Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Not Guilty By Teresa Pollard and Candi Pullen

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

Book Description:

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

Friday, October 18, 2013

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

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

Book Description:

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

 Check out this great contest!

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

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

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

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

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

Book Description: 

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

My Thoughts: 

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

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

 Please check out this fantastic contest!!

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

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

Friday, October 11, 2013

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

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

Book Description:

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

Monday, October 7, 2013

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

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

 Book Description:

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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...