Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review of "Where Treetops Glisten"

Review of Where Treetops Glisten

by Sarah Sundin, Cara Putnam, and Tricia Goyer

21561734

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime

Three siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas

Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana. 

In White Christmas by Cara PutmanAbigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help. 

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theatre in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little ChristmasMeredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and God’s plan for a future?
MY REVIEW of White Christmas:  I love nothing better than a white Christmas myself and that's what Abigail Turner longs for as well.   In war times, with rationing and the loss of a beloved boyfriend and  a sister and brother serving in the war efforts, it seems that Abigail does need something special to brighten the holidays.   This story was very lovely.   I was touched by the kind heart of Abigail and the devotion of Jackson for his family.  Problems fall on each of us and it seems that when they hit at Christmas time, the problems are compounded.   Readers will enjoy watching Abigail and her family assist this devoted young man in solving his problem.  I rate this story 5 stars and would highly recommend it to readers.  

MY REVIEW of I'll Be Home for Christmas:  I have an uncle who was killed in World War II, so Grace's plight and suffering after losing her husband who was a fighter pilot in WWII is very emotional for me.   I can only imagine being left to raise a young rambunctious daughter alone.  Pete has returned with emotional wounds from his time as fighter pilot and falls in love with little Linnie when he meets her.  Can he win mom's heart too?  Can she forget the brute and bully Pete used to be as a youngster?  I truly appreciate the accurate details related to the war and the times.  It makes the story authentic and believable.   I felt like I was there with the characters.  I rate this novella 5 stars and would love to recommend it to readers.  

MY REVIEW of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas:  I really like that this series of novellas includes the same family of siblings and we get to know the three siblings quite well by the end.  I would love to read a sequel where we find out what happens later with Abigail, Pete and Merry.  I will be honest in that I had not considered the possibility that a German soldier and American nurse might fall in love.   This novella added a unique perspective to World War II for me.   I also appreciated that we heard from Abigail and Pete while the focus of this novella was Merry.  I can see why many young women joined the forces as nurses to have adventure and travel in the time period.   They obviously found much more adventure than they ever bargained for.  I rate this novella 5 stars and am delighted to recommend it to readers.  
I received a copy of this book from bloggingforbooks in exchange for my honest review.
About the Authors:
Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of two, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published thirty-three books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by SheKnows.com. Tricia is also on the blogging team at MomLifeToday.com, TheBetterMom.com and other homeschooling and Christian sites.In addition to her roles as mom, wife and author, Tricia volunteers around her community and mentors teen moms. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently leads a Teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, AR. Tricia, along with a group of friends, recently launched www.NotQuiteAmishLiving.com, sharing ideas about simplifying life. She also hosts the weekly radio podcast, Living Inspired. Learn more about Tricia at www.triciagoyer.com.

Cara Putman

Cara C. Putman lives in Indiana with her husband and four children. She’s an attorney and a teacher at her church as well as lecturer at Purdue. She has loved reading and writing from a young age and now realizes it was all training for writing books. She loves bringing history and romance to life.

An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska and George Mason University School of Law, Cara left small town Nebraska and headed to Washington, D.C., to launch her career in public policy. 

Cara is an author chasing hard after God as she lives a crazy life. She invites you to join her on that journey. Her 15th novels releases this fall along with a fresh edition of another book. Please check out her website to learn more about her books and read first chapters.

Sarah Sundin
Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. The Wings of the Nightingale series (With Every Letter, 2012, On Distant Shores, August 2013, and In Perfect Time, August 2014) follows three World War II flight nurses as they find love, friendship, and peril in the skies and on the shores of the Mediterranean. The Wings of Glory series from Revell (A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us,and Blue Skies Tomorrow) follows three brothers who are B-17 bomber pilots during World War II. 

Sundin lives in northern California with her husband, three children, an antisocial cat, and a yellow lab bent on destroying her writing career. When she isn't driving kids to tennis and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women's Bible studies.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Review of "Handcarved Christmas"

Review of Handcarved Christmas

by Cynthia Hickey

23004619
Laura Worth answers an advertisement for a bride and leaves Missouri to meet her groom in Montana. When she gets there, she realizes her husband-to-be, Ben Cooper, has no knowledge of having sent for her. She is devastated, even more so when she breaks a precious heirloom. Ben's heart goes out to the beautiful woman and he marries her in answer to his mother's dying wish. As Christmas approaches, the two wonder whether their marriage will hold the love and intimacy God intended it to have. Will Ben win the heart of his unexpected gift?

MY REVIEW:   Handcarved Christmas is a truly endearing Christmas novella.  I read it in one sitting on a long drive back from visiting my daughters.  I love snow and the fact that there is snow and a precious romance makes it even better.   Ben and Laura are two extremely likable characters.  I love historical romances and this one addresses a time when "mail-order brides" were the norm.  Laura is a character full of bravery to move from Missouri to Montana to marry a man sight unseen.  I rate this novella 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers. 
I received a copy of this novella as a gift from another author in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Cynthia Hickey

Multi-published author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries published through Barbour Publishing, with a novella releasing in March 2013. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series. She has several historical romances releasing in 2013 and 2014 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at www.cynthiahickey.com.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review of "A Matchmaker in Middlebury"

Review of A Matchmaker in Middlebury

by Anita Higman

22745348

Meredith Steinberg takes the stage again in A Matchmaker in Middlebury and is given another chance to dance with destiny and meddle in the romantic affairs of two lovelorn singles. But Meredith’s skills as a yenta are stretched to the limit as she discovers that her golden egg-of-a-plan has a perilous crack. In the end, however, heartstrings are indeed knotted together as two singles find tender love—they’re just not the two people Meredith paired for marital bliss… 

MY REVIEW:   Anita Higman's novelette is a sweet romance.  This is a quick and easy read.  It is one that is sure to leave readers with a smile on their faces.  I was actually thinking that I know of several people who need the services of a matchmaker like Meredith as I read the story.   I rate this novelette 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.
I received a copy of this novelette from the author in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Anita Higman

CBA best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has twenty-nine books published (several co-authored) for adults and children, and she has seven books coming out in the next two years. She won a 2011 RWA Readers Choice Award (first place) and has been honored in the past as a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston. Her latest coauthored book, Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe, was on the Nielsen’s best-seller list for five weeks for religious adult fiction and #6 on the CBA best-seller list for fiction (January, 2011). Anita’s novella, Once Upon a Christmas Eve, was given a four-star review in Romantic Times Magazine.

Some of Ms. Higman’s publishers are Guideposts/Summerside Press, Barbour Publishing, McGraw-Hill, Roman & Littlefield, Lillenas Drama, Abingdon Press, Standard Publishing, Bethany House, and Simon & Schuster/Howard Publishing.

A few of Anita’s books are Love Finds You in Humble Texas, Another Stab at Life, The Celestial Helix, The Love Song (co-authored), Pokeweed and Mrs. Gasp, Who Will I be For the Rest of My Life? (co-authored), and Big Book of Holidays and Holy Days. She also has contributions in twelve nonfiction compilations.

One of Ms. Higman’s co-authored books entitled, A Tribute to Early Texas, has a foreword by Elmer Kelton and has won a San Antonio Conservation Society Citation as well as a Westerners International Book Award. She was named a Favorite New Author in the 15th Annual Heartsong Presents Awards, and in the 16th Annual Heartsong Presents Awards her co-authored novel, Castles in the Air, was one of the winners in the Favorite Contemporary Romance category. Also Anita contributed to an animation script that won a Gold Remi Award.

Her novel, Love Finds You in Humble Texas, was chosen by Crossings Book Club and is now available in hardback and large print editions. Anita and the novel, Love Finds You in Humble Texas were featured on The Harvest Show, a Christian program with eight million regular viewers.

Ms. Higman has won two awards for her contribution to literacy and has raised thousands of dollars for literacy with her book, I Can Be Anything, while serving on the board of directors of Literacy Advance of Houston.

Anita Higman has written for radio, ezine, and advertising. She also cohosts a monthly blogtalkradio show atwww.InFaithNetwork.com which is a part of Reader’s Entertainment Radio and reaches an audience of 80,000. She has a BA degree combining speech communication, psychology, and art from Southern Nazarene University, and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers as well as The Writer’s View.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review of "Humble Pie"

Review of Humble Pie

Mattie and Mark Miller--Double Trouble series for children

by Wanda E.  Brunstetter 

20448036

Welcome to Holmes County, Ohio, where twins Mattie and Mark Miller get a taste of Humble Pie. When their out-of-control boasting begins to stir up trouble at every turn, will these energetic almost ten-year-olds learn the value of humility before it’s too late? You’ll fall in love with the fourth release in the Double Trouble series from bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunstetter.

Double Trouble Series:
Book 1 - What a Pair!
Book 2 - Bumpy Ride Ahead
Book 3 - Bubble Troubles
Book 4 - Green Fever
Book 5 - Humble Pie

MY REVIEW:  Mattie and Mark Miller are once again learning new lessons in life as they run and play on their Amish farm.   This is another delightful book written for children about ten-year-old twins.   Readers will get a view of the Amish lifestyle, farm life, and learn a lesson as they read.  Even though this book is written for children, it makes for a quick and fun read for adults as well.  I know that I certainly had quite a few chuckles as I read.   5 Star Children's literature!  
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Wanda E. Brunstetter

A nationally recognized authority on the Amish community, Wanda E. Brunstetter has sold more than seven million copies of her fiction and nonfiction books. Wanda enjoys an uncommon kinship with the Amish and continues to visit their communities throughout the country. Her books have won numerous awards and topped several bestselling charts. For more about her books for children, visit www.amishfictionforkids.com

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review of "When Mercy Rains"

Review of When Mercy Rains 

by Kim Vogel  Sawyer 

21473060

She left, heavily weighted with secrets.
But God reveals all things, in His timing. 
And He redeems them. 
Suzanne Zimmerman was only seventeen and pregnant when her shamed mother quietly sent her away from their Old Order Mennonite community in Kansas. With her old home, family, and first love firmly behind her, Suzanne moved to Indiana, became a nurse, and raised a daughter, Alexa, on her own. 
Now, nearly twenty years later, an unexpected letter arrives from Kansas. Her brother asks her to bring her nursing abilities home and care for their ailing mother. His request requires that Suzanne face a family that may not have forgiven her and a strict faith community. It also means seeing Paul Aldrich, her first love. 
Paul, widowed with an eight-year-old son, is relieved to see Suzanne again, giving him the chance to beg her forgiveness for his past indiscretion. But when he meets Alexa, his guilt flickers in the glare of Suzanne's prolonged secret--one that changes everything. 
Suzanne had let go of any expectation for forgiveness long ago. Does she dare hope in mercy-and how will her uncovered past affect the people she loves the most?

MY REVIEW:   Kim Vogel Sawyer has a true gift in her writing.   She is able to express deep emotions through her characters and allow the readers to feel those same emotions.   I most definitely felt the fear, shame, and regret that Suzanne felt in the story.  To be sent away from home as a young teen and left to bear the shame and regret is simply awful.   I can certainly imagine how horrible it was for Suzanne to experience this.   Then to be asked to return home to care for the very same mother who sent her away is almost too much to bear.  Suzanne is faced with a dilemma as she certainly had the right to refuse the request.   This book causes readers to reflect on conflicts they have had with their own families.   Can love and forgiveness occur?  Is it even possible in such a case?  
      I have a great respect and fascination for the Amish and Old Order Mennonites but I must be honest that I have a very hard time understanding their desire to send children away in shame.  I simply do not think that I could do such a thing to one of my daughters.    I would want to help them and love them unconditionally.  As I read and reflect on Amish and Old Order Mennonite works that I have read including this one, I don't see a great deal of unconditional love expressed among families. What do my blog readers feel about this issue?   Does it seem that the Amish and Old Order Mennonites show a great penchant for conditional love and do they also then place that same restriction on God?   It is just something I found myself pondering again as I read this book.   Can the characters turn this around and make it work for good?  Readers will need to read this 5 star Old Order Mennonite fiction to find the answers to this and other questions.  
I received a print copy of this book from bloggingforbooks in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:
Kim Vogel Sawyer

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. She invites you to visit her web site at www.kimvogelsawyer.com for more information.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Review of "The Discovery Saga Collection"

Review of  The Discovery Saga Collection

by Wanda E. Brunstetter

E
Originally released in a 6-part serial, now you can have The Discovery:  A Lancaster County Saga all in one book. Meredith and Luke Stoltzfus, an Amish couple who are faced with the greatest challenge of their young lives. Financial struggles. Arguments. A suspected pregnancy. A last-minute trip to Middlebury,  Indiana. A drug addict on the run. A deadly encounter at a Philadelphia bus station. Will their love and faith be enough to bring them back together again, against all odds?

MY REVIEW:  I originally read this collection as it was published in 6 parts. I enjoyed it even more as I read the first 5 parts of the collection again and was able to finally read the conclusion in part 6.   I know many readers expressed a desire to wait until the entire 6-part series was published as a collection and you can now enjoy The Discovery:  A Lancaster County Saga without waiting for a short time to discover what was coming next.  Meredith and Luke endure many hardships and struggles.  But this collection is most definitely about overcoming obstacles and hope and faith play a strong part in the lives of Meredith and Luke.   
       Each of the 6 parts of the collection ends with a surprising cliff hanger.   It made me want to keep on turning those pages on my kindle to keep the excitement going.   Wanda Brunstetter has a beautiful way of making her characters seem very real and likable.  I was rooting for Meredith and Luke, but some other characters become close to them and it is hard to think of these folks be hurting by the natural consequences of the plot.   I do not want to reveal a great deal as it would "spoil" the story for readers.   
       I felt as though I was taking a "mini-vacation" from my own life and surroundings as I read.   I was able to imagine the clip-clop of the horses' hooves on the pavement and feel the warmth of the handmade quilts as I lay in my own bed.   The beauty and simplicity of the Amish way of life drew me in and allowed me to escape my own thoughts and struggles.  I deal with several chronic illnesses and it takes me away from that as I read.   I find that I am able to focus on someone and something else as I read.   I rate this collection 5 stars and am delighted to recommend it to readers.  
I received a kindle version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.   
      

About the Author:
wanda about About


Wanda E. Brunstetter
New York Times bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunstetter became fascinated with the Amish way of life when she first visited her husband's Mennonite relatives living in Pennsylvania. Wanda and her husband, Richard, live in Washington State but take every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the States, where they have many Amish friends.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Review of "An Amish Second Christmas"

Review of An Amish Second Christmas

by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Ruth Reid, & Tricia Goyer

21528451

When Christmas Comes Again by Beth Wiseman

Katherine Zook and her four children are facing their first Christmas without a loved one, and the future seems dim.But when a mysterious "Englisch" man begins to show up in the most unlikely of places, Katherine can t help but be suspicious . . . and a bit curious.
MY Review of When Christmas Comes Again:  This book speaks of second chances, forgiveness, and love.  I was truly touched by Katherine Zook and her children and when the identity of the mysterious Englischer is revealed, hearts will be moved.  I know a great deal about learning to forgive myself and others.  It is not always easy to do, but it opens our hearts to freedom.   This novella had me in tears, happy tears, but tears none-the-less.  It is a special 5 star Christmas novella and one that I believe readers will find special.  

Her Christmas Pen Pal by Ruth Reid

When Joy Stolzfus' boyfriend tells her he wants to court other women, she is shocked.She pours her heart out in a letter, but it mistakenly reaches Noah Esh. The two begin writing letters back and forth, but a misunderstanding threatens to topple the relationship they're building.
My Review of Her Christmas Pen Pal:  This novella is so cute.  I am sure that many readers have mailed packages and accidentally put a wrong number of portion of an address and when Noah receives the package of cookies Joy accidentally sent to him, things get very interesting.  I had several pen pals as a young teenage girl, and was always thrilled to receive a letter or package from my special friend.  This novella brought fond memories of that time for me.   Reading about all the delicious treats that Joy created made me hungry to do some Christmas baking too.  Readers will smile and laugh along with the characters in this 5 star novella.  

A Gift for Anne Marie by Kathleen Fuller

Anne Marie Smucker's life is pretty perfect. Until she discovers her widowed mother is getting married and they're all moving. On top of that, Anne Marie's relationship with her friend Nathaniel has changed, and she's more confused than ever about her feelings for him.
My Review of  A Gift for Anne Marie:   Anne Marie is naturally shocked to learn that her widowed mother is going to remarry and plans to move the entire family far away.  I have had to move many times in my life and the most difficult was when we moved our young family from Virginia to Texas for seminary.  I cried many tears and so I could relate to Anne Marie and her siblings' concerns and fears for moving.  Leaving friends and all that is familiar is difficult.   Her biggest fear is what will happen to her relationship with her boyfriend, Nathaniel.  Readers will thrill at seeing how issues are resolved in this 5 star Christmas novella.

The Christmas Aprons by Tricia Goyer

Esther Glick bakes a Christmas pie for a fundraiser, and she soon finds herself sitting across from bachelor Ammon Schwartz. Esther receives many orders for pies, but when she breaks her wrist, she discovers what community and love are all about.
My Review of The Christmas Aprons:   Esther Glick is an amazing baker and people always love her homemade creations.  Ammon is no exception when he wins the bid for her Vanilla Crumb pie at the bachelor auction to raise money for the fire department.  Esther has a problem though, she worries about what people think of her.  She does not think she fits in anywhere.  I struggle with many of these same thoughts and so I could relate to Esther but it is a miserable way to live.   It makes life lonely and uncertain.   Read this 5 star Christmas novella to see what takes place to bring healing for Esther.   
I received a print copy of this book from booklookbloggers in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Authors:
Beth Wiseman
"I wish I had the time to review books and chat with you here, but my writing deadlines just don't allow it. Please like my Fans of Beth Wiseman Page on Facebook where I try to post any news I have to share." 
Beth is the best-selling and award winning author of the Daughters of the Promise series - Plain Perfect, Plain Pursuit, Plain Promise, Plain Paradise, and Plain Proposal. She is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Her other series--the Land of Canaan Novels--begins with Seek Me With All Your Heart, then The Wonder of Your Love and now, His Love Endures Forever. Seek Me With All Your Heart is the first Amish fiction book selected as a Women of Faith novel in 2011. Beth has also written two contemporary Christian fiction novels, Need You Now published in 2012 and The House That Love Built in 2013. 
In a daring new novel, The Promise, Beth jumps way outside the box. This story will take readers far away from Amish Country and small Texas towns to a dangerous place on the other side of the world. Inspired by a true story, Beth believes this is the book she’s been working toward for a long time. 

You can also follow Beth on Twitter: @BethWiseman

Kathleen Fuller
Kathleen is the best-selling author of over twenty-five books, including the Hearts of Middlefield Series and the A Middlefield Family Series. She lives with her husband and three children in Northeast Ohio. Kathleen loves to hear from readers.

Tricia Goyer
Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of two, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published thirty-three books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by SheKnows.com. Tricia is also on the blogging team at MomLifeToday.com, TheBetterMom.com and other homeschooling and Christian sites.In addition to her roles as mom, wife and author, Tricia volunteers around her community and mentors teen moms. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently leads a Teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, AR. Tricia, along with a group of friends, recently launched www.NotQuiteAmishLiving.com, sharing ideas about simplifying life. She also hosts the weekly radio podcast, Living Inspired. Learn more about Tricia at www.triciagoyer.com
I grew up in Northern Michigan an introverted child who observed more than participated. I was the type of kid who if a sign read wet paint, I had to touch it to see if it was wet.
I spent many school hours daydreaming, mostly about horses. Coaxed by my teacher to submit a short story to the Young Authors Writing Contest, I wrote, A Dream to Remember, about a girl who daydreamed about wild horses. That contest opened my eyes to daydream with a purpose. After that, my endless imagination was limited only by how fast I could write, and sometimes I stayed up late at night writing by flashlight to finish a story.
Although the desire to write had been planted years ago, it lay dormant while I gained life experiences.
I attended Ferris State University School of Pharmacy, in Big Rapids, Michigan where I met my husband, Dan, who was a native Floridian. We married, moved to a small town in Florida, and had three children. (Lexie, Danny, and Sarah).