Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Living In Harmony: New Beginnings Series By Mary Ellis

I received this e-book from Harvest House Publishers through NetGalley.com for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this e-book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

Living in Harmony is the first book in bestselling author Mary Ellis’s New Beginnings series. It’s about fresh starts and love…and how faith in God and His perfect plan for our lives provides us with the peace and joy we desire.
Amy King—young, engaged, and Amish—faces difficult challenges in her life when she suddenly loses both of her parents in a house fire. Her fiance, John Detweiler, persuades her and her sister Nora to leave Lancaster County and make a new beginning with him in Harmony, Maine, where he has relatives who can help the women in their time of need.
John’s brother Thomas and sister-in-law Sally readily open their home to the three newcomers. Wise beyond his years, Thomas, a minister in the district, refuses to marry Amy and John upon their arrival, suggesting instead a period of adjustment and counseling. During this time Amy discovers an aunt who was shunned. She wishes to reconnect with her, but this puts a strain on her relationship with John.
Can John and Amy find a way to live in happily in Harmony before making a lifetime commitment to one another?

My Thoughts:

Living in Harmony is the first novel by Mary Ellis I have had the privilege to read.  Living in Harmony is the first book in a new series called New Beginnings.  As a huge fan of Amish Fiction I could not pass up the opportunity to read this novel.  Living in Harmony is a wonderful book that takes you from Lancaster County to a very small Amish community in Harmony, Maine.  Mary Ellis writes with authority about the Amish and their different lifestyles, Lancaster County, and Harmony, Maine.  The characters in this novel are great and very real. The characters aren't perfect and have messy lives. Mary Ellis shows her readers that the Amish deal with the same things we do and their lives are not perfect.  I found it very hard to put this book down. It grabbed my attention from the start.  I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Christian Amish Fiction! You will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.

A Path Toward Love By Cara Lynn James

I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through booksneeze.com for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinion expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

Katherine came home to forget her past.
The last thing she expected is a hopeful future.
Young widow Katherine Osborne returns to her family’s rustic camp on Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. She’s determined to live a quiet life, but her socialite mother is equally determined to push her into a new marriage while she’s still young.
Andrew Townsend has known Katherine since they were children. An attorney who is successful, but not wealthy, he knows she is socially out of his reach. But he’s curious what changed the free-spirited girl he once knew into this private, somber young woman.
Katherine has kept hidden the details of her unsuccessful marriage. When past sins come to light, she must turn to God for the courage to be honest. But how can she trust the God she feels has let her down? When she confides in Andrew, their relationship takes a dramatic turn into uncharted territory.
Amid impossible obstacles, two young people must learn to trust enough to walk the path that God has cleared for them. A path that leads to healing and restoration. A path toward love.

My Thoughts:

 A Path Toward Love is the fourth book that Cara Lynn James has written and all I can say is AMAZING!!  This novel is not A Ladies of Summerhill novel.  A Path Toward Love is a historical novel that takes place in 1905, more specifically the summer of 1905.  Katherine Osborne is very young widow who left home 8 years before. Katherine comes from a very wealthy family and the man she wanted to marry was not good enough according to her parents.  Katherine and her husband returned to Florida to run his father's orchard.  After Katherine's husband dies she continues to run the family business, which was uncommon in those days.  Katherine's father and his attorney, an old friend of Katherine's, head to Florida to try to convince her to sell the orchard and come back home.  Katherine doesn't want to sell it but is in desperate need of money or she will lose the orchard. She makes a deal with her father to come home to the family's camp in the Adirondack Mountains for the rest of the summer and then he will give her the loan. 

A Path Toward Love is a wonderful novel. Cara Lynn James writes with authority of the time period, the different places in the world, the culture, and the society rules of 1905.  The characters in this story are very real. I felt like I was there watching the whole story unfold in front of me.  The descriptions of everything puts you right there in 1905. This story grabbed me from the start and held my attention until the end.  I had a very hard time putting the book down.  Cara Lynn James writes a story of love, betrayal, families, forgiveness, and how we need to follow the path that God puts before us.  I truly find myself get lost in Cara Lynn James' novels, they truly take you to another time and place.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction and Romance.  You won't be disappointed. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cooking The Books: A Sloane Templeton Mystery By Bonnie S. Calhoun

I received this e-book from Abingdon Press through NetGalley.com for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this e-book. The opinions expressed here are my own!

Book Description:

After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also "inherits" a half-batty store manager; a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood who meet at the store once a week, but never read books, called the Granny Oakleys Book Club; and Aunt Verline, who fancies herself an Iron Chef when in reality you need a cast iron stomach to partake of her culinary disasters. And with a group like this you should never ask, “What else can go wrong?” 

A lot! Sloane begins to receive cyber threats. While Sloane uses her computer forensic skills to uncover the source of the threats, it is discovered someone is out to kill her. Can her life get more crazy?

My Thoughts: 

Cooking The Books is the first book in The Sloan Templeton Mysteries Series by Bonnie S. Calhoun. Sloane Templeton inherits a bookstore, a flighty store manager, strange elderly business owners, and an aunt that thinks she can cook when her mother dies suddenly of a heart attack.  Sloane takes over the bookstore and all the issues including death threats.  Sloane's only shelter in the storm is her boyfriend who is a psychiatrist.  As things get weirder, Sloane wonders, What else can happen?

 Cooking The Books is Bonnie S. Calhoun's debut novel and she really has a winner here!  Cooking The Books is a fast paced mystery story.  The characters are hilarious and quirky.  You truly feel the family dynamic in this novel and the dysfunction.  The characters are well written and are real people going through real things.   Bonnie S. Calhoun writes with authority about books, computers, love, abuse, and God's appearance in all circumstances.  I was hooked by this novel from the first page and really had a hard time putting it down.  This fast paced mystery/thriller keeps you guessing until the end.  The twists and turns this novel takes will keep you on your toes.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Mystery Fiction. You will love Sloane Templeton! I sure do! I cannot wait for the next book in The Sloane Templeton Mysteries. 

Angel of the Cove (Smokey Mountain Dreams) By Sandra Robbins

I received this e-book from Harvest House Publishers through NetGalley.Com for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

In the first book in the Smoky Mountain Dreams series, acclaimed author Sandra Robbins weaves a tale of love, loss, and God's faithfulness in every circumstance.
Anna Prentiss has never wanted to be anything but a nurse. Before she can start school in New York, however, her brother sends her to Cades Cove, deep in the Smoky Mountains, to spend a summer apprenticing to the local midwife. Anna is determined to prove herself and then head to the big city.
But nothing could have prepared Anna for the beauty of the Cove, or the community and friendships she finds there. And she certainly wasn't prepared for Simon Martin, the handsome young minister, or the feelings he arouses in her. Has God's plan for Anna changed? Or is she just starting to hear Him clearly? 

My Thoughts:

Angel of the Cove is the first book in Sandra Robbins newest series Smokey Mountain Dreams.  Angel of the Cove is a wonderful story about Anna Prentiss whose life dream is to be a nurse. She was all set to start school in New York but her father passes away and Anna's brother, as the head of the household, decides she needs spend the summer assisting a midwife in Cades Cove, deep in the Smokies. If this all works out then she can start school in the fall.  Anna makes it her mission to prove her skills and her desire to be a nurse.  As Anna starts working and living in Cades Cove she finds herself being submerged in the towns peoples lives, loving Cades Cove, and having feelings for Simon, the minister.  

Angel of the Cove is the first book by Sandra Robbins I have read and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  When I read the book description I was intrigued.  I have become a huge fan of Historical Fiction and being a fan of medical type books and television shows it seemed to be right up my alley. Boy was I right!  Sandra Robbins writes a wonderful story about
of love, loss and God's faithfulness in everything that happens.  The characters in this story are well written and entertaining.  I really enjoyed the people of Cades Cove!  The descriptions of Cades Cove are very detailed and as I read I could see it in my minds eye like I was right there.  Sandra Robbins writes with authority about the time period, Cades Cove, and life in the mountains.  I truly enjoyed this book.  I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction.  I cannot wait to read the next book in this series!!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Season of Love (Kauffman Amish Bakery Series #5) By Amy Clipston

I received this e-book from Zondervan Publishing through Netgalley.com for no charge for my honest review of this e-book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

In the fifth and final novel of the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series, three young women are about to change their lives. Lizzie Anne and Samuel have decided to get married, and Lindsay is about to be baptized in the Amish faith and is courting Matthew. While Katie Kauffman is happy for her friends who seem to have settled their futures, she is also finding herself something of a fifth wheel. When Lindsay's sister Jessica returns to Bird-in-Hand, she finds that Jake Miller has moved on with his life. He lost hope that Jessica would ever be satisfied to settle in rural Pennsylvania and takes comfort in becoming close friends with Katie. However, it's not an easy road as Jake is Mennonite and Katie has just been baptized in the Amish faith. Her father forbids them to see each other, adamant that his daughter marry an Amish man. A Season of Love is filled with surprising twists that will grip you to the very last words. As the stories of your favorite Amish community draw to a close, join Lindsay, her friends, and all the people of Bird-In-Hand for one last volume.

My Thoughts:

 A Season of Love By Amy Clipston is the last book in her wonderful Kauffman Amish Bakery Series and she really ends this series beautifully.  As a huge fan of Amish Fiction, Amy Clipston is one of my favorite authors of Amish Fiction and her Kauffman Amish Bakery Series has been one of my all time favorite series. I am sad to see it end but Amy Clipston does a wonderful job of concluding this series that really covers every and all.  In this book the focus is on Katie Kauffman and Jake Miller but all of the characters are in this story from the past books.  Lindsay is about to be baptized into the Amish faith and is in a relationship, Lizzie Ann and Samuel (Katie's Brother) are getting married, and Katie is baptized but has not found that person and isn't too sure about her future.  Katie starts to feel like the odd man out with her friends.  Jake Miller, a Mennonite who works with the Kauffman's, and Katie start a friendship that begins to be more but Amish and Mennonite cannot marry according to the Amish Church.  Katie's Father makes it clear she is NOT to talk to Jake Miller but she and Jake find themselves in many situations together.

A Season of Love truly wraps up this series just beautifully.  In this fifth and last book we get to know Katie and Jake but also get to see the other characters who we have grown to love.  The characters in this book are well written and easy to love. Amy Clipston writes with such authority about the Amish Faith, the Mennonite Faith, and Bird In Hand, Pennsylvania.  Amy Clipston's style of writing really puts the reader right there, seeing everything unfold before you.  I have always had a hard time putting Amy Clipston's books down and this one is NO exception. It truly had my attention from the beginning until the very end.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction! You won't be disappointed. I am excited to see what Amy Clipston's next project is!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bees In The Butterfly Garden(A Guilded Legacy Novel) By Maureen Lang

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

Book Description:

Raised in an exclusive boarding school among Fifth Avenue’s finest, Meg Davenport has all she’s ever needed . . . but none of the things she’s wanted most, like family, or dreams of a future that includes anything other than finding a suitable match. So when her distant father dies, she seizes the chance to throw etiquette aside and do as she pleases. Especially when she learns that John Davenport wasn’t the wealthy businessman she thought, but one of the Gilded Age’s most talented thieves.

Poised to lead those loyal to Meg’s father, Ian Maguire knows the last thing his mentor would have wanted is for his beloved daughter to follow in his footsteps. Yet Meg is determined, and her connections to one of New York’s wealthiest families could help Ian pull off his biggest heist yet. But are they both in over their heads? And in trying to gain everything, will they end up losing it all

My Thoughts:

Bees in the Butterfly Garden is the first book by Maureen Lang I have read.  I have seen many books by Maureen Lang but hadn't had a chance to read any until this one and I am hooked.  Bees in the Butterfly Garden takes place in the year 1883 in New York.  Meg Davenport has spent almost all of her life in an exclusive boarding school, never really getting to know her father. Her mother died and her father wanted to make sure Meg grew up to be a lady like her Mother.  Meg tried to runaway from school many times to get to her father but never made it far.  Meg didn't know that her father was a professional thief.  When Meg gets word her Father has died, she leaves her life at school to go to his funeral and learns who her Father really was. Determined to prove she is her Father's daughter she teams up with his "gang" to help them steal from a family Meg knew from school.

Maureen Lang weaves a wonderful story about family, love, betrayal, and faith.  The characters in this story are well written and very real.  I really found myself connecting with them and their plight. The descriptions of the time period were accurate and vivid. I found myself feeling like I was right there watching it all unfold.  I found this book to hard to put down and it really got my attention from the beginning and continued through until the end.  I truly enjoy Maureen Lang's writing style and her attention to detail.  It is obvious she puts a lot research into her books and it shows in the details. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I look forward to reading more by Maureen Lang.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cottage By The Sea By Robin Jones Gunn

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 daughter’s gift of time, a father’s silent wish.
Erin Bryce and her best friend, Sharlene, count the day they start their wedding planning business as a very happy day. So much so that they name their company The Happiest Day to reflect the fulfillment of their long-held dream as well as their clients’ longing for a wedding celebration to match the exhilaration of being in love. As a bonus, the two women utilize their business to help Erin’s son Jordan and his fiancee, Sierra, plan a grand wedding.
But the two friends aren’t prepared for the cloud moving in to cover the sunny, successful start of their business. Erin’s father, who lives in a small coastal Oregon community with his brusque, downright odd second wife, Delores, develops a medical problem that puts him in the hospital. Erin responds by rushing from Southern California to her father’s—and oh, yeah, Delores’s—cottage by the sea.
What greets Erin when she arrives sends her tumbling down a bewildering path to a different kind of happiest day. Her journey tosses her through highs and lows of hurt and healing, betrayal and renewal, wrong assumptions righted, and the brightest future one could ever hope for. All just around the corner, at the cottage by the sea.

My Thoughts:

Cottage By The Sea by Robin Jones Gunn is a wonderful story of a daughter's experience with her father as he battles a medical issue.  This story tells the journey Erin Bryce takes while trying to care for her father, the ups and downs, the highs and lows, and how when she embraced God's help things went different.  I truly enjoyed this story. Robin Jones Gunn writes with authority about illness, taking care of a parent, and also Moss Cove, Oregon. The words she uses to describe this town and the cottage by the sea, Hidden Cottage made me feel like I was right there seeing all of the details and could almost smell the sea air.  This story also talks about the relationship between a father and daughter, that special bond.   The characters in this book are very real people who aren't perfect.  Robin Jones Gunn's characters are very transparent and that is such a great thing.  Cottage By The Sea was very hard to put down and I enjoyed every minute of it.  If you enjoy Christian Fiction: Chick Lit, you will enjoy this story.  I look forward to reading more books by Robin Jones Gunn. 

The Egyptian Princess: A Story of Hagar By KD Homberg

I received this audiobook for no charge from the author and Celebrate Lit Blogger Program in exchange for my honest review of this audiobook...