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

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

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:

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

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