Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Murder, Simply Stitched : The Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Book 2 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 enters her quilts in an Amish auction, she never expects one of her neighbors to end up going, going, gone....
Angie is finding her niche as the new owner of her late aunt’s Amish quilt shop, Running Stitch. But as the summer is winding down, so is business. To bolster support for the shop, Angie decides to sell her quilts in the Rolling Brook Amish Auction, including some of her aunt’s most prized works.

The quilts promise to be a hit—but the gavel comes down on the lively event when Angie stumbles upon the body of township trustee Wanda Hunt behind a canning shed. The cause of death: a poisoned blueberry fry pie from Rachel Miller’s bakery table. Now Angie’s closest friend is a murder suspect. With Angie taking the lead, she and the other women of her aunt’s quilting circle set out to patch together the clues and stop a killer set on shredding the simple peace of Rolling Brook.

Includes Quilting Tips!

My Thoughts: 

Murder, Simply Stitched is the second book in Isabella Alan's series, The Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series, and it is FANTASTIC. I had the pleasure of reading  and reviewing her  first book in this series, Murder, Plain and Simple, so I was excited to get the chance to for this second one.  Angela Braddock is running the quilt shop her Aunt left her,Running Stitch, and finding her place in this Amish society. To help make ends meet and get some advertisement for her shop she enters some of the quilts her aunt made. With the help of her lifelong friends, The Grabers, she gets a spot in the Amish Auction. While walking around the auction ground, Angie walks into a crime scene, Wanda Hunt a town trustee, on the ground with a blueberry fry pie in her hand. Just like the one Rachel Miller gave Wanda after they had words about the Miller's plans to open a factory for their bakery which Wanda has been against.  Wanda Hunt died from an allergy to peanuts. Peanuts that were found in the fry pie Wanda had been eating. So Angie and the other women from their quilting circle set out to find out who did this and to help the Miller's get approval for their factory. 

Murder, Simply Stitched is a FANTASTIC story. I love Isabella Alan's writing and have had the  pleasure of reading the first book in this series, Murder, Plain and Simple. As a huge fan of Amish Fiction and suspense books, this series is PERFECT for me.  Isabella Alan writes with authority on The Amish, Quilting, baking, auctions, and police investigations. I find once I start reading Isabella Alan's books I cannot put them down and they keep me guessing until the end. I love the array of characters Isabella Alan has come up with, the new ones and the old ones but I would have to say in this book I have a few favorites, including: Angie's dog Oliver, her cat Dodger, and Petunia the goat from the auction farm. These animals have a very uncommon bond and take care of one another. Their escapades keep you laughing.  I found myself laughing out loud in quite a few parts and holding my breath in others as the action happened. This book kept me guessing until the end. This book can be read as a stand alone. Isabella Alan does a great job making sure new readers have enough information to not feel lost, but not too much that "old" readers find the details boring.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction and/or Suspense Fiction, you will not be disappointed.  I cannot wait to read the next book in this series, Murder, Served Simply, set to release December 2, 2014! I give this book 5 STARS.

Monday, November 10, 2014

All Things Hidden By Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse

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

Book Description: 

Gwyn Hillerman loves being a nurse at her father's clinic on the beautiful Alaskan frontier. But family life has been rough ever since her mother left them, disdaining the uncivilized country and taking Gwyn's younger sister with her.

In Chicago, Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan finds his life suddenly turned upside down when his medical license is stripped away after an affluent patient dies. In a snowball effect, his fiance breaks their engagement. In an attempt to bury the past, Jeremiah accepts Dr. Hillerman's invitation to join his growing practice in the isolated Alaska Territory.

Gwyn and Jeremiah soon recognize a growing attraction to each other. But when rumors of Jeremiah's past begin to surface, they'll need more than love to face the threat of an uncertain future.

My Thoughts:  

All Things Hidden is one of the latest novels by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse and it is a great book.  I have had the pleasure of reading books from Tracie Peterson but this is the first book by Kimberly Woodhouse that I have had the pleasure of reading. Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse partnered up to write this Christian Historical Fiction book about the first 200 families from all over the US that came to live in Alaska to make their homes. Gwyn and her father, Dr. Hillerman have lived in the Alaskan frontier for quite a while. Gwyn's mother and younger sister left under the premise that they were needed in Chicago to take care of their Grandpa but it was to be a permanent move because neither of them wanted to be there. Gwyn was a nurse in her father's clinic and loved the work she did. She loved the people and loved the surroundings.  Dr. Hillerman had mentored a bright young doctor, Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan in Chicago. When the Hillermans find they will need more help because of the settlers coming to Alaska Dr. Vaughan is the first one Dr. Hillerman contacts to come and help. Dr. Hillerman doesn't know that Dr. Vaughan no longer has a license to practice medicine and after that happens his fiancee breaks off their engagement. So Dr. Vaughan decides to take Dr. Hillerman up on his offer to practice medicine in the Alaska Territory, hoping that his past won't follow him there.

All Things Hidden is a wonderful Christian Historical Fiction based on the settling of the Alaskan territories and the struggles the settlers were met with. This book is fiction but so much of this book is based on fact, with many historical accuracies.  I have read many of Tracie Peterson's historical fiction but this is the first by Kimberly Woodhouse I have read.  They write with authority on 1935 in the United States, life during that time, Alaska Territories in 1935, Indian traditions and medicine,  and medical practices. I really enjoyed the different characters through out this book, so many different personalities and circumstances but all there for a common goal. My favorite character is Nasnana, Gwyn's "adopted" Grandma. Nasnana is her friend, Sadzi's grandmother and had taken Gwyn under her wing before Gwyn's mother left Alaska. Nasnana is a very spiritual person who shares her faith with everyone and shows her faith in her actions. I didn't know much about the settlements in Alaska during 1939 so I found myself learning a lot about this time in our history. I really enjoyed finding out more about it.  All Things Hidden is a great book that I could not put down and it kept me guessing until the end. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I hope to read more from this writing team! I give this book 4 STARS.

The Last Witness By Glenn Meade

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: 

 After a massacre at a Bosnian prison camp, a young girl is found alone, clutching a diary, so traumatized she can’t even speak. Twenty years later, the last witness to the prison guards' brutal crimes must hunt down those responsible to learn what happened to her family.

Twenty years ago, after the fall of Yugoslavia, the world watched in horror as tens of thousands were killed or imprisoned in work camps during an “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia. Carla Lane has little knowledge of what went on halfway around the world when she was a child. She is living a near perfect life in New York City, married and soon to have a family of her own. But when her husband is murdered by a group of Serbian war criminals, strange memories start coming back, and she discovers that she underwent extensive therapy as a girl to suppress her memories. She is given her mother’s diary, which unlocks her childhood memories and reveals that she was, along with her parents and young brother, imprisoned in a war camp outside Sarajevo.

As her memories come back, it becomes clear that she is the last witness to a brutal massacre in the prison and that her brother may still be alive. She sets out to find her brother, but first she must hunt down the war criminals responsible for destroying her life. But these killers will stop at nothing to protect their anonymity and their deadly pasts...and are determined to silence the last witness to their crimes.

From the talented storyteller who gave us The Second Messiah, The Last Witness serves up another captivating and nail-biting thriller that will keep you holding your breath right to the end.

My Thoughts: 

The Last Witness is Glenn Meade's latest thriller and it is AWESOME.  Glenn Meade is one of my top 10 must read authors so when I was offered his latest book to read and review I jumped at the chance. In this latest thriller, Carla Lane can't remember her life in Yugoslavia or in a Bosnian prison camp but it happened. Carla was raised by her Grandma in the US and is now married and pregnant. When her husband is found dead, murdered by Serbian War criminals, memories start to rush back. When Carla sees the therapist she saw 20 years before, he gives her her mother's diary from their time in the prison camp and finds out that she went through extensive therapy as a child with this therapist to suppress these memories. As she reads this diary she begins to remember everything from her time at the camp including her family. As she sets out to avenge her family and find her brother she realizes she is the last witness of this horrific experience and hopes she can find her brother. Carla is on a mission to find these men but doesn't realize how much danger she is in and how all of this has ties to her husband. 

As a huge fan of Glenn Meade I knew I had to read his latest thriller and I am so glad I did.  Glenn Meade has written a fast paced, action filled story that takes place in the present and the past. Glenn Meade writes with authority about The fall of Yugoslavia, the ethnic cleansing, the work camps in Bosnia, the state of the world during the fall of Yugoslavia, and PTSD.  The Last Witness has a component of Historical Fiction as Glenn Meade recounts the fall of Yugoslavia, something I didn't know much about when I first read this book. This book has a perfect blend of fact and fiction to give more people a look at what really happened during this time in history.  I loved learning about this time in history and it really got me to read more about it.  I loved the characters in this book, good and bad, because they have a depth and a realness. My favorite character would have to be Baize, Carla's Grandma, who raised her after she lost her parents. Baize is a true Grandma, doing what she can to help and protect her granddaughter no matter the cost to her. Baize had to keep her grief to herself so she could help Carla grow up.  I could NOT put this book down. From page one until the end it kept me guessing. I found myself holding my breath, waiting for what was coming next. This book kept me on the edge of my seat, surprising me until the end. The Last Witness is a fantastic thriller! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense/Thrillers, you will not be disappointed. I cannot to see what Glenn Meade writes next. I give this book 5 STARS.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Veil of Secrets By Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel

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

Book Description:  
Can a woman face—and forgive—her own painful past before her house of cards crumbles . . . and before her own daughter makes the same mistakes?

Melanie and Will Connors are the perfect power couple. Will is the chief campaign strategist for a rising presidential candidate; Melanie is a prominent advocate for protecting children in an over-sexualized culture. Their devotion to one another is admired, even envied.
But their marriage isn’t what it appears to be.
Will maintains an apartment in Washington, DC, and over the years his visits home have grown fewer and farther between. The long-distance marriage has enabled Melanie to avoid intimacy—and has only increased her shame about her secretive past. But then Will issues an ultimatum: We work on the marriage . . . or we work on the divorce.
The Connors commit to marriage counseling in the most brutal of environments—snowy New Hampshire, a tiny state that is first in the nation for presidential primaries and a prize to be won at any cost . . . and the price of victory keeps rising.
As Melanie sifts through the debris of her past, she obsesses over the fear that she hasn’t done enough to protect her teenage daughter. When Melanie sees her facing some of the same temptations, she knows she must intervene . . . but how can a woman with so many veiled secrets guide a daughter 
honestly?  While the country struggles with threats to its integrity and security, Melanie can no longer ignore the dangers looming in her own world. She can never undo the mistakes of her youth, but perhaps she can still save her marriage and family—if she can surrender her guilt and learn to open herself to her husband once again.

My Thoughts:  

 Veil of Secrets is the second book the awesome writing team of Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel.  I had the pleasure of reading their debut book, To Know You. A book that touched me and has stayed with me.  Veil of Secrets tells the story of Destiny Connor's adopted family and their struggles in their lives. Melanie Connors grew up in and around politics. Melanie and Will met on the campaign trail and now Melanie, Will, and their youngest daughter Sophie are on the campaign trail for Dave Dawson, who is running for president. Melanie and Will are having issues especially since most of their lives Will has been on the campaign trail while Melanie stayed home with their children to give them some normalcy. Now as their daughter Sophie has become a big part of their work, Melanie sees so much of herself and her experiences that she tries to protect her even though everyone around her including Will call her a helicopter Mom.  Will doesn't understand what Melanie is seeing. As their marriage continues to deteriorate, Melanie agrees to counseling with Will and his therapist, Dr. Sierra. As they dig into their lives, Melanie is faced with the past and dealing with it head on.  As Melanie and Will deal with their stuff, Carrie, Will's sister is dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, and the whole campaign is dealing with threats to the county from someone called, Joshua.  Melanie works hard to help everyone while dealing with her own secrets.

Veil of Secrets is the second book by this fantastic writing team and it is wonderful. Veil of Secrets deals with secrets, marriage, teenage rebellion, and finding faith and forgiveness in the midst of chaos. These authors write with authority on political campaigns, issues that plague marriages, parenting, forgiveness, and moving forward. As I read this book so many different quotes stood out to me that I felt compelled to mark them, especially as I go through a very tough season in my marriage. The first one that spoke most to me is one made by Dr. Sierra as she and Melanie work through Melanie's past. Dr. Sierra says, " We don't have to be defined by what we've done, but it does help to understand the nature of what we've done...and more importantly, why. If we don't discover the answers to those questions, we are in danger of repeating history." The second one that spoke to me is when Melanie attends a speaking engagement and one woman states, "And I am afraid that there is no God, Then we're all alone and what we are-who we are-is just dust." Melanie's response is one that really did speak to me "Sometimes I fear that too. That God exists but when He looks at me, He only sees dust. And I know that isn't true but sometimes the fear is so overwhelming, it's a veil over the truth." So much truth and conviction in these 2 quotes...but there are many more. I enjoyed the characters in this book and being part of their journeys, especially Melanie as she struggles with her marriage and parenting I see so much of myself and my life in her, even though it is fiction. I loved getting to know more about Destiny's adopted family and others from her life but I also loved getting to know how old friends from To Know You were doing and how all of their lives intersected. Even though there are characters from the first book, Veil of Secrets can be read as a stand alone. The authors do a great job including just enough details for new readers but not too much that repeat readers are bored or bogged down by details.  I could not put this book down. This book grabbed a hold of me and held on until the end. I needed a few days after reading it to truly process the whole thing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed.  I cannot wait to read what is next from this writing team! I give this book 5 STARS.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Saving Amelie By Cathy Gohlke

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: 

Increasingly wary of her father’s genetic research, Rachel Kramer has determined that this trip with him to Germany—in the summer of 1939—will be her last. But a cryptic letter from her estranged friend, begging Rachel for help, changes everything. Married to SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Kristine sees the dark tides turning and fears her husband views their daughter, Amelie, deaf since birth, as a blight on his Aryan bloodline.

Once courted by Schlick, Rachel knows he’s as dangerous as the swastikas that hang like ebony spiders from every government building in Berlin. She fears her father’s files may hold answers about Hitler’s plans for others, like Amelie, whom the regime deems “unworthy of life.” She risks searching his classified documents only to uncover shocking secrets about her own history and a family she’s never known.

Now hunted by the SS, Rachel turns to Jason Young—a driven, disarming American journalist and unlikely ally—who connects her to the resistance and to controversial theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Forced into hiding, Rachel’s every ideal is challenged as she and Jason walk a knife’s edge, risking their lives—and asking others to do the same—for those they barely know but come to love.

My Thoughts: 

Saving Amelie is Cathy Gohlke's latest book and it is just fantastic. As a huge fan of Cathy Gohlke, having had the pleasure of reading all of her books I couldn't wait to read this one. Saving Amelie takes place in 1939 Germany during World War II. Rachel Kramer has grown up in America but has made trips to Germany every year to be examined at the genetic institute her father, Dr. Rudolph Kramer, has been working with sharing his eugenics research. For Rachel this has been a normal thing her whole life but she has decided this will be her last trip.  While on this trip she receives a startling message from her estranged friend, Kristine, who married Rachel's ex boyfriend after Rachel wouldn't accept his proposal. Almost immediately following her rejection, Kristine and Gerhardt Schlick married. Gerhardt Schlick is an SS Officer and feels very strongly about eugenics and his duty to continue his Aryan bloodline but when his daughter with Kristine is born deaf, he sets his sights on Rachel, who was literally born and bred for this task. Hitler and his regime deem children like Amelie, "unworthy of life" and Kristine begs Rachel to take Amelie and raise her as her own. As Rachel starts to question her father's research and how far Hitler is willing to go for his perfect race, she digs into her father's files and finds more than she bargained for. Rachel finds out her life has been one big experiment and her life had been saved to serve one purpose, to help carry on the Aryan bloodlines. With the help of Jason Young, an American journalist who is searching for the truth, Rachel takes Amelie and goes into hiding putting everyone involved at risk.

Saving Amelie is a very deep, thought provoking book that examines one of the many horrors of World War II and Hitler's agenda for the world. As a huge fan of Christian Historical Fiction this book really touched me and my interest in WWII. I had never heard of eugenics, which is: the study of the possibility of racial improvement through selective breeding and other methods.  Cathy Gohlke writes with authority about WWII, our world during 1939, eugenics,  journalism during WWII, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his book, The Cost of Discipleship.  Cathy Gohlke writes with the perfect balance of fact and fiction to teach others about this time in history. I learned about many things I didn't know that happened during this time and how eugenics was used in such an evil way. The characters in this book are fascinating but my favorite would have to be, Hilde Breisner, Rachel and Lea's grandmother who risks her life to help not only Rachel but Amelie and a Jewish girl who needed safe passage. Her faith was unwavering and no matter what the SS did to her she never lost that faith or gave up those she was protecting, which did come at great costs.   From the start I could not put this book down and I found myself completely immersed in this story. I found myself  very emotional as I read this book and once I finished this book it took me a few days to digest everything I read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, it will not disappoint! I cannot wait to read more from Cathy Gohlke. I give this book 5 STARS.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Stillness of Chimes By Meg Moseley

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: 

  What if the pain of the past revealed an unknown sacrifice that changes everything?

When teacher Laura Gantt comes home to Prospect, Georgia to settle her recently-deceased mother’s household, the last thing she expects to encounter is a swirl of rumors about the father she lost to the lake twelve years ago—that he has reportedly been seen around town. Elliott Gantt’s body was never found and he was presumed dead.

Reeling from the sharp loss of a parent, Laura must now grapple with painful memories surrounding her father’s disappearance and the sense of abandonment she experienced after his death. Life-long friend and former beau Sean Halloran wants nothing more than to protect Laura from the far-fetched stories of Elliott’s resurrection and to care for her, but he has his own reasons, troubling echoes from his childhood, to put Elliott’s disappearance to rest.

Working together, Laura and Sean begin to uncover the truth, one mired in the wooded peaks and deep waters of the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Prospect. Can they fathom how many secrets the steep hills hold? With surprising facts revealed, will Laura be able to understand the sacrificial choices made that forever changed her life? And can love and a peace with God be rekindled in her heart after so much time has passed?

My Thoughts: 

A Stillness of Chimes is the first book from Meg Moseley I have had the pleasure of reading. In my TBR (to be read) pile I have Gone South so I am excited to read it.  Laura Gantt finds herself back in Prospect, GA where she grew up. Laura is there to settle her mother's estate and hopefully move on with her life.  Laura's father disappeared twelve years prior, presumed dead by his family but little did they know that rumors have been going all around that Laura's Dad, Elliott, is alive hiding out.  Sean Halloran found safety and refuge with the Gantt family growing up. Elliott Gantt had defended Sean from his abusive father and Sean's Dad had been suspected in the disappearance.  Sean has known Laura for years and all he wants to do is protect her from these rumors about her dad. Laura and Sean start digging to uncover the truth about her father in The Blue Ridge Mountains around Prospect. As they dig, they find out more than they thought was there.

A Stillness of Chimes is the first book I have read from Meg Moseley and I really enjoyed it.  I love reading books from The South, being a Southern Girl (at least in part). My Dad and his family come from the south and I love reading books in that setting and Meg Moseley's book is authentic in its characters and charms. Meg Moseley writes with authority about All things Southern, Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, PTSD, and The Military. As I read A Stillness of Chimes I felt like I was transported to Prospect, GA watching the events events unfold. I truly enjoyed all the characters, good guys and bad guys.  They are real people with imperfections, looking to better themselves and their lives. I found I had a hard time putting this book down once I started it. Meg Moseley kept me guessing until the end how things would turn out. I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction(set in The South), you will not be disappointed. I now have another must read author in Meg Moseley and cannot wait to read what she writes next. I give this book 4 STARS.


The Healing Quilt: The Half Stitched Amish Quilting Club Series Book 3 By Wanda Brunstetter

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

Book Description: 

Join retired Amish newlyweds Emma and Lamar Miller in Florida for the winter as they lead another quilting class with a new group of unlikely students: Jennifer, a pregnant new mom; Mike, a charter boat owner; Erika, a wheelchair bound teen; Kim, a waitress; Noreen, a newly-retired widow, and BJ, an artist facing illness. When old friends visit from Indiana, will romance also become a subject of class discussions?

My Thoughts: 

The Healing Quilt is the third book in Wanda Brunstetter's popular series, The Half Stitched Amish Quilting Club and it is great. Wanda Brunstetter is in my top 5 must read authors and as a huge fan of Amish Fiction I could NOT pass this up. I have had the joy of reading the first two books of this series so I was excited to continue this journey with Emma and Lamar Miller and their unique quilting classes.  In The Healing Quilt, Emma and Lamar Miller head to their winter home in Florida and decide to offer their quilting class while they are there. As with their other classes, The Millers get a unique group of students that range from young to old, Amish to English, and Men to Women. This unlikely group have only one thing in common, this class but as the class progresses friendships and romance start. Emma and Lamar Miller even get a visit from old friends from Indiana to round off their group.

The Healing Quilt is the latest book in this awesome series by Wanda Brunstetter. One of my favorite authors and one of my favorite genres! I have loved this series by Wanda Brunstetter. The Half Stitched Amish Quilting Club Series is a great series with some great characters.  The great part about this series is that each book can be read as a stand alone. Wanda Brunstetter's writing gives new readers enough information that you don't feel lost but not too much that loses the seasoned reader of this series. Wanda Brunstetter writes with authority about all things Amish, quilting, communities in Indiana and Florida, and medical issues/healing.  I found all of these characters enjoyable and love that we meet some great new friends while still getting to catch up with some old friends from the previous books. I couldn't put this book down once I started it. I loved being transported into the Amish world. I hope that there are more books in this series! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish Fiction, it will not disappoint! I give this book 4 STARS.

Woman of Courage By Wanda Brunstetter

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

Book Description: 

Jilted by her fiancé, Amanda Pearson gives up on romance and turns to her Quaker faith for reassurance. She becomes determined to follow the Rev. and Mrs. Spalding into the western wilderness to minister to the Nez Percé Indians.

But a three-thousand-mile journey in 1837 is fraught with danger for anyone, and soon Amanda finds herself recovering from near death in a trapper's cabin. His Indian wife becomes Amanda's first convert--and friend. But the trapper and his intriguing half-Indian friend want nothing to do with Christians.

Buck McFadden has received nothing but pain from white men who claim Christ as their lord. He wants only to be left to his solitary life, but he can't seem to walk away from Amanda.

Amanda fears she'll never reach the mission in the Lapwai Valley. This journey has become life-changing for her--and those she meets--and the choices she must make are almost unbearable.

My Thoughts: 

Woman of Courage is one of Wanda Brunstetter's latest books and it is FANTASTIC. As a HUGE fan of Amish Fiction, I have read all of Wanda Brunstetter's Amish Fiction books and she is in my top 5 must reads so I was excited to experience one of her Christian Historical Fiction books and I am so glad I did.  In this book, Amanda Pearson, A Quaker, with her father start their journey to follow Rev. and Mrs. Spalding into the wild to minister to the Nez Perce Indians.  Their journey is a 3,000 mile journey through rough terrain and Amanda's journey is fraught with tragedy and she has to decide whether to turn around or continue on, putting herself in a very unconventional situation. When Amanda gets sick, she wakes up inside a trapper's cabin with the trapper and his Indian Wife, Mary Breck.  Mary becomes Amanda's friend and her first convert to Christianity.  As tragedy continues to strike, Amanda isn't sure of her choice or if she will ever reach The Rev. and Mrs. Spalding Mission. 

As a fan of Wanda Brunstetter I was excited to have the opportunity to read and review this latest book, Woman of Courage. On top of being a huge fan of the author, I am a huge fan of Christian Historical Fiction and this book is that, taking place in 1837.  Wanda Brunstetter writes with authority about Quaker Faith, Missionaries, Indian Tribes and customs, and The  US during this time. I learned so much in this book about Quaker Faith and the lives of the Indians during this time in US History. Wanda Brunstetter weaves the perfect balance of fact and fiction that kept me reading. Although this book is a work of fiction,  it is based on the lives of Rev. and Mrs. Spalding and their missions.  I found myself unable to put this book down and surprised until the end of the journey and the outcome. All of the characters in this book were great, but my favorite would have to be Buck McFadden. He is a strong character and I enjoyed watching the transformation he went through.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Wanda Brunstetter and/or Christian Historical Fiction, it will not disappoint. I hope Wanda Brunstetter writes more of these books! I give this book 4.5 STARS.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Feast For Theives: A Rowdy Slater Novel Book 1 By Marcus Brotherton

I received this book from Side Door Communications and Moody Publishers/River North Fiction  for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

Sergeant Rowdy Slater is the most skilled-and most incorrigible-soldier in Dog Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne, an elite group of paratroopers fighting for the world's freedom in World War II.

Through a bizarre set of circumstances, Rowdy returns to the States after the war, turns his life around, and falls into the only job he can find-preacher at the sparsely populated community church in Cut Eye, Texas, a dusty highway town situated at the midpoint of nowhere and emptiness.

The town's lawman, suspicious that Rowdy has changed his ways only as a cover up, gives an ultimatum: Rowdy must survive one complete year as Cut Eye's new minister or end up in jail.

At first Rowdy thinks the job will be easy, particularly because he's taking over for a young female missionary who's held the church together while the men were at war. But when a dark-hearted acquaintance from Rowdy's past shows up with a plan to make some quick cash, Rowdy becomes ensnared due to an irrevocable favor, and life turns decidedly difficult.

Rowdy's a man used to solving problems one of two ways: with his rifle or with his fists. Will he be able to thwart his old friend's evil schemes while remaining true to his new higher calling?

This is a wild ride of a book bursting with a bank robbery, kidnapping, desperate prayers, and barroom brawls. Before the smoke clears, all sides just might end up getting exactly what they want.

My Thoughts: 

Feast For Thieves: A Rowdy Slater Novel is Marcus Brotherton's debut novel and it is fantastic.  As a fan of debut novels and historical fiction this book was one I couldn't pass up. Sgt. Rowdy Slater fought in 101st Airborne during WWII, but now circumstances find him back in the States and without a job or money. Rowdy Slater finds himself in more trouble than he knows what to do with so to stay out of prison and hopefully make a good life he finds himself agreeing to become a Preacher in Cut Eye, Texas for one year to avoid jail time.  A job Rowdy believes will be simple, turns out to be the biggest challenge he has faced yet. Small town politics, a man from Rowdy's past here to collect a debt, and the need to help save a little girl close to his heart turn this into the most difficult situation Rowdy will face.  For someone like Rowdy who is used to solving problems with his rifle or his hands he has to now figure out how to handle these things peacefully. 

Feast For Thieves is the first book in Marcus Brotherton's debut series, The Rowdy Slater Series, and it is FANTASTIC.  As my readers know I am a HUGE fan of debut and historical books so this book was a no brainer for me.  Marcus Brotherton has written non fiction but this is his debut fiction.  Marcus Brotherton has written with authority about Texas, World War II, PTSD, crimes of the time, being a Preacher, and life during this time. The historical facts are very accurate and I loved learning more about this time in history. Marcus Brotherton has a perfect balance of fact and fiction throughout this book.   I enjoyed the characters tremendously, especially Augusta Wayman, a delightful woman who befriends Rowdy at the restaurant. She shows him so much kindness and her devotion to her family especially her husband. I enjoyed her humor throughout the book.  I found myself completely enthralled in this book. From start to finish I couldn't put it down and it kept me guessing until the end.  Marcus Brotherton truly spins a wonderful story of lost faith and finding it in the most unusual places. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical fiction especially WWII, you will not be disappointed. I have found another must read author for my list. I cannot wait for the rest of the series. I give this book 5 STARS. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Brickmaker's Bride: Refined By Love Book One By Judith Miller

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 clay-rich hills of the newly founded state of West Virginia, two families tentatively come together to rebuild a war-torn brick making business.

Ewan McKay has immigrated to West Virginia with his aunt and uncle, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial help. Uncle Hugh purchases a brick making operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, and it's Ewan's job to get the company up and running again. Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he quickly feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Resolving that he'll make the brickworks enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Ireland, Ewan pours all his energy into the new job. But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work is put in jeopardy. As his hopes for the future crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. Can she help him save the brickworks, and will Ewan finally get a shot at winning her heart? 

My Thoughts: 

The Brickmaker's Bride is Book One of Judith Miller's new series, Refined By Love and it is great. As a huge fan of Judith Miller books I was excited to have the opportunity to read her latest series. The Brickmaker's Bride takes place in West Virginia, a newly founded state after the Civil War.  The Woodfield's lost their patriarch in the Civil War and are forced to sell his brickyard since there is no man to run it in their family and this gives them the means to live the lifestyle they have been accustomed to. Laura Woodfield doesn't want to lose the brickyard, she spent much time there with her father helping run it. Even though Laura was inside doing the books, she knew everything there is to run the brickyard but as a woman it is not something she can do.  Ewan McKay, Uncle Hugh, Aunt Margaret, and Kathleen immigrate to the US from Ireland  to buy and run a brickyard. Ewan has promised to trade his skill in brick making to come to the US. Uncle Hugh buys the brickyard from The Woodfields and wants Ewan to run it. Ewan enlists help from Laura Woodfield to understand the books and hopefully to receive help from her to help secure contracts. As they work together, Laura and Ewan find they have a connection even though Laura is engaged.  Ewan puts his everything in this brickyard but Uncle Hugh gets himself and the brickyard in trouble with a bad business decision and The Woodfields find themselves offering assistance to Ewan so that he can keep the brickyard and have a future, a future that hopefully includes Laura Woodfield. 

The Brickmaker's Bride is the first book in Judith Miller's latest series called Refined By Love and it's a fantastic book. This is a wonderful Christian Historical Fiction that takes place right after the Civil War in the newly founded state, West Virginia.  Judith Miller writes with authority about The Civil War, West Virginia, brick making process, brickyard management, unwed mothers, banking, and government of this time.  As a huge fan of history I absolutely love all things Civil War including the post Civil War rebuilding.  Judith Miller intertwines fact and fiction in this story. I found myself learning about things I hadn't known about during this important time in our history. I loved the characters in this story because none of them were perfect and it was interesting to watch the transformation of these characters.  Some of the characters surprised me especially Uncle Hugh and Winston. The Brickmaker's Bride grabbed my attention from the start and kept it until the end. Judith Miller has written a wonderful story that does not disappoint. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I give this book 4 STARS.

 Don't miss Judith Miller's latest novel, The Brickmaker's Bride. CBA Retailers + Resources raves, ". . . a wonderful story about faith and love throughout life’s trials."

Judith is celebrating with a Kindle HDX giveaway and  a "Refined by Love" Facebook author event on November 4th.
 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller
Enter today by clicking the button below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 4th. Winner will be announced at the Refined by Love Facebook Author Event. Connect with Judith for a fascinating evening centered around her new Civil War-era series. She'll be hosting a book club discussion, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at the next book in the Refined by Love series, and much more!

So grab your copy of The Brickmaker's Bride and join Judith and friends on the evening of November 4th 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 4th!

The Promise By Beth Wiseman

 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:    

Mallory’s search for happiness leads her to a faraway place. There she finds heartache, betrayal—and danger.

Mallory Hammond is determined that no one will stand in the way of her goal—to save a life. She had that chance years ago, and she failed to take it, leaving her adrift and in search of the real meaning of her life. Finally, she meets a man online from a volatile corner of the world who offers her the chance to find that purpose. But she will have to leave everyone she loves behind in order to take it.
Tate Webber has loved Mallory for many years. He understands that Mallory will never be happy with him until her deepest heart’s desire is satisfied. When Mallory decides to travel across the world to fulfill her dreams, Tate begs her not to go but tries to give her the space she needs. Mallory embarks on her dangerous journey only to discover how swiftly and easily promises can be broken. And Mallory can only pray that she will make it out alive.
Inspired by actual events, The Promise is a riveting love story that asks the question: how far will we go for love?

My Thoughts: 

The Promise by Beth Wiseman is the first book I have read from Beth Wiseman that isn't part of her Amish Fiction series and it is fantastic. When I read the description I felt drawn to read this story, especially knowing that the story is based on personal experience by the author.  As a follower of Beth Wiseman, I know that kidney diseases and transplants are something she has a heart for because of her family's journey for her husband's kidney transplant and that heart is felt throughout this story. Mallory Hammond watched her cousin battle kidney disease and had wanted nothing more than to help save her cousin's life but at 17 years old this decision wasn't Mallory's so she was unable to fulfill this dream. Years later Mallory has made it her mission to to help save a life and has been waiting to be able to donate a kidney to anyone who is a match but when Mallory finds out that may not be an option she doesn't know what to do. Until her boss connects her with his cousin in another country who needs someone to help him get his 16 year old daughter to the US for treatment for a terminal illness. As Mallory gets to know this man online she finds herself drawn to him and his plight. When Mallory decides to help, her boyfriend, Tate, begs her to reconsider fearing for her safety but Mallory is determined to do this no matter what the cost, not thinking the what the worst was or that it may happen to her. 

The Promise by Beth Wiseman is a unique book that depicts real life situations that happen. The Promise is based on personal experience of Beth Wiseman and a friend, and it is scary to think these things happen. From the start, this book took a hold of me and kept its grip until the very end. As I read this book the twists and turns were unexpected and kept me guessing until the end. Beth Wiseman writes with authority about kidney transplants, kidney diseases, India, Muslim faith, and government workings.  I enjoyed the characters in this story especially Verdell, the boy that Tate "adopts" when his aunt leaves him on Tate's doorstep. Verdell's story intertwines with Mallory's perfectly.  I knew this story was inspired by true events but it wasn't until I read the authors notes that I realized how close to home this was for Beth Wiseman. I could feel her personal stock in this story throughout but didn't know how personal and that really made this story hit home further for me. I enjoyed this book tremendously and found myself learning so much from this experience that I had never realized happened in our world. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed.  I personally look forward to reading Beth Wiseman's other Non Amish Fiction stories. I give this book 5 STARS.

 In a daring new novel, Beth Wiseman jumps way outside the box. The Promise will take readers far away from Amish country and small Texas towns to a dangerous place on the other side of the world. Inspired by actual events, this is the book Beth has been working toward for a long time.

Curious? Click here to read the reviews, and be sure to enter Beth's Kindle HDX giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Promise by Beth Wiseman
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 9th. Winner will be announced November 10th here.

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...