Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review of The Random Acts of Cupid

By Amanda Tru

Elise Hutchins has a secret. She likes to anonymously play matchmaker for people she doesn’t really know. But when lawyer Ryan Jenkins discovers she’s Seattle’s Cupid, he thinks her methods are deceptive and she shouldn’t be interfering in the lives of others. Now Elise has 24 hours to present her case and prove her character to Ryan. Otherwise, he will reveal her secret and ruin her reputation along with possibly all of the good she’s done. Will following her around on her Cupid errands change his mind about her? And, in the end, will Elise sacrifice her own chance at love to make one final match for her best friend?
My Review:
What a sweet Valentine's Day love story!  I read this in one sitting as I was eagerly reading to see if Elise could convince Ryan of her good character in spite of her deceptive acts as Cupid.  It was very intriguing to see the ways that Elise had worked her magic to assist so many people in finding love and happiness.   I loved this book. I was sick while reading it and it gave me something joyful to think about while fighting illness.  I finished this book with a big smile on my face and tears in my eyes and I think you will too!

I was given a free ebook by the author in exchange for my honest review.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review of Unbreakable

by Nancy Mehl

Gentle and unassuming, Hope Kauffman has never been one to question the traditions of her Mennonite upbringing.  She quietly helps her father run Kingdom Quilts and has agreed to the betrothal he arranged for her with the devout but shy Ebbie Miller.

Despite the attempts of Hope and other Kingdom residents to maintain the status quo, changes have already begun to stir in the small Mennonite town.   The handsome and charismatic Jonathan Weise is the leader of the move to reform, while Ebbie insists Kingdom must remain true to its foundation.  When Hope's safety is threatened by a mysterious outsider, she can't help but question what she's always been taught about the Mennonite tradition of nonviolence. 

With tensions high and their lives endangered by an unknown enemy, will Hope and the people of Kingdom allow fear and division to break them or will they draw on the strength of the God they serve?

MY REVIEW:
I was fortunate to have the chance to read Inescapable  (Book one in Road to Kingdom series) and it was a wonderful book.   In Unbreakable, we see Lizzie and Noah again, as well as other characters we met and loved in  book one.  I love the suspense of the story.    I was drawn into the story immediately and found myself trying to figure out who was bringing danger and evil to my dear Kingdom friends.  The characters must examine their own hearts and beliefs and decide if it is permissible for them to carry loaded guns with the intent to use them only in self-defense. Is it okay for them to carry unloaded guns as a "threat" to attackers or is simply doing that a compromise to their beliefs of nonviolence?
 I found myself looking within at my own beliefs about fighting violence with violence and comparing that to Jesus' teachings, just as the Kingdom Mennonites do.  I highly recommend this book to readers and I am already anxiously awaiting Book Three in Road to Kingdom series as I want to know what happens next for Hope, Lizzie, Jonathan, Noah, and Ebbie !

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nancy Mehl is the author of thirteen books and received the 2009 ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award.  She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW.  Nancy lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggle, Watson, in Wichita, Kansas.  Visit her website at http://www.nancymehl.com.  

I received a free print copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for my honest review.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Review of An Angel by Her Side

by Ruth Reid



Katie has lived through tragedy and heartache. But with the angel Elias by her side, the best years of her life are just ahead.

A Heaven on Earth Novel, #3

When Katie Bender's fiance died in a tragic accident, so did her hope of finding love. Though heartbroken, Katie is also practical. In the years since the accident she has discovered her gift for teaching. But when a tornado destroys her small Amish settlement, including the schoolhouse, Katie doesn't know how she will provide for herself.

Seth Stutzman arrived in Hope Falls days before the storm. And when he helps usher Katie and the children to safety, sparks fly. But Seth is only in town to help his brother, Amos, get back on his feet following the death of his wife. He can't afford to have feelings for Katie.

Rebuilding the community is a huge task, and soon, Katie and Seth are working side by side. As they privately wrestle with their feelings for each other, another silent--and ultimate--battle for their hearts rages unseen.

Sworn to protect what God has ordained, the mighty angel Elias appears to them as a mysterious visitor. And with his guidance, Katie and Seth find the courage to take the first small steps toward the life, and love, they were destined for.
My Review:
   
 Ruth Reid drew me into Katie and Seth's world in the quiet Amish community on the very first page.   Her book truly caused me to question some of my own beliefs about angels and demons.  Elias appeared to Seth and Katie as a old man.   He was safe, in their minds.  He walked with a limp and yet, he walked for     miles and camped outside by the river, the very river that had claimed the life of Katie's fiance.  
     It made me wonder if perhaps, God has sent angels to me at times in my life, and I did not recognize them as such.   Razzen, the demonic spirit, whispered negative, discouraging thoughts to Amos and several other characters. When I struggle with negative thoughts, were they planted there in the same way?  Did God perhaps send angels to protect me or my loved ones?   I like to think so!   Read this book and discover your own connections and truths.   
ABOUT  THE AUTHOR:
Ruth Reid is a pharmacist and author of these amazing books.  She currently lives in Florida, but they once lived very close to an Amish community in Michigan.  Watching the kind, gentle Amish living such a peaceful life led to Ruth's writing about them and their lives in her works of fiction.  

I received a free copy of the book from booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review of A Marriage of the Heart by Kelly Long

Review of A Marriage of the Heart 
by Kelly Long
Three Kelly Long Amish novellas—available for the first time in one collection.

Christmas Cradles—When Anna takes over for her aunt, the local midwife, Christmas night heats up with multiple deliveries, three strangers' quilts, and unexpected help from the handsome, brooding Asa Lapp.

A Marriage of the Heart—Since her mother’s death, Abigail Kauffman has lived alone with her father. She longs to escape the emptiness of the farmhouse that has never felt like home. Joseph Lambert is a newcomer in their close-knit community. Only after suddenly marrying do they begin to understand the tender truths of life-long love.

A Perfect Secret—Rose’s betrothed, Luke, is safe and dependable—maybe a little too safe. Or so she thought, until she ran into him into the woods one night and learned there was more to him than she ever suspected. Now his secret haunts her. She wasn’t sure about marrying a man she knew too well. But should she marry a man she doesn’t understand at all.
My review:  
I had read A Perfect Secret when it was released on its own and enjoyed it. I did not remember all of the details, though, and read it again.   Each of the three novellas gave me such a good feeling.  It made me think of my own first love, giving birth to my own daughters, and the wonderful experiences I had.   Rose made me think of adventure and the discontent that the ordinary, safe, life can leave us with each day.   You will love reading how Rose and Luke find a way to "spice up life".    
Anna and Asa's story was so touching.  Anna is a marvelous example of the curvy woman finding her own way in the world.   I love that we have an example of a woman who is not 80 pounds.    Anna also has her own successful career as an Amish midwife so she serves as a positive role-model in several different ways.    You will enjoy traveling through the snow and blizzard with Anna and Asa as they help to bring new lives into the world.   
Abigail and Joseph made me think of arranged marriages, though it is a bit different from them, it does have many similarities.  They start off their marriage with some definite obstacles to overcome.  Can they find love together?  Anna wants to leave her father's home?  Will she get her wish or will she be stuck in that loveless, strict home forever?   I found great pleasure in reading the story of these various young Amish people.   I believe that you will also be filled with good feelings as you read Kelly Long's novellas.    
About the Author:


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.

I received a free  ecopy of this book from booksneeze.com in exchange for my honest review.   
To purchase a copy of A Marriage of the Heart,  
http://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Heart-Kelly-Long/dp/1401687563/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358644771&sr=1-1&keywords=a+marriage+of+the+heart

Friday, January 11, 2013

Review of Casa de Naomi, The House of Blessing book 2

Review of Casa de Naomi, The House of Blessing (book 2) 
by Paula Rose Michelson

Naomi wants Chaz's love. Chaz loves Naomi but will not forgive his wife lying to him. The attorney wants Naomi's estate. The padre wants the couple to reconcile. Nicco wants to marry Lucinda. Lucinda wants to marry Nicco. Neither will wed until Chaz and Naomi are standing with them when they say their wedding vows. Who will get what they want? Find out when you read the second volume of Paula Rose Michelson's saga, Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing.
My review: 
Paula Rose Michelson is a gifted writer and prophet. She is certainly telling the good news through her fictional work in this series of books.   The back of her novel says:   "Fulfilling Messiah's Great Commission through Literature" and she does exactly that in her writing.   I also love how she draws so many parallels between Ruth and Naomi in Casa de Naomi with Ruth  and Naomi of the Bible.   I adore the way she has a little child lead Naomi to some important truths during a simple activity such as fishing together and sharing a picnic lunch.     I also love how she has an older woman teach the younger women and lead them to their own understandings of God and the Bible.  It causes me great pain to realize how Naomi feels that she must hide her faith, her culture, her Judaism.   It made me reflect on the pain that so many Jews have experienced and the horrors of the Holocaust.   I imagine this book will make many readers reflect in a similar way, but Paula leaves us with hope as she writes and weaves the tale of Naomi's life......read to discover how Naomi and Chaz will resolve their problem: can he forgive her lies?  can she forgive his anger towards her?  Will Naomi find Messiah and welcome him into her heart as the new family she meets has already done?    Superb writing!  incredible storytelling!   beautiful news!   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Paula Rose Michelson is a Messianic Jew.  She founded LAMB Ministries, which helps women recover from trauma and abuse through the effective use of scripture of prayer.  She and her husband, Ron, serve with Chosen People Ministries.  As the mother of two married daughters,  and grandmother of seven, when not writing, speaking, or teaching the effective use of scripture, you will find Paula researching her next book or meeting with friends.  Visit her websites:  http://www.PaulaWordsmith.com and http://www.CasaFulfillment.blogspot.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from the author for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review of "Goodbye to Yesterday" by Wanda Brunstetter

Review of Goodbye to Yesterday,

The Discovery Saga, Part 1 of 6

by Wanda Brunstetter 


Join 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:   
Wanda Brunstetter is one of my favorite authors and this book was a wonderful one.  I quickly fell in love with the story of Meredith and Luke.   They are dealing with the loss of Luke's job and my husband is currently in the same position so this is a dilemma I can definitely relate to.   The anxiety related to the financial stress causes arguments between the young newlyweds, and Meredith is pretty sure that she is expecting their first baby.  She does not want to tell Luke until she has it confirmed by the Amish midwife, and so he leaves for his trip to his uncle's home before she finds out for sure and certain.  I also am a proud mom to a fur baby and their dog, Fritz, keeps Meredith company while Luke is gone.   
Then a new and ugly twist enters the story's plot:  the drug addict, Alex, who has already stolen drugs and money.   Alex now seems to threaten the happiness of Luke and Meredith.  In fact, the end of Part 1 leaves us wondering if Alex kills Luke, or does he seriously harm him instead?  Will Luke ever get to his destination?  Will Meredith receive a call that he has safely arrived? or will she hear that her beloved is never going to return home at all?   I was hanging on the edge of my seat by the end and already wondering what happens next.    I will eagerly wait for Part 2 to be published so I can find out what the verdict is.    

About the Author:

Wanda 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 through out the states, where they have several Amish friends.   Wanda and her husband have two grown children and six grandchildren.   In her spare time, Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, beachcombing, stamping, and having fun with her family.   Visit her website at:  http://www.wandabrunstetter.com.   
I won a copy of this book in a facebook giveaway.    I agreed to give an honest review of the book and all opinions are my own.  




Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review of THE WISDOM TREE

Review of The Wisdom Tree

by Mary Manners


Sometimes the last thing we think we need is exactly what God has planned. 

After the death of his parents, Jake Samuels has enough on his plate—including a fledgling church to lead and a mischievous younger brother to raise. The last thing he needs is a rambunctious woman to contend with. 

Carin O'Malley is dealing with the death of her brother and a new job as an English teacher at East Ridge Middle School where Corey Samuels reigns as King of Chaos. The last thing she needs is to fall in love with a man...especially a handsome and complicated preacher like Corey’s brother Jake. 

But when Corey's antics toss Carin and Jake together, the two must draw from God’s wisdom to find refuge in His perfect plan for them.

My Review:  This book touches many familiar chords with my heartstrings as I am a former middle school teacher and was married to a pastor, so the situations that Jake and Carin are placed in bring many memories to my mind.  I also felt a great deal of empathy for them.  I know what difficult jobs teaching and pastoring both are!   Jake and Carin have so many things going for them, and yet, they both face many challenges along the way.   Romance should just come easy, huh?  but no, Corey throws a monkey-wrench or two into the mix for this young couple.    I loved Mary's book and appreciate the scriptural references and faith-based writing.    This is a 5-star novel, for certain!  

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.   I was not required to give a positive rating.    
About the author:  

Mary lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband, Tim, and  teen-aged daughter, Danni.  They are proud pet owners to:  Lucky and Gus - the two cats they rescued from local animal shelters.
Mary is  a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers.
During the school year, she teaches middle-schoolers reading and Algebra. When she has free time, she loves to garden, take long walks with her husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees. She writes romance novels for White Rose Publishing. If you'd like to visit, she has an author page there, as well. That's where you'll find everything there is to know about her books.
 

Review of Perfect Wedding

Review of Perfect Wedding

by Debra Benson



Leah is a successful weight-loss expert. She seems to have everything an independent girl ever wanted, but for one a perfect wedding. She had always dreamed of walking down the aisle with her father leading her toward her perfect mate. But she doesn't know her father. His idenitity has remained a secret for a very long time, and she knows she has to exhaust all her efforts to convince her mother to spill.

In the midst of her emotional turmoil, she meets Andrew, a man dumped by his wife, her new client, for being overweight. On one of their meetings, he notices her sad disposition and offers to listen, she opens up to him and all things begin to change. 

Will Leah find her father and will she ever see her dream come true in a perfect Wedding?


MY REVIEW:
I won a copy of this book from the author on a blog giveaway and was really excited as my youngest daughter is engaged and I thought it would make a great gift for her.   I enjoyed reading this book. It is short, at less than 50 pages printed, and so it is a quickly-read book.  I appreciated the various conflicts in the book and did find myself wrapped up in the issues with the characters.  I wanted Leah to find a future husband and I definitely was rooting for her to find her father and develop a relationship with him.   I found myself anxious to get back to my reading of this first publication by Debra Benson.   She definitely weaves her beliefs on faith into the storyline of the book.    I will be looking forward to more good books from this author in the future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  
Debra Benson describes herself in the following way on goodreads.com:  
A glad Author. I write what intrigues me and hopefully others.
I enjoy gardening and listening to music. 
I live in Katy, Texas with my three children, four grandchildren and the love of my life.
I am also online at the following sites:
http://www.ollieleewords.com
http://www.twitter.com/bensondebra