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Dec 8, 2013
Promise to ReturnPromise to Return by Elizabeth Byler Younts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's not often that a book keeps me up late at night - but this one did! I couldn't put it down last night until I physically couldn't keep my eyes open. And after my chores were done this morning, I was right back into it and read until the end.

Elizabeth Byler Younts takes us back to WWII and an Amish community whose young men were drafted. They could honorably serve out their time at a CPS (Civilian Public Service) camp but Henry Mast couldn't. He felt God leading him to enlist.

Miriam Coblentz wanted nothing more than to marry Henry and live happily in their community. She couldn't understand the changes in him after being at the CPS camp. She tries to please everyone, but can she really please anyone?

Beautifully laid out, this novel will pull you through an emotional journey of love, loyalty, and faith. I highly recommend it!
Dec 5, 2013
A Little Bit of Charm (The New Beginnings, #3)A Little Bit of Charm by Mary  Ellis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rachel King loves working with horses, but not like most Amish girls do.  She wants to ride thoroughbreds.  Riding in an Amish dress isn't exactly practical.  When Rachel takes a job at a thoroughbred horse farm, she doesn't expect to fall for the horseman as well as the horses.

An avid horse racing fan, I cringed at the repeated mention of yearling races.  Yearlings don't race.  Horses are started racing as 2-year-olds.  But it doesn't bother the story or the romance between Rachel and Jake.

The faith thread in this story is believable and interesting.  Choices - both Amish and English - can change a person, for either good or bad.  Realizing the choices for what they are takes discernment and often time. 

A gentle romance suitable for any age.  I highly recommend this one.

View all my reviews
Dec 1, 2013

I am blessed - incredibly blessed - to be part of an awesome group of writers known as the Quid Pro Quills.  We started as a spin-off from the American Christian Fiction Writer's Scribes group.  We've grown into an active, supportive, accountability, critique group.  And along the way, we've become friends.

Today, December 1, 2013, we are launching the Quid Pro Quills web page.  That's right... we're going BIG TIME!  Stop by and meet the ladies - known affectionately as "the Quids."  We plan to provide some fun stuff for readers who want a peek at the writers behind the quills. 
Nov 26, 2013
Country Faith
compiled by Deborah Evans Price

Five big stars to this one!  I didn't expect to be so blown away by the photography in this book.  Wow.  Stunning layout and design all the way through.

The book contains photos of country music stars on one page and on the opposite page, a Bible verse and why it is important to them.  Plenty of big names including Lee Greenwood, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Daniels, and even Ray Stevens. 

An impressive coffee table book with meaning.  Great Christmas gift idea for the country music fan in your life!
Nov 21, 2013

I'm excited today to interview Candice Patterson, author of the Christmas novella, Bright Copper Kettles.

Here's a bit about Candice:
Candice Sue Patterson studied at The Institute of Children’s Literature and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in southern Indiana with her husband and three sons in a restored farmhouse overtaken by books. When she’s not tending to her chickens, splitting wood or baking bread, she’s at her computer working on a new story. Candice writes contemporary romance with threads of nostalgia set in the east coast.

Here's a bit about Bright Copper Kettles:

Christmastown, Vermont: where it’s Christmas 365 days a year…

To Darcy Carr the holiday is depressing enough without reliving it every day. Her thriving wreath business and faithful cat are no longer enough to distract her from the pain of her past memories or her current loneliness. Is her frosty neighbor, the only man in town with no Christmas decorations, just another Scrooge, or could he be the one she’s been looking for?

Coppersmith Dean Whitfield hasn’t celebrated Christmas—or anything else—since the death of his wife and unborn child. And he certainly has no desire to carry on the family tradition of crafting a star for the town’s Christmas tree, even if it will benefit a charity. Can Darcy and the joy of the season thaw his frozen heart and help him love again?

And now the interview!  I love the title Bright Copper Kettles.   A line from one of my favorite songs.  Which came first, the title or the story?

The title came first, as it does with all of my stories. It all started with an article I read about the D. Picking Company in Ohio who still makes copper kettles by hand after over 140 years in business. I love all things nostalgic and knew I wanted to include that in my story. The picture that accompanied the article showed a gleaming copper kettle that reflected images of the room. That sparked the faith message of the story. And the title is part of a very famous song, so with that I figured I couldn’t go wrong. 

What is Darcy’s biggest fear? 

Darcy’s biggest fear is never finding Mr. Right, growing old in a big house with no one but her cat for company.   

What do you like most about Dean?

I love his heart. He’s a warm, giving person who let grief bury him so deep he forgot who he was. I love his transformation back to the man God created him to be.

Why is the setting important to this story?

Many of us love Christmas so much that we want it to be Christmas every day. In Christmastown, Vermont, it is. In a snowy village full of bed and breakfasts, candy stores, and craft shops, there’s no better place for two business owners to fall in love.

Which Bible verse would you most ascribe this story and why? 

Jeremiah 18: 6—O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. (KJV)

Even though the story is about copper kettles and not clay, the same principle applies. It takes work, patience, molding, and sometimes fire to make a usable earthly vessel, the same as it does for our lives as Christians to become usable vessels for Christ that reflect Him.

What do you hope readers will take with them from Bright Copper Kettles?

Sometimes in the midst of tragedy, it feels like God isn’t there, even though He is. The book’s theme is: The God on the mountain (good times) is still God in the valley (hard times). The thing I want readers to take away most is that even when we’re hurting or angry, we can tell God. He already knows what we’re going through. If we tell Him how we feel, it keeps the door of communication with Him open so he can speak to us. If we clam up and don’t pray, even when it’s hard to, we close that door and can allow our emotions control us. Then we become unusable vessels for Him.

What are you working on now?

Very soon, I will begin a new Christmas story (book #2 of My Favorite Things series). I’m currently putting the final touches on a novel that I’ve been working on all year.

Where can people connect with you?

I love meeting people through my blog and Facebook page. 

Candice is a member of the Quid Pro Quills, the American Christian Fiction Writers critique group I belong to.  We've known each other for over a year now.  Candice keeps me in line and helps my characters become "real."  Her characters are very real and fresh.  You'll enjoy Bright Copper Kettles.

Nov 18, 2013

I'm excited today to interview Robin Patchen, author of the new Christmas novella, Faith House.  

Here's a bit about Robin:

If time and money were no object, Robin Patchen would travel constantly. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world--twice. Because, as you know, the first time, you don't know exactly what you want to see. So you flit from one tourist attraction to another and enjoy every minute of it. But it's always on the last day that you find the best thing, and you don't have enough time to explore it properly, and you wished you'd discovered it first (but even if you had, you wouldn't know it was the best thing, because you hadn't seen everything else yet). So you have to go back a second time. It's just logical.

Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and Robin's family doesn't want to follow her all around the world, so she does the next best thing: she writes. In the worlds she creates, she can go back to the best places time and again. And when they're not perfect, that's all right--she just edits until they are.

In the real world, Robin is married to the man of her dreams, Edward, and together they have three children, Nicholas, Lexi, and Jacob. Her family is a close second on her list of priorities after her relationship with Christ.

So that's Robin's life: God, husband, children, and made-up worlds where she has complete control. Who could ask for more?

Here's a bit about Faith House 

When Hurricane Sandy destroys Sadie’s home, she’s determined to restore it. She promised her dying grandmother she’d never abandon the house that is the only link to Sadie’s schizophrenic father—a man who disappeared twenty years ago.

Max has loved Sadie since grade school, but their mutual friend died when they were teens. A decade has passed, and he’s finally found her. This time, he won’t lose her—not to a flooded house hundreds of miles from home, or to her false hope as she awaits her father’s unlikely return.

When Sadie discovers her house is underinsured, she faces an impossible decision. Can she trust God enough to let go of her only connection to her dad? Can she trust Max enough to let go of her heart?

And now the interview!  You live in Oklahoma, Robin, so how did Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast, touch you so deeply?

Living in Oklahoma, I’ve had ample opportunity to witness natural disasters. We have tornadoes every year, some that leave total devastation in their wakes. I’ve known families who’ve lost their homes in the storms, even families who’ve lost loved ones. And each time, like everyone else, I pray and I cry and I try to help.

But even the most destructive tornadoes, like the one that hit Moore this past spring, don’t do nearly the damage Hurricane Sandy did. Perhaps it was the length of the storm, seeing the pictures on the TV for a couple of days, that affected me. Perhaps it was the thought of all those hundreds of thousands of people trying to survive it. When there’s a storm in Oklahoma, it’s confined to one or two relatively small areas. But I thought about the people living in the places worst hit, and I thought, their neighbors can’t help. They were hit, too. Their churches are flooded. Their schools are damaged. The grocery stores have no electricity, the gas stations have no fuel. So where do you turn for help? When your insurance company can’t handle the calls because thousands of others are clogging the phone lines, when your bank isn’t answering because their phones are down, too—what do you do?

And then I saw the photographs in the days following the storm, home after home after home, flooded, moved off its foundation, or broken to bits. Each one of those houses represents a person, a family, a story. I don’t know why it impacted me like it did, but I couldn’t get the images of those homes out of my mind.

What is Sadie’s biggest fear?  

Sadie fears she will develop schizophrenia like her father and grandfather did. She is terrified of losing her grip on reality, of losing her ability to control her life. So she tries to control everything, gripping the things that matter to her life a child with a security blanket. She’s terrified of letting go of any thread, afraid perhaps that will be that thread that leads to her own madness. She desperately wants to find her father, because she believes if she can only be with him again, she will feel secure, like she did when she was a child, long before her father left and she discovers his mental illness.

What do you like most about Max?  

Max is that geeky guy from high school, the one none of the girls wanted to date and most of the guys either teased or ignored. Super smart, incredibly kind, and always overlooked. But now, a decade after high school, Max is handsome and successful—a great catch for any girl. But he’s never quit loving Sadie, the girl he fell for when he was twelve years old. What I like best about him is that he would do almost anything for, but when she asks him to do something he knows will be bad for her, something he knows God is not behind, he refuses. He risks losing Sadie to obey God and, ultimately, to take care of the girl he loves.

A portion of each sale is going to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  

How will this happen? There are so many great organizations still working to help clean up and rebuild the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, it’s been difficult to decide where exactly to donate the money. But because my book focuses specifically on homes destroyed, I’m going to donate to Habitat for Humanity’s Hurricane Sandy fund. See their website here:

Which Bible verse would you most ascribe this story and why? 

In Faith House, Sadie needs to learn to trust God and surrender to his plans for us. There are a lot of scriptures that address that, but that one that comes to mind is Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” In light of the fact that God surrendered his only son out of his great love for us, how can we doubt that he will take care of everything else in our lives? This is an issue I struggle with, especially lately as I watch my teenage kids dealing with some serious issues. I want to rescue them, to shield them from everything bad in the world, but knowing how much God loves me, and how much he loves my kids, I have to daily remind myself to trust him. He knows what he’s doing.

What do you hope readers will take with them from Faith House? 

Greater faith. Every time we decide to trust God, not ourselves, we build our faith. My hope is that this book will encourage readers to take one step of faith, that will lead to another, and then another, that we would all be more faithful believers.

What are you working on now?  

The one I’m writing now takes place in Oklahoma and begins, oddly enough, with a tornado scene. I guess I’m drawn to the natural disaster thing.
Where can people connect with you?

Robin is a member of the Quid Pro Quills, the American Christian Fiction Writers critique group I belong to.  We've known each other for a couple of years now and believe me - she can write!  She also keeps me in line as our group's queen of punctuation.   

Nov 15, 2013
For Love or Loyalty (The MacGregor Legacy, #1)For Love or Loyalty by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really want to give this one a 4.5 - but of course that's not allowed. 

Jennifer Hudson Taylor has crafted yet another wonderful story with a Scottish burr.  Malcolm MacGregor and Lauren Campbell come from warring clans.  When Malcolm's mother and sister are stolen away by Lauren's father and sold as indentured servants in the colonies, Malcolm takes Lauren and follows after them.  On the journey, he struggles between his hatred of the father and his growing respect for the daughter. 

My favorite part of this story is that Malcolm's growth from clannish thug to hero, happens in the first half of the story. The second half is working through the consequences of his actions.  Working through those are where these characters really shine.

There is some more adult content - tastefully done - but enough to say this story is more suitable for older teens on up.  I highly recommend it!

Nov 2, 2013
When Mockingbirds SingWhen Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Strange. This book was way out of my normal genre reading. In fact, I'm not really sure what genre it is! A little supernatural, a little mystery, a little... creepy?! But whatever it is, it was hard to put down. It's not my favorite type of read because I really like that feel-good, wrap-up ending. This story doesn't have that. It's stark. It's real. It's a bit on the gritty side.

Nine-year-old Leah Norcross is painfully shy and stutters, badly. Recently moved to a new town, she pulls into herself. Her parents try to draw her out by inviting the whole town to her birthday party. Things spiral out of control from there. Leah sees and hears the Rainbow Man. By obeying him, she alienates the citizens of the town. Nobody understands, including her parents, but she doesn't need them to understand. She needs them to believe.

Not a comfortable read, but one that will challenge your thinking on matters of the spirit.
Oct 25, 2013
Echoes of TitanicEchoes of Titanic by Mindy Starns Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very different type of book than I normally read. I'm not exactly sure what genre it is... maybe cozy mystery? It is two stories, one of Adele Brennen who survived - or did she? - the Titanic and one of Kelsey Tate, her great-granddaughter, and how they are connected.

Kelsey's world is shaken to the core when her mentor is found dead in the office, a long-lost cousin surfaces to claim Adele died on the Titanic, and her ex-boyfriend offers to help her sort it all out.

Engaging story with plenty of twist and turns to keep the reader guessing what comes next. Well done history on the Titanic as well, brought vividly to life in the scenes on board the ship. Wonderful warm, and unexpected, ending to wrap it all up.

Oct 14, 2013
A Home for My HeartA Home for My Heart by Anne Mateer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A heartwarming story of a young woman's desire to save the orphanage she grew up in. No surprises in this one with a nice underlying message about learning to trust God and His plans. A light read for a lazy afternoon. Suitable for any age.
Oct 9, 2013
Whispers from the Shadows (The Culper Ring #2)Whispers from the Shadows by Roseanna M. White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second in a series and I'll need to go back and get the first book. Well done historical romance with interesting characters and a solid love story. I would recommend reading book one first. There is enough backstory to catch the reader up, but it certainly flows out of book one.

Gwyneth (love that name!) Fairchild is a British general's daughter who lands in the United States during the War of 1812. Thad Lane is a 2nd generation American intelligence officer. Gwyneth arrives traumatized and emotionally wounded. Thad steps into his comfortable role as protector. Add his eccentric family, her dangerous family, their assortment of friends, the mutual romantic spark... and it makes for a page-turning tale.
Oct 5, 2013
Born of Persuasion (Price of Privilege #1)Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven't read a Gothic novel in... probably 35 years. My grandmother loved them. She read voraciously and Gothics were her favorite. They never were mine. But this story is good. Very good. A real page-turner.

This isn't a spoiler, but I'll tell you, the story doesn't end. It's the first of a series and it leaves the reader hanging. If you like that type of series, you'll love it. If it annoys you no end to have a story with loose ends flapping in the wind, wait until the rest of the series is written and then pick them all up.

Julia Elliston's life is a wreck and going downhill. As any woman in Victorian England, her only option is to marry. When her childhood love turns to the church - abhorrent to her atheist upbringing - she does whatever she can to find a husband before her mysterious guardian can send her away to Scotland and a life of servitude.

Wonderfully dark with crumbling castles and wet, gloomy days, Jessica Dotta hits a home run with the setting. The characters are strong and complex, adding a lot to the plot twists and turns. This is the author's debut novel and I am looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.
Oct 1, 2013
Gunpowder Tea (The Brides Of Last Chance Ranch #3)Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the humor and spark between the hero and heroine in this story. What fun! It reminds me of a good John Wayne movie, like "Rooster Cogburn" or "Rio Bravo." The humor is spunky and fresh, not slap-stick goofy. The characters are lively and original. The storyline is intriguing and page-turning.

This is the third in a series and I didn't even realize that when I started reading it. It makes a great stand-alone story. However - now I must go back and purchase the two leading up to it! Because this one is such a good read, I have to know what came before.

If you like historical westerns with a dose of romance and intrigue, I can highly recommend this story. It is suitable for any age.

I was privileged to get an Advanced Reader's Copy, but you can pre-order "Gunpowder Tea" at Amazon or through your local Christian Bookstore if you're blessed enough to have one.

Sep 20, 2013
Waiting for Summer's Return (Ollenberger, #1)Waiting for Summer's Return by Kim Vogel Sawyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I would read this book again. It's a prairie romance in a very "Janette Oke - Love Comes Softly" type of way. Thoroughly enjoyed it! Interesting characters with an authentic German Mennonite background and enough emotional upheaval and uncertainty to keep you turning the pages. Not a new book, but any Christian bookstore can order it. (Or use Amazon if you must.) Suitable for all ages.
Sep 16, 2013
Shadowed in Silk (Twilight of the British Raj, # 1)Shadowed in Silk by Christine Lindsay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm very much enjoying this series of books set in 1920s India under the British Raj. I love learning history through fiction! I knew nothing - used literally as no thing - about India in this period except that is was under British rule. I'm fascinated by the mention of Gandhi and how the British viewed him as opposed to the Indian people. And it's all tucked into the story in such an organic way that enhances the story without overpowering it.

Along with the history is the story of a young woman who marries in haste before the soldier goes off to war only to learn - years later - that she made a very bad decision. But some amazing people enter her life who show her that God has never given her over to her circumstances. His timing is always perfect, even when ours is not.

This is the first book in the series. I read them out of order - as I am wont to do - and both can stand alone quite well. However, I do recommend you read them in order for the sake of the history within.
Sep 3, 2013
Captured by Moonlight (Twilight of the British Raj, #2)Captured by Moonlight by Christine Lindsay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Christine Lindsay delivers an exotic tale. The jungle, the monsoon, the smells and sounds, the rhythm of speech transports the reader to post-WWI India. The British rule but the country is anything but settled. Old prejudices and superstitions clash with modern medicine and Christianity. A war-decorated nurse and a veteran with a wounded spirit also clash - caught between memories and reality.

I read this without reading Shadowed in Silk, the first in the series, but I'm starting on that one tonight!
Aug 29, 2013
Winter in Full BloomWinter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, this is my 2nd 5-star review in a row. No, I'm not getting soft on authors. This book is that good! Not only is the cover art perfect for the story, but the title is perfect too. I loved it from the very first page.

Lily Winter is one of the most relate-able characters I've read in the long, long time. She's a little bit of so many women I know...myself included. Marcus Averill is the charming man every woman should meet on a park bench. And nobody can do the evil step-mother (even if she's not a "step") better than Iris Gray.

Toss in a trip around the world to track down an unknown twin sister, a confrontation with "the other woman" and the empty nest... and you've got a story that will keep you turning the pages long past lights out. Find out how they mix it all up and learn to forgive the past to build the future.
Aug 24, 2013
A Memory of Light (Wheel of Time, #14; A Memory of Light, #3)A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my word. I've been reading this series for more than twenty years. You read that right. More than twenty years! I can't tell you how much I've looked forward to this final book. And, of course, when Mr. Jordan passed away many of us Wheel of Time fans feared we'd never see it. But in his wisdom, Mr. Jordan passed the torch on to Brandon Sanderson. He could not have chosen a better stand-in to finish the series. Mr. Sanderson delivered the perfect ending. I love it. L-O-V-E-D it!

And a little part of me thinks - hopes - that Mr. Sanderson left the door open just a smidgen on another book... I can hope, right?!
Jul 22, 2013
Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another classic that deserves to be read even if they have made untold numbers of movies about it. Lizzy Bennett will forever be one of the greats in literature and who hasn't swooned over Mr. Darcy at least once? The book is so much more in-depth with these delightful characters than the films could ever be. If you love the movies, do yourself a favor and read the original. Yes, it uses some big words, but stretch yourself. You'll enjoy it!
Jul 18, 2013
Sense and SensibilitySense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can be said?  What should be said?  This is a classic and if you enjoy classics - read it!  The old style of writing - as though a story told orally - is refreshing to read from time to time.  I enjoy our modern style as well, but it's nice to change things up.  And who can't but identify with dear Elinor Dashwood? Such a lady.  Such a book.  Dust it off and give it another read soon.

Jul 15, 2013
Writing the Christian RomanceWriting the Christian Romance by Gail Gaymer Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everything you've ever wanted to know about writing a Christian romance - but were afraid to ask. Gail Gaymer Martin sets the dos-and-don'ts out in a logical, readable, and informative format. She explains not only what makes a book acceptable to the Christian marketplace, but goes much further into what it takes to write an excellent book. She is generous with her use of samples and challenges readers to get out their practice pens at the end of each chapter. I'm calling this one a "must read" if you're thinking about publishing a romance for the Christian market.
Jul 11, 2013
Cherry Blossom CapersCherry Blossom Capers by Cara C. Putman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Four short romance stories involving a group of four women who live in an apartment complex near Washington, DC. They are all connected and they all contain a bit of intrigue or mystery. I'll admit that mysteries are not a genre I'm particularly drawn to, but all four stories were engaging and would make an enjoyable summer read.
Jul 8, 2013
Forged in Faith: How Faith Shaped the Founding Fathers and the Birth of a NationForged in Faith: How Faith Shaped the Founding Fathers and the Birth of a Nation by Rod Gragg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you're at all interested in the faith of our founding fathers and how it shaped the birth of this nation, this is the book to read. A nice background of the state of religion in Europe prior to the first settlements in the New World, the book takes us through the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Well documented, the back 5th of the book is footnotes to back up the author's presentation and timeline of what was happening spiritually throughout these formative years. While not a "story" type of book, it is a very easy to follow and engaging account. Highly recommended!
Jul 3, 2013
Blowing on Dandelions: A NovelBlowing on Dandelions: A Novel by Miralee Ferrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A heartwarming story of an overbearing mother and a sincerely devout daughter who wishes to live out her Christian faith. I think this book would be an awesome group read for a women's group at church. The issue of conflict resolution within the Biblical context is well illustrated in its pages. The characters are engaging and story moves along at a good pace for such a group read and the author has included insightful questions at the end of the book. Don't overlook this one as a teaching tool.
Jun 29, 2013
Wedded to War (Heroines Behind the Line, #1)Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I backed into this series by reading the second book first. It blew me away so I had to read Wedded to War. To be honest, the second book, Widow of Gettysburg, is better. How often is it that the sequel better than the first?! But this one is. That said, this book is well worth reading and I enjoyed it.

Charlotte Waverly's heroic struggle to fit in with Miss Dix's newly formed female nursing league is full of insightful historic details. I love history and enjoyed "meeting" Dorothea Dix and Frederick Olmstead in this book. Their work and dedication set the groundwork for our American Red Cross of today.

The fate of Ruby O'Flannery, an Irish immigrant left on her own when her husband marches off to war, will touch your heart. Any woman alone, much less a looked-down-upon Irish immigrant, had very little chance of surviving on the streets of New York.

There is a touching love story tucked amid the sometimes graphic details of the hard life these nurses endured. What I appreciate so much about this series is the behind-the-scenes look at the Civil War that one doesn't often get in a fiction story. We know so much about the battles and the generals and the geography of the war, it's good to get another perspective, a fresh look at history we know so well.

I can't wait for the third book in this series!
Jun 25, 2013
The Marriage BarterThe Marriage Barter by Christine Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A classic frontier story of; woman needs a husband and the nearest available guy will have to do…with a serious twist when the lives of a group of orphans are at stake. The story is built around the true history of the Orphan Train that ferried children from the cities back east to the frontier. Some of these children were adopted into loving families while others became little more than slaves.

In The Marriage Barter, Wyatt Reed and Charlotte Miller combine forces to ensure that Charlotte can keep the orphan girl who has captured her heart. It seems a straight forward arrangement until Wyatt uncovers the darker side of the Orphan Train legacy. Fighting against court deadlines and their own battered emotional backgrounds, the two discover what the meaning of family really is.

The history is nicely integrated into this charming tale. I can highly recommend this book!
Jun 20, 2013
Courting HopeCourting Hope by Jenna Mindel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nothing ruins your day like learning your old flame is your new boss – and your new pastor. Especially when your old flame never returned the feelings – and was involved in your sister’s accidental death.

Hope Petersen would like nothing more than to quit and walk away, but if she does, she loses her chance of opening a Christian preschool. Sinclair Marsh would rather use the money to build a youth center for the teens.

Working side-by-side as pastor and secretary, they are thrown together far too often for comfort. Sinclair hardly recognizes his “buddy” from their teen years. Hope can’t trust Pastor Marsh isn’t the same reckless young man she knew as Sin.

Sparks fly from the first page in this rollicking and spirited romance. Plenty of twists to keep the reader turning the pages. I can highly recommend this book!
Jun 2, 2013
Widow of Gettysburg (Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War #2)Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A gut-punching novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way through.  You'll re-live the battle of Gettysburg at a whole new level.  From the viewpoint of the civilians caught between armies, you'll hear the cannon, smell the gun powder, and hide your eyes from the carnage around you.

Powerful.  Sobering.  Inspiring. 

This isn't a light afternoon read.  This book will challenge how you view one of the most important battles ever fought in the history of our country.  It will also inspire you to look again at the ordinary citizens who do extraordinary things.  Many of the citizens of Gettysburg lost everything in the battle.  Fields were destroyed.  Homes were damaged or destroyed.  Possessions were stolen or wrecked.  Food and animals were taken.  Then the soldiers - those who could - left.  The dead remained.  And so did the wounded... for months and months.

Follow the Widow of Gettysburg as she survives the battle, the aftermath, and the revolution of who she really is. 

May 27, 2013
Stealing the PreacherStealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fun read with interesting characters.  Loved the pluckiness of Joanna and Crockett's steady character.  More character than plot driven, they include a flirty young woman, a grouchy old woman, the young scamp of a neighbor boy, and Joanna's father - the ex-outlaw and his gang-members-turned-ranch-hands.  How they all mesh together after a less than cordial start makes for a good story.  Through it all runs a deep thread of faith that binds them together.  Well worth the read!  Suitable for any age.
May 20, 2013
A Noble GroomA Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A could-not-put-it-down ending. Loved this reverse Cinderella story. My mother's family were German immigrant farmers in Michigan, so the whole story hits close to home. But it's also a well written, heart-thumping romance.

Carl Richards can't ever tell the German immigrants who have taken him in who he really is when the soft and spoiled son of nobility finds himself down-and-out in a foreign land. Annalisa Werner's first marriage wasn't ideal, or even happy, but she's willing to marry the man her father chooses for her sight unseen. Until Carl arrives. Annalisa must learn to trust, but can she trust a man with a shady past?

Highly recommended and a book I would read again - it's that good.

May 15, 2013
Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, WisconsinLove Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin by Pamela S. Meyers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meg Alden wants to make it in a man's world. She bucks tradition, her father, and her boss to wiggle her way toward the glass ceiling. But when a report's position opens at the small press in Lake Geneva, the job goes to a stranger - a man - who steals more than just Meg's dream job.

Suitable for all ages, this is a fun read that allows a peek into the vastly changing world of America in the 1930s.