Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Mother's Secret: Hearts of The Lancaster Grand Hotel Series Book 2 By Amy Clipston

 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: 

An unwed Amish woman yearns for real love and a family. The only thing in her way is the shame she’s been carrying for half of her life.

Thirty-one-year-old Carolyn Lapp has never been married—but she’s been a mother for fifteen years. In a community with strict standards and a long memory, Carolyn knows she might never find a man who will have her and her son, Benjamin.
Carolyn’s family tries to marry her off to a widower with a daughter who needs a mother. A marriage of convenience doesn’t sound so bad, yet despite her loneliness, Carolyn knows what she really wants: a traditional Amish family and a marriage for love.
When Benjamin gets into trouble at an auction, he finds himself beholden to a handsome horse breeder named Joshua Glick. Joshua and Carolyn feel an instant attraction, and soon a romance is budding between them. The trouble is Joshua believes Benjamin is Carolyn’s nephew, not her son.
After years of shame and loneliness, Carolyn suddenly has two men vying for her attention. Can either man give her the family—and the unconditional love—she longs for? Or will her past once again sabotage the future she wants?


My Thoughts: 

A Mother's Secret is the second book in Amy Clipston's series Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel and it's a series that I love! As a huge fan of Amish Fiction this book was a must read for me! Amy Clipston is one of the first Amish Fiction writers I read and I fell in love with the genre from there. I have read all of Amy's Amish Fiction works and they all have a special place in my heart. In A Mother's Secret we meet Carolyn Lapp an unwed mother of a 15 yr old boy. Carolyn hasn't dated and has lived her life raising her son and trying to stay out of the spotlight. Her brother, Amos, is trying to find her a husband who will accept her despite her "sin", a marriage of convenience when all Carolyn wants is to find someone who truly loves her and her son. Benjamin, Carolyn's son, finds himself having to work off a debt to Joshua Glick for some trouble he gets into at the auction. Joshua believes Ben is Carolyn's nephew, not her son. As Carolyn and Joshua get to know each other they find themselves attracted to one another but Carolyn hasn't told him about Ben and fears he will turn away from her when he finds out.

A Mother's Secret is a great book! I enjoyed it from start to finish and had a very hard time putting it down. Amy Clipston writes with authority on all things Amish, Paradise,PA and surrounding areas, horse farming, woodworking, and hotel management. In this book we get to meet some brand new friends but we also get to find out about some old friends from the first book. I really enjoyed getting to look deeper into Joshua Glick's life and see what happens for him next. As I read this book I felt like I was there watching the events unfold and experiencing Amish life. I loved the characters in this story especially Benjamin Lapp. He hasn't had an easy life and when he is falsely accused of hurting Joshua's horse he takes the punishment without complaints or protests. He is very wise for 15 yrs old and it really was neat to watch him grow up and flourish working for Joshua. Benjamin finds his passion and does what he can to make it come true. I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, you will not be disappointed. Even though this book is the second one of the series, it can be read stand alone. Amy Clipston does a wonderful job of giving enough details that new readers do not feel lost and the others who have read the first book aren't bored from too many details.  I cannot wait to read the next book in this wonderful series. I give this book 5 STARS. 

Don't miss the newest offering in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series from Amy Clipston, A Mother's SecretAn unwed Amish woman yearns for real love and a family. The only thing in her way is the shame she’s been carrying for half of her life. The novel received 4-1/2 stars from Romantic Times and was chosen as a Top Pick.

Amy is celebrating with a Kindle Fire giveaway.
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 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Books 1 and 2 in the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series, A Hopeful Heart and A Mother's Secret.
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 6th. Winner will be announced July 7th on Amy's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Amy's blog on July 7th to see if you won.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Hatmaker's Heart By Carla Stewart

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 Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful. Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman’s best qualities. She knows she’s fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. Yet when Nell’s fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stammer she’s had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon.
But it seems Nell’s gift won’t be hidden by Oscar’s efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is.

My Thoughts:  

The Hatmaker's Heart is the first book from Carla Stewart I have read and I am very glad I did. Nell Marchwold loves making hats, loves seeing her creations make women feel beautiful and accent their best qualities. Nell and her family left England and landed in Kentucky where Oscar Fields, a millinery owner from New York City, discovered Nell's talent and gave her a job as an apprentice designer at his millinery. Nell's designs have taken NYC by storm but Oscar holds her back claiming her stuttering issue reflects poorly on her and him. Soon a fashion designer seeks out Nell to be his partner for his collection 1922. The publicity from this show has Nell back in England designing for a royal wedding where Nell reconnects with her childhood friend and their feelings grow from friends to something more. Oscar is determined to keep Nell for himself.

The Hatmaker's Heart is the first book from Carla Stewart I have read and I now have a new author for my must read list!  As a huge fan of historical fiction, especially the 1920's(prohibition fascinates me) I found myself wanting to read this book. Carla Stewart writes with authority about England and the United States during the 1920's, speech therapy in that time, millinery, and  fashion design of the 1920's.  I really felt like I was there watching this story unfold. I found myself hooked from the first page and my interest kept through until the end. I really enjoyed the characters in this book, especially Nell Marchwold. She found her passion and did what she could to make it happen. Nell wanted to help women feel beautiful in her hats and really believed in the good in people. Her hard work in her career and her life is inspiring. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, Carla Stewart does NOT disappoint! I cannot wait to read more from Carla Stewart! I give this book 4.5 STARS.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Season of Change: Seasons of Pinecraft Book One

 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:  

Can a past filled with loss lead to a new season of life? Stranded at a Sarasota hospital at the bedside of his ailing daughter, Amish widower Jacob Miller is wary of his unfamiliar surroundings—including the strange curiosity of Englischer Natalie Bennett. Natalie, an aerial silks artist whose career in the circus ended before it began, has just uncovered a secret her mother kept hidden for years. Her mom—or rather, mamm—was once Amish. A hundred questions suddenly surface. Why did Natalie’s mother keep this secret for so long? Does Natalie still have Amish relatives? How can she learn more about her heritage? Can Jacob trust Natalie’s piqued interest in his family and their simple ways, or will their clashing cultures thwart their hopes for finding the love of a family? “A Season of Change is an Amish tale with a fresh voice and unique twist. Filled with warmth and love and fried pies, it’s poignant and compelling in a whole new way. You’ll read it and wish you could stay there . . . just a little longer.”


My Thoughts:  

A Season of Change is the first book of Lynette Sowell's newest series Seasons of Pinecraft and I really enjoyed it. This is my first book by Lynette Sowell, so now I have another must read author of Amish Fiction. Jacob Miller came to Pinecraft with his two children for vacation and is now stuck there in a hospital while his daughter is recovering from being hit by a car. A two week vacation has now turned into an unknown stay while she recovers. While there they meet a clown, a real clown, Miss Bubbles who was an aerial silks artist until her career with the circus was cut short due to an injury. She volunteers at the hospital to visit the children and really connects with the Miller family. Natalie had never met an Amish family before and after this chance meeting she finds out a huge family secret, Natalie's mother left the Amish years ago to marry Natalie's dad.  Natalie's parents never told her but now that her mother died, her father decided she needed to know. So Natalie seeks out the Miller Family for help to locate her mother's family. As they dig deeper, Natalie grows closer and closer to the Miller family.

A Season of Change is book one in The Seasons of Pinecraft by Lynette Sowell and I loved it. As my readers know Amish Fiction is my favorite genre and this book did not disappoint. I have never had the pleasure of reading books by Lynette Sowell but now I have a new author on my list to read.  A Season of Change is definitely not a typical Amish fiction book especially since our main character is a teacher at the circus school in Sarasota. Lynette Sowell writes with authority on Amish faith, Pinecraft, circus life, and Mennonite faith.  I really enjoyed learning more about the Pinecraft area and how all the different faiths live and work together in that area. I enjoyed all the characters in this book especially Natalie's desire to give back to the children at the hospital and her search for family and where she belongs really spoke to me. I loved learning about the circus! I really felt like I was there watching events unfold from Lynette Sowell's vivid descriptions. I found myself laughing out loud in parts and crying in others, especially as Natalie works through trying to find her family and who she is. I could not put this book down, from start to finish it kept my interest and kept me wanting more. I cannot wait to read more in this series! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, you won't be disappointed! If you have not read Lynette Sowell, I recommend you do! I look forward to reading more from Lynette Sowell. I give this book 4.5 STARS.





In A Season of Change, book one of Lynette Sowell's new series, Seasons of Pinecraft, readers will discover a different side of the Amish community. A Season of Change follows Natalie and Amish widower Jacob Miller as they each discover the mysterious ways God works. Inspired by the image of a Plain woman sitting on a three-wheeled bicycle by the Pinecraft (an Amish community in Florida) post office, Sowell’s latest is a new take on the popular trend in fiction.

Lynette is celebrating with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a Facebook author chat party on June 12th.
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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Season of Change by Lynette Sowell
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 12th. Winner will be announced at the A Season of Change Facebook author chat party on June 12th. Connect with Lynette for an evening of fun book chat, Amish-themed trivia, and prizes. Lynette will also be answering audience questions and giving an exclusive look at the next book in the Seasons of Pinecraft series!

So grab your copy of A Season of Change and join Lynette on the evening of June 12th 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 12th!

Raptor 6 Book 1 The Quiet Professionals Series By Ronie Kendig and 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:  

Captain Dean Watters keeps his mission and his team in the forefront of his laser-like focus. So when Dean s mission and team are threatened, his Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Failing to stop hackers from stealing national security secrets from the military s secure computers and networks isn't an option. Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. And a target. When Zahrah is captured because of her expertise in quantum cryptology, compromising the US military, Dean is forced to crack the lock box around his heart a move that might come at the highest cost.


My Thoughts:   

 Raptor 6 is the first book in Ronie Kendig's newest series The Quiet Professionals and it is a great book. I have connected online with Ronie Kendig, entered contests, and won a name contest but hadn't had the honor of reading any of her books, even though quite a few are in my TBR pile.  Captain Dean Watters is part of a team of highly trained men who are tasked with finding out who is hacking into their national security secrets, with his first priority being keeping himself and his team alive and safe. As the team works on this situation, they are tasked with also keeping Zahrah Zarrick alive. Zahrah is a missionary teacher from America, whose father was a General and still has a lot of clout.  As Capt. Watters and Zahrah get to know each other the attraction and the danger get stronger. 

Raptor 6 is the first book in The Quiet Professionals series by Ronie Kendig and it is fantastic. So little back story to my personal part of this book. I have had the joy of joining Ronie Kendig on Facebook and she had a contest asking people for their names and she would pick one to be a character in her next book so I submitted my name: Beth Louise Homewood-Milinski. I found out later that she chose my name, she wasn't sure which name she was going to use but she had chosen mine, OH MY GOODNESS a dream come true for this bookworm! So I wasn't sure which name or what book but I was excited. So as I am reading this book I come upon a character, Specialist Homewood! YAY!! So awesome to see my name (maiden name) in print, never thought that would happen!  So enough about me and on to the review you are looking for! Ronie Kendig writes with authority on the United States and Other Countries military, Afganistan and other countries, missionaries, and many things associated with war.  I have not read many books that are in a military setting, but this book definitely has opened up a new genre of books for me! I loved the authenticity of this book and learning so much about our military and other countries that I don't know much about. I did a lot of flipping between my page and the page with the military acronyms! Loved it! The characters in this book are fantastic! The characters are real people who have less than perfect lives and work hard to help each other. So besides Specialist Homewood (ha ha) my favorite character would have to be Zahrah. She is living in two worlds trying to make the world in Afghanistan a better place for the children of that country.  Ronie Kendig really gives an honest look at our world and I really felt like I was there watching the events unfold. I found myself laughing in parts especially the Raptor teams interactions and crying in other parts as the reality of life unfolded. I cannot wait to read the other books in this series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction with a military setting, you will not be disappointed! I give this book 4.5 STARS.



Don't miss the first book, Raptor 6, in Ronie Kendig's new Quiet Professionals series. Ronie combines a dangerous romance and explosive action for a thrilling and satisfying ride. "Lock and load for this Spec Op, fighting under God’s 'rules of engagement.'" —Bob Hamer, veteran FBI undercover agent and award-winning author

Ronie is celebrating with a Kindle HDX Giveaway!
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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 15th. Winner will be announced June 16th on Ronie's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Ronie's blog on June 16th to see if you won.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

All My Belongings | Enter to win a $200 Visa Card from @CynthiaRuchti & RSVP for 6/11 LIVE Webcast Event

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 new identity can’t protect Becca from a past that refuses to go away. Where do you turn when changing your name doesn’t give you the anonymity you want? When running hundreds of miles away isn’t far enough? When your search for a place to belong lands you right back where you began? One phone call destroys all the hope Becca Morrow has for a life beyond the shame of her past. Further discredited by the death of her elderly, ailing patient—the mother of the influential businessman, Isaac Hughes—Becca’s new life is shattered and her longing for love slips away. Working to clear her name, Becca must learn to see the beauty in the ugliness of dying, to accept the tenderness in forgiveness, and—at last—discover that where she belongs isn’t as much about her family history as it is about her faith in the One to whom she’ll always belong. 


My Thoughts:  

All My Belongings is the first book by Cynthia Ruchti I have had the pleasure of reading. This book really hit home for me in many ways. I have always had a heart for those suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia, worked with patients with these diseases when I worked at a nursing home, watched my Grandparents go through it, and now I am care giving for my my father with dementia. When I read the book description I instantly felt drawn to this book and knew I had to read it.  Becca Morrow, who used to be someone else, finds beauty in dying. She has been attending nursing school and helped care for her mother as she was dying but when her father is tried and convicted for taking a life, she must give up her life where it is and she finds herself going 3,000 miles away to offer her services to Issac Hughes, a family friend whose mother is dying of a heart condition and dementia. Becca must hide her previous life, with only one person knowing who she is, Issac's aunt who sends Becca to him to care of her sister.  As Becca connects with Mrs. Hughes and Issac she finds herself unsure of what she will do about her past but feels like she is finally belonging and as Becca tries to move on and seems to be succeeding, Mrs. Hughes dies suddenly and Becca's past and present come crashing into each other. Now she must figure out what to do next and where to put her faith.

All My Belongings is a beautiful book about life and death.  This book really sticks with me given my situation with my Dad. Watching someone you love disappear before your eyes isn't an easy thing especially when physically they are there but mentally they are leaving you.  All My Belongings digs into euthanasia, dementia, hospice care giving, and the need all of us have to feel we belong somewhere and to someone. Cynthia Ruchti covers these deep and serious topics with love, showing that there is beauty and dignity in dying.  The characters in this book are real, honest people and I found myself relating to Becca the most throughout this book. Her respect for life and death really touched me especially given my situation with my own Dad. I found myself laughing in parts of this book and crying in others. So much in this book reflected my life that I really found myself immersed in this book. This book definitely took twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed. All My Belongings is a book that will stay with me for a long time as it touched my heart and really reflects my life right now. I look forward to reading more from Cynthia Ruchti. I give this book 5 STARS.
 
  
Cynthia Ruchti asks what it takes to overcome your past and become who you were meant to be in her latest novel, All My Belongings. Cynthia has woven a heart-wrenching tale of forgiveness, grace, and learning what it means to truly belong.

Cynthia is celebrating the release of her latest novel with a fun giveaway and a live webcast event!
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One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card
  • All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 11th. Winner will be announced at the All My Belongings LIVE webcast event on June 11th. Connect with Cynthia for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Cynthia will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.
So grab your copy of All My Belongings and join Cynthia and friends on the evening of June 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 today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 11th!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mom's Night Out Novelization By Tricia Goyer and Mom's Night Out And Other Things I Miss Devotional By Kerri Pomarolli

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


Book Description For Mom's Night Out: 


Moms' Night Out is a novelization of the hilarious family comedy that celebrates real family life—where everything can go wrong and still turn out all right.

All Allyson and her friends want is a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation . . . a long-needed moms’ night out. But in order to enjoy high heels, adult conversation and food not served in a bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for a few hours—what could go wrong?

Chronicling one night out gone awry, three harried moms, their husbands, a sister-in-law with a misplaced baby, a tattoo parlor owner, a motorcycle gang, and a bewildered cabbie all learn to embrace the beautiful mess called parenting. This book spotlights the unfulfilled expectations and serial self-doubts many moms feel . . . then reassures us that the key is raising kids in a loving home. Mom’s Night Out is an endearing, true-to-life comedy.



Book Description For Mom's Night Out and Other Things I miss:  

As a Mom, couldn’t you use a good laugh?

Inspired by the endearing, true-to-life movie MOMS’ NIGHT OUT, comedian Kerri Pomarolli has created this light, yet inspiring devotional that will definitely make you laugh, but will also help you discover that indeed you are not alone, and that God’s gracious provision of love and faithfulness is at work in your life and of your loved ones.

Whether you’re running full-speed-ahead or disappointed that it’s Monday (again), you’ll find joy in these devotions where Kerri shares hilarious stories and insights on daily life. Messy homes, messy kids, lost pets, never ending casseroles, forgetful husbands, and the desire to just take a long bath… This world can be a funny place, and these stories are bound to prove it. Read a devotion to brighten your morning, or catch a few words to make you smile before bed. There’s never a bad time for a good laugh, and as a Mom, you need a Moms' Night Out and Other Things I Miss: Devotions To Help You Survive



My Thoughts:  

Mom's Night Out is the the novelization for the movie with the same title written by Tricia Goyer. The book is a true to life look at the struggles and triumphs as a Mom we all feel. Allyson just wants a night out with her friends to go to a grown up restaurant to enjoy grown up company so she gets a GroupOn coupon and enlists the help of her husband to make it happen, someone has to watch the children.  No one is prepared for the kind of night these families have including a missing child, a motorcycle gang from a tattoo parlor, and ending up at the police station. 

Tricia Goyer's novelization of this movie is fantastic. I personally haven't seen the movie yet because I wanted to read the book first before seeing it. Mom's Night Out is a laugh out loud, keep your tissues close kind of book. As a Mom, I found myself relating to these women in almost all situations except I don't have twins. I loved all the characters in this story especially Bones, who is not what he seems. He is a big guy who is part of a motorcycle gang and owns a tattoo parlor. He does whatever he can to help the Moms in their search for a missing child and the husbands. Bones really gives of himself and definitely surprises Allyson. Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. I spent much of my time laughing out loud and shaking my head as events unfolding were so familiar. I did also find myself crying in places where I could completely relate to feelings of  being overwhelmed and undeserving of what I have with my family.  This book really captures motherhood, parenting, and friendship. I truly enjoyed this book and highly recommend this book to anyone who reads Christian Fiction. You won't be disappointed! I give this book 5 STARS.

Mom's Night Out and Other Things I Miss Devotional to Help You Survive By Kerri Pomarolli is a great companion to the novel.  Another laugh out loud, keep your tissues handy read. I found myself really looking inside myself and convicted on many of the issues and feelings brought up by this devotional. Kerri Pomarolli really captured things for Moms in all stages of life and all types of family situations whether married, single, stay at home, or working moms. Reading Kerri Pomarolli's anecdotes from her own life and family really helped to relate to her and what she was saying. I am personally a mom of two teenagers and a preteen and I really found myself relating to the things brought up in this devotional whether we were already through that season or not. I found myself thinking back to baby and toddler years remembering the good, bad, and the ugly.   This devotional really opened my eyes to the fact I am not alone in my feelings and that it's alright to have these feelings.  I learned a lot in this devotional and plan on reading it again especially when I am feeling inadequate.   I found this devotional so inspiring and thought provoking and highly recommend reading it alongside Mom's Night Out. They really go hand in hand. I give this devotional 5 STARS. 

 USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer has written the novelization to the much-anticipated movie, Moms' Night Out. Don't miss this hilarious family comedy that celebrates real family life—where everything can go wrong and still turn out all right.

And, look for the companion devotional written by comedian Kerri PomarolliMoms' Night Out and Other Things I Miss: Devotions To Help You Survive.

Tricia and Kerri have teamed up for the "No More Frumpy Mommy" challenge.
Moms Night Out Tricia Goyer Kerri Pomarolli
Motherhood can sometimes seem like survival of the fittest. Every day brings its own troubles, and by the end of the day, you’re spent. Between school, soccer practice, cleaning, laundry, cooking dinner, putting away dishes, and keeping your kids from going at each others’ throats, the last thing on your mind is getting away for an evening. If that’s you, you’re invited to take part in Tricia and Kerri's No More Frumpy Mommy challenge.

Tricia and Kerri will choose 10 winners to receive a Fandango gift card to see Moms' Night Out, as well as copies of Moms' Night Out (the book) and Moms' Night Out and Other Things I Miss. One grand-prize winner will receive $200 to put toward her own moms' night out or her own moms' night out "ride" (getting her car detailed and cleaned).