Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Bride At Last by Melissa Jagears

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Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts.

Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she'd been deceived about her intended groom, she's now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she'll take on care of nine-year-old Anthony--until two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy's father.

Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony's wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?

This book is the third book in a series but it reads well as a stand alone novel. I haven't read the first two and didn't feel like I missed out on anything.

I really liked this book. The characters were likeable but flawed. The premise was believable. The only real issue I had with it was there just seemed to be too many things that popped up. It's almost like the author had several ideas of what roadblocks could come up and couldn't decide which to use so she used every single one of them.

All in all though it was a very enjoyable book with an undercurrent of the unquestionable love for God and a desire to give Anthony the best home and family life possible.



My copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

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After her father's death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren't supposed to have such roles, so it's only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper--even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He's secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation--the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He's not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who's angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he's in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he's unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope...and possibly love?

Another winning book from bestselling author Jody Hedlund.

I love the Civil War time period and in this book you get to see a bit of a perspective you don't always get to see - the aftermath. Ryan Chambers is living in the aftermath - and it's not an easy place to be. Caroline Taylor has no place else to go and needs to stay in the lighthouse she has been running. Can the needs of these two people come together to keep the lighthouse running as it should - and could they possibly learn something from each other and grow together?

Wonderful descriptive writing, characters who are flawed but worth investing in and a story that will keep you turning pages long into the night.



My copy of this book was provided by Bethany House for my honest review.

The Shore by Sara Taylor

 The Shore

The Shore: a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia. The Shore is clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it's a place that generations of families both wealthy and destitute have inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian's bold choice to escape an abusive home only to find herself with a man who will one day try to kill her, to a brave young girl's determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, the characters in this remarkable novel have deep connections to the land, and a resilience that only the place they call home could create. 

Through a series of interconnecting narratives that recalls the work of David Mitchell and Jennifer Egan, Sara Taylor brings to life the small miracles and miseries of a community of outsiders, and the bonds of blood and fate that connect them all.

Spanning over a century, dreamlike and yet impossibly real, profound and playful, THE SHORE is a breathtakingly ambitious and accomplished work of fiction by a young writer of remarkable promise.

 This book seemed to me to actually almost be a collection of novellas. I normally enjoy the books that go from one time period to another. But this one left me mostly confused. There were so many people to try to get to know. Even with the "family tree" in the front of the book it was too confusing.

While definitely not a book that I couldn't put down I did find the descriptions to be so real that I felt like I was there and the writing was wonderful. Ms. Taylor is obviously a gifted story teller and I will certainly pick up her next book and give it a try. But I don't really recommend this one.


This book was given to me by the Blogging For Books program for my unbiased opinion.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Amish Promises by Leslie Gould

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Journey Down a Quiet Lane in Lancaster County Where Love and Heartache and Friendship and Healing Meet
When Joel and Shani Beck arrive at their new home, they're looking for peace. Shani is thrilled to have Joel back from Iraq, but he needs time to heal, and the quiet of Lancaster seems just the place. They can't imagine any trouble with their Amish neighbors, the Lehmans, but things get off to a rocky start when their son is involved in an accident that injures one of the Lehman boys.

Eve Lehman has run her brother's household ever since the death of his wife, but Tim's a stern patriarch. Despite his protests, she's drawn to the new neighbor, Shani, and the two begin to form a strong friendship forged on faith and family. Things seem like they've quieted down until Joel's single and handsome army friend Charlie catches Eve's attention--a man unlike any Eve has ever met. Suddenly life for both families becomes more complicated than any of them could have ever imagined.

 Nice mixture of focusing on the "Englisch" - Shani, Joel, Zane and Charlie and the Amish, Tim, Eve, Daniel, Simon, Lila, etc.  There's not too much on one side or the other. And I like how she worked their stories together. Living closely to a family who's lifestyle is so completely different than your own must be challenging but Ms. Gould showed how each could learn from the other and make some changes that help you to grow while keeping true to your own beliefs.

Tim and Joel were, at times, both frustrating to read about. But the thing is, the issues they had are real and living those things out have to be frustrating. This book touched on a number of things you don't really often have in Amish fiction - there was abuse and PTSD but there was also love and caring. People trying to do the right thing for the ones they love - even when they felt like things would never change and when circumstances went from bad to worse.

Wonderful debut for a new series - and I can't wait to see which of the scenarios I have playing in my mind find their way in to book two!


My copy of this book was graciously provided by Bethany House publishers for my honest review.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

When Grace Sings Kim Vogel Sawyer

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When trouble roars into quiet Arborville, Alexa and Anna-Grace find themselves the target for discord and exposed secrets. Can they continue to seek the God of all grace amidst the fog of confusion?  
Alexa Zimmerman wonders if the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas will ever fully accept her. Her family roots here aren’t what anyone thought when she first arrived, but she is hopeful that her culinary and hospitality skills will win the skeptics over. The bed-and-breakfast she’s operating needs to succeed so Alexa agrees to allow Briley Forrester, the hotshot reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder not knowing his real motives for being amongst the Plain folk.

But when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna-Grace Braun, the presence of extended family brings out Alexa’s insecurities and sets Briley on the trail to uncovering a web of hidden truths.

Plans for a secure future and the sweetness of young romance hang in the balance when Alexa and Anna-Grace have to face that their secrets are interconnected, binding the two in ways they could not have imagined. They must trust in a loving, heavenly Father and His plan for their futures.

This is book two in a series and while this book could be read as a stand alone I highly recommend reading the first book of the series. First, it's a good book and second, it will make some of what happens in this second book a little bit clearer. The other thing I will mention is that you will want to read book three after reading one and two - I know I'm anxiously awaiting it.

This book focuses on Alexa Zimmerman, one of the main characters in book one. Alexa is running a B&B in her grandmother's house and trying to find her place in a family she has just recently been reunited with.

Briley Forrester is a guest at her B&B but he's there looking for a story. And he is going to find one! But will he be able to bring himself to print it?

And then there are Anna and Steven - will they move to Arborville? Will they get married? Will Steven realize his dreams?

The title of this book is what the story is all about - Grace. What it is. Who needs it. Who is willing to give it. And, most importantly - who is willing to accept it?

Pick up book one and read it and then read book two - and wait on pins and needles for book three.


This book was provided for my honest opinion courtesy of the Blogging For Books program.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Unselfish Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Selfie

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Unselfish contains 99 inspiring stories of people putting others before themselves. Each story is accompanied by beautiful photography, making this the ideal coffee table book. Everyone is trying to get noticed. Selfies are taking over the internet. Selfish behavior seems to be at an all time high. But there are people who do Unselfish things everyday. Acts of kindness that no one notices. Extraordinary sacrifices that don't go viral. This book celebrates just a few of the unsung stories of regular people and celebrities alike going against the grain and helping their fellow man. Unselfish will reignite your faith in humanity and may just inspire you to "love thy neighbor as thy selfie".

 Great reading for the entire family. The pictures are beautiful, the stories are moving. Seldom is there a book that is entertaining and holds the attention of the entire family. Uplifting stories that will restore your faith in mankind.

Highly recommended.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis

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Marlena needed time to let things sink in. It was beyond her how all this could possibly work out--adding the care of an infant to her daily routine. Fortunately, it would just be until Luella returned home from the hospital and was stronger.No more than a couple weeks, surely.

Marlena Wenger's life takes an unexpected turn on the day she learns she must care for her estranged sister's baby. Spending the summer in Brownstown, Pennsylvania, to assist her Mennonite grandmother, and miles from Marlena's Old Order Amish beau, she feels out of her element in nearly every respect. Yet Marlena determines to do her best and stay focused on her future, even as those hopes become drastically altered.

Another fabulous book by Beverly Lewis, the original bonnet-book author.

Flawed but lovable characters, lush descriptions and a "will she or won't she" storyline that are a complete joy to read.

There are two story lines - Marlena helping her Grandmother after the death of her Grandfather, with the addition of her sister's infant daughter to care for. And the family next door - Small Jay and his friend Boston - both who have physical challenges but accept each other without hesitation or limitation.

Nice light read - easy to pick up and put down but compelling enough to continue to pick up.


My copy of this book was graciously provided by Bethany House publishers in exchange for my honest review.