Saturday, November 30, 2013

Review of Joanna's Struggle

Review of Joanna's Struggle

by J. E. B. Spredemann

17209342

Joanna Fisher is a typical Amish girl. She attends a one-room schoolhouse with her siblings in Paradise, Pennsylvania. She loves riding her horse, chorin' with her family, and spending time with her best friend, Chloe. But when something unexpected happens at a nearby mud sale, Joanna finds her perfect world turned upside down. Could one event change Joanna's life forever? Approx. 110 pages Teen Fiction

Joanna's Struggle, in the Amish Girls Series, is the first of several books penned by the author. The Amish Girls Series was primarily written for teen girls, but has been enjoyed by fans of all ages. Lovers of the ever-popular Amish fiction genre are sure to enjoy these books as well, even though they are geared toward a younger audience. The characters in the stories will soon become endeared to your heart, especially the mischievous Jonathan Fisher. 

Join Joanna and her friends as they grow up in Paradise and begin a journey you won't want to end. 

MY REVIEW:
In today's world, with teen role models growing scarce, J. E. B. Spredemann has written an endearing tale of teenage girls who struggle with life among the Amish and Englisch world.   Joanna finds forgiveness in the first book in the Amish Girls Series.   I would highly recommend this book to teens and adults alike.    A local Mennonite woman leads Joanna and her family on a new and glorious past and readers will delight in finding the same path for themselves. 
I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Taken from author's bio on goodreads.com:

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!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Review of Brenda's Christmas Desire

Review of Brenda's Christmas Desire

by Sharon Kleve

18781289

Christmas approaches and Brenda has to decide if she’s going to let the past hold her prisoner for another year or if she can finally enjoy what Christmas used to mean to her—love. DEA agent, John Smith knows the significance of December fifteenth to Brenda, but when the head of the Nuevo Cartel escapes federal prison he's forced to let her face the day without him, but not quite alone. 

Can Daisy, a golden Labrador puppy, a huge sale on decorations at the hardware store, and a gift from her aunt restore her love of Christmas?

My Review:

Brenda has not been allowed to celebrate Christmas with a tree and decorations since the death of her parents. Her parents loved Christmas and everything about it. Brenda's friend, Corny, can hear pets speak and her ferret, Pete, tells her that Brenda wants a dog for Christmas. John is on a mission to fulfill her every desire for Christmas this year. Can a dog bring them together? Will she have a Christmas tree and all the trimmings? This is a really precious little quick read for Christmas! Check it out! I received a free pdf version of this book from the author in honor of the Sweet 'N Steamy Blog Tour and in exchange for my honest review.

About The Author:
Sharon Kleve

I love romance. I love reading romance, living romance (who doesn't), but I especially love writing paranormal romance. There's no greater feeling than watching my characters come alive in each other's arms. Most of all, I love giving my characters the happily ever afters they deserve, with a few bumps and bruises along the way.
One of my favorite things is picking up a new book and sinking into the story, immersing myself in the emotions between the characters. I hope someday to inspire readers the same way my favorite authors have inspired me.
When not writing, I can usually be found either curled up in my recliner with my cat and a good book, or in the kitchen baking sourdough bread or bagels. My least favorite activity is running laps around the high school track to burn off the bread and bagels and occasionally chocolate.

Member of the Romance Writers of America and the 2012 Treasurer for the Peninsula Romance Writers Chapter.

Review of Christmas Gift That Keeps Wagging

 Review of Christmas Gift That Keeps Wagging

by Jennifer Conner

18809584


Julian Barrows has his hands full working full time and being a single dad to his kindergarten, special needs son, Gabe. Gabe’s teacher convinces Julian he doesn’t need to do everything on his own and introduces him to a seizure dog trainer, Hanna Acker.
Hanna and her sister grew up without any ‘Christmas Cheer’. She’s trying to get her sister through college and doesn’t have time to let anyone too close, especially the handsome single dad with a kid.
But, Christmas has a way of changing what we thought we wanted… especially when Santa and an adorable four-legged ‘elf’ are involved.

MY REVIEW:
This was a quick read and a sweet read!  who doesn't love a bit of romance thrown in with a pet?  Jennifer Conner features a trained epilepsy dog in this book.  It was a precious gift to a needy child and overwhelmed dad to meet this dog and its trainer!!!   Can love bloom?  Will Santa bring Cody(the trained epilepsy dog) to Gabe?   Read this delightful book to find out!  
I rec'd a free pdf version of this book from the author in honor of the Sweet 'N Steamy Blog Tour and in exchange for my honest review. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Conner
I am a best-selling Northwest author who has two full length book in print and thirty ebooks

My Chirstmas short stories have hit #1 in Kindle sales. Shot in the Dark was in the Kindle sales top 20 ebooks. The Regimental Heroes and The Dimension Keepers are my best selling historical romance series.

Shot in the Dark was a finalist in the Emerald City Opener, Cleveland, and Toronto RWA contests.

I live in a hundred year old house that I grew up in. Our semi-small town holds an interesting mix of resident hillbillies, yuppies and Navy Seals. And of course Seattle, only a few miles away, is the birthplace of Starbucks. I blow glass beads with a blow torch, (which relieves a lot of stress and people don't bother you).

Review of The Promise Box

Review of The Promise Box

by Tricia Goyer

16340866

Every year, young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive “resident” status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides!
In The Promise Box, the second book of best-selling author Tricia Goyer’s Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series, Lydia Wyse, a book editor from Seattle who grew up Amish, returns to the small community of West Kootenai to give comfort to her father after her mother’s death. She is drawn back to the familiar Amish ways after finding her mother’s most precious possession, a Promise Box of prayers and scripture. What her publisher sees, though, is an opportunity for a sensational “tell-all” book about the Amish.
Lydia soon finds herself falling in love with Amish bachelor Gideon Hooley. She wants nothing more than to forget her past and look forward to a future as an Amish bride. But will the pain of her childhood---and her potential betrayal of her community---keep her from committing her whole heart?

MY REVIEW:   Tricia Goyer has created an incredible, suspenseful romance that will lift the hearts of readers.   As I read and waited with baited breath to find out the answer to the big question, another conflict was added and I did not want to put the book down.   My heart went out to Lydia and Gideon.   Lydia and Gideon both fear that they will never belong anywhere.    I have certainly experienced the sting of rejection and abandonment so I could relate to the characters.  I have read the first book in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors' series and I personally felt that this book was the best of the two and I loved the first one!   I also am hoping that there is a book to follow this one as I am anxious to know what comes next for Gideon and Lydia. It would be nice to see her connect in a deeper way with her birth family.   
I received a free kindle version of this book from booksneeze in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:
Tricia Goyer

TRICIA GOYER was named the 2003 Writer of the Year for Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. Her book for teens, Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom, was a Gold Medallion finalist in 2005 in the Youth category. 

Her novel Night Song won the 2005 “Book of the Year for Long Historical Romance” from American Christian Fiction Writers, and her novel Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006.

Tricia has published over 250 articles and YA short stories for national publications such as Today’s Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, Brio, Christian Parenting Today, and HomeLife, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible.

She has written seven novels for Moody Publishers; From Dust and Ashes (2003), Night Song (2004), Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005), and Arms of Deliverance (2006), A Valley of Betrayal (2007), A Shadow of Treason (2007), and A Whisper of Freedom (2008).

Tricia has also published Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004) and children’s book 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004). She has written My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson, 2007) for teen girls. She worked on 3:16 Teens w/ Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, 2008)

Tricia has also written books for Gen Xers: Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006) and Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, 2008).

Tricia and her husband, John, live in Montana with their three teens.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

my Sweet Furbaby, Cocoa

Drying my sweet Pomeranian, Cocoa

Sweet 'N Steamy Blog Tour

Sweet 'N Steamy Blog Tour

Best selling authors, Sharon Kleve and Jennifer Conner adore animals.  They chose to write this series to showcase their precious pets.

Click on this link under Sharon's kitty Ardy to enter the rafflecopter giveaway:


18781289

Christmas approaches and Brenda has to decide if she’s going to let the past hold her prisoner for another year or if she can finally enjoy what Christmas used to mean to her—love. DEA agent, John Smith knows the significance of December fifteenth to Brenda, but when the head of the Nuevo Cartel escapes federal prison he's forced to let her face the day without him, but not quite alone. 

Can Daisy, a golden Labrador puppy, a huge sale on decorations at the hardware store, and a gift from her aunt restore her love of Christmas?

18486012

Halo Ann Carlyle wishes for a home, family, and a boat-load of pets. What she gets is a bruised hip, a lump on the head, a broken ankle, and her new yellow Honda Civic is demolished.

Rich McFarland, a sexy veterinarian, keeps showing up in the most unexpected places, promising everything she's ever wanted. 

Halo believes she only has time to pursue her career as a pet detective and must ignore her growing attraction to achieve her dreams.

Will Halo trust her heart, and find a way to get both for Christmas?

18809584
Julian Barrows has his hands full working full time and being a single dad to his kindergarten, special needs son, Gabe. Gabe’s teacher convinces Julian he doesn’t need to do everything on his own and introduces him to a seizure dog trainer, Hanna Acker.
Hanna and her sister grew up without any ‘Christmas Cheer’. She’s trying to get her sister through college and doesn’t have time to let anyone too close, especially the handsome single dad with a kid.
But, Christmas has a way of changing what we thought we wanted… especially when Santa and an adorable four-legged ‘elf’ are involved.
18761523
Sweet, short Christmas story to warm your holiday heart!

When Tennyson’s boyfriend left her for her best friend from high-school, all Tennyson received in the break up was her dog. She’s sworn off men and now is rebuilding her life. The only thing Par does is work. He barely has time to do anything he wants for himself other than take his dog to the dog park. When Par and Tennyson find an abandoned dog at the park named Duke. Will they find room in their hearts to take him in?

And can this Christmas season weave some special magic for the two of them?
Meet Ziggy, Jennifer's cat, and Duke, Jennifer's dog:


Aren't these pets cute?

Thanks to Jennifer and Sharon for this awesome giveaway and great books!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Review of A Christmas Gift for Rebecca

Review of A Christmas Gift for Rebecca

by Sarah Price

17162665
Rebecca King has only been married for four weeks when a snow storm threatens to keep her and her new husband, Gideon Stoltzfus apart for their first Christmas. She watches the snow falling from the kitchen window as she helps her mamm prepare the Christmas supper.

Despite being apart, she takes comfort in reflecting on their courtship and marriage, knowing that God will provide for their future. But does Gideon have different plans?

MY REVIEW:   Rebecca and young Gideon have been married a few weeks and are living apart true to the Amish custom of their area.  Christmas is almost here and the snow begins.  Poor Rebecca can only concentrate on her new husband being able to get through the snow on his horse and buggy without harm....otherwise, they will not have Christmas together.
I know the frustration of this experience as it snowed one year and stayed for a week with a great deal of ice and my boyfriend and I were just dying to be together.  So he finally took chains and hooked them up to the tires of his father's much larger, heavier car and started his drive.  His parents were worried and my mother said he was going to get hurt.  I prayed and prayed that he could make it over.   It took quite a bit longer than the usual 10 minute drive to my home from his, but he arrived, cold but safe!!   I must admit that I have never heard of this Amish custom as most of the couples in the books I have read, live together with one of their families.   I guess each area or district makes their own rules.  
I think readers will be very pleasantly surprised when they read the ending and find out what "Rebecca's Christmas gift" is....I did not figure it out!   This is a short, quick and heartwarming book you will want to read!     
I received a free pdf copy from Helping Hands Press and Sarah Price in exchange for my honest review.   

About the Author:
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.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Alison w/dress she wore home from hospital & now her baby can wear it

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Alison loves her "Mommy gift"~heated fleece throw~she is due 2/4/14

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review of Out of the Cults and Into the Church

Review of Out of the Cults and Into the Church
by Janis Hutchinson
726222

Based upon her own experience in Mormonism and those of others, the author presents the difficulties and special challenges ex-cultists face when leaving their tightly structured religious community and unique doctrines and entering an orthodox Christian church. Drawing upon the composite experiences of former cult members from the Mormon Church, Unification Church, Hare Krishnas and others, she explains the emotional trauma and difficult questions faced by all who have left cults. Offering a one-of-a-kind counseling tool, the book offers practical, non-technical, suggestions for pastors, counselors and friends seeking to help and encourage ex-cultists through the difficult times of post-conversion stress.

My Review:  This book would be extremely helpful for anyone who has been a member of a Cult, for those who minister to ex-cultists, pastors, and counselors.   I found it to be highly educational and it focuses on the feelings and experiences of those who have been members of cults.   Some of the terminology may be a bit above the average reader's comprehension level.  It is written in story form and contains many conversations which take place between a group of folks who gather to support each other through the process of joining a Christian church after leaving a cult.  
I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.  
Meet the Author:
Janis Hutchinson 

Review of The Dawn of Christmas


Review of The Dawn of Christmas

by Cindy Woodsmall

17288591
This Christmas, experience learning to trust alongside the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania in this heart-warming tale of second chances.
 
Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?

My Review:   Who doesn't love a wonderful Christmas book set amidst the lovely snowfilled Amish country?  Cindy Woodsmall has once again created a delightful getaway with the magic of her words.   Sadie and Levi both plan to avoid marriage but God may just have other plans for their lives.  They go in "cahoots" together to prevent their families from constantly meddling in their love lives, but they may just belong together.    Sadie has served as a missionary to Peru and it has always been a dream of mine to serve abroad in a mission work.  Sadie would have been happy to remain in that position but her family thinks she must follow the Amish tradition and marry and raise a big family.  Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa and a warm blanket and settle into a good comfy chair because you won't want to get up until you reach "The End" on this one!   
I received a free copy of this book from bloggingforbooks.org in exchange for my honest review.

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.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband, three sons, two daughters-in-law, a new granddaughter, and a dog named Jersey who wants to dominate the world, starting with the Woodsmall household.

Review of The Lady That I Love

Review of The Lady That I Love

by Crystal Linn

16088671
Michael Johnstone, a celebrity, rushes from the big city to his home town after receiving a frantic call from his foster-adopted sister. Can Michael, with the help of his former college professor and his childhood friend, stop the bad guys from harming mentally-delayed children, and one special dog?

My Review:  This is a very sweet short story by Crystal Linn. "The Lady That I Love" term has a double-meaning which I will let readers discover for themselves.   I love dogs and I taught a special needs preschool class as my first public school assignment so my heart is also with the mentally-delayed children in the story.   There is a delightful mystery afoot in the story as well and I love a good mystery which keeps me on the edge of my seat as this one did!   Enjoy!   
I won a copy of this book from the author in Whoopie Pie Pamela Jarrell's Halloween giveaway!  Thanks, Pam and Crystal for the TREAT!

About the Author
Crystal lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, her Manchester Terrier, Rosa, and one beta fish.

She enjoys reading a good mystery, writing poetry, and sailing with family and friends.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review of Christmas Romance (Best Christmas Romances of 2013)


Review of Christmas Romance (Best Christmas Romances of 2013)

by Jennifer Conner, Danica Winters, Sharon Kleve, and Casey Dawes


18749222

Four Sweet Christmas stories from your favorite romance authors to warm your heart for the holidays.

Christmas Wishes-Danica Winters: For most, Christmas is a time for family, love, life, dreams, and wishes—but not for Lee Llewellyn, a mother who has recently lost her son to an accident and her husband to the resentment it caused. 
In a chance encounter, she is given the gift of company on Christmas, but is she ready to move forward and start living again? 

Central Bark at Christmas-Jennifer Conner: When Tennyson’s boyfriend left her for her best friend from high-school, all Tennyson received in the break up was her dog. She’s sworn off men and now is rebuilding her life. The only thing Par does is work. He barely has time to do anything he wants for himself other than take his dog to the dog park. When Par and Tennyson find an abandoned dog at the park named Duke. Will they find room in their hearts to take him in? 
And can this Christmas season weave some special magic for the two of them? 

Halo's Wish-Sharon Kleve: Halo Ann Carlyle wishes for a home, family, and a boat-load of pets. What she gets is a bruised hip, a lump on the head, a broken ankle, and her new yellow Honda Civic is demolished. 
Rich McFarland, a sexy veterinarian, keeps showing up in the most unexpected places, promising everything she's ever wanted.Halo believes she only has time to pursue her career as a pet detective and must ignore her growing attraction to achieve her dreams. 
Will Halo trust her heart, and find a way to get both before Christmas? 

Christmas Hope-Casey Dawes: Clara Misowski is convinced Sam Richards’ cheese making operation would be a perfect stop for her culinary tour group. 
He’s adamantly opposed to anything to do with a group of women on his farm. 
Can she convince him to open his heart to company, Christmas, and maybe even her?


My Review: 
The four authors have created several sweet quick Christmas stories.....love, romance, pets, and Christmas!   I was pleased with the precious messages of hope, second chances, and love at Christmas.  I love my own sweet little furbaby so the fact that pets were featured in the stories added to the magic for me.    You can easily read each of these stories in a couple of hours and they  make great ones to carry along on the kindle for waiting rooms.   I also enjoyed the unique names given to several of the main characters.  These stories will make you laugh and cry as you read.   Warning: there are a few mild expletives in the book so if you do not like to read any curse words, be warned.   
I was given a copy of this book by one of the authors in exchange for my honest review. 
About the Authors:
Danica Winters
Danica Winters:  Danica Winters is a best-selling author who is known for writing award-winning books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and often a touch of magic. When she’s not working, she can be found in the wilds of Montana testing her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery and painting are not her thing). She always believe the cup is neither half-full nor half-empty, but it better be filled with wine.

Please feel free to head over to facebook and 'like' her page. www.facebook.com/danicawinters

Jennifer Conner 
Jennifer Conner:  I am a best-selling Northwest author who has two full length book in print and thirty ebooks

Shot in the Dark and Christmas Chaos were in the Kindle sales top 20 ebooks. The Regimental Heroes is a best selling historical romance series.

Shot in the Dark was a finalist in the Emerald City Opener, Cleveland, and Toronto RWA contests.

I live in a hundred year old house that I grew up in. Our semi-small town holds an interesting mix of resident hillbillies, yuppies and Navy Seals. And of course Seattle, only a few miles away, is the birthplace of Starbucks. I blow glass beads with a blow torch, (which relieves a lot of stress and people don't bother you).

Sharon Kleve
 
Sharon Kleve:  I love romance. I love reading romance, living romance (who doesn't), but I especially love writing paranormal romance. There's no greater feeling than watching my characters come alive in each other's arms. Most of all, I love giving my characters the happily ever afters they deserve, with a few bumps and bruises along the way.
One of my favorite things is picking up a new book and sinking into the story, immersing myself in the emotions between the characters. I hope someday to inspire readers the same way my favorite authors have inspired me.
When not writing, I can usually be found either curled up in my recliner with my cat and a good book, or in the kitchen baking sourdough bread or bagels. My least favorite activity is running laps around the high school track to burn off the bread and bagels and occasionally chocolate.

Member of the Romance Writers of America and the 2012 Treasurer for the Peninsula Romance Writers Chapter.

Casey Dawes

Casey Dawes:  One year, I became a writer.

Nothing changed. I still had my day job. My kids still ran me ragged. I was still getting divorced. My writing got rejected more often than not.

But everything changed.

I wrote my first short story at age ten. Over the years I’d published now and again – mostly non-fiction, mainly technical, career-related pieces – and one lonely short story. But until that year, I’d never referred to myself as a writer.

Oh, I would tell people, I want to be a writer when I grow up. Maybe when I retire. Maybe when I have the time. Maybe when I have enough money. Something wouldn’t die, though. I kept taking courses when I’d gather a few dollars together. If I could snag a weekend, I’d attend a conference or workshop. My bookshelves were filled with writer’s books. 

I needed to make the change in my head, not my outside circumstances. I needed to honor the gift of who I was. I was given a lot of talents. That’s a blessing and a curse. It took me forty-seven years to determine which talent describes me best.

I am a writer.