Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review of Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel

Review of Reign:  The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel

by Ginger Garrett

Reign: The Chronicles Of Queen Jezebel (Lost Loves of the Bible #3)

Beyond the Drama, Her Heart Was Real
From the moment her marriage to prince Ahab thrusts her into the intrigues of palace life, Jezebel’s exotic beauty opens doors and her will breaks down walls. Torn from her homeland and wed to power in a strange country, Jezebel vows to create a legacy and power all her own. Some might call her a manipulative schemer, bent on having her way. But they don’t know the whole story, and she was much, much worse. As she moves through the halls of power, her heart struggles between devotion to the gods she worships, the prince who loves her, and her thirst for revenge. She sparks a battle between her strangely powerless gods and the God of palace administrator Obadiah—a God who confronts her with surprising might. She will fight, though victory may cost her everything.

My Review:
I have been reading the Bible since I was a very young girl and Ginger Garrett brings the Bible and its characters to life in Reign in a powerful way. I was enthralled and fascinated by Queen Jezebel's story, even as parts of it horrified and shocked me.  The Bible tells the story in basic facts but to hear it in a fictional form with so many details was simply amazing.   I felt as if I were there watching all the action.   
Queen Jezebel has often been used to teach young women how NOT to behave and I can certainly see why.  I also can see what Jezebel was thinking and feeling to cause her to behave as she did.   Was she the wounded young girl who did not feel love from anyone so that she had no idea how to give love to others?   
I was given a copy of this book from www.bookfun.org (The Book Club Network) in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Ginger Garrett
Ginger Garrett is the author of the Chronicles of the Scribes series (In the Shadow of Lions, In the Arms of Immortals, In the Eyes of Eternity), Wolves Among Us, Chosen, Desired, Dark Hour, and Beauty Secrets of the Bible. Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther was recognized as one of the top five novels of 2006 by the ECPA.

Focusing on ancient women's history, Ginger creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women. A frequent media guest and television host, Ginger has been interviewed by Fox News, Billy Graham's The Hour of Decision, The Harvest Show, 104.7 The Fish Atlanta, and many other outlets.

A graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in Theater, she is passionate about creating art from history. Ginger resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.  Visit her website at:  http://www.gingergarrett.com/

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review of The Road Home

Review of The Road Home

by Patrick E. Craig


The Road Home (Apple Creek Dreams, #2)

Author Patrick Craig continues the story of Jenny Springer, the child rescued in A Quilt for Jenna with a story of reconciliation and healing.

Jenny Springer is the local historian for the Amish community in Apple Creek, Ohio. As a child, Jenny was rescued from a terrible snowstorm, and when no trace of her parents could be found, the Springer family adopted her. Since then she has had a burning desire in her heart to find out who she really is.

When a drifter, John Hershberger, comes to town looking for his own roots, Jenny gets serious in her search for her long-lost parents. As she opens doors to her past, she finds the truly surprising answer to her deepest questions. And as John discovers the story of his own heritage, his growing love for Jenny causes him to reexamine his lifelong atheism. In doing so he discovers his need for a real home, a family, and a relationship with God.

Book 2 in the Apple Creek Dreams series
My Review:
Patrick Craig has done an incredible job of blending romance with adventure, suspense, and spirituality.  Jenny is searching for her birth parents and Johnny is searching for meaning.  They both find many things along the way that they never expected or believed could happen.  Their lives are thrown together in what seem like haphazard ways and yet, God has a plan for their lives just as He does for each of us.   Jerusha and her lovely gift of quilting make the story complete with the Rose of Sharon quilt.   There are many wounds that need healing for Amish Jenny and Englisher, John.  
I felt drawn to the characters as I read.  It caused me to reflect on my own life and the ways that God has given meaning to my life.  God has given forgiveness to me and there were several precious examples of forgiveness in this book.  Patrick Craig utilizes the scripture through out the book to help characters, to lead them, to comfort them and to guide them.  I believe that he has used more scripture appropriately in his novel than I have ever seen in Amish fiction.  Patrick Craig was a pastor and I feel that he draws on those experiences and his educational training for the ministry and this enhances his writing.  I am looking forward to book 3: Jenny's Choice.
I was given a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Patrick E. Craig
Patrick Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful career in the music industry after two albums on Warner Brothers Records and years of live performances in one of San Francisco's most popular music groups to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next twenty-six years as a worship leader, seminar speaker and pastor in churches, retreats, seminars and conferences in the Western United States. After ministering in music and worship the last few years with his wife Judy to a circuit of small churches in Northern California, Patrick is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction titles.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review of A Vow for Always

the Discovery (A Lancaster County Saga) Part 6 

by Wanda Brunstetter

A Vow for Always (Discovery #6)
Book 6 of an exclusive 6-consecutive-month release Amish serial novel.  Join Meredith and Luke Stoltzfus, an Amish couple who are faced with the greatest challenge of their young lives. A Vow for Always is part six of New York Times Bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunsetter’s The Discovery--A Lancaster County Saga.
MY REVIEW:
Meredith and Luke have come a long way in this 6 part journey.  Luke started out to learn a new trade and was robbed and attacked and left for dead.  He developed amnesia from the injuries to his head and meanwhile, his wife, Meredith, has given birth to their first born child back in Pennsylvania.  A lovely young nurse takes Luke into her grandparents' home to recuperate until he remembers who he is.....IF he remembers who he is......and she ends up falling for him.   Meanwhile, Jonah is an old friend of Meredith's who has returned to his parents' home in Pennsylvania and he has fallen in love with Meredith and adores baby Levi. Will Luke remember who he is and where he is from before Meredith marries Jonah??? or will he be too late?  will he ever remember? he is certainly despaired over this and agonizes at trying to force his memories.   
I won't spoil the ending for readers, but I loved this saga.  I first was unsure how I felt about reading short pieces of the story in separate books, but I found that the cliffhanger in each one made me hungry to read the next book.   I fell in love with the characters and I think most readers will as well.  I love the Lancaster Pennsylvania area and Wanda's descriptions made me feel like I was taking a little mini-vacation there each time I read one of the books.   I hope that Wanda will write more stories in this fashion in the future as I truly enjoyed it and it was definitely different from the usual "novel" style.  
I received a free pdf copy of this book from netgalley and the publisher:  Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:




A nationally recognized authority on the Amish community, Wanda E. Brunstetter has seen her book sales over the two million mark. 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.  Visit Wanda's website:  http://www.wandabrunstetter.com/

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review of Bubble Troubles

Review of Bubble Troubles

(Mattie & Mark Miller-Double Trouble)

by Wanda Brunstetter

Bubble Troubles

Welcome to Holmes County, Ohio, where twins Mattie and Mark Miller experience Bubble Troubles. When their out-of-control worries begin to cause big trouble at every turn, will these energetic nine-year-olds learn the value of giving their worries to God before it’s too late? You’ll fall in love with the third release in the Double Trouble series from bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunstetter.
My Review:
Bubble Troubles is a delightful book written for children, but I certainly enjoyed it myself.  Twins, Mattie and Mark Miller, are adorable little Amish children who have plenty to worry about as they go about their busy lives.   This book teaches children to pray and give their worries to God instead of letting it upset them and rule their lives.   I felt like I was out in the snow sledding with them, walking home from the one-room school, and baking pumpkin cookies with mamm.   
I received a gift copy of this book from the author and Barbour Publishing.   I offer my honest review as my gift to Wanda Brunstetter.  

About the Author:

A nationally recognized authority on the Amish community, Wanda E. Brunstetter has seen her book sales over the two million mark. 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.   Visit her website for more information:  http://www.wandabrunstetter.com/

Review of Through the Tears

Review of Through the Tears

by Rosemary Hines

Through the Tears
"Michelle Baron sat on the edge of the couch, her heart racing as she looked at the envelope in her hand. I guess this is it, she thought. The return address seemed harmless enough. Fairfield Lab, Portland, Oregon. But this envelope contained information that could change her life forever."

Michelle and her family rejoice when her father begins to regain consciousness after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. But a long journey awaits, as they seek to clear his name of the embezzlement charges that drove him to this desperate act. The days of their vigil at the hospital drag into weeks, and Michelle finds herself repeatedly drawn to the newborn nursery. Observing couples leave with tiny babes in their arms, her heart is stirred, and she begins to yearn for a child of her own. However, an unexpected twist will threaten her new dream.

"Through the Tears" -- the second novel in the Sandy Cove series -- delivers a message of hope in the midst of longing and disappointment.
My Review:
Through the Tears deals with suicide, infertility, adoption, and abortion as well as infidelity and then there is forgiveness and hope.  Rosemary Hines truly gripped at my heart as I was cheering Michelle on.   Of course, there is a "bad guy" in every story and Trevor fits the bill for that title.   Michelle also finds herself having to defend her newfound faith in the aftermath of her experimentation with the New Age spirituality practices.   My heart broke for Michelle as they experienced infertility and the pain associated with it.   I was constantly finding myself waiting with bated breath as I read.  I loved this book and am eager to read the third book in the Sandy Cove series.  
I received a free pdf version of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  
About the Author: 

Christian Novelist reviewed and recommended at Calvary Chapel Pastors' Wives annual conferences on West Coast and East Coast 2011 and 2012. Author of the Sandy Cove Series ~ fiction with a message.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review of Praying the Prayers of the Bible

by James Banks

Praying the Prayers of the Bible
Spending time in prayer is necessary to develop and maintain a personal relationship with God. In Praying the Prayers of the Bible, author James Banks provides a collection of prayers to help readers engage in intimate conversations with God. Readers can find prayers of praise and thanksgiving, prayers for wisdom and direction, prayers for blessing, and much more. This powerful book of prayers encourages readers not only to strengthen their relationship with God, but also to apply His Word to their daily life. Readers can discover how to respond to God’s invitation to draw nearer to Him as they pray the prayers of the Bible.

MY REVIEW:
Praying the Prayers of the Bible is a wonderful resource to improve and enhance your daily prayer life.  I really appreciate the layout of the book.  Each section has a short reflection, related scripture, prayers from the Bible to pray, and prayer starters.  Topics include Prayers to Say Thank You, Prayers to Strengthen Faith and Give Ourselves to God, Prayers about Everyday Needs, Prayers to Confess Sin and Humble Ourselves, Prayers for Guidance and Direction, Prayers for Help and Protection, Wrestling Prayers, and Blessing Prayers.   I am enjoying using the prayers of the Bible that James Banks has researched and gleaned from the Bible for readers.   Jesus himself prayed by quoting the scriptures and used the prayers of the Bible to commune with His Father.  Jesus is our example and I appreciate the insights included in this book.    
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Discovery House, in exchange for an honest review.   

About the Author:
Dr. James Banks is the pastor of Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina, and is the author of The Lost Art of Praying Together and Prayers of Prodigals. He and his wife, Cari, have been married over twenty-eight years and make their home in Durham, North Carolina.   They have two adult children.  James is a much loved speaker at conferences, retreats, and churches.  Visit his website:  www.JamesBanks.org.

Review of The Moses Quilt

by Kathi Macias

The Moses Quilt
The Moses Quilt is a contemporary novel that bridges racial and generational divides. With a realistic and compassionate look into a twenty-first-century dilemma, multiple award-winning author Kathi Macias introduces readers to a confused and apprehensive young woman, Mazie Hartford. Facing major decisions about the love of her life and her future, she must also wrestle with a nagging question about her family's past. She finds the answer to her questions in a most unexpected way--her great-grandmother's Moses quilt. As her great-grandmother begins to explain how each patch represents a story of courage and freedom, Mazie must decide if she has the courage and freedom to overcome her own personal fears and prejudices.

MY REVIEW:
Kathi Macias is a master story teller and has obviously spent a great deal of time in research for her story.  She could easily be a history teacher or museum curator.  Kathi uses a quilt based on the life of Harriet Tubman as the main focus of her story in The Moses Quilt.  Mazie and Edward are in love, but she is a young white woman and Edward is a successful young African American lawyer.   Mazie is hesitant to accept his marriage proposal and much of the story is spent in examining the thoughts and conversations of many of the characters concerning whether or not the couple will ever marry.  Mazie's great-grandmother, Mimi, whom she helps her mother to care for, tells the story of Harriet Tubman to the young couple.  Will Mimi's Moses Quilt and story help Mazie to take the plunge or will the couple end their relationship?   Will Mimi have time to finish the story of the quilt?  Read this beautiful story to find the answers.   
I won a copy of this book from a fellow blogger in a giveaway on the site.  Thanks!  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathi Macias
A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.  http://www.kathimacias.com/

Review of Letters to Katie

by Kathleen Fuller

Letters to Katie
Everything changed between them the first time he called her Katie.
Katherine Yoder has loved Johnny Mullet since they were children, but he never actively returned her affections. Like so many things in their world, he assumes Katherine will always be there. Once his horse farm is a success, then he will court her in earnest.
For several weeks, Katherine has been plagued by severe headaches and dizziness. While resting at home, Johnny unexpectedly visits, but when dizziness strikes, she loses consciousness. She awakens hours later in a hospital bed, unable to remember how she got there.
Seeing Katherine injured and vulnerable stirs something in Johnny, and his guilt compels him to spend time with her while she heals. Soon his heart begins to stir with questions: Does she even remember why he’d come to her house that day?
As Katherine struggles to recall recent memories of Johnny, a surprise visitor arrives in her already unsteady world—a man named Isaac who claims they had been writing letters to each other, even considering marriage, before her illness.
With two men vying for her attention and her memory still elusive, Katherine has never felt so divided. The answer may lie behind a door she never considered opening.
MY REVIEW:
Letters to Katie is a beautiful story of love among several young Amish couples....Johnny and Katie, Sawyer and Laura, and Mary Beth and Chris and their new baby.  Sawyer has recently been reunited with his biological grandmother, Cora, after his mother died and he was adopted by an Amish family.  Cora is rich and wants Sawyer to take over her business as she has Parkinson's and doesn't expect to live much longer.  Sawyer does not want anything to do with the business as he plans to join the Amish church and marry Laura.   Read this wonderful book to find out what happens for these complex characters.   
I received a free kindle copy of this book from booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Kathleen Fuller
Kathleen is the author of several books, including the upcoming Amish series Hearts of Middlefieldfor Thomas Nelson. She is also included in two Amish anthologies for Thomas Nelson, An Amish Christmas and An Amish Gathering. Kathleen loves to hear from readers. Visit her website at:  http://www.kathleenfuller.com/.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review of Out of a Dream

Review of Out of a Dream

by Rosemary Hines

Out of a Dream

Michelle Baron should be reveling in her new life in Sandy Cove, Oregon. From the outside, it all looks idyllic. A newlywed settling into a quaint coastal town, her husband establishing himself as a junior partner in a law firm-what more could she want?But a series of disturbing nightmares haunts Michelle. Her quest to understand these dreams leads her to the New World bookstore, where she begins a spiritual journey that will challenge her Christian heritage as well as her marriage.
My Review:
Out of a Dream was a delightful surprise!  I was constantly anxious to read further just to see what was coming next.   The characters were dealing with many temptations and issues and so I really could not figure out their next move.  This book was filled with suspense, love, forgiveness,and depression/suicidal thoughts.   I will not reveal the ending or the actions of the characters as that would SPOIL it for you, the reader, but I will say that I was left with a hopeful, joyful feeling when I finished this book!   Now I really want to read the other books in this series from this "new-to-me author".....wonderful work, Rosemary!   You hooked me from the very first page!  
I received a free pdf copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Image of Rosemary Wesley Hines
Rosemary Hines writes contemporary, suspenseful fiction from a Christian worldview. Her characters and their struggles and triumphs reflect life in our 21st century culture in America. Boldly tackling tough subjects such as suicide, abortion, and the ever-increasing efforts of secular society to silence the faith of many, she is known for her sensitive approach and strong messages of hope and redemption. Rosemary taught writing at a secondary level for fifteen years. Her books have been reviewed and recommended at Christian conferences across the United States. Active in her church as a Sunday school teacher and a women's Bible study leader, she and her husband have also served as missionaries in Ukraine, delivering humanitarian relief to orphanages and hospitals. They reside in Southern California where they enjoy spending time with their grown children and grandchildren.
Visit her webpage:  https://www.facebook.com/RosemaryHinesAuthorPage

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review of Katie's Journey to Love

Book 2 in Emma Raber's Daughter series

by Jerry S. Eicher

Katie's Journey to Love (Emma Raber's Daughter, #2)

In book two of Amish fiction author Jerry S. Eicher's new Emma Raber's Daughter series, Katie Raber's journey of discovery continues after her mamm's marriage to Jesse Mast. Drawn back from the Mennonite world briefly by the miracle of Mamm's changed heart, Katie finds she can't totally abandon her new Mennonite friends.

Jesse's oldest daughter, Mabel, refuses to accept Katie, creating conflict at home. Ben Yoder, the most popular boy in the community, also begins to attend the Mennonite youth gatherings in his attempt to run away from personal problems.

Overjoyed at the attention Ben pays her, Katie pursues the relationship willingly. When an opportunity comes to travel with her Mennonite friends to Europe to explore the roots of the faith, Katie can't believe how much she is being blessed. Especially after a secret donor pays for the trip. 
While in Europe, Katie learns the truth about Ben when he is arrested. As her world comes crashing down, she finds healing in her visit to the Alps and the land where her forefathers suffered so much. She returns home determined to mend the bad feelings with Jesse's daughter, Mabel, and to continue on the path to healing without Ben.

Book two in the Emma Raber's Daughter series.
My Review:
5 ***** Stars!!!  Thank you, Jerry Eicher, for the privilege of reading this delightful book!  
I am a huge fan of Jerry Eicher's Amish fiction.  I loved reading Katie's Journey to Love.  This particular book has Katie and her three Mennonite girl friends traveling to Europe to see the history and beginnings of their faith for themselves.  This was a fascinating part of this story for me, and I found the history would likely appeal to both male and female readers.
It is refreshing for both Katie's mamm and herself to have a chance at love.    Katie is so precious as she treasures having a daed since she did not know her own daed.  This made me think of my relationship with my own father who is deceased.    It gave me good memories to ponder.    There is, of course, conflict in the story.  Katie finds love with Ben but Ben has secrets that may end their relationship before it has a chance to get started.  
I have always longed to travel to the Alps and so the portion of the story where the girls get to visit the Alps and spend time there was very meaningful to me.    The beauty and wonder of God's magnificent creation of the Alps brought healing to Katie.   The desire to travel there was made even stronger as I read of their reaction to the beauty there.   I am definitely eagerly anticipating the release of book 3:  Katie's Forever Promise.   
I was given a free copy of this book by Harvest House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.   
About the Author:
Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife,Tina Eicher, and their four children in Virginia.   Visit his website:  http://www.eicherjerry.com/.
 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review of The Winnowing Season

Amish Vines and Orchards Book 2

by Cindy Woodsmall


The Winnowing Season (Amish Vines and Orchards, #2)

The tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community—and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them?
 
On the eve of their departure to begin a new Old Order Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is shocked to discover that choices made by her business partner and friend, Samuel King, have placed her and her unusual gifts directly into the path of her district’s bishop and preachers. She is furious with Samuel and is fearful that the Kings will be influenced by the way her leaders see her, and not what they know to be true—that Rhoda’s intuition is a gift from God.
 
Jacob King won’t be swayed by community speculation. He loves Rhoda, believes in her, and wants to build a future with her in Maine. But when the ghosts of his past come calling and require him to fulfill a great debt, can he shake their hold before it destroys what he has with Rhoda? Samuel has a secret of his own—one he’ll go to great lengths to keep hidden, even if it means alienating those closest to him. Throwing himself into rehabilitating the once-abandoned orchard, Samuel turns to a surprising new ally.
 
Book 2 of the Amish Vines and Orchards series asks: can the three faithfully follow God’s leading and build a new home and orchard in Maine? Or will this new beginning lead to more ruin and heartbreak?


My Review:
 5 Stars * * * * * 
I loved getting to know Rhoda, Jacob, Samuel, Leah and the other main characters  better in The Winnowing Season.   My heart feels heavy for Rhoda as she seems to constantly face fear and misunderstanding over what seems to me to be a gift from God.    The family moves to Maine to relocate and start over with a new apple orchard and it seems that things are going to work out for all of them, and then TROUBLE comes.  I won't reveal what the trouble is as that would ruin the story for readers.   
I appreciated that this book had romance, travel, and even mystery and intrigue as several characters are hiding secrets.   I am still dying to know what those secrets are for several of the characters after finishing the book.  That means I have to wait for the release of book 3 for resolution to my questions!   I was literally left hanging on the edge of my seat!   I was actually rather angry at the end as it ended with a real cliffhanger and I was frustrated!   
I think that Cindy addresses acceptance, forgiveness, and responsibility in the book in a wonderful way.  This book will make readers think about and evaluate times when they felt like the characters do in the story.  Cindy Woodsmall,  hurry up and write book 3 because I am ready right now!!    

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written six novels, three novellas, and Plain Wisdom, a work of nonfiction coauthored with her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. She’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life.

She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

I received a free copy of this book from bloggingforbooks.org (Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing) in exchange for my honest review.

To read the first chapter of The Winnowing Season:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/122230567/The-Winnowing-Season-by-Cindy-Woodsmall-Sneak-Peek#.UYIpUbVm9Rw