Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review of "The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection"

Review of The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection

by Mary Connealy, Angela Bell, Angela Breidenbach, Lisa Carter, Rebecca Jepson, Amy Lillard, Gina Welborn, Kathleen Y'Barbo, Rose Ross Zediker

25784990

Come along on a romantic journey jam-packed with all the angst of marriages founded upon practical choices as well as coercion. Meet nine couples who barely know each other before they find themselves suddenly married—to please family, to stem the tide of gossip, to save the land—and joined for life. But can love grow when duty comes before romance? 

The Substitute Bride by Angela Bell:  London, England, June, 1865, Gwen's mother convinces her to be the substitute bride for her sister, Cynthia, in her marriage to Lord Elliott Carlyle.   Elliott is not happy about the arrangement that he was tricked into, but their love for books and art may just save the day and make their marriage work.

My REVIEW of The Substitute Bride: This is a very well written and touching novella.  I felt great empathy for Gwen and Elliott who were both placed in an awkward situation which is now permanent.   I was just disappointed that the story ended and I wanted to know more about Gwen and Elliott's relationship.  I rate this novella 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.

Bridal Whispers by Angela Breidenbach:  Saint Paul, MN, March 5, 1900, Maila and Burton work to help their family rebuild itself when Burton's wife and many other family members due of influenza.  Maila has been away studying to be a nurse and finally practising as one.  But now it is her duty to help her family.  Burton needs her help too.  But the townswomen spread rumors that Burton and Maila are behaving shamefully.   Maila's mother insists they marry when she hears this.  Will Burton ever be able to forget his beautiful first wife, Rose?  Will Maila be stuck forever in a loveless marriage?  

MY REVIEW of Bridal Whispers:   This is such a fun novella to read.   It must have been very sad and frightening for so many people to die of influenza.  I felt so sorry for Maila as it seemed she had to give up her nursing position and the man she loved as well.  I rated this novella 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers. 


Mule Dazed by Lisa Carter:  Montana Territory, 1885, Hattie runs away from her home when her brothers promise her in marriage to a man she doesn't love, and meets up with the sheriff of Hitching Post, Montana.  He promptly arrests her for releasing the mules ready to race in the town's annual Mule Days' race. Sheriff Braxton Cashel recognizes her as the girl from his childhood, known as "Crazy Hair".  Her brothers ride into town and force them to marry when they say he has compromised her virtue by sleeping in the cell with her all night.   Their marriage gets off to a rough start, but Braxton begins to enjoy her cooking, her lovely curls, and her constant chatter.  Will their marriage last? or will he have it annuled when the judge returns to town as promised?

MY REVIEW of Mule Dazed:   What a cute novella !   I love the annual tradition of Mule Days when the men and women have all sorts of activities planned to hook up as couples and a minister is there to marry all the lucky couples at the end of the festivities.   This novella had me laughing and hoping for things to work out for Braxton and Hattie.   
I rated this novella 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.

The Sweetwater Bride by Mary Connealy: Montana, July, 1897, Tanner Harden rides out on his land to find a creek to water his cattle and animals, and finds a hidden cover behind a huge rock formation.   In that cove, he finds an even  bigger surprise....a woman who has lived alone for 4 or 5 years (she is not sure of the exact time) and has not even traveled out to a town in all this time!   He kidnaps her and takes her to his home to meet his mother, and in the process, he falls in love with Debba.   Will Debba marry him or will she insist on going back to live in her own cabin alone?
 MY REVIEW:   This is a delightful novella.  Debba and Tanner are precious characters. He truly cares about her and fears for her loneliness in living alone.  I loved this novella and rated it 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.   

A Highbrow Hoodwink by Rebecca Jepson: Aspen, Colorado, February 1883, Katie has an illegimate son, Georgie, who is ten months old and Henry comes to find her and tell her the father of her baby is dead and he wants to take her son as Georgie is now the heir to a huge family fortune.   She refuses to let her son go and Henry then asks her to marry him.  She agrees, but life is not good between Henry and Katie. He resents her and her son.  Will he ever look at her and her son with love in his eyes?   
  MY REVIEW:     This was a surprising novella to read as many events popped up that I wasn't expecting.  This made the book very excited.  It is a light, quick read and well worth the time.   I rated this novella 5 stars and highly recommend it.

Not So Pretty Penny by Amy Lillard:Kansas, 1867, Penny's brother and father have not returned from fighting in the Civil War and she needs a man to help her plant the crops and keep the farm going for when her loved ones return.  So she does the only thing she can think of in desperation, she goes to the jail to buy a prisoner to be her husband.   She marries Wash in this way and he agrees, but plans to leave after the crops are in to exact revenge on the man who murdered his sister and framed him for the murder.   What will happen with Penny and Wash living on the farm and not loving each other?  
   
MY REVIEW:   This novella made me imagine the agony that many experienced from the Civil War.  Women had little choice in many cases but to marry men out of necissity.   I found the characters believable and likable.   I was drawn into the story and hopeful for the future for Wash and Penny.    I rated this novella 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.

All's Fair by Gina Welborn:  Wathens, Kansas, July 4, 1900, Coral Davies and Hiram Kent were secretly seeing each other but the Davies and Kent families had a long feud running and the Kent and Davies' boys saw them together one day.  They fought Hiram and Jack Kent threw Coral into the icy waters of the river and caused her to be deaf in one ear.   They fight again years later and all end up thrown in jail. The judge orders a Kent and Davies to marry or he will charge them all.  Jack Kent and Coral Davies volunteer to marry.  How will their marriage ever work though?   Will this end the families' feud?
    
MY REVIEW:   This is a very touching novella focusing on forgiveness and stopping generational sins.  Forgiveness is certainly not easy but Coral and Jack both work hard to make it happen, and this book inspires others to do the same.   I rated this novella 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.

The Colorado Coincidence by Kathleen Y'Barbo: May 1878, Callyville, Colorado, Gloree Lowe's husband and children have died after they moved from Texas to Colorado, and a man from the town and his two sons come to buy her farm and home from her....ordering her to accept their offer.   Mack McCoy happens to ride up on the scene and helps Gloree and ends up marrying her and paying the debt on the farm to the bank.  It is a marriage of convenience and both Gloree and Mack have secrets they are keeping.  Will love come to them and will they share their secrets and resolve their differences?  

MY REVIEW:   Again, I felt so bad for women in this time period as they had no rights to ownership of land.  The land went to a man as in the case here. The will stipulated it could belong to a man who would become her husband.   It must have felt very lonely for women in many ways, especially being physically far from other families.  I fell in love with this couple and just wanted the best for them, as if they were true friends of mine.  I rated this novella 5 stars and definitely recommend it to readers.

Railroaded into Love by Rose Ross Zediker:  Montana, 1895, Molly was picked up by the deputy where she was living in a saloon after her brother dropped her there and left.  The deputy takes her to his brother, Noah, who is a new minister serving the Railroad and living and preaching from a railroad car.   He wants Noah to let her stay with him but the minister in charge of Noah says it would be improper unless they were married, so they get married so that Molly can stay there.   She plays the organ and sings for the services and helps Noah.  But her outlaw brother, Cass, is trouble and means to harm them all.  Will they find love in their marriage or have it annulled?  Will Cass be found and straighten up?

MY REVIEW:   This was very interesting as I had never heard of preachers working out of the railroad cars in this manner.   I was married to a minister and it actually sounds very exciting.  This novella addresses prejudice and tolerance for others in a lovely way.   I rated this novella 5 stars and would be glad to recommend it to readers. 
I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Authors:
Angela Bell

Angela Bell--Novelist Angela Bell is a 21st century lady with 19th century sensibilities. Her activities consist of reading voraciously, drinking copious amounts of tea, and writing letters with a fountain pen. She currently resides in the southern most region of Texas with pup Mr. Darcy and kitties Lizzie Bennett and Lord Sterling. One might describe Angela's fictional scribblings as Historical Romance or as Victorian History and Steampunk Whimsy in a Romantic Blend. 

Whenever you need a respite from the 21st century hustle, please visit her cyber-space parlor at www.AuthorAngelaBell.com where she can be found waiting with a pot of English tea and some Victorian cordiality. From there, you can find links to connect with Angela on Facebook and Pinterest.
Rebecca Jepson
Rebecca Jepson--Rebecca Jepson is a homebody who loves a good book, a cup of freshly ground coffee, and all things autumn. In addition to her debut novella, she has been published in Clubhouse Magazine and currently writes sports articles for The Dalles Chronicle. She has traveled extensively, to places that inspire her stories. Her favorite destinations included Russia, New England, and the Alaskan wilderness. She lives in sunny Reno, Nevada with her software engineer husband, Mike. 

Visit Rebecca at her website, http://www.rebeccajepson.com/.
Angela Breidenbach
Angela Breidenbach is the captivating host of Grace Under Pressure Radio show on iTunes about becoming a woman of courage, confidence, and candor. She's a speaker/author/coach. Her newest book, Eleven Pipers Piping is the sequel to Snowflake Tiara: The Debutante Queen, a historical Christmas romance set at the beginning of Montana statehood. More books by Angela include A Healing Heart,#6 Quilts of Love Books from Abingdon Press, Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life, Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance, and the Kindle release, Creative Cooking for Colitis. Other works by Angela include compilation books and devotionals from David C. Cook (The Quiet Hour), Guidepost, Group, and articles in magazines, ezines, and newspapers. Angela also coaches and is certified in mentor/peer counseling as a Stephen Minister and CTA life coach. She's the Christian Authors Network president. Don't miss the hijinks of Muse, the famous fe-lion, as he sasses Writer on Angie's blog, A-Muse-ings, and on Facebook.
Interact with or learn more about Angela Breidenbach:
http://www.AngelaBreidenbach.com
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/a...
http://www.twitter.com/AngBreidenbach

Amy Lillard

AMY LILLARD-- from goodreads' bio:  I'm a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel Princess.

I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I've retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I'm from Texas. (?) Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son--a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!

I love homemade tacos, nail polish, and romance novels--not necessarily in that order. I'm a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I'm shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

I believe that God is love. I guess that's why I adore romances. 

I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I'm a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture. I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that's me June Cleaver with a laptop.

I dislike people trying to convince me to read the Twlight series (I'll get to it or I won't, either way I'm good with it), gratuitous violence, and strawberry ice cream. (I know I'm alone on this last one, and again, I'm good with it.)

Favorite movies--(besides HP) French Kiss, Maid of Honor, A Lot Like Love, Just Married, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and Miss Congeniality, Sabrina (both versions) and a 1940's movie called Dear Ruth. If you haven't seen it, you should! A-dorable. Anything with Doris Day and most all of Marilyn's and Audrey's.

Rose Ross Zediker

Rose Ross Zediker--Multi-published author and RITA finalist, Rose Ross Zediker, writes contemporary and historical inspirational romances and has over one hundred publishing credits in the Christian magazine genre for children and adults. Her titles have appeared on ECPA bestseller lists and been finalists for the RITA, National Reader's Choice, Booksellers Best and Book Buyers Best award contests. Rose is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.
Wild Sound Writing Festival

Gina Welborn worked in news radio writing copy until she had the epiphany that the news of the day was rather depressing, so she took up writing romances because they always end happily. Gina is a 2009 ACFW GENESIS historical romance finalist and a 2007 RWA GOLDEN HEART® inspirational finalist. As a member of RWA and ACFW, she is an active contest judge and coordinator. Her manuscripts have also finaled in the Daphne du Maurier, Duel on the Delta, Dixie, and Maggie contests. Oklahoma-girl Gina now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her youth-pastor husband and their five Okie-Hokie children. Gina is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Her debut novella, "Sugarplum Hearts," part of the HIGHLAND CROSSINGS, is a February 2012 Barbour Publishing release. Her second novella, "All Ye Faithful," releases this fall as part of A CASCADES CHRISTMAS. http://ginawelborn.blogspot.com/
Kathleen Y'Barbo

Kathleen Y'Barbo--While wearing her publicist’s hat, Kathleen has secured interviews with radio, television, and print media for clients at NavPress, Hatchette, Integrity, Barbour Publishing, and Broadman & Holman, to name a few. She also brings her own unique blend of Southern charm and witty prose to the more than 350,000 award-winning novels and novellas currently in print. Her novels have been nominated for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006; and 2007 will see the release of her 25th book.

Kathleen is a tenth-generation Texan and a mother of three grown sons and a teenage daughter. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University. Kathleen is a former treasurer for the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a member of the Author’s Guild, Inspirational Writers Alive, Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild, and the Fellowship of Christian Authors. In addition, she is a sought-after speaker, and her kids think she’s a pretty cool mom, too…most of the time, anyway.

Lisa Cox Carter
Lisa Carter was always the child who made up epic tales involving prairie schooners or interplanetary voyages for the neighborhood kids to re-enact during summer vacation. Now, she and her husband have two daughters and make their home in North Carolina. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales, quilting and researching her next exotic adventure. She is the author of romantic suspense novels, Carolina Reckoning and Beneath a Navajo Moon, Under a Turquoise Sky and Vines of Entanglement. Aloha Rose, part of the Quilts of Love series, and Coast Guard Courtship are contemporary romances. Her latest romantic suspense novel, Beyond the Cherokee Trail, releases September, 2015.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Review and Giveaway of "Shattered Memories"

Shattered Memories Release

by Debbie Lynn Costello

29090253

The Charleston earthquake has left destruction like nothing Doctor Andrew Warwick has ever seen. On a desperate mission to find the lady who owns his heart, he frantically searches through the rubble, where he finds her injured and lifeless. After she regains consciousness, the doctor’s hopes are quickly dashed as he realizes she doesn’t remember him. Things only get worse when he discovers she believes she’s still engaged to the abusive scoundrel, Lloyd Pratt. Now Drew is on a race with the wedding clock to either help her remember or win her heart again before she marries the wrong man. 

Waking in a makeshift hospital, Olivia Macqueen finds herself recovering from a head injury. With amnesia stealing a year of her memories, she has trouble discerning between lies and truth. When her memories start returning in bits and pieces, she must keep up the charade of amnesia until she can find out the truth behind the embezzlement of her family’s business while evading the danger lurking around her.

Link to purchase book:  http://amzn.com/B01AO9DRME

Link to giveaway:  https://promosimple.com/ps/90fd
MY REVIEW:  Debbie Lynn Costello has written a beautiful work of historical fiction. It feels like I was really there with the characters experiencing the earthquake. Olivia captured my heart and had me longing to make everything right for her as her world was turned upside down. This book kept me on the edge of my seat and I can hardly wait to read the next book in the series. 
I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.


Blog Tour Stops

Feb 16: Quiet Quilter
Feb 19: Buwurmzzz
Feb 20: A Greater Yes
Feb 25: Bigreadersite
Feb 27: cherylbbookblog
Feb 28: Mary Hake
BONUS GIVEAWAY:  if my blog post receives 10 comments, Debbie Lynn Costello has graciously offered to giveaway a copy of her book.   So please answer the following question, Have you ever experienced an earthquake or other natural disaster?

AND the winner is: .........Tina St. Clair Rice!!  congrats and enjoy!  
Thank you, Debbie Lynn Costello for offering this giveaway!

4-Star Review of "Worship Changes Everything"

Review of Worship Changes Everything: Experiencing God's Presence in Every Moment of Life

by Darlene Zschech

26212945

An Invitation to Praise and Honor God in Every Area of Life

It can be easy to have a heart filled with worship on a Sunday morning as the church band is playing your favorite song. But then comes Monday morning's commute and Tuesday afternoon's pile of laundry. How do we maintain a heart of worship in the daily grind?

Darlene Zschech has spent her life thinking and teaching about worship. With wisdom and contagious joy, she shares her thoughts on what worship truly is and how it should invade every facet of our being. Everything we do can be an act of worship to the Lord, transforming our work, our friendships, our churches, our families. It's all about living in His presence--being aware of the Lord by our side and at work in our lives. 

Learn to live a life of worship. You will be amazed by the purpose and freedom it will bring.

MY REVIEW:   I felt that this book would be a wonderful way to begin my new year of 2016.  Many people make resolutions and often plan to exercise or diet.  I wanted to focus on my spiritual life and my worship experience in particular.   This book looks at the scriptures and life experiences of the author and others to encourage readers to worship in everything....every day....all the time.....even when things aren't going well.  Worship does not just take place in church.  It needs to happen everywhere for God's children.  
        I agree and love this book.  I look at the mountains and praise God for His amazing creation.  I hold a newborn baby and marvel at God's creation and the incredible way He creates us!    I watch the birds flocking to our feeders and know that God is taking care of me just as He does the birds.   I work to forgive those who have hurt me because God forgives me when I don't deserve it.   This book deals with all of this and more.  I think this book would make a great small group study book.    
        I rated this book 4 stars as I felt it could have been a bit more interesting if more real-life examples of interest were included.    
        I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Darlene Zschech

Australian Darlene Zschech is acclaimed all over the world as a singer, songwriter, worship leader and speaker, most notably for her involvement in the music from Hillsong Church, Sydney over many years. Although she has achieved numerous gold albums and her songs are sung in many nations of the world, her success simply stands as a testimony to her life’s passion to serve God and people with all her heart. Darlene, alongside her husband Mark, are Senior Pastors of Hope Unlimited Church on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia.

As a songwriter, Darlene is perhaps most famous for the chorus “Shout to the Lord,” a song that is sung by millions of churchgoers every week and has been covered by many other artists. “Shout to the Lord” was nominated as Album of the Year for the 1997 Dove Awards and was nominated as Song of the Year for the 1998 Dove Awards. In 2000 Darlene received a Dove Award nomination for Songwriter of the Year and received the International Award for influence in praise and worship.

In addition to “Shout to the Lord,” Darlene has written many songs that have been published worldwide, which apart from Hillsong Music worship projects also include solo projects : “Kiss of Heaven”, “Extravagant Worship”, “Change Your World”, “Simply Darlene”, “You Are Love” and “Revealing Jesus” a live worship album recorded with Grammy award winning Israel Houghton. Through the Compassionart project 2008, Darlene was honoured to be allowed the privilege of writing with some of the most generous-hearted worship writers and leaders of our day, with the goal to write an album where all the monies raised went to others in less fortunate circumstances. Darlene is also passionate about raising and training other worship pastor, leaders, teams and writers and has written four books – “Extravagant Worship”, “The Kiss of Heaven”, “The Art of Mentoring” and the new “Revealing Jesus” devotional. These titles combined have been translated into over 20 different languages.

Many years ago Mark and Darlene made a life commitment to do whatever they could to bring answer and relief to human suffering, and one of their great joys in life is to work with Compassion International, serving the world’s poorest of the poor children.

It was during a Compassion trip to Central Africa in 2004 that Mark and Darlene were prompted to initiate Hope: Rwanda, a global endeavour designed to bring hope to a nation seemingly forgotten since the horrific genocide of 1994. The 100 Days of Hope (April 6 – July 15, 2006) project was strategically coordinated to cover the same 100 days that saw approximately 1 million people viciously slaughtered. Now HOPE: Global continues to bring hope and healing to Rwanda, and a new ‘HOPE’ has spread into Cambodia, Vanuatu, and India. The HOPE team are excited about all the future endeavours that continue to gather great momentum.

Darlene and Mark live in the beautiful Central Coast of New South Wales with their three daughters, Chloe and Zoe, Amy and son-in-law Andrew and beautiful grand-daughter Ava Pearl, grandson Roman Emmanuel Mark and brand new grand-daughter Ruthie Feather. While they travel extensively and have the honour of working and ministering alongside amazing friends around the globe, family remains Darlene’s supreme delight. As she says, “First and foremost I am a woman who simply and wholeheartedly loves Christ, and serves Him through loving my family, serving the church, and speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

5-Star Review of "The Widow"

Review of The Widow

by Fiona Barton

25734248

THE #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, an electrifying thriller that will take you into the dark spaces that exist between a husband and a wife.


When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen...
 
But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.
 
There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment. 
 
Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage. 
 
The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…

MY REVIEW:  What an intriguing book and characters!    Jean and Glen Taylor have a sick relationship, one that is full of secrets.   Glen has kept secrets from his wife for years, and now the police show up and arrest him for kidnapping and murdering a little toddler!   She can not believe that her husband would do such a thing.  His parents don't believe it.  Her parents don't believe it.   But the police believe it and the mother of the little girl believes it.   Bella is gone and no one can find a trace of the adorable little blond girl.  After her husband is accidentally killed, Jean begins to feel that she can talk and a reporter befriends her and gets her to agree to tell her story.  
       This book is fascinating and it doesn't give graphic details.  It is actually rather sad.   To think of all that a widow has to endure after everyone thinks her husband committed such a horrid act.   Will telling her story free her?   or will she even be able to tell it?  Does she even know anything about sweet little Bella?   
       I rated this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to lovers of psychological thrillers.
       I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  



Wednesday, February 17, 2016

5-Star Review of "Return to Paradise"

Return to Paradise review by Barbara Cameron

25843906

Twelve months ago, David Stoltzfus left the Amish community in Paradise, Pennsylvania—and encouraged his siblings to follow—after their father became overly stern and even abusive with them. Escaping to a new life in the Englisch world was the only way to keep one another safe. But it was not without sacrifice. When David left his father’s house and community, he also left behind Lavina Zook, the woman he planned to wed. 

Lavina hasn’t forgiven David for abandoning her, but when David’s father is diagnosed with cancer, she believes she might be the only one to lure him back to make peace . . . before it’s too late. Still, forgiveness isn’t easy. Even if she can get David to return, she’s not sure he will forgive his father. And she’s not sure she can forgive David, either.

MY REVIEW:  Barbara Cameron is one of my favorite authors so I was really excited to be able to read the first book in her new Coming Home series.  David Stoltzfus and his two brothers have all left their Amish home and community to live among the Englisch, but David had promised to marry his Amish love, Lavina. He left when he could no longer handle the abuse from his father, but he did not even tell Lavina goodbye or ask her to go with him. Her heart has been broken and her trust betrayed, but she feels obligated to try to find him and tell him that his father has cancer when his mother tells her she needs him to help.  He returns home with his newly acquired truck, but can he and his father mend their differences?  Can Lavina forgive him and give her heart to him again?   What if he leaves again?  
       This book is wonderful.  I can certainly understand the difficulty of forgiving an abusive father.   His father does not make life easy for him.   I also can see how Lavina would feel that she can't forgive him as well. Forgiveness is hard and it takes time for most of us to be able to forgive others of wrongs.This book addresses this in great detail and with honesty.   I fell in love with the characters and now I can't wait to read the other books in the series.  
      A bonus is that several recipes the characters used in the book are shared with readers. I can't wait to try them!
      I rated this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers of Christian and Amish fiction.
      I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Barbara  Cameron
CBD, CBA, and ECPA bestselling author of 24 books (including new series upcoming for Abingdon Press in 2011/2012) including fiction and non-fiction books for Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Harlequin, and other publishers.

I sold three films to HBO/Cinemax and am the first winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award.

My two novellas won the 2nd and 3rd place in the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest from the Faith, Love, and Hope chapter of RWA. Both were finalists for the novella category of the Carol Award of the American Christian Writers Award (ACFW).

Saturday, February 13, 2016

5-Star Review of "Fate of the Fallen"

Review of Fate of the Fallen 

(Hope Street Church Mystery book #5)

by Ellery Adams and Elizabeth Lockard

28801871

A brand-new book in the terrific Hope Street Church mystery series, byNew York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams and Elizabeth Lockard. 

Welcome to Hope Street Church, where friendships are formed, fresh starts are encouraged, and mysteries are solved. 

Cooper Lee and her friends in the Hope Street Bible Study Group are enjoying a glorious summer day in the park, complete with picnic, hiking, swimming, and a local bluegrass band. But Cooper knows that no good day goes unpunished, and when a man turns up dead in the nearby woods—and the sister of Cooper’s fiancĂ© is named as the prime suspect—the group may have to trade in their prayers of thanks for pleas of divine intervention. 

Cooper knows her future sister-in-law is innocent, so when the police arrest her for the murder, the Bible study group must step in to catch the real killer and prevent a grave injustice. Following a twisted trail of clues that leads to a hit-and-run driver, a homeless veteran, and a park full of suspects who may hold more secrets than solutions, Cooper must hold firm to her spiritual convictions before an innocent woman faces a conviction of a more earthly nature. 

Includes heavenly recipes from Magnolia Lee’s kitchen! 

MY REVIEW:  What a fun bunch of folks make up the Hope Street Church Bible Study Group.   They definitely make Bible study interesting....never a dull or boring moment with this group.   While at a picnic, Cooper's fiance, Nathan's sister's boss is found dead by his sister, Christine.   The police rule out suicide and arrest Christine for her boss's murder.   Christine and the Bible study group are convinced of her innocence and set out to prove it!   They of course continue to study the Bible and go about their daily lives and jobs while running their investigation.  
         This book held my attention and had me guessing until the very end.  I did not figure this one out before the group had solved the murder.  This is a part of a series, but I had not read the four previous books and the author provided so much background detail that I was still able to follow it and it did not detract from my enjoyment of the book.   
         I rated this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers of mystery, suspense and Christian fiction.
         I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:

Ellery Adams

Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. 

Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning poems, children’s books, and novels. She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

5-Star Review of "Amish Sweethearts"

Review of Amish Sweethearts

by Leslie Gould

25837471

Can These Two Friends from Opposite Worlds Find Love? 

They've been best friends for years, but as high school ends, Zane Beck can't help but look at his Amish neighbor, Lila Lehman, with different eyes. Her controlling father sees only one future for Lila, though, and arranges for her to be courted by an upstanding young Amish man. When Zane sees the two together, his plans for the future crumble, and he impulsively enlists in the Army, following in his father's footsteps.

However, the passing of years and the distance between them isn't enough to halt their now hidden feelings for each other. If being together used to be difficult, it's now impossible, especially with the Amish opposed to war. Zane's service takes a dramatic turn when he's sent to Afghanistan. Being on the front line and the reality of taking a life has him questioning whether he can continue to serve or not. But all choices have consequences--both his and hers. With Lila preparing to marry another, will these one-time sweethearts ever find the life together that they both still long for?

MY REVIEW:  Amish Sweethearts is a wonderful book.   I was so caught up in Lila's dilemma.....loving an English soldier and being courted by a respectable Amish man that she doesn't love.   She doesn't want to leave her family and Amish faith.    Reuben represents a chance at a comfortable, safe, boring, loveless Amish life.  Zane thrills her heart and gives her sparks.   Which will she choose?  Will she choose either?  Maybe she will just resign herself to a life alone.   Readers will enjoy finding out as I did.
I rated this book 5 stars and I highly recommend it to lovers of Amish and Christian fiction.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Leslie Gould

Leslie Gould is the #1 bestselling and Christy Award winning author of twenty-two novels. She received her MFA from Portland State University and teaches writing at Warner Pacific College. Leslie enjoys traveling, hiking, and history. She and her husband, Peter, are the revolving-door parents of four children and three cats. Visit her at http://www.lesliegould.com/.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

5-Star Review of "The Restoration" and Giveaway

Review of The Restoration and Giveaway!!!

 And the winner is: plaingrl

by Wanda Brunstetter

Leave a comment to be entered to win!   Winner will be chosen on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, at midnight.For extra entries, share on facebook, twitter, instagram, or google + and leave a comment telling me how you shared.
  Or for extra entries, like my facebook page:  Rhonda's Doings https://www.facebook.com/rhondasdoings/  or follow my blog.   Leave an email so that I can contact you if you win.  

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Dive into an Amish country love triangle in this third book of the Prairie State Friends series. Priscilla Herschberger finds herself pursued by Elam, a childhood friend from her community, and David, an outsider raised in the modern world. Elam would do almost anything to convince Priscilla that David would never fit into the Amish way. Will flames of jealousy rage out of control and ruin lives? Can forgiveness allow love and trust to grow? 

MY REVIEW:  Don't you love when reading a book feels like coming home?   That's how this book made me feel. I kept remembering portions of the previous books in the Prairie State Friends' series and it just felt like they were all family to me.  Priscilla has two young eligible bachelors vying for her attentions and her heart.   But jealousy gets in the way and causes great pain for all of them.  Can love ever be restored through forgiveness?  Priscilla's friends, Elaine and Leah both have many exciting changes and challenges occuring in their lives as well. Priscilla helps Elaine serve Amish dinners in her home to tourists and both Priscilla and Elaine would love to have a husband and family like their friend Leah.   Leah continues practicing reflexology in her home and caring for her husband and his three nieces whom they are raising after the death of Adam's sister and brother-in-law.  Adam's mother, Cora, wants desperately to repair the past and make amends with him and be a true grandmother to the three nieces but Adam's heart is hardened and forgiveness seems hard to attain.  
Readers will thrill at seeing how these and other issues are resolving for the Prairie State Friends.   I couldn't wait to get back to my reading of this book tonight after caring for my elderly mom for the day.  I also want to share the joy of this book by offering a giveaway of the print copy I received from the publisher.  
I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.  
I received a print version of this book from the publisher and a pdf version of it from netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:
Wanda E. Brunstetter

Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of over 60 books with more than 7 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine and USA Today.

Wanda's fascination with the Amish culture developed when she met her husband, Richard, who grew up in a Mennonite church, and whose family has a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Meeting her new Mennonite sister-in-laws caused Wanda to yearn for the simpler life. In their travels, she and her husband have become close friends with many Amish people across America. Wanda's desire to explore their culture increased when she discovered that her great-great grandparents were part of the Anabaptist faith.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

5-Star Review of "A Sentimental Journey Romance Collection"

Review of A Sentimental Journey Romance Collection:  9 Love Stories from the Memorable 1940's

by Cathy Marie Hake, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Dianna Crawford, Joan Croston, Kelly Eileen Hake, Sally Laity, DiAnn Mills, Janelle B. Schneider, and Lynette Sowell

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Journey back to the great decade of the 1940s through nine romances that ignite despite the challenges and dangers of a world war. Couples meet under unique circumstances—during the bombing of London, at military outposts, through covert operations to save children, as well as on the home front—and the bond of love grows through shared ideals and faith.

MY REVIEW:   Of Immeasurable Worth by Joan Croston:  London, 1940, Ann and Peter work together to smuggle the Gutenberg Bible to America in order to save it from the Germans in World War II.   

Flower Amidst the Ashes by DiAnn Mills:  November, 1940, London, Corporal Margaret Walker is working with Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force and is determined not to lose her heart to one of the pilots while the war is going on and her heart could be broken.   Her friend, Beryl, has already lost her husband to the war. 

Sing Another Day by Kim Vogel Sawyer:   New York City, September, 1941, Helen Wolfe is trying to raise her younger siblings after her parents are killed in an accident and Bernie O'Day needs help in his shop and hires her brother, Henry.   Helen was planning to train for a career as a singer but must work to support her family instead.   

Living Doll by Cathy Marie Hake:  Virginia, January, 1941, Paul Kincaid buys handmade dolls from Rosemary Fulton so that he can save the lives of precious Jewish children.
Filled With Joy by Kelly Eileen Hake:  December, 1941, Roy Benson has been injured in the war and Paul Kincaid wants him to live with them while he recovers. Roy helps Rosemary and her daughter, Valerie, sew the handmade dolls to save children. 

A Thread of Trust by Sally Laity:  Copenhagen, Denmark, Spring, 1943, Axel and Annelise are providing a safe house to hide and smuggle Jewish children and others out of their grandmother's home.  Annelise must pretend to be engaged to Erik to hide him in their home so that he can forge papers for the ones they seek to save. 


A Stitch of Faith by Dianna Crawford:  Copenhagen, Denmark, October 2, 1943, Sorena Bruhn finds herself responsible for hiding a small child when his Jewish parents, her neighbors are taken by the Nazis.   Axel becomes involved in helping Sorena and the young boy and exposes himself as the underground resistance in the process.

Letters from Home by Lynette Sowell:  Fredericksburg, Texas, 1943, Trudy Meier wants to travel and see the world.   When traveling reporter, Bradley Payne, comes to town to report on the war efforts, Trudy rents him their family's Sunday house. 

A Light in the Night by Janelle Burnham Schneider:  Goose Bay, Labrador, Elisabeth is a nurse who can't dance and Ian MacDonald gets her to sing with him at the weekly "social evening" and a romance develops until she tells him that she won't give her heart to him and risk losing him during this awful war.  

I absolutely loved these novellas.   I love reading about World War II as I lost an uncle in the war.  As I read the stories, I was reminded of many things my grandmother had shared with me about life in that time period.   Each story develops around the possibility of events that could have actually taken place and romances happened despite some of the character's best efforts to prevent them.   Many of the men and women may have feared loving someone as they might easily lose them to the war.  Some of the stories are connected and include some of the same characters but not all of the novellas connect to the others in the collection.   
I rated this collection 5 stars as it is truly wonderful.  I think readers will love it also.
I received a free pdf version of this from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Authors:

Cathy Marie Hake
Cathy Marie Hake
As a child, Cathy Marie Hake had an imaginary playmate. Now "grown up," she indulges in a host of imaginary friends as she writes. She teasingly says she decided if those voices in her head were talking, she might as well write down what they said and make a living by doing it. She met her sweetheart in the High School department at church and married him after finishing nursing school. They live in Southern California and have two children and two dogs (one of them even moos - one of the dogs that is, not the kids). Faith in God, a loving family, and a wacky sense of the ridiculous keep her going.

Known for surfing across the kitchen on a dropped dill pickle slice, waterskiing on sea anemone spit, and using Right Guard® as hair spray; she considers herself living proof that God does, indeed, possess a healthy sense of humor.

Cathy loves classical music, romantic getways with her husband, and Diet Pepsi Free®. "I need chocolate to survive, love my friends, and enjoy a deep personal relationship with the Lord. Although an extrovert, I'm very conservative on a personal level."

In her writing, Cathy attempts to capture a unique glimpse of life and how a man and woman can overcome obstacles when motivated by love. In her inspirational pieces she enjoys the freedom of showing how Christ can enrich a loving couple's relationship.
 Kim Vogel Sawyer
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. She invites you to visit her Web site at www.kimvogelsawyer.com for more information.
 Dianna Crawford
Dianna Crawford, best-selling author of 13 novels and 5 novellas, lives in Southern California with her husband, Byron, and the youngest of her four daughters. She was given a great start with her first novel in 1992. Writing for the general market as Elaine Crawford, she was fortunate to have it become a best-seller and be nominated for Best First Book with Romance Writers of America. Three more novels and 3 novellas followed under that name.
But she much prefers writing Christian historical fiction. She feels that much of our wonderful Christian heritage has been diluted or distorted, if not completely deleted, from the general market and texts. She felt very blessed when she and co-author Sally Laity were given the opportunity by Tyndale House to write a six-book fiction series centered on the romance, adventures, and miracles that took place during the American Revolution.
Joan Croston

 Kelly Eileen Hake
Kelly Eileen Hake is a reader favorite of Barbour's Heartsong Presents series, where she has released several books. A credentialed Secondary English teacher in California, she is pursing her MA in Writing Popular Fiction. Known for her own style of witty, heartwarming historical romance, Kelly is currently writing the Prairie Promises trilogy, her first full-length novels. She has been writing since she could hold a pen and was first published at the tender age of eighteen.

 Sally Laity
Sally Laity
Sally Laity considers it a joy to know that the Lord can touch other hearts through her stories. She has written both historical and contemporary novels, including a co-authored series for Tyndale House and another for Barbour Publishing, nine Heartsong Romances, and twelve Barbour novellas. Her favorite pastimes include quilting for her church’s Prayer Quilt Ministry and scrapbooking. She makes her home in the beautiful Tehachapi Mountains of southern California with her husband of fifty years and enjoys being a grandma and great-grandma. 
 DiAnn Mills
DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. 

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. 

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com. 
 Janelle B. Schneider

Lynette Sowell
Lynette Sowell
Lynette Sowell is an award-winning author with New England roots, but she makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas Hill Country with her husband and a herd of five cats. When she’s not writing, she edits medical reports and chases down stories for the local newspaper.