Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"The CEB Student Bible" Book Review


The CEB Student Bible

About this Bible:

Inviting young people into deeper forms of holiness, The CEB Student Bible helps them make connections between the world of the Bible and their own.
Reading the Bible will change your heart and life. Living the Bible will change the world. The CEB Student Bible will help you to read and live by asking challenging questions, connecting the Bible’s words and today’s world, and showing you how to participate in the story of God’s people.
The CEB Student Bible is a Bible by and for young people that invites them into deeper forms of both personal holiness and social holiness, helps them make connections between the world of the Bible and their own world, offers resources for engaging the text in personal and group study, and embodies a commitment to taking young people seriously as Christian leaders now, not just in the future. It is a resource that helps young disciples of Jesus Christ as they transform the world.

Available in two editions: a durable paperback cover, designed by Hatch Show Print, and a high-quality, leather-like cover with burnished text. The CEB Student Bible is perfect for confirmations and other gift-giving seasons.
• An introduction to each book of the Bible by a top biblical scholar who has also worked in youth ministry. Each introduction gives an overview of the book, key themes, helpful tips for reading, and a list of quick facts.
• More than 400 articles by a diverse group of biblical scholars and youth ministers from over a dozen different denominations. These articles handle difficult topics and model what it’s like to really engage the Bible.
• Discussions for each book of the Bible by youth ministers. These include discussion questions, activities, and “Reading Differently” exercises for youth groups and small groups.
• Prayers and reflections by students—because young people aren’t just leaders for the future but prophets for the present, with unique insights and perspectives that the world needs to hear.
• Article indexes and a guide to the stories and passages of the Bible, both familiar and bizarre
• 16 pages of maps by National Geographic with a 12-page map index
MY REVIEW:  This is an excellent translation of the Bible.  In comparing it to other modern translations, it is quite true to the original Greek and Hebrew verbage.   The questions which appear through out each book of the Bible are very appropriate to teenagers which this Bible is designed to appeal to.  The Bible would also be a useful tool for adults.  It includes explanations and descriptions of each book of Bible.  Youth ministers prepared the discussions.  They are applicable to today's world. They invite the one studying the Bible to question and consider what the best course would be for them to be like Jesus in their daily lives.
            The only thing I thought could be changed was the readability of the discussions.  I felt the words might be above a teenager's reading ability.   
            I am rating this CEB Bible 4 stars and highly recommend it to those who are searching and to those who are serious Bible scholars.
             I received an ARC ebook of this Bible from netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.   All opinions expressed are my own.
About the Editor:
Elizabeth Corrie
Dr. Elizabeth Corrie’s teaching draws on commitments to both peace with justice and the education of young people, particularly the development of teaching and ministry that empower people for global citizenship. She joined Candler’s faculty in 2007, and is also the director of the Youth Theological Initiative, a partner organization with Candler that leads socially conscious ministries with youth and young adults.
Having focused her doctoral work in 19th century philosophy and theology, Corrie became increasingly interested in practical theology as her work with youth and in peace and justice activism deepened. Her research interests include transformative pedagogy, theories of nonviolence, and conflict transformation. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"The Beloved Hope Chest" Book Review


The Beloved Hope Chest 

(Amish Heirloom #4)

by Amy Clipston

Book Description: 

In the final installment of the Amish Heirloom series, the Fisher sisters learn the mystery behind their parents’ marriage—and about the sibling who has never been spoken of.

Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved family hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past.

But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades?

Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it's a story of love and redemption born out of heartache—and it's past time to share it.

MY BOOK REVIEW:   Hope chest are often given to young Amish girls to begin to collect things for the home and family they are expected to have soon after their baptism into the Amish faith.  Mattie's hope chest began that way, but now many years later, it holds treasures of her past and secrets known only to her and those from her past when she experienced several painful losses.   She has never shared these stories with her own daughters and as they find the items in their mother's hope chest, they want answers.  They want to understand. But is Mattie ready to open her heart to memories so painful that she has locked them away for decades?   

             I have read all the previous three volumes in this series and it would be helpful to have read them  before reading this one, but I think it could probably be read as a stand-alone as much previous backstory is given for the reader to understand.  This is a delightful novel and series, even though many parts are painful and may well bring tears to readers' eyes.  It is not a bad thing to feel the pain of characters though and it may be cathartic for readers who have had similar experiences in their own lives.   With all that being said, I love this book!   I loved the whole series of four books.  Amy Clipston is a master story teller and deserves much praise for The Beloved Hope Chest.

             I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.

               I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Zondervan publishing.   I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
Amy Clipston

From Amy Clipston Goodreads Bio:
Hi, I’m Amy Clipston. I am an author of Amish and Christian fiction with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Most of my books focus on the Amish community, faith, and love. I also write romance novels and young adult inspirational stories.

My books include:

Kauffman Amish Bakery Series
• A Gift of Grace (3/2009)
• A Promise of Hope (3/2010)
• A Place of Peace (2/2011)
• A Life of Joy (1/2012)
• A Season of Love (6/2012)

Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel Series
• A Hopeful Heart (5/2013)
• A Mother’s Secret (4/2014)
• A Dream of Home (11/2015)
• A Simple Prayer (5/15)

The Bird-in-Hand Heirloom Series
• The Forgotten Recipe (11/2015)
• The Courtship Basket (6/16)
• The Cherished Quilt (11/16)
• The Beloved Hope Chest (5/17)

Amish Homestead Series
• A Place at Our Table 11/14/2017
• Room on the Porch Swing 6/18
• Book #3 (Untitled) 11/18
• Book #4 (Untitled) 6/19

Amish Anthologies
• An Amish Kitchen (12/2012)
• An Amish Cradle (2/2015)
• An Amish Christmas Gift (11/2015)
• An Amish Market (1/2016)
• An Amish Harvest (8/2016)
• An Amish Home (2/2017)
• An Amish Summer (7/2017)
• Amish Sweethearts (1/2018)
• An Amish Heirloom (5/2018)
• An Amish Homecoming (10/2018)

• A Plain and Simple Christmas (9/2010)
• Naomi’s Gift (8/2011)
• Kauffman Amish Christmas Collection(9/2012)
• An Amish Christmas Gift (8/2016)
• An Amish Christmas Love (8/2017)

Young Adult
• Roadside Assistance (4/2011)
• Reckless Heart (4/2012) (Kauffman Amish Bakery young adult book)
• Destination Unknown (2/2014)
• Miles from Nowhere (2/2015)

• A Gift of Love (2/2014)

I'm an advocate for organ and blood donation. I donated a kidney on June 14, 2011, at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Through my donation, my husband received a second kidney transplant. My husband and I matched another couple and we swapped kidneys with them. I gave a kidney to my husband's donor's wife. Feel free to email me and ask me what it was like to be a kidney donor. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. If you're healthy, please donate blood! Also, become an organ donor.

Visit me at  at @AmyClipston or

Monday, September 25, 2017

"The Farmer's Market Mishap" Book Review

The Farmers' Market Mishap: A Sequel to The Lopsided Christmas Cake by [Brunstetter, Wanda E., Brunstetter, Jean]

The Farmer's Market Mishap 

A Sequel to The Lopsided Christmas Cake

by Wanda Brunstetter & Jean Brunstetter

Book Description:

Return to Amish Country in Topeka, Indiana, and the Hochstetler twin sisters who are pulled apart by life's changes. Elma is living alone for the first time in her life after Thelma married. Elma has dated some, but she wonders if she is just too picky to find love. Will she remain alone while Thelma moves on to build a family? 
Find out in this brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.

MY REVIEW:  Twins are fascinating characters to read about and Elma and Thelma Hochstetler are two very interesting characters, for sure and certain. Thelma has married Joseph and they're now expecting their first boppli.  Elma has now living alone in the big house they twins had shared.  It is a lonely house as well.   Thelma and Joe live just across the street, but Elma and Thelma have never lived apart from each other until now.  
      Elma fears that she will never know the sweet love of marriage and even sweeter kisses of a newborn.  The twins are in their mid-thirties which is considered old to be marrying and starting a family amongst the Amish.  Elma longs to know the happiness that her sister has found.  Up to this point, Elma has not found her perfect man.  Will she ever find him?  
     This is such a light-hearted, fun read.  It made me laugh and find great pleasure in the lives of the characters.  I really enjoyed The Lopsided Christmas Cake and this sequel might be even better. I highly recommend this book to lovers of Amish fiction and Christian romance. 
     I am rating this book 5 stars!
     I received a free copy of this book from the authors and Shiloh Run Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Authors: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 almost 90 books with more than 10 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.

All of Wanda's novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Many of her books are well-read and trusted by the Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

Wanda's primary attraction to the Amish is their desire to live a devout Christian life that strives to honor God, work hard, and maintain close family ties. Whenever she visits her Amish friends, Wanda finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties, which is in stark contrast to the chaos and busyness that plagues so many modern "Englishers." Time and time again, Wanda loses her heart in the Amish life, and she hopes her readers will, too. For more information, visit:

Jean Brunstetter

Jean Brunstetter became fascinated with the Amish when she first went to Pennsylvania to visit her father-in-law’s family. Since that time, Jean has become friends with several Amish families and enjoys writing about their way of life. She also likes to put some of the simple practices followed by the Amish into her daily routine. Jean lives in Washington State with her husband, Richard Jr. and their three children, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish communities in several states. 
In addition to writing, Jean enjoys boating, gardening, and spending time on the beach.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Abiding Mercy" Book Review by Ruth Reid

Abiding Mercy by Ruth Reid

(Amish Mercies #1)


Book Description:

When doing the right thing will only lead to more heartache, how do you know what you are supposed to do? 

Sixteen-year-old Faith has worked full time in her parents' Amish restaurant since she finished eighth grade. She loves her Amish community--and the recent romantic attentions of her longtime friend, Gideon. When her sister seems to be getting too friendly with Englischers, and her parents are in a buggy accident, Faith only wants to escape into her dream of joining the church and getting married.

But then a local newspaper runs a story about a child named Adriana who was kidnapped fifteen years earlier, and everything Faith has held true comes into question.

Suddenly the community Faith has known her whole life seems unreal. Can she even trust her own family? And how will she ever find home again if she no longer belongs in the world she knows best?

MY REVIEW:  Hebrews 13:2 (NAS) Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.  Ruth Reid conveys this verse with her novel, Abiding Mercy".  A red-headed man continually appears to Faith and her family.   They show mercy, compassion and hospitality to the stranger.  Are they in fact, entertaining an angel unaware"?  This story looks at the pain and sorrow of Roslyn and her husband.  They lost their daughter to a kidnapper fifteen years ago and they are still looking for her. Will they find her after all these years?  Readers will enjoy reading this novel to find out if Roslyn's broken heart will finally be healed.  
         While this story is predictable for most of the situations presented, it is a very enjoyable read.  I am quite happy to recommend this book to readers who enjoy Christian fiction, Amish fictions and romance.
     I am rating this novel 5 stars.
     I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
Ruth Reid

Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She's a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

"In Your Embrace" Book Review


In Your Embrace

By Amy Miles

Book Description:  

Life has not been kind to Timothy Lewis these past few years. With the sudden loss of his first love and a construction business barely staying afloat during the recession, Timothy will be the first to admit that faith isn’t exactly at the top of his priority list. When a direct hit from a hurricane rocks the Outer Banks, Timothy is forced to face not only the demons of his past but also a potential of a future that leaves him terrified.

Hannah Green has a big heart and that tends to get her in trouble far more than she’d like to admit. After her aunt and uncle offer her free room and board for the summer at their fixer upper bed and breakfast on the beach, Hannah finds herself caught in the mother of all storms. The devastation left in the wake of the hurricane rocks her world, leaving her faith and health in the balance.

Draven Young hates coming back home. There are too many bad memories, too little to do and far too many ex-girlfriends who would like to get their hands on him. When his father forces him to do some community service at the local hospital or risk losing his monthly allowance, Draven will discover that although terrible things happen to good people, there is a reason for everything.

Book Review:
Wow!  Amy Miles has captured the struggle of faith in characters as Timothy and Hannah question bad things happening to good people.  They are both dealt some pretty rough times by God and they are wondering why God has not answered their prayers in the way they wish.   They meet with Draven, a young, wounded young man, and Hannah is able to influence him in a very positive manner. She feels that this may be why this tragedy has be an encouragement to others in the same situation.

Amy Miles is a new author to me and I was very impressed.  I chose to read this book because it is set in Rodanthe, North Carolina.  I lived at Holden Beach, NC, for fifteen years and while I have never been to Rodanthe, the setting made me want to read the book.   Amy puts faith in the lives of her character and it is so natural and constant that it doesn't seem contrived as it often does in other works of Christian Fiction.  Hannah and Timothy are both very compassionate and are helpers.  I could see this book continuing as a series.

Hats off, Amy Miles! I am rating this book 5 stars.
I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Red Coat PR publishing in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
Amy Miles

Amy Miles is the author of multiple published novels, including her bestselling young adult immortals books, The Arotas Series. Unwilling to be defined by any one genre, she has written paranormal romance, science fiction/fantasy, post-apocalyptic, romance, inspirational, and plans to continue to explore new genres. She is the co-Founder of Red Coat PR, a firm helping indie authors build a marketing base for their career. Amy is also the co-Founder of Penned Con, an annual two day convention held in St. Louis MO bringing readers and authors together with industry professionals to learn, grow and give back. She and her husband are heavily involved in charity work through Action for Autism, a St. Louis based organization aiding families with autism and founded the Penned Con scholarship to benefit area families. She is an avid reader, urban homesteader, weekend golfer and netflix binge addict who lives with her husband and son in South Carolina.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"The Knight's Bride" Book Review


The Knight's Bride

Chivalry Lives in Six Stories from the Middle Ages

by Tracie Peterson, Dianne Christner, Pamela Griffin, Yvonne Lehman, & Jill Stengl

Book Description:

Where Angels Camp - by Dianne Christner 
A Legend of Mercy - by Pamela Griffin 
The Stranger’s Kiss - by Yvonne Lehman 
A Kingdom Divided - by Tracie Peterson 
Alas, My Love - by Tracie Peterson 
A Child of Promise by Jill Stengl

Take six romantic adventures back in time to the Middle Ages along with five authors including Tracie Peterson, who tell the stories of couples challenged by the injustices of their times. Some couples are pulled apart by wars and feuds, while others have their futures determined by their oppressors. Can a faith be found to keep hope alive and give joy in all circumstances?

MY REVIEW:  Take a step back in time....way back in time....with these six romantic novellas.   The five authors: Tracie Peterson (she writes two of the novellas which are linked together as Alas, My Love is a sequel to A Kingdom Divided), Dianne Christner (Where Angels Camp), Pamela Griffin (A Legend of Mercy), Yvonne Lehman (The Stranger's Kiss), and Jill Stengl (A Child of Promise).   While this collection promises novellas set in the Middle Ages, Tracie Peterson's two novellas and Pamela Griffin's are the only two in the collection which are actually set in the Middle Ages.   Each of the novellas has been published previously so some readers may recognize them or find them vaguely familiar.   
        These novellas are a quick read and one can read them separately and stop and come back to them later or read the entire collection in one setting.  They are strictly romance and I actually prefer romances that include mystery or suspense.  I do like novellas because I enjoy finishing the stories quickly at times...they are very relaxing and nice stress relievers.  Faith and hope are woven into each story, making them very uplifting to read.
      I am giving this collection a rating of 4 stars and recommend it to readers of romance and Christian fiction.   
      I received an ebook of this novella collection from netgalley and Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Authors:

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Tracie Peterson is a bestselling author who writes in both historical and contemporary genres. Her novels reveal her love for research as well as her strong desire to develop emotionally meaningful characters and stories for her readers. Tracie and her family live in Montana.

pen name: Janelle Jamison

Yvonne Lehman

Yvonne Lehman, best-selling author of more than 3,000,000 books in print, founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for twenty-five years. She now directs the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat. Lehman earned a Master’s Degree in English from Western Carolina University and has taught English and creative writing on the college level. She is the author of a three-book series set in Savannah GA (Harlequin Heartsong), and Hearts of Carolina, a series of eight novels (four in NC, four in SC) published by Greenbrier Books.

Her fiftieth novel, Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the TITANIC, (Abingdon), is available in bookstores and at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, TN where she periodically holds book signings. Her first non-fiction book is Divine Moments (Grace Publishing) is a compilation of 50 articles written by various authors. She blogs at and Novel Rocket Blog.

Jill Stengl

Jill Stengl is the author of numerous romance novels including Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award- and Carol Award-winning Faithful Traitor, and the bestselling novella, Fresh Highland Heir. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys her three cats, teaching a high school English Lit. class, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel.

Jill is is the mother to Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Pamela Griffin

Pamela Griffin lives in Texas with her family. She fully gave her life to Christ in 1988 after a rebellious young adulthood and owes the fact that she’s still alive today to an all-loving and forgiving God and to a mother who steadfastly prayed and had faith that God could bring her wayward daughter “home.” Pamela’s main goal in writing Christian romance is to help and encourage those who do know the Lord and to plant a seed of hope in those who don’t.

Dianne Christner

Dianne Christner - Christian Fiction Author - writes Christian romance novels. She writes both Historicals and Amish Fiction. Raised in the Mennonite church, she brings authenticity to "The Plain City Bridesmaids" series. 

She keeps a lighthearted reality blog called plain girl romanticizing. 

Her passion is reading and connecting with other readers and writers.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

"Sisters One, Two, Three" Book Spotlight


Sisters One, Two, Three

                                by Nancy Star

Book Description: 

After a tragic accident on Martha’s Vineyard, keeping secrets becomes a way of life for the Tangle family. With memories locked away, the sisters take divergent paths. Callie disappears, Mimi keeps so busy she has no time to think, and Ginger develops a lifelong aversion to risk that threatens the relationships she holds most dear.

When a whispered comment overheard by her rebellious teenage daughter forces Ginger to reveal a long-held family secret, the Tangles’ carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. Upon the death of Glory, the family’s colorful matriarch, and the return of long-estranged Callie, Ginger resolves to return to Martha’s Vineyard and piece together what really happened on that calamitous day when a shadow fell over four sun-kissed siblings playing at the shore. Along with Ginger’s newfound understanding come the keys to reconciliation: with her mother, with her sisters, and with her daughter.

At turns heartbreaking, humorous, and hopeful, Sisters One, Two, Three explores not only the consequences of secrets—even secrets kept out of love—but also the courage it takes to speak the truth, to forgive, and to let go.

MY REVIEW:  Dysfunctional families fascinate me...reading this book about one very dysfunctional family was intriguing.  Honestly, I truly could not imagine why a family would keep such a secret and erase some very important treasures from their shared history.   I mean this family is a master at hiding secrets until one fateful day when Ginger, one of the sisters, whispers about the "unspoken memories" and her daughter, Julia, happens to catch the forbidden words.  Things begin to unravel but perhaps things will actually become pieced back together.  Glory's family reminds me of a puzzle with crucial pieces missing.  Glory loves to work jigsaw puzzles. It is her favorite past-time, in fact.   A missing piece would drive her crazy, and yet her own family is just like that and she doesn't  even recognize it.   Denial keeps this family going for a long time....but it's about to crumble.  Will the revealing of the truth bring the needed healing to this family?  
         I found the Tangle family to be quite sad and I couldn't help but feel pity and compassion for them.   I'm very familiar with secrets and denial, so perhaps that's why I feel this way.  I also was very eager to find the "big secret" as I read.  It seemed that it would never be told.  When I discovered it,  I was shocked that the family hid it for so many years.  This was a family who desperately needed to grieve.  
        I am rating this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers who enjoy contemporary fiction and family drama.  
        I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:

         Nancy Star

Nancy Star, the author of five novels, started out in the movie business where her first job was scouting for books to turn into movies. Born in Queens, she now divides her time between New Jersey and Martha’s Vineyard, which is where her newest novel, Sisters One, Two, Three—slated for release on January 1, 2017—is set. Her works have been translated into multiple languages and optioned for TV and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Family Circle and Diversion magazine.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

"Where the Heart Is Romance Collection" Book Review

Where the Heart Is Romance Collection

Love Is a Journey in Nine Historical Novellas



Journey along with nine women who find themselves on the move out of their comfortable lives and into the unknown as they set up new homes, take on new jobs, seek out loved ones, and encounter romance. Will their faith endure the hardships, and will love form when life is in transition? Written by nine inspirational romance authors who have a passion for American history and faith.

Novella's included in collection:
Where the Heart Is by Sally Laity--Pennsylvania, 1860
The Midwife's Apprentice by Rhonda Gibson--Summer, 1860, Oregon Trail
Murder or Matrimony by Pamela Kaye Tracey--Oregon Trail
Bride in the Valley by Andrea Boeshaar--Oregon Trail
New Garden's Inspiration by Claire Sanders--Wayne County, Indiana, August 1861
A Tender Branch by Jane LaMunyon--
Massachusetts 1874
Knight and Day by Erica Vetsch--Wyoming Territory, April 1874
On a White Charger by Erica Vetsch--continues Knight and Day
The Wonder of Spring by Carol Cox--Arizona, 1877

MY REVIEW:  Fluffy, sweet, leading on a rocky road to love....these women must  endure many challenges to get to the love desired.  I'm not sure I would have the strength to survive in the 1860's and 70's and especially traveling in wagons loaded with all your life's possessions.  These women and men must make many sacrifices.   I particularly love the novellas set on the Oregon Trail because this was a situation my students often used a computer program to set up a virtual trip on the Oregon Trail with their families.   I found it quite fascinating as I observed the choices students made and these couples must do this without the benefit of technology.   
       These are all authors who are new to me.  It was very nice to be introduced to several authors at once in a novella.  I am looking forward to reading more from these authors since tasting a bit of their writing styles.   With novella collections such as this one, I again found the stories predictable in nature, but that doesn't distract one from enjoying the quick reads.  This collection is perfect for vacations or a short break from reality that takes you on a journey filled with stress and romance.   What a combination!   But isn't that often the way with love?   
       I am giving this novella collection a rating of 5 stars and highly recommend it to those like to read a clean, sweet story.  
        Fluffy, sweet, leading on a rocky road to love....these women must  endure many challenges to get to the love desired.  I'm not sure I would have the strength to survive in the 1860's and 70's and especially traveling in wagons loaded with all your life's possessions.  These women and men must make many sacrifices.   I particularly love the novellas set on the Oregon Trail because this was a situation my students often used a computer program to set up a virtual trip on the Oregon Trail with their families.   I found it quite fascinating as I observed the choices students made and these couples must do this without the benefit of technology.   
       These are all authors who are new to me.  It was very nice to be introduced to several authors at once in a novella.  I am looking forward to reading more from these authors since tasting a bit of their writing styles.   With novella collections such as this one, I again found the stories predictable in nature, but that doesn't distract one from enjoying the quick reads.  This collection is perfect for vacations or a short break from reality that takes you on a journey filled with stress and romance.   What a combination!   But isn't that often the way with love?   
       I am giving this novella collection a rating of 5 stars and highly recommend it to those like to read a clean, sweet story.  
        Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."
(I received an ARC of this selection and my copy contains no novella written by Connie Stevens although she is listed on the cover)

About the Authors:
Erica Vetsch

Even though Erica Vetsch has set aside her career teaching history to high school students in order to homeschool her own children, but her love of history hasn't faded. Erica's favorite books are historical novels and history books, and one of her greatest thrills is stumbling across some obscure historical factoid that makes her imagination leap. She’s continually amazed at how God has allowed her to use her passion for history, romance, and daydreaming to craft historical romances that entertain readers and glorify Him. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, Erica is the company bookkeeper for her family’s lumber business, a mother of two terrific teens, wife to a man who is her total opposite and yet her soul mate, and an avid museum patron.

Carol Cox

Carol Cox has an abiding love for history and romance, especially when it’s set in her native Southwest. As a third-generation Arizonan, she takes a keen interest in the Old West and hopes to make it live again in the hearts of her readers. A pastor’s wife, Carol lives with her husband and daughter in northern Arizona, where the deer and the antelope really do play—within view of the family’s front porch.

Rhonda Gibson
Rhonda Gibson lives in New Mexico with her husband James. She has two children and three beautiful grandchildren. Reading is something she has enjoyed her whole life and writing stemmed from that love. When she isn’t writing or reading, she enjoys gardening, beading and playing with her dog, Sheba. She speaks at conferences and local writing groups. You can visit her at where she enjoys chatting with readers and friends online. Rhonda hopes her writing will entertain, encourage and bring others closer to God.

Andrea Boeshaar

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar has been married for more than 30 years. She and her husband, Daniel, have three adult sons, daughters-in-law, and two precious grandchildren. Andrea's educational background includes the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, where she studied in English, and Alverno College where she studied in Professional Communications and Business Management.

Andrea has been writing stories and poems since she was a little girl; however, it wasn't until 1984 that she started submitting her work for publication. Eight years after that, she was convicted about writing for the Christian market. She read books in her genre (Inspirational Romance & Women's Fiction), studied the market, and worked hard to hone her craft.

Claire Sanders
Claire Sanders--After many years of writing and publishing in the nonfiction world of academia, Claire turned her energy, humor and creativity towards the production of compelling romantic fiction. Claire writes captivating stories that fit the genres of contemporary, historical, and inspirational romance. Claire creates heroes any woman would want to be with and heroines who overcome all obstacles to find love. Written with wit and tenderness, her stories engage the readers’ hearts and imaginations. Readers will find themselves anxiously turning the pages to find out what happens next. Claire lives in the greater Houston area with her daughter and one well-loved dog. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her cooking, gardening, and dreaming of places to travel.

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.

Pamela Tracy

Pamela Tracy is an award-winning author from Arizona, where she lives with her husband (He claims to be the inspiration for most of her heroes) and son (He claims to be the interference for most of her writing time.) She was raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and started writing at a very young age (a series of romances, all with David Cassidy as the hero. Sometimes Bobby Sherman would interfere). Then, while earning a BA in Journalism at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, she picked up the pen again only this time, it was an electric typewriter on which she wrote a very bad science fiction novel.)
Finally published in 1999, Pamela has since published twenty-three more books, both in suspense and contemporary romance. Her most recent is Once Upon a Christmas a Harlequin Love Inspired. Her next release Katie's Rescue will be an August 2013 release from Harlequin Heartwarming. In 2009, she took first place in the American Christian Fiction Writer's Book of the Year short suspense contest. In 2008, she was a RITA finalist. 
Pamela spends days as an English professor. Besides being involved in her church, writing, teaching, and taking care of her family, she is often asked to speak at various writers' organizations in the Phoenix area. She belongs to Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crimes, and she is the past president of the local chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writer's Association. You can find out more about Pamela by visiting

Jane West

When Jane's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, playing Mario-cart, watching movies, and spending time with family. She has raised three children, grown now. Her dreams of becoming an author started as a child, where she spent her time writing short stories and poems. Jane writes Young Adult Contemporary, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and Romance. 

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

"Mended Heart" Book Review

Mended Heart 

by Mary Manners

Book Description:

Jade McAllister returns home to Pineyville, Tennessee to help nurse her estranged mother back to health. She's grateful her friend found her a job as an assistant at Pineyville Church. That is, until she runs into Shane Calkin, the bad-boy-wannabe who broke her heart.

Shane is no longer the self-centered boy who hurt Jade. Now he wants is a second chance to love her, but how can he prove it?

MY REVIEW:  Mary Manners never fails to leave my heart swooning and feeling such empathy for the characters.   Jade McAllister doesn't believe that Shane Calkin can truly have changed enough from their high-school days to be capable of serving as a youth director in a church.  Shane's heart is determined to win Jade's heart, but will she let him?  Will she allow forgiveness in her heart and believe in love?  
        This novel is sure to delight those who love to read Christian fiction.  Jade is a caregiver to her mother, the mother she has been estranged from and now she has to put all those emotions aside to do the right thing in honoring her parents.   Mary Manners is one of my favorite authors.  I usually enjoy romances that have mystery or suspense attached much more than "plain, old romances" in novels.   
        I just can't help but rate this novel 5 stars and I would highly recommend it to those who like to cuddle up with a Christian romance.  
        I received an ebook of this novel from netgalley and Pelican Book Group, White Rose Publishing.

About the Author:
Mary Manners

Mary Manners is a country girl at heart who has spent a lifetime sharing her joy of writing. She has two sons and a daughter, as well as three beautiful grandchildren. She currently lives along the sunny shores of Jacksonville Beach with her husband Tim. 

A former teacher as well an intermediate school principal, Mary spent three decades teaching math and English to students from kindergarten through middle grades. While growing up in Chicago and as a student at the University of Illinois, Mary worked her way through a variety of jobs including paper girl, figure skating instructor, pizza chef, and nanny. Many of these experiences led to adventures that may be found between the pages of her stories. Mary loves long sunrise runs—she’s completed three marathons—ocean sunsets and flavored coffee.

Find out more about Mary on her website:


"The Remnant" Book Review


Book Description:
In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn’t show up, as some expected. Instead, a cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth’s population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world from the majestic, opulent capitol of Carthage, Tunisia.
Blamed for igniting the war, religion and religious books are banned. Citizens who will not renounce their religion are sent to work camps.
Grant Cochrin, imprisoned in a bleak petroleum camp in what was once North Dakota, leads his family and friends to escape and embark on a long, dangerous quest for a Christian community.
Their resource in this journey? A cherished page torn from the now banished Bible—a remnant of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount handed down from Grant’s grandparents.

MY REVIEW:   This book is a fictional, dystopian account of events that might occur in the book of Revelation in the Bible.  The Apocalypse is a time when Christians are sent away to work camps, much as the Japanese and Jews were treated in the Holocaust.  Bibles have been destroyed and only one page remains.  The book reminds me a great deal of the Left Behind series.  
     The book is quite interesting and should be read with the certainty that it is purely fictional as no one knows for certain what will happen in the End Times or when Jesus will return.   The book held my attention and made me want to read, especially in comparing it to what I personally believe about the End Times or what some might refer to as the Apocalypse.  
    I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to those who enjoy dystopian novels and Christian fiction.   
    I received an ebook of this selection from netgalley and CWR Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  

About the Author:

Monte Wolverton

Monte Wolverton is an award-winning author and syndicated editorial cartoonist. He is associate editor of CWR magazine. He is an ordained minister and holds a MA from Goddard College in Vermont. Along with his wife Kaye, he makes his home in southwest Washington State.