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.