Friday, February 28, 2014

Murder, Plain and Simple: Book One of Amish Quilt Shop Mystery By Isabella Alan

I received this book from the author, Isabella Alan, for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:   

 When Angela Braddock inherits her late aunt’s beautiful Amish quilt shop, she leaves behind her career and broken engagement for a fresh start in Holmes County, Ohio.

With her snazzy cowboy boots and her ornithophobic French bulldog, Angie doesn’t exactly fit in with the predominantly Amish community in Rolling Brook, but her aunt’s quilting circle tries to make her feel welcome as she prepares for the reopening of Running Stitch.

On the big day, Angie gets a taste of success as the locals and Englisch tourists browse the store’s wares while the quilters stitch away. But when Angie finds the body of ornery Amish woodworker Joseph in her storeroom the next morning, everything starts falling apart.

With evidence mounting against her, Angie is determined to find the culprit before the local sheriff can arrest her. Rolling Brook always appeared to be a simple place, but the closer Angie gets to the killer, the more she realizes that nothing in the small Amish community is as plain as it seems.... 




My Thoughts:  

 Murder, Plain and Simple is the first book in Isabella Alan's newest series, The Amish Shop Mystery. Isabella Alan also writes under the name Amanda Flowers, of who I am a huge fan! Angela finds out she has inherited her aunt's quilt shop in Holmes County, Ohio.  Angie is definitely not like the others in Rolling Brook, which is a predominantly Amish community. Angie decides she wants to run the quilt shop and plans to make some changes and have a reopening of Running Stitch.  Her aunt's quilting circle and close friends do everything they can to help and encourage Angie. Angie has a great reopening but the next day she finds Joseph, an Amish woodworker from next door, dead in her storeroom. Joseph and Angie were in an argument about the shop and the actual ownership of the store, which puts Angie as a suspect.  Angie knows she has to catch who did this and clear her name before she is arrested. As Angie starts talking to others in Rolling Brook, Amish and Plain, she finds that this small community isn't what it seems.

Murder, Plain and Simple is a fantastic book.  Isabella Alan who also writes as Amanda Flowers is one of my favorite authors.As my followers know Amish Fiction is my favorite genre and this one is at the top of my list of favorites.  Isabella Alan, writes with such authority on the Amish and their lives, quilting, business, investigating, and mystery.  From the start this book grabbed me and has many twists and turns that it keeps you guessing until the end. I loved the humor of this book, I found myself laughing out loud in many parts especially with Angie and her dog.  As I read, I felt like I was right there watching the events unfold throughout the whole book.  I loved all the characters especially Angie. She is a fantastic main character, her life isn't simple but she keeps going, very determined. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction with mystery. You will not be disappointed.  I cannot wait to read more from Isabella Alan/Amanda Flowers. I am so grateful to Amanda for giving me the opportunity to read and review her books.  I give this book 5 STARS.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

For The Love Of Books: The Thief: Book 2 in The Living Waters Series By S...

For The Love Of Books: The Thief: Book 2 in The Living Waters Series By S...: I received this book from Litfuse Publicity and Stephanie Landsem for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions ...

Erin Noelle's Cover Reveal For New Novel: When The Sun Goes Down

HI Everyone! Check out this Cover Reveal for Erin Noelle's newest Book!!!!!!





Title: When The Sun Goes Down
Author: Erin Noelle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Expected Release Date: 25th March, 2014





Trina is a quiet, reserved music teacher at an inner-city elementary school. Because of the traumatic events of her childhood, she’s skittish of people in general, but men especially frighten her. However, when Lucca Ellis appears in her life, he refuses to take no for an answer. Will he be able to help her overcome the past that has kept her a prisoner for over eight years?

Kat is a woman scorned and out for revenge. Wronged by the men in her life, she thrives on belittling and dominating all men that she comes in contact with. Her end goal is to make the one man, the one who stole her life away as a child, pay for his actions, and she doesn’t care who she has to destroy to get there.

These two lives that both thrive on control, were never supposed to overlap, but anything can happen… When the Sun Goes Down.

























Erin Noelle is a Texas native, where she lives with her husband and two young daughters. While earning her degree in History, she rediscovered her love for reading that was first instilled by her grandmother when she was a young child. A lover of happily-ever-afters, both historical and current, Erin is an avid reader of all romance novels. In 2013, she published the Book Boyfriend Series, which included books Metamorphosis, Ambrosia, and Euphoria. Her books have been a part of the USA Today Bestselling list and/ or the Amazon and Barnes & Noble overall Top 100.    You can follow her on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/erin.noelle.98, her blog @ www.erinnoelleauthor.com, and on Twitter @authorenoelle.






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The Thief: Book 2 in The Living Waters Series By Stephanie Landsem

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



Book Description:    

Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure. Desperate to escape the accursed Judean province, he accepts a wager. If he can catch the thieves harassing the marketplace before Passover, he’ll earn a transfer away from the trouble making Jews.
Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Only with the help of Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, can she keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and a roof over their heads.
When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Longinus longs to learn more about the mysterious healer. Instead, his journey leads him to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.
Unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they wonder who this teacher is who heals others but does nothing to save himself. Is the mercy he offers in his teachings real, or just another false promise? Can Nissa and Longinus overcome their pasts to find a future free of their shackles?
The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love.



My Thoughts:   


The Thief is the second book in Stephanie Landsem's Living Water series and I LOVED IT!  Mouse is a thief who steals to take care of herself and her blind brother, but her real name is Nissa. She is a Jewish woman who has had to defend herself and take care of herself.  Longinus is a Roman Centurion haunted by the events in his life. He makes a deal with another centurion that he will catch the two thieves that got away, which included Mouse.  A teacher comes to Jerusalem and heals Nissa's brother, Cedron. Nissa and Cedron find themselves exiled from their church and home. Nissa finds them another place but has to go back to stealing in order to make life happen.  Longinus yearns to learn more about this Teacher who healed Cedron and many others so he finds himself intertwined with Nissa.  Nissa and Longinus seek out Jesus to learn from Him and get His help. Can they save him before he is caught and tried?


The Thief is the second book I have read by Stephanie Landsem. I hadn't read her first book, The Well, when I requested to be part of this blog tour and this Launch team but I decided to read it before reading The Thief, and WOW. I read it in two days and it just made such an impact on me that I couldn't wait to dig right into The Thief.  The Thief ultimately tells the story of Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection .  Stephanie Landsem writes with authority about the Bible, Jerusalem, Jewish and Roman customs, and the time period.  In The Thief, we meet many new characters but also get to learn more about some old friends from The Well, Longinus and Stephan. I loved the character of Dismas. He was a thief but he loved Mouse(Nissa) and took care of her to make sure she was safe. He made the ultimate sacrifice for her, something NO ONE had ever done for her before. His character really gave me something to think about.  I could NOT put this book down. From the start it grabbed my attention and held it throughout. I read The Thief in about two days also. Stephanie Landsem has written two wonderful stories that although fiction, they are rich in historical facts.  As I read the last chapters of this book I felt like I was going through the Stations of The Cross that I have participated in for Lent. Such a humbling experience. I found myself crying during parts of this story, parts that touched my heart.  I HIGHLY recommend this book, and series to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, especially historical fiction and biblical fiction. You won't be disappointed! I cannot wait to read what is next in this awesome series! I give this book and series 5 STARS!!!

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 Don't miss Stephanie Landsem's outstanding sophomore effort, The Thief.

Best-selling author Tosca Lee had this to say of the book: Filled with memorable characters, The Thief is a tale of hopelessness turned to hope, of high stakes made higher, and ultimate love. What happens when a character at the lowest rung of society crosses paths with the most well-known figure in history? The story of The Thief. I couldn't stop reading.

Stephanie is hosting a Kindle Fire HDX and book giveaway at her website. CLICK THE BUTTON to find out more and enter to win.
Find out what readers are saying HERE.


















































Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Sinners Garden By William Sirls and Ipad 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:   


In the small Lake Erie township of Benning, someone is at work cultivating a supernatural garden …
Andy Kemp’s young life has been as ravaged as his scarred face. Disfigured by an abusive father, the teenager hides behind his books and an impenetrable wall of cynicism and anger.
As Andy’s mother struggles to reconnect with him, his Uncle Rip returns transformed from a stint in prison and wants to be a mentor to the reclusive boy, doing everything he can to help end Andy’s pain. When Andy begins hearing strange music through his iPod and making near-prophetic announcements, Rip is convinced that what Andy is hearing is the voice of God.
Elsewhere, police officer Heather Gerisch responds to a late-night breaking and entering in one of the poorest homes in town. She soon realizes that the masked prowler has left thousands of dollars in gift cards from a local grocery store.
As the bizarre break-ins continue and Heather pursues the elusive “Summer Santa,” Andy and Rip discover an enormous and well-kept garden of wildflowers that seems to have grown overnight at an abandoned steel mill.
Soon, they realize who the gardener is, and a spree of miracles transfigures this small town from a place of hopelessness into a place of healing and beauty.



My Thoughts: 

The Sinners Garden is the first book by William Sirls I have had the pleasure of reading.  The Sinner's Garden is his second book.  Andy Kemp lives behind his books and anger. Abused by his father and left scarred, Andy's life hasn't been an easy one. Andy's mom tries to help him but just can't seem to get through, so his Uncle Rip tries. Rip just got out of prison and has been transformed by this experience and wants to help Andy.  Andy starts hearing strange things through his iPod and from these things through his music he starts making announcements that can only be described as prophetic, it convinces Rip that Andy is hearing God.  Somewhere else break ins are happening in the poorest homes in town and the strangest part, whomever is breaking in, is leaving thousands of dollars in gift cards from the grocery store in town.  The town dubs the "thief" Summer Santa.  While all of this is happening, Andy and Rip discover a huge garden of wildflowers that seem to have come out of no where in the steel mill. 

The Sinners Garden is my first book by William Sirls and WOW. It is such a wonderful story that really speaks to its readers and left a lasting impression with me. This message really gives hope where hope is lost.  William Sirls writes a powerful story with a very powerful cast of characters. I loved all the characters in this book, they are all real people with real lives. Things didn't just "work out" for them. We watch them struggle and find their way.  I found myself taken with this book from the start and could not put it down. I found myself completely engrossed in this beautiful story. I found myself laughing out loud in parts and crying in parts as this book touched on tough subjects. William Sirls really showed his heart in this story. I am so glad I had the chance to read this wonderful story. If you enjoy Christian Fiction with supernatural twists, then this is the book for you! I cannot wait to read more from William Sirls, he is on my must read author list! 

Check out this fantastic giveaway! 
 


Meet William Sirls: Once a senior vice president in a large investment firm, he was incarcerated in 2007 for wire fraud and money laundering. Life lessons involving faith, grace, and forgiveness are evident in his writing. The Sinners’ Garden is his second novel. William is celebrating the book's release with an iPad giveaway.
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  One winner will receive:
  • A brand new iPad Mini
  • The Sinners' Garden by William Sirls
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 1st. Winner will be announced March 3rd on William Sirls' blog.
””

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by William’s blog on the 3rd to see if you won.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Pr1me of Life By P.D. Bekendam

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


Book Description:   
 
Is a simple life too much to ask for?

Ben thinks the retirement home where he works should be called “Heaven Can Wait a Little Longer While I Golf” instead of Heritage Gardens. But who asked him? He’s just the janitor, after all. Of course, his inept boss, the cantankerous residents, and even his attractive podiatrist friend don’t know one important thing about him: he was recently a cardiothoracic surgeon, not a broom-pushing custodian.
Ben is in search of a stress-free life with a little freedom from the past thrown in. But will it be that simple to escape who he used to be—and all he used to fear?



My Thoughts:  


 Pr1me of Life is P.D. Bekendam's debut book and it is a HIT!  Ben works at Heritage Gardens as a janitor.  Ben has worked there for 3 years and has gotten to know the residents very well. Everyone who interacts with Ben likes him. What they don't know is three years ago Ben was a Cardiothoracic surgeon.  Ben leaves his home and practice to find a stress free life and that is what brings him to Heritage Gardens. Ben finds himself in the middle of some interesting things that makes his normally ordered life crazy.

 I loved Pr1me of  Life. As P.D. Bekendam's debut novel it is fantastic.  P.D. Bekendam writes with authority on geriatric and cardiothoracic medicine, retirement home life, and OCD.  I loved all the characters he has written. They are hilarious and loveable. As I read the book I felt like I knew them all.   From the start this book grabbed my attention and kept it throughout, couldn't put it down! I found myself laughing out loud in parts and crying in others.  I really felt a connection with this book and enjoyed it.  I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I look forward to reading what P.D. Bekendam writes next! Definitely a must read author for me. I give this book 5 STARS.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Traitor's Wife By Allison Pataki

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



Book Description: 

 A riveting historical novel about Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and mastermind behind America’s most infamous act of treason . . .

Everyone knows Benedict Arnold—the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British—as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John AndrĂ©, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it.

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John AndrĂ©. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold.

Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom.


My Thoughts: 

The Traitor's Wife is Allison Pataki's debut novel and it's a great one.  This historical novel tells the story of Peggy Shippen Arnold, Benedict Arnold's wife from the viewpoint of Clara Belle, Peggy's maid, who had been employed by Peggy's family since childhood.  Peggy Shippen Arnold is a socialite who finds her way into Benedict Arnold's heart and mind while he was a military commander of Philadelphia.  Blind to his bride's motives, he doesn't realize that she has her own agenda, loyalty to the British, especially a past relationship with a British spy, John Andre'. As Arnold loses his faith in his hero, George Washington and the American cause, Peggy convinces him to go along with her plot to deliver West Point to the British in exchange for fame and fortune.  What Peggy doesn't count on is her maid, Clara has put her faith in America and she intervenes in her mistress's plans, not caring the cost. 
 
The Traitor's Wife is another debut novel I have had the pleasure of reading. I love debut novel and Historical Fiction novels so this one was a no brainer for me.  As a huge fan of both I was excited to read this book.  Allison Pataki writes with authority on the historical facts of Benedict Arnold, history of Britain and America, and this time period in general.  I found myself captivated with fact and fiction of this book.  I found myself unable to put this book down, truly kept me going up to the end. I loved the characters in this book but Clara Belle was my favorite. Her bravery was inspired.  I enjoyed learning more about this time in history and all the players in Benedict Arnold's life. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction. You will not be disappointed. I look forward to what Allison Pataki has in store next. I give this book 4 STARS. 

John Faubion’s FRIEND ME Kindle HDX 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: 


“You’re afraid you are becoming unfaithful, aren’t you?”

Scott and Rachel’s marriage is on the brink of disaster. Scott, a businessman with a high-pressure job, just wants Rachel to understand him and accept his flaws. Rachel is a lonely housewife, desperate for attention and friendship. So she decides to create a virtual friend online, unaware that Scott is doing the exact same thing. But neither realizes that there’s a much larger problem looming. . . .

Behind both of their online creations is Melissa, a woman who is brilliant— and totally insane. Masquerading as both friend and lover, Melissa programmed a search parameter into the Virtual Friend Me software to find her perfect man, but along the way she forgot to specify his marriage status. And Scott is her ideal match. Now Melissa is determined to have it all—Scott, his family, and Rachel’s life.

As Melissa grows bolder and her online manipulations transition into the real world, Scott and Rachel figure out they are being played. Now it’s a race against time as Scott and Rachel fight to save their marriage, and their lives, before it’s too late.




My Thoughts: 

Friend Me is John Faubion's debut book and WOW what a debut! This book really opens your eyes to the dangers of social media and where things can go very wrong.  Virtualfriendme.com offers what most people want, the perfect friend.  It advertises the ability to "build" the perfect person, real or imaginary. Rachel is a lonely wife and mother. Her best friend died a few years back and she hasn't found another friend that could take her place.  She learns about Virtualfriendme.com and decides to try it. She is able to upload videos and pictures of Suzanne and she comes back to life in cyber space. For a monthly fee you get to face to face talk, receive emails, and have total confidentiality. Rachel shares this with her husband, Scott. A business man in a high pressured job who feels he can't share all aspects of his work with his wife for fear of disappointing her. One day he decides to check out the virtualfriendme.com to find out what it can do. As he decides to make a "friend" he chooses to make a female friend and things go from there. What Scott doesn't know is that the software developer, Melissa, has written in code to help her find the perfect man.  Melissa soon finds out Scott is married because she didn't specify in her code for married or unmarried, and his wife is also using Virtualfriendme.com so she decides to override the computer and manipulate both of them. Soon Melissa's deception goes from the keyboard to the real world. She will have Scott, his family, and Rachel's life by any  means necessary. 


Friend Me is John Faubion's debut book and I am hooked! As my readers know I love to find new authors and love being able to get debut books to read. This is why, I love finding authors from the start and John Faubion is no exception.  Friend Me dives into the virtual world we live in and looks at the downside to all of this technology. Like anything in the virtual world, people are not always who they say they are. You can give yourself any background, any picture you want, any life you want. You can even take over someone elses. John Faubion writes with authority on software development, stocks and trading, marriage, and social medias. All of the characters in this book are unique and interesting.  I really liked all of the characters including the villain, Melissa. Melissa's brand of insanity is genius, like nothing I have ever read or seen before.  This book literally grabbed me from the start and the twist and turns kept me engaged and guessing all the way to the end.  John Faubion brings to light a program that could easily be real, and how easily these medias get out of hand. I truly enjoyed this debut book and cannot wait to see what John Faubion has in store next. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense Fiction, you will NOT be disappointed. This book is eye opening! I give this book 5+ STARS.

 John Faubion is celebrating his debut novel, Friend Me, with a Kindle HDX giveaway!
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One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX
  • Friend Me by John Faubion
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 22nd. Winner will be announced February 24th on John Faubion's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by John's blog on the 24th to see if you won.

Monday, February 10, 2014

HOPEFUL: Return to Sugarcreek By Shelley Shepard Gray | Win a copy!

 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: 

 
In the Amish town of Sugarcreek, love comes in many forms. But will it come at all for Miriam?
Miriam Zehr has worked at the Sugarcreek Inn longer than she cares to admit. The restaurant is a favorite of town residents as well as the many tourists who come to taste the famous Amish fare. Though she always tries to have a smile for every customer, deep down Miriam knows something's missing: a family of her own.
Miriam has never felt particularly beautiful, especially because she's always been a bit heavier than other girls her age. When Junior, the man she's pined for all her life, suddenly seeks her out, she's thrilled to be noticed . . . until she realizes he's only asking her to help get the attention of Mary Kathryn Hershberger, her pretty friend.
If Miriam helps Junior court Mary Kathryn, she'll get to spend a lot of time with him, but she might lose him in the process. Are these few stolen moments worth a lifetime of sacrifice? Is Miriam right to even hope for the life she dreams of?


My Thoughts: 

Hopeful is the first book in Shelley Shepard Gray's newest series Return to Sugarcreek. This is the first book by Shelley Shepard Gray I have had the joy of reading.  Miriam is always running late, everyone knows it. She works at Sugarcreek Inn and has for quite a while. She knows she wants more out of life than her job but just hasn't found it. Miriam has always felt less than the other girls in her district. Her family pushes her to find a man and get married. Miriam has really only had feelings for one man, Junior. They have known each other for many years but Junior and Miriam have never really spoken.  When Junior approaches Miriam to talk to her she thinks he has finally decided she is the one but finds out he is interested in her friend, Mary Kate. Miriam agrees to try to help Junior court her but Mary Kate wants nothing to do with him. Mary Kate recently moved to Sugarcreek and it looking to leave at the end of the school year. She moved to get away from a possessive boyfriend.  As Miriam hopes Junior will notice her, Mary Kate wishes he wouldn't notice her.

As my readers know, Amish Fiction is one of my favorite genres and thankfully I have had a few to read lately. Hopeful is the first book by Shelley Shepard Gray I have had read and I really enjoyed it. I haven't read any of the other novels based in Sugarcreek but I didn't feel like I was missing anything picking up this book.  Shelley Shepard Gray writes with authority on the Amish, Sugarcreek Ohio, other Amish cities, and teaching.  I really enjoyed all the characters but Miriam was my favorite. I could relate to her in many ways especially her feelings of inadequacy and her willingness to help anyone who needed her. She has a big heart and really put her heart and soul into everything she did. I found myself taken in with this book from the start and could not put it down.  I cannot wait to read the other books in this series! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, you will not be disappointed.  I give this book 4.5 STARS.








Welcome to the blog tour for Hopeful, the first book in Shelley Shepard Gray's new series, Return to Sugarcreek. Critics have already given their thumbs up for Hopeful: “Lovable characters and a good story, full of romance and suspense . . . a must read." (Library Journal)

Enter to win one of FIVE copies of the book. 
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Five winners will receive:
  • Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 23rd. All winners will be announced February 24th at Shelley's blog.

Enter today and be sure to visit Shelley's blog on the 24th to see if YOU won one of the books!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Last Secret of Fatima: The Revelation of One of the Most Controversial Events in Catholic History By Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone

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



Book Description: 

With an introduction by Pope Benedict XVI and including information previously suppressed, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, definitively reveals and explains one of the most controversial events in twentieth-century Catholicism—the 1917 apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fatima.

During World War I, three Portuguese children received a vision in which Mary, the Mother of Jesus, foretold great global turmoil. The first part of their vision—warnings about World War II, communism, and the spread of atheism—were widely publicized, but Vatican officials were hesitant to reveal the vision’s concluding images, thus creating the "secret" of Fatima. Speculation about this secret gripped many Catholics, and the aura of intrigue surrounding Fatima grew when the Church hierarchy barred the last surviving visionary from speaking publicly.

In THE LAST SECRET OF FATIMA, Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican equivalent of prime minister and a top advisor to Pope Benedict, breaks the Vatican’s official silence on the last secret. Rather than Armageddon, he claims, the final prophecy envisaged the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. Bertone argues the apparition at Fatima was a call to renewal for the Church, and he was assigned the task of promulgating this message by the Pope.




My Thoughts: 

The Last Secret of Fatima By Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone reveals and explains the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fatima.  Three Portuguese children see the Virgin Mary and told of great global turmoil to come to our world.  They received predicitons of WW II, communism, and the growth of atheism which was made pubic at the time but officials of the Vatican were hesitant to reveal the last images of the predictions.  The Church eventually banned the last surviving visionary to speak of the experience publicly.  Cardinal Bertone breaks the silence of the last scene, which was highly speculated to be Armageddon but instead it the final prophecy was the 1981 assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II. 

I was raised Catholic and the story of Fatima was one that fascinated me from the start. The first time I heard it was in second grade and the story just stuck with me. When I saw that this book was available I HAD to read it.  Cardinal Bertone answers candidly and honestly the questions that have been posed for many, many years.  He talks about the three children of Fatima and their lives after they received these visions. Written in Question/Answer form, the book’s content comes from a series of interviews that  Giuseppe DeCarli conducted with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Each of the three messages that  Mary entrusted  to Lucia to hold for the Pope are revealed in their entirety. Along with them, it gives insights into the apparitions themselves when Cardinal Bertone details his meetings with Sister Lucia. The book also discusses the way in which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — later Pope Benedict XVI — felt about these messages. The parts I found most interesting were the details surrounding the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II’s life and his subsequent Entrustment of Russia and the World to Mary’s protection.  Pope John Paul  II became known as “The Fatima Pope.” I really feel like I learned so much more about Fatima than I ever knew. This book is fantastic and I highly recommend this book to anyone who "knows" the story of Fatima, you will be amazed at the things you didn't know. I give this book 5 STARS.

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales By Randy Singer

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


Book Description:  

Landon Reed is an ex-quarterback convicted of organizing a points-shaving scheme. During his time in prison, he found forgiveness and faith and earned his law degree. Now he longs for an opportunity to prove his loyalty and worth. Be careful what you ask for.

Harry McNaughton is one of the founding partners of McNaughton & Clay—and the only lawyer willing to take a chance employing an ex-con-turned-lawyer. Though Landon initially questions Harry’s ethics and methods, it’s clear the crusty old lawyer has one of the most brilliant legal minds Landon has ever encountered. The two dive into preparing a defense for one of the highest-profile murder trials Virginia Beach has seen in decades when Harry is gunned down in what appears to be a random mugging. Then two more lawyers are killed when the firm’s private jet crashes. Authorities suspect someone has a vendetta against McNaughton & Clay, leaving Landon and the remaining partner as the final targets.

As Landon struggles to keep the firm together, he can’t help but wonder, is the plot related to a shady case from McNaughton & Clay’s past, or to the murder trial he’s neck-deep in now? And will he survive long enough to find out?



My Thoughts: 

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales By Randy Singer is one of my top 10 favorites. Randy Singer writes Christian Legal Thrillers that are fantastic.  Landon Reed went to prison for points shaving as a quarterback. While in prison Landon learns forgiveness and faith. He also studies the law and continues once he gets out. Landon, with the support of his wife and daughter, find employment with McNaughton and Clay, the only place willing to hire him.  Harry and Landon take on a high profile murder case and Harry is murdered in what looks like a random mugging. The firms plane crashes, killing two more lawyers from the firm. The police believe someone is gunning for McNaughton and Clay.  Landon and the one remaining partner are believed to be the next targets.  Landon now has to work to keep the firm going while trying to keep himself and his family safe.

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales is one of Randy Singer's best novels to date. I have read quite a few of them and loved each one. Each one more than the last. As a huge fan of John Grisham's books, Randy Singer's are definitely similar but with a message of faith.  Randy Singer writes with authority about all things legal and both sides of the law.  I could not put this book down from the start, the action started right away,kept going until the end and really ended with some great surprises.  I enjoyed Landon's story of finding forgiveness for his sins and working to make up for what he had done. Randy Singer is often compared to John Grisham, and his style is certainly similar. But Singer has a voice of his own, including a subtle faith message and cutting edge plots that do not suffer from obscenity or graphic adult scenes. Singer writes a  suspense filled novel that focuses on the ins and outs of the legal system, portrays characters realistically, and has many many twists and turns fans on their toes.  I truly enjoyed this book from start to finish and HIGHLY recommend this book anyone who enjoys Christian Legal Thrillers, or just Legal Thrillers, you will not be disappointed. I anxiously wait for Randy Singer's next book! I give this book 5 STARS. 

The Vicar's Wife By Katharine Swartz

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

Book Description:

A powerful drama of domestic life following two memorable women who shared a house eighty years apart
A New Yorker all her life, Jane Hatton loved her job as the head of a charity championing women’s rights, but her fourteen year- old daughter, Natalie, had fallen in with the wrong crowd at her Manhattan school. So Jane and her British husband, Andrew, have decided to move their family to the English countryside.
The Hattons have bought the large old vicarage in a small village on the Cumbrian coast, near Andrew’s new job. The silence and solitude of a remote village is quite a change. Natalie hates her new school, and eleven-year-old Ben struggles academically. Only seven-year-old Merrie enjoys country life. Has Jane made a horrible mistake? What of her career? Her own identity?
Putting on a brave face for the family, Jane tackles renovating the rambling, drafty old house. When she finds a scrap of a very old shopping list, she grows curious about Alice, the vicar’s wife who lived there years before.
As the twin narratives unfold—of Jane in the present and Alice in the 1930s—we discover that both are on a journey to discover their true selves, and to address their deepest fears.



My Thoughts:

The Vicar's Wife is the first book by Katharine Swartz I have had the pleasure of reading. This book takes place in two different times, the present and the past.  Jane Hatton lives in the present, moved from New York to The Cumbrian coast into an old vicarage. As Jane cleans out her home she finds a scrap of paper with a grocery list on it from the past. She investigates and finds out it was written by Alice James, a Vicar's wife from the 1930's.  As Jane investigates even further by talking with some that knew Alice, Jane finds out they were not too different and are experienced so much of the same feelings and troubles. 

As I stated, this is the first book by Katharine Swartz that I have had the pleasure of reading. I love finding new to me authors, especially ones that I want to read more from.  The Vicar's Wife is told from both Jane and Alice's perspectives which I loved. It truly was like two book in one. Katharine Swartz writes with authority about England, New York, vicars,their lives,their studies, and the 1930's.  I could not put this book down once I started it. As I read, I felt like I was there watching the events from both time frames unfold. I loved all the characters especially the main characters, Jane and Alice. Both of these women lived real lives with real struggles and tried to do what they could for their husbands. This story shows these  two women coming to recognize who they are, how to adapt to difficulty and change, and what is important in their lives. I really enjoyed the style of Katharine Swartz's writing and how she put this story together. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction with an English setting. You will not be disappointed. I look forward to reading more books by Katharine Swartz. I give this book 4 STARS.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Seams Unlikely: The Inspiring True Life Story of Nancy Zieman By Nancy Zieman and Marjorie L. Russell

I received this book from Glass Road Media and Management for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book.  The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

In an age when hard-working women don't know if we should lean in, lean out, or lean on someone, Nancy Zieman's voice of calm, experienced authority is welcome. The lessons she shares are ones every businesswoman should take to heart.

In Seams Unlikely, Nancy:
  • Shares her life story for the first time
  • Gives details of the onset of Bell's Palsy and how it played a part during school
  • Reveals the intricate involvement of 4-H in her development
  • Tells, step-by-step, how she grew Nancy's Notions from a basement in her home into a multi-million dollar business
  • Includes behind-the-scenes information on the growth of Sewing with Nancy from filming in her living room to a long-term partnership with Wisconsin Public Television
  • Shows pictures of the people, buildings, and places that played key roles along the path of her life 
Reading of the growth of Nancy's family (she is a married
mother of two, one son by birth, one by adoption) alongside the growth of her show and business is both familiar and instructive to working moms. Nancy created solutions in both the workplace and at home, to carve a niche uniquely suited to her situation and talents. It's a goal to which many of us aspire. And Nancy Zieman's story gives us key insight. 



My Thoughts: 

 Seams Unlikely is the story of Nancy Zieman's personal and professional life. Sewing With Nancy has been on since September 1982.  This book gives a very candid look into Nancy's life including her Bell's Palsy diagnosis, starting and growing her business Nancy's Notions, and how her show started in her living room to grow to what it has become. This book shows the ups and downs that Nancy went through to get her where she is. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Nancy Zieman's book, Seams Unlikely.  As a lifelong resident of Wisconsin, I have run into Nancy's show quite a few times over the years on public television and knew I needed to read it.  Nancy Zieman gives readers a very candid look at her life and how she got to where she is.  No part of her life was left out.  I enjoyed her matter of fact writing style and her willingness to be so open about how she got her business started and continued success of it.  Nancy has also written many,many books on sewing and quilting. Nancy Zieman is an inspiration to all women.  I found a connection because of my own disability and inability to "work" outside of my home.  Seeing what Nancy, with her family alongside of her, built really makes it seem possible.  I could not put this book down once I started reading it! I found myself laughing out loud in places, and crying in others.  This is truly a beautiful story.  I highly recommend this book to anyone woman, this book is for you!  I am so thankful for the opportunity to read this book.  I give this book 5 STARS.


Monday, February 3, 2014

THE CALLING | Six Chances to win an iPad, Kindle, or Nook from 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:

Twenty-year-old Bethany Schrock is restless. Her love life has derailed, her faith hangs by a thread, and she is spending the incredibly hot summer days wading through a lifetime's accumulation of junk at the home of five ancient Amish sisters. About the only thing that holds her interest is the spirited and dangerously handsome Jimmy Fisher--and he seems bent on irritating her to no end.

When the sly old sisters and a guest at the Inn get Bethany involved in running the local soup kitchen and starting a community garden, she suddenly finds herself wondering, Shootfire! How did that happen? Despite her newfound purposefulness, a gnawing emptiness about a childhood mystery continues to plague her. Encouraged by Jimmy Fisher, she will seek out the answers she craves--and uncover a shocking secret that will break her heart, heal it, and point her to love.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher delivers her trademark twists, turns, and tender romance in this delightful and exciting visit to the deceptively quiet community of Stoney Ridge.




My Thoughts:

 The Calling is the second book in Suzanne Woods Fisher's series, The Inn at Eagle Hill.  This books takes place in Stoney Ridge at The Inn at Eagle Hill, this time focusing on Bethany Shrock. Bethany Schrock isn't sure where life is taking her. She got her heart broken by Jake Hertzler, she is spending her days at The Sister's House going through their years of clutter, and helping her stepmother run The Inn at Eagle Hill. Bethany finds herself helping the Sister's at a local soup kitchen they started and being introduced to the other side of Stoney Ridge, the poor and downtrodden. She also finds herself face to face with the teenage girls that live in the group home next to soup kitchen.  As Bethany sees life through someone elses eyes she gets the idea to start a community garden with the help of their current guest at the inn and the rest of the community.  Bethany's brother, Tobe, comes home, he is being investigated by the SEC for Shrock Investments, a family business that fell apart due to Jake Hertzler's dishonesty. Tobe, Rose, and Mammi Vera travel to the city to try to clear up the investigation and clear Tobe's name.  Bethany finds herself subject of vandalism and other types of violence. 

As my readers now, my favorite genre is Amish Fiction, and Suzanne Woods Fisher is another of my favorite authors. I had the pleasure of reading her Stony Ridge Seasons series and The Letters, the first book in The Inn at Eagle Hill Series. I fell in love with Stony Ridge and was excited to visit again in first The Letters and now The Calling.  I enjoy meeting new characters (friends) and finding out about the lives of old friends from the other novels! I love the continuity in these novels. I was drawn in from the beginning and could not put it down!   Suzanne Woods Fisher writes with authority on all things Amish, youth ministry, group homes, mental illness, and love.  This book really touched my heart because one of the themes in this book is mental illness. As someone who grew up with family who have mental illness and myself suffering from panic attacks, I could relate to both sides of the story. I found it interesting to learn how things like this are  handled within the Amish and also how it was handled years ago. Not unlike how we here handled and handle mental illness.  I love the characters in this book but my favorite is Ella, one of the Sisters. She has such a good heart, so kind, and so observant. She also knew her reality and faced it head on.  The Calling is a well rounded story with a little bit of everything in it: romance, suspense, family, and faith.  This story showed how having faith in God and listening for His leading, you will know what you should do. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I give this book 5 STARS.

 Check out the giveaway!




Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher is celebrating her newest book, The Calling, by giving away TWO iPads, TWO Kindles, and TWO Nooks!
 
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Two grand prize winners will receive:
  • An iPad
  • The Letters and The Calling by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Four second place winners will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX or a Nook HD—winner's choice!
  • The Letters and The Calling by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 8th. All winners will be announced February 10th at Suzanne's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 10th to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Ruth Reid’s A MIRACLE OF HOPE Kindle HDX Giveaway and Facebook Party!



 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:

She’s heard about forgiveness all her life, but how far does God’s mercy truly reach?
Lindie Wyse thinks an arranged marriage is the only way to preserve a future for herself and her unborn child. Josiah Plank is certain he’ll never love again, but he needs someone to care for his deaf eight-year-old daughter, Hannah. The two take on their arrangement tentatively at first but soon realize they are each in for more than they imagined. After a short time, Lindie experiences a breakthrough with Hannah when she recognizes the child’s special gifts, but a risky pregnancy and serious health issues threaten to demolish the foundation Josiah and Lindie are building—and the love that is growing between them. 


My Thoughts:


A Miracle of Hope is the first novel in Ruth Reid's latest series- The Amish Wonders. I have had the pleasure of reading Ruth Reid's other novels and truly enjoyed this latest one.  Lindie Wyse believes the only way to have a future for her and her unborn child is to go into an arranged marriage her brother has set up for her. Josiah Plank lost his wife in an accident and needs a woman to help raise his daughter, Hannah, a deaf eight year old. Josiah isn't looking for a full marriage so marrying Lindie, is a means to an end for both of them. They both go into this with their eyes wide open.  Lindie finds a way to connect with Hannah through a shared love of art and Lindie recognizes a very special gift Hannah has.  As Lindie's pregnancy progresses, Josiah is concerned about her and the child. Finally he takes her to see a doctor who determines she is in risk of serious issues without bed rest. As Josiah cares for Lindie they both find themselves falling in love but Lindie doesn't feel worthy because of circumstances that no one else knows. 

As my readers know, Amish Fiction is my favorite genre. I have had the privilege of reading all of Ruth Reid's novels thus far, and I have to say A Miracle of Hope is my favorite. Ruth Reid has written a beautiful book of tragedy, and out of tragedy comes comes a beautiful life of love and happiness. This book shows that life for the Amish is NOT perfect, but how they handle it is inspiring. Ruth Reid writes with authority on The Amish, the Amish settlements, sign language, art, and faith.  I found myself captivated from the first chapter in this story and could not put it down until the end.  This story truly touched me and showed how out of tragedy, God brings good things. I loved the characters in this story especially Josiah's Father in law, Simon. Simon saw things for what they were right from the start. He was hard on Lindie and in the end was willing to admit he was and how wrong he was. He is a very strong character in this story and I loved his interactions with Josiah, Lindie, and Hannah. I really felt connected to this story and look forward to the rest of the books in this series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I give this book 5 Stars.

Check out this awesome giveaway!


A Miracle of Hope is the first book in Ruth Reid's new series, Amish Wonders, and she is celebrating the release with a Kindle HDX Giveaway and an Author Chat Facebook Party!
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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Miracle of Hope by Ruth Reid
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 11th. Winner will be announced at the A Miracle of Hope Facebook Party on February 11th. Connect with Ruth for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, prizes, and more!

So grab your copy of A Miracle of Hope and join Ruth and friends on the evening of February 11th 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 todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 11th!