Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review of "The Wishing Season"

Review of The Wishing Season

by Denise Hunter

21556052

She daydreams of whipping up sauces and souffles in her own restaurant. His heart is set on helping foster children. Both dreams are at stake. So are their hearts.

With grand plans to open her own bed & breakfast in Chapel Springs, PJ McKinley can't afford the most crucial part: the brick and mortar. But when the owner of a local historic home announces a contest and promises her property to the worthiest candidate, PJ makes a fervent wish and tosses her name into the hat.

Cole Evans is cool, confident, and successful, but he'll never forget his roots. He's thankful for how far he's come and knows his life could have turned out drastically different. If he can win the stately old mansion, he'll turn it into a home for children aging out of the foster system.

When the eccentric house owner narrows the entries down to only two applicants, she extends the contest, giving PJ and Cole one year to prove which one of them can make the best use of her beloved home. As the pair competes in close proximity, something deeper than rivalry sparks between PJ and Cole. And in this battle, they're likely to lose their hearts.

MY REVIEW:    Surprises, surprises, surprises......I thought this was a Christmas book based on the cover, but it is not.   PJ and Cole are both competing for ownership of the Wishing Mansion.  PJ wants to turn it into a Bed-and-Breakfast and restaurant and Cole wants to provide housing for 18 year old foster children to transition.   Then they have to share it for one year before the board determines who will receive ownership.  Chemistry flies between PJ and Cole and things become heated and not just in the restaurant's kitchen.   
This romance is very cute, very funny and completely endearing.  I could not help but like PJ and Cole and I was torn about the potential outcome as both deserved the Wishing Mansion.   Cole has some issues to deal with as he himself was a foster child after his parents and little sister were killed in a car accident for which he blames himself.   PJ has not always made wise choices in men and so she has some things to overcome as well.   I could picture the mansion in my mind and wished I could visit the restaurant and taste some of the delicious food prepared there.   Denise Hunter has written a lovely ending and readers will have to get a copy to find out what happens!    I rate this novel 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:
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!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Interview with Author, Anita Higman and Giveaway

  Interview with Author, Anita Higman and Giveaway!  






Q&A for A Question of Destiny


Can you tell me a little bit about your novel, A Question of Destiny?


I’d be happy to. It’s basically a rags-to-riches story with a few surprises along the way.
Here’s a short blurb to give you a few more details.
Lucy O’Brien is about to be given ten millions dollars and a chance to live a life she never imagined. Will this new found wealth be Lucy’s undoing, or can she rise above the temptations within high society and choose to become a nobler version of herself? And will the solitary Andrew Whitfield—a man who watches over Lucy as she adapts to her new lifestyle—cause her to close the door on her dreams or be the key that opens the rest of Lucy’s destiny?


How did you come up with this story?
I’ve always thought the rags-to-riches concept was fascinating. There’s so much ready-made conflict. Even though we’ve been told by the world that to receive a windfall would be an idyllic situation, in reality, a lot can go wrong. You can truly lose your way. In life, love, faith. Everything. Since a writer needs a lot of conflict to keep those loverly readers turning the pages, I thought this would be a good plot element to add to a love story.


In A Question of Destiny you have the hero loving the city while the heroine loves the country, and it becomes a sticky point between them. Where did you get your inspiration for this conflict?
I suppose both of these viewpoints are inside me. I grew up on a farm, but I now live near Houston. I love the city and the country equally, and so does my husband. So, we are building our retirement home in the country, but because of a soon-to-be-built freeway nearby, we will have access to the city. But I won’t tell you how my heroine and hero work out this intense disagreement!


What is the farthest place from home you’ve ever been?
Melbourne, Australia. I loved it there. It’s such a beautiful and fascinating city. So much so, I set part of a novel there, which was entitled,Winter in Full Bloom. I’d love to go back to Australia someday, but it’s expensive, and it’s a very, very long flight!


Want to share one of your dreams?
I would love to have one of my books made into a movie. Right now two of my novels are optioned for movies, so I’m hoping something exciting will transpire from that.


How long have you known that you wanted to be a writer?
Growing up I dreamed of telling stories. When I was very young I started working on a novel about a man from Mars who wanted to go to college in New York. I never finished that novel, but it left an impression on me. I knew deep down that writing was my dream, even though I didn’t get around to fulfilling it until I was in my thirties.


What do you hope your readers will come away with after reading one of your novels?
I would love for them to be inspired, challenged, and entertained. If I accomplish even one of those things I would feel my writing time wasn’t wasted.


If you could have dinner with two well-known people, who would they be?
Josh Groban, because his music inspires me and Leif Enger, because I love the way he writes.


Is there something about you most people wouldn’t know?
I love licorice ice cream, but it’s a rare find.


Any advice for new writers?
My advice would be, “Don’t rush the process. Take your time. Read and learn about the craft, network, and attend conferences. Start a blog, and find your own unique voice. Be faithful to your stories and write every day. If you really have a passion for writing, you won’t find my suggestions to be a punishment—but a pleasure.”


How can your readers connect with you?

I would love for you to visit my website at www.anitahigman.com and connect with me through the “Contact Me” button, or you can go to my Facebook Reader Page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnitaHigman.

23483276
Lucy O’Brien is about to be given ten millions dollars and a chance to live a life she never imagined. Will this new found wealth be Lucy’s undoing, or can she rise above the temptations within high society and choose to become a nobler version of herself? And will the solitary Andrew Whitfield—a man who watches over Lucy as she adapts to her new lifestyle—cause her to close the door on her dreams or be the key that opens the rest of Lucy’s destiny.

To celebrate the release of A Question of Destiny, Anita is offering to giveaway 2 kindle copies of her book and a surprise that Lucy (main character in book) would enjoy.   
To be entered to win, leave a comment.  For extra entries, follow my blog; Like my facebook page, Rhonda's Doings; share on facebook, twitter, or google +.   Leave a separate comment to tell me if you did something for extra entries.   
Don't forget to leave your email so that I can contact you if you win.   Contest will run til Thanksgiving day at midnight 2014.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review of "The Beekeeper's Son"

Review of The Beekeeper's Son

by Kelly Irvin

21465646

A strange, mystical place allows Deborah and Phineas to see themselves and others with new eyes. When Deborah Lantz arrives in Bee County, Texas, she expects to find a great oasis of citrus groves and olive trees. Instead, she finds a tiny Amish district struggling to make ends meet on a barren, drought-stricken land. Deborah longs to go home to the lush, green countryside of Tennessee, but she wants her mother, a widow with six children, to be happy again. Even if that means accepting Stephen as her future stepfather. She can t believe God created such an ugly place filled with strange animals, twisted, stunted trees, and not a drop of rain for months. Then she meets the beekeeper's son. Phineas King s face is disfigured by scars from an accident that killed his mother and destroyed his trust in God. Through their encounters both begin to realize the beauty in all of God s creation. Deborah walks through the strange land of figs, Mexican squash, and wild cucumbers to see Phineas, who finds solace in his work keeping the bee hives and harvesting honey for his father. Both are rarely alone, but always lonely. Deborah begins to see Bee County through Phineas's eyes and Phineas learns to see himself through hers.

MY REVIEW:   Texas is a long way from Tennessee and it is quite a different climate and terrain.   Abigail and her family moved here for her to remarry after their daed's death to Abigail's first love.  Her oldest daughter, Deborah, is not pleased as she left her boyfriend behind in Tennessee.    But along comes Phineas who was badly scarred in a car accident that took his mother's life.   He blames himself and he is sure that no girl will ever be able to look past his scars to love him.   Deborah argues with Phineas often and they have heated discussions but she is eager to learn about keeping bees and bird watching from him.   And Stephen, the man her mom may marry, is awfully bossy and rough on the children.   Can they all look past these things and survive?   Deborah reminds Phineas that the Amish do not worry about what is on the outside of a person, but can he believe that?  
I found this to be a refreshingly different Amish fiction book.    I lived in Texas myself for three years while my husband attended seminary so I do recall some of the feelings expressed. I missed the change of seasons.  I longed for the change of colors in the fall and I really missed snow!   We had air-conditioning to combat the heat but the Amish in the story do not have that luxury nor do they desire it.   Many people say that they only look on the inner beauty of a person but we all know that in our world that is not often true.   Can Deborah convince Phineas that she really does care for him?   And what will Abigail do about her relationship with Stephen?  Can she overlook his attitude and marry for convenience?  Can she learn to love this man or will history repeat itself and she will marry another man again?   
I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.   Kelly Irvin has written a real page-turner.   
I received a free pdf copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.   

About the Author:
Kelly Irvin

Kelly Irvin's latest book in the New Hope Amish series, A Plain Love Song, releases in July 2014. She is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Amish Amish series. The first series includes To Love and To Cherish, A Heart Made New, and Love’s Journey Home, published by Harvest House. Love Still Stands, the first book in her spin-off series New Hope Amish, released in September 2013, followed by Love Redeemed in March 2014.

Kelly is now working on a three-book series for Zondervan set in Bee County, Texas. The first book in The Amish of Bee County series, The Beekeeper's Son, is set to release in January 2015.

Kelly has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine, published by Five Star Gale in 2010 and 2011.

The Kansas native is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. She also serves as secretary of the ACFW San Antonio local chapter Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers. 

A graduate of the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism, Kelly has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years. She studied for three semesters at the University of Costa Rica, learning the Spanish language. As a journalist, she worked six years in the border towns of Laredo and El Paso.

She has worked in public relations for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department for 19 years.Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-six years, and they have two young adult children. They recently became grandparents for the first time. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories, read books by her favorite authors, and play with her new granddaughter.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Review of "Snow Globe"

Review of Snow Globe


by Laura V. Hilton

20978094

A Compassionate Young Woman Esther Beachy enjoys working for an elderly woman who is wheelchair bound. Her client, Anna Petersheim, is pleasant and tells captivating stories. Plus, her home is quiet and far more peaceful than Esther's, with so many siblings. She only dreads the day when Anna's grandson, Viktor, will return from the river to take over the farm. She and Viktor were classmates years ago, and he'd been an obnoxious flirt who paid attention to every girl but her.

A Toughened Riverboat Captain

A seasoned riverboat captain, Viktor Petersheim has seen his share of trials. He left the Amish after the death of his parents and siblings in a house fire for which he still feels responsible. Now, after years of working on the Mississippi River, he returns home to claim the farm he inherited from his grandparents and, hopefully, to repair some of the damaged relationships and broken hearts he left in his wake.

Love off the River

When Viktor arrives home, it doesn't take long for him and Esther to realize their mutual attraction. Even so, their relationship remains as tumultuous as a shaken snow globe, like the one Esther finds at a garage sale and gives to Viktor's grandmother as a token of affection. Viktor isn't the only man with an eye on Esther, and soon it looks as if she's ready to make a future with someone else. Will the two go their separate ways again? Or will the hand of God work something beautiful out of their angst and agitation?

My Review:   This is a very different Amish work of fiction and I love it!  Laura V. Hilton has written a beautiful story of love, forgiveness. abuse, death, and mercy.   Esther and Viktor are two of the most likable characters.  I fell in love with them immediately and was rooting for them to fall in love and marry, but life has not that simple for the two young people.  They have a long road to travel and Henry is already engaged to Esther and is not willing to give her up.   Henry was a character that I quickly developed a distaste for.  I expected a Christmas story based on the title, but it wasn't and I was pleasantly surprised by the way the story got its title as well.   I rate this 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.   
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love. Surrendered Love and Awakened Love, releasing September 2013. A nonAmish book The Appalachian Ballad Quilt will release November 2014 from Abingdon Press. She is contracted for another three book Amish series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Jamesport, releasing in April 2014, September 2014, and April 2015. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Laura is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Review of "A Christmas of Mercy"

Review of A Christmas of Mercy

by J. E. B. Spredemann

23509007

As Christmas draws near, Katrina Thompson looks forward to the birth of her first grandchild. But when the blessed event digs up the discovery of her buried criminal past, Officer Love feels obligated to report the wrongdoing. The Amish community of Paradise has long since forgiven Katrina for her past mistakes, but will she receive mercy at the hands of the law? Christian fiction romance


My Review:  This Christmas story is truly one about mercy.  Katrina Thompson is in desperate need of mercy in her life.  The Amish have long since forgiven her for her crime, but now she is dating Christopher, an officer of the law, and he has come to question her about the crime.   Will he show her mercy or will Christmas be ruined?  
I love reading about the Amish and how they celebrate Christmas.  They love to connect with family and friends.   The emphasis is on Christ and they celebrate with simple gifts and large, family meals.   I wish that our Christmas celebrations were more like that.   I love Thanksgiving because it is one holiday that is similar to that and there is no pressure to spend lots of money on gifts.   I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.   
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.   

About the Author:
J.E.B. Spredemann

Author interview: http://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.co...

By the grace of God, J.E.B. Spredemann resides in beautiful sunny California and writes Christian fiction. We hope our books uplift you, inspire you, make you laugh, and touch your heart.

Follow us on our website: www.jebspredemann.com 

Author can be contacted via email at jebspredemann@gmail.com 

Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for the most current updates and/or giveaways.

To God alone be the glory!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Review of "The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible"

Review of The Duck Commander Faith & Family Bible

New King James Version

by Phil & Al Robertson, executive editors

22142778

The stars of the hit TV show "Duck Dynasty" are committed to upholding five core values both on and off the screen: faith, family, fellowship, forgiveness, and freedom.

With new stories and testimonials told from the perspectives of Phil, the Robertson family patriarch, and his son Al, a pastor with more than 22 years of experience, "The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible" offers fresh wisdom on these values, what the Bible says about them, and how everyday people can apply them to their lives.

With relentless dedication to sharing the gospel and expanding Christ's kingdom, the Robertson family has become a driving evangelical force of the twenty-first century. "The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible" unleashes the power of their practical insight into critical faith issues, founded on God's holy Word.

Features include:


Full text of the New King James Version Bible A personal welcome note from Phil and Al Robertson 125 articles on the top 25 Bible search topics Life application and scripture references supplement each article 30 days of life-changing testimonials Topical index and reading plans
Part of the "Signature Series" line of Thomas Nelson Bibles

The New King James Version(R)--More than 60 million copies sold.

My Review:   Happy, happy, happy is what I feel as I read The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible.   The New King James Version translates Bible verses into easily understandable scripture.  For an example, "Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions."  Psalm 51: 1 Phil and Al Robertson each write 52 devotionals on Faith, Family, Fellowship, Forgiveness, and Freedom.   What impressed me as I read Phil and Al's personal thoughts was their honesty and the way they truly shared from the heart.   They wrote in plain, everyday language that all readers could understand and relate to.  There are also 30 Days of Lifechangers' stories. 
I thought the print was fairly easy to read.  I would have liked if the print were a bit larger for my own personal needs, but I could read it.  The hardcover edition has a lovely cover and would make a sturdy Bible to carry along for Bible studies and church worship.   There is a "Set Your Sights" Index breaking down the devotional topics even further for readers.   There are devotions based on:   Affluence, Anger, Anxiety, Apprehension, Assurance, Belief, Brokenness, Calling, Cares, Cheer, Children, Comfort, Commitment, Compassion, Concerns, Confidence, Consolation, Conversation, Conviction, Dedication, Distress, Endurance, Expectation, Fairness, Faith, Family, Favor, Fellowship, Fear, Fellowship, Forgiveness, Freedom, Gossip, Grace, Grief, Happiness, Healing, Heart, Heaven, Hell, Hope, Insight, Joy, Judgment, Justice, Kindness, Knowledge, Love, Marriage, Mind, Mission, Money, Parenting, Patience, Peace, Perseverance, Prayer, Purpose, Reassurance, Repentance, Resentment, Restoration, Righteousness, Serenity, Sin, Solace, Sorrow, Speech, Stewardship, Stillness, Stress, Suffering, Temptation, Tolerance, Tongue, Troubles, Trust, Understanding, Wealth, Wisdom, Worry, and Wrath.  This book will make a wonderful gift for men or families.   I plan to give my copy to someone special as a Christmas gift.  I rate this Bible 5 stars.  
I received a free copy of this Bible from booklookbloggers in exchange for my honest review.

About the Authors:
Phil Robertson was born and raised in Vivian, Louisiana. Phil was All-State in football, baseball, and track. He attended Louisiana Tech University on a football scholarship where he played first string quarterback ahead of Terry Bradshaw. After receiving his Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education and a Master's in Education, he spent several years teaching. 

In 1972, the first Duck Commander call was created. The Duck Commander Company was incorporated in 1973 and his home became his "factory". 

He speaks to hundreds of different churches and organizations every year about his strong Christian faith.

Phil has been married to “Miss Kay" (Kay Robertson) since 1966. 

Alan Robertson grew up hunting, fishing, and helping build the family business in the 1970s and ’80s. Alan left Duck Commander when he received the call for ministry in 1988 and served as a senior pastor in West Monroe, Lousiana, until 2012, when he rejoined the Duck Commander clan. Alan received an associate’s degree from White’s Ferry Road School of Biblical Studies and a bachelor in ministry from Sunset International Bible Institute. He lives in West Monroe, Louisiana, with his wife, Lisa, his two grown daughters, and two grandchildren. - See more at: http://authors.simonandschuster.ca/Al-Robertson/413144981



Review of "The Simple Life Devotional"

Review of Wanda E. Brunstetter's The Simple Life Devotional

Devotional Thoughts from Amish Country

22181344

Millions visit "Amish country" each year to enjoy the relaxed family atmosphere of this unique culture. What can we as "English" (non-Amish) people learn from this lifestyle? Wanda Brunstetter, New York Times bestselling author of Amish-themed novels, offers sixty intriguing and encouraging lessons in her devotional The Simple Life. Each reading features a brief story of the Amish, providing a "behind the scenes" insight into their culture; a spiritual lesson, accompanied by scripture, drawn from the story; and a "bonus" of an Amish witticism or recipe. Now readers can enjoy the peace and quiet of Amish country anytime, anywhere.

MY REVIEW:   Wanda E. Brunstetter has compiled a beautiful collection of stories of life with the Amish as a devotional.   I love the sweet stories based on the simple life of the Amish that is featured in this devotional.   There are delightful stories involving families collecting eggs from the chickens, mishaps of daily life, baking and working together, and more.  Each page has a story of Amish life, a scripture verse, and a Bible lesson based on the story and scripture.  Then to make this book even more exciting, each page features an Amish proverb and a recipe from an Amish cook.  There is even a pullout bookmark .  The bookmark shows an Amish buggy and Psalm 42: 5-6, "Why are you downcast, O my soul?   Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." and a "Remedy for Discouragement":  "Reach up as far as you can, and God will reach down the rest of the way."   What beautiful words to lift readers up and encourage them.  
       I particularly appreciate this Amish proverb, shown as "Food for thought":  "God does not shield us from life's storms; He shelters us in life's storms."  The recipes are listed as "Food for the body".   Some of the recipes you may want to try include:  Bread and Butter Pickles, Chicken Corn Soup, Date pudding, No-Peek Stew, Plate Salad, Rhubarb Cream Delight, Tangy Vegetable Dip, and Woodchopper's Hash and OF COURSE, there is a recipe for Whoopie Pies, a traditional Amish dessert.  I rate this devotional 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.  It would make a lovely gift.   
Thank you to Barbour Publishing, Inc, and Wanda E. Brunstetter for my copy of this book.

About the Author:  

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.