Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Through the Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer - a book review and a GIVEAWAY !



This story is about a young girl, whose troubled upbringing, colors all her decisions and influences the choices she makes.  She is raised in a brothel in Chicago in the late 1800’s.  She makes a bad decision, misguided but with the best intentions, that will change her life forever.  It affects her self image and her ability to accept the idea of a loving God. She feels flawed. She has a dream, that she pursues, but must be deceitful in order to accomplish it.  She dreams of becoming a Harvey girl.  Harvey girls must be of good moral character and must always behave accordingly.  In her quest to pursue this dream she meets a young man who also feels flawed because of a physical ailment.  However, he has a deep rooted faith in God. 
This is a story of forgiveness, redemption and discovery. 

This is a quote from the publisher:
A past filled with shame can be washed away with a love that conquers all

Born to an unloving prostitute in a popular Chicago brothel, timid seventeen-year-old Dinah Hubley was raised amidst the secrets held in every dark, grimy room of her home. Anxious to escape, Dinah pursues her dream of becoming a Harvey Girl, waiting tables along the railroad in an upscale hotel. But when she finds out she isn’t old enough, her only option is to accept a job as a chambermaid at the Clifton Hotel in Florence, Kansas. Eager to put everything behind her, Dinah feels more worthless than ever, based on a single horrible decision she made to survive.

The Clifton offers a life Dinah has never known, but blinded to the love around her, Dinah remains buried in the shame of her past. When a handsome chicken farmer named Amos Ackerman starts to show interest, Dinah withdraws further, convinced no one could want a sullied woman like her.  Despite his self-consciousness about his handicapped leg and her strange behavior, Amos resolves to show Dinah Christ’s love. But can she ever accept a gift she so desperately needs? “

While I enjoyed the story and characters, I felt it to be a bit too wordy. At times it seemed like the content was not crucial to the story.  That being said, I still enjoyed this book and would recommend it.  I have always enjoyed this author’s books.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Now for the giveaway!!! I'm giving away a copy of 'Through the Deep Waters'

All you need to do is leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite TV show is.  I use a random number generator thingy to determine who has won and this giveaway will close September 30, 2014. Actually, you don't really need to tell me, this is just my shameless way of trying to find new viewing material.  You'll be entered whether you tell me or not.  Appropriate material is so hard to find anymore.  I'll start by tell you some of what my husband and I have been watching lately.   We're a big fan of Heartland and Murdoch Mysteries.  Unfortunately, since we are in the US and these are CBC shows, we have to rely on our Roku player to see them.  Make sure you leave me an email address so I can contact you if you've won.  In order to combat spam use this format      "myemail   at     email    dot  com"  Ok, now, if you're so inclined, it's your turn......ready........go!



 I'm linked up here:   http://www.homeschoolsurvival.com/
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer - a book review



This book has everything I look for in a Christian historical romance.  It has humorous moments, intrigue, mystery, faith and romance.   The main character, Nicole, is the daughter of a prominent businessman. While he loves her, he has made no secret that he would have liked to also have a son to carry on the business.  To that end, he sends Nicole on a quest to find a suitable husband.  While she is on this journey, she is also safeguarding a family heirloom which another family claims is theirs.  They try to steal it from her, and in the process, she loses most of her money and is forced to look for a job.  This is where the plot gets interesting, as far as the romantic aspect.  She finds a job as a secretary to a rather brusque scientist.  He eventually begins to admire her tenderness and intelligence.  She, on the other hand, is determined to fulfill her father’s wishes. 



The author did a great job of balancing humor, romance, danger and faith. As I’ve said before, I prefer to read novels that transport me to another time and are straight forward in their message. I don’t want to spend too much time looking for a deeper meaning.  I like novels that I don’t want to put down. This is one of those books.

The publisher says this about it:
When love simmers between a reclusive scientist and a wealthy debutante, will they abandon ship or is it full steam ahead?

Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole's father has always focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.

Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it's too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father's rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole's plans.

After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.

Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father's rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family's legacy?”

 
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.  It’s a winner!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BethanyHouse through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, June 27, 2014

Four Weddings and a Kiss - a book review



Four authors come together to tell stories of love in the old West,  Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher.

This is a delightful telling of four independent stories that are connected only by the prologue and epilogue.  The prologue introduces us to a group of ministers traveling together.  While on their journey together they give counsel to one of the younger of them, who seems to be troubled about his relationship with a young woman.  He feels she is totally inappropriate to be a preacher’s wife, but still loves her.  They give  him advice by relating stories of couples they have known who seemed to be opposites but who end up happily in love.

The publisher’s website says:

"Spitfire Sweetheart" by Mary Connealy

Maizy Place
is an unruly tomboy. When she causes an accident, injuring neighbor Rylan Carstens, she becomes his unlikely caregiver. Rylan has never noticed how pretty his infuriating neighbor is, and he never expected to fall in love.

"Love Letter to the Editor" by Robin Lee Hatcher


Molly Everton is the outspoken daughter of the town newspaper's owner. When her father brings in an outsider to be editor, she tries to drive him out of town. But Jack Ludgrove is not intimidated. He's resolved to change Molly's mind about him--as an editor and as a man.

"A Cowboy for Katie" by Debra Clopton

Katie Pearl is uninterested in men and love. But she needs help on her ranch and hires Treb Rayburn, a wandering cowboy looking to make a buck. Will Treb change Katie's mind?

"Courting Trouble" by Margaret Brownley

Grace Davenport is either the unluckiest woman alive--or a killer. When her third husband is found dead, Grace is arrested. Attorney Brock Daniels isn't interested in the case--until he meets Grace. Only a miracle will prove her innocence, but the joining of two lonely hearts may be their saving grace.”

These four novella’s will amuse you, touch your heart and refresh your soul.  There are scary moments, humorous dialogs, touching scenes, and interesting characters.  Each story reminds us that God’s ways are often mysterious and unexpected.


I really enjoyed this book because each novella is a story all it’s own.  When you finish one you can put the book down without feeling as if you haven’t finished it. If I have any criticism it’s that the epilogue was too short.  I would have liked the story of the preacher and his shocking and reckless lady to have been a little more developed.  It just seemed to wrap up too quickly. 

There are discussion questions at the back of the book for each story to aid reading groups.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mark of Distinction : Price of Privilege Trilogy by Jessica Dotta - a book review

This is the second offering of Jessica Dotta’s Price of Privilege Trilogy.  I read and reviewed the first one, Born of Persuasion, and liked it.  However, I was a bit disappointed in this one.  Her writing style didn’t change, it is still very descriptive and interesting.  You really do get a feeling of what life was like in that time period.  There is still a thread of mystery and intrigue carried over from the first book.  Dotta does a good job of keeping you guessing and throws a surprise in every once in a while.  There is still a key group of characters but there are also many peripheral ones that at times gets a bit confusing. 

Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

London is said to be the glittering jewel of society, a world unto itself—but to Julia Elliston it is a city of shadows. Her life is swiftly dissolving into scandal. And in Victorian society, even a whisper of scandal—substantiated or not—can be the death of a young woman’s reputation.

Now under the watchful eye of Lord Roy Pierson, one of most influential men in England, Julia begrudgingly accepts his protection. But Chance Macy’s power is far-reaching as well, and he is eager to assert his claim over her.

Thrust into society as the Emerald Heiress, Julia is the toast of London, a celebrated curiosity. But in reality she’s trapped between the clutches of two powerful men. Aided only by a gentleman whose intentions she prays she can trust, Julia must finally take control of her own fate—but outwitting one’s foe rarely goes according to plan.”

This book begins from the viewpoint of the main character, Julia, as an old woman remembering her life.  She recounts some of the events from the first book, however, I didn’t feel there was enough explanation that would make this a good ‘stand alone’ novel.  If I hadn’t read the first one, I would have been very confused.   I was still very confused at the end.  While Julia does find some happiness, there are alot of unanswered questions which I assume will be resolved in the last book of the trilogy.  As it is, I still have no idea who the good guys are or who the bad guys are.  Of course, that’s making me want to read the third one when it comes out, which is probably the reason for all the unresolved issues.


As far as being a Christian novel, as was the case in the first book, you won’t find this preachey.  The mentioning of faith and Christianity are more a statement of historical background and personal character development rather than any attempt to convert the reader.

 All in all, if you like Jane Austin type novels, you’ll probably like this trilogy.  I was a bit disappointed but I tend to like a neat a tidy finish to the books I read.  I will definitely be looking for the third in the trilogy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton - a book review


This book has it all!  It has romance, adventure, intrigue, suspense, and mystery.  As the title states, Tamsen Littlejohn is being pursued.  As you read the story your first thought might be that she is being pursued by a scourned suitor.  As you read the story you realize that she is also being pursued by a man who loves her and by God.  Jesse offers her protection and through his strong faith in God, he shows her how her faith can be strengthened.
 
This is one book that I had trouble putting down.  I couldn’t wait until I could pick it up again to read. 

 

This is from the publisher’s  website:

 

“In an act of brave defiance, Tamsen Littlejohn escapes the life her harsh stepfather has forced upon her. Forsaking security and an arranged marriage, she enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the Watauga settlement in western North Carolina. But shedding her old life doesn’t come without cost. As the two cross a vast mountain wilderness, Tamsen faces hardships that test the limits of her faith and endurance.

Convinced that Tamsen has been kidnapped, wealthy suitor Ambrose Kincaid follows after her, in company with her equally determined stepfather. With trouble in pursuit, Tamsen and Jesse find themselves thrust into the conflict of a divided community of Overmountain settlers. The State of Franklin has been declared, but many remain loyal to North Carolina. With one life left behind and chaos on the horizon, Tamsen struggles to adapt to a life for which she was never prepared. But could this challenging frontier life be what her soul has longed for, what God has been leading her toward? As pursuit draws ever nearer, will her faith see her through the greatest danger of all—loving a man who has risked everything for her?”

 

The story takes place in the late 1700’s, a time of political upheaval and uncertainty and conflict among Indian tribes.  The characters are very believable and the author does a great job of keeping them interesting.  She also does a wonderful job of describing the landscape and surroundings.  You really feel that you are standing right there watching it all unfold.

 

If I have one criticism  it would be the choice of the heroine’s name.  Maybe it’s just me but I would frequently confuse it with ‘Tasmen’ . It is a very unusual name.

 


 

If you like historical Christian romances, you won’t be disappointed with this one.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Shining Light by Judith Miller - a book review


 

 
I had never heard of this particular group of people before, so reading about the Amana community was very interesting. You can tell the author did alot of research. 

It is written in the first person narrative, which for me, was a little hard to follow at first. Once I got used to it, it made the story much more interesting. 

 There are many twists and turns in the plot and sometimes I wondered how much more this little family could take.  God provides for them in ways they would never have expected.  This is definately a faith based novel but not at all preachy. 
 
The characters are very engaging and ‘real’.  Throughout the story of this family’s journey there a many characters that at times can be hard to keep track of.

Overall, I liked this book. I can’t say it is one of my favorites but it is well written and interesting. 

Here is a synopsis from the publisher’s website:
 The kind people of Amana have been her guiding light, but her greatest trial is yet to come...
 West Amana, Iowa, 1890
After Andrea Wilson receives the devastating news that her husband has been lost at sea, she returns home to Iowa with her young son, Lukas. But what she finds there causes more heartache: The family farm has burned and her father has died, leaving Andrea with nothing.
Andrea must rely on the kindness of the people from the nearby Amana village who invite her to stay with them for a time. She discovers much generosity and contentment among the Amanans--especially from the tinsmith, Dirk Knefler, who takes her son under his wing. But is the simple, cloistered life in Amana what Andrea wants for Lukas's future? Is she willing to give up the comforts and freedom of the outside world? And when yet another round of shocking news comes her way, will Andrea ever be able to find the serenity and hope that have eluded her for so long?”

 

I encourage you to read this book and learn about a very interesting group of people.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, April 25, 2014

For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall - a book review


For Every Season  by Cindy Woodsmall

 

I have to preface this book review by saying that Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite authors.  I love that she writes about what she personally know about the Amish people.  I love the historical background she includes in her books and how she explains their doctrinal and cultural beliefs in a fictional setting.

 

However, I had a really hard time getting into this book.  There is a section in the front called ”the story so far”  that gives a brief synopsis of the plot line.  Even with that, I didn’t feel it gave the reader enough background to pick the story up at the start of this book.  I actually read the previous one and I still had trouble following it.  Of course, all of this is my personal opinion and is likely based on my short attention span.  I like a book to grab me right away.

 

This is from the publisher’s website:

“Working hard to develop a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is fully committed to rehabilitating an orchard with business partner Samuel King. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in her relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother, Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Amidst mounting tension in matters of the heart and business, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has always longed for, and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. She longs for Jacob to fully be free of his past, so they can work towards the future together.

But as Rhoda uses her gift to unpack an old secret with her Englisch neighbors, it is not her beau but an unlikely ally that cheers her on. With the orchard on shaky ground and Jacob’s plans in question, Rhoda is determined to see things through to harvest. But can she trust her insight to direct her path in matters of the heart?”

There are some really yummy sounding recipes at the end of the book and a glossary of Amish terms which is very helpful.  There is also a list of characters which I found essential in trying to keep everyone straight.

Like I said, this is only my opinion based on my likes. You may find you really like this book.  I hope you give it a try and form your own opinion.  Go HERE to read an excerpt.

You can use the Amazon search box on the right side of this page to order it and when you do you help me out a little. 

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 
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