Thursday, December 24, 2015

"At Love's Bidding," by Regina Jennings

"At Love's Bidding," by Regina Jennings
After helping her grandfather at their Boston auction house, Miranda Wimplegate discovers she's accidentally sold a powerful family's prized portrait to an anonymous bidder. Desperate to appease the people who could ruin them forever, they track it to the Missouri Ozarks and make an outlandish offer to buy the local auction house and all its holdings before the painting can move again. 

Upon crossing the country, however, Miranda and her grandfather discover their new auction house doesn't deal in fine antiques, but in livestock. And its frustratingly handsome manager, Wyatt Ballentine, is annoyed to discover his fussy new bosses don't know a thing about the business he's single-handedly kept afloat. Faced with more heads of cattle than they can count--but no mysterious painting--Miranda and Wyatt form an unlikely but charged partnership to try and prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

I found this a hard book to get involved with and it took me at least six chapters before I got fully immersed into the story.  Once that happened it was interesting, but no great surprises as to what was going to happen.  I enjoyed the grandfather's "story," and thought it was interesting to include what happens to him in it.

Quite a unique story line and I learned something new about auction houses.

Stars out of 5 : 4 an okay book, but not one I will remember down the road.

"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, December 9, 2015

"Until the Dawn," by Elizabeth Camden

"Until the Dawn," by Elizabeth Camden


Fascinated by Dierenpark, an abandoned mansion high atop a windswept cliff in the Hudson River Valley, Sophie van Riijn sees no harm in setting up a rooftop weather station for her work with the newly established Weather Bureau. While the villagers are suspicious of the mysterious estate and its tragic history, Sophie has come to see it as her own enchanted piece of paradise. 

The first Vandermark to return to the area in sixty years, Quentin intends to put an end to the shadowy rumors about the property that has brought nothing but trouble upon his family. Ready to tear down the mansion, he is furious to discover Sophie trespassing on his land.

Instantly at odds, Quentin and Sophie yet find common ground when she is the only one who can reach his troubled son. There's a light within Sophie that Quentin has never known, and a small spark of the hope that left him years ago begins to grow. But when the secrets of Dierenpark can no longer be kept in the past, will tragedy triumph or can their tenuous hope prevail?


This book was really quite interesting.  I found the concept of the story very different to ones I have read before and the ending was not at all what I expected.  So all in all this book kept me on my toes.  I like the relationship that forms between Quentin and Sophie.  They are polar opposites but that's what makes their story work.

The description of the food Sophie made in the book, made my mouth water.  Shame there wasn't the odd recipe of two included in the book.  Also found the information about the Weather Bureau interesting and something that you don't often read about.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  I really enjoyed this book .  Found it very descriptive and enough things happening to want to read more.

"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".



"The Painter's Daughter," by Julie Klassen

"The Painter's Daughter," by Julie Klassen

Sophie Dupont assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. In private, she paints the picturesque north Devon coast, popular with artists--including handsome Wesley Overtree, who seems more interested in Sophie than the landscape. 

Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother Wesley's responsibilities. Near the end of his leave, he is sent to find his brother and bring him home. Upon reaching Devonshire, however, Stephen is stunned to learn Wesley has sailed for Italy and left his host's daughter in serious trouble. 

Stephen feels duty-bound to act, and strangely protective of the young lady, who somehow seems familiar. Wanting to make some recompense for his own past failings as well as his brother's, Stephen proposes to Miss Dupont. He does not offer love, but marriage "in name only" to save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he fears, she will at least be a respectable widow.

Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie finds herself torn between her first love and this brooding man she barely knows. Dare she wait for Wesley to return? Or should she elope with the captain and pray she doesn't come to regret it?


Set in the Regency period in England this book is full of drama, secret passages, hidden rooms and of course romance.  It's set in a time when appearances and how you act in public and avoid scandal are uppermost in everyone's mind.  A hint of scandal and your position in society can evaporate before your eyes.

You can more or less guess how this will all turn out, but there are the odd twist and turn added to the book to keep it interesting.  As always the author's notes at the end are a valuable resource and well worth reading.  I thought it was appropriate that the author did make mention that women painters were not encouraged in their talent. 

Stars out of 5 : 4 I did need to know what happened next, but overall it will be a book I will not remember reading next month.

"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".

"The Mistress of Tall Acre," by Laura Frantz

"The Mistress of Tall Acre," by Laura Frantz
The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

If you like Gone With the Wind, you will love this book.  It's your typical love story, but it does have a twist to it that you don't see coming.  I love the historical aspect of this book.  The author's description of everyday life makes everything come to life.  Sophie and Seamus are the perfect lead characters, and you do want to know what will happen next.

Stars out of 5:4 a lovely book to spend a few hours reading and it won't tax your brain.  Will I remember it next month, probably not.


"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".

"The Uncommon Reader," by Alan Bennett

"The Uncommon Reader," by Alan Bennett
'Oh Norman,' said the Queen, 'the prime minister doesn't seem to have read any Hardy. Perhaps you could find him one of our old paperbacks on his way out.' Had the dogs not taken exception to the strange van parked in the royal grounds, the Queen might never have learnt of the Westminster travelling library's weekly visits to the palace. But finding herself at its steps, she goes up to apologise for all the yapping and ends up taking out a novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett, last borrowed in 1989. Duff read though it proves to be, upbringing demands she finish it and, so as not to appear rude, she withdraws another. This second, more fortunate choice of book awakens in Her Majesty a passion for reading so great that her public duties begin to suffer. And so, as she devours work by everyone from Hardy to Brookner to Proust to Samuel Beckett, her equerries conspire to bring the Queen's literary odyssey to a close. Subversive and highly enjoyable, The Uncommon Reader offers the perfect argument for reading, written by one of its great champions, Alan Bennett.

This is our book club choice for January.  If you have an afternoon free and want to read a short book (121 pages) then this is the book for you.  Short, sweet and interesting.  This wouldn't happen in real life with the Queen, but in our and the author's imagination this would and could be quite possible.

He brings to life the palace and all it's little quirks.  I am quite sure there are a lot of the parts that are actually quite true in the way the palace lives and moves on from day to day.  I hope the Queen read this as I think she would get quite a kick out of it,

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  Wish I were a more established reader and as lot of the author references were of people I had not heard of.

Friday, October 30, 2015

"Vendetta," by Lisa Harris

"Vendetta," by Lisa Harris

No one needs to push Nikki Boyd to excel on the Tennessee Missing Persons Task Force. The case of her own missing sister, still unsolved after ten years, is the driving force in her work. When a Polaroid photo of a missing girl shows up at a crime scene, Nikki quickly recognizes similarities to the past. The closer she gets to the abductor, the more she feels this case has become personal, and she is not the hunter . . . but the hunted.

With this explosive first book in The Nikki Boyd Files, award-winning author Lisa Harris takes you on a fast-paced pursuit of justice that will have you holding your breath until the heart-stopping finish.


This is indeed a fast paced book and is filled with many questions of who-dun-it.  I was so in love with this book and enjoyed it right until the abductor says something.  I can't tell you what as it will spoil the story, but what he said cannot be true as that could not happen in "real life."  That spoiled it for me, however it may not spoil it for you as you may not think it is an issue; I did.

So due to that I will give it a 3 out of 5.  Please read it to see if you figure out what the error is.  I would love to discuss this with other people.

"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".

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"Ru," by Kim Thuy

"Ru," by Kim Thuy


Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow--of tears, blood, money. Kim Thúy's Ru is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream. As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy's autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy.

This is our book club choice for the month of November.  It has won many awards in Canada, so I began reading it with high hopes.  Although very insightful in how she tells small segments of her life in great detail the whole way it was written in short sections, some a page or two long, others just a few lines, didn't sit well with me.

It felt very "jumpy" the book as though she was just picking out memories randomly and writing them down.  I think if it was done in a chronological order it would have been better.  Also some memories felt not completed as though she left out things.

Stars out of 5 : 2  In it's favour it is a short read.  Do I think it's a great book; no.  There was no order to the book for me and because of that I lost interest in it.  Very few people didn't like it in the reviews; I guess I am an exception to the rule.

If you have read it what did you think?

By the way I do give it a 10 out of 10 though for the art work on the front cover, I thought that was lovely.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Forgiven" by Terri Roberts with Jeanette Windle

"Forgiven" by Terri Roberts with Jeanette Windle


After a son does the unthinkable, how can a mother go on?

On October 2, 2006, a gunman entered an Amish one-room schoolhouse, shooting ten girls, killing five, then finally taking his own life. This is his mother's story. Not only did she lose her precious son through suicide, but she also lost her understanding of him as an honorable man. It was a trauma that none should ever have to face.

But the biggest headlines came when her Amish neighbors did the unimaginable, reaching out to the family of the shooter with comfort and forgiveness. Today Terri lives in harmony with the Amish and has built lasting relationships beyond what anyone could have thought possible. From the grace that the Amish showed Terri's family from day one, to the visits and ongoing care Terri has given to the victims and their families, no one could have foreseen the love and friendship that have been forged from the fires of tragedy.


This is a must read book, because it tells the story from the mother of the gunman's prospective.  There are plenty of books written from the victims prospective, so this was very different. It is a fascinating book and is quite personal in the feelings of the gunman's family and how devastated they were and how guilty they felt knowing what he did and if they could have prevented it.

It also amazed me the relationships that were formed between the Amish and the gunman's family, and how loving they were towards one another.  

Stars out of 5:5 This book is well worth the read and offers a great insight into the Amish way of thinking.  

"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".

"Murder at the Courthouse," by A.H. Gabhart

"Murder at the Courthouse," by A.H. Gabhart

Michael Keane's stressful days as a Columbus police officer are done. He's ready to relax into his new position as deputy sheriff in his sleepy hometown. Nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky--and that's just fine with Michael.

Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. As Michael works to solve the case, it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs.


I found this book a little slow to get going, but once it did, it was a page turner.  I didn't guess who did it until a way's through the book.  When it was revealed who did the murder it all made sense.  This is the first book in the "Hidden Springs Mystery," series and I am looking forward to reading the next one.

Michael's aunt is a great character, as is Michael.  I love the small town feel to this book and how everyone knows everyone and everything.  I could see why Michael came back to live in Hidden Springs.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  Other than the slow start I think this book was great and one of the better ones written by this author.  Well worth the read; with enough mystery to keep you wanting 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".



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"The Imposter," by Suzanne Woods Fisher

"The Imposter," by Suzanne Woods Fisher
A heart once deceived should not be easily fooled again . . .
Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. But as her plans crumble before her eyes, she struggles to face an uncertain future. When a widow asks for help starting a new business, Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose.

What she doesn't need is attention from Andy Miller, a farmhand who arrives at the widow's farm just when help is most needed--and who always seems to say the right thing and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy for real or too good to be true? She's been deceived once before, and she isn't planning on experiencing it again. 


Despite saying last month I was totally "Amished Out," I just loved this book.  It wasn't your typical run of the mill Amish book, as it involved many "sins" of the bible interwoven into the story, that made you go.."well, that's not like the typical Amish we read about." 

It also involved the normal traits that you come to think of when the Amish involved as well, kindness, forgiveness and understanding.  This story kept you on your toes and it also teaches you a bit about moss, which I thought was interesting and different. 

This book is the first in a series by Suzanne, called "The Bishop's Family," and the way this book ends, you HAVE to read the next one in the series to see what happens next.

Stars out of 5 : 5 A super book, well worth the read and a different take on your typical Amish stories.  I can't wait to read the next one.  By the way you think you know why the book's title is what it is; but you'll be shocked when all is revealed!!

"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".

"The Dressmaker of Khair Khana," By Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

"The Dressmaker of Khair Khana," By Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

The life Kamila Sidiqi had known changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of the city of Kabul. After receiving a teaching degree during the civil war—a rare achievement for any Afghan woman—Kamila was subsequently banned from school and confined to her home. When her father and brother were forced to flee the city, Kamila became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. Former ABC News reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spent years on the ground reporting Kamila's story, and the result is an unusually intimate and unsanitized look at the daily lives of women in Afghanistan. These women are not victims; they are the glue that holds families together; they are the backbone and the heart of their nation.

Afghanistan's future remains uncertain as debates over withdrawal timelines dominate the news.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana moves beyond the headlines to transport you to an Afghanistan you have never seen before. This is a story of war, but it is also a story of sisterhood and resilience in the face of despair. Kamila Sidiqi's journey will inspire you, but it will also change the way you think about one of the most important political and humanitarian issues of our time.

I must say this is a must read book.  It's a book from a time we will all remember; about a situation very few of us have ever been in. It shows what happens when you are forced into an impossible situation and how you resilient you can be.  Although we saw on the news what was happening in Afghanistan, we really didn't know what it was like for the people who continued to live there.

One thing that struck me about this story is despite all the hardship and problems they always were well mannered and hospitable to people who came to their door.  Another thing was how family stuck together and helped one another out.

It boggles my mind to think how dangerous it was for a woman to walk in the streets on a regular day without a male and without being totally covered up.  It must be stifling to be not able to go about your everyday business without being escorted everywhere and having to wear a chadri.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Loved this book, it gave you a glimpse into a life I hope I never have to live and to hear the true story of how a group of women in Afghanistan survived under the Taliban.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

"A Noble Masquerade," by Kristi Ann Hunter

"A Noble Masquerade," by Kristi Ann Hunter
Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother's old school friend, the Duke of Marshington. Since she's never actually met the man she has no intention of ever sending the letters and is mortified when her brother's mysterious new valet, Marlow, mistakenly mails one of the letters to the unsuspecting duke.

Shockingly, this breach of etiquette results in a reply from the duke that soon leads to a lively correspondence. Insecurity about her previous lack of suitors soon becomes confusion as Miranda finds herself equally intrigued by Marlow, a man she has come to depend upon but whose behavior grows more suspicious by the day. As the secret goings-on at her family's estate come to light, one thing is certain: Miranda's heart is far from all that's at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was fast paced, with many twists and turns along the way.  It doesn't take a genius to figure out who is who and what is what; but the path you follow to figure it all out is a fun one.

I enjoy that period of time and all the time you are wanting Miranda to find true love, as she is not you normal high bred lady of the times.  "Marlow's" character is perfect as well and he makes the book fun as well.  This is the first book (there is an e-book) in the Hawthorne House series.  I am looking forward to reading the others, as there are still plenty of tales to tell with the other members of the family.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  My kind of book with plenty happening and a great love story mixed in.  Well worth the read; a good book to read in a couple of afternoons.

"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".

"The Photograph," by Beverly Lewis

"The Photograph," by Beverly Lewis

He studied the picture more closely, finding it curious that the young woman looked so boldly into the camera while wearing a white prayer Kapp shaped like a heart--the characteristic head covering for the Lancaster County Old Order Amish. 
Why would a devout girl have her picture taken?


When her sister Lily disappears only months after their widowed mother's passing, Eva Esch fears she has been wooed away from the People. Yet Lily's disappearance isn't Eva's only concern: She and her sisters must relocate once their older brother takes over the family farmhouse. Then Jed Stutzman, an Amish buggy maker from Ohio, shows up in Eden Valley with a photo of a Plain young woman. Eva feels powerfully drawn to the charming stranger--but the woman in the forbidden photograph is no stranger at all. . . .


If you are a Beverly Lewis fan, you will love this book.  It's in her typical style and an easy read.  You won't be shocked at the ending, and it is a book that invites you into the lives of the Amish.  I thought it was interesting that Eva has her own candy store at home.  She was a lovely leading character.

This book is not part of a series, but could easily be turned into a series.

Stars out of 5 : 4 I am all "Amished-out" at the moment, having just come back from vacation in Lancaster county.  However it was nice to read about places that I had heard of and even visited.  It's another solid book by Beverly and well worth the read.

"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 21, 2015

"Olive Kitteridge," by Elizabeth Stout

"Olive Kitteridge," by Elizabeth Stout
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.


This is our October selection for our book club.  I had neither heard nor read this book before and I found it very interesting.  It basically 13 short stories in which Olive has some sort of role in; sometimes a large role, sometimes just a "walk-on" part.

It's a very complex book with many layers.  Sort of reminds me of an onion.  I enjoyed Olive, and loved her total honesty of a situation.   You could actually relate to some or all of these stories.  The only negative thing all these stories never actually had an ending.  I was told in the HBO series of this book, the stories did have an ending?

Stars out of 5 : 4  I would love to see the TV series now, as I still have questions.  It was well worth the read though and I would definitely recommend you reading the book.

The Memory Weaver," by Jane Kirkpatrick

The Memory Weaver," by Jane Kirkpatrick
Eliza Spalding Warren was just a child when she was taken hostage by the Cayuse Indians during a massacre in 1847. Now a mother of two, Eliza faces a new kind of dislocation; her impulsive husband wants to make a new start in another territory, which will mean leaving her beloved home and her mother's grave--and returning to the land of her captivity.

Haunted by memories and hounded by struggle, Eliza longs to know how her mother dealt with the trauma of their ordeal. As she searches the pages of her mother's diary, Eliza is stunned to find that her own recollections tell only part of the story.

Based on true events, The Memory Weaver is New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick's latest literary journey into the past, where threads of western landscapes, family, and faith weave a tapestry of hope inside every pioneering woman's heart. Get swept up in this emotional story of the memories that entangle us and the healing that awaits us when we bravely unravel the threads of the past.


I am a fan of Jane Kirkpatrick's work and was so looking forward to reading this book.  I found it a bit slow going though.  Going back and forward between Eliza and her mother's diaries was not helpful.  I will say though by the last quarter of the book the pace picked up and I had to know what happened next.

The story itself of Eliza is very interesting and I find that time period fascinating.  I also found the author's notes and acknowledgments to be extremely helpful in explaining things; so they are a must read.  It was also interesting when Jane pointed out in those notes, that Eliza probably suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  You don't think that people back in those days would suffer from it would you?  That made me reflect on what and why Eliza did the things she did.

Stars out of 5 : 4  Despite the fact the story was slow going I loved the subject matter.


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

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

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"The Chaperone," by Laura Moriarty

"The Chaperone," by Laura Moriarty

New York Times bestseller, The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in the 1920s and the summer that would change them both.

Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.

For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in this strange and bustling place she embarks on a mission of her own. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, she is liberated in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of Cora’s relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.


This is our book club choice for September.  I was under the impression it was more about the silent film star Louise Brooks, but the book actually focuses more on Cora Carlisle, who was Louise's chaperone one summer in the 1920's.  It's a book of both fact and fiction, and is full of historical references throughout.

I have to say some of the things that happened took my breath away and I know I said to myself:

"Well I didn't see that coming!"

Cora's life was certainly full of surprises and it was a joy to see her "grow" throughout the book.  Going from a straight laced, prim and proper lady, to a woman whose mind was open to living life and seeing things from other people's point's of view.  However all through her life she could never let go of making sure people only saw her as that prim and proper lady.

Stars out of 5 : 5 A great read that you will not want to put down.  What happens throughout parts of the book made you go "WHAT??"  It also makes you think about how relationships change throughout the years.  This is a book that you should read, very interesting.  A great book club choice.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"The Potter's Lady," by Judith Miller

"The Potter's Lady," by Judith Miller

In the beautiful rolling hills of West Virginia, Rose McKay seeks a measure of success--in business and in love.

When Rose McKay convinces her brother, Ewan, to invest in a pottery business, she's determined to assist him in making the endeavor a success. A recent graduate of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, she believes she can design pieces that will sell well. Rose also reconnects with Joshua Harkness, who oversees his own family's pottery works and promises to help her.

Rylan Campbell has never liked change, but the new owners of the pottery seem to be decent folks. He just wishes Rose wouldn't insist on changing the way they do things. Then McKay Pottery begins to lose business to the Harkness company, and Rylan suspects Joshua may be secretly taking advantage of Rose.

When Franklin Hotels announces a design contest, it could be the opportunity McKay Pottery needs to achieve recognition and clients. Rose and Rylan work together to create something magnificent. With Joshua's company as their main rival, can Rylan convince Rose her trust in Joshua may spell ruin for them all?


This is the second book in the "Refined By Love," series.  I reviewed the first book, "The Brickmaker's Bride," here.  For some reason I thought this would be a very "light" book with not much to keep my attention, but I was proved totally wrong.  There is more to this book than meets the eye.  It has a "deeper" side to it and due to strange things that keep happening you need to know what will happen next.

Although this book is part of a series, it is an excellent stand alone book also; meaning you don't have to read the first one to enjoy the second one.  A lot of the characters from the first book appear in the second though, so it wouldn't hurt to read the first one. You will not be surprised at the ending, but a good book all the same.

Stars out of 5 : 4 A very easy read and one that kept my attention.  Well worth reading and it will fill a couple of afternoons for 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".

"Through Waters Deep," by Sarah Sundin

"Through Waters Deep," by Sarah Sundin
It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Handsome and outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. On shore, Jim encounters Mary Stirling, a childhood friend who is now an astute and beautiful Boston Navy Yard secretary.

When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is discovered, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges--and dangers--await them.


This is one of those books that will fill in a few hours if you fancy a light read.  It's a pleasant book that has a bit of romance and intrigue in it.  

I will say I am not a huge fan of war books and felt this was a little light on details.  I didn't know about the convoys that escorted freight ships via Iceland, so that was something new I learned.  I will say though it took me a while to figure out "who dun it!"

Stars out of 5 : 3 I will not remember this book next month.  It is the first in a new series by Sarah called "Waves of Freedom."

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

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Global Girlfriends: How One Mom Made it Her Business to Help Women in Poverty Worldwide," by Stacey Edgar

"Global Girlfriends: How One Mom Made it Her Business to Help Women in Poverty Worldwide," by Stacey Edgar
Seven years ago, Stacey Edgar had a $2,000 tax return and a deep desire to help provide economic security for women in need. She knew that of the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1 per day, seventy percent are women. What she didn't have was a business plan. Or a passport. But that didn't stop her from creating a socially conscious business that has helped poor women in five continents feed their families and send their children to school.

Global Girlfriend has since grown into a multi-million dollar enterprise that specializes in handmade, fairly traded, ecoconscious apparel, accessories, and items made by women all over the world. Global Girlfriends is Stacey's inspiring story of following her convictions, as well as her passionate argument for simple actions we can all take to eliminate extreme poverty. Stacey Edgar refused to be paralyzed by the size of world poverty; she started by taking several small steps, personal responsibility firmly in hand, and never looked back.


I had never heard of Global Girlfriend prior to reading this book.  It's an American company set up to sell products made by women in need from various countries throughout the world.  As mentioned above it was started by a woman who wanted to make a difference and despite starting the "business" with only $2,000 has turned it into a multi-million dollar company that has helped thousands of women.

The book tells of how Stacey started small by helping a few women, and has gradually grown and grown helping many woman.  It shows how just helping one person can translate to helping many in a community.  I loved the different examples of how she helped various woman, as it explains their back story.

I also liked how Stacey had the common sense to make sure what she bought to sell were things that people in America would actually want to buy and use and the quality of these items were what Americans were used too.  Some of the stories told were enough to break your heart at the hardship some of these women had been through.

I liked the chapter, Afterword: and Beyond," as there are multiple websites listed of what you can do to help, also suggestions on what you can do locally.  It does give you food for thought this book.

Stars out of 5 : 5 well worth the read and makes you think.  Although it's an American company a lot of what Stacey says can be applied to whatever country you come from.  I like she doesn't sugar coat what she says and I commend her on what she has done.

If nothing else pop by the Global Girlfriend site and support a great cause.

"Rurally Screwed: A Memoir of Losing Myself For Love," by Jessie Knadler

"Rurally Screwed: A Memoir of Losing Myself For Love," by Jessie Knadler
Jessie Knadler was a New York City girl, through and through. An editor for a splashy women's magazine, she splurged on Miu Miu, partied hard, lived for Kundalini yoga, and dated a man-boy whose complexion was creamier than her own. Circling the drain both personally and professionally, Jessie definitely wouldn't have described herself as "happy"; more like caustically content. Then one day, she was assigned a story about an annual rodeo in the badlands of Eastern Montana.

There, she met a twenty-five-year-old bull rider named Jake. He voted Republican and read Truck Trader. He listened to Garth Brooks. He owned guns. And Jessie suddenly found herself blindsided by something with which she was painfully unfamiliar: a genuinely lovable disposition. In fact, Jake radiated such optimism and old-school gentlemanliness that Jessie impulsively ditched Manhattan for an authentic existence, and an authentic man. Almost overnight, she was canning and sewing, making jerky, chopping firewood, and raising chickens. And all the while one question was ringing in the back of her head: "What the !#*$ have I done with my life?"

A hilarious true-life love story, Rurally Screwed reveals what happens to a woman who gives up everything she's ever known and wanted-job security, money, her professional network, access to decent Thai food-to live off the grid with her one true love (and dogs and horses and chickens), and asks, is it worth it? The answer comes amid war, Bible clubs, and moonshine.

Must say I did enjoy this book.  Didn't think it was hilarious as described above, but it did have it's fun moments.  I could see why she was attracted to Jake with the way she described his behaviour, a true gentleman through and through.

One thing for sure her life went from one extreme to another and no wonder she questions her sanity and her reasons for doing it. Although she digs deep into her life, she doesn't dig right down the the nitty gritty and I think that shows in her book, as you do feel as though you are missing something.  It's a bit like saying you only had a couple of teeth out when in reality you had all your teeth removed, if that makes sense?

Stars out of 5 : 3 At the end of the day I did enjoy this book, but I will probably not remember it in a month or two's time.  Glad I read it though.

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Hope Harbor," by Irene Hannon

Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life--and love--altered her plans. Now she's home again--with a floundering farm to run . . . a tragic secret . . . and a wounded heart. Romance is not on her agenda.

Nor is it on Michael Hunter's. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets and devastating regrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help with a project that is close to her heart, winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives--including their own.

I am a fan of Irene's books; however they are normally romantic suspense novels, so this for me was a change as this is strictly a romance novel.  Yes there were some "secrets" that have to be uncovered but overall it was a romance.  Tracy and Michael were prefect as the lead characters.  Also I liked how the "God works in mysterious ways," theme was woven in the story.

I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason, and it was quite clear that was happening throughout this story.  It's no surprise how this novel ended.  If I had one complaint, it was that there was no recipe for the Cranberry Nut Cake.  After reading about it, I would have loved to make it!

Stars out of 5 : 4  An easy read, well worth reading.  A good book to while away an afternoon or two.  Loved the description of Hope Harbor and would love to visit it, if it exists!

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

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

"In Good Company," by Jen Turano

"In Good Company," by Jen Turano

After growing up as an orphan, Millie Longfellow is determined to become the best nanny the East Coast has ever seen. Unfortunately, her playfulness and enthusiasm aren't always well-received and she finds herself dismissed from yet another position. 

Everett Mulberry has quite unexpectedly become guardian to three children that scare off every nanny he hires. About to depart for Newport, Rhode Island, for the summer, he's desperate for competent childcare.

At wit's end with both Millie and Everett, the employment agency gives them one last chance--with each other. As Millie falls in love with her mischievous charges, Everett focuses on achieving the coveted societal status of the upper echelons. But as he investigates the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the children's parents, will it take the loss of those he loves to learn whose company he truly wants for the rest of his life?


This book was a fun read; just thinking about the flour and water "incident," makes me smile.  There were a series of funny incidents throughout the book that made me laugh out loud.  I think the picture on the front of the book, shows how much fun Millie is.  The interaction with all the characters made for a fun read and a one with many twists and turns.

Millie's interaction with the children though made the book for me.  As you both feel sorry and then want to wring the children's neck for all the trouble they cause.  The peacocks are so funny in it as well.  I know who knew peacocks could be funny!

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 A fun book to read, and one that doesn't require too much concentration or thought.  A perfect book to while away an afternoon or two.  Some of the characters from Jen's other books also make an appearance or are referred to in this book.  However you don't need to read any of her other books to enjoy this one.

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".

"Irish Meadows," by Susan Anne Mason

"Irish Meadows," by Susan Anne Mason

Brianna and Colleen O'Leary know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he's put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, rests in their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.

Brianna, a quiet girl with a quick mind, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry--as long as her father's choice meets her exacting standards of the ideal groom. When former stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from business school and distant relative Rylan Montgomery visits Long Island during his seminary training, the two men quickly complicate everyone's plans. 

As the farm slips ever closer to ruin, James O'Leary grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid being pawns in their father's machinations and instead follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?


I think this is the first time I have read anything by this author.  This is the first in a series of books; the next one is released at the beginning of 2016.  It was an okay book, easy to read.  The story seems to focus on one sister then switches to the other sister, then back and forward.  It's believable and a story that is not hard to focus on.  Will I remember it next month; probably not.  Would I like to read the next in the series; yes.

Stars out of 5 : 3.5 An easy book to while away a couple of afternoons.  Not too overtaxing on the brain, what I call a shopping list book.  I can read the book, but think of other things at the same time.

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".

"Refining Fire," by Tracie Peterson

"Refining Fire," by Tracie Peterson



Twenty-two-year-old Militine Scott is in training at the Madison Bridal School in Seattle, yet she has no intention of pursuing marriage. What respectable man would have her? But she has found the school provides the perfect opportunity to keep her unsavory past hidden.

Thane Patton, though fun-loving and fiercely loyal to his friends, hides a dark secret, as well. He finds himself drawn to Militine, sensing that she harbors a haunting pain similar to his own.


Will they allow God to make something new and beautiful from the debris of their past?


This is the second book in The Brides of Seattle series; and like the first one I reviewed I felt that the Abrianna character took over the story line.  All were great characters and Militine's and Thane's romance was well written, but at the end of the day I was more interested in Abrianna's and Wade's friendship.

It's an easy read and one you can read in an afternoon or two.  As I am not up on the history of Seattle I am assuming the fire featured in the book was an actual event, as was the shipping in of young girls from foreign countries.  It would have been nice to have an author's note at the back explaining the historical significance of these points.

Stars out of 5: 3.5  I do enjoy this author's books, as they are easy to read and don't take a lot of concentration.  They can be stand alone books, or you can read them as a series, either way it makes no difference.  A good beach read.

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".