, her father was never the same and life was changed.

Daniel Winthrop came west in the same wagon train that Mary's family was in so they knew each other their whole lives, Daniel is 20 and Mary will soon be 18. Daniel gets permission from Kenneth, Mary's dad, to court Mary. After a short time he takes Mary on a Friday Surprise trip to Portland and when they return they find Kenneth laying in the field with a terrible cut on his leg. When they get him to the doctor, the doctor doesn't even know if he'll make it and if he does they might have to amputate his leg.

As Mary is caring for her father Daniel is falling deeper in love and has their future all planned out, Mary doesn't like what he plans so they have an argument and Daniel leaves in a huff. He is supposed to return so he can take her home to bathe, see her siblings and then return her to the doctor's office, but he never returns.

WOW! Mary's story is one that tears at your heart. She takes everything that is handed to her, and it's a lot, but keeps on going and giving her best for her family. She shows such strength for having to take over a household at such a young age with no resentment or anger. Sometimes maybe a little wishful thinking for some time for herself, but she pulls herself together and continues on with the life that she's been given.

I'm so glad I have the third book, "Catherine's Pursuit", so I can get started on it right now. All I can say is that if you get "Maggie's Journey" you might as well get the other two at the same time, that's what I did and I'm really glad.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Maggie's Journey by Lena Nelson Dooley - Review of the first book in McKenna's Daughters series

Margaret Lenora Caine, an only child, grew up in Seattle and had a very privileged life. She has noticed a change in her mother, Florence, in the last few years, she feels like her mother is constantly criticizing her and trying to change the person she has become. Maggie can't figure out what she's done to upset her mother. Maggie loves to design dresses which is what her grandmother does in Little Rock, Arkansas but she has never seen her and she is her only grandchild.

In a few days Maggie will be turning 18 and she wants to design a special dress but her mother already has something else in mind. When she remembers that there are some of her mother's old dresses in the attic Maggie goes exploring. She finds a beautiful green dress that would only need to be shortened and will look nice with her red hair. Maggie continues to look through chests in the attic and finds a little white chest, when she gets to the bottom of it she finds out a family secret, she may have figured out why her mother want's to change her, or is that really what is going on.

What a great story this is, Lena did a wonderful job. I couldn't put this book down and read it in about 1 1/2 days. I can hardly wait to read number two in the series, Mary's Blessing, I will be starting it as soon as I'm done with this review. You won't go wrong investing in this book.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Murray Pura's American Civil War Series - Cry of Freedom - Volume 1 - Return To Shirley Plantation by Carrie Faucett Pagels - Review

Angelina Rose is a freed slave who chose to stay in Virginia until she could save enough money to pay the owners of her niece and nephew for their freedom, then she would move north. She had a job lined up as a seamstress up north but declined so she could be with her sisters kids.

Matthew Scott was abducted against his will and conscripted into the Confederate army because of his Copperhead father’s political leaning but his mother was a strong abolitionist. He ended up on Shirley Plantation as a wounded soldier.

What I thought would be a war story turned out to be more of a personal story and thoroughly enjoyable to read. Carrie did a wonderful job of holding my interest in this short story and made it a very quick read for me. I've read some books that take place during the civil war and I prefer this kind, more about the people and what they went through.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Bride for All Seasons by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy and Robin Lee Hatcher - Review

And Then Came Spring
by Margaret Brownley
The longer superstitious Mary-Jo Parker waited for Daniel Garrett, the more mad she became. Finally after waiting for two hours she heads for a hotel when she is run into by a young boy, when she helps him up she asks if he knows Daniel Garret. Mary-Jo is shocked when he answers with a yes that's my dad, after all there was no mention of children in the ad posted in the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue. When asked where he is, the boy points across the street to the church. Mary-Jo dressed in a bright yellow dress rushes into the church where everyone is dressed in black on a Wednesday, then the sheriff informs her that Daniel is the man in the casket she hurries up to look at him then leaves. This is the second time she's been engaged and the second time to have her intended die. She just barely has money for a motel room for one night yet alone a return ticket to Georgia. 

An Ever-After Summer
by Debra Clopton
Melvin Eldora Smith is known as a born killer and has lived with her Aunt Millicent since she was born, according to Aunt Millicent she has killed three people. She has grown up with the whole town talking about her and even the kids taunting and calling her Murderin' Melvina. She has learned to depend on God so when Aunt Millicent found out that Melvin Eldora had been working on a farm and sometimes wearing mens jeans she slapped a copy of the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue in front of her and told her she had one hour to pick out a husband. When she saw Matthew's ad that he needed a mother for his two-year-old baby girl she knew that was the family for her. She didn't know that Matthew didn't want a wife and he didn't want a bible-thumper. 

Autumn's Angel
by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena was a single woman with the responsibility of her nephew and two neices. She had nothing because her father had lost the family fortune, her mother had died and now her sister and brother-in-law had died in a boating accident. When she saw Clay's ad for a wife to help him run the Grand Coeur she writes him as she's always wanted to be an opera singer. Clay sends the money for her to come but he's in for a surprise when she gets off the stage coach with three kids in tow. When he tells Luvena there's a big mistake here she faints but he takes her home and there is no marriage. She writes to the owner of the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue to inform him of the mistake and complain about the changes made to their letters to each other she then demands he run another ad for her, free of charge of course.

Winter Wedding Bells
by Mary Connealy
David, convinced he's going to die due to complications from pneumonia so he places an ad in the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue for a wife to care for his two sons and run his ranch once he's gone. Megan had raised her five brothers and thought this was the man for her. David didn't plan on her not believing that he had less than a year to live. Matter of fact she didn't find this out until they were married and headed home. He informed Megan that there would be no wifely duties as he didn't want to leave her with child, this doesn't sit well with this Irish woman.

I'm surprised the owner of the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue survived after all of the ads and letters he changed to bring couples together. In this day, he would be sued many times over. These ladies just continue to put their best foot forward with their writing ability. They have some pretty entertaining stories in this book.