Thursday, June 27, 2013

Trouble in Store by Carol Cox - Review

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

When Melanie Ross is fired as a governess she doesn't know what she'll do. She has no family, no money and no friends she can ask to help her. As she is packing her things she finds herself reading some letters she's saved from her now deceased family she comes across one from her cousin George in Colorado telling her that she's always welcome to come out there and work in the mercantile with him and his business partner but George has since died. Then she finds a letter from Alvin Nelson, George's business partner, letting her know that he is keeping all of her cousin's things for her and the invitation still stands for her to come to Colorado. Now she has a place to go but no money, that's when Mr Deaver enters and gives her a large sum for her severance pay, so now she finds herself leaving Ohio and moving to Colorado.

Upon her arrival in Colorado she goes straight to the Ross-Nelson Mercantile to introduce herself to Alvin. The proprietor is very busy as she enters and after waiting a few minutes she tries to pitch in and help. The problem is that it isn't Alvin, and the new owner doesn't know anything about Melanie. The new owner is none other than Alvin's nephew Caleb and he doesn't believe she owns half the mercantile but when she threatens to get the sheriff to see how he see's it, Caleb backs down because he's afraid she may just be right. Now we have two people that don't see eye to eye trying to run one store, not only that, someone wants them out of town. Alvin has been finding threatening notes since he moved to Colorado to help his Uncle Alvin, these notes are continuing, a man is found murdered on the back door stoop, someone is breaking in and wreaking havoc and putting Melanie's life in danger. Not only all of that, Caleb sic's all of the bachelors onto Melanie to try to get her to leave.

I so enjoyed this book, I found myself chuckling throughout even with the touch of mystery and murders. There is even an "S" shaped lady in the story, a very important lady in town no less. I would recommend this book as a good, fun, read and one you might not be able to put down until you are finished with it. This is the first book I've read by Carol and I now have another author that I 'have' to follow.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Blessed by Ann H Gabhart - Review of the fourth book in the Shakers series

Lacey Bishop was taken in by Preacher Elwood Palmer to care for his wife Mona and later baby Rachel when she was left on their doorstep. When Mona died the ladies of the Ebenezer Church didn't think it was right that Lacey and Rachel live with Preacher Palmer unless they were married. Lacey didn't love him, really didn't even care for him but she did love Rachel and she knew that if she didn't marry Preacher Palmer she would lose Rachel. They agreed to be married and Lacey would have some time before she would have to become a real wife to him.

In the mean time the Shaker's came to sell their seeds to the parishioners but they got into a deep discussion with Preacher Palmer, after coming back several days they soon had him convinced to move his family and as many church members that wanted to, to join the Shaker's. He did give Lacey a choice, but if she chose not to go with him, again, she would lose Rachel. Lacey did go with him even though she'd heard they would take Rachel away from her because they don't believe in families in the conventional way, everyone is called brother or sister. The children are kept in one house, the women in one and the men in one.

How is Lacey going to survive, will she ever come around to their way of belief?

I thought the book had a slow start to it, maybe it was just because I was upset with the way Lacey's life was going and when she went to live with the Shaker's it seemed to get worse. As I read I was figuring some things out and then needed to read faster to see if I was right. I am enjoying this series but I really don't agree with the Shaker's belief's, maybe that's what keeps me coming back to try to understand it. I know, at least I think I know, that I could not live the way they do. Anyway, I would recommend this book, this series, yes, please start with the first book, to others. The Shaker's I guess really do amaze me with their ideas.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Hopeful Heart by Amy Clipston - Review of the first book in Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series

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.”

Hannah Glick lost her husband a few years ago but continues to live on the farm where he and his brother Joshua raised horses. She is the mother of 16 year old twin girls and a 10 year old son. The family is getting along well but she still misses her husband and has gone to work at the Grand Hotel in Paradise to help supplement the business so they can hire Joshua some help. The property actually belongs to her in-laws and she has to pay them rent to live in the house.

Joshua has loved Hannah since the were youngsters, even though she married his brother he never found another woman he wanted to make his wife. He feels like he's gotten closer to her since Gideon has died and he loves his nieces and nephew as if they were his own. He sees Hannah daily and eats many meals with her family and he's falling more in love with her every day.

While Hannah is working at the Grand Hotel she meets Trey Peterson, a very nice and handsome man, but he's an Englischer. Trey lost his wife and teenage daughter about a year ago so they have a lot in common. When Andrew, Hannah's son, falls while she's at work and is bleeding profusely, Trey offers to drive her home. He waits until he knows Andrew is okay to leave and when Hannah walks him to the car he comforts her with a hug.

Rumors are soon running rampant and not only affecting Hannah, but her children also. After talking to the Bishop she agrees to stay away from Trey, she has to for the sake of her family. Will she ever find out who started the rumors, will she be able to stay away from Trey, or will she agree to marry Joshua for her family's sake? Hannah spends a lot of time in prayer and crying, she even takes a leave from work, she really doesn't know what to do.

I found my heart beating in sympathy for Hannah and the decisions she has to make, it is heartbreaking. Amy kept my blood pressure up and I was praying right along with Hannah, thanks Amy, I already have high blood pressure, haha! I hope the choice she made is the right one and that she and her children will be happy.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer - Review

When Meredith Hayes hears the man she is being pushed to marry tell his hired hand to burn down the Archer's barn she knows she has to warn Travis Archer, the man of her dreams for the last 12 years, that there is danger coming. Now mind you, she has only seen the man once in her lifetime and that was 12 years ago, he rescued her from a trap when she was trespassing on his property and she has dreamed about marrying him ever since.

She has been living with her father's brother, his wife and her cousin Cassie for the last few years and now that her uncle's business is failing they are trying to force her to marry to save their business. The man they want her to marry is trying to force the Archer's to sell their land to him and he will do anything to get both pieces of land, hers through marriage and the Archer's by any means necessary.

When Meredith runs off to warn Travis she ends up getting kicked in the head by a mule and is alone with the four Archer brothers for several days before her uncle finds her. This changes the whole marriage plan but the 'weaselling' doesn't end.

This story is pretty action packed in places for such an innocent sounding title. I couldn't wait for the next paragraph, page, chapter to find out what was going to happen next. Meredith is a spitfire who is not afraid of anything and seems to have a habit of doing just the opposite of what she's told to do.

Another winner for Karen! I am finding that every one of her books I read, I like it better than the previous one. I love the characters she puts in her stories.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer - Review

Levi Grant has a past, he's killed a man and spent time in prison, now he's trying to start over. He found the Lord in prison, should I say he found him again since he was raised with the Lord in his life. The only one in Spencer, Texas that knows of his past is the preacher who is helping him get started as the new blacksmith for the town.

Eden Spencer has a past that the whole town knows about, a town named after her family, and has turned from looking for a husband to running a library. She has to approve the new blacksmith but isn't sure about him because of his hesitant way of talking. Finally after he offers a one month trial period, Eden agrees to let him take over.

The sheriff 'considers' himself engaged to Eden, Eden shuns him every time he tries to act possesive. Levi is beginning to be a thorn in the sheriff's side. Eden refuses to let Levi borrow books from the library because she doesn't want him coming in regularly to exchange books. He won't even say her name, calls her Ma'am even after she insists he call her Miss Spencer because Ma'am makes her feel decrepit. Her plan backfires though because he comes in daily so he can sit and read, I mean, if you can't take the book home and you want to read that is the only way, but she can't take back the two week residency requirement now.

When the sheriff begins to feel really threatened by Levi's presence and he has found out about his past, his plan to bring Levi down is soon set into motion, will it work to get him to leave town or be reincarcerated?

I really liked this book, and would recommend it to others. I have read other books by Karen and started a new one already, Short-Straw Bride and I have Stealing the Preacher in my stack of to read books.

Though My Heart Is Torn by Joanne Bischof - Review of the second book in the Cadence of Grace series

Lonnie and Gideon O'Riley with their son Jacob are finally very happy where they are in their lives. Gideon has changed his life around, he and Lonnie are truly in love and they have their handsome son to complete the happy family. Things couldn't be better for them.

When Lonnie receives a letter from her Dad telling her that she needs to return home as soon as possible because her Mother is very ill and he doesn't know how long she has left to live, the small family hurriedly leaves with plans to return as soon as possible to Elsie and Jebediah who have helped them become the people they are today.

Arriving at her parents house, Lonnie hears her Mother's voice as she's approaching the door, she sounds fine. Curious she rushes in to find her Mother very healthy. They soon discover that her Father outright lied in the letter just to get them home, why? Their happy life will by turned upside down the next day when Gideon's past comes back to hit them in the face. Will their marriage survive this bump in the road or will Lonnie and Jacob be returning to Elsie and Jebediah alone?

It seems like this is how life is for a lot of people, some are able to struggle through and try to make the best of things for a bright future anyway and others seem to give up and return to the old life or give up altogether and end their lives after something devastating/heartbreaking happens. If you have faith in the Lord you know that things happen for a reason and there is something better ahead of you, just try not to lose that faith.

Joanne did a wonderful job of pulling you even further into Gideon and Lonnie's life with this second book and leaves you hanging at the end so you are anxious for the next one in the series, My Hope is Found, due out in October of 2013. I really don't want this year to go any faster, maybe we could jump to October then come back to June, haha.