Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review of "Unforeseeable" by Nancy Mehl

Review of Unforeseeable

by Nancy Mehl

17384513

Mystery, Romance, and Suspense Seamlessly Combined in a Mennonite Small-Town Setting 
Callie Hoffman knows she has a good life in Kingdom, Kansas. She's thrilled to be engaged to Levi Housler, the new pastor of Kingdom Mennonite Church, and she spends her days working with her friend and soon-to-be sister-in-law, Lizzie Housler, at Cora's Cafe. 
However, Callie's idyllic life is interrupted when a body is discovered on the road outside Kingdom and the deceased turns out to be a victim of a serial killer. As Washington County's new sheriff begins questioning Kingdom residents, Callie and the rest of the town are appalled at the prospect of a killer among them. The very reason Kingdom exists is to protect the people from the temptations and dangers of the outside world, but all the town founders' attempts to plan ahead couldn't prevent a threat like this. 
Unsettled at this unforeseen danger, Callie is concerned when it appears Levi knows more than he's telling. Desperate to find answers for herself, Callie never expected that she'd have to face some of her own past's skeletons. 
As Callie and the residents of Kingdom fear this danger for which they never planned, they must learn anew that only God knows the future and their trust must always lie in Him.

My Review:
Nancy Mehl has written another incredible murder mystery.... and managed to throw in the Old-Order Mennonites and romance!!   I received this book this week and had it finished within one day.  I was mad that I got sleepy and had to quit reading. I was doing my best to figure out "whodunit" but I was guessing all the way to the end.  I never did figure it out correctly and to me, that is the sign of a great mystery writer: keeping readers on their toes!  I truly enjoyed the quiet little town of Kingdom, Kansas, too, and wished I lived there too.  It helped that snow was plentiful in the story as I adore snow.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers, Bethany House, and the author, in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Nancy Mehl

Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. First published in 2001, she has now authored nine books, including an omnibus mystery collection, Cozy in Kansas, which contains three of her previously published Ivy Towers mysteries. Book three in the series, For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Mystery Book of the Year award. Nancy's main writing interests lie in mystery although her new Harmony Series leans more toward the romantic suspense genre. Nancy runs a HUD program for the city of Wichita and is president of a volunteer organization, Wichita Homebound Outreach. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Kansas Authors Club. You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at: www.nancymehl.com.

Review of "Winter in Full Bloom"


Review of Winter in Full Bloom

by Anita Higman

17290454


Lily Winter's wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily's lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her-a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she'd been hiding for decades-Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.

 Without looking back, Lily-with her fear of flying-boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by imprudent Aussie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.

MY REVIEW:
I received this book in the mail yesterday and I finished it last night.  It was such a magnificent story of resilience, redemption, repentance, and finally forgiveness.  Most of us have experienced some sort of conflict within our families but Lily has more than her fair share to handle. Camille and Lily's newfound Aussie friend have also had far too much heartache in family relationships.  
It is my husband's lifelong dream to visit Australia since his father served there in World War II.....Anita Higman took us on a quick fantasy tour of Melbourne, Australia!  I read some of the portions about the country--the foods they devoured and relished, the places they visited, and the "culture".   
Even though there were many sad things in this book, I finished with a smile on my face and a song playing in my heart...."Oh, Danny Boy..." on the flute floated through my dreams.  
I received an autographed copy of this book from bookfun.org (The Book Club Network) and 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.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Giveaway of The Winnowing Season Winner Is.....

and the Winner is.........

Shirley Blanchard!!   Congratulations!!!   

An email has been sent to you, Shirley.  Please send your mailing address to me!   Thanks to all who entered.

Giveaway of The Winnowing Season 

(Amish Vines & Orchards #2)

by Cindy Woodsmall

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

Giveaway!!!  One print copy will be mailed to one lucky winner.  

TO ENTER:  Leave A Comment w/an email to contact you if you win.
For Extra Entries:  Follow my blog, Share on facebook, Share on twitter, Share on google +
Tell me what you did to earn entries and one comment with all that is ok.
Giveaway will close on Sat. 8/31/2013 at midnight. Winner announced after that time.
I was given a copy of this book by my dear friend, Susan F., to share on my blog. 

Book description:
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?

To view the trailer for the book:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Review of The Divine Secrets of The Whoopie Pie Sisters - Book One - An Amish Christian Trilogy

Review of The Divine Secrets of the Whoopie Pie Sisters--Book one--An Amish Christian Trilogy

By Sarah Price and Whoopie Pie Pam Jarrell

The Divine Secrets of The Whoopie Pie Sisters - Book One - An Amish Christian Trilogy




A new series by best-selling author of Amish Christian Romances, Sarah Price, and Helping Hands Press' own Whoopie Pie Pam Jarrell.

Follow the story of four Amish sisters who run Whoopie Pie Place, the best known bakery outside of Berlin, located in Holmes County, Ohio. Each sister has a secret that influences their lives and, unknowingly, impacts each other. Yet, little by little, the pressure of balancing their responsibilities of their daily lives with their individual secrets becomes harder to manage. Leah, Susan, Lydia, and Sadie need to decide whether or not to confide in each other in order to gain the support of their family.

The Divine Secrets of the Whoopie Pie Sisters is a different type of Amish Christian story. By blending the 25 years experience of living among the Amish from Sarah Price with Pamela Jarrell's extensive 15 years experience interacting and befriending the Amish in Berlin, Ohio, Price and Jarrell team up to give the readers a new type of story that focuses not so much on romance but on friendships and the reality of day-to-day life living among the Amish.

MY REVIEW:
Wow, Sarah Price and Whoopie Pie Pam Jarrell have out done themselves with this delightful book.   It was most endearing as they included members of The Whoopie Pie Book Club in the series.  These ladies are amazing online friends and I love seeing their names in the book.   This is a quick read.....you won't be able to put it down!  The ending is a true cliff hanger....I wanted to know more and was mad it ended there.  I was anxiously checking to see when Book Two is being released.   I found it quite humorous that the Amish women will hang dirty sheets on the line on washday so that they will be the first lady in the community to hang their wash.  This book contains many surprising details about the Amish that I have not seen in other fictional Amish stories.   I was disappointed however that the book did not come with a Whoopie Pie to eat while reading.   
I won a copy of this book in a goodreads giveaway hosted by Rosebud.  Thank you so much!
About the Authors:
Image of Sarah Price


Sarah Price's ancestors emigrated from Europe in 1705, settling in Pennsylvania as the area's first wave of Mennonite families. Sarah Price has always respected and honored her ancestors through exploration and research about her family history and their religion. At nineteen, she befriended an Amish family and lived on their farm throughout the years. 

Twenty-five years later, she now splits her time between her husband and children in the NYC Metro area and a farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where she retreats to an Amish farm to reflect and write.
Image of Whoopie Pie Pam Jarrell
Pamela Jarrell will tell you that she lives in a wacky, wonderful, blessed world where
 God is her ruler! It is her goal to love, laugh and face each moment with all the
 passion that she can find within. She and her husband Tom are blessed with 5 children,
 3 Son-In-Laws, 6 wonderful, awesome, fantastic Grandchildren and 2 dogs. A loving, 
dysfunctional family surrounds her.
While battling Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma, Pam was inspired to create a Facebook 
group called the Whoopie Pie Book Club. For years, she had called a group of ladies
 in her family, by that same name. Pam and those ladies would travel semi-annually
 to Amish country for a retreat of reading Amish fiction, seeing the Amish sights and 
eating plenty of Whoopie Pies.
Today, Pam is best known as "Whoopie Pie Pam."






Friday, August 23, 2013

Review of What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Review of What Once Was Lost

by Kim Vogel Sawyer

17288590

God Makes All Thing New…in Kim Vogel Sawyer’s New Novel

In What Once Was Lost, award winning author, Kim Vogel Sawyer, invites readers to join a woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, and a man standing apart—as they embrace a God with new plans for them.

A small Kansas farm is the setting as Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals, who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house inhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”

With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between he and Tommy. 

Christina begins to question her leadership ability, when obstacles pile up against her repairing the farm, wondering if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Will Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?
MY REVIEW:
Kim Vogel Sawyer has written a moving story of unconditional love in What Once Was Lost.   Christina loves the people who she cares for in the Mission Board-supported Asylum for the Poor....the little blind boy, the young woman desperately trying to hide a pregnancy and others.....When a fire forces them out of the home they share, Christina must find people in the community to take the people in.   Levi Johnson proves to be far more valuable to Tommy and to her than she or Levi ever imagined.   
I felt like I was taken on a mini-vacation to a previous time period.  Kim used such vivid descriptions to write her story.  As a teacher and former pastor's wife, my heart went out to Christina as she sought to serve as the director of the Asylum for the Poor as a woman.  The mission board doubts her ability to serve, simply because she is a woman.   It is unfair but prejudice of this nature was a true fact for the time period.  At times, even today, women must fight to serve in their churches.   This book is sure to warm the hearts of readers.
I received a free copy of this book from bloggingforbooks.org in exchange for my honest review.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kim Vogel Sawyer

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling award author with more than one million copies of her books currently in print. Awards include the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Sawyer lives in central Kansas, where she and her retired military husband, Don, run a bed-and-breakfast inn with the help of their feline companions. She savors time with her daughters and grandchildren.

Review of A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear

Review of A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear
by Stanley Popovich

6410636

The author through his research, including discussions with professionals in the psychology and religious fields, presents a general overview of several techniques that are effective in managing persistent fear. This book focuses on results oriented techniques and strategies that a person can use to manage every day fears and presents this material in a clear and easy-to-read format. This book has been reviewed by various professionals in the counseling fields. This book is not a substitute for the guidance of a professional.
My Review:
This book was well-written and had some good ideas for reducing fear/anxiety.  I do feel that this book would be overlooked  by those who are not Christians as it stresses praying and relying on God to rid oneself of fear.  I am a Christian and appreciate the points but I do feel it would be rejected by those who do not believe.  I would hate for them to miss out on a valuable resource.   Stan does state that he is not a professional and that he is a layman who has studied and wrote from that perspective.   This book is short and easily read in a short time period.  Stan does tell readers that they need to seek professional help in cases of severe anxiety/symptoms.   I received a free pdf copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.   All opinions expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stan Popovich is the author of "A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods" - an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to: www.managingfear.com

Stan has struggled with fear and anxiety for over 20 years. Stanley has used his writing skills, analytical talents, interviews and diligent research in an attempt to educate readers on how to deal with fear. He was educated at Pennsylvania State University and has used these approaches in his own life.

Stan has interviewed various professionals in the counseling fields and published a book based on his experiences. Stan has been on various TV and radio programs around the U.S. and his writings have been published in various magazines around the world.

For A Sample of Stan's Book Read Stan's Free Articles at his website www.managingfear.com

Stan has two blogs at http://managingfear.blogspot.com and http://managingfear.wordpress.com

Stan's book has been reviewed by various professionals before publication. Stan's book is not a substitute for the guidance of a professional.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review of Sisters Inn by Ruth G. Zavitsanos

Review of Sisters Inn

by Ruth G. Zavitsanos

17256880

The Sisters Inn gave Eliza Thompson an escape from her past and a promising future as co-proprietor with her dear friend, Abigail Draper. Eliza and Abby, a widow with a half-breed son, combine their strengths to run the inn located on the outskirts of Denver in 1873. When it comes time to hire a father-son team of wayward handymen, Harold and Daniel Tanner, Eliza is hesitant, noting Daniel’s undernourished appearance and odd demeanor. Within a few weeks of arriving at the inn, Daniel appears stronger and extremely handsome. His kindness and inexplicable attentiveness cause Eliza’s heart to respond with a fearful, yet enjoyable flutter. 

For Daniel Tanner the freedom to do as he pleased with his pa by his side was all he wanted in life. Or, so he believed. That changed the moment he caught sight of Eliza. He’d never known a woman to take his breath away and stay locked inside his thoughts.

Though attracted to one another, their pasts make Daniel and Eliza fearful of commitment. Both have their own painful secrets that get in the way of gaining one another’s trust. Worse, several patrons of the inn bring doubt to any thoughts the two have for a future together. Can Eliza open her heart, or will it cost her Abby’s friendship and her beloved inn?
MY REVIEW:
5-Stars all the way!  This historical romance was a delightful surprise.  I felt like I was actually there at the Sisters Inn in the year 1874.   The rich details of the setting and characters truly brought this book to life for me.   It saddened me to see the prejudice that Abby experienced due to her son whose father was an Indian.   Then Fernando and his little son, Nando, must deal with the same thing as they are Mexican.   Abby and Eliza provide a safe haven for all who come to their door at the inn.   The delicious meals and delectable desserts don't hurt either!   
I received a free pdf version of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.   

About the Author:
Image of Ruth G. Zavitsanos
Author Bio from amazon author's page:
I began writing at the age of 12. Growing up outside of New York City, I attended many Broadway plays and musicals that served to stimulate my imagination. While attaining my Journalism degree at Marshall University I received numerous writing awards. After graduation, I maintained my desire to write by editing and writing for corporate bulletins, preschool/elementary school newsletters and the local newspaper. As a stay at home mom, I am able to devote my mornings to writing, something that is NOW coming to fruition. My children's book, THE VILLA DOG, has sold over 1,000 copies and is nominated for the Epic ebook award. My second children's book, THE OLD FORTRESS DOG, is now available. My recently released first novel, a Western/Romance, FLIGHT OF LITTLE DOVE, is also available in both print and ebook form. Yes, my book shelf boasts all three of my books and I'm beyond thrilled because of it! :)
WRITING AFFILIATIONS:
Member, Romance Writers of America
Member, Valley Forge Romance Writers
Member, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
WRITING CREDITS:
Published in Writer's Digest Magazine
In-depth article published in Delaware Beach Life Magazine
A strong believer in keeping the mind and body in harmony, I enjoy Pilates and long walks with my dogs. I also enjoy cooking, reading, music, photography and travel.
I am both fortunate and blessed to have a loving family and some amazing friends enriching my life on a daily basis.
TV SHOWS/MUSIC
Growing up my favorite shows were The Flintstones (my dog's name is Pebbles), Bewitched, That Girl, The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, Mary Tyler Moore, and Rhoda. I'm glad to finally have two new shows that are reality based but backed by real actors and writers; The Middle and Modern Family. Though, I do enjoy The Housewives of New York/New Jersey, Cake Boss and Millionaire Matchmaker. When it comes to music my taste is eclectic barring most rap (though Kanye and Jay-Z are talented when strung with today's popular artists like Rhianna and Alicia Keyes) and jazz. I love when a certain song brings back a special memory! Another favorite is Dancing with the Stars. I wish there were more entertainment shows on. A resurgence of The Carol Burnette Show or Sonny and Cher would be nice!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Interview with Lynn Chandler-Willis

Interview with Lynn Chandler-Willis


I am pleased to welcome author, Lynn Chandler-Willis to my blog today.    
*Tell us about yourself.  I was born, raised, and continue to live in the heart of North Carolina. I have a son and daughter, each married, who have blessed me with nine grandchildren. I share my home with Sam the cocker spaniel who barks at me when I've been at the computer too long. 
*What is your favorite book from childhood? Treasure Island
*Coffee or tea? Tea. With lots of sugar
*Night owl or Morning person? A little of both. My best writing is at night but I don't like writing too close to bedtime. I can shut down the computer, but I can't shut down my brain so although I may be dead tired and sleepy, I find myself plotting the next scene.
*Mountains or beach? Mountains, most definitely
*If you were not an author, what would you be doing? Wow — you wouldn't think that would be such a difficult question but everything that comes to mind, somehow relates to writing.
*If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? A third world country to experience first-hand the way some people live. It would be a rude awakening to actually see people exist on what little they have.
*I was a pastor's wife myself and so I found your characters in The Rising very interesting.  Do you have any personal experience with the pastor's home?  Not really the pastor, but my great grandfather founded a local church. His sons (including my grandfather) helped to build it. To this day, several of the Sunday School classes have brass name plates outside the doors with "Chandler" on them. It's a humbling experience just walking through the halls.
*What led you to writing? After reading Treasure Island, I knew I wanted to be able to create a whole other world simply by putting words together. 
*Are you working on another book at the present?  Can you tell us a bit about it? Currently, I'm working on Nobody's Baby. It's about a small town newspaper owner/publisher involved in a murder investigation. The victim left behind a baby girl who the protagonist ends up taking in herself.

Thank you so much, Lynn, and I look forward to reading more of your work!!!   

Review of Two Are Better by Tim & Debbie Bishop

Review of Two Are Better: Midlife Newlyweds Bicycle Coast to Coast

by Tim & Debbie Bishop

17343781\

With no prior experience in either bicycle touring or marriage, 52-year-olds Tim and Debbie Bishop went from an engagement, to Tim’s “retirement” and relocation, to a cross-country trek in just ten weeks. Their adventure, which touches on midlife change, marriage, and faith, inspires its readers to cast away the old and the stale in pursuit of their dreams.

MY REVIEW:  What an exciting adventure......marriage for the first time at age 51 for Tim and for Debbie and then to bicycle from the west coast to the east coast for their honeymoon.   I read this book in one afternoon and was constantly showing my husband pictures from the book and reading portions of the book to him.   I have always thought it would be fun to give up our jobs and home and live in a camper, but bicycling is an extreme undertaking.   Tim and Debbie described scenery so well that I felt like I was traveling right along side them.   I shared in their joys and pains and appreciate the way they found a stop near a church each week.    Enjoy the thrill of the ride with Tim and Debbie Bishop!   
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Open Road Press, in exchange for an honest review.
About the Authors:
Tim  Bishop

Originally from Maine, Tim Bishop has over thirty years of experience in business, first as a CPA, then for many years in various roles in the corporate world. In addition to consulting for small businesses, Tim serves as a Hope Coach for TheHopeLine, a nonprofit organization that seeks to reach, rescue, and restore hurting teens and young adults.

Review of The Rising by Lynn Chandler Willis

Review of The Rising

by Lynn Chandler Willis

18115244

A dead child that isn't dead. A cop out of control. When their worlds collide, God intervenes.
MY REVIEW:   Remarkable suspense-filled story of a woman's journey back to God and a little boy's journey back to life.   I love reading suspenseful books and The Rising has kept me guessing what was coming next with every page.  I was a pastor's wife and the fact that the cop in the story is a "PK" or "preacher's kid" was  very interesting to me.   I could certainly see why she might have felt that God was turning away from her as I learned more of the circumstances of her life.   I was fascinated with her maternal side as she grew more and more protective of the precious little "Johnny Doe".  I give this a 5-star rating.   It was the first book I had read by Lynn Chandler Willis but it will not be my last.   
I received a free pdf copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  
About the Author:
Lynn Chandler-Willis
Born and raised in North Carolina, Lynn feels most at home in a rural setting where the smell of fresh cut hay lingers. She has an adult son and daughter and nine grandchildren (yes, there is a set of twins in there!), and a blonde cocker spaniel who reminds her that sometimes it's okay to sit on the couch and watch television. She confesses to having enjoyed the writing prompts given in junior high English class and admits that she is  a sucker for old photographs.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review of The Secret Keeper

Review of The Secret Keeper

by Beverly Lewis 

 Readers Eagerly Await the Latest from Beverly Lewis, the #1 Name in Amish Fiction

With her love for all things old-fashioned, Jennifer Burns has often been told she's an "old soul," but no one is prepared for the young woman's decision to set aside her modern life in favor of the Old Order Amish world. Yet Jenny does exactly that, adopting Plain dress and settling in with Samuel and Rebecca Lapp while she works as a mother's helper for the bishop's wife--a far cry from her former job as an x-ray technician.

The people of Hickory Hollow are curious about the beautiful young seeker among them, one handsome Amishman in particular. But he is not the only man vying for Jenny's affections, and Jenny faces many challenges in the Proving time the brethren have set for her...challenges of the heart, as well as the spirit.

Will Jenny's secrets keep her from the peace she longs for? Or will they lead the way home?

Home to Hickory Hollow Series book 4

MY REVIEW:
Think it would be wonderful to join the Amish and get away from all the troubles of life?  Jenny thinks so too, and you can join her in her "Proving" time to get a feel for the fantasy.  Everything is NOT perfect and simple for Jenny though.
What happens when "the seeker" falls in love with an Amishman and he returns the feelings?   Will the Amish community accept them as a couple? what about his annoying sister, Emmalynn, who seems determined to ruin things for Jenny at every turn?  Who will teach Jenny to bake a perfect loaf of bread?  You might be surprised at the answers!
I have often fantasized about "running away from life and becoming Amish" and this book allowed me to get a glimpse into the dream.   We often are guilty of thinking "the grass is greener on the other side" but it is not. I have learned that I must be happy where I am, with my own internal feelings.  We can not hide from our hearts, can we?   We may wish to give it a try though.   I do love air-conditioning and my dishwasher though.  I don't know how easy it would be to give up my cellphone and computer with internet access either.  Running to a phone shed to call my daughters would not be my idea of a good day!  
I have loved the entire Home to Hickory Hollow series and readers will want to pre-order this book now!  
I received a free pdf copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
I've had my nose in a book, for as long as I remember. When I was about 9 years old, I started writing my own stories. By sixth grade, I'd hand-written a 66-page semi-autobiographical book titled, "She Shall Have Music."
After I was married and our three children were in middle school, I began submitting articles and short fiction to various magazines.
My first book (Holly's First Love) was published in May 1993, the start of a 14-book series for pre-teen girls. Soon after, my first chapter book was published for 7-10-year-old readers ("Big Bad Beans") which later became part of my 24-book series, The Cul-de-Sac Kids. I wrote another long-running series for girls, titled "SummerHill Secrets," which was set very close to Neffsville, PA, where I grew up--near the heart of Amish country.
But it was the story of my grandmother Ada Buchwalter's shunning by her ultra-strict father and subsequently her old order Mennonite community that nudged me toward writing adult fiction. THE SHUNNING was published in 1997 by Bethany House Publishers, and along with its sequels, has touched a nerve in millions of readers intrigued by the Plain tradition of Lancaster County, PA. The Hallmark Movie Channel will air the movie, "Beverly Lewis's The Confession" on January 19, 2013--the sequel to "The Shunning" movie.
My passion for Amish-related stories continues to keep me up at night, and I'm presently editing the 2nd book (The Bridesmaid) in my new series: "Home to Hickory Hollow," due out September 11, 2012.



Monday, August 5, 2013

Review of That Certain Summer

That Certain Summer
e

Review of That Certain Summer

by Irene Hannon

Karen and Val are family-yet they’re anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her gorgeous sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had darker reasons for leaving town-as well as a secret to keep-and coming home has never been an option . . . until their mother suffers a stroke.
Reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with their past mistakes, their relationship with each other, and their issues with a mother who is far from ideal. When a physical therapist raising his daughter alone and a handsome but hurting musician enter the picture, the summer takes on a whole new dimension. As their lives intersect and entwine, can each learn how to forgive, how to let go, and how to move on? And strengthened by the healing power of faith, might they also find the courage to love?
With her trademark compelling characters and heartwarming hope, fan favorite Irene Hannon offers her readers an inspiring true-to-life tale of complex family relationships, transgressions revealed and forgiven, and the complicated process of finding love.

My Review:
Two sisters who have never been close--what will a summer caring for their mother bring?  I have a sister that I am very close to and so, this book was very special to me.  Karen and Val connect in a way that they have never experienced before.   Their mother is quite difficult and they find themselves working together to get her through rehab following a stroke.  Meeting for a weekly shopping trip and coffee gives the sisters a chance to talk and resolve issues.  Being a caregiver of our parents is not easy, and I think many will find moments that they can relate to in Irene Hannon's book.   Throw in romance and you have the makings of an incredible read!  
This was the first book I have read by Irene Hannon but it won't be the last! 
I won a copy of this book in a giveaway from Revell Publishing.
About the Author:
Irene Hannon 
Irene Hannon, who writes both romance and romantic suspense, is the author of more than 40 novels. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America (the “Oscar” of romantic fiction), a National Readers' Choice Award, a HOLT Medallion, a Daphne du Maurier Award, a Retailers Choice Award and two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. 

A former corporate communications executive with a Fortune 500 company, Irene now writes full time. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, long walks, cooking, gardening, traveling and spending time with family. She and her husband make their home in Missouri.

To learn more about Irene and her books, visit www.irenehannon.com


Friday, August 2, 2013

Review of Journey to Sandcastle

Review of Journey to Sand Castle

by Leslee Breene



In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Tess Cameron, a divorced teacher, becomes the unwitting guardian of a bi-racial orphan. She is compelled to take the little girl from New Orleans to the Colorado San Luis Valley to meet her grandfather. Estranged from the child's missing mother, the grandfather is unaware of the granddaughter's existence and doesn't want her. Grant Wilder, a widowed outfitter, offers Tess temporary employment  on his ranch. But can Tess's wandering spirit find the faith to accept permanent responsibility of the child and open her heart to love again in this land of amazing beauty and haunting secrets?
MY REVIEW:
I have experienced hurricanes when I lived at Holden Beach, North Carolina, but I have never experienced the utter destruction, devastation, and loss that a hurricane can cause.   I could feel the hunger pains when Tess's stomach growled.   My heart broke when the mother of an infant had no formula to feed her hungry little one.   I could imagine the terror that Tess and Crystal felt when they had to leave New Orleans without Carrie, Crystal's mother. 
I was rooting for Tess and Grant to realize that they did love each other and they adored Crystal.  I wanted them to marry and become a true family.  Tess and Grant both experienced great loss in previous marriages, and they are afraid to open their hearts again.  I can certainly relate to that as well.  Leslee Breene has created an incredible picture of forgiveness, redemption, loss/grief, and love.   Journey to Sand Castle surprised me with its intensity and depth.   It is a beautiful story.
I received a free pdf copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author:
Image of Leslee Breene


LESLEE BREENE Leslee Breene, award-winning author of novel and short fiction, takes pride in being a Denver native. She lives beneath the Colorado Rockies with her husband and, hopefully soon, beloved rescue canine. STARLIGHT RESCUE, (2011- Treble Heart Books) a western romance, is available in soft cover through www.lesleebreene.com and Amazon.com, and is set beneath the Wyoming Big Horn Mountains on an animal rescue ranch. It received an RWA PASIC Book of Your Heart Award in the contemporary, single-title category. HEARTS ON THE WIND (2008- Five Star), a Denver bestseller, was her third published historical romance. LEADVILLE LADY (2006- Five Star) received the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers PEN Award. The RWA Valley Forge Chapter awarded second place to her debut novel, FOXFIRE . Ms. Breene’s short fiction has been published in various magazines, won national awards, and finaled in the 2009, 2011 and 2012 Women Writing the West LAURA (Ingalls Wilder) competitions. http://womenwritingthewest.org/laurajournal.html. Ms. Breene attended the University of Denver, received a Denver Fashion Group Scholarship, and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City. For several years, she worked as a newspaper fashion illustrator in San Francisco. During leisure time away from the computer, she enjoys scouting for book settings with her husband in the Colorado Rockies. Some memorable research sites are Leadville, the Colorado Sand Dunes, Buffalo and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Western music is her passion. She supports the annual Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Golden, Colorado and the monthly ASL Concert at the Old Town Pickin' Parlor, Arvada, Colorado. She is an active member of RWA, Colorado Romance Writers, and Women Writing the West. She is available for Denver/suburban area library and group speaking engagements. Visitors are welcome at her website: www.lesleebreene.com and www.facebook.com/lesleebreene.