Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Holding a Tender Heart by Jerry S Eicher - Review of the first book in The Beiler Sisters series

Debbie Watson is English but grew up living next door to Bishop Beiler and spending time at his house playing with his daughters. She has now graduated from college and landed her first job, so now her mother is in a hurry for her to move out. Debbie knows she was born English but she feels she is Amish in her heart, she loves the peaceful life they lead.

When she gets up enough nerve, she asks Bishop Beiler if she can room at their house, as a paying boarder, so she can learn more about the Amish faith and maybe become Amish. The Bishop agrees, not only does he like Debbie but he is hoping she can help with his middle daughter Lois who thinks she wants to jump the fence.

When Verna, the oldest Beiler daughter, finally takes a stand and agrees to let a boy take her home from a singing, her father isn't any too pleased. You see, she is 24 and never once been 'allowed' to accept a ride home, but she really likes Joe Weaver. When Joe gets arrested and is looking at possibly 20 years of jail time she continues to support him against her fathers wishes and nearly finds herself excommunicated. Can her dad really do that to her, yes, if she doesn't change her mind. Verna also talks Debbie into helping somewhat with Joe's case but will it do any good?

Another wonderful story by Jerry. It's like looking from the outside in with Debbie wanting to become Amish and how she views things. I don't know that I could give up all of our conveniences. He also shows how a strong faith in Da Hah can get you through the worst of trials. This book is on the shelves March 1, 2014 and I am already anxiously waiting for the next book in the series, "Seeing Your Face Again" due out June 1, 2014.

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

Love by the Letter by Melissa Jagears - Review of the prequel to the Unexpected Brides series

Dex Stanton is preparing to head west and wants to take a bride with him. He had to quit school when he was young to support his family so he didn't learn to read and even though he had really loved Rachel Oliver for a long time he felt she would never be interested in him because she was so smart and he was dumb. So in his quest for a bride he decided to go the mail-order way.

When Dex discovers Rachel is teaching his step-nephew to read he takes a chance and asks her to help him in the few days he has left before the wagon train leaves. He really needs help because when he got the response from the mail-order bride letter she was laughing at his spelling, how can he find a bride if he can't even spell out what he wants. No one is more surprised than Dex when he gets the idea that just maybe Rachel would marry him and go west, but then the day before the wagon train is to leave, and he hasn't had a chance to ask Rachel, who shows up but the mail-order bride! He never responded to her letter to tell her whether she should come or not to Kansas and go west with him, so now what can he do? And to top it all off Rachel sees and hears it all.

If this is any clue as to the rest of the series, I will love it! I don't believe I've read any of Melissa's books, but this prequel was great and has me looking forward to the whole series. Melissa did a wonderful job.

You can only get this prequel as an e-book and as of this posting it is free on Amazon, CBD and Barnes & Noble. Hurry up and get it while you can at this price!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Bride for Noah by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith - Review of the first in the Seattle Brides series

It's 1851 and Evie Lawrence is working for Miles and Letitia Coffinger and as Miles is reading a letter from his nephew, Noah Hughes, to his wife, Evie overhears the suggestion to bring a load of women to Oregon Territory. Evie is engaged to James but one evening she finally sees the light and a different plan starts forming in her mind. She confronts Mr Coffinger first to see if he'd be willing to be a partner in a new restaurant in the Oregon Territory then she breaks off the engagement with James and soon finds herself, along with Miles and three other ladies on her way Oregon.

The plan doesn't go as well as she planned, Miles didn't have the money she thought he did and now she finds herself owing a bank money and the owners of the lumber company are very unhappy when women show up. The women didn't know just how rough the wilderness would be and find themselves having to work harder than was bargained for, oh, and there are Indians too!

I found this a peaceful smooth and fun book to read, I found myself chuckling in a few spots and just about had to brush away a couple of tears. Anytime I do that when reading I consider it a good story. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, "Rainy Day Dreams", to come out in April.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl - Review of the second book in the Road To Kingdom series

Someone is burning the churches in neighboring towns and now they have started running the residents of Kingdom, Kansas off the road ending in the death of one of the elderly men. Hope Kauffman was also run off the road and hurt then after she unhitched Daisy and started down the road for home the red truck turned around and was headed straight at her. About that time Jonathon Wiese came along in his truck and stopped the red truck from hitting her, the mystery man turned around and sped off. Eventually the red truck started appearing in Kingdom, Lizzy and Noah's house was set on fire and then the church a short time later, almost killing Pastor Mendenhall.

Why are these people suddenly terrorizing the residents of Kingdom? Another thing, how do they even know about Kingdom and since the only road into town is being watched, how are they getting in to cause the havoc? Another question is why does the sheriff seem to dislike them so much and seem to have no interest in investigating any of the incidents?

Wow, Nancy started this book out with a bang, from the beginning you are trying to figure out who would want to terrorize the peaceful Mennonites and why. She also shares how people in the same church can come up with different ways to handle the problem and they both seem to be right. I really enjoyed that because as I've gotten older I do try to look at both sides of a problem and when I'm trying to help loved ones who are arguing I try to get them to see the other persons side. Of course all that seems to do is to make the one I'm talking to think that I'm on the other one's side, even though I say I can understand where 'you' are coming from but I know where 'they' are coming from also. I've been both a mother and a daughter so I'm trying to see both sides, they don't buy it, lol.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Inescapable by Nancy Mehl - Review of the first book in the Road to Kingdom series

Lizzie Engel is on the run again, she ran away from her home in Kingdom, Kansas, a Mennonite community, five years ago to get away from he mean father and the people that she thought looked down on her for having a child out of wedlock, Charity, by an Englishman.

She has been living in Kansas City since she ran without even telling her mother where she was, she had no communication with anyone from Kingdom all this time. Now all of a sudden she finds herself fired for stealing money she didn't steal, a man in a red baseball cap is stalking her, and she's getting threatening notes mailed to her. Lizzie has no choice but to leave Kansas City with Charity and not tell anyone, again, where she is going, but where can she go? The only place is back to Kingdom in hopes that her parents will let her move back in at least temporarily.

Once Lizzie gets to Kingdom her mother is more than willing to let her move back in but her father refuses to open his home to Lizzie and Charity. She manages to find a job at the local restaurant and can live upstairs but it doesn't take long before she sees her stalker has found her. After the man in the red cap is found dead she finds another note, this time no postage stamp on it. Now she's even more frightened, who could be following her, is she still wanted in Kansas City for theft, who could have killed the man in the red cap, could her father have killed him trying, for once, to do something 'right' for Lizzie, could Noah, her friend since childhood and keeps telling her he'll protect her no matter what have done it, could Clay, Charity's father who suddenly shows up in Kingdom again and offers to support Charity even if Lizzie doesn't want him in their life be the one or is it just a coincidence these things are happening now?

Good mystery Nancy, kept me guessing, I thought I had an idea but wasn't sure and then I kept going back and forth. If you like mysteries you will like this one. I'm looking forward to reading the next two books in the series. I read this one on my Kindle but I have the second one, "Unbreakable", in paperback, so I'm starting it now.

The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad - Review of the third book in the Lake Manawa Summers series

Lilly Hart has taken her six-year-old son, Levi, and left her in-laws home. In the three years since her husband has been gone she has gotten fed up with their intrusiveness and trying to send Levi off to a boarding school, which his dad had hated and did not plan on doing with Levi.

Lilly takes a job as cook in a Midway diner in Lake Manawa, she is hired before the season starts so she can feed the workers that are building the Red Velvet Roller Coaster. Levi makes friends with Nick, the designer of the coaster and can hardly wait to ride it when it's finished. Lilly tries to avoid becoming friends with Nick and refuses to ride the coaster or let Levi get his hopes of for a ride.

Claude Hart, a prominent attorney in town, Levi's grandpa, wants to cause problems for Lilly and Nick, since he is a good friend of Levi's. He will do anything to get Levi taken away from Lilly, even cause someone to die, if that's what it takes.

I just can't say enough about this series, I found it totally entertaining! Of course it helps that I am familiar with the area and have driven through the Omaha/Council Bluffs/Lake Manawa area countless times and have stopped in Lake Manawa many, many times. Yes, it is completely different now but I enjoy reading about areas I know. Another thing who doesn't like reading about summer vacations, spending a whole summer on the lake with an amusement park? I would suggest this book to anyone that likes a fun read with a little twist.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Great Catch by Lorna Seilstad - Review of the second book in the Lake Manawa Summers series

Lake Manawa, Iowa is still growing and Emily Graham is the president of the Council Bluffs Equal Suffrage Club, she is determined to get women the right to vote. Carter Stockton is the pitcher for the Manawa Owls baseball team and plans to enjoy his first summer since graduating from college.

Emily's great aunts are trying to find her a husband and trying to get her to forget about the women's vote. The first man they try to set her up with, she knocks out with a horseshoe. You see, Emily is a klutz, that's how Carter happened to get involved with her this summer, she was skating and she fell. She says her fall caused Carter to topple on her but he insists he ran into her so he feels responsible for her getting hurt. Carter takes her home and soon finds himself helping Emily's grandmother with her bank account which keeps coming up short of money, the account is in the bank owned by his father and run by his brother.

This was a very fun book to read, Lorna had me when she started with the roller skating, that is how I met my husband and my aunt and uncle also met roller skating! Also, I love the klutziness of Emily, we have a klutz in our family, our granddaughter, we always say she can trip over her own feet, she is ditzy besides and she isn't even a blonde, lol. I found myself giggling throughout this book and yes there was a spot when I fought back a tear too. I don't see how anyone would not love this book.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad - Review of the first book in the Lake Manawa Summers series

Marguerite Westing from Council Bluffs, Iowa was a spunky girl who detested the man her mother had picked for her to marry, Roger Gordon. He was vanilla ice cream and she was a strawberry sundae. In 1895 her father decided the family would spend the summer months at Lake Manawa, Iowa, that is where she met Trip Andrews when he had to pull her from the lake and she got her first taste of sailing. Her mother let her younger brother Mark do anything he wanted because he was a boy but she couldn't do anything, that is why she sneaks and lies.

I wanted to read this series because I was born and raised about 100 miles north of Lake Manawa, where Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota meet, in South Sioux City, Nebraska and these books sounded like some fun stories. I can say I really got into this book, Lorna started out with a fun, lighthearted story and by the final third of the book I was fighting back tears for Marguerite. She was such a fun character it was a shame she had to fight her mother and later her father who had always been her hero, he would let her do things that her mother didn't approve of, until now.

I would encourage others to read this book if they like Christian Historical's, I think they will really enjoy Lorna's work.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley - Review of the third book in Brides of Last Chance Ranch series

Annie Beckman (Miranda Hunt) and David Branch (Jeremy Taggart) are both on the train to Cactus Patch, Arizona although they don't know each other they are both headed to the Last Chance Ranch. When a man appears to have dropped an envelope Annie picks it up and returns it to him causing Branch to think she's the Phantom, the leader of the Phantom gang or at least a member. Right before the train arrives in Cactus Patch the man that had dropped the envelope and two others, including Branch, rob the passengers but to their despair they are all three arrested as soon as they get off of the train.

How did the sheriff know the train would be robbed, they got a call from the Phantom telling him and while he was arresting the three robbers, the Phantom was robbing the bank. Annie catches a ride to the ranch with Stretch but when she gets there no one is at the house. She waits and finally having to use the facilities she goes inside but when she comes around a corner she surprises Miss Walker who falls and breaks her femur. Now Annie has to be a nurse to the crotchety old lady and still try to find the Phantom for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, she has her work cut out for her.

Branch is released from jail on a ruse, because he actually works for the Wells Fargo Detective Agency, and goes to work on the Last Chance Ranch also. The two agents from opposing agency's suspect everyone, including each other and even Miss Walker.

This was the best book in the series, it has a mystery to it and it stays a mystery to the end. When Annie discovers what Branch is responsible for she wants nothing more to do with him, as if she wanted anything to do with him before. If you think Miss Walker was a bossy person before, her demeanor being laid up with a broken let hanging from the rafters, so to speak, make things worse. There is a very surprising ending though!

Margaret really outdid herself with this book and I would highly recommend investing in this series.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer - Review

Caroline (Carrie) Lang and Ollie Moore are both working undercover at Dinsmore's World-Famous Chocolates Factory in Sinclair, Kansas. Carrie is investigating the hiring and treatment of children as she tries to find out about the suspicious death of a previous investigator assigned there. Ollie is actually Oliver Dinsmore and the heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty and his father wants him to find out everything he can about the business before he takes over. The Two have different views about child labor and without telling each other why they are really there, their suspicious about the other are rising.

I think the story started out kind of slow but it didn't take long to pick up speed and I was pouring full steam ahead into this book. Kim did a good job of pulling you in gradually and by the end you're telling yourself, "I'm getting close, I'm getting close, I'm getting close to figuring it out!" She also pulls at your heartstrings when you read about Caroline's childhood. This is another on of Kim's books that you will love if you like a little mystery along with some heart tugging issues going on.

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.”