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Dec 17, 2014
The Devil In Pew Number SevenThe Devil In Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kara Hunt recommended this book to me, and I’m so glad she did. On the face of it, it’s a book about a series of tragic events that befall a pastor and his family. But at its heart, it’s a book about forgiveness.

This is not a comfortable read. It’s a true story of a family persecuted for years by a demented man … in their church. What this writer went through, as a very young child, is unthinkable. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around it. Thankfully. But it happened.

What makes this book special is how the family understood their role in God’s plan, and how they lived out their faith. Not only in the past, but even today. The ending surprised me, I didn’t see that coming. And that – always – makes a good story!

Highly recommended reading.
Dec 10, 2014
A Hero for ChristmasA Hero for Christmas by Jo Ann Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An entertaining romance set in the Regency era in England. With the background of Christmas approaching and halls decked with evergreens and holly, the story is well told and characters are engaging. A good book to help set the Christmas mood.

Catherine Meriweather had lost too much, her fiancé, her father, and her faith. Jonathan Bradby has been hailed as a hero, but only he knows the truth. Faced with the danger of smugglers in Sanctuary Bay, can the two learn to trust each other with their deepest secrets?

Dec 4, 2014
Mail-Order Mistletoe Brides: Christmas Hearts\Mistletoe Kiss in Dry CreekMail-Order Mistletoe Brides: Christmas Hearts\Mistletoe Kiss in Dry Creek by Jillian Hart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two stories that are just what you think about when you think about Christmas romance. The first one is good and the second one is even better. Curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and your favorite slippers for these.

Mercy Jacobs needs a husband to take care of her and be a father to her little boy. Cole Matheson needs a mother for his wayward daughter, but has no desire for another wife. Can Mercy bring joy to his house again?

Maeve Flannagan is running from her past and hiding a secret. Noah Miller has a bunkhouse full of men who need to be fed in an area where cooks are hard to come by. Can the copper-haired beauty actually cook? And is there room for her in his heart as well as his kitchen?

Dec 2, 2014
The Vigilante's Bride (Texas Rangers #1)The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The core story of The Vigilante's Bride is good. The hero, Luke Sullivan, is everything a western hero ought to be. Upright, honest, handsome, a little bit edgy, and a true cowboy. The heroine, Emily McCarthy, is sweet and spunky. All good stuff.

But I found the distraction of every western element thrown into this one story to be a lot to overcome. From mail-order bride, to cattle rustlers, to stage hold-up, to shootout in a bar, to Indians, to dishonest land barren ... it has it ALL . Everything. In one book. I felt at times that it was moving from one western cliche to the next without much rhyme nor reason. And it never really came around full circle to meld the beginning with the end, giving purpose to the journey of both main characters. It just ended.

Was it awful? No. Was it stellar? No. It was somewhere in between. A nice read for when you don't want to think too hard about what you're reading.
Nov 20, 2014
Stallions at Burnt Rock (West Texas Sunrise #1)Stallions at Burnt Rock by Paul Bagdon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lee Morgan was a lady working a man's job in a man's world. Raising horses on a Texas ranch was hard enough, but  at the end of the War Between the States, ex-soldiers roaming the land made it more dangerous. She and fellow horse rancher Jonas Dwyer decide to drum up buyers for their animals by staging a race. Their plan drums up a lot more than just horse buyers. Marshall Ben Flood has his hands full. This race will change all their lives.

If you like westerns you'll enjoy this story. If you know horses, you'll enjoy it. Love a western with accurate horse-sense in it! But the relationships between the characters just doesn't spark a lot of emotion, except between Lee and her ranch foreman, Carlos. The genuine friendship and respect between them comes through beautifully.



Nov 14, 2014
Where Two Hearts MeetWhere Two Hearts Meet by Carrie Turansky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First - this is two novellas published as one book. I didn't realize that when I picked it up. (My fault - it's clear if you actually read the cover.) The two stories are related, the heroines are sisters, but the second isn't a sequel to the first. Just so you know.

Allison Bennett runs a tea shop with her sister, Tessa. Things are financially tight and looking grim when in walks Tyler Lawrence. The past and the present clash when Tyler offers a helping hand with the business. Allison trusted him once, and he disappeared. Will he stay around and finish what he started this time?

Tessa Malone worked hard at the tea shop. She had to. Her husband, Matt, had led their family into financial ruin. Sure, he helped her around the house and with the kids and he had a job - one he hated. But when an elderly relative leaves him property across the country, how can he even think of uprooting her and their children again?

Good stories, worth reading when you want an uncomplicated story to relax with.
Nov 7, 2014
The Falcon and the SparrowThe Falcon and the Sparrow by M.L. Tyndall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like MaryLu Tyndall's stories. This is the third of her books I have read. It's the first one I've read that she self-published. The story is very good and I recommend it. But it could have benefited from an editor. There are places where words are missing, where boots change to shoes and then back to boots again, where a minor character's name switches spelling a couple of times. Nothing that diminishes the story, but all things that jarred me out of it for a few moments. I wouldn't be surprised if she hasn't already corrected those issues in the ebook format, but I have copy that came out quite a while ago.

Dominique Dawson is meek, unassuming, fearful ... and a spy. Admiral Chase Randal is cold, purposeful, and determined to resume his life at sea. The daughter of Admiral Dawson, who Chase greatly admired, comes to be his son's governess. He's appreciative of the change Dominique brings to his son, and caught off guard by the change she begins in him. But if he ever finds out her real purpose in his household has nothing to do with his son ... she could hang.

Told in MaryLu Tyndall's style with plenty of drama and a swashbuckling sword fight - of course!



View all my reviews

Oct 29, 2014
Believing the Dream (Return to Red River, #2)Believing the Dream by Lauraine Snelling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Return to Red River series. It picks up where the first book leaves off and sets up the third book. This series has a totally different feel than the original Red River of the North series. It reads more like a soap opera, with all the angst and personal emotional turmoil of that type of story. It lacks the gritty, deeper human struggle, the epic feel of the original series.

The characters are well developed and interesting. The history and setting are well done. The deeper historical issue of the railroads and unions is mentioned but not explored. The focus is much more on the love interests, making it more of a love story although not a traditional romance novel.

Oct 20, 2014
A Dream to Follow (Return to Red River, #1)A Dream to Follow by Lauraine Snelling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series picks up several years after the first Red River of the North series ends. We find the children of the first series graduating and thinking about life after school. The same cast of characters from Blessing are there, plus we meet Elizabeth Rogers from Minnesota. They suffer another death, rejoice over another birth, and continue to farm against the elements of nature.

There isn't much new here. There isn't a lot of compelling conflict with these older versions of the Blessing characters. They certainly don't face the challenges that their parents did. I feel like this book is simply setting up the rest of the Return to Red River series. I'm already starting book 2, Believing the Dream, and hoping it deepens the story.

If you've read the series up until now, you'll feel like you've spent time with old friends.
Oct 14, 2014
Blessing in Disguise (Red River of the North, #6)Blessing in Disguise by Lauraine Snelling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent end to this series! Or is it? Lauraine Snelling completes the stories of the main characters while leaving the door wide open for several more books to follow.

Augusta Bjorklund comes to America to help her mother run the boarding house in Blessing. Against all the advice she gets, she refuses to learn English before she boards the ship. Once on America's shore, she realizes how large the country is - and how non-Norwegian. A mix-up with the trains lands her on a ranch in South Dakota, many miles from her family and anyone who can understand her. But Kane Moyer is more than willing to try.

I liked the way this segment of the series ended. There are so many story lines to pick up on, I'm looking forward to continuing with the Bjorklund clan in the other books Mrs. Snelling has written and will write.
Oct 11, 2014
Tender Mercies (Red River of the North, #5)Tender Mercies by Lauraine Snelling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Bjorklund family continues to branch out and fill the town of Blessing in what is soon to become the state of North Dakota. Besides following the well-known characters, we're also reunited with Mary Martha MacCallister, Zeb's older sister.

While Tender Mercies keeps the story moving, it doesn't rise to the level of the four prior books in the series. It ends very abruptly, and I recommend the reader have book 6 - Blessing in Disguise - close by and ready to read. It feels as if the story will finish there.
Oct 9, 2014
The Bound Heart (The Everstone Chronicles, #2)The Bound Heart by Dawn Crandall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dawn Crandall delivers another beautifully crafted love story set in New England during the Victorian Era. The second installment of the Everstone Chronicles, we follow the lives of Meredyth Summercourt and Lawry Hampton, who we met in the first book, The Hesitant Heiress.

Meredyth Summercourt is waiting to marry Vance Everstone. And she's been waiting a long, long time. Lawry Hampton is her best friend. At least, he was ... before that kiss. And that kiss might have changed everything.

No spoilers here! But if you loved Lawry in The Hesitant Heiress, you're really going to love him in The Bound Heart. Lots of tension, some interesting plot twists, and all of it playing out in the Victorian Era of etiquette and social expectations. Dawn Crandall does a wonderful job of setting the scene and helping the modern reader understand the moral code these characters lived under.

This is one series I would highly recommend be read in order. This story definitely builds off the first story. And now I can't wait for the next book!

NOTE - I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The book is due to release on 11/3/14. Watch for it!
Oct 4, 2014
The Reapers Song (Red River of the North, #4)The Reapers Song by Lauraine Snelling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The saga continues from the North Dakota plains. Lauraine Snelling does an excellent job of keeping the story moving forward, the characters true to the books before, and interesting new characters added to the mix.

Bridget Bjorklund - Ingeborg's first mother-in-law - arrives on the plains. She brings with her a daughter, a nephew, a cousin, and an orphan she collected on the boat from Norway. The Bjorklund houses are filled to capacity.

Zeb MacCallister, a non-Norwegian, rides into town looking for work. A man of secrets with two children not his own, he captures the eye of pretty Katy Bjorklund.

And the town of Blessing takes shape as more of the Bjorklund clan and others move off the farms and into town. But not everything goes off without a hitch. In the land where dangers are many and doctors are few, hardships are unavoidable. Their deep-seated belief in God and the willingness to help each other is all that pulls them through.

Sep 30, 2014
A Land to Call Home (Red River of the North, #3)A Land to Call Home by Lauraine Snelling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ingeborg's youngest brother-in-law, Hjelmer Bjorklund, beat a hasty retreat from their North Dakota homestead in front of an angry father with a shotgun. Confessing his innocence the entire time, he pledges to come home to the girl he loves, Penny Sjornson. But after months without a single letter, the entire family is left wondering if Hjelmer is alive or dead.

Kaaren gives birth to premature twin girls. Her sister, Solveig, is due to arrive, but instead of being helpful with the twins, Solveig is seriously injured in a railroad accident. Everyday life becomes a struggle to survive.

If the railroad would map it's expansion through the Bjorklund's land, life would be so much easier. But will it? And who can find out? Will their tiny corner of the prairie become a real town... or not?
Sep 15, 2014
Love's Fortune (The Ballantyne Legacy #3)Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

She has a way with a story, does Ms. Frantz. Love's Fortune doesn't disappoint. This is the third in a series and I haven't read the first two, but it reads just fine as a stand alone story. (Although I will be purchasing those first two books - soon!)

Wren Ballantyne grew up in rustic, pre-Civil War Kentucky. After her mother's death and mourning period, Wren and her father move to Pennsylvania with his relatives. His very wealthy relatives. Wren finds herself thrust into a world and a life she never wanted.

James Sackett may be Silas Ballantyne's right-hand man, and the best river captain of the Ballantyne fleet, but he has no business falling in love with his boss's granddaughter... and he knows it. Not only was he not born to nobility, he has a price on his head.

The characters are deep, believable, and soon become the reader's friends. Struggles, twists, villains, danger, love... plenty to keep the pages turning. I highly recommend this book!

This is the third book I've read by Laura Frantz and this is the third one I've given 5 stars. Here are my reviews of The Colonel's Lady and Courting Marrow Little.
Sep 3, 2014
A Light in the WildernessA Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While reading through this I kept thinking how "real" the story was. Well researched and plausible, the characters fleshed out, with strengths and weaknesses, and understandable motivations. Then I read the epilogue and learned that it is based on a true story. Well. Duh.

Jane Kirkpatrick brings to life the story of Letitia Carson. Born a slave and later freed, Letitia navigates the unsettled landscape of pre-Civil War America. Moved from Kentucky to Missouri, she finds a place with Davey Carson. Together they make the trek westward to the Oregon Territory. At each point along the way, Letitia struggles to overcome not only physical hardship, but deep-seated prejudice. Yet she also finds friendship - and love - on the raw frontier.

Not a cozy read, this book takes us deeper into the growing pains of our nation. It also unleashes the hardships faced by women on the frontier. This is not a romance white-wash of the journey. This is gritty, sometimes ugly, but also inspiring as we watch the characters grow and change with the rugged countryside.

Aug 28, 2014
A New Day Rising (Red River of the North, #2)A New Day Rising by Lauraine Snelling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm sold on this series! It reminds me of the old TV mini-series, Centennial, that was so popular in the 1970s. A true saga of a family with all their trials and triumphs.

This is book 2 and it's every bit as good as the first one. Ingeborg Bjorklund is an easy heroine to love. She's no one-dimensional stick figure. Complicated and complex, she's a little bit of most of the women I know and admire. After the heartbreak and spiritual renewal in book 1, I was thrilled to cheer her on as she continued to scratch a living out of the thick North Dakota sod.

I love finding a series like this that is more than a decade old and completely written. No waiting for the next book to be published! Highly recommend... and moving on to book 3.
Aug 21, 2014
An Untamed Land (Red River of the North, #1)An Untamed Land by Lauraine Snelling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I'm reading the series on the recommendation - and loan - from a friend. But wow... I didn't expect the grittiness within these pages.

The raw emotions, the struggles, the realities of life with no sugar coating to glaze them over. This is powerful reading. It's the type of book where you want to have the next one in the series sitting next to you when you finish the one you're reading. This isn't a simple "happily ever after" type of story. It more real than that.

I highly recommend this book to people who like historical fiction, well researched and true to its time period. Set in North Dakota in the 1880s, Lauraine Snelling paints a picture of hardship, sacrifice, and triumph over the untamed prairie. But it's not without cost.

Ingeborg Bjorklund immigrates from Norway with her husband, his son, his brother and sister-in-law. They make their way to the plains of North Dakota and find a land that will work as hard to break them as they work to tame the land.
Aug 16, 2014
The Lady and the Officer (Civil War Heroines #2)The Lady and the Officer by Mary Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've read several of Mary Ellis's books and this one is my favorite so far. A touching depiction of the Civil War from a woman's point of view, it centers on divided loyalties.

Madeline Howard is a widow, left alone when her Union soldier husband was killed at the beginning of the war. During the battle of Gettysburg, she is rescued by a handsome Union soldier from her burning home. Sparks fly between them that have nothing to do with the fire.

With little more than the clothes on her back, Madeline makes her way to her closest relatives. . .in the Confederate capitol of Richmond.

Very enjoyable story with strong, likable characters. I highly recommend this one!

Aug 7, 2014
One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's FutureOne Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future by Ben Carson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I honestly didn't know what to expect from this book. I decided to read it based on interviews I'd read and heard from Dr. Carson. Every time the man opens his mouth, common sense falls out. I wanted to know more.

The book is a collection of Dr. Carson's thoughts on today's hot-button issues. He pulls no punches and takes no prisoners, discussing everything from political correctness to Washington in-fighting and everything in between. He offers practical - common sense - ways to look at the issues and suggests strategies - common sense - to deal with them.

This isn't a bash-and-dash-to-the-polls type of book. It's a thoughtful look at what it's going to take to move past the morass that is our current political system. Dr. Carson offers hope. It's a refreshing read for that alone.

I'm tickled pink and every other color I can think of to know that Dr. Carson is considering a run for the White House. We need common sense in Washington again. It's been a long, long time.
Jul 31, 2014
How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake MethodHow to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Randy Ingermanson presents his Snowflake Method of plotting a story by... telling a story. Filled with characters you'll recognize from childhood, Randy's story follows a wannabe writer's journey to completing her manuscript. As the heroine attends a writer's conference, we learn along with her as she slugs through a couple of classes before landing in the Snowflake Method class. Put on the hot seat, she learns - and we learn through her - how to craft a novel by taking it 10 steps at a time.

Entertaining and helpful. I can't say I learned anything new, but I am intrigued to try some of the ways Randy applies the principles he lays out in the story. Worth the cost of the e-book for sure.
Jul 27, 2014
Rekindled (Fountain Creek Chronicles, #1)Rekindled by Tamera Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this up on a free e-book offer because, you know, it was free. And it looked interesting enough. I hadn't read any of Tamera Alexander's books before, although I have seen them on the shelves of our church library. But - stop me if you've heard this before - now I'm sucked into buying the next two in this series, because it was that good.

But here's my tip: skip the prologue. In my opinion, it gives too much of the story away. I rarely read prologues, but I did this one and kicked myself about 1/4 of the way into the story.

Larson Jennings disappears on Christmas Day. He leaves his wife a note saying he'll return by week's end. But months go by, and he doesn't come back.

Kathryn learns that their ranch is in a dire financial situation. Determined to keep the land her husband loves and convinced he'll be back, she's determined to find a way to save the ranch.

This story has incredible secondary characters. As much as I liked the hero and heroine, I loved these secondary characters. Some are saintly, and others are anything but. I don't want to give anything away, so I won't say anything more.

I highly recommend this book.
Jul 21, 2014
The Lightkeeper's Bride (Mercy Falls, #2)The Lightkeeper's Bride by Colleen Coble
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Lightkeeper's Bride is the second in Colleen Coble's Mercy Falls series. It's not a bad read, but it didn't live up to the first book in the series, The Lightkeeper's Daughter.

Katie Russell is content to marry wealthy Bart Foster and become "someone" in the town of Mercy Falls until the new lighthouse keeper, Will Jesperson, comes to town. Together she and Will embark on an adventure involving a murder, an orphan child, stolen treasure, and pirates.

Below there be spoilers:

There were inconsistencies in this story that bothered me. Katie was supposedly all about keeping her job as telephone operator in the beginning of the story and that whole idea fizzles without any closure. There is an assumed murder, but the body is never found and the murder is never identified. Katie is supposed to move to the lighthouse to help care for the toddler, but leaves that up to the chaperone while she runs around after Will, trying to find the pirates. There are several scary moments with the bad guys threatening Katie if she talks - but she's never hurt while the same bad guys killed another woman.

I'll probably read the third book in the series, The Lightkeeper's Ball and hope it's as good as the first book.
Jul 13, 2014
The Hesitant Heiress (The Everstone Chronicles, #1)The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Historical romance with a touch of mystery. Dawn Crandall does a very credible job of bringing her characters to life. She paints a setting that will have you sniffing the sea air and relishing a relaxing tea in the parlor. The plot twists and character quirks will keep you turning those pages - or scrolling that screen. All together an enjoyable read that is hard to put down.

Amaryllis Brigham has felt the sting of rejection and the stab of failure, but now she's looking at a whole new future, as the heiress to her grandmother's fortune. But there's a catch. (Isn't that always the case!?) She must find a husband within the year.

Nathan Everstone is everything a woman could want, unless, of course, the lady in question is haunted by memories of his father.

He wants her. She doesn't believe him. Circumstances - and their pasts - conspire to muddle the waters even more while friends and family both help and hinder.

I can highly recommend this book and am looking forward to the next installment in this series. I received this Advance Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Look for this one to release August 1st!
Jul 7, 2014
Yankee in Atlanta (Heroines Behind the Lines, #3)
Excellent ending to the trilogy! Jocelyn Green has done a wonderful job of portraying the Civil War through the eyes of the women who were adversely affected.

Yankee in Atlanta is the story of Caitlin McKae from New York. An Irish immigrant, she flees her step-father and follows her brother off to war. Found wounded on a battlefield, she is mistaken for a Confederate and taken to an Atlanta hospital. She accepts the responsibility for raising a young girl, the daughter of German immigrant Noah Becker, who enlists to fight for the Confederacy.

Trapped in a hostile land, charged with the care of a daughter not her own, living under the suspicion of being a spy due to her accent, Caitlin has to find a way to survive not only her enemy, but her own army's invasion.

Gritty. Realistic. Powerful. Emotional. These books are well worth your time.
Jul 4, 2014
C.S. Lewis: A Life InspiredC.S. Lewis: A Life Inspired by Christopher Gordon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting peek into the author's life. Mr. Gordon delivers a nice overview of C.S. Lewis without delving very deeply into any one aspect. A good read for those who want to get an overall gist of the man behind so many powerful writings.
Jul 1, 2014
The Lightkeeper's Daughter (Mercy Falls, #1)The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Delightful tale of intrigue and love. Addie Sullivan has always wished for a large and loving family. When a stranger insists she's someone other than her parent's daughter, she finds herself plunged into a family of dark secrets. Who paid the couple who raised her all those years? Who can she trust? Who is it safe to love?

Well written, this book will keep you guessing. Addie is a likable young woman who captures the reader's attention from the start. She and her faithful German Shepherd tackle a world they never knew existed.
Jun 21, 2014
Grace's PicturesGrace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grace McCaffery passes through Ellis Island, a reluctant and frightened young woman from Ireland. She finds much more on the shores of New York than she dreamed of. Some of it good... and some of it not so good. But through it all, she finds what she needs most.

An interesting look into the life of an Irish immigrant at the turn of the 20th century in New York. Cindy Thompson does a wonderful job of painting the scene with colorful characters and drag tenements.
Jun 16, 2014
The Cat Lady's Secret by Linda Yezak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I reserve 5-star ratings for books that are so good I think I'll read them again. This is one of them! Love the characters in this story. They are plucky and sassy, the kind of people you want to invite to a backyard BBQ. I love a well-rounded story with personable secondary characters as well as interesting main characters. The Cat Lady's Secret delivers!

Emily Taylor returns to her hometown after ten years. But she doesn't feel at home. Secrets have built a wall around her heart. Scott Barlow was too timid in high school to ask Emily out. Since she's returned, he's found his courage but she's turned him down every time. Lots of questions need answers. Who is Millie? Who is setting houses on fire? Who is writing large checks?

You'll have to read the book to find out!
Jun 11, 2014
BelovedBeloved by Robin Lee Hatcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Picked off the orphan train and raised by the kindly Mr. and Mrs. Fisher, Diana Brennen is swept off her feet by handsome and wealthy Tyson Applegate. No more than a pawn in the game of frustrating his father, Tyson abandons Diana and travels the world, only to disappear on the battlefield in far off Cuba.

The day before the courts will declare Tyson Applegate legally dead, and the day before Diana will announce her engagement to Brook Calhoun, Tyson walks in on her dinner party.

He claims to be changed. She vows she will not be used again. His father hates her. Her mother distrusts him. An orphan boy, a stray cat, and a scraggly dog round out a household in chaos. Only God can bring order and calm to the Applegates.

Engaging characters and interesting story. There are multiple flashbacks to the past which,while they fill in background, I found occasionally hard to follow in the beginning. Hang with it though, it comes together well in the end.
Jun 9, 2014
The Rose of Winslow StreetThe Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another wonderful story from Elizabeth Camden! She is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

Michael Dobrescu brought his family from Romania to the United States to start a new life in the house his uncle left to him in his will. A house now lived in by Professor Sawyer his daughter Libby. Both men claim ownership.

Libby finds herself attracted to the handsome Romanian in spite of the animosity between him and her father. And his two young sons capture her heart from the start. But love is out of the question for Libby Sawyer, even with a foreigner who doesn't know her shameful secret.

Love the characters in this story. I was drawn to them immediately and had to keep the pages turning to see what would happen next. I highly recommend this one!
Jun 7, 2014
Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing’s Greatest RivalryDuel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing’s Greatest Rivalry by Linda Carroll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alydar is my very most favoritest racehorse of all time. Why? Because I loved watching him battle on and never give up. And because he was more handsome than Affirmed. (And no, you're not going to change my opinion on that.)

So I had to read this book. HAD TO READ IT. And it was well worth the time. As with most books about racehorses - it really isn't. It's about the breeders and owners of the horses. But that's okay, because without them, we wouldn't have the horse.

The first half of the book is about the ancestors of the two horses, Affirmed and Alydar, and the people who owned them. It's good reading if you love horse racing. It might be a little dry if you don't.

The second half of the book is about the greatest rivalry in sports. The dueling 3-year-old colts who captivated a nation in 1978. The lean, elegant colt from the wrong side of the tracks versus the big, burly colt with a pedigree beyond compare and their humans. Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the rivalry. Even though I've loved this story for years, I gained some new perspective of the horses and the people around them. But - all this new knowledge notwithstanding - Alydar is still my favoritest racehorse ever. ;)
Jun 4, 2014
A Place in His Heart (The Southold Chronicles, #1)A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A heart-tugging story of love and sacrifice. Mary Langton marries widower Barnabus Horton knowing he doesn't love her. He wants a mother for his two young boys and makes her no promises of love. But she loves him and is willing to be the wife he needs, even if it means never being the wife he loves. She follows him across the ocean to the New World of America, leaving her family behind, still hoping that one day he'll grow to love her.

This story spans ten years and the underlying story - which is subtle - is the persecution of the Puritans by the Anglican Church, which led to thousands of Puritans sailing for the New World. The era is well portrayed and the dialog reflective of time. I enjoyed that historical aspect very much.

The characters are real and likable, well suited to both the era and the story. I was surprised at the end to learn that the characters were real! The story is fictitious, but the characters are from the author's family tree. How fun is that?!
May 17, 2014
Rocky Mountain Oasis (The Shepherd's Heart #1)Rocky Mountain Oasis by Lynnette Bonner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sold by her uncle as a mail-order bride, Brooke holds no hope for a better future and carries the fear and guilt of an abused past. Sky hadn’t planned to marry anyone, let alone a complete stranger who is terrified of him.

Before they can start to know each other, a murder in town, a threat against Sky, and the arrival of Sky’s parents upend Brooke’s already shattered world. Sky is different from any man she’s ever known. Can she trust him? Does she want to?

Strong Christian theme throughout this story, it is suitable for older teens on up.
May 14, 2014
A Marriage in MiddleburyA Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charlotte lived a comfortable life in small town Middlebury until the day her old flame strolled back into town. With a fiancée in tow. A fiancée who asked Charlotte to cater their wedding.

A charming story involving a family mystery, a cast of unique characters, and a whole lot of people falling in love. A story about second chances and grace.

Suitable for any age, this story may appeal more to those with a few years under their belts, those who have been around long enough to appreciate a second chance.

Anita Higman does a wonderful job of creating characters who are easy to relate to and fun to get to know.
May 7, 2014
The Icecutter's Daughter (Land of Shining Water, #1)The Icecutter's Daughter by Tracie Peterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There was so much to like about this story. The characters are engaging and realistic, very easy to like. The setting is unique and interesting. The writing is fresh and clear. And the romance is offset with just enough drama to keep it interesting. So why only four stars and not five? Two reasons.

First – I know it’s Christian fiction – but it’s pretty heavy-handed with the preachiness throughout. I’m a big fan of Christian fiction. I read more Christian than secular fiction because I like a faith element. I can relate to characters whose beliefs I share. But there comes a point where too much focus on the faith becomes a distraction to the story. I skimmed over a couple of sections like that in this book.

Second – one of my pettest of pet peeves is historical inaccuracy. This book has so many wonderfully accurate descriptions of the times, but then, at the end, there is a scene with a bunch of turn-of-the-20th-century German immigrants celebrating… with cider. Really? Okay, you don’t want alcohol in a Christian novel. I get that. Then leave out the drinking and the toasting altogether. But taking beer out of the hands of German immigrants for the sake of a Christian audience who wants to believe they all drank cider… is just wrong. Leave it out completely so as not to offend, but don’t offend the intelligence of history buffs everywhere, or those of us descended from those 20th century German immigrants.

So if those two nit-picky things don’t bother you, gentle reader, then you’re going to love this story. Aside from them, I enjoyed it very much.
May 4, 2014
The Preacher's New FamilyThe Preacher's New Family by Linda S. Glaz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

T.J. O'Brien is a circuit riding preacher, footloose and fancy free, in spite of the best efforts of the match-making mommas along his route. He's perfectly happy to fulfill his vow to serve God on his solitary path.

Sarah Rycroft is a widow with a young son and a farm to run. That difficult task is made even harder when the local banker makes it plain that he won't extend credit to a woman farmer. But she's determined to save the farm for her son's inheritance.

And then they meet...

A predictable and sweet romance suitable for any age. The conflicts are both internal - spiritual, and external - the black-hatted banker. You can't help but like the characters, which include a kitten and a horse.
Apr 28, 2014
Angels Watching Over Me (Shenandoah Sisters, #1)Angels Watching Over Me by Michael Phillips
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There was a lot about this story that I liked, including the characters and the setting and the story line. But there were things I didn't like.

The ending for one, or lack thereof. It's the first book of the series and it pretty much just... stops. There is no real resolution or conclusion or anything to signal the reader that they've reached "the end." In fact, I read the e-book version and was set aback when I realized that was it! I'd reached the end. Seriously? Yup. Done.

The book is written in first person point of view, which I don't mind reading, but it seemed to waffle between that and omniscient at times which I found mildly annoying.

I'd recommend not reading this one unless you have or are prepared to get the rest of the series. I probably won't. I liked the characters and the story, but not enough to get into another book that might leave me as flat as this one did.

On the other hand - if you enjoy serial books, where one picks up right where the last one left off - you might love Angels Watching Over Me. The characters are strong, the story line is compelling, and the setting was very well done.
Apr 26, 2014
Welcome to The Sheepish Scribe, Jericha Kingston! I’m glad you were willing to slip on some boots and join me on the farm today. Oh! And doesn’t that lead in nicely to your debut release, Waiting for Lily Bloom? Give us a snippet to set the scene.

Thank you for hosting me, Pegg! I’m thrilled to be here.

         James ran in the direction of the fence. It was no use. Instinctively, his eyes closed, worthless in the blinding storm. The last thing he’d seen was Lily’s thin frame being engulfed by a dust wall that blotted out the sky.
Father, save her.
         “Lily, listen.” He yelled, choking on dust. “Use the fence to walk to me. I’m coming.” He took his handkerchief from his pocket and tied it around his head, protecting his mouth and nose. He gripped the fence railing, quickly sidestepping. Sand pelted him, stinging his skin. A rock flew into his forehead. Warmth oozed down the side of his face.
“Lily, if you hear me, knock on the planks.”
Loud knocks reached his ears in rapid, frantic blows.
“I’m coming for you, Lily. Walk toward my voice. I hear you.” He shouted above the squall. “That’s the way. Keep knocking.”
The knocking beat in his head like a woodpecker, her constant, anxious rapping drawing him nearer. “Almost there. Come to me.”
Craaack. He froze. A tree split, the deafening racket besting Lily’s constant hammering. Wood splintered, groaning as it crashed downward.
Lord, don’t let it fall on Lily.
Time stopped. How big was it? Where would it land? He braced himself for impact. With a whoosh and a thud, the limb collapsed onto the fence.
The wooden plank ripped from his hands.

There was so much despair and destruction surrounding the Dust Bowl years, what prompted you to set this story there?

Precisely because of the turbulence of the era, Pegg. We’ve seen it in our own lives. Devastating events bare us, disclosing our flaws. The setting gave me a slingshot and a mirror. The slingshot propelled the story forward, and the mirror exposed the strengths and weaknesses of the characters.

James has prayed for a wife to help him on the farm and you sent him a big city gal. That was mean, Jericha! Why is Lily the perfect woman for James?

(Laughing) I’m so glad you asked this question. How many times have we prayed for something, only to discover we needed the polar opposite? We’re quick to tell God what we want, but He knows our thoughts, our personalities, every molecule of our being. Lily is perfect for James because she reveals James’s total dependence on the Lord. She increases his faith.

Lily has no thoughts of men or marriage when she travels to visit her aunt and uncle. What is there about James that changes her mind?

Ah, James. I love him. He’s kind and patient. But most of all, he hears Lily. Even though she’s mute, James understands her expressions, her gestures, even her silence. How great is that? A man so attuned to his wife, she can’t help but love him in return.

I was privileged to read this before it Pelican picked it up. They are running it as an Easter novella, but it’s really more than that. It’s a great story of faithfulness, trust, and love. I know readers will connect with James and Lily and enjoy this story!  Tell the readers where they can find the book and how they can connect with you on social media.

Thank you for having me, Pegg! Waiting for Lily Bloom can be found at Pelican Book Group’s web site

Connect with me here:

Apr 24, 2014
Courting Cate (The Courtships of Lancaster County, #1)Courting Cate by Leslie Gould
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy Amish stories but it's true that many of them are starting to run together and sound alike. Courting Cate does not fall into that category. Cate Miller is happy to be a bookish spinster helping her father run the family business. But that's not good enough for her father. So he devises a plan to see her married - like it or not.

Pete Treger wanders into town looking for a job and a wife. He's handsome, well read, and oh... so poor. Is he eyeing Cate or her father's business?

When Cate's younger sister's activities threaten to blow the family apart, Cate is willing to sacrifice herself on the alter of family unity. How will that fit into Pete's plans? No spoiler here - you'll have to read it to find out!
Apr 20, 2014
Daisies Are ForeverDaisies Are Forever by Liz Tolsma
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I haven't read a lot of WWII era novels, but those I have read have challenged my views on that war. Daisies are Forever is no exception. What I like about this one is that it's based on two true stories of women who lived through the Russian invasion of Germany. This was a time when ordinary people overcame extraordinary circumstances - and that always makes for a good story!

Gisela Cramer just wants to go home, away from the Russians, away from Germany, back to America where she grew up. But her father is fighting in the German army and her mother is alone in Berlin. Encumbered with her cousin's two little girls and her neighbor's befuddled elderly sisters, Gisela sets out one step ahead of the Russians for Berlin. Along the way she collects a one-armed German soldier, a British escaped POW, and a Marlene Dietrich wanna-be. Amid the bullets, bombs, and brutal conditions, Gisela strives to keep everyone together. A job too big for anyone - but God - in WWII Germany.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to broaden their views of WWII and what happened to everyday people at that time. It's eye-opening. Due to the subject matter, the brutality of war, and the stark way it is presented in this story, age 16 and up would be my recommendation.

Release date for this book is May 8th! I received an advance copy for this review. 


Apr 17, 2014
FIVE great big STARS!

I was privileged to read this book before it was submitted to Pelican. Kudos, Pelican, for knowing a great story when you read one! 

Jericha Kingston plunges the reader into the hardscrabble life of dustbowl-era Oklahoma where James Bloom has been patiently praying for a wife. Someone to share his life with. Someone to talk to on the long, lonely evenings on the farm.

Lily Driggers is a big city girl on a visit to her aunt and uncle. She doesn't expect to meet a handsome farmer - or to get caught in one of the worst dust storms in history with him.

Sparks fly and misunderstandings abound when Lily's aunt and uncle find the pair together in his house after the storm. Can love bloom amid the dust and doubts?

I highly recommend this book!
Available at Amazon
Apr 12, 2014
A Plain ManA Plain Man by Mary Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A slightly different angle on an Amish story. We first met Caleb Beachy in Mary Ellis's story "Sarah's Christmas Miracle." Now he's done with the Englisch lifestyle and has moved back to his parent's home. But it's not easy. Earning the trust of the community he left is difficult - or maybe impossible.

Josie Yoder is happy to see Caleb return. Besides being her best friend's brother, he's still the handsome man she remembers. Against the wisdom and wishes of her family, she and Caleb begin to see each other.

There is plenty of conflict to build this story on. The characters are fresh and interesting and easy to relate to. Not many of us have escaped our growing up years without a few scars - some visible but most not. Nice little twist at the end that I particularly liked. But no spoiler here!
Apr 5, 2014
The Pelican Bride (Gulf Coast Chronicles, #1)The Pelican Bride by Beth White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love finding out-of-the-ordinary historical settings that include a great story. This one nails it! Set in what is now Louisiana back when it was under French control, the story starts with a young woman fleeing from Catholic France and the persecution of the Protestant Huguenots. Bound for New France to outrun her secret, Genevieve Gaillain knows she's expected to marry a man she's never met when she arrives. Better that than being executed in France, as her father was.

Tristan Lanier has already lost one wife in the boggy swamps of New France, and he has no intention of choosing another from the women who arrive aboard the Pelican. But he didn't foresee a woman like Genevieve.

The twists, turns, and intrigues that weave between the French, Canadian, and Native Americans will keep the reader guessing what happens next - and who the bad guys really are! Thank goodness this is book one of a series, because it's only whet my appetite for more historical fiction set in this place and era.