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.