Friday, March 27, 2015

5 Star Review of "Lemon Pies and Little White Lies"

Review of Lemon Pies and Little White Lies

by Ellery Adams


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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Books by the Bay series and the Book Retreat mysteries--Includes pie recipes!

After Pecan Pies and Homicides comes another tangy slice of life—and death—in a charmed, and charming, small town...
 

Ella Mae LeFaye’s Charmed Pie Shoppe has become a phenomenon beyond her wildest dreams, providing the enchanted town of Havenwood, Georgia, with spellbinding desserts and magical pies. Her personal life is also heating up as she takes on the responsibilities of leadership within her magical community. In fact, the only thing weighing her down is the fact that handsome Hugh Dylan won’t return her calls…
 
Still, when Havenwood is rocked by a series of mysterious deaths, Ella Mae must put romantic longings aside—especially when she realizes that the mystical symbols left at each crime scene are dangerously personal. Now she will have to whip up all her supernatural skills to uncover a killer out to settle an ancient score—before the murderer devastates everything Ella Mae is determined to protect…

MY REVIEW:  This is my first book written by Ellery Adams and I am enchanted by her style and sense of fun.   This is a delectable, delicious, delightful book and it also has PIE RECIPES!  Yummy!    I love the way Ellery combined romance, baking, and mystery.  I quickly became enchanted with the main character, Ella Mae.   I could almost smell those wonderful treats she was baking in Charmed Pie Shoppe.  This book is full of fun, magical powers, delicious pies and lovable characters.  Of course, there is at least one character that you will love to hate as well.   That makes it even more fun, doesn't it?  
          I rate this book 5 stars and think readers will be enchanted too.
          I received a free print copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.   All opinions are my own.   

 About the Author:
Ellery Adams


Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. 

Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning poems, children’s books, and novels. She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

5-Star Review of "Jaded"

 Review of Jaded

by Varina Denman



As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Thirteen years later, Ruthie's heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed—unearthing a string of secrets which threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside-down.

Jaded is the rare novel that is both love story between a woman and man ... and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness and restoration, it will resonate with every woman who's experienced a loss of heart ... and a thirst for hope.

MY REVIEW:  This is Varina Denman's first novel and it is such a wonderful way to enter the world of writing and fiction!   I was very intrigued by the description of this novel as I was a pastor's wife in several small towns, one in Texas and two in North Carolina.  I, too, have been injured by one of those churches and it caused my heart a great deal of pain until I was able to forgive the people and accept that God still loved me no matter what some of "His children" did to me and my family.  I think the author handled the issues beautifully.   It is about judging others, gossip and rumors and how they can hurt others.   They truly do hurt others and this book also addresses an issue that I refer to as "churches shooting their wounded".    
        The new young pastor does not believe that it is acceptable to shoot the wounded and reaches out to the "sinners" in the small town.   Many of the church leaders do not appreciate his doing so.    Jesus himself ate with the sinners and tax collectors.   Dodd is following in Jesus' example.  He does much to lead the town and congregation to forgiveness and healing.  I do not know how Ruthie and her mother stayed in the little town after being "ex-communicated" from the Christian church for rumors and gossip!  I think I would have had to move away.  I know that is what I did when I was hurt by the church we pastored.   I simply could not remain when rumors were flying and people were reporting them to me at my job as a local teacher.   It hurt me too, just as it hurt Ruthie and her mother. But there is forgiveness and that is what "Jaded" is all about.   
       I rate this book 5 stars and am anxious to read the second book in the series, "Justified". 
       I received a free ebook format of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Varina Denman

Varina Denman is a native Texan who spent her high school years in a small Texas town. Now she lives near Fort Worth with her husband and her five mostly-grown children. Jaded is her debut novel. Look for the sequel, Justified, to be released soon from David C. Cook.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

5 star Review of "A Horse for Kate"

Review of A Horse for Kate

by Miralee Ferrell

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A horse of her own would be awesome. But Kate figures that might be a long way away, especially since she had to give up riding lessons and move to her late grandfather’s farm. Besides, it would be a lot more fun to have a best friend to ride with. When Kate discovers a barn on their new farm that’s perfect for a horse, and a dusty bridle too, she starts to think that her dream might come true. Then she meets Tori at school, who is totally the best. So when they discover a thoroughbred that appears to be all alone, could it be the answer to her prayers? Maybe. If she can convince her dad ... and figure out what’s going on with that horse.

MY REVIEW:  I taught 6th grade Language Arts for 7 years and I love reading YA (Young Adult) fiction.  This is a lovely, fun read for adults and young adults.   Kate has a true passion for horses and after moving far from her friends, she wants a horse so badly.   She finds one who doesn't seem to be well cared for and she believes it has been abandoned.   She wants to make this horse her very own, but her parents really can't afford the expense of caring for a horse at the moment.  Readers will enjoy following along with Kate and her friend, Tori, as they fight for a horse for Kate.  
      I especially like the Christian aspects of the book and would love to get a copy of this book for my twelve-year-old granddaughter as she loves horses too.   We give her a subscription to a horse magazine for young adults and she has plastered her walls with the posters in each issue.  Parents can feel good about allowing their young teens to read this book.   
     I rate this book 5 stars and would definitely purchase it for young readers.
     I received a pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:Miralee Ferrell

Miralee Ferrell and her husband, Allen, live on eleven acres in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where they love to garden, play with their dogs, take walks, and go sailing. She is also able to combine two other passions—horseback riding and spending time with her grown children—since her married daughter lives nearby, and they often ride together on the wooded trails near their home. 

Ironically, Miralee, now the author of eight books, with many more on the way, never had a burning desire to write—at least more than her own memoirs for her children. So she was shocked when God called her to start writing after she turned fifty. To Miralee, writing is a ministry that she hopes will impact hearts, and she anticipates how God will use each of her books to bless and change lives.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

5-Star Review of "Love Without End"

Review of Love Without End (Kings Meadow Romance #2)

by Robin Lee Hatcher

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Chet and Kimberly have both failed when it comes to love. Will they risk their hearts to love again?

Chet Leonard's life was forever changed when his seventeen year old son died and then, soon after, his wife walked out on their family. Over two years later, all he wants to do is hold onto his horse ranch and raise his remaining sons to be honorable men.

Kimberly Welch, widowed mother of Tara, a rebellious fifteen-year-old, has reached the end of her finances and nearly the end of her rope. She and Tara come to King's Meadow to try to piece their lives back together again. Kimberly has no intention of become involved with the residents of this remote mountain community and certainly not with any man.

When 84-year-old Anna McKenna returns to King's Meadow and to the Leonard ranch, she becomes an agent of change and healing for the two hurting families. With her help, Kimberly and Chet's families at last discover a love without end.

MY REVIEW:  I've never been into cowboy romances.  I am a bit afraid of horses though I admire their beauty.  But this book was a lovely exception.   The hero is a cowboy and he raises horses and I LOVED this book!   I also usually prefer a romance with some mystery or suspense involved but this book did not have either of those elements and yet it was a very engaging book.  I quickly felt a real concern and kinship with the characters.  Both Kimberly and Chet have suffered a great loss in their marital relationships but Tara throws them together.   Are they ready for it?  Can they open their hearts and trust again?   Read this enchanting book to find out.
       I have never been to Idaho but the beauty described by Robin Lee Hatcher makes me want to hop in the van for a road trip. I have never really had the desire to stay on a horse ranch either but this book made me consider the possibility.   In fact, I wish I had the money to get started right now.   Who is ready to go with me?   We can explore the beautiful ranch and maybe even learn to ride horses.   I'm sure Chet would teach us.   Who is up for riding lessons from a gorgeous cowboy?   
        I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.
        I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:Robin Lee Hatcher

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writer of America and the winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and numerous other awards and recognitions, Robin is the author of over 70 novels/novellas. Her books have been translated into Dutch, French, and Chinese (to name a few).

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She and her husband make their home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon and Pinky the feline terror. Join her on her Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/robinleehatcher) and/or Twitter and/or her website & blog.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

5 star review for "An Amish Man of Ice Mountain"

Review of An Amish Man of Ice Mountain

by Kelly Long

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Joseph King has good reasons to work an oil rig far from his beloved Ice Mountain . . . and to mind his own business. He hopes to protect his younger brother Edward from worldly influences. And maybe he can finally forget how yielding to temptation forced him to leave home in disgrace. Still, no honorable Amish man would let Priscilla Allen and her four-year-old daughter remain homeless, living out of their car. And how can he not be drawn to the feisty waitress's bravery and hidden strength . . . 

Offering Priscilla a home on Ice Mountain as his wife-in-name-only gives her a place to start again. For Joseph, it's also an unexpected chance to regain his reputation and standing in the community. But Priscilla's warmth, caring, and determination to adjust to Amish society are renewing Joseph's long-buried hope. Now as his guilt and her wrenching secrets threaten the fragile trust growing between them, they will need the riskiest of miracles to put the past to rest--and fulfill a promise only love and renewed faith can bring.

MY REVIEW:  This is most definitely not your typical Amish fiction!   Kelly Long has written a book filled with passion and there are scenes of sexual expression.  I felt it was very tastefully written but want to disclose it as some readers may be surprised or even shocked.  This book also deals with some very heavy issues but I do not want to spoil the book for readers so I will let readers discover the issues for themselves.  Joseph is such an honest and caring young Amish man.   It is hard not to love the man.   Forgiveness and confession play a large part in the story.
       I have experienced some of the issues addressed in the book and it helped me to read this account.  The setting of Ice Mountain is so peaceful and beautiful.  I could picture it all as if I were actually there myself.  I wish I could go to a place like it to relax and reflect, taking along some special family members and friends who also need healing.  Ice Mountain is indeed a place of healing and peace for the characters.   The story is so compelling that I finished it in just two short evenings.   Readers will not be disappointed.  I am interested in seeing what other readers think of this unique book.   
      I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.
      I received a free print copy of this book from the publisher and a pdf version from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 About the Author:
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.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Review of "Sister Eve, Private Eye"

Review of Sister Eve, Private Eye

by Lynne Hinton

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Sister Eve knows God moves in mysterious ways. And Eve adores a good mystery. Especially a murder.

Two decades into her calling at a New Mexico monastery, Sister Evangeline Divine breaks her daily routine when a police officer appears, carrying a message from her father. Sister Eve is no stranger to the law, having grown up with a police captain turned private detective. She's seen her fair share of crime--and knows a thing or two about solving mysteries.

But when Captain Jackson Divine needs her to return home and help him recover from surgery, Sister Eve finds herself taking on his latest case.

A Hollywood director has disappeared, and the sultry starlet he's been running around with isn't talking. When the missing man turns up dead, Captain Divine's case escalates into a full-blown murder case, and Sister Eve's crime-solving instincts kick in with an almost God-given grace.

Soon Sister Eve finds herself soul-searching every step of the way: How can she choose between the vocation in her heart and the job in her blood?

MY REVIEW:   This is my first book by Lynne Hinton but I do not think it will be my last.   This is a fun and suspenseful read.   I love the humor in the book.  I was very intrigued by the title as I wondered about a private eye who was a nun.  I don't usually think of those two career paths careening.  The book also handles some difficulties in the family relationships for Sister Eve.  As readers may deduce from the title, Sister Eve is no ordinary nun.  She is quite unusual in many ways.  
        I pride myself on being fairly accurate in figuring out the mysteries of books but I did not figure this one out until it was revealed in the text.  I always enjoy being surprised by authors and characters.  I rate this book 5 stars and am happy to recommend it to readers.  
       I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Lynne Hinton

Lynne Hinton is the pastor of St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The author of numerous novels including Friendship Cake, Hope Springs, Forever Friends, Christmas Cake, and Wedding Cake, she lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review of "Zachary's Choice: Surviving My Child's Suicide"

Review of Zachary's Choice:  Surviving My Child's Suicide

by Suzy LaBonte



A Christian homeschooling mom of a large family, Suzy LaBonte never imagined one of her children might die by suicide. She received an agonizing blow the day her sixteen-year-old son, Zachary, without threat or forewarning, chose to end his own life. The following months were bleak and sorrowful as Suzy struggled down a confusing path of shock, anger, guilt, and depression. Slowly putting one foot in front of the other, Suzy focused on the unfailing character of God, her husband's faithful partnership, and the hopeful faces of the children before her. Plodding and stumbling toward understanding and healing, Suzy found that God's faithful companionship and the promises of His Word lightened the darkest hours and sustained her life. Healing came slowly and with it, transforming lessons of pain and courage. With a passion to reach out to encourage other suicide survivors, Suzy shares the healing that is found in Christ Jesus."Includes a Survival Guide for those impacted by suicide and suggested resources for further support."

MY REVIEW:  I have not lost a child to death but I have had a family member commit suicide and have had several serious attempts made by loved ones.   Their attempts, thankfully, were unsuccessful and led to hospitalizations which allowed them to receive help and healing.  Suzy LaBonte's son did not receive help and healing as he showed no obvious warning signs to family members or friends.  Suzy experienced great guilt after losing Zachary as she wanted to go back  in time and help him.  
      Suzy dealt honestly and respectfully with her feelings and struggles after losing her son in such a tragic way.   She described her own progression through the five stages of grief:  shock, anger, guilt, depression, and acceptance.  None of the stages were quick and easy. None were without struggle.  They certainly weren't without tears.  Zachary's mother admits she is not a professional counselor but I felt that she spoke clearly and in ordinary language so that anyone could easily understand and apply the script to their own lives.   I have three grown daughters and I found myself grieving with this precious mom over the senseless loss of her beautiful son.   She urges readers to seek professional help if needed and includes many useful tips for those who are experiencing their own grief after a suicide.   
      I rate this book 5 stars and would highly recommend it to readers.
      I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 About the Author:
Suzy LaBonte

Suzy LaBonte lives with her family in the rural town of Lacey Spring, Virginia which is located in the beautiful farmland of the Shenandoah Valley. For over 26 years, she has been blessed to be the wife of her high school sweetheart, Allen, who manages the engine repair shop for an aviation company at a local airport. 

Suzy has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Cedarville University and is the very proud mother of 10 children between the ages of 3 and 24 (five birth and five adopted from foster care). She is extremely proud of her two sons in the military -- one in the Navy and another in the Marines. Suzy stays busy juggling the weekly homeschool schedules and extra-curricular activities of two busy teenage daughters and five young ones still at home. 

Suzy and Allen have been foster parents is the state of Virginia for over 12 years and have had over thirty children spend time in their home. They are passionate about providing care to abused and neglected children within their community.

After her 16 year old son, Zachary, died of suicide in 2009, Suzy wrote a book about her experience titled Zachary's Choice: Surviving My Child's Suicide. She also created a local monthly support group for survivors of suicide loss called Lanterns of Hope. Meeting with these individuals within her community who are sharing a similar journey has been extremely healing. She also keeps in close contact with others beyond her community who lost a loved one to suicide. These she counts among her dearest friends.

On a personal note, Suzy likes looking for treasures at garage sales and thrift stores, tending to her perennial flower beds, and collecting eggs from her little flock of chickens. In her spare time, besides writing, she enjoys various crafts, vacationing at the beach, and keeping in touch with her friends.