Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lost Are Found by Vikki Kestell - Review of the sixth book in A Prairie Heritage series

Joy Thoresen Michaels has lost the two most precious people in her life: her husband and her only child. She cannot receive her husband back from the dead, but she has hope for her son--hope that he will be recovered:

"I spoke a moment ago about my prairie heritage--the enduring faith my papa and mama lived as an example for me. It is because of their faith that I have such hope for Edmund even though he is, today, lost to us."

"You see, what is lost to us is not--is not--lost to God! I remember Papa saying this very thing: In God, the lost are found. Our Lord sees the entire world--and nothing in all of his creation is hidden to him! I am comforted to know that wherever Edmund is, God is there with him."

Four families bind themselves in a solemn pledge: They vow to never stop searching for Edmund and to never stop trusting that God will restore him to them, whether in this life or the next.

Lost Are Found, the conclusion of this spiritually rich series,chronicles how God answers those who utterly trust in him, no matter the circumstances--and no matter how long the wait.

What an outstanding finish to a series! I cannot find the words to express how moved I was by this book/series. To think that one woman that has been gone for many, many years can manage to still bring someone to surrender herself to Christ is just amazing. Rose's journaling has impressed me throughout this series, you really need to read this series starting with book one to get the full impact. I was so drawn into this book that I think I read a little more than half of it, to get it finished, today, I just couldn't put it down! If you don't shed some tears while reading this I just don't know what to tell you.

I HIGHLY recommend this SERIES to you, I don't think you will be disappointed. Vikki did a fantastic job, so good that when I'd start one of the books I did more reading on my Kindle than I did of 'hands-on' books, and that is very unusual!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Captive Within by Vikki Kestell - Review of the fifth book in A Prairie Heritage series

The Captive Within picks up the day after Joy on This Mountain ends. The two infamous houses of Corinth, Colorado, are closed and the young women who had been imprisoned there have been released. Rose and Joy leave Corinth to establish a home and a haven for "their" girls in Denver.

Before long, Rose and Joy face a heartbreaking challenge: What does it take to unlock and free the soul of a defiled woman? and as they wrestle for a foothold in Denver, Rose discovers that the long abandoned house given to them hides a dark secret of its own.

Although this book kind of strayed off of the Thoresen family, don't get me wrong Joy and Rose are still very much in the story, I still found the book compelling. It is amazing what Joy and Rose are able to do for the 'abused' women in that day and time, and such faith they have even when things don't look good. I like that Vikki has Rose writing in a journal and we get to know her feelings and just reading those entries can encourage a person in their own faith.

I was so anxious to read the next book that I'm half done with it and I'm just now writing the review for this one. I so encourage you to read this series, it is turning into something I totally did not expect. Not only am I half done with Stolen, which I can hardly put down, I have to purchase the sixth one in the series, Lost Are Found!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Fruitcake Challenge by Carrie Fancett Pagels - Review of the third book in the Christmas Traditions Series

When new lumberjack, Tom Jeffries, tells the camp cook, Jo Christy, that he'll marry her if she can make a fruitcake, "as good as the one my mother makes," she rises to the occasion. After all, he's the handsomest, smartest, and strongest axman her camp-boss father has ever had in his camp--and the cockiest. And she intends to bring this lumberjack down a notch or three by refusing his proposal. The fruitcake wars are on! All the shanty boys and Jo's cooking helpers chip in with their recipes but Jo finds she'll have to enlist more help--and begins corresponding with Tom's mother.

Step back in time to 1890, in beautiful Northern Michigan, near the sapphire straits of Mackinac, when the white pines were "white gold" and lumber camps were a way of life. Jo is ready to find another life outside of the camps and plans that don't include any shanty boys. But will a lumberjack keep her in the very place she's sworn to leave?

Carrie did a great job on this short story. I don't like fruitcake, my mom loved it and used to make it, but it made for a good storyline and I liked how everyone in the camp seemed to get in on the contest in one way or another. If you want something quick and fun to read I would recommend this to you.

I was given this e-book as a gift from the author, she did not request a review be done. This review is my honest opinion of this book.

The Farmer's Bride Collection by DiAnn Mills, Kimberley Comeaux, Susan K Downs, JoAnn A Grote, Ellen Edwards Kennedy, and Debby Mayne - Review

A Season to Sow, A Season
to Reap, a Season to Love

Homesteads fueled the expansion of America, and these farms depended on families to run them. In this collection of six down-on-the-farm stories, marriages are formed often with the future of the land in mind before romance.

One Little Prayer by Kimberley Comeaux
The Tie That Binds by Susan K Downs
A Homesteader, a Bride, and a Baby by JoAnn A Grote
The Applesauce War by Ellen  Edwards Kennedy
Sunshine Harvest by Debby Mayne
New Beginnings by DiAnn Mills

From Minnesota to Florida, New York to Kansas, and Ohio to Louisiana, heroic men and women make sacrifices in order to create a home, bring in the harvest, and secure a future for the next generation. But will love, friendship, and faith also flourish out of the land God entrusts to them?

I enjoy these collections of short stories, such a variety and usually very good stories. It's amazing that in the 'old' days people would meet, get married within days or weeks and they were good marriages that lasted. Today if someone gets married after a year people will tell you to wait until you know your 'intended' better. Also if more people would work at their marriages, be willing to forgive each other, discuss things instead of giving up there wouldn't be so many divorces. I liked each of these stories and would recommend this book to others. Wonderful stories of couples working together.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Huckleberry Christmas by Jennifer Beckstrand - Review of the third book in The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series

Now that they've happily married off two of their grandchildren, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next matchmaking challenge. What better way to clelbrate the most heartwarming of seasons--and make Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, the place for unexpected love. . .

A difficult marriage has left the Helmuths' widowed great-granddaughter, Beth, finished with wedlock. She's content to live with them and make a life for herself and her toddler son. But once she turns down handsome Tyler Yoder's proposal, it seems only fair to encourage him to find a suitable wife. Trouble is, his gentleness and generous ways are showing her how joyous a real meeting of hearts can be. . .

After a failed courtship, Tyler thought the best he could hope for in a wife was mere companionship. But spirited Beth is the one he longs to protect, and hold close. Earning her trust is the hardest thing he's ever had to do. And soon, both will discover that forgiveness and understanding are gifts that only rekindled faith--along with the happiest of holidays--can bring.

OH MY! I don't know how Jennifer does it but each book just gets better. This is a beautiful story along with the humor she includes, you even get to envision eating a couple of Anna's wonderful recipes like grated carrots and bite-sized slices of dill pickles floating in a murky sea of green gelatin or rice pudding that tastes like warm milk and sugar, with occasional lumps of rice and cranberries for texture, lol.

I very highly recommend this book, this series! I am so looking forward to book four already, Huckleberry Spring, and number five, Huckleberry Harvest. The problem is I have to wait until February 2, 2015 and May 26, 2015, that just isn't fair, lol!

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, October 13, 2014

Joy on This Mountain by Vikki Kestell - Review of the third book in A Prairie Heritage series

Joy on This Mountain is the blazing sequel to the breakthrough historical novel, A Rose Blooms Twice. The year is 1908. The little town of Corinth, Colorado, lies in the gateway to the majestic Rocky Mountains just west of Denver . . . just far enough from the city to avoid close scrutiny, but close enough to be accessible. Few know of the wickedness hidden in the small town, so picturesquely set in the foothills of the mighty mountains.

Joy on This Mountain follows Jan and Rose's Thoresen's daughter, Joy, as she travels to Denver and onto Corinth, uncovering a wicked travesty and risking all to rescue those trapped in its snares. The legacy of Jan and Rose has far-reaching and unexpected consequences.

What a wonderful book this was, not only did I get to enjoy more about the Thoresen's family, mainly Joy, but Vikki also brought in the Pinkerton Agency. I have read books with the Pinkerton Agency before and really enjoyed them, by combining the two I could not put this book down. Yes, I had to finish it quickly as I 'needed' to find out what would happen and could Joy do what she set out to do. This was SOOOOO much better for me than the second book, I am looking forward to reading the fourth book in the series, The Captive Within. I would highly recommend this book.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Caroline's Secret by Amy Lillard - Review of the first book in the Wells Landing series

In Amy Lillard's poignant introduction to Wells Landing, a small Amish community is home to two brave souls hoping to forget their painful pasts and rebuild their faith in the future...

Caroline Hostetler arrived in Oklahoma determined to forge a new life for herself and her daughter, Emma. As a single mother, she values the warmth and safety she's found in close-knit Wells Landing. She's even caught the eye of a handsome newcomer--a man who just may be the partner she longs for and the father Emma deserves. But the arrival of an Englischer threatens to lay bare the secrets she's worked so hard to leave behind...

After losing his life-long sweetheart, Andrew Fitch moved to Wells Landing to work in his uncle's furniture business and nurse his broken heart. Finding love again seems all but impossible--until he meets Caroline and Emma. But his plans to join their lives together may be shattered when the truth of Caroline's past comes to light--unless, together, they can learn the true meaning of sacrifice and forgiveness...

What a great book, my first by Amy and I really liked it. I love the story she told. I wonder what your opinion is about lying, if you stay silent and let people believe what they think is true about you, is that lying? I have mixed feelings on that answer, so I was just wondering. I also like that Amy showed how members of one family can be so similar but when something happens that can affect a loved one, one family member can change their ideals and possibly the way they life their life and the other can't, their place in society is more important than someone's life.

I can easily recommend this book as one that will be enjoyed by many. Also, I'm looking forward to the next two books in the series, Courting Emily due out January 6, 2015 and Lorie's Heart to come out sometime in 2015. Wonderful job Amy Lillard!

Yoder Family Amish Restaruant by Becca Fisher - Review

Sadie Zook is in an impossible situation. After a long search, she's finally found love. But the man she's fallen for also happens to work at the same Amish restaurant--a restaurant that has benned co-workers from dating. So Sadie and her boyfriend are forced to keep their love a secret. Can they keep from beng found out, or will everything Sadie has worked so hard fore be jeopardized?

I did enjoy this short story that I read in one evening. It isn't very long but Becca told a good story that took me along for the ride. This is a book that I think you would enjoy if you have a few hours with nothing to do, you can go from beginning to end in no time at all and want more.

I received this e-book from the author for an honest review. The review was not required, it was my choice to leave a review of at least 20 words or not.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wild Heart on the Prairie by Vikki Kestell - Review of the second book in A Prairie Heritage series

Wild Heart on the Prairie contains TWO PARTS, The separately published FREE prequel, Land of Dust and Tears, is also published as PART 1 of Wild Heart on the Prairie, Read THE CONCLUSION of Land of Dust and Tears in PART 2 of Wild Heart on the Prairie.

Wild Heart on the Prairie is the gripping prequel and companion to the breakthrough historical noel, A Rose Blooms Twice and is the foundation of the acclaimed series, A Prairie Heritage!

The Thoresen brothers, Jan (Yahn) and Karl, have left their native land of Norway and braved many perils and hardships to bring their families to America--the land of freedom and hope. Like thousands of others, Jan and his wife Elli long for the opportunity of a better life and a future for their children.

After enduring an ocean crossing and the arduous journey west, they encounter a land so vast and wide that it defies mastery. Jan finds that his struggles are not only with the land, but with a restless and unmanageable heart. Will Jan find a way to overcome this wild land or will the prairie master him?

Even though I skipped over Part 1(I had already read the prequel) of this book I was bored with Part 2. I found it to be repetitive of A Rose Blooms Twice only more from Jan's view, which you can guess at by reading the 'first' book in the series. I found myself doing more skimming than reading of this book. This hasn't kept me from continuing on in the series though, I have already started the third book, Joy On This Mountain.

A Rose Blooms Twice by Vikki Kestell - Review of the first book in A Prairie Heritage series

Rose Brownlee has suffered more loss than most people can endure. Now she must find a purpose and a way to move on with her life.

Will she bow to conventional wisdom or will she, like Araham of old, choose to follow where God leads her . . .even to a wild and strange land she does not know?

Set in the American prairie of the late 1800's, this story of loss, disillusionment, rebirth, and love will inspire, challenge, and encourage you.

I really appreciated the strength Rose shows in how she moves on with her life, she has a lot more determination than most women of her time that live in the large city. Vikki kept me interested and had me reading my Kindle longer than I normally do in a day, you see I enjoy the actual book in my hand over the Kindle but try to read from both daily and I think I actually read more on the Kindle than I did my paperback. Right now this book is only $2.99 on Amazon, I don't think you would be disappointed if you like Christian Historical books.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A White Christmas in Webster County by Laura V Hilton - Review of the fourth book in The Amish of Webster County

Mercy Lapp is ready for a fresh start. Having lost her fiance in a fishing accident during his rumschpringe, she escapes the painful memories by moving from her community in Shipshewana, Indiana, to Seymour, Missouri, where she takes a job as a mother's helper. She isn't exactly shy, but she's hesitant to get involved with the youth in the community because she isn't going to stay. She especially doesn't want a new romance.

Abner Hilty is excited to see his twin brother, Abram, for the first time in years. The two fled their hometown of Shipshewana when their witness of a murder put their lives in danger, Abner heading to Montana to work on a ranch and hunt big game, Abram meeting a girl in Missouri, marrying, and settling down there. Abner decides to spend the holidays with them in Seymour, but he has every intention of returning to Montana, maybe even for good.

At a chance encounter, Abner is immediately drawn to Mercy, and even more so when he realizes that they've met before, back in Shipshewana. Initially alarmed, Mercy soon warms to his attentions. She also branches out and begins attending youth functions, forming new friendships that are solidified during a rare snowstorm. Just when Mercy and Abner are beginning to think about a long-term relationship, Mercy gets a phone call that changes everything. The information would have been welcome months ago, but now that she knows Abner, she's torn, and she will have to do some serious soul-searching to decide how to act on it.

I really enjoyed the first three books in this series so when I won this book in a contest I was more than thrilled. Although I thought the book started out a little slow, a little less than half way through it started picking up for me and it wasn't long before I found myself staying awake into the wee hours of the morning to finish it. WHAT a finish it was too, you see by the blurb that Mercy got a phone call that could change things for her but that isn't even the beginning of the changes. If you don't read this book you will really be missing out on something great, that's about the jist of it. You don't want to pass up this Christmas book. Laura you did a fantastic job on this one too.