Monday, March 27, 2017

4-Star Review of "The Idea of You"


Review of the idea of you

by Amanda Prowse


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With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…
This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?
MY REVIEW:  Wanting a child with your husband is a reasonable desire and Lucy wants a baby very badly.  She and Jonah conceive three times, with each conception ending in miscarriage in the first trimester.  Lucy is heartbroken.  Jonah is upset but already has a teenage daughter from his previous marriage.  His teenage daughter comes for the summer at Lucy's urging, but things are not so great between Lucy and Camille. Learning to live together proves challenging.  
         I definitely relate to wanting a child so badly. I felt that I could not bear to live if I did not have a child of my own when I first married at age eighteen.  I now realize that I could have lived a fulfilling life without children, but the young me did not feel that way.  I did have a miscarriage scare when I was early in my marriage and it was devastating to me.  I became absolutely hysterical once I was away from the doctor.  I really enjoyed this book and I felt it handled infertility and adoption well, but I am very emotional and I cry while reading many books and seeing movies, and I only cried once briefly during the reading of this book.  I just felt that the author did not quite hit that deep part of me that completely connected with the characters, Lucy and Camille in particular.  I really liked Lucy.  I felt great empathy for Camille.  I just felt something was missing in the emotions of the characters.  I needed MORE.  The final portion of the book seemed to cover too many loose ends in a quick fashion and left some important details out.  
          I highly recommend this book and think readers will anxiously return to finish the book as I did.   I give this book a 4 star rating.
          I received a copy of this book from netgalley and I was not required to write a positive review.   All opinions expressed are my own.   
About the Author:
Amanda Prowse
Amanda Prowse was a management consultant for ten years before realising that she was born to write. Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband and their two teenage sons.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

4-Star Review of "A March Bride"

Review of A March Bride, A Year of Weddings #4

by Rachel Hauck

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Susanna has found her true prince, and their happily ever after is just around the corner. But when Nate asks her to give up something precious to her, Susanna can’t help but wonder if it’s a sign that their love is not meant to be.
Susanna Truitt (Once Upon A Prince) is three weeks from royalty. She’ll soon marry King Nathaniel II of Brighton Kingdom. But when the government insists she renounce her American citizenship before the wedding, coupled with the lack of involvement by family and friends, her heart begins to doubt whether this marriage is God’s plan for her.
Nathaniel would do anything for his bride-to-be. But he knows his position requires that she give up a lot to be with him. Her life will never be her own — right down to her very identity. When she travels home to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, right before the wedding, Nathaniel fears she won’t return. Gathering his courage, he devises a plan to win his bride all over again, and together they seek out a kingdom to treasure above all.

MY REVIEW:   Did you love Cinderella's story?  You know, the one where an ordinary girl meets her Prince Charming?  This book is definitely a Cinderella type story to please and enchant readers.  I did not read the prequel, Once Upon A Bride and I felt that I needed more information at times so I do recommend readers win that one first.  
    This book is simple and easy to read. It is one that is clean,with no sexual scenes apparent in many romance novels.  So parents can feel comfortable with allowing teenagers to read it.  It is predictable however, and didn't hold many surprises for me.  
     I am giving this one 4-stars and recommend it to readers who love a sweet, simple romance.
     I received a copy of this book from netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:

Rachel Hauck

New York Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Rachel Hauck writes from sunny central Florida.

A RITA finalist and winner of Romantic Times Inspirational Novel of the Year, she writes vivid characters dealing with real life issues.

She loves to hear from readers. She also loves to encourage new writers and sits on the Executive Board of American Christian Fiction Writers.. 

A graduate of Ohio State University with a BA in Journalism, Rachel is an avid OSU football fan. She hopes to one day stand on the sidelines in the Shoe with Urban Meyer.

An avid Diet Coke fan, she is caffeine free. Sometimes you just have to compromise. 

She's never skied or jumped out of an airplane. She leaves such hijinks to Jason Bourne.

Visit her web site to find out more and click on the icons to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

www.rachelhauck.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review & Giveaway of "Buried Secrets"


Review & Giveaway of Buried Secrets

by Rachel J. Good




Guest post by Rachel Good: 
Readers who have read Change of Heart, the first book in the Sisters & Friends series, will remember Emma as the wild teen who defied her family. Her older sister, Lydia, tried to prevent Emma from making mistakes during Rumschpringe, the Amish running-around time. Throughout most of the story, Lydia and Emma were at odds with each other, but in the end, the family needed to forgive Emma and show her God’s love.

In Book 2, Buried Secrets, Emma has no memory of her rebellion, so she’s devastated when she finally does remember. Then she must confront her past, learn to forgive herself, and also ask for and accept God’s forgiveness. Sometimes when we’ve done things we’re ashamed of, we struggle to believe that God can forgive what we’ve done. But God’s mercy has no limits. Emma needs to open her heart to that truth. As she does, she discovers an important lesson: Some mistakes in the past can never be undone, but God can forgive anything.

Authors often write about themes that are close to their hearts, and I’m no exception. Many times, after I write a novel, I look back and see how God directed me to tell a story containing lessons I needed to learn. In Change of Heart, Lydia discovers that judging other people or suggesting ways they can improve their lives can be a form of self-righteousness. God used my young daughter to point that out to me, but it’s a lesson that bears repeating. And as I finished the novel, I clearly saw it as a reminder not only to Lydia, but also to me.

Emma’s story also blessed me by reminding me how deep and wide God’s love is for each of us. No matter how we’ve failed, He never stops loving us, and His forgiveness is only a prayer away.

I also hope to remind readers that “all things work together for good for those that love God.” So often we expect hardship when we do God’s will, but He has promised to give us the desires of our hearts. Lydia learned in Change of Heart that God’s will was so much better than anything she could have planned, and Emma, too, comes to realize that, by trusting God to direct her life, she is blessed many times over.

Has God ever given you a desire of your heart? To enter the giveaway, share one of God’s blessings in your life. And let’s rejoice together at the many wonderful things He has done for each of us.


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Overcome the past and any other obstacles that stand in the way of the future God has planned for you.

Three years after the accident that almost claimed her life, Emma Esh has recovered physically but has no memory of the year before the accident. When she moves to a new community to help her sister Lydia and brother-in-law, Caleb, prepare for the birth of twins, she falls for their neighbor Samuel.

But the twins’ premature birth, a visit from the Englischer Emma once dated, and the sudden return of her memory threaten Emma’s romance. After the secrets of her past are revealed, will love be able to overcome all obstacles?  

MY REVIEW:   Boy, does this one have plenty of surprises?!!!  This novel threw a really big surprise for me.   It was something that I honestly don't think I've ever read about in any Amish books previously.   Amish fiction is definitely not new to me.  I am an avid reader and Amish fiction is one of my absolute favorites.  Rachel J. Good is a new author to me and I am very impressed with this novel.  I did not read the first book in the series, but it did not interfere with my enjoyment of the book.  I'm sure that reading book one in the series first would add some additional information that would make the story and characters continue on and become like family to the reader.   
          Emma and Sam were both highly likable characters.   I could certainly feel the emotions of both of them.   Family dynamics played a large part in the lives of Emma and her family.   Emma and her sister, Lydia, have some issues from their past to resolve and these issues keep cropping up in their present day lives.   Sam has been hurt by a girl once, and he doesn't care to be hurt like that again.   
          I highly recommend this book to readers!   My star rating on this book is 5!
          I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit Book Tour. and netgalley.  All opinions expressed are my own.  



About the Author: 

Rachel J. Good

Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – Sisters & Friends series, Love & Promises series, and two books in the Hearts of Amish Country series – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books and the contemporary novella, Angels Unaware, part of the Hope Chapel series. Rachel also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. She loves reading (of course!), traveling, and spending time with her five children and three grandchildren. Visit her at her websiteFacebookauthor pageTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads. You also can sign up for her quarterly newsletter here.


Giveaway!!!  

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a full box of Whoopie Pies freshly baked for you from a bakery in Amish country, along with copies of Angels Unaware, the brand new Amish Words and Proverbs Coloring Book and Amish Quilts Coloring Book #1 (Large Print Edition), an autographed copy of Change of Heart, and an Amish cookbook!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries :   

Monday, March 20, 2017

5-Star Review of "The House on Windridge"

The House of Windridge Review

by Tracie Peterson

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When her mother dies in childbirth, Jessica's father sends his infant daughter from his ranch in Kansas back to New York to be raised by an older aunt. But Aunt Helen only cares for social standing and proprieties. She tells Jessica nothing of her fathers offers to take her back and instead pushes Jessica into an arranged marriage with a man who turns out to be abusive and unfaithful. When her aunt and husband die, Jessica is alone in the world except for her infant son. She learns of her fathers death and determines to rebuild her life at Woodridge, the ranch where her life began. But appearances are not always reliable, and Jessica doesn't know who she can trust. Will Windridge become the home she has always searched for, or will it be the scene of her final betrayal? 

MY REVIEW:  I was fortunate to be raised by my mother and father.  Jessica's life begins with pain and sadness when her mother dies giving birth to her.  Then her father has her aunt in New York care for her.   He is in Kansas on a ranch, far, far away from New York.  
I can only imagine the pain and rejection Jessica felt in this situation.  
     I fell in love and married the man of my dreams, but Jessica's aunt forces her into a marriage she arranges, a marriage that turns out to be abusive.  When he dies, she receives word that her father is dead and she is needed at the ranch.  The real excitement begins!  Will Jessica be afforded the chance to fall in love and marry someone of her own choosing this time or will she live a lonely, sad life on the ranch with her child?  
      I highly recommend this romantic historical romance.   There are references to faith and Christianity that were very encouraging and appealing.
      My rating for this book is 5 stars.  
      I received this book as a gift from netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.
 
About the Author:
Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than one hundred books. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.

Visit Tracie's web site at: http://www.traciepeterson.com

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

5-Star Review of "A Love for Leah"

A Love for Leah Review

(The Amish Matchmaker #4)

by Emma Miller

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The Widow's Second Chance 

Widow Leah Yoder married for love once. Now that she's come home to Seven Poplars, she wants a marriage of convenience that will provide a longed-for family without dishonoring the memory of her late husband. A steady, serious older man would be ideal—someone completely unlike handsome, fun-loving Thomas Stutzman. She and the aspiring organic farmer agree to court to prove that this time, the matchmaker has made a mistake! But as their friendship deepens, will Leah settle for what she thought she needed, or put fear aside for a second chance at happiness?

MY REVIEW:  I was mesmerized by Emma Miller's 4th book in the Amish Matchmaker series.  Imagining the anguish a widow who is grieving the loss of her husband and young daughter was really difficult.   I have not lost a husband or daughter, but I certainly would never want to have to go through such pain.  I have lost a husband through divorce however, and that includes a grief process as well.  There were many emotional hurdles to overcome when I married my incredibly wonderful second husband.  
      I willingly joined in fellowship with another denomination with my husband even after having served as a pastor's wife previously, and the differences between the Mennonites and Amish are much greater than what I experienced in my decision-making process.  I love reading Amish fiction.   The characters in this story were all lovable although there was one character that was trying on Leah's nerves.  I have definitely had relationships with women who interfered in other people's business as this one also another issue explored in the book.  
     I would like to recommend this novel to those lovers of Amish and Christian fiction.
     My rating for this novel is 5 stars.
     I received a copy of this book from netgalley and the publisher.  A positive review was not required.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
Emma Miller


Emma Miller is a wife, mother and a grandmother who lives a quiet life in Delaware.
She's the author of the Hannah's Daughter's series and is at work on her next 
Amish romance novel.

Monday, March 13, 2017

5-Star Review of "Open Hands"--Laura Story & Giveaway


Open Hands ......Laura Story featuring Mac Powell

Review & Giveaway of CD


Image result for laura story open hands



To View: Open Hands Official Lyric Video

Image may contain: one or more people and text

To View Open Hands Devotional, click here

MY REVIEW:  wow!  Laura Story never disappoints with her praise to God through music.  Her voice is a melody.  Her songs are praise.  Her love of God is evident in every note she sings.  Having Mac Powell featured on this CD is an extra bonus.  He & Laura's voices blend so well together.  They sound like I imagine the angels will sound when we all get to heaven.  

Chorus to "Open Hands"
I'm not afraid, of what I'll lose
My greatest joy is finding You

"Open Hands" is such a beautiful song.  It is truly uplifting.  I was immediately touched when I heard the song, "Death Was Arrested" as well.  As Easter approaches, this song is especially thought-provoking.  Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins.  Without his death on that miserable cross, we would die and lay in the grave that entombs us forever. There would be no "happily ever after" for us.  There would BE no ever after at all, but praise God, death was indeed arrested and abolished when Jesus rose from the grave and he set us free.  

Our Savior displayed on a criminal's cross
Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand
That's when death was arrested and my life began.

***** Five Stars!!!!!  
I received this music CD `as a gift from FlyBy Publishing.  A positive review was not required.  All thoughts and views expressed are my own.


About Laura Story
Image result for laura story

A Christian singer and songwriter who got her start as the bass player in the Christian rock act Silers Bald, Laura Story took the CCM world by storm by penning the Chris Tomlin-performed hit "Indescribable," which managed to stay at the top of that genre's charts for seven weeks. Originally a string bassist and never expecting to pursue what would eventually become her career path, Story joined Silers Bald as (eventually) a bass player after meeting vocalist Shane Williams at Columbia International University. With the band, Story would be a part of four albums, but felt that her true calling lay elsewhere, and by 2000, she was off on her own. Upon entering the studio to record her debut album, Story needed one more track, and quickly composed the work "Indescribable." The track would give the album a name, and was given an even wider audience when singer Chris Tomlin took the track to the top of the charts and to churches from coast to coast. Taking her success in stride, Laura Story went to work on independent album number two, There Is Nothing, which was released in 2005 while the musician continued on as women's leader and pastor at Perimeter Church in Atlanta, Georgia. The success of the album led to a deal with INO records, which released her third album, Great God Who Saves, in 2008. It was followed in 2011 by Blessings, which topped the Billboard Christian albums chart. INO became Fair Trade Services before releasing God of Every Story in 2013 and the Christmas album God with Us in 2015. The latter saw Story joined by Steven Curtis Chapman, Brandon Heath, and on multiple tracks, a 120-piece choir and 50-piece orchestra. ~ Chris True


Connect with Laura:   

http://laurastorymusic.com/

https://twitter.com/LauraStoryMusic

https://www.facebook.com/laurastory/

https://www.instagram.com/laurastorymusic/

GIVEAWAY:   to enter, leave a comment here on my blog, on facebook post https://www.facebook.com/rhonda.gaylenashhall, or repost and leave comment on my original post on instagram/follow for extra entry:   https://www.instagram.com/rhondanashhall/
Giveaway will be open until 3/17/2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

4-Star Review of "Raging Storm"

Review of Raging Storm

The Remant series book #2

by Vannetta  Chapman


Raging Storm

In the Darkness,
Anarchy Awakens


When a massive solar flare wiped out all modern technology across the globe, the small town of Abney, Texas, was thrown into chaos. Shelby Sparks and her teenage son, Carter, have found refuge, but Shelby knows she can't simply remain hidden forever. Carter is a type 1 diabetic in need of insulin—and Shelby will risk her life traveling to Austin to make sure he gets it.

Shelby's best friend and high school sweetheart, Max Berkman, won't even consider letting her make the perilous journey alone. Together, they manage to get to the capital—only to discover that while things are desperate in Abney, Austin has turned into an urban nightmare on the brink of anarchy.

Shelby and Max's search for medical supplies will lead them into terrifying territory, where the only thing more uncertain than finding what they need is the hope of making it out of the city alive.

* * *

In this second book in an eerily plausible, action-packed dystopian series, survival will be threatened and faith will be put to the ultimate test as a raging storm engulfs America.

MY REVIEW:  First, let me state that I am a huge fan of Vannetta Chapman's writing.   I feel that she spends a great deal of time in research and stretches the imagination.  I have always enjoyed dystopian novels, but this one fell short for me.  It pains me to say this because I don't like to be critical. I think that, for this particular series, it is extremely important to read the first book in the series.  I did not read that first book and I was confused and found it very difficult to get interested in the book until the very last quarter of the book.  
       The writing was impeccable as always with Vannetta's books.  I think that many readers, especially those who have read the first book in series, will find this book very enjoyable.   
      I am giving this book a rating of 4 stars and I do recommend it to those who have already read the first book in the series.   Of course, I always feel that no matter what others have rated a book, everyone makes their own choice.  In fact, for me, when a great number of readers are negative about a book, I like to read it to see if I agree!  
     I was given a copy of this book by netgalley and I was not required to write a review and I was not required for any review written be positive.

About the Author:
Vannetta Chapman

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She is the author of many novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, Shipshewana Amish Mystery Series, and Plain and Simple Miracle series. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She currently writes Christian suspense, Amish romance, and Amish mystery. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. For more information, visit her at www.VannettaChapman.com

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