Saturday, December 31, 2011

Who is the Antichrist?

Title: WHO IS THE ANTICHRIST? Answering the Question Everyone Is Asking
Author: Mark Hitchcock
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
August 2011
ISBN 978-0-7369-3995-9
Genre: Prophecy

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV)

I believe that Mark Hitchcock may have had this verse in mind as he was writing WHO IS THE ANTICHRIST?. Cutting through layers of confusion concerning the antichrist, author, pastor and teacher Mark Hitchcock provides a primer for the end-times scholar. In a skillful, engaging manner the author addresses such topics as: whether one can accurately identify the antichrist before he rises to power; the signs of the times of the antichrist; the significance of the number of the beast; the scope and sphere of the antichrist’s influence; and whether the antichrist is living among us today. Furthermore, Pastor Hitchcock makes a very strong case for the importance of studying about the antichrist. First, “the sheer volume of information about the antichrist in Scripture is reason enough for us to understand who he is and what he will do.” (p. 18) Second, knowing the ultimate end of the antichrist will strengthen one’s relationship with the God of the universe, who has the antichrist’s future in his hands. Thirdly, knowledge of the antichrist will help “inform” us as we see current events setting the stage for his “coming.” Finally, knowing about the antichrist will help us to recognize error and apostasy in the world in which we are now living.

Though small WHO IS THE ANTICHRIST? will serve as a firm foundation for studies concerning the antichrist and the end times. 198 pages. $13.99.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Widow's Hope

Author: Mary Ellis
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
March 2009
ISBN: 978-0736927321
Genre: Inspirational/Amish Romance

Hannah Brown has sold her farm to her brother, Thomas, after the death of her husband. She wants to stay on the farm, but can’t rely on her elderly parents to care for her, and so she offers to help out her sister, Julia, who is suffering from arthritis. But Julia’s husband, Simon, doesn’t like Hannah, doesn’t like her sheep, and finds Hannah extremely vexing.

Seth Miller is needing to find another cash crop for his farm so he can care for his mute daughter, Phoebe, more adequately. He thinks sheep, like Hannah raises, might be his answer. But when he approaches Simon with the idea of letting Hannah’s sheep live on his property so that he might better learn about them, he’s stunned when Simon vehemently refuses.

But Hannah is independent and willful, and Seth is equally so. Plus Simon doesn’t want his brother to have anything to do with this vexing widow. Is it possible for Hannah and Seth to move past their difficulties and find a lasting love?

A WIDOW’S HOPE is the first book in The Miller Family Series. I had read the other books in this series but had missed this one, so I got this book so I could read the beginning book. Hannah is very well developed, as are the other characters. Simon and Seth both seem to be main point of view characters as well. I couldn’t understand why Simon disliked Hannah so very much, but Hannah didn’t exactly jump when he said jump.

If you are looking for a good Amish series to read and had missed this one (as I did) then be sure to pick it up. It is a good start to an excellent series by a talented author. $13.99. 300 pages.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Princess Stories

Title: PRINCESS STORIES: Real Bible Stories of God’s Princesses
Written by: Carolyn Larsen
Illustrated by: Sergey Eliseev
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
December 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4143-4811-7
Genre: Nonfiction/Bible Stories

Girls love princesses. They dream about them, play dolls with them, and pretend they are one. And your little princess will love reading this book about the “Princesses” in the Bible.

In this cute, pink, hardcover book, your favorite little princess will learn about the loyalty of Ruth, the wisdom of Deborah, the courage of Esther, the honor of Elizabeth, the sharing of the Sunammite Woman, and so many more.

Each story starts with a scripture reference for your daughter to look up and read (or for you to read with her) in your preferred version of the Bible, then the story retold in first person, so it sounds more like the woman is telling the story. It ends with a Bible verse for your little girl to memorize, and then several questions for her to think about and answer.

My nine year old and six year old both loved listening to stories in this book and learning more about Bible Princesses. This is a great book that will help teach Bible stories to your daughter (niece, granddaughter, etc) and help to teach good values to them as well. Highly recommended. $14.99 hardcover. 120 pages.

I received this book in return for review from Tyndale House Publishers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Log Cabin Christmas - review 3

Authors: Various
Publisher: Barbour Books
September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61626-478-9
Genre: Historical/Christmas/romance

Love is the best Christmas Gift for the American Pioneer. This book is a collection of several stories but I am going to be featuring a few stories on different days this week to give you a taste of the book.

The Dogtrot Christmas by Michelle Ule – Molly Faires’ brother is building a dog trot cabin on land he bought. Luis Vasco de Carvajal has been off to war. Now he returns to find out that his brother-in-law, Manuel, has sold off his property to Anglos and his family all believes he was dead. Now, Luis wants his land back and the settlers gone. But the blond blue-eyed woman living on his land has won his attention. Will they be able to settle the differences between the white man and the Mexicans?

A Grand County Christmas by Debra Ullrich – Awnya O’Crean is starving to death. Her father has died, leaving her alone and now she is reduced to hunting for wild life in a blizzard to survive. But when she finds a deer just waiting to be shot, Amadeus Josef stops her, claiming that’s his pet. But then Amadeus takes Awnya to his home to give her meat since he kept her from getting game. Amadeus has three children and his mother to care for, but he wants a wife. Within an hour after meeting, Amadeus is praying that God will make Awnya his bride for Christmas which is mere weeks away. But what will it take to convince Awnya that he is serious?

Christmas Service by Erica Vetsch – Beth Sorensen has her future all mapped out. She wants to marry a preacher like her grandfather and her father and serve God along side her husband in the church. Todd Rambek is a blacksmith, but he likes Beth and wants to spend his life with her by his side. What will it take to convince Beth that you don’t have to be a preacher to serve God?

These are just three of the nine stories in this best selling collection of stories by nine different authors. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories and know that this book will become a treasured Christmas reading tradition for me and many other people for years to come.

If you are looking for a great Christmas book for a gift or for yourself, then you can’t go wrong with A LOG CABIN CHRISTMAS. A fantastic book. $14.99. 442 pages.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Log Cabin Christmas - review 2

Authors: Various
Publisher: Barbour Books
September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61626-478-9
Genre: Historical/Christmas/romance

Love is the best Christmas Gift for the American Pioneer. This book is a collection of several stories but I am going to be featuring a few stories on different days this week to give you a taste of the book.

A Star in the Night by Liz Johnson – Cora Sinclair has finally returned to the small cabin she shares with her grandfather after the War Between the States. The last thing she expects is to find a wounded Yankee Captain on her land. She and her grandfather nurse Jed Harrington back to life after his wound, but he is adamant he must leave to transport important papers back to Washington. But if he leaves—will he return?

The Courting Quilt by Jane Kirkpatrick – Mary Bishop owns a struggling mercantile, struggling more now that her husband has died and two more stores have opened up across the river. When salesman Richard Taylor comes in to sell thread to her, she is quick to offer him another job, selling the thread and her material in a circuit route so the women won’t need to come to town to buy supplies. Richard agrees, but has he bitten off more than he’s bargained for when every unmarried woman on his route plans to marry him?

Under His Wings by Liz Tolsma – Adie O’Connell has imagined her perfect farm home in her mind a thousand times. It would have a log cabin and a big stone fireplace and it would be a far cry from the small lumber camp cottage she shared with her pa. But when her pa died, Adie has no one to protect her from the uncouth lumberjacks she cooked for. No one, that is, except Noah Mitchell, a man who only worked at the camp to save enough money to go to seminary in order to train to be a preacher. Noah offers to marry her for protection, in name only, and Adie agrees only after it becomes clear that she can’t care for herself. Will Noah and Adie get their wish for Christmas?

These are just three of the nine stories in this best selling collection of stories by nine different authors. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories and know that this book will become a treasured Christmas reading tradition for me and many other people for years to come.

If you are looking for a great Christmas book for a gift or for yourself, then you can’t go wrong with A LOG CABIN CHRISTMAS. A fantastic book. $14.99. 442 pages.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Log Cabin Christmas - review 1

Authors: Various
Publisher: Barbour Books
September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61626-478-9
Genre: Historical/Christmas/romance

Love is the best Christmas Gift for the American Pioneer. This book is a collection of several stories but I am going to be featuring a few stories on different days this week to give you a taste of the book.

Snow Angel by Margaret Browning -- Maddie Parker is a school teacher in Texas. During this particular winter day, she decides to keep three students over at school to practice their lines for the Christmas play. While they are at the secluded school house, a blizzard blows in leaving them unable to get home. Sheriff Brad Donovan goes out into the woods during the blizzard to rescue the children, but he ends up getting stranded there as well. The five people are left in the drafty cabin with little food and no hopes of getting home for Christmas. Can God provide a Christmas miracle?

The Christmas Secret by Wanda E. Brunstetter – Elizabeth Canning is excited about her upcoming wedding to her beau, David Stinner. But while cleaning the cabin they plan to live in after they marry, she discovers a journal written by her maiden aunt. When reading the pages of the journal, Elizabeth discovers a terrible secret. David’s father is really her father and they can’t marry because they are siblings! Hurt and upset, Elizabeth breaks off the engagement without telling David why and runs away to hide. David is desperate to find Elizabeth, and to find out why she wouldn’t marry him—but will he find her? And if he does, how can they work out this impossible situation?

Christmas Traps and Trimmings by Kelly Eileen Hake – Wilhemina Montrose is desperate to flee to America from England to escape a loveless marriage. She tricks her solicitor into giving her funds for a non-existent trousseau to have money for the escape. Sam Carver lives in Kentucky and needs to earn a living as a trapper to keep from slinking home to England in shame. When Mina arrives on Sam’s doorstep claiming that he’s her guardian, he’s less than thrilled, especially when he can’t think of anything else to do with her and her nurse. He’s furious when she destroys months of hard work, in a single day. When Mina and Sam are together, sparks fly. But will one of them catch ignite?

These are just three of the nine stories in this best selling collection of stories by nine different authors. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories and know that this book will become a treasured Christmas reading tradition for me and many other people for years to come.

If you are looking for a great Christmas book for a gift or for yourself, then you can’t go wrong with A LOG CABIN CHRISTMAS. A fantastic book. $14.99. 442 pages.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Love Finds You On Christmas Morning

Authors: Debby Mayne and Trish Perry
Publisher: Summerside Press
September 2011
ISBN: 978-0-60936-193-8
Genre: Inspirational/romance

Love Finds a home on Christmas morning in two holiday stories set in Cary, North Carolina.

Deck the Halls by Debby Mayne: Lillian Pickard’s family is struggling since her dad’s injury. He hasn’t been able to work and so Lillian is forced to go work at the local Five and Dime to put food on the table. The money doesn’t always stretch far enough so they live on a lot of potatoes and onions. But when wealthy William Tronnier starts paying attention to Lillian her family is wary and warn her away. Is William after only “one thing”? Or is it possible that he’s planning a proposal that she can’t refuse?

‘Tis the Season by Trish Perry: Nikki Tronnier is the granddaughter of William Tronnier, and moved back to Cary and works as a chef for a billionaire in the hopes of saving enough money to buy the family home. But as soon as she earns enough money to make a downpayment, someone else buys it from under her. Drew Cornell loves old houses, and he felt something special about the old Tronnier home. He plans on remodeling it to its historic beauty. Will that beauty also include a new bride?

LOVE FINDS YOU ON CHRISTMAS DAY is a charming addition to the Love Finds You line – I’ve read all the books I could get my hands on so far in this collection and am keeping tabs on what is coming out so I don’t miss a story (I hope). I love Christmas stories and Trish Perry’s books so I was especially looking forward to this novella collection.

Deck the Halls is a historical, and William is a dream come true. I found Lillian quite bitter and she treated William very ugly. I honestly didn’t understand what kept him coming around. But the story was very well written and I did keep reading, mainly because I loved William and his family. It did end well. ‘Tis the Season is in true Trish Perry style. A contemporary, it is fun and sassy and involved food. I thoroughly enjoyed this last story and rooted for both Nikki and Drew. There is a cookie recipe included in between the two stories. This is a fun holiday read. $12.99. 315 pages.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ransome's Quest

Author: Kaye Dacus
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2755-0
Genre: Inspirational/historical/pirate/romance

Charlotte Ransome is outside with her intended, but she doesn’t want to marry him, having found out that he’s only after her fortune. She breaks up with him, sending him away amidst threats, and then agrees to marry Ned Cochran. But they barely seal their agreement with a kiss when they are set upon by strangers and Ned is left bleeding and helpless on the lawn while Charlotte is spirited away.

Captain Salvador is a pirate—and he didn’t intend to kidnap Charlotte. Instead, he’d planned to kidnap Commodore William Ransome’s wife—not his sister. The plan work work enough to lure William Ransome out and possibly to his death, but most of Captain Salvador’s plans were toward William’s father-in-law. A man who would have no interest in someone like Charlotte. But Salvador has no other option at this point but to sail away to avoid what is likely to be a bloody battle until he figures out how to put his original plan back into motion—and kidnap the right woman.

But someone else has a vendetta against the Ransome’s. And both the pirates and the other party are determined to win…

RANSOME’S QUEST is the third and final book in the Ransome Triology by Ms. Dacus. It easily stands alone, but readers might want to read the first two books so they are up to date with stories of all the Ransome’s family. Fast paced and engaging, this historical series is clearly a time period and story that the author is passionate about as there is a life and liveliness in it that was absent in the contemporaries she’s penned.

Charlotte is no fainting female, instead she is smart, sharp-witted, and quick to take care of herself. The male characters pale somewhat in comparison, but they are still well developed. RANSOME’S QUEST is a very interesting story, and I hope to see more historicals along this nature by Ms. Dacus. $13.99. 352 pages.

Friday, December 23, 2011

God Makes Lemonade

Title: GOD MAKES LEMONADE: True Stories that Sweeten & Inspire
Created by: Don Jacobson
Publisher: Lemonade Books LLC
September 2011
ISBN: 978-0-578-08221-9
Genre: Inspirational/True stories/s self help

Do you need some encouragement or know someone who does? Then this book is for you.

GOD MAKES LEMONADE is a collection of true stories that take us through the worst events that change life for the better. Such as the couple that was headed for divorce, yet when he developed cancer, it saved their marriage. Or the grandparents who faced the heartbreak of having a newborn grandchild given up for adoption, yet twenty-three years later met her and are now a part of her life.

Mr. Jacobson is the former owner of Multnomah Publishers and believes (rightly) that the country is desperate for hope. He says that this will be the first book in a series of hope filled books and the proceeds are going to help single mothers and their children through the LemonAid Foundation.

If you are looking for a book full of encouraging stories about how God can turn bad situations to good, then GOD MAKES LEMONADE is a great book to consider. It will note only warm your heart but it will also strengthen your faith in that “God works all things together for good…” Highly recommended. $14.99. 319 pages.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Faith's Reward

Congratulations to Terri O'Hara for winning a copy of The Hidden Gifts of Helping!

Author: Tammy Barley
Publisher: Whitaker House
January 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60374-110-1
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

1985 is almost a nightmare year for Jessica and Jake Bennett. Even though they are thrilled to be expecting their first child, they are facing ongoing battles with their cattle ranch. The previous summer they had to fight to save the cattle from draught, but now they are in danger of freezing to death. Even worse, Jake contracts pneumonia and must watch his health, putting more of the burden on Jessica.

When Jessica and Jake are forced to sell off their cattle, they discover that all Jessica’s money, which she thought was safely in the bank, has gone missing! When investigating her missing inheritance, she discovers a link between the banker and Unionists who target southerners even though the war is over.

As the conspiracy runs deeper, Jessica must put her life—and the life of her unborn child—at risk to stop the thieves and regain her rightful inheritance.

FAITH’S REWARD is the third and final book in Ms. Barley’s The Sierra Chronicles series. It was nice to get reacquainted with Jessica and her new husband, Jake, and to see some of the struggles they faced as they tried to eek out a living in the wild west.

Filled with plenty of action, drama, and suspense, FAITH’S REWARD will keep you on the edge of your seats as you cheer for Jessica and Jake even while you want to shake them for taking risks with the life of their baby. A good read that will encourage you to keep going and keep trusting God, even when situations make it difficult. $9.99. 312 pages.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Naomi's Gift

Author: Amy Clipston
Publisher: Zondervan
September 2011
ISBN: 978-0-310-32735-8
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/Christmas

Naomi King has had her heart broken twice and she is the laughing stock of her Amish community the way she has chased men. Now she is ashamed and wants to change her ways, determined she’ll stay single rather than make a fool out of herself over a man again. She is working at her family’s quilt booth, selling quilts and is trying to find her way, despite being ashamed to be out in public.

Caleb Schmucker and his daughter Susie are visiting family for the holidays. His wife has died two years prior and Caleb maintains he is not ready to move on despite his family’s attempts to match make. He notices the beautiful Naomi as soon as his daughter discovers her but despite attempts to get near her at community events, Naomi tries to avoid him. Not only that, but his family warn him away from her, saying that she’s bad news and inappropriate.

Susie has fallen in love with Naomi and seems determined to find her at every event. But Caleb’s family continue to warn him away. Will they back off enough to let Caleb and Susie find their own wife/mother? Or will they ruin any chance Caleb and Naomi have?

NAOMI’S GIFT is Ms. Clipston’s latest Christmas novella. It is a real cute story about a widower finding a second chance at love at Christmas time. Naomi is a realistic heroine who’d made a few mistakes and as a result was judged harshly by the community for every move she made. Caleb is still hurting and mourning his much loved wife, and he doesn’t want to be forced into another relationship when he’s not ready.

If you are looking for a new Amish Christmas novella to read then NAOMI’S GIFT is a good book to pick up. Short enough to be read in one sitting, but easy to put down if you need to go back a dozen cookies or wrap gifts or entertain unexpected guests. Discussion questions and a recipe are included at the end of the book. $14.99 hardcover. 180 pages.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Christmas Singing

Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-44654-1
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/Christmas/Romance

Mattie Eash has loved Gideon Beiler ever since they were children and best friends. She’d always imagined she’d grow up to marry Gideon, but he had one major fault. He couldn’t be faithful. She was always seeing him getting out some English woman’s car, but he always had a ready excuse—at least until the day Mattie caught him with Ashley. Then, he broke up with her.

Gideon had his reasons for breaking up with Mattie, but they weren’t what she believed. He wanted to set her free to protect her from something he believed was the worst fate. Now, he’s not sure how to act once Mattie’s back on his turf, due to situations out of their control.

Mattie has moved on since Gideon cut her free and she’s been seeing a calm, quiet Amish man named Sol. One who is content to let Mattie live her life while he lives his. But does he hold her heart? Or while Gideon win back her love in time for the Christmas Singing.

THE CHRISTMAS SINGING is the second Amish Christmas book by Ms. Woodsmall and I loved it just as much as I did The Sound of Sleighbells. Set in Pennsylvania Amish country, it is complete with snow, sleighs, and sweets.

Mattie is a very strong woman, capable of carrying on despite difficulties, but others seem to want to protect her from what they deem the rougher side of life, leaving her frustrated. Gideon had been down a very rough road, one where certainty is not part of the vocabulary, and was a hero I definitely could relate to due to my own life experiences. He returned a changed man. Sol too was a hero that the readers could care about, a man that made you want to root for him, due to his kindness, his attitudes, and his own insecurities.

Ms. Woodsmall is a writer with a gift of bringing her characters to life and making them living breathing people that you can’t help but love. Plus the end of the book has some yummy sounding recipes provided by a mutual friend of Ms. Woodsmall and I, Sherry Gore. If you are looking for a Christmas book, then THE CHRISTMAS SINGING is definitely a book you’ll want to read. Stellar. $14.99 hardcover. 189 pages.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holy Stable

Congratulations to Deb Ragno for winning the Christmas giveaway!

Title: HOLY STABLE: Celebrate the Miracle ( play)
Author: Heidi Hanseen
Publisher: Devout Press
August 2010
ISBN: 978-0-578-06315-7
Genre: Nativity play

HOLY STABLE is a complete guide to a nativity play for your church, homeschool group, other organization, or family to perform during the holidays.

The booklet includes the words for the narrative reading and songs, along with a cd with a first section that has readers, singers, and music so your actors can just do the motions without worrying about memorizing the lines.

The cd also includes a second, shorter section that is a musical version without additional hard interludes.

The third section is an instrumental background for your own vocals and actors.

The fourth is also the instrumental background with cues added to simplify the timing for your narrator.

Practice tracks are included at the end so the chorus and descant may be learned, without using any instruments.

You can also get a downloadable script by going to

HOLY STABLE is a cd and play set that will help you share the gift of Jesus’ love and will help you experience the story of Jesus’ birth as never before. Beautifully done, and appealing. Great for churches, homeschoolers and other religious organizations. $17.95.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The "What's For Dinner?" Solution

Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book review following is not a part of this giveaway.*

Author: Kathi Lipp
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-3837-2
Genre: Woman’s issues/cooking

“What’s for dinner?” It’s four o’clock. You’re on your way home from work. Do you know where your dinner is?

For many people, dread turns into panic when four o’clock comes around. They don’t have anything planned, forgot to set out meet to defrost, and don’t remember what they have in their refrigerator or pantry. So they make an emergency stop at a fast food restaurant or at the grocery store and try to plan something edible real fast.

Sound familiar?

In THE “WHAT’S FOR DINNER?” SOLUTION, Ms. Lipp provides a full kitchen approach to getting dinner on the table every night. She will teach you how to:

. save time—with bulk shopping and cooking
. save money—no more last-minute phone calls for pizza delivery or take-out
. save your sanity—forget the last-minute nightly scramble and know what you’re having for dinner.

This book includes directions on organizing your kitchen and recipes, foods that you must keep as staples in your pantry, food that she recommends buying canned, and a plan for you to organize your menu for a month in advance so you can shop weekly or monthly and only pick up perishables such as milk more often if needed.

Included in THE “WHAT’S FOR DINNER?” SOLUTION are recipes that are quick and easy, directions for prepping other meals in advance, and tips on using a slow cooker, freezer, and pantry. Highly recommended for a busy working woman, a mom of preschoolers, or someone who just hates to cook every day. $12.99. 208 pages.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Survivor

Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher: Avon Inspire
August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-202063-5
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/romance

Mattie Lapp has survived breast cancer. Now, she wants to reenter the world of the living. Since her long-time love, Graham Weaver is dating Jenna Yoder, Mattie asks Graham to set her up with some of the men he works with at his job. But Graham is strangely reluctant. He finally agrees, but none of the young men seem to fit.

Graham has been dating Jenna since Mattie doesn’t seem to be as interested in him as he’d like and he’s trying to move on. But he soon realizes that he and Jenna don’t suit, so they break up. Unfortunately, Jenna isn’t as ready to move on. She tells everyone that she’s pregnant and insists that the baby is Graham’s. Graham denies it vehemently, claiming he never even kissed Jenna, but that doesn’t stop his family from taking Jenna in and insisting that he do the right thing…

Jenna knows she’s lying and she knows who the real father is, but she believes that admitting the truth would be worse than the lie she’s spreading. Will Jenna’s lies tear Mattie and Graham apart and keep them from admitting to each other the love they’ve always felt? Or will she do the right thing, and admit to the truth?

THE SURVIVOR is the third and final book in Ms. Gray’s Families of Honor series. The series is about the brothers in the Weaver family and how they all find love. I would recommend reading the books in order so you know all the stories in whole, but if you don’t have the earlier books, or if it’d been awhile since you’ve read them, THE SURVIVOR has enough back story in it to keep the reader from guessing what is going on.

Mattie is a character I can deeply relate to as I’ve been where she’s been and traveled those same roads. I wanted her to find a man to love her for herself, and not a relationship based on physical appearance. It’s hard to feel beautiful when you’ve had a mastectomy and are bald. Graham is a stellar hero who’s been with Mattie, taking care of her every need since she was first diagnosed, and I was glad he argued that he really wasn’t the father of Jenna’s baby. I wanted to encourage him to stay strong, even when the pressure mounts. I recommend THE SURVIVOR and the other books in this series. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $12.99. 294 pages.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Simple Winter

Author: Rosalind Lauer
Publisher: Ballantine Books
October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-343-52671-7
Genre: Amish/romance

Remy McCallister is forced to drop out of college when she starts having seizures and her father pulls the plug on her education. Yet, going home is the last thing she wants to do. Remy doesn’t have a good relationship with her father and dreads being there with him and his new girlfriend, who seems to only think Remy exists to beg money from her dad.

Adam King left the Amish years earlier, during his rumschpringa and started a business making furniture. He is doing very well, but he’s forced to return home when his parents are murdered outside their buggy on a winter night, leaving Adam the sole caretaker of his ten younger brothers and sisters.

A year later, Remy is a budding journalist and eager to prove herself. Investigating an unsolved crime, Remy goes to Lancaster County. She’s never forgotten Adam, but has little hope he’d remember her. Remy investigates and grows to love the King family while she’s there, but the killer still roams free. And the only witness knows more than he’s saying. When it’s time for Remy to go, does she dare reveal the killer, knowing it’d destroy the friendship she’s developed?

A SIMPLE WINTER is a sweet romance between an unlikely couple. A man who left the Amish faith, but due to circumstances beyond his control must return, and a woman who has everything money can buy but is searching for more. Remy is a hurting heroine, wanting to earn her father’s love and respect, but not sure how to do it. Adam also is hurting, wishing he’d done things differently so he could have been right with his parents before they died.

As Remy investigates the story behind the murder of Adam’s parents she learns some disturbing things. She faces a monumental decision as the story goes on. There is a lot of detail included about the Amish faith in this book, so if you aren’t familiar with the Amish culture this book will include tons of explanations. If you are more familiar the telling does drag the story down considerably. An excerpt of A Simple Spring is included at the end of the book. $15.00. 416 pages.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Harvest of Grace

Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book review following is not a part of this giveaway.*

Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
August 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7398-6
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary/Amish

Sylvia Fisher loves Elam, but she isn’t sure she wants to marry when Elam thinks they should. She has taken over her dad’s dairy cow business and it is beginning to show a profit. But Elam wants to marry in the fall and has already signed a business agreement with Sylvia’s dad, making him co-owner of their farm. Elam plans for him and Sylvia to live in Sylvia’s grandfather’s house—which was deeded to Sylvia when her grandfather died. But Sylvia balks, wanting to wait a bit. She asks Elam for a few weeks to decide. But then Elam does the unthinkable and turns to Sylvia’s sister, Rachel, and asks her to marry him instead.

Aaron Blank has been in rehab since due to his hateful crimes and drunkenness he basically murdered his own sister. Now he’s sober and returning home to talk his parents into selling out their dairy farm and moving to town where Aaron has put a down payment on a shop. The first thing Aaron does when he gets home is go out to the cabin on the property to board it up and get rid of his drunken friends who hang out there. But he is stunned to find a woman living there instead!

Sylvia flees her father’s house to get away from Elam’s inappropriate advances after he marries her sister, but her father disowns her due to this decision. She takes a job on the Blank farm, running their dairy business and beginning to turn a profit there. But Aaron and Sylvia are at odds. He wants to sell out—but his father refuses to believe that Aaron has changed and loves Sylvia as a daughter. Will Aaron and Sylvia find common ground?

THE HARVEST OF GRACE is the satisfying conclusion to the best selling An Ada’s House series. The books are tied together with characters from different stories all having points of views and continuing bits in their stories, so readers will want to read the books in order to get the full story. However, if you don’t have The Hope of Refuge or The Bridge of Peace, then there is a brief synopsis of both stories included at the front of this book that will help.

I couldn’t help but feel for Sylvia, losing everything she loved and held dear to get away from her sister’s husband and I wish her father would have been more understanding to her plight. Aaron was this absolutely insufferably horrific character from The Bridge of Peace that I can’t believe became the hero in this book, but Ms. Woodsmall did a stellar job of transforming his abominable characteristics in book two into someone well actually loved and rooted for in THE HARVEST OF GRACE. If you like Amish fiction, then you want to read this series. A glossary is included at the back of the book. $13.99. 337 pages.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Humbug: A Christmas Carol

Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *This book isn't included in the giveaway.*

Author: Lee Baker
Illustrators: Kienan Lafferty and Andrew Young
Publisher: Sandman Studios
September 2010
ISBN: 978-0-615-33839-2
Genre: Children’s/Christmas

Winterton is a frozen town with frozen hearts and frozen people. No one speaks to one another, no one smiles, and everyone keeps to themselves. Worse, Santa has forgotten this little town, hidden between two mountains, and hasn’t been there in years.

Mimi is a little orphan girl who’s been passed from orphanage to orphanage over the years. Her only friend in the world is a little humbug. She is sent to live in Winterton, but the orphanage there has no room for her! Mrs. Sleet sticks her up in the cold and frozen attic, but the humbug starts humming there, bringing cheer to Mimi.

Eventually, Mimi and her humbug begin to thaw people’s hearts but when the mayor decides that no one can really hear the humming, the hearts freeze over—including Mimi’s. Can the humbug still manage to bring Santa to Winterton? Or will their hearts remain frozen forever.

HUMBUG A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a real cute book for older children about the magic of Christmas. There is a foreword included by Ebenezer Scrooge, which says pretty much what you imagine it might.

Some of the drawings/illustrations in this story were kind of scary looking, but I think they were intended to be. Otherwise, they were engaging, and helped to draw the reader into the story. My nine year old thoroughly enjoyed this story and read it herself, without waiting for me, but my six year old couldn’t sit still long enough to listen to it. If you are looking for a unique book about Santa and bringing the magic of Christmas to a forgotten village, then HUMBUG A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a book to consider. $15.95. 38 pages.

I received this book in return for review from the publicist.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Marriage for Meghan

Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book review following is not a part of this giveaway.*

Author: Mary Ellis
Publisher: Harvest House
October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7369-3010-9
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/Women’s fiction

Meghan Yost has dreamed of becoming a school teacher all her life. When the current teacher must resign because she is expecting a baby, Meghan begs for the job. But her father, the bishop, is hesitant to hire her because Meghan is young and flighty, spending more time playing with children than engaging in more womanly activities.

Her father finally agrees to let Meghan have the job of assistant teacher if her sister takes the main teaching position. Meghan is thrilled. But then a string of hate crimes against the Amish occur. Her brothers are beaten, the school is vandalized, fences cut, and crops destroyed. Since the local police believe that the Amish are targeted, they call in the FBI to investigate.

Thomas Mast is sent to do the work in Amish country. As the low man in the FBI totem pole he gets the jobs no one else wants. But the Amish refuse to press charges, and with little to nothing to go on, Thomas doesn’t know how he can solve this mystery. Meanwhile, the hate crimes continue, getting more vicious and hateful each time. Will Thomas find the guilty party? Will Meghan prove her worth as a teacher?

A MARRIAGE FOR MEGHAN is the second book in Mary Ellis’ The Wayne County Series set in Ohio. Meghan is a teenager, active, and impulsive, and anxious to find her own way, even hurting those who get in her way. There are other points of view included in this story – Thomas Mast, who has a secret of his own; The bishop’s, who is making some controversial decisions; Meghan’s sister, Catherine, who is the new head teacher and had to leave her beau to do so…

A MARRIAGE FOR MEGHAN is a great read. It does start out a little slow but it quickly picks up. I couldn’t put this book down. The ending isn’t all neatly tied up, so I think Meghan’s story will probably be continued as a secondary character in the third book of this series. Fans of Amish fiction won’t want to miss A MARRIAGE FOR MEGHAN. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 290 pages.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas at Barncastle Inn

This book is included in the big Christmas drawing on December 19 along with other great prizes. Leave a comment and a way to contact you if you win. Void where prohibited by law.

Authors: Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Janelle, Mowery, Lynette Sowell
Publisher: Barbour Books
September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-41626-438-3
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance

Four couples find romance at Barncastle Inn in Vermont.

Love Comes to the Castle by Susan Page Davis: Jayne Barncastle has earned her MBA in marketing and has a job offer in Boston. But when she visits her parents she learns they are hoping to retire in the New Year and sell the inn—if she doesn’t take over. Jayne has some big ideas, but will they work? Luke Gilbert’s wealthy in-laws want to rent the inn for a Christmas gathering—if Luke’s six year old son likes it. Luke agrees to take Andy up and visit for the weekend, but he doesn’t expect to be attracted to the pretty hostess. But with her considering a big city job and the fate of the inn in his in-laws hands, things could go bad very quickly.

Christmas Duets by Lynette Sowell: Sean McSweeney has “kidnapped” Marcella Goudreau’s grandfather, destroying what Marcella perceived as a happy marriage. She invests her life’s savings into renting the inn for a week so her grandmother and grandfather can get back together. But when her grandfather brings Sean along, Marcella sees her plans for reuniting her grandparents dying. But Sean isn’t want he seems. Is there hope they might by able to save their grandparents’ marriage?

Where Your Heart Is by Janelle Mowery: Stephanie Minter is a nanny to two young children and she agrees to accompany the family to Barncastle Inn when they go for their Christmas vacation. But the last person she expects to see there is her former love, Matthew Raynor, at the inn. Matt has been hired as a set designer at the Inn. He’s not overly thrilled to see Stephanie there, and harbors a lot of hurt over their breakup. Is there any hope that the two of them will get beyond their past and find a future?

First Christmas by Darlene Franklin: Waverly Coe is an unwed mother, working as an assistant to veterinarian Alex Ross. When the Barncastle Inn is rented out for a rendition for the first Christmas, Alex and Waverly work together to care for the live animals at the manager scene. With both of them facing difficult circumstances, will they find their way clear for love?

BARNCASTLE AT BARNCASTLE INN is a four-in-one collection with a unique twist. Set at Barncastle Inn in Maine, it is the story about four couples that find romance at the inn at Christmas time. This is an excellent read, with three of the four stories completely engaging me. The stories were well plotted, with interesting and engaging characters and situations that left me cheering for the couples.

These stories are easy to read in one sitting, making it an ideal book for the holidays when you don’t have tons of time to read. One of the better four-in-one romances I’ve read recently by award winning authors Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Lynette Sowell and Janelle Mowery. $7.99. 343 pages.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Gospel Story Bible

Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book review following is not a part of this giveaway.*

Congratulations to Marilyn for winning a copy of My Favorite Bible!

Title: THE GOSPEL STORY BIBLE: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments
Author: Marty Machowski
Illustrator: A. E. Macha
Publisher: New Growth Press
December 2011
ISBN: 978-1-936768-12-7
Genre: Children Bible story book/ devotional

THE GOSPEL STORY BIBLE is a wonderful addition to your day. I am using it as a devotional for my nine-year-old to do daily. It starts out with a scripture reading (your child looks it up in your preferred Bible version), and then it tells the story in a simple story form, which will make the Bible reading come to life. It also includes an application—how your child can apply it to their own life—and two or three questions for your child to answer. I have my daughter answer them out loud. The pages and illustrations are brightly colored and hold the child’s attention.

If you don’t have an elementary age child, then THE GOSPEL STORY BIBLE can be used as a story book for preschoolers or beginning readers. My six-year-old cuddled in my lap while I read her a page out of this Bible each day.

There are 158 stories in THE GOSPEL STORY BIBLE designed to present God’s plan of salvation in Christ—from the beginning story in Genesis, to the final story in Revelations.

THE GOSPEL STORY BIBLE is even ideal for highschoolers who might not have been raised in church, or just want to get back to the basics of the Bible with stories they might not have heard for a long time.

I’m a homeschool mom and can see getting a lot of use out of THE GOSPEL STORY BIBLE. My daughter read through a Bible school book in a short time and this book is designed to take slower, a story a day, for the elementary age student. She loved it.

According to the flyer I received with this book, the author is also developing a companion devotional and Sunday school curriculum (February 2012). This Bible would be a great addition to church libraries, Sunday school classes and Christian schools, in addition to being invaluable to homeschoolers. Highly recommended. $24.99 hardcover. 328 pages.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Hidden Gifts of Helping: Do Good Things for Others This Holiday Season (giveaway)

Leave a comment for a chance to win both this book and my big Christmas giveaway. Drawing on December 19

The Hidden Gifts of Helping:
Do Good Things for Others This Holiday Season
Article by Stephen G. Post,
Author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping,a Wall Street Journal bestseller

Ebenezer Scrooge begins in The Christmas Carol with a “Bah humbug!” He is both miserly and miserable. As the story unfolds, he eventually discovers the “giver’s glow,” as I like to term it. He is dancing on the streets in the enduring joy of his newfound generosity of heart. I compare the giver’s glow to a glow stick that children get at parades and fairs. These are the translucent plastic tubes containing substances that when combined make light through a chemical reaction. After the glass capsule in the plastic casing is broken, it glows. The brokenness is part of the process. Give and grow, give and glow. Scrooge discovered this before it was too late.

Human beings are wired to give of themselves for noble purposes, regardless of circumstances. Recently, I delivered a sermon in an African-American Baptist church in Coram, New York. The subject was how we benefit when we love our neighbor. Afterwards, a wonderful elderly woman, who was full of vitality, said to me, “You know, that giver’s glow is how we African Americans have been getting through hard times for two centuries!”

On the inside cover of a copy of The Book of Common Prayer, given to me in 1986 by the Rev. William B. Eddy of Tarrytown, New York, is an accumulating memorial list of twenty people I have known closely as models of kindness and generosity over the years. To get on the list a person must have passed on and, by all accounts, remained generous even in their final days. These are people who understood that happiness is not to be found just in the getting, but in the giving, and they taught by example. Have you noticed the warm glow in your heart that comes when you act kindly? They had a deep sense of common humanity, and they all had a certain happiness about them—a sort of gaiety that comes with a life well-lived and rightly inspired.

In my most recent book, The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion, and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times (Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint), I describe a bit of an upheaval in my own life, and how helping others got me and my family through the inevitable tough times that come everyone’s way.

“After twenty years of being ‘at home’ in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, my job disappeared. Maybe we were too attached to Cleveland, and maybe God wanted us to move on. But as a family we never anticipated just how challenging up-rootedness is, especially when it is not something that you would have opted for in better times. So in June of 2008, we sold the house and moved east on Route 80 from Ohio to the George Washington Bridge, landing in Stony Brook. What a great place! But still, we just had not quite imagined how stressful such a move would be and how hard we would have to work to find renewed peace of mind and heart.

“Suddenly cut adrift from friends and community, we felt painfully uprooted—out of place, stressed out, disoriented and at odds with each other. Most movers suffer from a lack of companionship and intimate friends, at least temporarily, and doing this repeatedly is really tough. Fortunately, we had those twenty good years in Ohio. We struggled to find our footing with the move, determined to recreate the good life of community and friendships we all so keenly missed. The key turned out to be something we knew quite well, but learned to remember daily in our upheaval: the healing power of helping others. The medical prescription is this—Rx: Helper Therapy.

“Simply put, helping others helps the helper. Research in the field of health psychology, as well as all the great spiritual traditions, tells us that one of the best ways to get rid of anger and grief is to actively help others. Science supports this assertion: Giving help to others measurably reduces the giver’s stress; improves health and well-being in surprising and powerful ways; renews our optimism about what is possible; helps us connect to family, friends and lots of amazing people; allows the deep, profound joy of our humanity to flow through us and out into the world; and improves our sense of self-worth. These are valuable gifts anytime and particularly in hard times. If there is one great secret to life, this is it.”

After all was said and done, this move worked out. My wife found a grade school where she could continue her work as a teaching assistant for especially needy children, my son Drew volunteered at the hospital and I started working with families of individuals with autism. We eventually realized that wherever we are, we are at home when we can contribute to the lives of others. We got back in touch with the things that matter most, and maybe that is what hard times are for. We helped others in ways that we felt called to, we used our strengths so as to feel effective and we shared our experiences with family, faith community and like-minded others.

Eventually, of course, everyone stumbles on hard times, and no one gets out of life alive. Today, even those who had considered themselves protected from hardship are being touched and their lives changed by volatile economic markets, job uncertainty and the increasing isolation and loneliness of modern life.

Here are four things to keep in mind. First, as Washington Irving put it so well: “Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.” Second, love often does beget love, just as hate usually begets hate, and so good givers need to be good receivers. Third, we should never count on reciprocity because this is sure to be frustrating and ultimately small-minded. Better to take joy when those upon whom our love is bestowed do not “pay it back” to us, but rather “pay it forward” to others as they move through life remembering our good example. Or to bring this to the kitchen table, as I heard one Italian mother in Cleveland tell her son, “Love and forget about it!” And fourth, in I Corinthians Paul linked “faith, hope and love,” and he proclaimed that “love never fails.” What is faith but having confidence that no matter how harsh a particular scene in the drama of our lives or of history might be, it is love that wrote the play and love that will be revealed in the final act.

Do a little good this holiday season. The 2010 Do Good Live Well Survey,released by United Healthcare and VolunteerMatch (, surveyed 4,500 American adults. 41 percent of Americans volunteered an average of 100 hours a year. 68 percent of those who volunteered in the last year reported that volunteering made them feel physically healthier. In addition:

89% reported that “volunteering has improved my sense of well-bring”
73% agreed that “volunteering lowered my stress levels”
92% agreed that “volunteering enriched my sense of purpose in life”
72% characterized themselves as “optimistic” compared to 60% of non-volunteers
42% of volunteers reported a “very good” sense of meaning in their lives, compared with 28% of non-volunteers

How wise it is to do what one can to contribute benevolently to others!

Some individuals on my The Book of Common Prayer list were well known and others lived quiet lives out of the limelight. Some were appreciated and some not. We might prefer to think that loving servants of goodness would, after a long and successful life, die peacefully in their beds and all people would speak well of them at their funerals. But this is too simplistic. Everyone on my list experienced an enduring joy as a by-product of their generosity. Thus, the motto of my independent Institute for Research on Unlimited Love (, founded with the help of Sir John Templeton (who happens to be on my list!), is “In the giving of self lies the discovery of a deeper self.”

Friday, December 9, 2011


Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book review following is not a part of this giveaway.*

Title: WORDS
Author: Ginny L. Yttrup
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
February 2011
ISBN: 978-14336-7170-8
Genre: Inspirational/general/contemporary

Kaylee Wren is almost ten years old, but she doesn’t speak. Abandoned by her mother, she lives with her mother’s boyfriend, an alcoholic who sexually abuses her. Kaylee is fascinated by words, and even though she can’t speak she reads her mother’s dictionary cover-to-cover, beginning to end, over and over again. Memorizing words and meanings.

Sierra Dawn is an artist and alone. Twelve years ago she was addicted to drugs and the rough lifestyle associated with it and ended up accidentally killing her baby girl. She still mourns the loss of her child. Trying to help her become clean, Sierra’s parents spend their savings renting an ocean-front cabin far away from the city Sierra lived in, breaking her from her friends, from her sources, from her drugs.

On the twelfth anniversary of her baby’s death, Sierra drives out to the cabin, and there she sees Kaylee for the first time. She thinks she’s imagining her, but still tells her best friend, Ruby, about seeing the child. Sierra’s world begins to crumble but she still reaches out to Kaylee when she sees her again. Can God help these two hurting souls to heal?

WORDS is a powerfully written story about two hurting individuals who came through the ugly side of life and survived. Dealing with tough subject matter, this is not a book for those who prefer to read “feel good stories”. This is a book that will make you think, that will make you want to reach out to the druggie on the street, to the hurting child in an abusive home, and help them find God’s love in the midst of their private Hell.

If you like reading books that deal with the gritty side of life then you will want to read WORDS. This is written in first person, both Kaylee’s and Sierra’s, but it is easy to tell who’s point of view your in. Recommended. $14.99. 352 pages.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Silent Order

Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book review following is not a part of this giveaway.*

Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Summerside Press
November 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60936-019-1
Genre: Inspirational/historical romantic suspense

Dark secrets bind the notorious Cardano Family together. Detective Rollin Wells is close to exposing them. He witnesses a vicious murder, with his partner, but they don’t have enough backup to take down the Cardano Family at that time—still, he is determined he will win this war against them.

Katie Lehman is an Amish woman with a young son. She has a beau, wanting to court her and willing to wait for her answer, but Katie hesitates, hoping to someday feel something.

When Rollin travels to Sugar Creek to investigate why the Cardanos are in Amish country he is determined to find out who is collaborating with them. He hides out in an Amish home—but as Rollin gets to know the Amish he is attracted to the beautiful Katie, a woman who reminds him of a woman he once loved.

But Katie has secrets of her own—and these secrets could get herself, her son, and Rollin killed…

THE SILENT ORDER is a different sort of Amish story, centered around the mafia in Cleveland, and then moving to Amish country where suddenly things that earlier didn’t seem to have any bearing on anything else became glaringly clear. I had to keep reading to find out what happened.

If you like stories where two very different words collide, then you’ll want to read THE SILENT ORDER. $12.99. 343 pages.

This was my own copy of this book – no review expected.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Baby's Little Bible

Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book review following is not a part of this giveaway.*

Retold by: Sarah Toulmin
Illustrations by: Kristina Stephenson
Publisher: Lion Children’s
November 2011
ISBN: 978-0745962719
Genre: Inspirational/children’s story Bible

BABY’S LITTLE BIBLE is a collection of Bible stories, simply told with colorful images, that is sure to hold your baby’s interest while you read him or her some of the Bible stories.

The book, which comes in either a blue cover or a pink cover, is divided up into Old Testament stories and New Testament stories, just like the real Bible. It starts with creation, then Noah and the ark, Abraham and Sarah having Isaac, Joseph and the coat of many colors, and other well-known Old Testament stories.

The New Testament includes stories such as: Baby Jesus’ birth, Jesus calling his disciples, the hole in the roof, the good shepherd, and bread and fish, among others.

Both of my little girls (no longer babies) enjoyed reading through the BABY’S LITTLE BIBLE copy that I got for review. They read the stories and thought they were very interesting and well done. My nine-year-old says she’d give it five stars. My six-year-old wants to give it six stars. This Bible will be the perfect gift for a baby shower or a new baby at Christmas time. Highly recommended. $9.99 hardcover. 160 pages.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Belles of Georgia

This book IS included in my Christmas giveaway. Leave a comment to win.

Authors: Jeanie Smith Cash, Rose Allen McCauley, Jeri Odell, Debra Ullrick
Publisher: Barbour Books
September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61626-480-2
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary/romance

Four sisters, identical quadruplets, find out they are adopted and heirs to a historical plantation.

Christmas in Dixie by Jeanie Smith Cash—Holly Davenport is shocked when she receives a letter in the mail sharing the news that she’s adopted and an heiress. She travels to Monticello, Georgia, to get some answers, but while there she suffers an appendicitis attack and ends up in the hospital. Dr. Grayston Brockman is her attending physician, but quickly becomes more to her than just a doctor. What will it take for Grayston to convince her to stay in Georgia?

Nick’s Christmas Carol by Rose Allen McCauley—Carol Peterson is an only child, but she always dreamed of having a large family. When she is almost twenty-five she learns that she’s one of a set of quadruplets, she’s thrilled, but he won’t reveal any more information. Nick Powers tries to help Carol cope while she waits. They work together to help make Christmas happy for others—but will they find their own happiness?

Starry Night by Jeri Odell—Starr Evans loves the California surf, sea, and sand. Camden Brockman goes to California to let her know about her adoption, but they are instantly attracted to each other. But he has deep roots in the south. Will they be able to find a place to build a life together?

Love Stetson by Debra Ullrick—Noel Brady knew she was adopted, but she didn’t know she was part of a set of quadruplets. When she learns of that fact she shares it with her father’s ranch hand, Stetson Laramie. She loves Stetson, but isn’t sure how he feels about her. Her big news only seems to push him further away. When Noel learns about Stetson’s secret past will she continue to love him?

CHRISTMAS BELLES of GEORGIA is a set of four novellas written by four different authors regarding the four quadruplets in this story. All four must come to terms with their adoption, being part of a suddenly large group of siblings, and being heiress to a historical plantation.

I enjoyed all the stories, but as per usual one of them stood out more than the rest. This is a really sweet collection of Christmas romances, that don’t take long to read. This will make a good Christmas gift for a romance lover on your life. $7.99. 352 pages.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Anna's Gift / Family Blessings

Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book reviews following are not a part of this giveaway.*

Two Amish romances for your consideration.

Author: Emma Miller
Publisher: Love Inspired
October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-87699-0
Genre: Inspirational/Amish/romance

Anna Yoder never expects to marry. Anna has six pretty, petite sisters, and Anna is big, overweight, and plain. Even her mother tells her so. Anna is accepting of her future, even when the handsome widower she’s long admired appears to be calling on her mother. She’s not sure how she feels about him being her step-dad, but she accepts it.

Samuel Mast is only eight years younger than Anna’s mother, but it’s not her mother he’s calling on, though everyone thinks it is. It’s Anna. No one is more surprised than Anna when Samuel announces his intentions to marry her so she could be a step-parent to his five children. Anna is flattered, but sure it’s a misunderstanding. After all, handsome Samuel has his choice of pretty brides.

When Anna finally becomes brave enough to share with a few friends about Samuel’s surprise proposal, no one believes her. They all think Anna is making up Samuel’s interest. Anna’s already low self-esteem takes a beating. Will she ever accept Samuel’s proposal as real, and take the love that is offered?

ANNA’S GIFT is one of the better Love Inspired books I’ve read recently. I enjoyed getting to know Anna and Samuel and the secondary characters in this book. The story is well written and the plot line is believable, even though Samuel is quite a few years older than Anna.

ANNA’S GIFT is the third book in Ms. Miller’s Amish series Miriam’s Daughters but it easily stands alone. Amish romance fans won’t want to miss this book. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.75. 217 pages.

This is my copy of the book, no review was required or requested.


Author: Anna Schmidt
Publisher: Love Inspired Historicals
October 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-82888-3
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Pleasant Obermeier has been raising her four step-children since her husband died. Her sister-in-law helps out with the children some, but she is still overwhelmed with running the bakery, the farm, a home and four children. She is doing okay in her bakery, though is sticking mostly with baking rye bread and rolls and a few cookies, since the Amish community they are in doesn’t believe in frivolous things.

Jeremiah Troyer has just moved down to the area from Ohio. His grandfather is the Bishop, and he plans to open an ice cream shop in the store next door to Pleasant’s bakery. He discusses with her the option of making cones for the ice cream. Pleasant reluctantly agrees, but she steadfastly refuses when Jeremiah offers to hire her twelve-year-old stepson to help in the ice cream shop.

Pleasant is unkind to Jeremiah, but she finally does agree to allow her stepson to help—free of charge—saying that is what the community is all about. But will Jeremiah’s continued offer of friendship remain rebuffed? Or will he break down the walls that Pleasant has erected.

FAMILY BLESSINGS is the second in Ms. Schmidt’s Amish Brides of Celery Fields series, but it easily stands alone. I didn’t care much for the first book, and wondered at my wisdom in buying this book, but it was better than the first. The female characters (heroine and secondary) are still very bitter and unkind, complaining a lot, but Jeremiah’s kindness made up for it. The ice cream shop made for an interesting twist.

It isn’t too often one reads a historical Amish romance, so if you like historicals and Amish, you might like this book. Also, at this point, it is the only Amish series set in the celery fields of Florida. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.75. 281 pages. 3 stars.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Stranger in Your House

Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book review following is not a part of this giveaway.*

Author: Gregory L. Jantz, PhD
Publisher: David C. Cook
October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4347-8622-9
Genre: Parenting

He’s in his room for days at a time and barely responds when I talk to him…

She’s emotional every day, one minute demanding I tend to her needs and the next minute demanding I leave her alone….

What is going on with your teenager? Is it just the ups and downs of adolescence or is it something more?

If either of the above scenarios sound familiar to you, then THE STRANGER IN YOUR HOUSE is a book you need to pick up.

Dr. Gregg Jantz, PhD is the founder of the Center for Counseling and Health Resources, a health-care facility near Seattle that specializes in whole-person care. He has years of experience counseling parents and adolescence and shares his knowledge in this book.
He answers hard questions, such as:

How do hormones affect my teen’s behavior?
Is this “just a phase” or is it “clinical depression”?
How can I get help when I see the warning sign of suicidal thoughts?
How can I be source of peace in my child’s life, especially when I feel stormy too?

This is a book that I needed to read when my first son reached his adolescent years—and then the second son—and then my daughter… some days I wondered if I would go completely insane! With stuffed animals being stabbed and mutilated, temper displays, crying spells and such, I wondered if I’d survive their teen years, let alone my teen! I began to wonder if perhaps Mark Twain was right when he said something along the lines of putting your teen in a barrel until they outgrow their attitudes and behavioral issues. (I don’t remember the exact quote.)

If you have a teenagers—or soon to be teen—then THE STRANGER IN YOUR HOUSE is a book you *must* read. This includes a section on cutting and other dangerous behaviors. $14.99. 224 pages.

I received this book in return for review from the B&B Media Group

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Favorite Bible and GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book review following is not a part of this giveaway --however this IS a separate giveaway. Leave a comment here, you'll be entered for both.*

Leave a comment to win a copy of this Bible for kids - perfect gift for your favorite child! Drawing on December 14. Include your email address so we can contact the winner!

A couple details: A couple of details - questions raised:
· We are willing to mail the book international
· If you would like to view the inside of the book, you can view it on Amazon
· This is not a children’s Bible. It is a Bible story book that includes key verses and parent pages called “Family Talk” and “Family Fun” to assist adults in discussing the stories with children.

Long Blurb:

With the vibrant illustrations and engaging text in this Bible storybook, you can enjoy sharing the best-loved stories of the Bible with the children in your life and encourage a life-long love for the Word of God. My Favorite Bible is a book of exciting Bible stories and activity pages that guide children through the foundational truths of Scripture.

Each story is fully illustrated and includes a simple narrative full of things kids love: repetition, rhythm, and energy, along with a key biblical theme, a key Bible verse, and discussion questions to help adults introduce children to the Bible.

The colorful illustrations will capture the imaginations of children ages 4–8, and the stories will help adults to pass along the most important truth in life—the Gospel. Families will cherish this time as they read, listen, learn, and love, growing closer to one another even as they grow closer to God.

Short Blurb:

My Favorite Bible is a book of exciting Bible stories and activity pages that guide children ages 4-8 through the foundational truths of Scripture.

Each story is fully illustrated and includes a simple narrative full of things kids love: repetition, rhythm, and energy, along with a key biblical theme, a key Bible verse, and discussion questions to help adults introduce children to the Bible.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

Leave a comment on any blog from December 1st until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book review following is not a part of this giveaway.*

Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
June 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-44482-0
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance

Charlotte Beck has just reached the age where she’s ready to be presented to society. She is taken to Victorian England for her debut, and at one of the social gatherings, Charlotte, unable to breath due to the restraints of her corset goes over to the window and manages to fall out. She is caught by Alex Hambly and suddenly, everything changes.

Alex Hambly is an astronomer, and the last thing he wants is a romantic entanglement—or any entanglement with an American heiress. Alex is responsible for his parents finances and a brother who lost his mind in the war, and he doesn’t need or want any more responsibility.

Even though Alex and Charlotte don’t like each other at all, somehow they keep finding themselves together! Alex begins to think of Charlotte as a nuisance and a menace. Charlotte’s opinion of Alex isn’t much higher. But what happens when they are forced to wed to save Alex from financial aid, and to give Charlotte her heart’s desire—college.

THE INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE OF CHARLOTTE BECK is the third book in the Women of the West series, but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed getting to know the spoiled tomboy, Charlotte, and the reluctant Viscount, Alex. Charlotte reminds me strongly of one of my aunts. Very used to getting her own way, demanding, and complaining about everything and anything. Alex was a strong hero, surprisingly able to control Charlotte to some degree, and yet sweet, kind, and loving.

I thoroughly enjoyed the tension between the two in the first half of the book. The second half dragged a little at first, but soon picked up again. If you are looking for a different sort of historical romance, then THE INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE OF CHARLOTTE BECK will be an excellent choice. Recommended. 335 pages. $13.99.

I didn’t receive this book in return for review. This is my own copy. No review was expected.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Christmas Quilt / Hannah's Journey

Leave a comment on any blog from today until the 19th to be entered in for the Christmas drawing. Details on my author page on facebook - Author Laura V. Hilton *Please note: the book reviews following is not a part of this giveaway.*

Author: Patricia Davids
Publisher: Love Inspired
December 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-81588-3
Genre: Inspirational/Contemporary Romance/Amish

Gideon Troyer left his Amish community years ago after his long-time lover, Rebecca Beachy, rejected him. He fulfilled his dreams of becoming a pilot, and made more money than he knows what to do with. But returning home is the last thing on his agenda—until he sees a television broadcast about a quilt auction to help fund a surgery to hopefully restore sight to a blind Amish woman—Rebecca Beachy.

Rebecca is attracted to the unseen English man who appears at her side at the auction, and feels that he is familiar, but she can’t place why. She is stunned to learn that he buys her quilt and hurries to thank him. He says he’s leaving, but an ice storm keeps him stranded at the same hotel she’s staying at. The next day, Rebecca and Gideon spend the day together, but she still doesn’t realize who he really is.

Will Gideon be able to give up his planes and freedom and return to life as an Amish man? Will Rebecca ever forgive him for leaving her and taking her heart?

THE CHRISTMAS QUILT is a beautiful Christmassy story set in Ohio. It is the fifth book in Ms. Davis’ Brides of Amish Country series, but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed getting to know Gideon and Rebecca.

I haven’t read all of Ms. Davids’ books, but out of the ones I’ve read, I liked this one the best. It was a good way to spend the day after Thanksgiving, relaxing and reading. I enjoyed the characters and the setting and of course, the romance. If you are looking for a good Christmassy Amish romance, then THE CHRISTMAS QUILT is a good book to consider. Discussion questions are included at the end. $6.50. 280 pages. 4.5 stars.


Author: Anna Schmidt
Publisher: Love Inspired Historical
May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-373-82868-5
Genre: Inspirational/historical/romance/Amish

Hannah Goodloe is an Amish woman, desperate to find her eleven-year-old son, Caleb. Caleb had visited a circus the day before and that night had vanished. Hannah believes he ran away to join the circus, so she gathered her courage and went to visit the owner of the circus, Levi Harmon, to request that he return her son.

Levi is a bit confused by the Amish woman’s request and questions her as to why she believes that Caleb would have joined his circus. He can’t be bothered to find the boy himself, and knows his managers would locate him and return him if he has indeed stowed away on the train, but he tells Hannah that she must go on the trip with him and see to her son herself. To his surprise, Hannah, her father-in-law, and her sister-in-law, show up at the train station at the designated time.

Will Hannah find her son on that train? Will Levi unlock the doors to his past and open his heart?

HANNAH’S JOURNEY is a different type Amish story, in that it’s historical. Hannah is taken out of her world and thrown into one that is vastly more opulent than what she was accustomed to. But this unassuming woman quickly became assuming, making demands on Levi that things should be downgraded to her standards. Levi catered to every complaint she made, though she covered them all saying they were for her father-in-law and or sister-in-law’s comfort.

I can’t really say I enjoyed this book. The conversation was stilted, I couldn’t relate to the characters, and I found some of the things unbelievable. This is the first of several books in her Celery Fields Series, set in Sarasota, Florida. Or, in this case, a circus train traveling cross-country from Florida to Wisconsin. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.50. 278 pages. 3 stars.

While the City Sleeps (Women of Midtown)

  While the City Sleeps  (Women of Midtown)  February 13, 2024 by  Elizabeth Camden   (Author) Amid the hushed city, two hearts must navigat...