Monday, December 30, 2013

Autumn Winds

Autumn Winds is a great follow-up to Charlotte Hubbard's Summer of Secrets.  (You can check out my review of the first book here.)  The Lantz women are still enjoying their Amish lifestyle and traditions -- but not without their own strong personalities shining through.  Ben Hooley arrives in Willow Ridge and stirs things up a bit.  And there is still the bishop to contend with -- a tough bishop with a few secrets of his own.

Charlotte gives us characters to love and some to not love so much.  Her story is filled with friends, family, faith and fun.  There are moments of deep drama, moments of joy, and moments of sheer fun -- no spoilers, but look out for Ben's feisty aunts!

I highly recommend Seasons of the Heart series to all Amish fiction fans.  I look forward to continuing the story in Winter of Wishes very soon.

About the Book

The leaves are falling and there’s a chill in the air in Willow Ridge, Missouri, the quaint, quiet Amish town where love, loyalty, and faith in the Old Ways are about to be put to the test … 

Winds of change are blowing through Willow Ridge, and they’re bringing a stranger to the Sweet Seasons Bakery. At first, widowed Miriam Lantz has misgivings about Ben Hooley, a handsome but rootless traveling blacksmith. But as she gets to know the kind-hearted newcomer, she wonders if his arrival was providential. Perhaps she could find love again—if only there weren’t so many obstacles in the way. With Bishop Knepp relentlessly pursuing her hand in marriage and the fate of her beloved café at stake, Miriam must listen to God and her heart to find the happiness she longs for and the love she deserves. 

About the Author

Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people—to share hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle, and the foundation of her earlier Angels of Mercy series. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.

Continuing Story -- Through the Tears

Michelle's journey and search for truth continues in Through the Tears.  (If you haven't read Out of a Dream, you probably should do so before reading this second book.  You can check out my review here.)  In a time when her faith is new and uncertain, Michelle struggles with understanding the desires of her heart and how God might -- or might not -- satisfy those desires.

Rosemary Hines continues to deal with tough topics as she carries on with the second story in this Sandy Cove Series.  Her characters are well-developed and deal with complex, real-life issues in ways that keep the reader engaged.  My only complaint about this story is that Michelle's fears and worries are described so often and in such detail that I sometimes felt bogged down in the repetition.

All in all, though this was a very good read, and I look forward to the conclusion of Michelle's story in Into Magnolia.

Thanks to Rosemary Hines for providing me a free digital copy of Through the Tears in exchange for my honest review.

About the Story

Michelle Baron and her family rejoice when her father regains consciousness after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. But a long journey awaits, as they seek to clear his name of the embezzlement charges that drove him to this desperate act.

The days of their vigil at the hospital drag into weeks, and Michelle finds herself repeatedly drawn to the newborn nursery. Observing couples leave with tiny babes in their arms, her heart is stirred, and she begins to yearn for a child of her own. However, an unexpected twist will threaten her new dream.

Through the Tears delivers a message of hope in the midst of longing and disappointment.  

About the Author

Rosemary Hines writes contemporary, suspenseful fiction from a Christian worldview. Her characters and their struggles and triumphs reflect life in our 21st century culture in America. Boldly tackling tough subjects such as suicide, abortion, and the ever-increasing efforts of secular society to silence the faith of many, she is known for her sensitive approach and strong messages of hope and redemption. Rosemary taught writing at a secondary level for fifteen years. Her books have been reviewed and recommended at Christian conferences across the United States. Active in her church as a Sunday school teacher and a women's Bible study leader, she and her husband have also served as missionaries in Ukraine, delivering humanitarian relief to orphanages and hospitals. They reside in Southern California where they enjoy spending time with their grown children and grandchildren.  

For more information about Rosemary and her books, visit her website or check her out on facebook.
 

An Awesome Challenge -- Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe

What "good" wife -- whether newly married or "veteran" of many years -- does not want her husband to be all that God intends for him to be and to enjoy all the blessings God has for him?  And what a blessing it is to think that she can have a part in seeing those things happen.  How does that work?  How can a wife have that kind of impact on her husband's life?

One important answer to that question is this:  PRAYER.  Sharon Jaynes has laid out a very real, very practical way of leading wives through that all-important role in her new book Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe -- A Daily Guide to Scripture-Based Prayer.

After laying a groundwork for the power and purpose of prayer, Sharon maps out sixteen landmarks, using physical attributes of a husband to guide his wife to pray for every area of his life.  She then gives specific examples of using those landmarks and scripture to guide you through 30 days of in-depth prayer for your husband.

This is a book that I do not expect to just read through once and then put it away on the shelf.  I see it as a guide to return to time and time again as I continue to see God at work in both my husband's life and my own as I continue to follow the pattern Sharon has shared.

Thanks to Sharon Jaynes and Multnomah Books for providing me a copy of this book and allowing me to be a part of the book launch team.

About the Book

Powerful, effective prayer for your husband is easier than you think.

As a wife, you have been given the privilege of serving as a mighty prayer warrior for your husband. Yet sometimes, even when poised with the best of intentions, you may find the task overwhelming. You wonder: What should I pray? How should I pray? What prayers does he need right now?

In Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe, Sharon Jaynes maps out sixteen landmarks to help you consistently and effectively cover your husband in prayer. From his mind and the thoughts he thinks, to his eyes and the images he sees, all the way down to his feet and the path he takes, Sharon teaches you how to pray for your husband in ways that are powerful, practical, and life-changing.

The 30-day prayer guide provides Scriptures for each day along with corresponding prayers to target the crucial areas of every man’s life. You’ll be equipped and empowered to establish the habit of purposeful prayer in just a few dedicated minutes each day.

Perfect for group use or individual reflection, this book maps out a memorable and reproducible pattern of prayer to strengthen your marriage, deepen your personal prayer life, and cover your husband from head to toe—in ways that will lift not only his spirit, but yours as well.





About the Author

Sharon Jaynes is an international conference speaker and the author of seventeen books. She served as vice-president and radio co-host of Proverbs 31 Ministries for ten years and is a popular guest on Christian radio and television programs such as Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey, and Focus on the Family. Sharon is the co-founder of Girlfriends in God, a ministry that crosses denominational, generational, and racial boundaries to bring the Body of Christ together.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

More Daughters of the Promise -- Plain Peace

Plain Peace is the sixth book in Beth Wiseman's Daughters of the Promise series.  According to Marianne Byler, one of the main characters in this story, a daughter of the promise is "a woman who is on a spiritual journey and discovers new meanings to the the words faith, hope, and love."  Those words -- along with forgiveness -- describe most of the themes found in Plain Peace.

In this book, Beth brings together characters from the earlier stories in this series, as well as some from her Land of Canaan series.  Having read those earlier books adds some extra interest and understanding to the story, but the book should also work well as a stand-alone.

The characters in Plain Peace struggle with a variety of trials and problems as they try to live under the strict rule of the bishop.  Amish and non-Amish alike work through complex relationships and look for resolutions to difficult situations.  One of the most fun characters is Marianne, the bishop's wife, whose long-kept secrets provide quite a surprise for her friends and family, especially her no-nonsense husband.

Fans of good Amish fiction should enjoy Beth Wiseman's latest Amish work.

Thanks to Book Sneeze blogging program for providing this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book

Anna loves the grandfather who raised her, but his strict adherence to the Ordnung is scaring away any boy who might be interested in her—except newcomer Jacob.

In normal circumstances Anna Byler would have her choice of any of the young men in her Amish community. But because of the strict rules enforced by her grandfather, the bishop, the available suitors are afraid to court her. Then handsome Jacob Hostetler moves to Paradise and decides Anna is worth the challenge.

Anna sees that the bishop’s legalism is dividing the community and risking the lives of its members—but her grandfather doesn’t. When she is forced to deception in order to pursue her dream of marriage and family with Jacob, Anna feels her own faith slipping. If only she could get her grandmother to help her stand up to the bishop. But Mammi is keeping secrets of her own.

Anna wants to honor her grandparents, the two most important people in her life, but her heart is divided by the rules that guide their little Amish community and the growing love she has for Jacob. How can she be true to both?

 About the Author

Beth Wiseman is an award-winning and best-selling author who is best known for her Amish novels, but she is now spreading her wings in other genres as well.  Her two latest releases—Need You Now and The House that Love Built—are non-Amish contemporaries set in small Texas towns, both of which have garnished glowing reviews.  However, her current project will take readers far away from Amish Country and small Texas towns to a dangerous place on the other side of the world.  Inspired by a true story, Beth believes this is the book she’s been working toward for a long time.   More information on this exciting project will be coming soon!  

You can learn more about Beth and her books at bethwiseman.com.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Slower-Moving Suspense -- Unspoken


Unspoken, Dee Henderson's latest novel, is an enjoyable read, although lacking the high level of romance and suspense which drive her O'Malley Series and other earlier books.  The romance and suspense are both present, but they move at a much slower, more relaxed pace than might be expected from Dee. 

A big part of the mystery in this story comes in “unwrapping” Charlotte, one of the main characters.  Details about her life – past and present – come out in small pieces, keeping a level of suspense throughout the story.  The book is a bit long and has places where the details about coin collecting and dealing with tremendous wealth do tend to slow down the pace a bit too much. 

Although this book is not part of a series, anyone who has read Full Disclosure will find familiar characters as Ann and Paul Falcon show up in major roles in this story.

All in all, I would recommend Unspoken as a good read for Dee Henderson fans.

Thanks to Bethany House for providing me this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book

Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history.

The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She's changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.

She's never said a word--to the cops, to her doctors, to family--about those four years. 

A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn't find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years.

Bryce Bishop doesn't know her past, he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather's estate--and that the FBI director for the Chicago office made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But nothing else is working in his favor--she's decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she's willing to forego a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She's not giving him much of an opening to work with.

Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved, has only opened another chapter...

About the Author

Dee Henderson is the author of eighteen novels, including Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story, New York Times bestseller Full Disclosure, the acclaimed O'Malley series, and the Uncommon Heroes series. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois.
Learn more at www.deehenderson.com.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Christmas Treat -- Christmas Wishes Special Delivery

Christmas Wishes Special Delivery is a sweet Christmas story, filled with the fun elements of rekindled love, children, and pets!  Little Rosie is the star of the show and manages to say and do just the right things to spark the Christmas spirit and  romance.

This is the first book I've read by Mary Manners, but I certainly look forward to more.  Her story was a delight to read!

Thanks to Mary Manners for providing me a copy of this story for my Kindle.

About the Book

When attorney Riley Harper comes home to Maple Ridge following the death of his grandfather, the last thing he expects to find is Kaylee McKenna living in his grandparents' guesthouse. Though he and Kaylee were once best friends, Riley cannot find it in his heart to forgive her for the death of his mother. His heart, full of bitterness and resentment, has room for little else.

Kaylee has no time to dwell on events of the past, especially where Riley's concerned; she's too busy raising her six-year-old niece, Rosie, and working as an ER nurse. With Christmas quickly approaching, her days are spent helping with charity events and filling the wishes on Rosie's Christmas list.

But when Rosie's father makes an unexpected visit, Kaylee must call on Riley's legal expertise to ensure Rosie of a safe and secure future. Will Rosie's special Christmas wish heal Riley's damaged heart and bind the trio together as a forever-family?

About the Author

Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus.

Mary's debut novel, Mended Heart, was nominated Best Inspirational Romance 2010 and was a finalist for the Bookseller's Best Award while her follow-up, Tender Mercies, was awarded an outstanding 4 ½ star rating from The Romantic Times Book Reviews and was also a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Buried Treasures claimed Book of the Year by The Wordsmith Journal while Light the Fire took top honors for the 2012 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Her latest, Wisdom Tree, also claimed the 2013 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Mary was named Author of the Year by Book and Trailer Showcase. She writes romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels--something for everyone.

Connect with Mary on her Facebook reader page at Mary Manners, author and at her website: http://www.MaryMannersRomance.com

A Nice Short Read -- Just As I Am

Just As I Am is a nice little story (in ebook form) to fill in the gap between WHAT ONCE WAS LOST and ECHOES OF MERCY. As always, Kim Vogel Sawyer introduces interesting characters like Daisy and Robby and causes you to care about what happens to them. And she gives such detail to the setting that you can almost see the sights and hear the sounds of Dinsmore's World Famous Chocolate Factory and the rest of Sinclair, Kansas.

JUST AS I AM is well worth the hour or two it takes to read . . . and makes me anxious to read ECHOES OF MERCY soon!


About the Story

In this romantic 19th century-set short fiction follow-up to What Once Was Lost, while setting the stage for Sawyer's next novel, Echoes of Mercy, a young woman must let go of past rejections to find hope in the meaningful future God wants for her.

Daisy Forrester has been raised in Brambleville, Kansas at Dunnigan's Orphan Asylum by Levi and Christina Jonnson. As she has watched younger, more appealing orphans come and go on to new families, Daisy has spent years becoming a valued helper for Ma and Pa Jonnson, as the orphans call them. However, she is coming up on her sixteenth birthday, and it will soon be time for her to make her own way in the world.  Nervous about leaving the farm, she turns to the one connection she has out in the world--Robby, a friend who left the asylum before her and is now employed in Sinclair, Kansas at Dinsmore's World Famous Chocolate Factory.

Daisy heads for the safe harbor that is his friendship, but the outside world doesn't offer the friendly welcome  that Daisy dreams of and Robby faces unique challenges of his own in the form of an eager co-worker bent on sending Daisy back to Brambleville.  Can Daisy look beyond her own insecurities to embrace a young man with great affection for her, and a God who calls her 'beloved'--just as she is?


About the Author

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling author highly acclaimed for her gentle stories of hope. More than one million copies of her books are currently in print with awards including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas, where she and her retired military husband, Don, run a bed-and-breakfast inn with the help of their feline companions. She savors time with her daughters and grandchildren.

Learn more about Kim at http://www.kimvogelsawyer.com/.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Quirky Cast of Characters -- A Marriage in Middlebury

"Quirky."  It's just kind of a fun word to say.  "Quirky."  It describes a fun book I just read. 

Anita Higman's A Marriage in Middlebury is a story with a quirky cast of characters -- fun people who come together at the Rose Hill Cottage Tearoom in the fictitious town of Middlebury, Texas.  Charlotte Hill owns the tearoom and shares her friendship and special blends of tea with her many customers.  At the same time, she is dealing with a heart broken years ago when she was forced to decline a marriage proposal from the man she loved.

A Marriage in Middlebury is definitely a story driven by the characters, and Anita has come up with some great ones.  With the interesting ensemble cast, there are several stories within the story, with the main plot centered around a complicated love story.  At some points along the way, it looks like there is no way for a good resolution without even more broken hearts, but . . . well, you'll just have to read the book to see what happens.

So pour a cup of tea (or cocoa) and spend some time in Middlebury.  You'll be glad you did.

Thanks to Anita Higman for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book

What happens when the matchmaker finds a match for herself? Charlotte Rose Hill has been serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and matchmaking advice for her quirky but beloved customers for more than 10 years. But for her, marriage seems like an elusive butterfly, always out of reach. At 18, Charlotte fell in love with a young man, Sam Wilder, but his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship. She did, and then became engaged to another man, who later died before they were married. Now, more than a decade later, Charlotte finds that she still has feelings for her first love. Initially thrilled to learn that Sam has come home to Middlebury, Texas, Charlotte is devastated to learn that he’s brought someone with him: his fiancée. But all is not lost when the townsfolk decide to get involved. Will Charlotte and Sam find their way back to each other?

About the Author

Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, is the author or coauthor of thirty-five books for adults and children. She has recently been honored with a 2013 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award and is a two-time finalist in the 2013 Selah Awards as well as a finalist in the 2013 Cascade Awards. She holds a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends. Please visit her online at www.anitahigman.com.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Another Quick Amish Christmas Story -- A Simple Christmas Wish

Melody Carlson's A Simple Christmas Wish is a quick Amish Christmas read with a twist.  The story begins in a very modern English setting with characters who have no clue of any connection with the Amish world.  Unexpected circumstances beyond their control send Rachel Milligan and her young niece to Holmes County, Ohio, and falling head-long into a world totally foreign to the life they knew in Chicago.  Rachel struggles to accept the fact that she may lose the only family she has left -- and then some hidden truth comes out and love begins a process of healing in several hearts.

This story contains elements that appear a little unlikely and some that have unrealistically quick resolutions.  But that is to be expected in a short Christmas story.  All in all, this is a very enjoyable read. Anyone who enjoys good Amish fiction or a heartwarming Christmas story should enjoy A Simple Christmas Wish.

Thanks to Revell Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book
 
One girl in need of a home. One woman in search of a home for her heart. One Christmas where it all seems possible.

It felt strange to be out here in the middle of the night, still wearing the Amish dress--a dress that had belonged to Miri. Rachel's footsteps crunched in the snow, and halfway between the barn and the house, she paused to look up at the night sky, wondering if more snow was in store, but all she saw was velvety black and stars. Millions of twinkling stars. She had never seen stars like that before, so bright and so close, almost as if she could touch them with her hand.

Rachel Milligan never imagined that she and her seven-year-old niece would spend the week before Christmas on a quaint Amish farm in Ohio. But with so many unexpected occurrences of late, perhaps she shouldn't have been surprised.

With her young niece Holly in tow, Rachel anxiously makes her way from Chicago to Ohio's Amish country. As love begins to blossom, family secrets emerge, and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs.

Join bestselling author Melody Carlson on an emotional journey into the heart of what family truly means at Christmastime. 

About the Author

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, which is being considered for a TV movie. She is also the author of many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double Take, the Life at Kingston High series, and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. She is the winner of a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. Melody and her husband live in Oregon.

For more information about Melody visit her website at www.melodycarlson.com.

Secrets in Hickory Hollow -- The Secret Keeper

Over the past few years, there has been a flood of books in the Amish fiction genre -- many of them well-written by some very good authors.  It is always enjoyable to me, though, to go back to the beginning, to the author some have called the queen of Amish fiction -- Beverly Lewis.

The Secret Keeper is the fourth book in the Home to Hickory Hollow series.  The characters and background story go all the way back to one of Beverly's very first books -- The Shunning -- and the story of Katie Lapp and her family.

As always, this Beverly Lewis book is a great read.  The characters are interesting people, many of them carrying secrets that can change the lives of entire families.  Although some of the elements of the story are predictable, there is enough uncertainty to keep you guessing as to what choices will ultimately be made.

Fans of great Amish fiction should thoroughly enjoy The Secret Keeper.  Although the books in the series have some common characters and locale, the stories are not dependent on each other.  So you can read the Home to Hickory Hollow books in any order.   

Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book

Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania--the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis's celebrated Amish novels began--with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.

Jennifer Burns shocks her family and friends when she bids farewell to her modern life in favor of the Old Order Amish world, settling in with Samuel and Rebecca Lapp.

The people of Hickory Hollow are curious about the beautiful young seeker among them--one handsome Amishman in particular--and Jenny faces many challenges in the Proving time the brethren set for her...challenges of the heart, as well as the spirit.

About the Author
 
Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is the New York Times bestselling author of more than ninety books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has inspired Beverly to write many Amish-related novels, beginning with The Shunning, which has sold more than one million copies and was recently made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. In 2007 The Brethren was honored with a Christy Award. She has been interviewed by both national and international media, including Time magazine, the Associated Press, and the BBC. Beverly lives with her husband, David, in Colorado. Visit her Web site at www.beverlylewis.com for more information.

Enjoy a question and answer session with Beverly here.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Touching, Uplifting Christmas Story -- The Christmas Quilt


I just spent a very enjoyable Saturday morning reading a touching, uplifting Amish Christmas story -- Vannetta Chapman's The Christmas Quilt.  The book is a quick, easy read, but has elements that stick with you after you turn the last page.

In her usual fashion, Vannetta has written a heartwarming Amish story, with a little extra "spark."  The characters are loveable, their story progresses at a satisfying pace, and there is just the right amount of difficulty to keep the story interesting.  Using the backdrop of the quilt squares and the tender stories that accompany them, Vannetta shares significant lessons from God's Word in a very pleasing way.

From the acknowledgments in the front of the book, I learned that some of the characters from The Christmas Quilt first appeared in Vannetta's A Simple Amish Christmas.  I haven't read that one yet, but it's definitely going onto my "to-be-read" list.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of The Christmas Quilt in exchange for my honest review.

See what other reviewers have to say about the book here.

About the book: Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie's sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/qKnYD

Meet the author: Vannetta Chapman has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

You can learn more about Vannetta at her website, http://vannettachapman.com/

The Christmas Quilt is a part of the Quilts of Love series, a collection of books written by various authors.  

Find out more at: http://www.quiltsoflovebooks.com

In honor of their new Quilts of Love releases, The Christmas Quilt and Aloha Rose, authors Vannetta Chapman and Lisa Carter are gearing up to ring in the Christmas season with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a "Christmas Bee" Facebook Party on December 10th with fellow Quilts of Love author Lynette Sowell!
qol-400

One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman
  • Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 30th. Winner will be announced at the "Christmas Bee" Facebook Party on December 10th. Connect with the authors from the Quilts of Love series, Vannetta Chapman, Lisa Carter, and Lynette Sowell, for an evening of book chat, quilt trivia, Christmas traditions and gifts, PLUS get an exclusive look at January's Quilts of Love book!

So grab your copies of The Christmas Quilt and Aloha Rose and join Vannetta, Lisa, and Lynette on the evening of December 10th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on December 10th!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fear in Kingdom -- Unforeseeable (with a GIVEAWAY)


Nancy Mehl finishes up her Road to Kingdom series with Unforeseeable.  As in the first two books of the series, Inescapable and Unbreakable, she tells the stories of residents of the isolated Mennonite community of Kingdom, Kansas.  Along with the relationships and conflicts among the Plain people, there is danger in the form of a serial killer.  Characters from the previous two books continue to play important roles in this story.  In fact, this book is best enjoyed after reading books one and two.

There are several different plots going on at once in Unforeseeable.  Most of the characters and plots are well-developed and keep the reader's interest.  All in all, fans of Amish/Mennonite fiction and those who enjoy some "who-dunit" mystery should enjoy Unforeseeable, even though it is a part of this series which is quite different from other books in the genre.  

Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

****************************************************  I have an extra copy of book two in this series, Unbreakable, that I would like to share with one lucky reader.  If you are interested in winning this book, comment below by 5:00 p.m. CST on Monday, November 11, and I'll include your name in the random drawing.  Don't forget to leave your email address (in the format me [at] gmail [dot] com) so I can contact you if your name is drawn.
  ****************************************************

About the Book

Callie Hoffman has a good life in Kingdom, Kansas. She's engaged to Levi Housler, the new pastor of Kingdom Mennonite Church, and she spends her days working with Lizzie Housler, her friend and soon-to-be sister-in-law, at the town cafe.

When a body is discovered on the road outside Kingdom and the deceased turns out to be the victim of a serial killer, the new county sheriff begins questioning Kingdom residents. Unsettled at the prospect of a killer in Kingdom, Callie is desperate to find answers for herself, especially when her own fiance seems to know more about the murder than he's telling.

As the town battles an entirely unforeseen danger and Callie's very life is threatened, the stakes are as high as they've ever been and the people of Kingdom must learn anew to put their trust in God alone.


About the Author

Nancy Mehl is the author of fifteen books and received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. Visit her website at www.nancymehl.com.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Delightful Love Story -- Beloved (with a great GIVEAWAY)

"To say the least, it was inconsiderate of Diana's almost-dead husband to show up at her engagement party."  How could a lead-in line like that not pique your interest in a story?  That kind of "hook" is a great example of the quality of writing in Robin Lee Hatcher's Beloved and the other two books in her Where the Heart Lives series.

The three Brennan children were orphaned and sent west from Chicago on an orphan train after the death of their mother.  Despite their best efforts, they were separated and never heard from each other through their growing-up years.  Belonging and Betrayal (read my review here) tell Felicia's and Hugh's stories after they reach adulthood and settle in Idaho.  Youngest sibling Diana is the subject of Beloved, the third and final book in the series. 

This series was my first venture into Robin Lee Hatcher's writing, but it will certainly not be my last.  Robin tells a captivating story that is a delight to read.  The characters come alive and invite you to share their joys and struggles.  Moving with Diana through the ups and downs of her journey, watching her learn how to give and receive love and forgiveness, and witnessing her growing faith make this book a very enjoyable read.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the entire series, Beloved was my favorite.  

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

See what other reviewers have to say about Beloved here.

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Here's some really good news for you!  Somehow I ended up with an extra copy of all three books in this Where the Heart Lives series.  I would like to share the set with one lucky reader.  If you are interested in winning the three-book series, comment below by 5:00 p.m. CST on Monday, November 11, and I'll include your name in the random drawing.  Don't forget to leave your email address (in the format me [at] gmail [dot] com) so I can contact you if your name is drawn.
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About the book: Diana is ready to begin a new chapter in her life-until the husband she believed dead reappears at her engagement party.

Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her. At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word from him in years, Diana's infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.

But when Tyson returns, claiming to be a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom.

He agrees with one condition---she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/qb0G2

 
Meet the author: Robin is the author of 65+ novels and novellas. Her home is in Idaho, where she spends her time writing stories of faith, courage, and love; pondering the things of God; and loving her family and friends.

Learn more at: http://www.robinleehatcher.com
 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hearing God's Voice in the Simple Things -- The One Year Book of Amish Peace

The One Year Book of Amish Peace is a collection of short devotionals designed to guide the reader into "Hearing God's Voice in the Simple Things."  Each day's reading includes a verse or two of scripture, an Amish fact or proverb, and a short reading in the form of a story and/or devotional thoughts from the author's own experience or from her knowledge of Amish life.  The devotionals are written in a very inviting tone, making you feel as though you're having a nice chat with a friend.

Each of the readings can be completed in just a few minutes and offers you a great opportunity to slow down and enjoy some thoughts that will stick with you throughout the day.  Readers who are familiar with the Amish and those who know nothing about the Plain way of life can find inspiration to enjoy the simple gifts God offers to each of us.

The One Year Book of Amish Peace provides the perfect opportunity for you to grab a cup of coffee (or tea or cocoa) and spend a little time with God through these peaceful meditations. I very much enjoyed the readings and came away from each with an extra dose of quiet inspiration for my day.

Thanks to the author and publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book

In our instantly connected world, it’s surprisingly easy to lose our connection to God. This devotional taps Amish wisdom in order to help us draw closer to God and hear his voice. In The One Year® Book of Amish Peace, you’ll get a daily taste of Amish values and wisdom. Tricia Goyer shares her fascination with the Amish in a way that will inspire and encourage believers to carve out more time in each day to listen to God and experience his presence. This daily devotional contains interesting facts about the Amish, recipes, and information about the way the Amish handle money, rear their children, and center their lives on faith in God. You’ll be inspired to slow down and find ways to simplify so that you, too, can experience God in the ordinary.


About Tricia

Tricia Goyer has written more than thirty-five books, including both novels that delight and entertain readers and non- fiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts,Thriving FamilyProverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine.

Goyer’s fiction and non-fiction books have won awards from the American Christian Fiction Writers and Mt. Hermon Writers’ Conference. She is also a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee.

Tricia has authored several books on family and parenting, as well as co-written with Max Lucado and Robin Jones Gunn. She collaborated with Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges for Lead Your Family Like Jesus, published by Focus on the Family/Tyndale.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A quick Amish Christmas story -- The Dawn of Christmas

Last year Cindy Woodsmall published a three-in-one Christmas novella collection -- Christmas in Apple Ridge included The Sound of Sleigh BellsThe Christmas Singing, and an all-new story, The Dawn of Christmas.  The first two novellas had been previously published individually.

This year, the third novella in the series, The Dawn of Christmas, is available in an individual, hardback format to match the other two volumes.

As usual, you can count on a Cindy Woodsmall book telling an authentic Amish story with characters you would love to meet.  In this story, Sadie and Levi are young Amish adults who have their own individual plans for their lives and are trying to avoid the interference of their families.  But it is Christmas time . . . and sometimes the unexpected happens at that very special season of the year.

Fans of great Amish fiction and anyone looking for a sweet Christmas story should enjoy The Dawn of Christmas as a quick read.

Thanks to the Blogging for Books program which provided me this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book

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

About the Author

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of ten works of fiction and one work of nonfiction, whose connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media and throughout Christian news outlets. She lives outside Atlanta with her family.

More Adventure in Alaska -- Stranded (with a GIVEAWAY)

Once again Dani Pettrey delivers a gripping suspense story in Stranded, book three in her Alaskan Courage series. Darcy St. James, the McKenna family, and their friends and associates make a return visit as they work to solve a life-or-death mystery where time is of utmost importance.

Throughout the series, Dani has created characters you can care about as friends.  Darcy, Gage, Kayden, Jake, and the others face real-life challenges and dangers.  As the plot continues, secrets are revealed, relationships grow, and faith is tested while the characters learn more about each other and about themselves.

This is Dani Pettrey's first series, but she certainly doesn't write like a rookie.  And I'm excited to know that she plans at least a couple more stories in the series.  Stranded could be read as a stand-alone, but I think you will enjoy it more if you read Submerged and Shattered first.  You can read my reviews of the first two books here:  Submerged and Shattered.

Fans of great Christian suspense authors like Dee Henderson, Terri Blackstock, Irene Hanson, and Lynette Eason should have no problem adding Dani Pettrey to their list of favorites. 

Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy of Stranded in exchange for my honest review.

GIVEAWAY:  I have an extra copy of Stranded that I would love to share with someone.  If you're interested in winning the book, comment below by Friday, November 1, at 5:00 p.m.  I'll randomly choose a winner after that time.

About the Book:

When Her Friend Goes Missing, Every Minute Counts

Darcy St. James returns to Alaska to join a journalist friend undercover on the trail of a big story. But when Darcy arrives, she finds her friend has disappeared. Troubled by the cruise ship's vague explanation, Darcy uses her cover as a travel reporter to investigate further.

The last person Gage McKenna expects to see during his summer aboard a cruise ship leading adventure excursions is Darcy. And in typical Darcy fashion, she's digging up more trouble.

He'd love to just forget her--but something won't let him. And he can't help but worry about her as they are heading into more remote regions of Alaska and eventually into foreign waters. Something sinister is going on, and the deeper they push, the more Gage fears they've only discovered the tip of the iceberg.

 About the Author:

Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters. Visit her website at www.danipettrey.com.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A very different Amish story -- The Bargain


If you are looking for a "typical" Amish fiction story, you might want to try another book.  But if you're interested in Amish girl meets 70's turmoil, you are in the right place.  

Betsie is a 19-year-old Amish girl struggling with her family being ripped apart.  Circumstances put her in the home of an Englisch family with problems of their own.  The unrest of the period of the Vietnam war plays a significant role in the story.

The Bargain is an interesting story with quite a cast of characters.  I had some trouble really getting into the story, often feeling like things just didn't flow together well or situations were not quite plausible.  All in all, though, it was an enjoyable read. 

This is the first book in a series and definitely leaves the story unfinished to attract readers' attention to future installments.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read what other reviewers have to say about The Bargain here.

About the book: 

Book one in the Plain City Peace series.

It's 1971, and Betsie Troyer's peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.

When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truth-a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie's marriage to Charley Yoder.


Purchase a copy here: http://ow.ly/ptivJ 

About the Author: 
Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, site of a once-thriving Amish community. She gleans ideas for her novels from signs glimpsed along the byways of Ohio, as she did for her previous books, "Across the Wide River" and "The Light Across the River."

Learn more at Stephanie's website: http://www.stephanielreed.com/

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Lovely Christmas Collection -- Peace on Earth


I surely wish with all my heart, This day of Jesus’ birth, That peace and love and happiness Soon cover all the earth.

Mary Engelbreit rings in the holiday with a Christmas collection that includes many of her favorite carols, the story of Jesus' birth, and beloved poems that touch the heart and celebrate the miracle of the season.

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This collection of Christmas carols, poems, scripture, and short stories put together by Mary Engelbriet is a lovely piece to be enjoyed during the Christmas season.  Readers will find familiar Christmas carols and some not-so-familiar passages that draw minds and hearts to the true story of Christmas.  Although Peace on Earth is marketed for ages 4-8, some of the readings might not be easily understood or appealing to that age group.  The colorful, detailed illustrations, though, make the book a visual delight for young and old alike. 

Thanks to BookSneeze blogger program for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

End of the Tour -- Glittering Promises

Cora Kensington and her family and friends end their very eventful Grand Tour of Europe in Glittering Promises In The Grand Tour Series, Lisa T. Bergren gives readers a glimpse into a lifestyle most of us would never experience on our own.

Before reading Glittering Promises, you will want to read the first two books in the series:  Glamorous Illusions (here is my review) and Grave Consequences (here is my review).  The books flow together into one continuing story, and you will be jumping into the middle of the story if you skip the other stories.

The "grand tour" experience enjoyed by wealthy young people in the early 20th century was a concept I knew nothing about before reading this series.  Getting a look at that practice and learning interesting facts about places the Kensingtons and Morgans visited made for a very good read.  There are a few relationship issues in the story that tend to get a bit monotonous at times, but all in all the story moves at an enjoyable pace.

Glittering Promises is an intriguing mix of romance, adventure, mystery, and faith.  I  recommend this entire series to fans of good historical fiction with a Christian perspective.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

See what other reviewers are saying about Glittering Promises here.

About the book:
 
Lisa T. Bergren's popular Grand Tour series concludes as Cora Kensington journeys farther into Italy, wrestles with a terrible ultimatum from her father, and comes to terms with the Father who will never fail her.
America's newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are tracking the news story of the decade---"Copper Cora," the rags-to-riches girl---and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn't going to claim Will's heart, she might just try . . .
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/pvxTP

About the author: 

Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs.
Learn more about Lisa here: http://lisatawnbergren.com.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Old Testament Comes to Life -- Return to Me (with a GIVEAWAY)

If you've ever read the Old Testament and wondered what it was like to live during those events, Return to Me might be just the book for you.  Lynn Austin does a fantastic job of bringing to life part of the historical story of the the Jews returning to Jerusalem after their years of exile in Babylon.

Iddo and Zechariah were real people, a grandfather and grandson who both took seriously their family's calling to serve their God in the role of priest.  Return to Me is an intriguing look at what their lives might have been like, the kinds of joys and struggles they may have encountered as they followed that calling -- sometimes with the support of their family, fellow priests, and friends; and sometimes all alone in their quest to turn a remnant of their fellow Jews back to true worship of the Almighty One. Mixing facts from the Biblical narrative with details from her own imagination, Lynn Austin offers an inspiring story of hope and restoration.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group and Bethany House for providing me copies of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read what other reviewers think about Return to Me here.


Giveaway:  I have an extra copy of Return to Me that I would love to share with someone.  If you are interested in receiving that copy, comment below between now and 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 22.  I will randomly select a name and contact the winner for a mailing address.


About the book:

After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true---King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem. Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God's renewed favor. For too long they've remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo's sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart. And so only a few choose to leave everything to return---return to their home and their God.

Nothing about their journey to the Promised Land is easy. As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo's beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God's leading. Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the family they left behind. But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One gives him insight that will change Zechariah---and history---forever.

Bringing the Old Testament to vibrant life, Return to Me tells the compelling story of two men living by faith in the midst of doubt, the women who love them, and the faithful remnant struggling to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/pfkmh


About Lynn:


 Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.

You can find out more about Lynn at http://www.lynnaustin.org/.