Tuesday, October 3, 2017

More Things in Heaven and Earth by Jeff High

More Things in Heaven and Earth by Jeff High

Tucked away in the rolling Tennessee countryside is the charming community of Watervalley, whose inhabitants are quirky and captivating and more surprising than you might expect . . .

As an ambitious young doctor with a penchant for research, Luke Bradford never wanted to set up practice in a remote rural town. But to pay back his student loans and to fulfill a promise from his past, he heads for Watervalley, Tennessee - and immediately stumbles into one disaster after another. Will he be labeled the town idiot before he’s even introduced as the new doctor? 

Very quickly he faces some big challenges - from resuscitating a three-hundred-pound farmer who goes into cardiac arrest to not getting shot by a local misanthrope for trespassing. He expects the people of Watervalley to be simple, but finds his relationships with them are complicated, whether he’s interacting with his bossy but devout housekeeper, the attractive schoolteacher he consistently alienates, or the mysterious kid next door who climbs trees while wearing a bike helmet. 

When a baffling flu epidemic hits Watervalley, Luke faces his ultimate test. Whether the community embraces him or not, it’s his responsibility to save them. And he’ll soon discover that while living in a small town may not be what he wants, it may be just what he needs . . .


This book has a bit of everything in it and it will keep you entertained as well.  You are drawn into the story right away and before long you are laughing at the poor doctor and the silly things that happen to him.  The way the book was written you are also quickly drawn into the lives of the residents of Watervalley.

The book moves along at a fast pace but there is plenty happening so you won't get bored.  The mystery of the flu epidemic was a good read and again interesting.  This book is the first in the series and you can find out more information about the others here.

Stars out of 5 : 5 I have nothing negative to say about this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading more in the series.

I purchased the book and all of the opinions are my own.

Vintage by Susan Gloss

Vintage by Susan Gloss


At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell . . . and so do the women whose lives the store touches.
Yellow Samsonite suitcase with ivory, quilted lining, 1950s
A small-town girl with a flair for fashion, Violet Turner had always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. But while she values the personal history behind each beautiful item she sells, Violet is running from her own past. Faced with the possibility of losing the store to an unscrupulous developer, she realizes that despite her usual self-reliance she cannot save it alone.
Taffeta tea-length wedding gown with scooped neckline and cap sleeves, 1952
Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect vintage wedding dress to Violet's shop, she discovers a world of new possibilities, and an unexpected sisterhood with women who won't let her give up on her dreams.
Orange silk sari with gold paisley design, 1968
Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her vibrant Indian dresses, remnants of a life she's determined to leave behind her. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears her best days are behind her . . . until she discovers an outlet for her creativity and skills with a needle and thread.
An engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of friendship and style, Vintage is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal, love, and hope when we least expect it.
The reason I bought this book was partly for the story and because I only paid a couple of dollars for it.  It is however a hidden gem of a book, with a lovely story too boot.
This story captures your heart right away and you will soon get involved with each of the characters and their stories.  One thing I do love at the start of each chapter there is a brief description of an item in the boutique telling you want the item is, what it is made of and the year and the source.  That I thought was a lovely way of introducing each chapter.
The way the author writes you feel like you are in the room with the characters and you can't help but get wrapped up in their lives.
Stars out of 5 : 5 Nothing negative to say. Loved this book, the story was easy to follow and it will capture your heart.
I purchased this book and all the opinions are my own.


Glory Over Everything, by Kathleen Grissom

Glory Over Everything, by Kathleen Grissom


A novel of family and long-buried secrets along the treacherous Underground Railroad.

The author of the New York Times bestseller and beloved book club favorite The Kitchen House continues the story of Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, whose deadly secret compels him to take a treacherous journey through the Underground Railroad.

Published in 2010, The Kitchen House became a grassroots bestseller. Fans connected so deeply to the book’s characters that the author, Kathleen Grissom, found herself being asked over and over “what happens next?” The wait is finally over.

This new, stand-alone novel opens in 1830, and Jamie, who fled from the Virginian plantation he once called home, is passing in Philadelphia society as a wealthy white silversmith. After many years of striving, Jamie has achieved acclaim and security, only to discover that his aristocratic lover Caroline is pregnant. Before he can reveal his real identity to her, he learns that his beloved servant Pan has been captured and sold into slavery in the South. Pan’s father, to whom Jamie owes a great debt, pleads for Jamie’s help, and Jamie agrees, knowing the journey will take him perilously close to Tall Oakes and the ruthless slave hunter who is still searching for him. Meanwhile, Caroline’s father learns and exposes Jamie’s secret, and Jamie loses his home, his business, and finally Caroline.

Heartbroken and with nothing to lose, Jamie embarks on a trip to a North Carolina plantation where Pan is being held with a former Tall Oakes slave named Sukey, who is intent on getting Pan to the Underground Railroad. Soon the three of them are running through the Great Dismal Swamp, the notoriously deadly hiding place for escaped slaves. Though they have help from those in the Underground Railroad, not all of them will make it out alive.


I have to say I was a little disappointed that this book, didn't just carry on from The Kitchen House, but the more you read the book, the more you are hooked with this story.  It is as good as The Kitchen House, and although it says it's a stand-alone book, I do think it is helpful to read The Kitchen House first as some characters from that book pop up in this book.

It was a page turner and you had to know what was going to happen next.  The details that Kathleen wrote into this book made you stop and think and ask "why would they do that?"  There were some cruel people who ran those plantations.

Stars out of 5 : 5 Such a good read well worth buying or borrowing from your local library.  I wish I had read both books before we went away to Williamsburg on vacation.

I purchased this book and the opinions are my own.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grisson

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grisson
Lavinia, a seven-year-old Irish orphan with no memory of her past, arrives on a tobacco plantation where she is put to work as an indentured servant. Placed with the slaves in the kitchen house under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her new adopted family, even though she is forever set apart from them by her white skin. As Lavinia is slowly accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles an opium addiction, she finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When Lavinia marries the master’s troubled son and takes on the role of mistress, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare and lives are put at risk. The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail.

This book is a page turner, you have to know what happens next.  Most books of this gendre tend to be told from the "Big House" side or from the "Slaves/Servants" side.  This book is different as it dips into both places and we see it all through the life of Lavinia.

You so want Lavinia to wake up from being so innocent but you know that will never happen and the more she lives in the white skin world the more she leaves her childhood behind. When she does realize exactly what has been hidden from her it's too late and to see how she copes is so sad.

Stars out of 5 : 5 I loved this book and ordered the sequel to this story right away.  It is so well worth reading in my humble opinion.  I do wish I had read this book before we went away to Williamsburg in Virigina as there were places mentioned in the book that I would have visited.  We did go to the Hospital that was mentioned in the book.

I purchased this book myself and all my opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"All Saints," by Michael Spurlock and Jeanette Windle

"All Saints," by Michael Spurlock and Jeanette Windle
The True Story Behind the Powerful Film ALL SAINTS
Newly ordained, Michael Spurlock's first assignment is to pastor All Saints, a struggling church with twenty-five devoted members and a mortgage well beyond its means. The best option may be to close the church rather than watch it wither any further. But when All Saints hesitantly risks welcoming a community of Karen refugees from Burma--former farmers scrambling for a fresh start in America--Michael feels they may be called to an improbable new mission.

Michael must choose between closing the church and selling the property--or listening to a still, small voice challenging the people of All Saints to risk it all and provide much-needed hope to their new community. Together, they risk everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.

Discover the true story that inspired the film while also diving deeper into the background of the Karen people, the church, and how a community of believers rally to reach out to those in need, yet receive far more than they dared imagine.


When a book is turned into a movie, more times than not you lose a lot of the original feeling from the book.  So I like to read a book before seeing a movie.  I have not seen the movie "All Saints," but have now read the book.

The one thing I took from this book, things don't stay the same forever and you have to move and change with the times.  Also it takes all sorts of people and things to make a community.  This was the case with the All Saints church in Smyrna, Tennessee.  The book lays out the before, during and after of when the Karen refugees from Burma arrived in the community of Smyrna and how it changed not only their lives but the lives of the people in the area.  It was interesting to read the back story of some of the Karen people to see where they had come from and how they had come to America.

The "God works in mysterious ways," phrase comes to mind when I think back about this book, as he did indeed work many miracles in many ways over the years at All Saints Church.  This book also educates us on the Karen people of Burma.  I knew little to nothing about them prior to reading this book.  There are many articles about them, here is a link that you may find interesting.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 It was a solid book that was interesting and a true story.  I will watch the movie when it comes out on dvd.  It is well worth the read.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Monday, September 18, 2017

"Gracelaced," by Ruth Chou Simons

"Gracelaced," by Ruth Chou Simons


This Journey Is As Perennial As The Seasons

GraceLaced is about more than pretty florals and fanciful brushwork—it’s about flourishing. With carefully crafted intention, this beautiful volume of 32 seasonal devotions from artist and author Ruth Chou Simons encourages readers in any circumstance to become deeply rooted in God’s faithful promises. GraceLaced extends a soul-stirring invitation to draw close to God while...
  • resting in who He is
  • rehearsing the truth He says about you
  • responding in faith to those truths
  • remembering His provision to sustain you, time and time again
I must say when I first saw this book I fell in love with it.  The artwork and photography is just gorgeous.  You could spend ages just looking at those.  However once you start to read the book, you know it's much more than a pretty coffee table.  This is not a book to read in one sitting, it's a book you pick up and read in stages, when you need to be uplifted and when you need to hear the right words........

Stars out of 5 : 5 This is a lovely book and one that you will read over and over again.  It truly is a beautiful book.

Book has been provided courtesy of Harvest House and Graf-Martin Communications 

"The Promise of Dawn," by Lauraine Snelling.

"The Promise of Dawn," by Lauraine Snelling.
Opportunities are scarce in Norway, so when Rune and Signe Carlson receive a letter from Rune's uncle, Einar Strand, offering to loan them money for passage to America, Rune accepts. Signe is reluctant to leave her home, especially as she is pregnant with her fourth child, but Einar promises to give them land of their own, something they could never afford in Norway.

But life in Minnesota is more difficult than Signe imagined. Uncle Einar and Aunt Gerd are hard, demanding people, and Signe and her family soon find themselves worked nearly to the bone to pay off their debt. Afraid they will never have the life they dreamed of, she begins to lose her trust in God. When the dangers of the North Woods strike close to home, will she find the strength she needs to lead her family into the promise of a new dawn?


This is the first book in the "Under Northern Skies," series.  I have to say I love Lauraine's books in general and this one was the same; but the first couple of chapters of this book were so confusing that I was very close to giving it up.  Once the story started in America then it got a whole lot better and easier to understand.

I loved the way it dealt with day by day life and how life was lived; and what a hard life they had.  The relationship with Rune and Signe and their aunt and uncle also was well written.  Lauraine truly made their world seem so real.  I think it's the little details that make a book and there were plenty of details in this book.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5, it lost half a star because of the beginning.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series which will be released in April of 2018.  Well worth reading in my opinion.



"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing G
roup
".

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"The Two Of Us," by Victoria Bylin

"The Two Of Us," by Victoria Bylin
After two broken engagements, Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she's focusing on God and her goal to join an international aid organization as a nurse practitioner. But when her 18-year-old sister, Lucy, calls with an invitation to her Vegas wedding, it throws a wrench into Mia's plans.

Jake Tanner has recovered from the injuries he sustained as a police officer--on the outside. Inside, he's yet to heal from losing his partner in the tragedy, but finds some solace in keeping an eye on her young adult son, Sam, who's asked him to be best man at his wedding.

Mia expects a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake, who views the marriage a little differently. As Jake's and Mia's lives slowly become more intertwined, could his courage and her caring heart be enough to bring them a lifetime of healing?


This book was a very pleasant read, that kept me busy over a couple of afternoons.  I will say I had forgotten what the story was about, as I had read it a week prior to writing this review, so it didn't stick in my mind until I read the back cover again.

This is one of my "shopping list" books that I can read and think of other things while I am reading, as it's not overly taxing on the brain.

Stars out of 5 : 3  If you are looking for a book to read on the beach or by the fire, this is a great book for that.  Glad I read it.  Learned a couple of things about Alzheimer's which was a positive thing.  Also make sure you read the author's notes at the end of the book, very moving.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

"The Return," by Suzanne Woods Fisher

"The Return," by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans--but then she never had to. Not until the night she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she's developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.

Greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans's hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.


This is the third book in the Amish Beginnings Series.  I have read the first book in the series and thoroughly enjoyed it, but haven't read the second book.  I enjoyed this book at the time, but I will say I have forgotten much of the story already.  

I did enjoy the history aspect of this story, as there are a few things mentioned in this book that did happen in real life.  I did feel it ended a bit strangely and do feel there is more to be told in this story/series.  Not sure if that will happen or not?  

Stars out of 5 : 4 It was a good book to read over a few afternoons and it wasn't too hard a read.  As always read the authors notes at the end as they are interesting.  

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


"Fault Lines," by Thomas Locke

"Fault Lines," by Thomas Locke
There isn't much that can throw Charlie Hazard off balance. But the mystery woman with the striking eyes and the intense request to follow her--now--is about to shake his world. Knowing little more than her name, Charlie leaves his post as a guard at the Satellite Beach community center for what he thinks is just another risk-containment job. But Gabriella, an experimental psychologist, has far more in store for him than protection duty--if the two of them survive the test.

Reese Clawson relishes her work at the Combine and all the perks and power that come with it--including the ability to manipulate perceptions. But the Combine never anticipated this mind-shifting technology. If Gabriella's experiments succeed, the Combine would be destroyed. And Reese will never allow that to happen.


The sign of a good book in my humble opinion, is when you can't stop thinking about the book, both during and after reading it.  It's a page turner and a book that you don't want to put down, as you need to know what happens next.  This book is all that and more.  

I kept going over and over the story to try and figure out what was going to happen next, and why this was happening and that was happening.  I was also amazed at the authors imagination and kept thinking, "how on earth did he come up with this and that?"

The story is so fast paced that you struggle to keep up with it at some stages.  My only negative about this book was that it was a little too technical in places.

Stars out of 5 : 5 it really is well worth reading, as this book keeps you on your toes and keeps you interested all the way through it.  Can't wait for the next one to come out; there is a preview at the end of this book and it sounds as though it will be as good as this one.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"High as the Heavens," by Kate Breslin

"High as the Heavens," by Kate Breslin

A British nurse in WWI German-occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital and her nights working at a café . . . or so it seems. Eve's most carefully guarded secret is that she also spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a Belgian resistance group.

When a plane crashes as she's en route to a rendezvous, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to recognize the badly injured pilot as British RFC Captain Simon Forrester. She risks her life to conceal him from the Germans, but as the secrets between them grow and the danger mounts, can they still hope to make it out of Belgium alive?

Normally I am not a fan of books set in the first and second world war, but have to say this book was very interesting, both from a historical sense and as a story in itself.  The story moves along at a fast pace and you have to keep up with it.  I learned a lot about spies and the underground network that I previously didn't know.  Once again the author's notes at the end fills in a number of questions you may have and as with many good books, this story includes both fact and fiction in it.

The love story between Eve and Simon is so interesting as well and what they went through throughout this book shows how much love can make you hold on to whats important.  There were many brave people in this book that risked their lives to help others.

Stars out of 5 :5 A really good book with plenty going on in it to keep you interested.  It's also educational, as I learned a thing or two from it.  I look forward to reading more books by Kate.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

"Heart On The Line," by Karen Witemeyer

"Heart On The Line," by Karen Witemeyer

Grace Mallory is tired of hiding. She hungers for a normal life, perhaps even a suitor like two of her friends in Harper's Station have found. But when the man she believes responsible for her father's death discovers her whereabouts, survival takes priority.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His fellow telegrapher, the mysterious Miss G, has been the ideal companion. For months, their friendship--dare he believe, courtship?--over the wire has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intends for him. However, when he intercepts an ominous message and discovers her life is in peril, Amos must shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

I must say I am a big fan of Karen's and love the way she writes.  This is another book set in Harper's Station and is as full of mystery, action and suspense as the other books set there.  The chemistry between Grace and Amos is great and I love the way they can communicate without other's knowing what they are saying.

However this story was lacking in something and I can't put my finger on what?  I actually found the other side story with Helen as interesting.  Again you will have to read the book to see what that is all about.  

Stars out of 5 : 3 A nice book and one you can read and not get confused over.  It was one of my "shopping list," books where you can read it and think of other things at the same time.  I probably won't remember it though in a month's time.  This was not one of Karen's best books.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

"Under a Summer Sky," by Melody Carlson

"Under a Summer Sky," by Melody Carlson

High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn't long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who's determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of her childhood friends--who also happen to be brothers--vying for her attention.

With the backdrop of a gorgeous historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!

This is the third book in the "Follow Your Heart" series and I thoroughly enjoyed this book and all the characters in it.  One thing this book made me want to do was visit Savannah; the way the author describes Savannah makes the city come alive.  This is one of those books which is perfect to wile away a few hours on the beach.  There are no huge mysteries in it and it moves along at a steady pace.  I have to say one of my favourite characters was Amyra; you'll have to read the book to see who she is...LOL

Stars out of 5 : 4 The description of Savannah and all the architecture made this book come alive for me.  However I don't think this will be a book I will remember in a month or two.  As I said before a perfect beach read and a book I enjoyed while reading it.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"On Love's Gentle Shore," by Liz Johnson

"On Love's Gentle Shore," by Liz Johnson

Natalie O'Ryan had no plans to return to Prince Edward Island. But when her fiancé books their wedding in her hometown and schedules a summer at Rose's Red Door Inn, she sets out to plan the perfect wedding. Yet she can't possibly plan for a run-in with Justin Kane--the best friend she left behind all those years ago after promising to stay.

Justin has never forgotten Natalie. He'd been prepared to follow her off the island until tragedy struck, leaving him to run the family dairy farm. He's done the best he can with the life that was thrust upon him--but with Natalie back in the picture, he begins to realize just how much joy he's been missing.

After Natalie's reception venue falls through, she must scramble to find an alternative, and the only option seems to be a barn on Justin's property. As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin may discover that there is more between them than broken promises and an old friendship.


This is the third book in the "Prince Edward Island Dreams" series and what a lovely book it is.  I loved the way the tension between Natalie and Justin was portrayed, you could feel the static in the air while you were reading the story.  You felt as though you were right in the room with them.

There is no mystery what the out come will be to my mind, but there are mini mysteries entwined in the book that keep things interesting.  This to my mind this is a perfect beach read, as the story is not hard to follow.  It made me want to stay at Rose's Red Door Inn and sample some of Caden's food.

Stars out of 5 : 4, a solid 4 as well as it has a bit of everything in it; romance, mystery, confusion, great location and gorgeous sounding food!!  Great series of books, well worth reading.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"A Name Unknown," by Roseanna M. White

"A Name Unknown," by Roseanna M. White
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets--instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she's offered the challenge of a lifetime--determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. After all how does one steal a family's history, their very name?

As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown--so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth--about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.


This is the first book in the "Shadows Over England" series and what a good start to the series.  The background story of the main characters is very interesting and they keep you on your toes.  This book made you think and it's one of those books where you have to pay attention to what is happening to keep up with the story.

I admit to getting a bit lost at first, as something else in going on in a "sub-plot," and without giving it away, it will all make sense.  You must read the authors notes at the end of the book, they are very interesting and she tells you more about the reason for adding things to the story.  I have to say I love the authors imagination and how she put together this story.

Stars out of 5 : 4 1/2  The only reason I didn't give it a 5 was that I did get a bit lost with what was going on at one point, but did get back on course a few pages later.  This book does grab your attention and I am really looking forward to the next one in the series as I am guessing it will be just as interesting.  This is a must read, as you too will wonder how on earth she thought up this story.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Monday, June 5, 2017

"The Captain's Daughter," by Jennifer Delamere

"The Captain's Daughter," by Jennifer Delamere
When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater putting on the most popular show in the city. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. That is, as long as the shadows from her past don't catch up with her.

After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories. He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment. His future is decided--until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate yearns to leave behind.


This is the first book in the series "London Beginning."  It was okay, which isn't a great thing, I'm sorry.  I found the story a bit lack lustre.  I did learn something about theatre, but otherwise, I thought the story was lacking depth.  Without giving the story away, I did expect more twists and turns in the "mystery" part of the plot.  It was no surprise the outcome.

As there are three sisters, I am assuming the next book would be about one of the other sisters, and as each one has a different occupation, maybe the next book will be more interesting?

Stars out of 5 : 3 This book was a pleasant read over a couple of afternoons.  Ask me in a month or so time what it was about, I probably won'r remember.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

"With You Always," by Jody Hedlund

"With You Always," by Jody Hedlund
One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters. She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children's Aid Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west. But the promise of the society's orphan trains is not all that it seems.

Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his brother's shadow. When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance. The conditions to win? Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn't be from more different worlds. The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they've been working toward?


Prior to reading this book I had heard of the Orphan Trains, this book deals with adults (women) being on them as well, which was a twist.  The author's notes sheds light on this aspect of history which is interesting.

This story does have true stories twisted into it along with fiction and it makes for an interesting read.  Add a bit of mystery and it keeps you wanting more.  I did not figure out the "who-dun-it" part of the story until just before it was revealed.

Stars out of 5 : 4   I would be interested in reading more books from this series, when they are released as the author writes:

" Throughout this series I'll be focusing each book on a different aspect of the Orphan Train movement, particularly from the perspectives of women,"

I think there will be a lot to be learned from reading these books in this series.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Friday, May 5, 2017

"The Ebb Tide," by Beverly Lewis

"The Ebb Tide," by Beverly Lewis
Sallie Riehl has dreamed of traveling at least once before settling down to join church, so she is thrilled at an unexpected summer opportunity to nanny in Cape May for a well-to-do family. However, saying even a temporary good-bye to Paradise Township means forgoing baptism another year, as well as leaving behind a would-be beau. Yet the weeks in Cape May soon prove unforgettable as Sallie meets a Mennonite young man whose friendship she quickly begins to cherish. Has she been too hasty with her promises, or will she only find what her heart is longing for back home?

Once upon a time, I loved reading books about Amish and Mennonite people; and read stories with them in none stop.  I then got totally fed up with the same old story lines, so didn't read any for a few years.  I have read many of Beverly Lewis' books over the years, so thought I would give this one a try and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

I guess what made this one so different was that although Sallie was Amish, she had hopes and dreams that were not centred around her day to day Amish life.  I don't ever remember reading a book about an Amish woman wanting to travel the world?  Also what made this story so different is was set at the sea side in a real place called Cape May; a place I had never heard of before reading this book.

There was enough detail in this book on various topics away from the Amish culture that it would appeal to a number of people, not just people interested in the Amish.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 Really enjoyed it.  Enjoyed the authors notes.  Learned something new about various marine life species and the book's lead characters lives were interesting.  Well worth the read.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

"The Chapel Car Bride," by Judith Miller

"The Chapel Car Bride," by Judith Miller
After a sheltered life in Pittsburgh, Hope Irvine is ready for a new adventure. When her father takes a position as a preacher in a railroad car converted into a traveling church, she's thrilled at the chance to accompany him. While accommodations in their new chapel car home are tight, Hope couldn't be happier putting her musical skills to good use and ministering to the people of West Virginia alongside her father. But when their chapel car arrives in Finch, West Virginia, they find a coal mining community that has hit hard times and is suspicious of outsiders.

Luke Hughes works for the coal mine when he can, but the struggling company doesn't always offer steady work. When Reverend Irvine and Hope arrive in town, Luke is intrigued by what the reverend can teach him--and by the lovely and kind Hope.

When Hope's desire to bring supplies and Sunday school classes to neighboring counties leads to her traveling with a flirtatious young mine manager, Luke is hard-pressed to suppress his jealousy. But when he begins to suspect the manager's motives are less than charitable, can he prove it without hurting Hope, or worse, putting her in danger?


This was one of those books that touched on a number of subjects, all equally as interesting to me.  I had never heard of Railroad Chapel Cars, so this was something new for me.  If you would like to read more about them, here is a link.  I found the details about the "hill country" people also interesting, and how hard their lives were made you stop and think.

The main story of Hope and Luke was lovely and made good lead characters.  Their hearts were in the right places for doing both God's work and serving others. Add a "villain," and the plot becomes more interesting.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 I knocked off half a star as I had hoped that Judith would have added some author's notes to the back of the book, about how this book came about?  Overall though, I loved the book, Judith is a great storyteller and this book flowed along seamlessly.  Being a fan of Judith's writing already I knew I would be reading an interesting book.  Really well worth the read.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"To the Farthest Shores," by Elizabeth Camden

"To the Farthest Shores," by Elizabeth Camden


The unpredictability of her upbringing prepared army nurse Jenny Bennett to face any challenge at the Presidio Army base, but the sudden reappearance in her life of the dashing naval officer who broke her heart six years ago is enough to rattle even her.

Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher is one of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring government mission overseas--an assignment that destroyed his reputation and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor-bound never to reveal where he was during those years, he can't tell Jenny the truth, or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution to his impossible situation, but he needs Jenny's help. While her loyalty to her country compels her to agree, she was too badly hurt to fall for Ryan again despite his determination to win her back. When an unknown threat from Ryan's past puts everything at risk--including his life--can they overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them in time?


This was an interesting book covering an array of topics, including Japan, pearls, spies, nursing and a number of other subjects, all which I knew little about.  This book was full of twists and turns and kept you on your toes and thinking.

I like a book where you can learn something new, while you are reading a story.  I didn't know the history of cultured pearls and had never heard of the MID.  Even the little facts like Jenny working night shift and how she just wanted to get enough sleep all added depth to this book.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  Well worth the read.  Such a lot of interesting information packed into this book. The final outcome won't be a shocker.  I do feel a follow up book about Finn would be a great read as well, as there is a story to tell there.  Great book Elizabeth!


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Thursday, April 13, 2017

"Treasured Grace," by Tracie Peterson

"Treasured Grace," by Tracie Peterson
Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters, Hope and Mercy, became her responsibility. A hasty decision to head west seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start but has instead left Grace in a precarious position. When missionary Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife agree to let Grace and her sisters stay at their mission for the winter, Grace is grateful. Until they hear from their uncle in Oregon City, the three sisters have nowhere else to go.

As Grace adjusts to life in the West, she meets a fur trapper named Alex Armistead who intrigues and infuriates her in equal measure. But when a measles outbreak threatens lives at the mission and among the native Cayuse who live nearby, it is Alex who helps Grace use the natural healing remedies she learned from her mother to help where she can, despite Dr. Whitman's disapproval. As the death toll rises, so do tensions between the settlers and the natives, and Grace soon finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.


This is the first book in the "Heart of the Frontier," series and what an interesting book it was.  It is a fiction book which is centred around The Whitman Mission Massacre of November 1847.  I am familiar with that, so to have a fiction book which was written about that kept me very interested and wanting more.  

The hardship they all went through just to get to the mission and then to be attacked was so sad.  However what happened after was as interesting as the actual massacre.  The way Tracie wrote about it made it all come to life more and was well written.  This first book centres around Grace, the next will be about Hope and the third about Mercy.  I MUST read all three as the story carries on from one to another.  There is much more to this book that will keep you interested

Stars out of 5 : 5 I loved this book.  Tracie tells a great story and makes the characters of her books feel so real.  The added tidbits of information she includes; like Grace's natural healing remedies just add another layer to an already wonderful story.  If you are at all interested in a historical story with a bit of romance thrown in, this is a book for you.  Well done Tracie.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot

"A Stolen Heart" by Amanda Cabot
From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners--like her. Lydia won't let that get her down, though. All will be well when she's reunited with her fiancé.

But when she discovers he has disappeared--and that he left behind a pregnant wife--Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring?

Bestselling author Amanda Cabot invites you into Texas's storied past to experience adventure, mystery--and love.


This is the first book in the "Cimarron Creek Trilogy," and was very enjoyable.  It was a mystery story first and a love story second to my mind.  You will guess "who-dun-it," so no surprise there, but the story has plenty of twists and turns in it, to keep you interested.

If I were being picky the fact that a town of under 200 people could keep a sweet shop in business, was a bit far fetched to my mind, but still very interesting to hear about what sweets/candy they liked to eat.  What would have made this book perfect would have been recipes for the different candies included in the book.

Stars out of 5 : 4 It is one of those books that would be perfect to sit and read over a couple of afternoons.  The next book in the Cimarron Creek Trilogy will be available early 2018 and it is a book I will be looking forward to reading.  It's a feel good book that doesn't over tax the brain.  It also made me curious to visit the Texas Hill Country as well.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Monday, January 30, 2017

"An Uncommon Courtship," by Kristi Ann Hunter

"An Uncommon Courtship," by Kristi Ann Hunter


Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier he is not the duke in the family. Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents' seems lost forever.

Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister's shadow--which worked until her sister got married. But even with her socially ambitious mother's focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she's been introduced to society.

With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide's marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grow into a true meeting of hearts and minds?


This is another book in the Hawthorne House series and I have to say it's as good as the rest in the series.  This book was another feel good book, where despite themselves you really wanted tor Trent and Adelaide's marriage to work despite their rocky beginning.  

Again it was an eye opener on how the different "classes" of people in Regency London behaved and despite their "better" upbringing the high society were no better than anyone else, with their back stabbing and pettiness.  

I love the historical details and I just wanted to be sitting on the sofa next to Adelaide whenever she met her mother and sister as they were very obnoxious characters you couldn't help but dislike!

Stars out of 5:5 It was an easy read, not a "meaty" read but enough to keep you wanting more.  There is one last book in the series which will be coming out in September of 2017 and it is a must read if you have read any of the other books, as it deals with the oldest son, the Duke.  

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".