Saturday, December 28, 2013

"Orchard of Hope," by Ann H. Gabhart

"Orchard of Hope," by Ann H. Gabhart

It is 1964, and 14-year-old Jocie Brooke is about to have an unforgettable summer. Her father has found a new love, her hippie sister is about to have a baby, and her aunt is finally pleasurable to live with. But, when a black family from Chicago moves into the quiet hamlet of Holly County, Kentucky, Jocie finds herself befriending a boy that some townspeople shun. Due to the unspoken racial lines in this southern town, the presence of these newcomers sparks a smoldering fire of unrest that will change Holly County--and Jocie--forever.

Orchard of Hope, the riveting sequel to The Scent of Lilacs, takes readers along to experience unexpected love, fear, forgiveness, new life, and a deeper understanding of the value of each individual's story.


It took me a while to get into this book, but once I did I couldn't put it down as it got more and more interesting.  One of the things that both fascinated and shocked me at the same time was the racial upset that occured.  As never experiencing something of that nature I can only imagine how frightening it must have been for people.  Both as victims and onlookers.  I thought the way Ann wrote that into the story was very well done.

It does help if you have read Ann's first book in this series Scent of Lilacs as the story carries on from where that one left off.  I see the next one in the series Summer of Joy is to be released in March of 2014.

Stars out of 5 : 3.5 I struggle getting "hooked," with Ann's books but when I do get "hooked" on the story I love the books, they just don't grasp me right from the very beginning for some reason?  I am enjoying this series of books and they are a well worth read.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Monday, December 2, 2013

"Chasing Hope," by Kathryn Cushman

"Chasing Hope," by Kathryn Cushman

A Touching Story of Two Unlikely Friends.
The Power of Trust.
The Struggle of Pain.
And How, Sometimes, Following God Can Lead You to the Most Unexpected Places.

A talented runner determined to make the Olympics, Sabrina Rice had her dreams shattered by a devastating diagnosis. One forfeited scholarship and several years later, she's forged a new vision for her future that has nothing to do with running, which she's buried deep, intent on forgetting...

Until the day she sees Brandy Philip running across the college campus, easily outpacing security. Sabrina immediately recognizes world class potential, and it's all the more painful that it belongs to a troublemaking teen. When a chance encounter brings the two young women together, Sabrina realizes she's Brandy's best hope to salvage a life about to spiral out of control forever.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I didn't think I would, but I was hooked right from the start.  The author kept information from the readers to keep you wondering about certain things.  Sabrina had to give up so much but you're not sure exactly for why, until later on in the book.

You're not sure if Brandy will succeed and I'll be honest the Epilogue resonated so deep within me it made the book even more special.

Stars out of 5 : 5 I could read this again as it was so good.  It is a must read in my opinion as it shows how much courage and determination and faith in God some people have.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"Fired Up," by Mary Connealy

"Fired Up," by Mary Connealy
When a doctor who attracts danger falls for a cook determined to make it on her own, there's going to be trouble in Texas!

Glynna Greer came west as a mail-order bride and ended up in a bad situation. Now her husband, Flint, is dead, and she's determined to make a go of it on her own. In a town full of men, Glynna decides she can support her two children by opening a diner--never mind that cooking is not her greatest talent.

Dare Riker is a doctor who saves lives, but someone seems determined to end his. It may have something to do with the traitors he dealt with during the Civil War, or it might be related to the recent incident with Flint Greer and the ranch. Whoever the culprit is, he or she seems really fired up, and Dare can't let his guard down for a moment--which is a challenge, since right now he's trying to win the heart of the recently widowed Glynna.

Though his doctoring business is booming due to Glynna's questionable cooking, Dare seems to encounter unexpected dangers wherever he goes. There's the avalanche. And the fire. And then the shadowy figure with a knife. Can Dare survive it all long enough to convince Glynna to take another chance on love?


This book had a bit of everything in it.  A bit of mystery, a bit of laughter, some romance and a fast pace story that kept you interested and fully involved in the story.  This is the second book in the "Trouble in Texas," series and it was every bit as good as the first book.  

Both Glynna and Dare are made for one another, it's just a case of them figuring it out and it makes for a good chunk of the story them figuring it out.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Great book well worth the read and well worth either buying or borrowing from the library.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Monday, November 4, 2013

"Singularity," by Steven James

"Singularity," by Steven James
Jevin Banks is searching for a killer--and answers to terrifying questions he never even thought to ask.
When his friend is murdered, illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what really happened. Drawn deep into a web of conspiracy and top-secret research on human consciousness, Jevin won't stop digging until the truth is revealed. Soon he uncovers a dark secret that could change the very fabric--and future--of human life on the planet.

Based on frightening scientific realities and bristling with mystery, suspense, and intrigue, Singularity is the riveting sequel to Placebo.


This is the second book in the series that has Jevin Banks as the leading character.  I was totally hooked with this book right from the beginning and this is not my normal genre of book.  It is a MUST read if only to read about what may or may happening in the development of Artificial Intelligence.  The details in this book that the author includes is fascinating and something I would never have thought of.  I would love to know how he came about the premise of this story?  Even the details about magicians tricks and life in Las Vegas was really interesting.

Stars out of 5 : 5 I would give it more if I could I was totally hooked on this book and HAD to know what happened next as it was that good.  I like the way this author writes and it really is a page turner of a book with plenty of details, thrills, action and a great storyline.  You HAVE to read this book.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"A Simple Christmas Wish," by Melody Carlson

"A Simple Christmas Wish," by Melody Carlson

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.


This was a lovely book that I read in an afternoon.  It had enough "meat" in the story to keep you interested. It had me hooked from the start and the way the story was told you were not 100% sure what was going to happen next or what the outcome may have been.

The main characters were believable and the vulnerability of Holly and Rachel was well written.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 An easy book to read and not overly "Christmassy"  You could read this any time of the year and you would enjoy it.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


"Christmas at Harmony Hill," by Ann H. Gabhart

"Christmas at Harmony Hill," by Ann H. Gabhart
It is 1864 and the nation is torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. With her husband at the front and nowhere else to turn, she seeks refuge in the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. Amid the tumult of the times, Heather yearns for the peace she sees in this strange community. But can this longing really be fulfilled amid these people with their peculiar beliefs about family?

As Christmas approaches, the joy of new life and the love that is born of forgiveness may hold the answer.


Interesting book, you don't quite know how it is going to end until very close to the end, which is good as it keeps you guessing.  It's an easy book to read; one which I read in an afternoon and evening.  I am not a fan of Shaker stories though, I guess I need to read more about them to understand.

One of the things though was that you admired the strength and courage of Heather and her belief in her husband.  It also showed what a great heart she had in forgiving her father.

Stars out of 5 : 4 good book to read in a couple of afternoon, but it is a hardback book and costs $15.99 USD so a good one to borrow from your local library.  


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Welcome to Tyler; Whirlwind," by Nancy Martin

"Welcome to Tyler; Whirlwind," by Nancy Martin

The first in a new romance series introduces readers to Tyler, a traditional small town where people are still good neighbors and family and friends are still an important part of everyday life.

This book was actually published back in 1992, so over 20 years old.  What attracted me to this book was the cover.  It's not a bad book to read though the leading female character Liza can be just plain annoying and childlike.  However she is just what Cliff needs to bring him back to a regular life.

There is enough romance in there to keep you interested and the murder mystery part of the story also kept you interested.

Stars out of 5 : 4 If I see anymore of these books I will definitely be reading them, good way to pass a couple of afternoons.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"He Wins, She Wins," by Willard F. Harley, Jr.

"He Wins, She Wins," by Willard F. Harley, Jr.


Every conflict in your marriage is an opportunity to fall more deeply in love.
You've probably heard a lot of advice on how to resolve conflicts in your marriage. What you may not know is that if a resolution comes only in order to keep the peace, it's no resolution at all. Marriage expert Willard F. Harley, Jr., says there's a better way.

What's different about the He Wins, She Wins approach is the ultimate goal--for you and your spouse to grow in your love for each other. This win-win model for negotiation starts with a simple rule: Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse.

Think that sounds impossible? In this book, Dr. Harley will show you how it's been done in his marriage of over fifty years--and in the marriages of the thousands of couples he's counseled. He'll explain the art of marital negotiation, show you how to resolve common conflicts the right way, and help you overcome these common obstacles:

· emotional reactions are preventing calm discussion
· neither of you wants to talk about an issue
· one or both of you are indecisive
· one of you is happy with the status quo
· being enthusiastic about anything doesn't seem possible

And above all, he'll show you how every decision you make together will increase your love for each other.


I ordered this book by mistake.  This is not really my "type" of book.  However I figured to be fair I would give it a go and see if I could learn anything after 30 years of a reasonably successful marriage.

The book is split into three sections; The Art of Marital Negotiation, Resolving Common Marital Conflicts with Negotiation and Common Problems with Marital Conflict Resolution.  I felt each section had parts with are applicable for all stages of marriage, whether newlyweds or couples who have been married 50 years.  Also each section had problems and solutions for situations you encounter throughout your married lives.  For example, who hasn't had conflicts over friends and relatives, or children?

The one thing the author does refer to time and time again is his website Marriage Builders, which delves further into what covers this book and other parts of day to day living.

Stars out of 5 : 4 Did I learn anything; yes, but each couple has their own way of dealing with things and what works for some doesn't work for others.  Will you learn anything by reading this book; I think you will.  So would I tell you to buy or borrow this book, yes as it doesn't do any harm to have a refresher of the way of negotiating situations in your marriage.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Sunday, October 13, 2013

"The Long Awakening," by Lindsey O'Connor

"The Long Awakening," by Lindsey O'Connor



The riveting true story of a life-threatening coma, a miraculous awakening, and the long quest to regain what was lost.
The day our baby came into the world was the day I left. A day that began all smiles and excitement and anticipation and joy ended with running and panic and blood and tears. And then coma.

I lay suspended in the deep, my newborn unknown. Nothingness. Layers where dark pulled from below, light called from above, and me, trapped in between, longing to break the surface.

To live.

Forty-seven days later when I first saw my husband's face leaning close to me, I knew where, and who, I was. But other things took much longer to know. Learning to restitch life--and love--when everything's changed, and finding who we are afterward, can be the longest journey of all.

I'm Lindsey O'Connor, and this is the story of my long awakening.

This is an interesting real life story, something that you will probably never hear of again.  It is well worth the read; though I do question some of the statements made.  Also was this a miracle?  I am not fully sure of that.  Though the question why God saved this lady and did not save others is a very valid question.

Stars out of 5 : 3.5  I would try and read this book in big chunks as it will make more sense, than picking it up and reading a few pages here and there.  It's well worth the read and I'm glad I read this book.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"A Bride for Keeps," by Melissa Jagears

"A Bride for Keeps," by Melissa Jagears

Everett Cline will never humiliate himself by seeking a mail-order bride. Not again. He's already been jilted by three mail-order brides and figures a wife just isn't in his future. However, a well-meaning neighbor hasn't given up on seeing him settled, so she goes behind his back to bring yet another woman to town for him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. A mail-order marriage in faraway Kansas is a last resort, but she'll do anything to leave her life in Massachusetts and the heartbreak she's experienced there.

Although Everett doesn't see how a beautiful, cultured woman like Julia could be happy sharing his simple life, he could really use a helpmate on his homestead. Determined to prove she's more than just a pretty face, Julia agrees to a marriage in name only. Faced with the harsh realities of life on the prairie and hesitant to explore the tentative feelings growing between them, can Everett and Julia ever let each other in long enough to fall in love?


You can't help love Everett and Julia in this book, even though you just want to knock their heads together at the way they act towards one another.  Julia's determination and Everett's stubbornness makes them perfect for one another in every way.  Just takes a while and a lot of adventures along the way for them to realize that.

You will be cheering for them along the sidelines hoping one of them sees sense at some point!!

Stars out of 5: 5 I read this book in a day, as I couldn't put it down and needed to know what happened next. This is Melissa's first book and I loved it.  Look forward to reading many more of her books over the years.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"An Untamed Heart," by Lauraine Snelling

"An Untamed Heart," by Lauraine Snelling

The Long-Awaited Prequel to the Red River of the North Series

Twenty-year-old Ingeborg Strand is certain she is destined to be an old maid. It's not that she's lacked suitors, but now she no longer can have the one she loved.

With the future looking bleak, her mother suggests that she leave Norway and start afresh in America, as so many others have done before her. But how will she accomplish that with little money and no one to accompany her?

Roald Bjorklund is a widower who has been planning to go to America, lured by the promise of free land. He's a good man, a hard-working man--with a young son who desperately needs a mother. Ingeborg can tell Roald is interested in her, but what about love? This isn't how she's always imagined it.

Ingeborg Strand has a heartrending decision to make...


I really enjoyed this book, but was very confused.  I read the back cover of the book and couldn't understand what that description had to do with the actual book I was reading.  It wasn't until closer to the end that it all began to make sense.  If you have read Lauraine's Red River of the North Series this book may be even more interesting.  However if you haven't, like me; it will encourage you to read the Red River of the North Series to see what happens to Ingeborg next.

I read this over two days as I really enjoyed it and it was interesting to read about the history of Norway back in the late 1800's.

Stars out of 5 : 4 Enjoyed the book but the story and the description on the back cover made it confusing at times.  Big fab of Lauraine's though and do love her writing.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"The Promise," by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

"The Promise," by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley
One home, two hearts, and the power of a promise kept . . .
For the last five months, Tom Anderson has been without a job, a fact he's been hiding from his wife Jean--and everyone else. He leaves each morning, pretending nothing has changed, and spends his disheartening day rotating through coffee shops and the library, using their wifi to search job listings online. The stress of keeping this secret is beginning to put serious strain on his marriage.

But Tom's not the only one hiding something. Jean Anderson has a secret of her own--one that will seriously complicate their situation. Will the promises they made on their wedding day hold firm?


This is the second book in The Restoration Series, and while I didn't love it, I didn't hate it either.  I felt as though it dragged in places.  It didn't help that I read this book in snippets rather than in long reading sessions.  However the story was easy enough to keep up with, which is a good thing.  For some reason I preferred the first book in the series over this one.

I could actually see what Tom did happening in real life; which is really sad.

Stars out of 5 : 3  I will read the next book in the series as it was an okay book to read.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Trapped," by Irene Hannon
A runaway teen, a desperate sister, and an intrepid PI determined to discover the truth
When Laura Griffith's sixteen-year-old sister disappears on a frigid February day, leaving only a brief note behind, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the runaway teen. That includes recruiting ATF agent turned private investigator James Devlin to help. Dev knows time is of the essence with runaways--just forty-eight hours can mean the difference between recovery and ruin.

But the deeper he and Laura dig, the more Dev begins to suspect that something sinister is at work in the girl's disappearance. And in the icy winter weather, the trail is going cold . . .

In her latest thrilling read, queen of romantic suspense Irene Hannon outdoes herself with a fast-paced tale of fear, deception, and just the right dose of romance.


Another great book by Irene Hannon that you get sucked into this book right away, and need to know what happens next.  I found the story about Darcy (Laura's sister) more interesting than the Laura side of the story.  The whole story though was well told and very believable.  It also brings up the point that appearances can be very deceiving; people are not always what they seem.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Loved this book, had a bit of everything thing in it, murder, mystery, weather and you will learn something about private investigators.  A must read for everyone.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"Into the Whirlwind," by Elizabeth Camden

"Into the Whirlwind," by Elizabeth Camden
As owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, Mollie Knox's future looks bright until the night the legendary Great Chicago Fire destroys her beloved city. With her world crumbling around her, Mollie will do whatever it takes to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek, an influential attorney for one of Chicago's finest department stores, is a force to be reckoned with among the city's most powerful citizens. Bold and shrewd, he's accustomed to getting exactly what he wants--until he meets Mollie Knox, the beguiling businesswoman just beyond his reach.

In the tumult as the people of Chicago race to rebuild a bigger and better city, Mollie comes face-to-face with the full force of Zack's character and influence. Zack believes this may finally be his chance to win her, but can Mollie ever accept this man and his whirlwind effect on her life, especially with her treasured company on the line?


Thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially with Mollie as the lead character.  The strength and courage she displays throughout the book is extraordinary; and very believable.  The choices that she makes, make her wise beyond her years.

Zack's personality is the exact opposite to Mollie's, but they do say the opposites attract and in this case they do, but not without a lot of twists and turns along the way.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  Didn't get hooked right away but soon after.  Well worth the read and you'll want to know what happens next the further you get into the book.  I also found it interesting from the historical aspect as well.  There is an interesting historical note at the end of the book.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Dangerous Passages," by Lisa Harris

"Dangerous Passages," by Lisa Harris
She's dedicated her life to ending violence. But has she moved too deep into a treacherous world?
When two Jane Does are killed on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, detective and behavioral specialist Avery North discovers they share something in common--a magnolia tattoo on their shoulders. Suspecting a serial killer, Avery joins forces with medical examiner Jackson Bryant to solve the crimes and prevent another murder. As they venture deep into a sinister criminal world, Avery and Jackson are taken to the very edge of their abilities--and their hearts.

Dangerous Passage exposes a fully realized and frightening world where every layer peeled back reveals more challenges ahead. You'll be hooked from the start.


Loved this book.  When it says you'll be hooked from the start, you truly are.  It's an easy book to get immersed with and you will want to know what happens next.  Most women will be able to relate with Avery, as she is a mother, a daughter, and a working woman and trying to juggle everything in her life and still make time for herself is a challenge.  The budding romance between Avery and Jackson is well written.

The murder, mystery part of the book is also well written and delves into a subject I know little about.  It also makes you appreciate how hard and long these law enforcement professionals work.  This book is the first in the "Southern Crimes," series, the next book in the series, "Fatal Exchange," is to be released in the Summer of 2014.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Loved the book, I had to know what happened next.  The story had enough twists and turns to make it interesting.  Where the book finished was good and there was still some unfinished business in the book that  you hope will be picked up in the next book.  Looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"Rules of Murder," by Julianna Deering

"Rules of Murder," by Julianna Deering


Introducing Drew Farthering
From The Tip of his black Homburg to the crease in his stylish cheviot trousers, he's the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered.

Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate.

With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he's learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be--not the butler nor blackmailer, the chauffeur nor embezzler. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer--and trying harder to impress Madeline--Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.

If you like Downtown Abbey, you like British mysteries, you enjoy 1930's Britain, you love stories about the upper class of Britain, you will LOVE this book.  It's full of mystery, upper class traditions, polite manners and general genteel living.    I must say I never figured out "Who dun it," and like the characters in the book had various suspects.

This is the first book in the series; the next book, "Death by the Book," will be released in March of 2014, where once again Drew, Madeline and Nick try their hand at solving more murders.

Stars out of 5 :Lots of mystery, some of it a bit far fetched, but overall a great cast of characters and an easy book to read.  Well worth buying or borrowing from your local library.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"The Letters," by Suzanne Woods

"The Letters," by Suzanne Woods 

Welcome to a place of unconditional love and unexpected blessings
When widow Rose Schrock turns her Amish farmhouse into a bed and breakfast, she expects there might be problems. The reaction of her cantankerous mother-in-law for one. Disapproval from the church for another. But what she doesn't expect is that the guests at the Inn at Eagle Hill will spill their problems into her life and into her heart. She also never expects the kind of help and support she gets from Galen King, the quiet and rugged horse trainer next door. Love, Rose discovers, can bloom in the most unexpected ways.

With inspiration from a true story and her signature plot twists, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a fresh story of simple pleasures and strong faith in a complex world.


I really enjoy Suzanne's books and this one was no exception.  Also if you read the Stoney Ridge series of books by Suzanne, some of the characters will be familiar to you.  This is the first book in "The Inn at Eagle Hill," series, the second book, "The Calling," will be released in January 2014.

One thing I was impressed about was Rose's character, how strong she was during all the stresses she had in her life.  Also her positive attitude, just made you love her character and how important her faith was to her.  If I had one complaint about this book, it's the way it ended.  There is so much more to tell about Rose, however I am guessing her story will continue in the next book.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 Really enjoyable book that hooked you right from the start.  It was one that I didn't want to put down.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Friday, August 2, 2013

"A Simple Change," by Judith Miller

"A Simple Change," by Judith Miller


She never imagined a simple change could be so complicated...

Middle Amana, Iowa, 1881

When her parents decide to sell their home and move to the Amana Colonies, Jancey Rhoder must make a difficult decision. Should she give up her beloved teaching job and her carefree life in Kansas City to go with them?

Her suitor, Nathan Woodward, doesn't want her to go, but Jancey feels she must give this new life a try. Her mother is sick, and these next few months may be the last Jancey gets to spend with her. But will this move spell the end of her relationship with Nathan? And when life in Amana is far more mysterious and challenging than Jancey expected, will she choose to return to the city, or will she make this unique place her forever home?


I don't find the Amana Colonies books as relaxing and as spiritual as books involving the Amish or Mennonites for some reason.  Can't quite put my finger on the reason why though.  I have read a number of Judith's books on the Amana Colonies and this one was as good as her other ones.

I enjoyed Jancey's character and had a love hate relationship with Nathan.  There were a couple of twists and turns in the book that did keep it interesting.  I would have loved to know exactly what was wrong with her mother.  It was never explained.

Stars out of 5 : 3.5  Have read worse books, but have read better books.  It's an easy book to read and if you like books written around the Amana Colonies you will love this book.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"Welcome to Last Chance," by Cathleen Armstrong

"Welcome to Last Chance," by Cathleen Armstrong
She's learned you can't count on anyone--but she didn't count on landing in Last Chance.
The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life--especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?


This book wasn't full of surprises, but it was a book of small town charm, faith and knowing everyone has their own little secrets.  I wasn't drawn into the book right away, took a few chapters before I got really hooked.  

Each of the characters featured have a story to tell and as this is the first book in the "A Place to Call Home," series I am wondering if the next book will tell the stories of those other character's?  The way the book ended there is more to be told about Lainie's life and she was a great lead character.  Also the way the author described each character made them feel so real.

Stars out of 5 : 4 Bit of a slow start, but when the story gets going you're hooked and wanting to know more.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"A Journey from Corporate to Care," by Shannon Ingram

"A Journey from Corporate to Care," by Shannon Ingram

A heartwarming, humorous and enlightening story of a woman’s journey from the exciting, high-pressure world of corporate America to the quiet, humbling, angst-filled world of care giving for aging parents.

This was an interesting book on a subject that affects a lot of people in the world, looking after your aging parents.  What was interesting about this book was it also makes you think what you would do in the same position as the author.

The author had a very successful career and she gave it up (willingly) to look after her parents.  What happened after that was also interesting as she went through a whole gamut of emotions, almost in mourning for the loss of the her career.


This book makes you think about what would happen if you had to do what the author did.  It also makes you happy to know that your own parents are still capable of looking after themselves (in my case.)

Stars out of 5 : 4 I enjoyed Part One: The Heart Way, but found Part Two: From Corporate to Care not as interesting.  If you are in or are going to be in a position of having to care for aging parents this is a good book to read.  For everyone else, it gives you food for thought and is well worth the read.

"The Blessings of the Animals," by Katrina Kittle

"The Blessings of the Animals," by Katrina Kittle

From Katrina Kittle, critically acclaimed author of The Kindness of Strangers, comes a wry and moving story of forgiveness, flexibility, happiness, and the art of moving on.

Veterinarian Cami Anderson has hit a rough patch. Stymied by her recent divorce, she wonders if there are secret ingredients to a happy, long-lasting marriage or if the entire institution is outdated and obsolete. Couples all around her are approaching important milestones. Her parents are preparing to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Her brother and his partner find their marriage dreams legally blocked. Her former sister-in-law—still her best friend—is newly engaged. The youthfully exuberant romance of her teenage daughter is developing complications. And three separate men—including her ex-husband—are becoming entangled in Cami's messy post-marital love life.

But as she struggles to come to terms with her own doubts amid this chaotic circus of relationships, Cami finds strange comfort in an unexpected confidant: an angry, unpredictable horse in her care. With the help of her equine soul mate, she begins to make sense of marriage's great mysteries—and its disconnects. 

If you love and own animals you will enjoy this book.  If you don't own any animals you will still love this book and will understand why an animals love is one to be treasured.  However it is not all about animals, it's also about how to survive a marriage break up which ended ultimately in divorce.

It also includes a varied cast of both human and animal characters which you can easy relate too.  One of my favourite funny scenes was the Christmas Card photo shoot.  The way the author describes it, you imagine you are there.

The book moves along at a fast pace and doesn't leave you bored.  It does however leave you wanting more and NEEDING to turn the next page to see what happens next.  This is the first time I have read anything by this author but it won't be the last as I really enjoy the way she writes.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Well worth the read in my opinion and will appeal to a broad range of readers. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Mamalita," by Jessica O'Dwyer

"Mamalita," by Jessica O'Dwyer

This gripping memoir details an ordinary American woman’s quest to adopt a baby girl from Guatemala in the face of overwhelming adversity. At only thirty-two years old, Jessica O’Dwyer experiences early menopause, which seems to seal the deal on whether or not she’ll ever become a mother. But years later, married but childless, she comes across a photo of a two-month-old girl on a Guatemalan adoption website—and feels an instant connection. After a year of efforts to adopt the girl, her adoption agency abandons her; undaunted, Jessica quits her job and moves to Antigua so she can bring her little girl to live with her and wrap up the adoption, no matter what the cost. Eventually, after months of disappointments, she finesses her way through the complicated adoption process and is finally able to bring her new daughter home.

Mamalita is as much a story about the bond between a mother and child as it is about the lengths to which adoptive parents go in their quest to become parents. At turns harrowing, heartbreaking, and inspiring, this is a classic story of the triumph of a mother’s love over almost insurmountable odds.


What a super book this was.  It's an easy read, plus a gripping read that hooks you from the beginning. It beggars belief that the adoption and government officials could treat people so badly, as all it does is hurt the children and the adoptees parents.

This book shows you how far a parent, whether a biological parent or an adoptee parent will go to protect their child. You cannot believe how much bureaucratic red tape can tangle up everything, and at the end of the day they couldn't have cared less about the poor child in the adoption.

The way Jessica describes the fight to get her daughter to love and accept her as her mother was so heart warming and made it abundantly clear Jessica was put on this earth to be a mother of this child.

I wasn't overly surprised at how some people had to bribe their way through the process to get their child home.  This book doesn't put Guatemala in a good light which is such a shame.  If though you are considering adoption, this is a book I would recommend so you don't go into the process naive.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Well worth the read and a book that makes you think, about a mother's love for her child, adoptions and how not every Government in this world is trust worthy.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"The Hero's Lot," by Patrick W. Carr

"The Hero's Lot," by Patrick W. Carr
With the King Near Death, Will the Kingdom Fall?
When Sarin Valon, the corrupt and dangerous church leader, flees the city of Erinon and the kingdom, Errol Stone believes his troubles have at last ended. But he and his friends still have dangerous enemies working against them in secrets and whispers.

In a bid to keep them from the axe, Archbenefice Canon sends Martin and Luis to Errol's home village, Callowford, to discover what makes him so important to the kingdom, and in that journey they discover amazing new secrets about the workings of Aurae.

Back in Erinon, Errol is unjustly accused of consorting with spirits. Convicted, his punishment is a journey to the enemy kingdom of Merakh, where he must find Sarin Valon and kill him. To enforce their sentence, the church leaders place Errol under a compulsion--he must complete his task, or die trying.


This is the second book in the The Staff & The Sword series.  I will tell you, you do need to read the first book in the series before you read this book.  I reviewed the first book here.

If you don't you will find it a bit confusing.  I found the book great it is fast paced and the story keeps you interested all the way through.  Errol is again a good lead character; and at times I felt so sorry for him with what he has to go through.  We were introduced to a couple of new characters that added to the story, especially Karele.

I found the different "lands" to have similarities to various countries around the world and the description of the places and people made it all very life like.

Stars out of 5 : 5 It was a great book and well worth the read.  It hooked me right away and I can't wait until the next one comes out called: A Draw of Kings in February 2014.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Dolled Up to Die," by Lorena McCourtney

"Dolled Up to Die," by Lorena McCourtney
Cate's not sure just what she expected . . . but she knows it certainly wasn't this.
When Cate Kinkaid receives a frantic call about a triple homicide, she drives to the scene against her better judgment--aren't triple homicides more up the police department's alley?--only to find that the victims are not quite who she expects. Now she has a new rule to add to everything she's learned in her short stint as an assistant private investigator: always find out if the victims have human DNA. Because these three do not.

But who would shoot this nice lady's dolls? What possible reason could the shooter have? And then there's the startling discovery of another victim, who definitely does have human DNA . . .

With tension that is matched only by humor, Dolled Up to Die is the exciting second book in Lorena McCourtney's Cate Kinkaid Files. You won't find a place to stop and take a breath in this fast-paced story.


Must say I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book, as it had a bit of a strange start with three dolls getting shot, and to be honest it did take a few chapters until I got hooked into the story line.  Once hooked though it was good, interesting with the whodunit and yes it had it's funny moments; thinking about the wig here.........

Will admit it was a bit far fetched at times but it was an easy read and one that didn't require too much concentration.

Stars out of 5 : 4 Not a bad read a book well worth buying or borrowing from your local library.  Be sure to read the other book in this series, "Dying to Read," I reviewed that book here.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"The Air We Breathe," by Christa Parrish

Seventeen-year-old Molly Fisk does not go outside. For so long she has run away from a moment long in the past, but she's not running anymore, she's hiding. Ruled by anxiety, she can only stare out the window of the tiny tourist-town museum she and her mother call home, longing to go outside--to maybe take a walk with the cute boy who works in the pizza place across the street.

Then the chance arrival of a woman Molly knew years ago changes everything.

Back then, Claire Rodriguez was an empty shell. Only in the unique friendship she struck up with a little girl--a silent girl who'd only talk to Claire--did she see the possibility of healing. But one day the girl and her mother vanished, their house left abandoned.

What happened that drove them away? And how can Claire now offer Molly the same chance at finding life anew?

I honestly don't know what to say about this book.  It wasn't a great book, but neither was it a horrible book.  The story takes some getting into and it takes a while to figure out who is who.  Its a book that you really have to concentrate to read so you pick up what's going on.

I wasn't wanting to know what happened next and the story didn't suck me in.  It has an air of mystery about it and all is not what it seems.

Stars out of 5 : 2.5 It wasn't the book for me; however it may be for you, so take a chance on it and read it.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"Small Town Girl," by Ann H. Gabhart

"Small Town Girl," by Ann H. Gabhart
How long can two people stand on the brink of love without plunging in headfirst?
In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner. The town practically vibrates with apprehension, as if it is holding its breath. But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh. As Kate watches her sister marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her heart is silently breaking. And even the attentions of Jay Tanner, the handsome best man, can't draw her interest.

Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything and Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways. Could she truly be in love with him? And if he enlists, will she ever see him again?

In her gentle and textured style, Ann H. Gabhart tells a timeless story of love, sacrifice, and longing that will grip your heart and stir your spirit. Fans of Gabhart's Angel Sister will love seeing Kate Merritt all grown-up, as well as other characters they have come to love.


What a lovely book this was.  Easy to read and it hooked you right away.  The way Ann describes the town and the people make it easy to imagine you being there with them.  It's a book where you have people wishing for more than what they can or will have; just like in real life.

You want Kate and Jay to fall in love and live happily ever after, but as in the real world obstacles get in the way.  It also brings into play that what happens to you in your childhood can and will affect your whole life and attitude.

Stars out of 5 : 5 I really liked this book and would recommend you either buy it or borrow it from your local library.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Friday, July 5, 2013

"Love Anthony," by Lisa Genova

"Love Anthony," by Lisa Genova

I’m always hearing about how my brain doesn’t work right…But it doesn’t feel broken to me.

Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a “normal” life shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. He didn’t speak. He hated to be touched. He almost never made eye contact. And just as Olivia was starting to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony was gone.
Now she’s alone on Nantucket, desperate to find meaning in her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman brings Anthony alive again in a most unexpected way.

In a warm, deeply human story reminiscent of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and Daniel Isn’t Talking, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Genova offers us two unforgettable women on the verge of change and the irrepressible young boy with autism whose unique wisdom helps them both find the courage to move on.

I stumbled upon this book by accident.  I was a member of a site where you got points for certain things and when you had accumulated so many points you got to pick prizes.  One day I decided to cash in my points and I chose some books, including this one.

I have never read a book written by Lisa Genova, I will definitely but ordering her other two books, "Still Alice," and "Left Neglected," from the Library.  I will say you are not initially sucked right into this book, but the more you read the more you need to know what happens next.  The way Lisa writes and thinks what is going on in the young boy's autistic mind, just blows you away.  You honestly feel she is standing in the boys brain just listening to what he is thinking.

With Olivia's faith being in question throughout this book, and the priest telling her to "listen with your heart, with your spirit.  His answers are there, within you;" doesn't make sense to her at the time, but it all ends up coming together in a very good way.

This book also makes you question fidelity in a marriage.  What would you do if your spouse cheated on you?  All these points makes for a book that is easy to read but does make you think.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  It took me a while to get used to Lisa's way of writing but there is one thing for sure it was a worth while read and I will be reading her other two books as soon as I can.

Monday, July 1, 2013

"Trouble in Store," by Carol Cox
Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he's not about to let an obstinate woman with newfangled ideas ruin all he's worked for. In hope of turning her interest elsewhere, he determines to get Melanie married off, and luckily, there are many single men in town quite willing to take her off his hands.

The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn't want her to marry any of them. He's drawn to her more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store offer unexpectedly positive results.

But someone doesn't want the mercantile to succeed, and threatening words have escalated into destruction and danger. Will Melanie and Caleb's business--and budding romance--survive the trouble that's about to come their way?


I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The historical details the author described was so good, you could truly imagine every detail.  Melanie and Caleb were super lead character's and little Levi was a mischievous bundle of joy.  Some of his antics were so funny, especially regarding the "S" woman.

The murder mystery part of the story was equally as good, and I didn't know who "did it," until the book told me.  I was guessing right along with Melanie and Caleb.  You truly got immersed into the story and it had me "hooked" right from the beginning.

Stars out of 5: 5 Didn't want to put it down until I had finished the book.  Well worth the read, you will not be disappointed I assure you.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"A Most Peculiar Circumstance," by Jen Turano
Miss Arabella Beckett, defender of the down-trodden women of America, is returning from her travels in support of the women's suffrage movement when she makes a simple offer of assistance to a young woman in need. But things go sadly awry, and both ladies soon find themselves in dire need of rescue. Arabella, always loath to admit she needs help, is particularly reluctant to receive assistance from the arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor who shows up just in time.

Private investigator extraordinaire Mr. Theodore Wilder is on an assignment that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett, but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. He is already in a less than pleasant mood, and when Hamilton's sister turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he's at his wit's end.

Much to their chagrin, Theodore and Arabella's paths continue to cross when they return home to New York, but the most unusual feelings beginning to grow between them certainly can't be anything serious. When the trouble Arabella accidentally stirred up in her travels follows her home and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they might have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love.

This madcap battle of the sexes is the sequel to Turano's hilarious A Change of Fortune (2012), and it is perfect for any reader who enjoys stories bubbling with humor.


I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series "A Change of Fortune," and this one doesn't disappoint.  Although I wasn't hooked from the very first chapter, it didn't take too long after that the get involved in the story.  You do begin to wonder if Theodore and Arabella can agree on anything, as all they do is argue.  However after a while you realize those arguments glue them more and more together.

I will admit if I had to go through as many adventures as Arabella did I would have to sleep for a year to get caught up.  Trouble seems to follow her where ever she goes and she always ends up dragging poor Theodore behind her.  

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  Didn't get hooked right away, but well worth the read and I couldn't put it down in the end as I needed to know what happened next.  Plenty of ups and downs and can't wait for the next in the series, this time "starring" Felicia as the lead character.  "A Talent for Trouble," will be released in October of 2013.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Saturday, June 8, 2013

"The Marriage Bargain," by Jennifer Probst

"The Marriage Bargain," by Jennifer Probst
A marriage in name only . . .

To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner Alexa Maria McKenzie casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?

Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans . . .


This is the first in a series of books.  Will say you sort of know what's going to happen but it's still a fun book and it will keep you on your toes.  There is plenty of humour and the banter back and forward between the two lead characters.  It's a light read that won't tax your brain.  There is some steamy scenes but nothing too graphic.

Stars out of 5 : 3.5  One of those books which is a good one to pick up on a hot summer's day when you have nothing else to do.  I will look out for the next in the series at the library, as I'd like to know what's going to happen next.


(I purchased this book myself, and will be donating it to my local library)