Sunday, December 15, 2013

An Elegant Solution By Paul Robertson

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

When the Rules That Govern Men Are Shattered,
All You Can Trust Are the Invisible Rules
That Govern Life Itself

For math prodigy Leonhard Euler, the Bernoulli family have been more than just friends. Master Johann has been a demanding mentor, and his sons have been Leonhard's allies and companions. But this is a family torn by jealousy. Father and sons are engaged in a ruthless competition for prestige among the mathematical elites of Europe. And now, their aspirations may have turned deadly.

Lured into an investigation of the suspicious death of Jacob Bernoulli, his master's brother, twenty years ago, Leonhard soon discovers he's facing an elusive puzzle as complicated as any math equation. Surrounded by the world's most brilliant--and cunning--minds, Leonhard finds himself tracing an unraveling and invisible spiral of greed, blackmail, and murder. He'll need all his genius to find an elegant solution to this desperate battle of wills. 




My Thoughts: 

An Elegant Solution is the first book by Paul Robertson that I have had the pleasure of reading. Leonhard Euler( a real person) is a math prodigy who is taken in by his master's family,The Bernoulli. They have been a source of love and support to him for many years. The Bernoulli's are family but they are also constantly in competition of one another for high honors in the mathmatical elites of Europe.  Leonhard finds himself a suspect in the murder of Jacob Bernoulli, who has been like a brother to him. As Leonhard starts investigating this murder he finds himself in the middle of something he had no idea about. 

An Elegant Solution is a cerebral book. Paul Robertson weaves a beautiful story of murder, blackmail and greed within a society of its own. I found myself drawn in from the beginning and I truly kept guessing until the end. I am not a math genius by any stretch but this book really caught a hold of me. Paul Robertson writes with authority on 18th Century Europe, Basal Switzerland, and Leonhard Euler. Paul Robertson writes this latest book in the first person and does it beautifully. I may not have understood some of the math concepts but I never felt lost in this book. The characters in this book are fascinating especially with how their minds work within this mathematical society. It was very interesting to read the historical facts about Leonhard Euler.  I look forward to reading more from Paul Robertson.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this kind of cerebral mystery. You will not be disappointed. I give this book 4 STARS.

Rules of Murder: A Drew Farthing Mystery By Juilianna Deering

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

Downton Abbey Meets Agatha Christie in This Sparkling Mystery

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. When a weekend party at Farthering Place is ruined by murder and the police seem flummoxed, Drew decides to look into the crime himself. With the help of his best friend, Nick Dennison, an avid mystery reader, and Madeline Parker, a beautiful and whip-smart American debutante staying as a guest, the three try to solve the mystery as a lark, using the methods from their favorite novels.

Soon, financial irregularities at Drew's stepfather's company come to light and it's clear that all who remain at Farthering Place could be in danger. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer--and trying harder to impress Madeline--Drew must decide how far to take this game.


My Thoughts:


Rules of Murder is the first book in Julianna Deering's debut series The Drew Farthing Mystery.  Set in 1930's England, Drew Farthing loves his mystery novels. As a party guest at Farthing Place Drew finds himself in the middle of a real murder mystery. With the help of his best friend who is also a mystery buff, and an American guest staying at Farthing Place they work together to solve this latest mystery using techniques from their favorite novels.  As they dig deeper into events surrounding this murder they find that there is more going on than just this murder.

Rules of Murder is Julianna Deering's debut novel and I really enjoyed it.  As a fan of new authors when I saw the description of this book I knew I needed to read it.  Julianna Deering writes a true mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. The characters are a great ensemble of people who make the novel a huge hit. Julianna Deering captures this interesting time in our history, 1930's in England. I love the 1930's so it was great to read about this time in England's history. Rules of Murder has the feel of an Agatha Christa murder mystery, which added to the enjoyment. I found myself taken in with this book from the start and couldn't put it down. The team of Drew, Nick, and Madeline is great! I look forward to reading the next book in this series. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense Fiction! You will not be disappointed! I give this book 4 STARS.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Guardian: Home to Hickory Hollow Series Book 3 By Beverly Lewis

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinion expressed here are my own.


Book Description: 

When schoolteacher Jodi Winfield goes for a morning run, the last thing she expects is to find a disheveled little girl all alone on the side of the Pennsylvania road, clad only in her undergarments, her chubby cheeks streaked with tears. Jodi takes the preschooler home with her, intending to find out where she belongs. But Jodi is mystified when no one seems to know of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak a word of English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.

As the days pass, Jodi becomes increasingly attached to the mysterious girl, yet she is no closer to learning her identity. Then an unexpected opportunity brings Jodi to Hickory Hollow--and into the cloistered world of the Lancaster Old Order Amish. Might the answers lie there?




My Thoughts: 


The Guardian is the third book in Beverly Lewis's Home to Hickory Hollow Series.  Jodi Winfield is a schoolteacher out for a morning run when she  finds a little girl, alone, dirty, and in her underwear.  Jodi gets the girl to her home, to find out where she lives and other details to find out that the little girl doesn't speak English.  Jodi asks around her neighborhood and no one knows of a missing child. Jodi finds an attachment to this little one almost instantly and still has no idea who she is or where she belongs. Jodi finds herself in Hickory Hollow, hoping to find this little ones family.


As most of you know I am a HUGE Amish Fiction fan and a HUGE fan of Beverly Lewis. I have read almost all of her books and I can't get enough of them.  I have had the pleasure to read The Fiddler and The Bridesmaid, the first two books in this series so I was excited to have the opportunity to read and review The Guardian.  Beverly Lewis writes with obvious expertise on The Amish Faith, Culture, groups, and areas where they live.  Beverly Lewis gives her readers an honest view of what life in an Amish Community is.  The characters in this book are great. I enjoyed meeting more residents of Hickory Hollow and finding out about some old friends from previous books. That being said, this book can definitely be read as a stand alone. Beverly Lewis makes sure there are enough details for new readers but not too much that her followers find it redundant. As I read The Guardian I felt like I was there watching the event unfold from Beverly Lewis's descriptions and imagery. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction or someone looking to start reading it! You will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more from Beverly Lewis. I give this book 4.5 STARS

Rebellious Heart By Jody Hedlund

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own!



Book Description:

In 1763 Massachusetts, Susanna Smith has grown up with everything she’s ever wanted, except one thing: an education.

Because she’s a female, higher learning has been closed to her, but her quick mind and quicker tongue never back down from a challenge. She’s determined to put her status to good use, reaching out to the poor and deprived. And she knows when she marries well, she will be able to continue her work with the less fortunate.
Ben Ross grew up a farmer’s son and has nothing to his name but his Harvard education. A poor country lawyer, he doesn’t see how he’ll be able to fulfill his promise to make his father proud of him. When family friends introduce him to the Smith family, he’s drawn to quick-witted Susanna but knows her family expects her to marry well. When Susanna’s decision to help an innocent woman no matter the cost crosses with Ben’s growing disillusionment with their British rulers, the two find themselves bound together in what quickly becomes a very dangerous fight for justice.



My Thoughts:


Rebellious Heart is a Historical Christina Fiction book by Jody Hedlund.  Susanna Smith, a woman in 1763 Massachusetts, longs for an education but because of being a female, it is not an option to her.  Since she cannot do formal education she decides to use her status to reach out to the poor. She feels lead to this kind of work and knows that when she marries, she will continue this work because of the status and resources  she will have. Susanna meets Ben Ross, a poor farmers son, who went to Harvard and is now a poor country lawyer.  He finds himself drawn to Susanna but knows that he doesn't fit the expectation.

Rebellious Heart is the first book by Jody Hedlund I have had the pleasure of reading. I had heard of her and have her books on my to be read list. Jody Hedlund writes with authority about the 1700's, Massachusetts, the ways of life during this time period, and the historical events that happened during this time in our history.  I love reading historical fiction, especially when it has historical facts within the fiction. The characters in this book are well written and interesting.  Susanna's spirit and determination really grabbed me. All the characters brought the story together. I found myself unable to put this book down once I started it! I definitely held my interest and kept me guessing from start to finish.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction. You won't be disappointed. I look forward to reading more of Jody Hedlund's books. I give this book 4 STARS.

Sweet Mercy By Ann Tatlock

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

Stunning coming-of-age drama set during the Great Depression and Prohibition

When Eve Marryat's father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve's uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.

Eve can't wait to leave St. Paul, a notorious haven for gangsters. At seventeen, she considers her family to be "good people," not lawbreakers like so many in her neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a "safe haven," Eve soon forms an unlikely friendship with a strange young man named Link, blissfully unaware that her uncle's lodge is anything but what it seems.

When the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. Does she dare risk everything by exposing the man whose love and generosity is keeping her family from ruin? And when things turn dangerous, can she trust Link in spite of appearances?




My Thoughts: 

Sweet Mercy is the first book by Ann Tatlock I have had the pleasure of reading. This book takes place during the 1930's, the Great Depression and Prohibition. Eve and her family find themselves having to move from St. Paul, Minn to Ohio due to lay offs at Ford Motor Company.  They move into her Uncle's Lodge, The Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge, and work their.  Leaving St. Paul seemed like a blessing to Eve because of all the illegal activities in her neighborhood but finds that things may not be as different here at the lodge.  Now Eve has to decide what to do.

Sweet Mercy is a great book. I am a huge fan of historical fiction, especially during Prohibition time. I enjoy learning about the different parts of the Unites States and how Prohibition affected them. Ann Tatlock writes with authority about The 1932's, Prohibition, The Great Depression, and the different places in the United States.  Ann Tatlock has written a unique cast of characters in this book. The characters are real people whose lives are messy and imperfect, faced with decisions that are NOT black and white. I had a very hard time putting this book down, it grabbed my attention and help it through to the end. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys, Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. Ann Tatlock in another author for my must read list. I look forward to reading more from Ann Tatlock. I give this book 4 STARS.

The Bridesmaid: Home To Hickory Hollow Series Book 2 By Beverly Lewis

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own!



Book Description: 

Twenty-seven-year-old Joanna Kurtz has made several trips to the altar, but never as a bride. The single young Amish woman is a closet writer with a longing to be published something practically unheard of in her Lancaster County community. Yet Joanna's stories aren't her only secret. She also has a beau who is courting her from afar, unbeknownst even to her sister, Cora, who, though younger, seems to have suitors to spare.

Eben Troyer is a responsible young Amish man who hopes to make Joanna Kurtz his bride--if he can ever leave his parents' farm in Shipshewana, Indiana. Yet with his only brother off in the English world, intent on a military career, Eben's hopes for building a life with his dear Joanna are dimming, and patience is wearing thin. Will Joanna ever be more than a bridesmaid?




My Thoughts: 

The Bridesmaid is the second book in Beverly Lewis' series Home To Hickory Hollow. I read the first book in the series, The Fiddler so when The Bridesmaid was offered I knew I had to read it!  Joanna Kurtz is a 27 year old single Amish woman who is a writer who longs to be published but knows it's unheard of in her community.  Joanna has been a bridesmaid several times for her friends and family. She meets Eben Troyer, who is visiting their area, and they have an instant connection.


As everyone knows I am a HUGE fan of Amish Fiction so when The Bridesmaid was offered, I had to have it! Beverly Lewis is one of my must read authors! I have loved all of her books I have read including this one! Beverly Lewis writes with such expertise in the Amish Faith, culture, and neighborhoods.  I loved the characters in this story especially Joanna and her writing. All the characters made the story so enjoyable. I found myself taken in from the start! I enjoyed meeting new characters in Hickory Hollow and finding out about old friends from the first book.  I felt like I was there watching all of the events unfold in Hickory Hollow! Such vivid descriptions! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, you will not be disappointed. If you haven't read the first book, don't worry, you won't be lost or feel like you are missing anything. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series. I give this book 4.5 STARS.

Friday, December 13, 2013

To Honor and Trust: Bridal Veil Island Series Book 3 By Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description: 


Callie DeBoyer is unsettled as she arrives at Bridal Veil Island with the Bridgeport family. She's just received a letter from her parents, missionaries in coastal Africa, stating they are in dire need of more personnel. Should Callie give up her governess job and join her parents in their important work? Is God calling her to the mission field, or does she just want to escape the emotional scars of being jilted by her former beau?

When she enrolls young Thomas Bridgeport in golf lessons, Callie meets Wesley Townsend, who urges Callie to take lessons, as well. During their time at the golf course, Callie comes to care for Wesley--until she discovers hidden secrets about his past.

Then expensive jewels go missing from various homes on the island, and suspicion is aimed in Callie's direction. As the investigation continues, Callie wonders if she should escape it all by going to Africa. After the secrets he kept about his past, will Wesley ever be a man she can honor and trust for the rest of her life?

 

My Thoughts: 

To Honor and Trust is the third book in The Bridal Veil Island Series written by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller.  Callie DeBoyer is a governess for The Bridgeport family and has come with them to Bridal Veil Island. While there she receives a letter from her parents in Africa as missionaries asking for her help. Callie is torn on what to do and her reasons for doing it.  Callie signs up Thomas for golf lessons and is encouraged by the teacher to enroll too. As she takes lessons she starts to have feelings for the instructor.  Soon expensive things go missing on the island from different homes and things are pointing in Callie's direction.  Will she go to Africa to escape this persecution?


To Honor and Trust maybe the third book in this series but its the first one I read. When I first requested this book from Bethany House I didn't realize that there were two previous books in the series until after the fact.  I have had the pleasure of reading books by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller separately and was so excited to read one they wrote together.  This story has suspense, romance, and comedy.  I found myself laughing and crying throughout this book.  These authors intertwined their writing styles to give readers one fluid novel. I loved that it is one story with two authors. The characters are great in this story. I enjoyed all of them.  As I stated I hadn't read the first two books in this series and I don't feel like I missed anything.  I plan on reading the first two books but I really felt it could be read as a stand alone. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed! I am excited to read more books written by these two authors together! They ROCK! I give this book 4.5 STARS.

No Safe Harbor: Edge of Freedom Series Book 1 By Elizabeth Ludwig

I received this book from Bethany House Blogging Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions I have expressed here are my own.



Book Description:  

New York City, 1897

She came to America searching for her brother. Instead all she's found is a web of danger.

Cara Hamilton had thought her brother to be dead. Now, clutching his letter, she leaves Ireland for America, desperate to find him. Her search leads her to a houseful of curious strangers, and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh. Despite her brother's warning, Cara trusts Rourke, revealing her purpose in coming to New York.

She's then thrust into a world of subterfuge, veiled threats, and attempted murder, including political revolutionaries from the homeland out for revenge. Her questions guide her ever nearer to locating her brother--but they also bring her closer to destruction as those who want to kill him track her footsteps.

With her faith in tatters, all hope flees. Will her brother finally surface? Can he save Cara from the truth about Rourke... a man she's grown to love?




My Thoughts: 

No Safe Harbor is the first book in Elizabeth Ludwig's newest series Edge of Freedom.  Cara Hamilton sets out to find her twin brother who was believed to be dead. When she finds a letter from him, she leaves her home in Ireland and sets out to New York.  Cara's brother warns her not to trust Rourke Walsh in his letter but Cara finds herself trusting him and telling him her reasons for being there.  As Cara searches, others follow her with the intent to find her brother through her search.

No Safe Harbor is the first book by Elizabeth Ludwig that I have had the pleasure of reading. As a HUGE fan of historical fiction I found myself drawn to this book. Set in 1897, Elizabeth Ludwig gives insight to what people coming from another country on boats endured; how easy it was for them to get in trouble because of not knowing English. Elizabeth Ludwig accurately depicts the conditions of life in that time for immigrants making the journey to America.  This book has a little bit of everything: Suspense, action, romance, and history. Elizabeth brings to life a diverse and interesting cast of characters in this book. She also painted a vivid picture of the world and politics of 1897. The story grabbed a hold of me from the start, all the way to end.  Leaving me wanting more! I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Christian Fiction, you won't be disappointed. I give this book 4 STARS. 

Stones For Bread By Christa Parrish

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:  


A solitary artisan. A legacy of bread-baking. And one secret that could collapse her entire identity.

Liesl McNamara’s life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.
But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits Liesl’s recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour—a single father with strange culinary habits—seems determined to win Liesl’s affection.
When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family’s past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.
Filled with both spiritual and literal nourishment, Stones for Bread provides a feast for the senses from award-winning author Christa Parrish.


My Thoughts: 

Stones For Bread is the first book by Christa Parrish I have read and I am so glad that I did read it. This book tells the story of Liesl McNamara, owner of Wild Rise Bake House, who leads a quiet, simple life as an adult. As a child, her life was anything but quiet or simple but the one constant has been bread.  Liesl is a third generation artisan baker. Her earliest memories are of her baking with her mother and her grandmother. Recipes passed down for generations starting in Germany. No matter what has happened in life Liesl always had bread to find sanctuary. In one day her life becomes very complicated: a new delivery driver and his daughter come into her life, her head baker brings his Grandson in to work with them, and another worker submitted Liesl to take part in a popular cooking show.  Her once quiet life becomes a circus after the cooking show airs, including a phone call from a half sister and a biological mother. Liesl now has to face secrets that she never wanted to. 

Stones For Bread is a wonderful book. Christa Parrish writes a unique story, deep with the history of artisan bread making, an art passed down through Liesl's mother and grandmother.  Told from Liesl's perspective, you see it through the eyes of an adult and child. Christa Parrish writes with authority on bread making, running a business, German culture, and mental illness.  I loved the characters in this book especially the relationship between Liesl and Xavier. Their interactions were special and the bond they had was truly like a parent/child relationship.  The characters in her book are flawed and have messy lives, which make them real.  Stones For Bread is a story that will stay with me, it truly touched me and really made me think.  I couldn't put this book down, from the start it grabbed me and kept a hold. I liked the recipes and other bread things in the book, really made it special. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction and baking. You won't be disappointed. I can't wait to see what Christa Parrish writes next. I give this book 5 STARS.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Mighty League Vol 1 - The Terrible Taunting - A Blackfish Children's Book Developed by: Customizabook

I received this App from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of it. The opinions expressed here are my own.



Product Description: 

• A powerful children's book that can be read on multiple levels - it is a fun and interactive superhero story, a real life telling of quirks and issues relating to Asperger's, and a more thorough guide to Asperger's for older audiences.
• Promotes SELF-ACCEPTANCE, AWARENESS, and an UNDERSTANDING for others who are different.
• Addresses bullying in a meaningful and appropriate way.

The adorkable JMan and his plucky hedgehog sidekick, Mr. Redge are the unstoppable, secret superhero team who save a classmate from the poking pranks of Dr. Evil Touch! Join this quirky duo on their quest to stop a bully, make the school playground a peaceful place, and more importantly, make a new friend who likes crime fighting, capes and

karate, too. Discover JMan’s hidden notebook on each page about what it’s like to be an Aspie.

FOR KIDS AGES 5-11

ABOUT THIS APP:
This INTERACTIVE storybook app is based on the real JMan, Jonathan Murphy, and his REAL LIFE adventures growing up with ASPERGER’S SYNDROME. Written by his sister, Molly Murphy, and narrated by Jonathan himself, the story is told by someone who sees his world from a very unique perspective. It promotes SELF-ACCEPTANCE, AWARENESS, and an UNDERSTANDING for others who are different.

The Mighty League APP is a Murphy family’s GEEK CLUB BOOKS, I’m unique, I’m a geek production. Discover audio stories, activities, and more at www.geekclubbooks.com.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
• GIRL POWER option! You can change the superhero, JMan, into super-heroine, Jaycee.
• Touch Mr. Redge on every page and a SECRET NOTEBOOK pops up with age-appropriate information on Aspergers Syndrome, being different, and bullying.
• Over 70 INTERACTIVE SOUNDS AND ANIMATIONS—including capes waving, speech bubbles, character movements, and more.
• Original “I’m Unique, I’m a Geek” THEME SONG by award-winning children’s performing artist, AndyZ.
• Easy to use navigation, customization, and page turning effects.
• Narration with word highlighting, self-read, or record your own narration options.
• PROJECT BASED LEARNING CURRICULUM aligned with Common Core State Standards available for free download at
www.geekclubbooks/education-mighty-league-pbl

CURRICULUM – PRAGMATICS – SOCIAL SKILLS OPPORTUNITIES:

“This will be a GREAT RESOURCE for COUNSELOR and GIFT AND TALENT TEACHERS to use as a Social Issues project. It is not limited to just grade-level classrooms. I find it to be an AWESOME, EDUCATIONAL APP.”
Cyndie Sebourn, National Board Certified Teacher, Author, APPS with Curriculum

• Opens exploration and discussions about feeling different, accepting others with differences, autism spectrum, bullying and conflict resolution.
• Enhances students’ awareness of Aspergers Syndrome.
• Resource for school counselors and Gift and Talented teachers as a group Social Issues study.
• SLP/SLPA tool for pragmatic and social skills groups.
• APP and its curriculum include student-friendly objectives, Common Core State Standards, upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, cross-curricular subjects, and technology.

PARENT NOTICE ABOUT THIS APP:
-Does not collect/share any user’s personally identifiable information.
-Does not contain ads.
-Does not contain In APP Purchases for additional content.
-Does not include analytics.
-Links to Blackfish Children’s Books’ Library to view other storybook APPS by Customizabooks.
-Option to open window at end of APP for links to Customizabooks and Geek Club Books.



My Thoughts:  
 
 
Please bear with me, as you can see I do book reviews and this is my first attempt at reviewing an app. As a parent of two special needs children who are both on the autism spectrum, I was very excited to have the opportunity to review this app.  Our 12 yr old son has Asperger's and has been the victim of bullying in school quite a bit. This storybook is about JMan and his hedgehog sidekick, Mr. Redge who are superhero's who are there to stop the bullies and make the playground safe from bullying. This interactive storybook focuses on self acceptance, awareness, and understanding for those who are different. The superhero can be changed to Jaycee (a girl) for those with daughters who use this app. There is a theme song called " I am unique, I am a geek" and each page has access to a secret notebook that give age appropriate facts about Aspergers Syndrome, being different, and bullying.

We have 2 children on the spectrum, a daughter who is 15 yrs old and our son who is 12 yrs old. We all enjoyed this app.  Our 12 yr old really fell in love with it and found it empowering. Our 15 yr old enjoyed it but was a little below her level since its stated for 5-11 yr olds.  We thought this app/storybook really puts the awareness out there and would definitely be useful to all children, not just those on the spectrum. It's a great resource for schools, churches, and other places where groups of children are together. I can't say enough about good about this app/storybook.  Molly and Jonathan Murphy are an extraordinary brother/sister team who truly have put together a beautiful message out there for everyone, adults and children alike. I definitely recommend this app for anyone with children special needs or not. Also some adults that could definitely use this too to be educated on this syndrome. I give this app 5+ Stars!








The Letters: The Inn at Eagle Hill Series Book 1 By Suzanne Woods Fisher

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.



Book Description: 

Rose Schrock is a plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband's debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose's big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion. As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she's even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King.

With her signature plot twists combined with gentle Amish romance, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for fresh stories of simple pleasures despite the complexity of life. Fisher's tale of God's providence and provision will delight her fans and create many new ones. Welcome to the Inn at Eagle Hill.




My Thoughts:  

The Letters is the first book in Suzanne Woods Fisher's newest series, The Inn at Eagle Hill.  Rose Schrock is in need of work. Her husband died, and they are in debt because of him.  Rose decides to open an inn in her basement. With the help of her neighbor, Galen King, they get her set up to take in guests. As they take in their first guest, a mystery woman who spends the first days sleeping, a family of eagles take up residents at the Schrock Farm.  To add to the miracle they are nesting an egg. Soon Rose starts receiving letters from strangers addressed to Mrs. Miracle. Rose cannot answer the letters so her daughter Mim starts answering them. As the Schrocks settle in on their new lives, their neighbor Galen King is there every step of the way to help them all. 

As a huge fan of Amish Fiction I was so excited to read this latest novel by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I loved the town of Stoney Ridge from her other series and was excited to learn about other characters there. Also to find out about old friends from past books. It feels like coming home!  Suzanne Woods Fisher writes with authority on Amish traditions, birds, and running an inn in this latest book.  I loved the characters especially Delia Stoltz, Rose's first guest.  I felt such a connection with her circumstances and need to get away from everything.  The characters in this book are not perfect and Suzanne Woods Fisher shows that bad things happen to everyone, including the faithful.  As I read this book, I felt like I was right there watching the events unfold in front of me. I truly enjoyed this book.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read the next book in the wonderful series. 
 I give this book 4.5 stars. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Hardest Thing in This World: A Novel By Nicole Eva Fraser

I received this book from PR by the Book for no charge in exchange for my honest opinion of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own!


Book Description:

A Tale of a Family Coping With Mental Illness, Ghosts, and “The Hardest Thing In This World,” Set in the Midwestern Suburbs

When her troubled daughter Renee drops dead at 24, Melody Sawyer steals the urn of her ashes from the memorial service, rides away on the ferry and eats some of the ashes. That’s when Renee’s ghost first appears.
So begins The Hardest Thing in This World, a novel by Nicole Eva Fraser about family, mental illness and the search for hope and meaning in the things that hurt. Fraser, a greeting card writer and adult-literacy activist in Cleveland, Ohio, explores a darker side of writing in her first novel and interweaves her Micmac Indian heritage and cosmology into the stories of Melody Sawyer and her daughters Renee and Kayla, who discover that “the hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” 
Set in the suburbs of Cleveland, the story is told in a nonlinear narrative through the eyes of the three Sawyer women. Smart-mouthed Melody is an underachiever, a home health care nurse with good intentions and a chip on her shoulder. Her married daughter Kayla has been deep in a clandestine affair with pro baseball player Baron Lee Presley since she was 16. After her death, Renee’s ghost keeps popping in on the family, invited and uninvited, much like the ghost of Uncle Jamie used to visit the girls. The roster of characters also includes Melody’s brother, Michael, a first baseman for the Cleveland Indians, and Winch, the girls’ grief-stricken father, among others. Revolving around family and the issues that come with living in a family with mental illness, the story follows the Sawyer women through birth, coming-of-age and dealing with the death—and ghosts—of loved ones.




My Thoughts: 

The Hardest Thing in This World is the debut novel from author Nicole Eva Fraser. When Melody Sawyer leaves her daughter Renee's memorial service with her ashes in tow, to head home.  She decides to do something different with the ashes, which includes eating some of them. From that point on Melody is visited by Renee's ghost. From here we go back to the beginning of life for Kayla and Renee and see their families life unfold. 

The Hardest Thing in This World is a well written novel that stays with you after you finish reading it. As a fan of new authors and their debut novels, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to read this. Nicole Eva Fraser writes with authority on health care, mental illness, grief, baseball, Ohio, and ghosts in the haunting novel about a family faced with death and mental illness. I found myself completely taken in with the novel from the start. Each chapter has a name to it and is on of the Sawyer family women.  Nicole Eva Fraser gives voice to these women and tells their stories beautifully.  This story spoke to me from all aspects, as a mother, as a person who struggles with depression, and as a sibling trying to help another sibling.  The characters in this novel are strong women who struggle with their weaknesses like the rest of us. Kayla's character really spoke to me and I felt a certain kinship with that character. As I read this novel, I felt like I was there watching the events unfold.  I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys reading Contemporary  Fiction about family and mental illness. I have found a new author to add to my must read list.  I cannot wait to read Nicole Eva Fraser's next book,I Don’t Think It’s That Simple, set to release in 2014. I give this book 5 Stars! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rosemary Cottage: Hope Beach Series Book 2 By Colleen Coble

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

Amy came to Rosemary Cottage to grieve, to heal, maybe even find love. But there’s a deadly undertow of secrets around Hope Island . . .

The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She’s even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It’s always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben’s disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder.
Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine’s father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can’t help being drawn to Hope Beach’s new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina.
Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other…and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden?



My Thoughts:

Rosemary Cottage is the second book in Colleen Coble's series Hope Beach and it is a great book. I had the joy of reading the first book in this series, so I was equally excited to read Rosemary Cottage. Amy comes to Rosemary Cottage to find respite and to move her midwife practice to the community. She is also there to look into her brother Ben's disappearance in an unbelievable surfing accident. Amy and Ben were very close and Amy knows in her heart that something isn't right.  Curtis Ireland lost his sister and is raising his niece, Raine. Curtis is the only one outside of Raine's parents who knows who her parents are and Curtis will do anything to keep that secret to keep Raine.  Curtis and Amy find themselves put together in many situations and find out that they have ties that run much deeper. 

Rosemary Cottage is a fantastic book. I found myself unable to put it down from the start. This books has a little bit of everything in it: romance, suspense, mystery, and faith. Colleen Coble writes with authority on boating,surfing, medical situations especially child birth, search and rescue, and the Outer Banks of South Carolina. She has created this fictional place, Hope Beach, that is beautiful and could really be a place in South Carolina.   She weaves an exciting mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. The characters are awesome. Colleen Coble gives the characters depth and portrays them human with flaws and messy lives. I enjoyed all of the characters good guys and bad guys. As I read, I could see the story unfold like I was there watching it happen.   Rosemary Cottage may be the second book in this series but can definitely be read as a stand alone.   I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense Fiction. You will not be disappointed. I give this book 4.5 stars.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Heart Remembers: Book One In My Heart Remembers Series By Kim Vogel Sawyer

I received this novel  from Bethany House Publishers for no charge in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own!


Book Description:

United by blood, divided by time, will three orphan train siblings ever find one another again? Orphaned in a tenement fire, three Irish immigrant children are sent to Missouri to be adopted. Despite eight year old Maelle's desperate attempts to keep her siblings together, each child is taken by a different family. Yet Maelle vows that she will never stop searching for her brother and sister . . . and that they will be together one day in the future. Seventeen years later, Maelle is still searching. But the years have washed away her hope . . . and her memories. What are Mattie and Molly doing now? Where has life taken them? Will she ever see her brother and sister again?




My Thoughts:


My Heart Remembers is the first novel in Kim Vogel Sawyers series My Heart Remembers and is the first novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer I have had the pleasure of reading. I have a few of her novels on my To Be Read pile.  Maelle, Mattie, and Molly are siblings who despite Maelle's attempts of keeping them together find themselves sent to Missouri to be adopted separately. Maelle makes a promise to Mattie and Molly that she will find them and they will be together again.  She spends 17 years looking for them and finds herself losing hope that they will be together.


My Heart Remembers is a beautiful story set during 1886 that depicts the struggles of immigrants at that time.  I really enjoyed this novel. Kim Vogel Sawyer writes with authority on 1880's time period in the United States, adoption process then, and the places Maelle looked find her siblings.  I found myself truly involved in this novel and could not put it down. Kim Vogel Sawyer's A Heart Remembers shows the separate lives these three siblings had and how they finally found each other.  Truly a  heartfelt story of love, perseverance and faith. This novel is definitely a tear jerker so really need the tissues.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Christian Fiction, you won't be disappointed. I cannot wait to dig into the other novels by Kim Vogel Sawyer that I have. I give this novel 4 Stars.

Love in Disguise By Carol Cox

I received this novel from Bethany House Publishers Blogger Program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book.  The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

When costume-maker Ellie Moore suddenly finds herself out of a job in the middle of a bleak Chicago winter, she uses her knowledge of theatrical disguise to secure a position as an undercover operative with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Her assignment: find the culprit behind the theft of silver shipped from the mines near Pickford, Arizona.

Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie begins her investigation. Soon she finds she must also pose as the dazzling young Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.

Mine owner Steven Pierce is about to lose his business after the theft of several bullion shipments--until hope arrives in the unlikely form of Lavinia Stewart, who offers to invest in Steven's mine. In his wildest dreams, Steven never expected to be rescued by an inquisitive gray-haired widow...or to fall head over heels for Lavinia's captivating niece, Jessie.

But then the thieves come after both Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn't safe no matter which character she plays! Will she be forced to reveal her true identity before the criminals are caught? What will Steven do when he discovers the woman he loves doesn't exist?



My Thoughts: 

Love in Disguise is the first novel by Carol Cox I have read.  This novel takes place in 1881 where Ellie Moore loses her job in the theater.  Ellie finds herself desperate for a job and uses her knowledge of acting and theater to get a position with Pinkerton Detective Agency. Ellie finds herself in Arizona to investigate the theft of silver from the mine there.  Ellie finds herself in over her head and has to find a way to fix all of it. 

Love in Disguise is a good novel. I enjoyed the characters, especially Ellie having to be pose as not one person but two.  I enjoyed watching the characters evolve throughout the book with their faith and relationships.  Carol Cox writes with authority about 1880's time period, the states at that time in our history, theater components, and the ins and outs of being a detective.  I found myself laughing in many spots in this novel, Carol Cox definitely has a wonderful sense of humor.  For me the story was hard to get into and I had a hard time connecting completely with this novel.  Also felt the story moved slower than I like.  This novel may not have been for me, it is well written and I did enjoy many aspects of it. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys Historical Christian Fiction that is looking for a light read.I look forward to reading more from Carol Cox.  I give this book 3 Stars. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay | Favorite Austen Moments KINDLE HDX Giveaway, Pinterest Contest and Facebook Party!

 I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own!


Book Description:

Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.
     Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore. But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.
As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.
Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.


My Thoughts:

Dear Mr. Knightley is the debut novel of Katherine Reay and it is a winner! Sam Moore has had a very hard life that left her orphaned and without anyone but the characters in her books, especially the characters in Jane Austen's books. Sam finds her confidence in the pages of these books. An anonymous benefactor giving himself the name Mr. Knightly (from one of Austen's books) gives Sam the opportunity to attend Medgill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with the understanding that she must write letters to Mr. Knightly on a consistent basis to give updates on her progress.  Sam finds these letters to be therapeutic, opening up to "Mr. Knightly" about her life.  Sam accidentally bumps into Alex Powell, an author, and a friendship starts. From Alex Sam meets a family that take her in and treat her as one of their own.  

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this novel.  As those who read my blog know, I am a big fan of reading debut novels and when I saw Dear Mr. Knightly I was drawn to it. I have not really read Jane Austen but know of her novels.  I couldn't put this novel down. Written in letter format, it's unique and really stands out.  I found myself completely submerged in this novel. Katherine Reay writes with authority on Jane Austen, the Foster Care System, writing, and Chicago. The characters are fantastic and real. I loved Sam and Alex. The relationships in this book are complex and real.  I found myself laughing and crying throughout this novel. This novel really touched me and I am very thankful I had the opportunity to read it. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction and Jane Austen. I cannot wait to read more from Katherine Reay, she is on my fave author list!
 I give this novel 4.5 stars!  Please Check out the contest below!

Debut author Katherine Reay is celebrating the release of her delightful novel, Dear Mr. Knightley, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.
dearmrknightley-400

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
  • Handmade Austen-themed items (scarf, mug, bracelet, and necklace) 
Two ways to win! Enter today by clicking one of the icons below or participating in the Pinterest contest (see banner below)—or BOTH! 

But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Dear Mr. Knightley" Austen-themed Facebook Author Chat Party on the 3rd. Join Katherine (and Austen fans) for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Katherine's next book.

So grab your copy of  Dear Mr. Knightley and join Katherine on the evening of December 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST. Hope to see you on the 3rd!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

To Know You By Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel

 I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

 Julia Whittaker’s rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son.

Julia and Matt Whittaker’s son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds—and his liver—crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a “living liver” transplant, but the transplant list is long and Dillon’s time is short. His two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart to two different fathers, offer his only hope for survival.
But can Julia ask a young woman—someone she surrendered to strangers long ago and has never spoken with—to make such a sacrifice to save a brother she’s never known? Can she muster the courage to journey back into a shame-filled season of her life, face her choices and their consequences, and find any hope of healing?
And what if she discovers in her own daughters’ lives that a history of foolish choices threatens to repeat itself? Julia knows she’s probably embarking on a fool’s errand—searching for the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs something from them. But love compels Julia to take this journey. Can grace and forgiveness compel her daughters to join her?
In To Know You, Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel explore how the past creates the present . . . and how even the most shattered lives can be redeemed. 


My Thoughts:

To Know You is the first of Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel's writing I have had the honor of reading. To Know You is Shannon Ethridge's debut novel.  To Know You is a novel about Julia Whittaker, who years before gave 2 daughters up for adoption to give them better lives, but now needs them to try and help her son who is in need of a liver transplant.  Julia never intended to meet her girls, she gave them up to give them better lives and never wanted to interfere even now that they are adults.  Her 13 yr old son is dying and the only way to save him is a living liver transplant.  Julia finds herself on a plane to meet her daughters, Destiny and Hope.  She finds Destiny, learning her adoptive parents kept the name Julia gave her all those years ago. Julia then finds herself with Destiny in tow to meet Hope, now Chloe. Both girls very different from one another but Julia sees herself in both of them.  They embark on a journey to meet birth fathers and learn about one another.  As they go on this journey, tragedies bring them together. 

To Know You is a beautiful novel about how our mistakes become blessings in the hardest situations.  As someone who has a liver disease and knows liver transplant is something that could be needed this hit very close to home.  Also as a parent, knowing that if my child was sick, the length I would go to find what they needed also made this novel real.  These authors write with authority on adoption, liver disease, medical procedures, and finding forgiveness.  The characters are truly inspiring as they take their brokenness and find forgiveness from one another and God. I found myself completely submerged in this novel and it has stayed with me long after I finished it. I found myself laughing out loud in parts and sobbing in others as these families go through this journey.  I can't say enough about this beautiful novel.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed.  I cannot wait for the next novel in this series, from these authors. I give this book 5 Stars!  Please check out below the Facebook Author Chat Party and giveaway!




Shannon Ethridge is celebrating the release of  To Know You (co-written by Kathryn Mackel), by giving away a $100 gift certificate to Lisa Leonard Designs and a personal coaching session, as well as throwing a Facebook Author Chat Party!
toknowyou-rafflecopter

One winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 19th. Winner will be announced at the "To Know You" Facebook Author Chat Party on the 19th. Connect with Shannon and friends for an encouraging evening of fun chat, book club discussion, giveaways, and a chance to win a PERSONAL COACHING SESSION WITH SHANNON!

So grab your copy of To Know You and join Shannon on the evening of November 19th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER or Pinterest and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on 11/19!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Snow on the Tulips By Liz Tolsma and Giveaway!

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest opinion of this book. The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.


Book Description: 


The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.
When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their  lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out. 
As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.
She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.


My Thoughts:

Liz Tolsma is a new to me author and has become one of my favorites. Snow on the Tulips is a novel that looks at the war and German occupation in the Netherlands in 1945.  This novel is about Cornelia de Vries, a young widow who lost her husband less that a day after they were married. Cornelia spends her time keeping her brother, Johan,  safe from The Nazi's. She takes care of him and hides him when the Nazi's come to look for men that are hidden.  Cornelia witnesses the executions of some men brought to the river by her home to die.  Later that evening Johan heads to where these men were killed to cover one of them to show his resistance to the Nazis and the war. Johan finds Gerrit Laninga, one of the men to be executed. His executioner spared his life by shooting him in the shoulder rather than the head. Johan brings the injured man to their home for Cornelia to care for. Though scared, Cornelia does what she can to take care of Gerrit Laninga. Gerrit Laninga is a Dutch Resistance member who is aching to get back to his work.  As they spend time together Cornelia and Gerrit become close and feelings that neither one of them thought they would ever have again, begin. 


This novel is a wonderful story. Liz Tolsma gives a voice to the Dutch affected by the war. As a huge fan of historical fiction I was drawn to this novel from the description. As I began to read, I could NOT put it down. I found myself disappointed when it was time to go to sleep. This novel gives a candid view of the war and how it affected everyone involved. Liz Tolsma writes with authority about The Netherlands, the living conditions of the residents, and the war itself.  Even though this novel is fiction, there are many facts given in this novel.  The characters of this novel are amazing and to follow them through their tragedies and celebrations is a real experience. I felt like I was there watching the events unfold. I truly enjoyed this novel and HIGHLY recommend this novel to those readers of Historical Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait for Liz Tolsma's next novel coming out in 2014. 


Please check out below the giveaway Liz is having on her website!!


Liz Tolsma is celebrating the release of her novel, Snow on the Tulipsby giving away an Amazon Reading Pack to one lucky winner. Find out what readers are saying about the book here.

snowtulips-rafflecopter

  One winner will receive:
  • A $50 Amazon gift card
  • Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 18th at Liz's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Liz's blog on the 18th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox! Just enter your email address on the left sidebar of her blog.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Not Guilty By Teresa Pollard and Candi Pullen

I received this book from BookCrash for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

Rape is a Four-Letter Word But it is one that Christians need to discuss more openly. It's 1974 and Carrie Shepherd, daughter of the minister at Windspree Community Church, is a college senior with plans to be a missionary in Africa. Raped by a masked assailant, Carrie is so traumatized she tells no one until she realizes she's pregnant. Refusing to have an abortion, she must find the courage to face her family, her fiance, her friends, and a gossiping, angry congregation which may include her attacker. Can Carrie find a way to cope with the secrets, silence, and shame that threaten to tear apart her family and church?




My Thoughts:

Not Guilty By Teresa Pollard and Candi Pullen is the first book by both of these authors that I have had a chance to read and I am glad I did.  Carrie Shepard is engaged and a college senior. Her and her fiancee have planned to be missionaries in Africa.  One day on her way home from school Carrie is raped by an unknown assailant who wen to great lengths to get her alone and in this position. Carrie is so ashamed that she will not tell anyone, she pulls away from her family and breaks off her engagement.  Eventually Carrie figures out she is pregnant and decides that the only option for her is to keep the baby.  Carrie has no choice but to tell her family and friends of the situation.  As a pastor's daughter, Carrie is always under scrutiny, and now she must face accusations and looks from her church family.  As Carrie embraces her situation and allows others in to help her she finds the courage to handle the situations at hand.

I was drawn to this book right away from the description.  Rape is something that needs to be discussed more openly and this book really puts it in perspective and not just from the victims perspective. Not Guilty explores the effects of rape on all involved, family, friends, strangers, and the assailant. Teresa Pollard and Candi Pullen truly weave a story that starts with a tragedy and how that tragedy can change lives not just negatively. Also these authors put this secretive situation in the open where it belongs.  They give the unpopular choice in this situation a voice and shows how a whole community can overcome. I found myself unable to put this book down. Throughout the story the authors show God's healing and forgiveness for those who believe. The characters in this story are real people, with real situations and flaws. The authors show the imperfections of humans and how judgemental and hurtful we can be to those who need our compassion.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction about real life situations.  I give this book 5 stars! I look forward to reading more from these two wonderful authors. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Glittering Promises: Grand Tour Series Book 3 By Lisa Tawn Bergren and Contest


I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

For Cora Kensington, the Grand Tour was to be the trip of a lifetime. She discovered the family she never knew she had, and may have even found the love she longs for in Will. And yet her life has just become infinitely more challenging …
  
Hounded by journalists chasing the beguiling story of the newest American heiress, Cora fights to remain true to her past, reconcile her present, and still embrace her future. But as Will struggles with her new found wealth, she begins to wonder if their love is strong enough to withstand all that threatens to pull them apart.
 
Complicating matters is the stubborn pursuit of Pierre DE Richelieu and the increased demands on her time and attention. Cora must stand up for what she believes—regardless of how that might challenge current family and cultural norms—in order to remain true to who she really is.
 
And as she glimpses the end of the tour, Cora knows it’s time to decide Who and what defines her … and who and what does not.
 
 
My Thoughts:
 
Glittering Promises is the third and final novel in Lisa T. Bergren's Grand Tour Series. I have had the honor of reading all three of these exceptional novels.  In this final book Cora Diehl Kensington has bonded with family she never knew she had and has seen more of the world in just this summer then she could have hoped to have seen in a lifetime.  Cora has fallen in love with Will McCabe, their tour guide or Bear. After the Morgan and Kensington children survive an attack and two news stories they convince their fathers to allow them to continue on to Italy for the end of their grand tour.  Wallace Kensington, the father Cora just learned about, is travelling with his children trying to find common ground with Cora while teaching her about society and business. Cora has a head for business and Wallace has given her controlling shares of the mine in her hometown against the objections of Andrew Morgan, who wanted these shares.  Cora is learning at the right hand of her father but still finds herself at odds with him.  As the tour Italy Cora finds herself needing to find her Father, God. A part of herself she had forgotten since the tour.  As Cora bonds with her siblings, they find strength in one another to make changes in their lives and pursue their dreams. 
 
The Grand Tour Series is a fantastic series and I am sorry to see it end.  Lisa T. Bergren truly brings this story to a close that honors her characters and their stories.  I truly enjoyed all three books in this series, finding myself anxious to read the next one.  Lisa T. Bergren writes with authority about Europe and the world in 1913, all aspects of life and business in 1913, society, and Montana.  As I read this novel I felt completely immersed in this world that Lisa T. Bergren created. I could not put this book down and found myself surprised when I got to the end. This novel has a little bit of everything: romance, suspense, action, and faith. Lisa T. Bergren shows not just the physical and emotional changes these characters go through but also spiritual changes, bringing them closer to God. The characters are well written and deep. Where they may seem shallow and superficial, as you go deeper into who they really are you find out it is just the opposite. It has been an honor to read this series and review it. If you enjoy Christian Historical Fiction, you will enjoy this book and this series.  I look forward to seeing what Lisa T. Bergren comes out with next. I give this book and this series 5 stars.




 Check out this great contest!





 Lisa T. Bergren is celebrating the release of her new book, Glittering Promisesby giving away a $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma and hosting a fun Facebook party on October 29th.
glitteringpromises-rafflecopter
 
  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma delivered to your door
  • The three-book Grand Tour set
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 29th. Winner will be announced at the "Glittering Promises" Facebook Author Chat Party on October 29th. Connect with Lisa for an evening of book chat, European trivia, and prizes, and get an exclusive look Lisa's next book.

So grab your copies of the Grand Tour series and join Lisa on the evening of October 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on the 29th!

The Bargain: Plain City Peace Book 1 By Stephanie Reed Plus A Giveaway

 I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description: 

It’s 1971, and Betsie Troyer’s peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.
When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truth—a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie’s marriage to Charley Yoder.
Worse still, Betsie must learn a trade while she boards with a dysfunctional Englisher family: Sheila, a twelve-year-old desperately searching for a friend and in dire need of her mother; the free-spirited mother, who runs off to "find herself" on the stage; the angry father whose structured life crumbles; and Michael, a troubled college dropout nearly killed in the Kent State Massacre.
Thrust into the English world, Betsie must grapple with the realities of war and miniskirts, pot parties and police brutality, protests and desertion. Can she help the Sullivan family and find peace in her new surroundings, or must she forget the bargain she made and seek refuge back in Plain City with protective and reliable Charley?


My Thoughts: 

 The Bargain is the first novel in Stephanie Reed's newest series, Plain City Peace.  The Bargain is the first I have read by Stephanie Reed and I really enjoyed it.  Betsie Troyer and her family have lived in their community, Plain City,  their whole lives.  One day, her parents inform her and her sister Sadie that they are leaving the Amish community and faith to be Christians. They ask the girls to come with them but both girls don't want to leave their faith or community.  Betsie and Sadie are forced to keep this a secret, even from their Aunt who has come to stay with them. The girls are hoping that their parents will come back before anyone finds out what they have done.  In the mean time Betsie is boarding with an English family. Her cousin bought this family's leather working business but got drafted in the war, asking Betsie to learn the business so when he returns she can teach him. Betsie finds herself in the middle of the Sullivan's family mess. The family is nothing like she had every experienced. The mom is a free spirit who focuses all her energy on being an actress. The house is a mess and Betsie feels that God brought her to this family to help. When Mom leaves to pursue her acting, Betsie becomes a very important force in the Sullivan Family. She finds a kinship with Shelia Sullivan, a 12 yr old girl who needs Betsie and Michael Sullivan, a college drop out involved in the Kent State Massacre. 

As those who read my blog know, I LOVE Amish fiction and historical fiction. The Bargain is both. The Bargain explores life for both the Amish and English during 1971, the war, and its affects on both cultures. Stephanie Reed writes with authority on the Amish, Vietnam War, leather working, and the events taking place during the 1970's. This novel grabbed me from the description and I couldn't put it down. I found myself immersed in this world Stephanie Reed created with fact and fiction. The characters are flawed and real, their lives messy and not wrapped up in 300+ pages. I truly cannot wait to read the rest of this series.  I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Amish and Historical Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed.  I give this novel 4.5 Stars!

 Please check out this fantastic contest!!


 Stephanie L. Reed is celebrating the release of The Bargain, the first book in her new series, Plain City Peace, with a Kindle Fire 'Bargain Bundle' giveaway!
bargain-raffle-copter
 
  One winner will receive a 'Bargain Bundle':
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Bargain by Stephanie Reed
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 27th. Winner will be announced at the Litfuse blog on October 28th.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the Litfuse blog on the 28th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to their blog {enter your email in the blog sidebar} and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox)!

Friday, October 11, 2013

One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix By Jane Kirkpatrick

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Book program for no charge in exchange for my honest opinion of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

One dedicated woman...giving voice to the suffering of many

Born to an unavailable mother and an abusive father, Dorothea Dix longs simply to protect and care for her younger brothers, Charles and Joseph. But at just fourteen, she is separated from them and sent to live with relatives to be raised properly. Lonely and uncertain, Dorothea discovers that she does not possess the ability to accept the social expectations imposed on her gender and she desires to accomplish something more than finding a suitable mate.

Yearning to fulfill her God-given purpose, Dorothea finds she has a gift for teaching and writing. Her pupils become a kind of family, hearts to nurture, but long bouts of illness end her teaching and Dorothea is adrift again. It’s an unexpected visit to a prison housing the mentally ill that ignites an unending fire in Dorothea’s heart—and sets her on a journey that will take her across the nation, into the halls of the Capitol, befriending presidents and lawmakers, always fighting to relieve the suffering of what Scripture deems, the least of these.

In bringing nineteenth-century, historical reformer Dorothea Dix to life, author Jane Kirkpatrick combines historical accuracy with the gripping narrative of a woman who recognized suffering when others turned away, and the call she heeded to change the world.



My Thoughts:

     One Glorious Ambition is the second book by Jane Kirkpatrick I have had the pleasure of reading through Blogging for Books and it did not disappoint.  This book is based on real life Dorothea Dix, a teacher who founded a school and who worked to change conditions and treatments for mentally ill patients and prisoners. Dorothea Dix defied the social expectations imposed on women of that time, including marriage.  Dorothea loved to teach and write but could not continue because of different illnesses.  This opened up the door for her to find her passion to fight for reform for the mentally ill. 

     I really enjoyed this book.  I personally had little to no knowledge of Dorothea Dix but after reading this book I feel like I have learned a lot from Jane Kirkpatrick's expertise on this incredible woman.  Jane Kirkpatrick writes with authority on Dorothea Dix, the time period, mental illness, the prison system, and health care of the period.  This book really grabs the reader, I could not put it down once I started it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction. You will NOT be disappointed. I look forward to reading more from Jane Kirkpatrick. 
 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Return To Me: The Restoration Chronicles By Lynn Austin Author Chat and Contest!


 I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.



 Book Description:

After years of watching his children and grandchildren wander from their faith, Iddo's prayers are answered: King Cyrus is allowing God's chosen people to return to Jerusalem. Jubilant, he joyfully prepares for their departure, only to learn that his family, grown comfortable in the pagan culture of Babylon, wants to remain.

Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the comfort and success his father enjoys in Babylon. But he soon begins to hear the voice of God, encouraging him to return to the land given to his forefathers.

Bringing to life the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, Return to Me tells the compelling story of Iddo and Zechariah, the women who love them, and the faithful followers who struggle to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.



My Thoughts:

     Return To Me is the first book in Lynn Austin's latest series The Restoration Chronicles. This is the first novel by Lynn Austin I have had the pleasure of reading but I have many of her books in my to be read pile.  Return To Me is a Christian Historical Fiction novel about biblical times when the Jews could finally go home to Jerusalem after decades of being exiled in Babylon. Iddo remembers when the Jews were forced to leave Jerusalem, he was a child. He lost his mother and brother in the attacks in Jerusalem. Iddo became a Priest and continued his families traditions but Iddo was plagued with guilt and nightmares from the events in Jerusalem all those years before and longed to be back in his homeland.  Not everyone went. Iddo and Dinah's children decided to stay in Babylon to continue their work and lives. Iddo and Dinah took one grandchild, Zechariah with them. Zechariah was considered an adult, having gone through his Bar Mitzvah and was given the choice. During his Bar Mitzvah he heard God's leading that he should go with his grandparents to Jerusalem.  This novel chronicles the journey they take both physically and spiritually in Jerusalem. The hardships and perseverance they had to make it in Jerusalem. 

     I really enjoyed Return To Me. The story is fiction but had many facts in it from the Bible.  Lynn Austin wrote a wonderful story about this time in Biblical history. I found myself unable to put this novel down. Once I got into it, I was IN TO IT! I had a hard time in the beginning getting into it but after a few chapters the book really grabbed me.  Lynn Austin writes with authority about historical Jerusalem and Babylon, the politics, the beliefs of all in that time, and the types of tribes and families. The characters were real people experiencing good and bad, some questioning their faith and finding their faith again.  Lynn Austin weaves different themes throughout the book dealing with love, forgiveness and following the law instead of having a genuine relationship with the One true God. These themes are relevant today in all of our lives. The messages in this novel are profound. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, especially during biblical times. Lynn Austin brings these stories from the Bible alive in this novel. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series! I give this book ***** (5 stars).

 Lynn Austin is celebrating the release of Return to Me, the first book in her new Biblical fiction series, The Restoration Chronicles, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat party.
returntome-rafflecopter
 
  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Return to Me by Lynn Austin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 22nd. Winner will be announced at the "Return To Me" Facebook Author Chat Party on October 22nd. Connect with Lynn and friends for an evening of book chat, biblical trivia, prizes, and get an exclusive look at the next book in Lynn's Restoration Chronicles series!

So grab your copy of Return to Me and join Lynn on the evening of October 22nd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on the 22nd!

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Hopeful Heart: The Hearts of The Lancaster Grand Hotel Book One

I received this book from Booksneeze.com for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

In A Hopeful Heart, the first novel of the new Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series from best-selling author Amy Clipston, Hannah finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her community offers her love and support after the untimely death of her husband, but an Englisher offers her the chance of a new life after her unexpected tragedy. Wealthy businessman Trey Peterson is surprised by his attraction to the gentle Amish woman who works as a housekeeper in the Lancaster Grand Hotel. They share a common bond of loss and are able to offer each other comfort and support as they journey through their grief.
Joshua Glick wants nothing more than to offer his friendship and love to Hannah and her family. Not only is he her late husband’s brother and business partner, he has always been in love with Hannah.
A Hopeful Heart is filled with surprising twists as Hannah tries to balance her life in the Amish community and her growing love for an outsider.



My Thoughts:

A Hopeful Heart is the first book in Amy Clipston's new series, Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel. As those who read my blog know I LOVE Amish fiction and Amy Clipston is one of the first authors I had the privilege of reading who writes Amish fiction.  In A Hopeful Heart, Hannah is working at a hotel to make ends meet after her husband dies unexpectedly leaving her to support their 3 children. Her brother in law, Josh, works the family business that he and his brother had to help Hannah and the children. Josh loves Hannah and wants to marry her but Hannah does not feel the the same way. While working Hannah literally runs into Trey Peterson, an Englisher staying at the hotel. He is there looking for a property to open a B and B in honor of his deceased wife and daughter.  Hannah and Trey connect over their mutual loss but find it very complicated.

A Hopeful Heart is an awesome story.  Amy Clipston weaves a beautiful story of Hannah and her children. I found myself hooked from the start. I could not put it down once I started. This book is a quick read but very good nonetheless. Amy Clipston writes with authority on Lancaster County, the Amish, and the hospitality industry. Every time I read one of her books I learn new facts about Lancaster County and the Amish. The characters in this book are great. Their lives are not without troubles but their faith and friends help them through. As I read this story I felt like I was right there watching the story unfold. I laughed in many parts and cried in others. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction. You will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more of this wonderful series. I give this book 5 stars. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Review and Giveaway of Daughter Of Jerusalem By Joan Wolf

I received this book from Worthy Publishing free in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

She was a widow, a businesswoman, an adulteress.
In her lifetime, she knew murder, prejudice, and faith. She transformed from a Jewish girl longing for family to one of the closest friends of Jesus of Nazareth -- the Son of God.

HER NAME WAS MARY MAGDALENE.

In this fictionalized story of one of the Bible's most compelling women, New York Times best-selling author Joan Wolf beautifully recreates the history, romance, and tradition of Mary's world. Daughter of Jerusalem follows Mary's life from her first love through her loveless marriage, to the moment she heard of a miracle worker in her own town -- and ultimately to the moment she saw Him risen from the dead.

As this inspiring chronicle reminds us, Mary was the first to witness history's greatest moment. She was a woman who sought forgiveness for her sins, and a follower of God who yearned for a deeper faith. She was Jesus' beloved disciple. Read Mary Magdalene's story and find yourself in this remarkable woman's journey to discover the Kingdom of God.
 

My Thoughts:
 
Daughter of Jerusalem is the first book by Joan Wolf that I have had the opportunity to read.  Daughter of Jerusalem is a fictional story of Mary Magdalene's life from childhood until Jesus' death.  Joan Wolf writes a wonderful story of Mary Magdalene and her life.  From her childhood, Mary's life was a rough one. She was sent to live with her deceased Mother's sister and her family because of conflict with her stepmother. Mary had to leave her step siblings Martha and Lazarus.  Mary falls in love and is set to wed one of the men in her home until her Uncle decides to marry her off to a rich Jewish Man because of money.  Mary moves to live with him in Sepphoris, a place more Roman than Jewish.  Mary finds herself becoming Roman and very popular in the Roman circles. She becomes educated and finds herself in making decisions against her beliefs.  When tragedy strikes, Mary finds herself  heading back home to Bethany, to her step siblings. From there Mary finds her calling.
 
I really enjoyed this book. The story of Mary,Martha and Lazarus in the Bible have always been my favorite.  Joan Wolf writes this beautiful story that gives Mary this life that takes many twists and turns.  I found myself unable to put this book down once I started it.  I found myself filled with much emotion as I read this story.  The story Joan Wolf tells truly had me spellbound.  As I read this story I felt like I was right there watching everything unfold including Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection. As I read the story from the point of his arrest it reminded me of The Stations of The Cross. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction! You will not be disappointed. I have found a new author for my Must Read List! I give this book 5 Stars
 

Giveaway!!
I have been given an extra copy of Daughter of Jerusalem to giveaway to someone. So to be entered into the giveaway I am asking for everyone to post a comment on here about their favorite story from the Bible or their favorite person from the Bible. I will draw a name randomly on Monday July 22,2013 in the evening. Please include your email address so I can contact you! Thank you for checking out my blog and my review!