Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review of "A January Bride"

Review of  A January Bride

by Deborah Raney

18168267

Who can work in a house that's overrun by contractors and carpenters? Not Madeleine Houser, a successful novelist who gladly accepts the help of her octogenarian friend, Ginny, to arrange for a temporary office in the charming bed and breakfast owned by Ginny's friend, Arthur. Maddie’s never met the innkeeper––but a friendship grows between them as Maddie and Arthur leave messages for each other each day. To Maddie’s alternate delight and chagrin, she seems to be falling for the inn’s owner––a man who's likely many years her senior––and who she’s never even met.

MY REVIEW:  What a delightful novella!   I love the way Deborah Raney uses humor throughout the novella.   This story is full of surprises for the characters and the readers.   I can relate to how Maddie and Arthur sort of "fell in love" with each other by writing notes each day even though they had not met in person yet.  My husband and I met online and we emailed for several weeks and talked on the phone before actually meeting for a date.  I fell in love with him and his thoughts and beliefs just like the characters in the story did.  I rate this 5 stars and am looking forward to meeting the February Bride!   
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:
Deborah Raney

DEBORAH RANEY's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her books have since won the RITA Award, ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. THE FACE OF THE EARTH released in May 2013 from Howard/Simon & Schuster, and SILVER BELLS released from Guideposts in October. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas. They are new empty nesters with four children and a growing quiver of grandchildren, all of whom live much too far away.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Review of "A Light in the Wilderness"

Review of A Light in the Wilderness

by Jane Kirkpatrick

20665235

Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read–as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him.
Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband that she knows she will follow him anywhere–even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.
Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for.
As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill.

Based on a true story.

MY REVIEW:   It gives my heart a deep aching pain to know how women of color were treated in our country in its early years.  To think that Letitia (Tish) had no right to the land she and her "husband" owned is incredible.  She was not allowed to legally marry Davey Carson either.  The ceremony mattered to them but the law would not acknowledge it.   She worked so hard and endured a great deal as they traveled the Oregon Trail.   She helped her husband put up their cabin while caring for their newborn daughter.  She prayed the child would not be very dark-skinned.   Friends called her skin "pecan colored" and adored her.  Women also were almost forced to remarry as a matter of convenience when husbands died on the Oregon Trail.  Tish made friends with a Kalapuya Indian woman and Betsy also was treated with some mistrust.  I was simply amazed at the heartache of all those who chose to travel this journey to claim land in Oregon.   I don't blame them either as it was likely an important decision for the health and good of their families.   This book drew me in and touched my heart in an incredible way.   When I discovered it was based on a true story and read the factual account that Jane Kirkpatrick based her work of fiction on, I was amazed even further!   I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.   Lovers of historical fiction will particularly enjoy this book.  
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. 

About the Author:
Describe the photo or the page it links to

Jane is inter-nationally recognized for her lively presentations and well-researched stories that encourage and inspire.  Her works have appeared in more than 50 publications including  Decision, Private Pilot and Daily Guideposts.  Jane is the author of 20 books including 17 historical novels. Many of her titles are based on the lives of real people or incidents set authentically in the American West.  Her first novel, A Sweetness to the Soul, won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center.  Her works have been finalists for the Christy, Spur, Oregon Book Award, WILLA Literary Award and Reader’s Choice awards.  Several of her titles have been Book of the Month and Literary Guild selections. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review of "A December Bride"

Review of  December Bride

by Denise Hunter


18221496

What started as a whim turned into an accidental - and very public - engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the facade in Chapel Springs this holiday season - for the sake of her career . . . and his heart?

Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy, the best friend of Layla O'Reilly's ex-fiance would be the last person she'd marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency, a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map. Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she'll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she's landed her client. For Layla, it's the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it's his last chance to win her heart.

MY REVIEW:  I love a wedding and a wedding with Christmas and snow and sleighs involved is even better.   Layla is decorating Seth Murphy's historic home in hopes of getting a job from a huge influential client in the area.   Seth tries to save Layla's hurt feelings and tells Jessica that they are engaged.  And that they wedding is in just a few weeks right before Christmas!   She would make him take it back except she really wants the job and the client is impressed that she is engaged to wealthy Seth Murphy.   What's a girl to do??   She simply must plan a small intimate wedding, right, or at least pretend to do so.   
This is a really quick and sweet read.   I really enjoyed the book and couldn't help smiling the whole way through the book.   I rate this book 5 stars and am eager to read the other novellas in the series.   I am working my way through a year full of weddings and romance.  I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter is the award-winning author of 20 novels, including The Accidental Bride and Convenient Groom

Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review of "Murder Tightly Knit"

Review of Murder Tightly Knit

by Vannetta Chapman

21460471

When a local Amish man is found dead, the Middlebury Amish Artisan Village comes under suspicion. Two amateur sleuths—one Amish, one English—will have to work quickly to keep fear from dividing their community.
As fall blankets the Pumpkinvine Trail with leaves of brown, gold, and orange, a local Amish man is found dead on the path. The only clues to the murderer’s identity point in two very different directions—toward the local survivalist group and toward the Amish Village—specifically the village’s knitting shop, The Cat’s Meow. The police call in a federal investigator, and he quickly puts everyone on the suspect list. Amber Bowman and Hannah Troyer know who isn’t guilty—they know this community down to the last buggy, but can find the guilty party before someone else is in danger?
While Hannah helps Amber solve the mystery, she and Jesse Miller continue courting. But when Jesse’s prodigal brother returns to their farm, Jesse becomes distracted by family troubles. He and Hannah will have to overcome the tension in order to keep their relationship alive. And Amber and Hannah will need to work quickly to solve the murder mystery and bring harmony back to the Amish community.
MY REVIEW:  This return to Pumpkinvine Trail and another murder brings with it many questions.  Amish are suspected as well as Englisch!  I just love seeing Amber happily married to Tate in An Amish Village Mystery's book 2.  I think readers will enjoy seeing the place the homeless Veteran has in this book as well.  Amber is out to solve another murder and keep her village quiet and safe.   She may irritate a few others in the process and many will still be in danger.   
I rate this book a definite 5 stars!  I was on the edge of my seat and I never figured out who committed the crime until it was revealed in the book.  
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author:
Vannetta Chapman

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. 

Her novel, Falling to Pieces, was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award winner for best mystery. All of her books have been Christian Book Distributor bestsellers. She currently writes Amish fiction for Abingdon Press, Zondervan, and Harvest House. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

For more information, visit her at www.VannettaChapman.com or blog with her a at http://vannettachapman.wordpress.com/. She can also be found at http://www.facebook.com/VannettaChapman

Friday, September 5, 2014

Review of "A May Bride"

Review of A May Bride

by Meg Moseley

18626241
She’s prepared for her wedding all her life … but she forgot a few things.
Ellie Martin, a country girl in Atlanta, often de-stresses from city life by tending the flower beds of a church near her apartment. She has dreamed of a traditional wedding all her life, a wedding like the one her younger sister is planning back in their hometown. Their single mom will pay for Alexa’s wedding, but Ellie started her own wedding fund years ago. She only needs to find a groom.
She bumps into a man who’s a guest at a wedding on the church grounds. She’s noticed him around the neighborhood, but today he introduces himself as Gray Whitby. They embark on a whirlwind romance, but her mother doesn’t trust freewheeling men like him. Standing up to Mom leads Ellie to stick up for Alexa too. When Ellie risks her own plans for her sister’s sake, Gray feels betrayed. Will he always play second fiddle?
Will Ellie and Gray reconcile their differences so her dream wedding can come true, or will the romance they’ve begun come crashing down.

MY REVIEW:  Being honest, I noticed this series of  a year of wedding novellas and figured that they would be predictable and not exactly top notch.  I decided to give one a try though, and I am hooked.  This is a quick read as it is a novella and it really did not seem predictable at all.   I was pleasantly surprised by the interactions between Ellie and Gray, as well as interactions with her mother.   Ellie uses gardening as a way to de-stress and sneaks to a church garden to achieve that goal.  She thinks no one will ever find her and who would be upset at someone for weeding their garden anyway?   I know I certainly would be pleasantly surprised by that!   Wonder if Ellie wants to come weed my flower garden?  I rate this novella 4 stars and I am now looking forward to reading the other novellas in the series.   
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:

Meg Moseley
Author's bio from www.megmoseley.com:
Although I’ve lived more than half my life in other states, I grew up in California and am still a California girl at heart. I love vintage bungalows, twisted oaks on rolling hills, and the rocky beaches of the Central Coast.
A few blocks away from home stood the Lutheran church where I came to faith, first through Sunday School teachers whose kindness drew me to the kindness of God, and then through confirmation classes. The Bible verses that had been drilled into my head came to life in my heart.
After moving away from home as a teenager, I worked at a variety of jobs, from candlemaker in a tourist town to administrative assistant at a Christian college. I married a wonderful man from Michigan, and we lived north of Detroit for seventeen years. That’s where we started homeschooling our three children, a journey that we finished in Georgia when our youngest graduated from high school in 2009.
My husband and I live near Atlanta, close to the foothills of the Southern Appalachians. His motorcycle often carries us to the mountains of Georgia, Tennessee, or the Carolinas. Sitting on the back of the bike, I can pray, enjoy the beautiful views, and plot new stories. Fiction makes my world go ‘round, whether I’m writing it or reading it.

Review of "A Dream of Home"

Review of A Dream of Home

(Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel #3)

by Amy Clipston

21493658

When she moves to Amish country to find peace and healing, Madeleine finds a special community and a special man who pull her out of her solitude into a new life.

Moving to Pennsylvania wasn't in Madeleine s original plans. She should still be in California and should have married her pilot fiance a year ago but death has a way of changing everything. Now the former Air Force flight nurse is living alone in Paradise, Pennsylvania, and working as a maid at the Lancaster Grand Hotel. She isn't exactly a widow . . . but she sure feels like one.

Saul Beiler isn't exactly a widower . . . but his wife is long gone. His six-year-old daughter, Emma, doesn t know that her mother fled the Amish community and married another man but she does know that her dat is lonely, and that a pretty young maedel just moved in next door. Madeline s numb heart begins to thaw as she spends more time with the innocent and ever optimistic Emma. The stronger her friendship grows with the young girl, the more intrigued Madeline grows about the humble, strong, man raising her on his own.

But even as a strange attraction pulls Saul and Madeleine across a stark cultural divide, they and everybody else have to wonder: What could they possibly have in common besides heartache? Will love allow Madeleine to finally find the home she s been dreaming of all along?

MY REVIEW:   Madeleine is a girl after my own heart as she finds crochet is one of the things she can do to relieve stress when life gets crazy for her.  She had a difficult time in losing her fiance and moves to her Amish grandparents home only to find that her neighbor, Saul, does not want to encourage a relationship between her and his family.  He is in a difficult position as well as he and Madeleine feel an attraction and he is Amish and she is not.  Madeleine also loves Saul's young daughter, Emma, and they enjoy cooking together.  They use mammi's recipe books and explore her many wonderful Amish recipes, sometimes in Madeleine's kitchen and sometimes at Saul and Emma's.    Madeleine forms many friendships among the Amish and the English in her new neighborhood and in her job at the hotel.  She begins to feel that she has truly come home in the Amish neighborhood but her heart longs for more.   Will she find it here or will she decide to sell and move back to her mother in California?   You will want to read this 5 star novel to find out how the issues are resolved for Madeleine, Saul, and Emma.   
I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Amy Clipston
From goodreads' author bio:
I’m Amy Clipston. I am an author of Amish and Christian fiction with Zondervan Publishing. Most of my books focus on the Amish community, faith, and love. I also write romance novels and young adult inspirational stories. 

Please check out my bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery book Series, including the following books:

A Gift of Grace, April 2009
A Promise of Hope, April 2010
A Plain & Simple Christmas, September 2010
A Place of Peace, December 2010
Naomi's Gift, September 2011
A Life of Joy, February 2012
A Season of Love, June 2012
Kauffman Amish Christmas, October 2012

A Hopeful Heart, Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel Series #1, June 2013
A Mother's Secret, Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel Series #2, June 2014
A Dream of Home, Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel #3, December 2014
A Simple Prayer, Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel Book #4, June 2015.


My young adult books include:
Roadside Assistance, April 2011
Destination Unknown, sequel to Roadside Assistance, February 2014
Miles to Nowhere, April 2015
A Reckless Heart, May 2012

A Gift of Love (A Memoir), March 2014

I enjoy spending time with my family, including my hubby, my two wonderful sons, my mom, and my four spoiled-rotten cats. I love reading. 

I'm an advocate for organ and blood donation. I donated a kidney on June 14, 2011, at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through my donation, my husband received a second kidney transplant. My husband and I matched another couple and we swapped kidneys with them. I gave a kidney to my husband's donor's wife. Feel free to email me and ask me what it was like to be a kidney donor. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. If you're healthy, please donate blood! Also, become an organ donor.

Visit me at www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks,Twi... at @AmyClipston or www.AmyClipston.com.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review of "An Amish Christmas Quilt"

Review of An Amish Christmas Quilt 


by Charlotte Hubbard, Kelly Long, and Jennifer Beckstrand
20702328

A Willow Ridge Christmas Pageant--by Charlotte Hubbard
Seth Brenneman didn't expect his holiday would include rescuing pregnant Mary Kauffman and her two children....or having unexpected feelings for the still-grieving widow.  But when they must play the leads in an impromptu live Nativity pageant to help his Amish community, will their roles reveal their hearts--and work a miracle for a lifetime?
My Review:  Charlotte Hubbard has recreated the perfect Nativity scene with Mary and Seth and her two children.   How can their hearts help but turn warm with love at the very thought and act of recreating the very first Christmas night?  This is a precious novella full of love, forgiveness and plenty of surprises.   5 Stars

A Christmas on Ice Mountain--by Kelly Long
Matthew Beider and Laurel Lapp's secret wish to marry is a gift their feuding fathers definitely won't accept.  Can rediscovering the joys and friendships of Christmas past finally turn their families' futures bright?
My Review:   This is an Amish version of the Hatfields and McCoys....families or fathers at least feuding and no one even knows the reason for the feud.   When their children, Matthew and Laurel, fall in love and seek permission from the bishop to be wed, what will happen?  Will the families work things out?   A blizzard and a trip to Ice Mountain just might push things along in their natural way.   This novella offers hope to those who think love and forgiveness are not possible.   5 Stars

A Perfect Amish Christmas--by Jennifer Beckstrand
Anna Helmuth knows that Dottie Schrock is the perfect girl for her grandson Gideon.  Dottie is an excellent quilter and baker and she's having a party.  There's just one complication---Gideon is not invited.   Dottie has her reasons, but Anna trusts that the spirit of Christmas---and true love---=will change her mind, and her future....
MY REVIEW:   Anna Helmuth's favorite activity is matchmaking.  She always involves her sweet husband in her matchmaking whether he likes it or not.  This Christmas, she has her grandson, Gideon, and Dottie Schrock in mind to be matched.   Dottie is planning the perfect Christmas party for her mamm who was very sick with cancer in the previous years and now in remission and in need of the perfect celebration, according to Dottie.   But she does not want Gideon to be a part of the wondrous party as she remembers him as a pesky troublemaking teenager.   A snowstorm just might help Anna's matchmaking efforts along in this sweet snowfilled novella.   5 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Authors:
Charlotte Hubbard

Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard (a.k.a. Naomi King) writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people—to share hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle, and the foundation of her earlier Angels of Mercy series. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.

Image of Kelly Long

Kelly Long was born and raised in North Central Pennsylvania. There was an Amish hitching post at the small grocery store in her town. She loves to write Amish romance and is the author of novel, Sarah's Garden, the novella Amish Christmas Expanded Edition with some other great Amish authors, Amish Love with Beth Wiseman and Kathy Fuller, and Lilly's Wedding Quilt--the sequel to Sarah's Garden. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children.

Jennifer Beckstrand
from Jennifer Beckstrand's goodreads' bio:
I grew up with a steady diet of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. After all that literary immersion, I naturally decided to get a degree in mathematics, which came in handy when one of my six children needed help with homework. After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, I finished my first manuscript—a Western—in just under fourteen years. I now write Inspirational Amish Romance. My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I’ve done my job. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers and am represented by Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency.

There are three Amish romances in the Forever After in Apple Lake Series (Summerside/Guideposts). Kate’s Song, Rebecca’s Rose, and Miriam's Quilt are all now available. Kate’s Song was the #1 Romantic Religious Fiction download in the Free Kindle Store in August of 2012, and Rebecca's Rose and Miriam's Quilt both spent time in the top 50 Religious Fiction books on Amazon.com.

I have six Amish Romances in the works with Kensington Books. The first book, Huckleberry Hill, will be released on January 7, 2014. Huckleberry Hill is set in Wisconsin on a little hill in Amish country.

The series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, is about an elderly Amish couple who try to find suitable mates for their grandchildren. What could be more fun than throwing two young people together to see if sparks ignite? No one would ever suspect two octogenarian Amish folks of mischief.

Romantic Times gave Huckleberry Hill 4 1/2 stars, calling it "A sweet romance with a lot of heart that offers a new, refreshing take on the...matchmaking trope. The storyline is feasible, the characters are well written, with both their strengths and weaknesses on display. Readers will treasure this series and put the first outing on their keeper shelf."

I have four daughters, two sons, three sons-in-law, and two adorable grandsons. I live in the foothills of the Wasatch Front with my husband and one son still left at home.