Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review of "The Promise"

Review of The Promise


by Amanda Tru

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The secrets to changing Hannah's past, lie in her future. 

The terror of being captured by her enemy throws Hannah into the distant future. But it is a future that holds secrets. 

As the closely guarded secrets unravel, so does the mystery of Hannah's life. Now her entire existence hinges on her actions. 

With time on her own life running out, Hannah is driven by an obsession to travel back in time to save her husband and family, righting the wrongs fro her mistakes. But in order to so do, she must control her time traveling and then somehow save a dead man. 

Hannah must face life-altering secrets, heart-breaking betrayal, shocking surprises, and a final encounter with a villain intent on destroying her. Can she save herself before time traveling takes its final toll? Though Hannah believes God has a plan for her life, can she trust that the author of time can also use her sin for her ultimate good? And in the end, can she finally leave time in His hands, even if it doesn't include her happily ever after? 

'The Promise' is book 6 in the 'Yesterday' series. While each book tells its distinct part in the story, readers should start with book 1, 'Yesterday,' in order to fully appreciate Hannah's journey. 

YESTERDAY, Book 1 
THE LOCKET, Book 2 
TODAY, Book 3 
THE CHOICE, Book 4 
TOMORROW, Book 5 
THE PROMISE, Book 6

MY REVIEW:  If you like suspense, action, romance, and excitement all together in a book, this book and series is one you will likely love.   Time travel is fascinating to me and Amanda Tru has done her homework in this series.   The Promise concludes the story for Hannah and Seth and their family but there is always a new story to tell based on this one, so I am eagerly anticipating the appearance of a new series.  While time travel is still impossible for us, it is fun to imagine what it would be like to time travel like Hannah does.  Christian principles are woven through out the book and did cause me to wonder about whether we would be "playing God" if we could time travel and alter events, such as life and death.  What do you think?  Read the book to see how the characters resolve these ethical issues.   I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers. 
I received a kindle version of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Amanda Tru

With a lifelong love of reading and writing, Amanda Tru loves to let her imagination paint pictures in a wide variety of genres. Her current book list includes everything from a Christian time travel / romance series, to an action-packed suspense, to a romance involving a mysterious department-store Santa. 

Amanda is a former elementary school teacher who now spends her days being mommy to three little boys and her nights furiously writing. Amanda lives in a small town in Idaho where the number of cows outnumbers the number of people.

Find out more about Amanda Tru and her upcoming books at her website http://amandatru.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review of "The Journey Home"

Review of The Journey Home

by Hope Kessler


In the eyes of the community, Birdie Miller is a loyal daughter and a church member in good standing. 

Birdie knows this is a lie. 

Soured to the faith by an unhappy childhood, she made the difficult decision to leave her home and not make final vows to the church. But when a terrible accident injures her mother, Birdie is forced to return home, where her father’s act of deceit results in her vowing to follow a path she’d planned to reject. 

Caleb Troyer is as certain in his commitment to the Amish path as any young man can be. He’s mapped out his future, and those plans include marriage, a home and possibly church leadership. 

When the woman he loves derails those plans by choosing another, he decides to start fresh in a new community, so he takes a position left vacant by the young farrier killed in the same accident that injures Birdie’s mother. 

For Birdie, the arrival of a handsome single man of marriageable age does not interest her. For how can a man of such deep and certain faith find common ground with a young woman who feels every inch a prodigal fraud? 

As Caleb grows to understand Birdie, he longs to help her. But can a man of faith reach the heart of a spiritually wounded young woman with a reputation for rebellion? Is the spiritual path home lost to Birdie forever, or can love’s light guide the way?

MY REVIEW:   I read a lot of Amish fiction and this one is quite different in that the young Amish woman, Birdie, is not submissive to others as the Amish teach women to be.  She has a difficult relationship, especially with her father.   He lied to get her to return home to care for her mother.   Birdie sees her father acting in a cruel and gruff manner with her mother, in particular.   
Birdie's father is a deacon of the church and is ashamed of the fact that Birdie left and lived in the English world for a time.  He is not entirely honest with the community concerning the issue.   But Caleb has come to the community and he and Birdie immediately take notice of each other.   I think I saw much of myself in Birdie and so I related to her.   It was a very interesting view of a young Amish woman.   I greatly enjoyed this book and hope that readers will read it to find out if Birdie can work out her differences with the world and live happily as an Amish woman.   Will she find love and marriage or be doomed to live alone for the rest of her life? The book is a lesson in forgiveness.   I rate this book 4 stars and highly recommend it.   
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.   

About the Author:
Hope Kessler is not new to writing but she is new to the Amish genre.   She makes her home in Virginia.  Hope enjoys reading, sketching, gardening and spending time with her two cats and corgis.   

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Review of "House of Living Stones"

Review of House of Living Stones

by Katie Schuermann

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In the small Illinois town of Bradbury, change doesn't come often, and it certainly doesn't come easily. So when Pastor Fletcher hires Emily Duke as the new choir director at Zion Lutheran Church, he unknowingly sets in motion a chain of events that turns the life of his congregation upside down.

The crusty church secretary, Mrs. Scheinberg, must learn to adjust her curmudgeonly ways. Zion's talented but pompous organist, Evan Ebner, must recognize his shortcomings. Emily must come to terms with her past. Even Pastor Fletcher must face reality when his world is shaken by the baggage Emily brings and by the handsome Zachary Brandt who pursues her.

With its host of lovable and relatable characters, House of Living Stones will find a special place on your bookshelf and in your heart.

MY REVIEW:   This novel is absolutely hilarious and refreshing!!   I found myself laughing through parts and then crying!   I was a former pastor's wife and Katie has captured the antics of mannerisms of church life in such an amusing and tasteful way.  I fell in love with Emily, Alice, Rebecca, and Pastor Fletcher while feeling equal amounts of distaste for Candice and Evan.    Before the story had come to a close, many of my feelings had changed about characters and assumptions.   
I felt for Emily trying to take over a church choir in a long-established church with an equally well-established choir membership.  New pastors in churches experience many of the same things......change one thing at a time, don't change too much, as there are always many opinions and thoughts on matters of the church and choir.   I love how this book shows that people can change, people can make unfounded assumptions and there is always someone or a few someones who like to spread gossip in the church.   It can tear churches apart if allowed to fester and grow.  I really appreciate the way young Pastor Fletcher handled the problem of gossiping in the church.   Music lovers will surely appreciate the many references to musical instruments, singing, and choirs.   
I highly recommend this book to readers and rate it 5 stars.   
I was given a kindle version of this book from netgalley and the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Katie Schuermann
Honest, sincere, and lyrical, Katie's writing reflects her Midwestern roots and her interest in the arts. After earning graduate degrees in music, she taught music history and literature at various colleges, directed children's theater camps, and sang in various concert halls, theaters, and churches across the Midwest.

While Katie's upbringing and curriculum vitae factor heavily into her writing, it is her Lutheran confession of faith in the Triune God that readers have come to expect and trust in her writing.

When she's not working on a writing project, Katie can be found gardening, cooking, hiking, singing, and enjoying fellowship with friends and family.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review of "Miriam's Secret" by Jerry Eicher

Review of Miriam's Secret

by Jerry S. Eicher

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Bestselling author Jerry S. Eicher (more than 600,000 books sold) brings new characters and surprising challenges to lovers of Amish fiction in the Land of Promise series.

In this first book, Miriam Yoder has a secret. Her compassionate care for Amos Bland during his last days resulted in her receiving a large inheritance. When Ivan Mast indicates his intentions at romance, Miriam suspects he's discovered her hidden wealth and has plans that aren't inspired by his love for her.

Seeking a fresh start where no one knows her, Miriam accepts a teaching position in faraway Oklahoma where she meets Wayne Yutzy, a local greenhouse employee. His interest in her seems genuine and when he proposes, Miriam accepts. Happiness surely awaits the newly engaged couple....or does it?

Book one in the Land of Promise series

MY REVIEW:  I discovered Jerry S. Eicher's Amish fiction several years ago and his books never disappoint me but they do always surprise me.  Jerry does not write the typical Amish fiction.    This one is no different as Miriam inherits a HUGE fortune along with the family farm from Mr. Bland, the elderly gentleman she had been caring for in his home.   She tells others about the farm but keeps a secret of the even greater fortune she has inherited.  When she decides to leave town and go to Oklahoma and visit with her Aunt and Uncle to be the helper when she has their first baby, she takes wayward sister, Shirley. along with her.   Shirley has been dating an Englisch boy and promises her parents to give him up but doesn't.   Miriam thinks going far away for a while may help both of them.  I really like Miriam,  she is mature and independent.   Generally the Amish fathers make all the decisions but she is the one to suggest they go away.   It must have been a scary decision to leave all that one knows and travel clear across the country to the great unknown.  I have great admiration for Miriam.   Living in Oklahoma brings with it new excitement for Miriam and she loves living there.  She falls in love and begins teaching in the Amish one-room school.   Shirley is still immature and does not seem to find her happiness so easily.  I love the surprises that Jerry Eicher brings to this book and I won't spoil the story for the reader by revealing too much.   I have always fantasized myself about just running off somewhere unknown and experiencing life, but that has not happened for me so I was able to live vicariously through Miriam.   
I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.   This is book one in the Land of Promise Series and I am very excitedly anticipating the other two books in the series.  
I received a pdf version of this book from netgalley and the publishers, Harvest House, in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:
Jerry S. Eicher

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.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review of "Nurturing Great Kids Devotional"

Review of Nurturing Great Kids Devotional

365 Practical Insights for Parenting with Grace

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We strive to do what is best for our family, but there are many differing opinions on how to be a good parent. Truly successful parenting begins with focusing on God and making him the center of all we do. The Once-A-Day Nurturing Great Kids Devotional helps you to bring God into your parenting by providing 365 daily devotionals written specifically for parents who are seeking to build a stronger relationship with their kids and put God first in their family. These devotionals will inspire you as a parent to embrace the role that God has given you, while also equipping you with the tools you need to be a strong Christian role model for your children.

MY REVIEW:  Zondervan Publishing has put together a wonderful collection of devotions for parents for an entire year.   Each day's devotion includes a Bible verse, a story to illustrate the verse, a parenting principle, and points to ponder.  Each of the story's give parents thoughts on how to help their child or children learn important life lessons.   Some of the topics covered include:  "Name Game", "Be Honest", "Avoid Wicked", "Get Over It", "Choosing Friends", "Financial Peace", "Purity Test", "Be a Blessing to Grandparents", "Make a Difference", "The Prodigal Child", "God's Instruction", "A Matter of the Heart", "Keeping Balance", "Exercise Control", "What they Want to Hear", "Speak Positively", "Honor First", "Family Matters", "Teach His Word", and "Pray, Pray, Pray".    The verse featured with "Pray, Pray, Pray" is "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."  Colossians 4:2; The Parenting Principle with it is:   "A life dedicated to prayer will be a life filled with peace." and Points to Ponder:  "How are you dedicated to prayer?   Where do you struggle in your prayer life?   and How do you pray for your children and teach them this dedication?   This would be a wonderful devotional book for parents to use in their own private couples' time along with prayer.   I think that older children and teenagers could be included in this devotional reading and it could be adapted to their needs and thoughts.  Parents would be able to guide their older children and answer questions they may have about the lesson for the day.   The only thing I would have liked to see added to this book would be a little color and illustrations.   I rate this book 4 stars and recommend it to readers.   
I received a free copy from Zondervan and BookLookBloggers in exchange for my honest review.