Friday, October 31, 2014

Becoming Bea

Becoming Bea

Book info and review

About the book: Can Bea and Ben Turn Rivalry Into Romance?

Beatrice Zook knows God wants her to learn patience toward others. When assisting a family overwhelmed by triplets proves surprisingly successful, her confidence in dealing with others, both young and old, grows.

One person she'll never be able to find peace with though is Ben Rupp. They've known each other forever, and Ben understands precisely how to antagonize her. What neither she nor Ben will admit is that beneath all their bickering, attraction awaits. When friends decide to try and bring the couple together, will the pair be able to find true love? Or will they damage their relationship beyond repair?

My thoughts: I absolutely loved this book. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about Bea's story when I read Minding Molly, but I think this is the best book by Ms. Gould I've read yet. Ben is rather immature, acting like the boy Don accused him of being, but then again there are things I can say about Don. Bea became more like Molly in this story--she was disagreeable at first, but by the end of the book she was pretty nice and acting maturely. Mostly. I wanted things to work out with Ben and Bea, because Ben was a sweetie, despite his age. 

If you are a fan of Amish romance, you will love BECOMING BEA. A good clean novel. No sexual tension, but plenty of tension of other types. This is the fourth book in The Courtship of Lancaster County series, but the easily stand alone.  The other books are Courting Cate, Adoring Addie, Minding Molly, and BECOMING BEA.  I couldn't put this book down. I literally read it through in a day. 

Available in ebook, paperback, and audio. 353 pages. 

Purchase a copy:

About the author: Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 CBA bestseller The Amish Midwife, a 2012 Christy Award winner; ECPA bestsellerCourting Cate, first in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; and Beyond the Blue, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice for Best Inspirational Novel, 2006. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She and her familyl live in Portland, Oregon.

Find Leslie online: websiteFacebookTwitter

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional

Author: Chris Tiegreen
Publisher: Tyndale
September 2014
ISBN: 978-1414366852
Genre: devotional

This year learn to listen for the voice of the one who loves you most.

Our God is not silent—He has revealed Himself as the God who guides, instructs, corrects, inspires, encourages, and reveals. He has always been vocal, and He always will be.

But what does He say to you? How does He say it? How can you know when you’ve heard Him? In The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional, Chris Tiegreen will help you discover patterns and practices you can adopt to hear God better. Through Chris’s eloquent devotions, you will see that listening to God is a process, a journey, and an adventure. God promises that those who seek Him will be rewarded with His presence and His voice. And the words of the living God are powerful and life-changing.

I absolutely loved THE ONE YEAR HEARING HIS VOICE DEVOTIONAL. I used it with my family, and it was inspiring, comforting, challenging, and so much more. I love Chris Tiegreen’s voice in this devotional and will be keeping this as my go-to devotional when I want to spend quality time with God.

It includes a verse, a short devotional, and a prayer related to the devotional/verse reading.

If you are looking for a new devotional for yourself or for a gift, pick up THE ONE YEAR HEARING HIS VOICE DEVOTIONAL. You’ll be glad you did. 384 pages. Available in ebook and in paperback. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Andi Under Pressure

Author: Amanda Flower
Publisher: Zonderkidz
September 2014
ISBN: 978-0310737025
Genre: Tween/suspense

Twelve-year-old Andora ‘Andi’ Boggs and her new best friend Colin Carter couldn’t be more excited to attend the prestigious science camp at the local university in Killdeer, Ohio. Unfortunately, Discovery Camp’s curriculum appears to include much more than just chemistry and biology. From day one, the university is plagued by a series of pranks—missing markers, loose crickets, and stolen scales. Campus security blames the mysterious janitor Polk, but even though Andi agrees he’s acting suspicious, she can’t believe the gentle old man would do anything illegal. Then one prank goes too far and their chemistry professor is injured by an explosion in the lab, upping the stakes of the investigation. Andi and Colin must unravel the secrets behind the chemistry department and Polk’s dark past before danger closes the camp for good.

ANDI UNDER PRESSURE is the second book in the An Andi Boggs series. Andi Unexpected is the first book. I didn’t read Andi Unexpected, but I wasn’t lost at all in this book.

ANDI UNDER PRESSURE is a really good suspense. I really liked it. I never would have expected who the ‘bad guy’ really was! It kept me guessing all the way through. It wasn’t scary and I felt comfortable reading it at night. I recommend it to kids that like mystery and suspense. The faith message was almost nonexistent, so even good for not Christian kids ages 8 – 12.  Available in ebook and in hardcover. 176 pages. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dare U 2 Open this Book / Just Sayin'

Title: DARE U 2 OPEN THIS BOOK: Draw it. Write it. Dare to live it.
Author: Carol McAdams Moore
Publisher: Zonderkidz
September 2014
ISBN: 978-0310742975
Genre: Devotional for tween boys

Draw It, Write It, Dare to Live It!

Dare U 2 Open this Book is not your typical 90-day devotional for guys. It’s an all-out open space for you to explore and learn more about yourself and your faith. Get your mind thinking and your creative ideas flowing, turn your thoughts and emotions into dynamic doodles, fill in the prayer blanks, solve puzzles, and more.

Each of the short devotions includes a topic, quote, and Scripture summary, plus doodles, journal prompts, lists, puzzles, quizzes, fill-in-the-blank prayers, or other unique activities that explore Bible truths and ways to apply them—everyday. Dare U 2 Open this Book challenges guys to follow Jesus. Best. Idea. Ever.

I love DARE U 2 OPEN THIS BOOK is a great idea for an interactive devotional for 8 – 12 year old boys. It gets them involved. Each two page devotional starts with a verse, an opportunity to draw the picture idea it gives you, an opportunity to engage in writing with another question, and an application for your favorite tween boy to live.

Wanting an innovative devotional for your son, grandson, nephew, or boys Sunday school class? Look no further. This is a totally fantastic idea. And it has a boy-friendly cover, with a dog and a lightning bolt, on a brilliant red background. Available in paperback. 192 pages. 


Title: JUST SAYING: Write ‘em. Draw ‘em. Hide ‘em in Your Heart
Author: Carol McAdams Moore
Publisher: Zonderkidz
September 2014
ISBN: 978-0310742982
Genre: Devotional for tween girls

Write ‘em, Draw ‘em, Hide ‘em In Your Heart

Just Sayin’ isn’t your typical 90-day devotional for girls. It’s an all-out open space for you to explore and learn more about yourself and your faith. Prompts get your mind thinking, ideas flowing, and help turn your thoughts and emotions into dynamic doodles and so much more! Let that God-given gift of creativity shine each and every day!

Each of the short devotions is designed for girls just like you, with relevant topics, quotes, and Scripture, plus doodles, journal prompts, lists, puzzles, quizzes, fill-in-the-blank prayers, or unique activities. They explore Bible truths and ways to apply them—everyday. Just Sayin’ challenges girls to follow Jesus every day. Best. Idea. Ever.

I love JUST SAYIN’ is a great idea for an interactive devotional for 8 – 12 year old girls. It gets them involved. Each two page devotional starts with a verse, an opportunity to draw the picture idea it gives you, an opportunity to engage in writing with another question, and an application for your favorite tween girl to live.

Wanting an innovative devotional for your daughter, grand daughter, niece, or girls Sunday school class? Look no further. This is a totally fantastic idea. And it has a girly-girl cover, with a puffy lap-dog with purple glasses, on a soft pink background. My daughter loves it! Available in paperback. 192 pages. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Book spotlight: A Christmas Chance

Coming November 6 to Amazon.  Find out more at:

“Laura Hodges Poole is a master storyteller who deftly captures the heart and yearnings of women. Readers will connect with the characters of A Christmas Chance as they strive to find God’s will for their lives.”
 ~Laura V. Hilton – author of The Snow Globe, and the popular series The Amish of Seymour, Amish of Webster County, and Amish of Jamesport, all published by Whitaker House.

“Growing a Family by Trusting in God - Laura Hodges Poole delivers a delightful and warm affirmation of love for the Christmas season, and a reminder that God can build a family in the most unusual ways.”
            ~Therese Travis – author of Annabelle's Angel, A Fistful of God, Everybody Loves Mickey, and Keeper of My Heart.

Distraught that she and her husband are facing another childless Christmas, bakery owner Maddie Oliver tries to rescue every needy child who crosses her path. As the couple jumps each hurdle to adopt or become foster parents, they’re always disappointed. Then eight-year-old Chance Simmons comes into Oliver’s Bakery with his elderly grandmother, and Maddie is immediately smitten. Chance’s impish personality draws her in. Determined to stop focusing on her own problems, Maddie sets out to make this the best Christmas ever for the little boy and his ailing grandmother. What she doesn’t count on is him capturing her heart in the process. Will God orchestrate an even bigger Christmas gift than Maddie could imagine, or will she lose Chance for good when the Simmons family suffers a setback?

Laura Hodges Poole is a Christian writer with dozens of articles, devotions, and short stories in publication. She is a 2014 ACFW Genesis semi-finalist and a 2012 RWA Emily finalist in Christian fiction. Laura is also a non-fiction ghostwriter and collaborator. Her passion is encouraging others in their Christian walk through her blog, “A Word of Encouragement.” Her upcoming devotional, While I’m Waiting, will release on Amazon in January 2015. She lives in the upstate of South Carolina with her husband. They have a son and daughter.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door / Adventure Bible for Toddlers

Author: Danette Fretz
Illustrator: Gene Barretta
Publisher: Zonderkidz
September 2014
ISBN: 978-0310723493
Genre: Children’s ages 4-8

“I hear that becoming a cowboy can be dangerous. Especially if you don't know the rules.
I don’t know the rules.”

It’s a good thing Conrad brought his Mega Ultimate Extreme First Aid Kit to Uncle Clint’s ranch because learning how to be a cowboy turns out to be a lot harder—and more painful—than he thought. Conrad has a lot to learn – including don’t squat with spurs on and never wave your red sweatshirt at a bull. But the biggest challenge of all is dealing with Imogene Louise Lathrup, the know-it-all-cowgirl next door. When Imogene shows up, she is all too happy to point out Conrad’s shortcomings. In this follow-up to their  debut hit Pirates on the Farm, author Denette Fretz and illustrator Gene Barretta team up once again to tell a humorous tale about what it means to love your neighbor.

CONRAD AND THE COWGIRL NEXT DOOR is a sweet kids’ story for preschool and elementary age children.  Conrad has a lot to learn about being a cowboy. Good thing he has Imogene to help point out everything he does wrong.

If you are looking for a cute children’s book for your favorite child, CONRAD AND THE COWGIRL NEXT DOOR is a good option. Recommended. Available in hardcover. 40 pages.


Author: Catherine DeVries
Illustrator: Jim Madsen
Publisher: Zonderkidz
September 2014
ISBN: 978-0310730422
Genre: Children’s Bible stories

The Adventure Bible for Toddlers starts children ages 2-5 on the journey of a lifetime, teaching them about the Bible’s great stories and themes. It helps young children grow in their relationship with God using stories and art from the wildly popular Adventure Bible Storybook. With ten beautifully illustrated and beloved Bible stories from the Old and New Testament, this sturdy padded board book will stimulate toddlers’ minds and fill their hearts with love for their heavenly Father.

The ADVENTURE BIBLE FOR TODDLERS is a simplistic retelling of popular Bible stories for toddlers. Done in a sturdy board book format, it is easy for little fingers to hold for the child to look at, but hard for them to tear the pages. Perfect first Bible for small children. Available in board book. 40 pages.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

How to Survive Middle School and Monster Bots

Author: Howard Boward and Ron Bates
Publisher: Zonderkidz
September 2014
ISBN: 978-0310736080
Genre: Tweener / Science fiction

Sometimes, being smart just isn’t enough

It’s been a rough semester for Howard Boward, science genius. Not only is he having to dodge winter’s most feared weapon (snowballs), his close friend, Winnie McKinney, is barely speaking to him. If that weren’t enough, he’s the favorite target of some bullies who seem determined to make life at Dolley Madison Middle School as miserable as possible. But then Howard learns about an upcoming robot-building contest—finally a chance to show off his science skills and beat archrival Gerald “G-Force” Forster! Unfortunately, the only way to win is by using his secret “monster goo,” a formula that has terrifying side effects. Can Howard resist the temptation? Or will he unleash a robot rampage that could destroy the town—and ruin the school dance?

The review (written by my tween daughter): HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL AND MONSTER BOTS was kind of interesting. It is the second book in the series. I didn't read the first, but I wasn't lost. They talk about robots and how scary middle school is. Howard had this barrel of goo, I don’t know where he got it, but it appeared to be kind of a magic goo that grows and stuff. The goo starts multiplying and turns into a… well, you have to read the book and find out.

I recommend it to people that like robots and science fiction. It wasn’t really scary. It was kind of weird and funny at times. I liked the authors’ sense of humor. This would be a great book for tween boys. My older brother (who is not a tween) actually laughed out loud a few times when he read it. Available in ebook and in hard cover. 224 pages. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Brickmaker's Bride

Judith Miller The Brickmaker's Bride

Book info and review
About the book: 

Bestselling Author Judith Miller Debuts Historical Series Set in West Virginia

Yearning for a fresh start, Ewan McKay travels with his aunt and uncle from northern Scotland to West Virginia, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial assistance from his uncle Hugh. Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, but it's Ewan who gets the business up and running again. Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man---a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Besides, Ewan has resolved he'll focus on making the brickmaking operation enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Scotland.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work may come to naught. As his plans begin to crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. She and her mother may have a way to save the brickworks, and in turn Ewan may have another shot at winning Laura's heart.

My thoughts:  I liked THE BRIDEMAKER’S BRIDE, but I didn't like it. I liked Ewan and Laura. I didn’t like Laura’s suitor (why did she choose him?) or Ewan’s relatives. The storyline is intriguing. Especially why was Laura – a proper lady – so involved in the brick-making business?  Why was their brick field the only one Ewan’s aunt would consider? Why did she insist on wanting Laura’s home? Was that part of the sale of the business? If so, why didn’t they ever tour the house?  So many questions. I am iffy about this book. It had it’s good parts. And it’s bad.  I’m giving it three out of five stars.

Purchase a copy: 

About the author: 

Judith Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. When time permits, Judy enjoys traveling, visiting historical settings, and scrapbooking the photographs from her travel expeditions. She makes her home in Topeka, Kansas.

Find Judith online: website,FacebookTwitter

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Too Loved to be Lost

Too Loved to be Lost Debora Coty

Book info and review
About the book: In Too Loved to Be Lost (Barbour Books, October 2014), you'll find simple, practical steps for healing, refreshment, and revitalization of spirit, body, and faith. Whether you're struggling with issues related to trust, depression, patience, relationships, hurts, or hopes. . .this humor-filled volume will deliver a much-needed smile and equip you with simple-to-implement tips for attaining the kind of guidance and belonging you crave---the kind that can only be found in the unconditional love of Papa God.

My thoughts: TOO LOVED TO BE LOST is a devotional for women to help encourage them in their day-to-day walk with the Lord. One of the devotionals was about insecurity and not being a part of the in-crowd. We all face that at times. You may be Ms. Popular at one location, but go to another and your on the fringes. And every place has its cliques,m whether it is work, church, school, conferences, or somewhere else. There was also a devotional about getting lost in Scotland and another party of her tour group came by and helped her find the hotel again. 

All the devotionals are filled with humor, scripture, and relate to something that w are either going through or will go through. They are also filled with wisdom and packed with God's love. 

I enjoyed reading through this devotional with my daughters and highly recommend it to all women, working moms, stay at home moms, grandmas, or singles. It's relevant for seventeen-year-olds as well as seventy-year-olds. If you are looking for a new devotional or one to give as a gift, TOO LOVED TO B LOST is one to consider.  My only complaint (and this is my opinion only) is that is embraces God as "papa" and while we are adopted children of God, if we believe, I feel it is disrespectful to Him and His Deity to call Him papa. Or daddy.

Purchase a copy:

About the author: Debora M. Coty is a popular speaker, columnist, lifelong Bible student, internationally published freelance writer, and award-winning author of numerous books, including Too Blessed to Be Stressed, and More Beauty, Less Beast. She's also an orthopedic occupational therapist, writing instructor, and tennis addict. Mother of two grown children, Debora lives and loves in central Florida with her husband, Chuck, and desperately wicked pooch, Fenway.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Winnowing Season

Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Publisher: Waterbook Press
April 2013
ISBN: 978-0307730046
Genre: Amish

The tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community—and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them?

On the eve of their departure to begin a new Old Order Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is shocked to discover that choices made by her business partner and friend, Samuel King, have placed her and her unusual gifts directly into the path of her district’s bishop and preachers. She is furious with Samuel and is fearful that the Kings will be influenced by the way her leaders see her, and not what they know to be true—that Rhoda’s intuition is a gift from God.

Jacob King won’t be swayed by community speculation. He loves Rhoda, believes in her, and wants to build a future with her in Maine. But when the ghosts of his past come calling and require him to fulfill a great debt, can he shake their hold before it destroys what he has with Rhoda? Samuel has a secret of his own—one he’ll go to great lengths to keep hidden, even if it means alienating those closest to him. Throwing himself into rehabilitating the once-abandoned orchard, Samuel turns to a surprising new ally.

Book 2 of the Amish Vines and Orchards series asks: can the three faithfully follow God’s leading and build a new home and orchard in Maine? Or will this new beginning lead to more ruin and heartbreak?

THE WINNOWING SEASON is the sequel to A Season for Tending and readers will want to read these books in order.

I have loved Cindy Woodsmall’s other books, but THE WINNOWING SEASON fell flat for me. I kept picking the book up and putting it down, and it never did catch my interest. I had to force myself to finish it, and I don’t like having to do that. I wouldn’t have, if I wasn’t going to review it.

I will continue to read Ms. Woodsmall’s other books (I have her new one in my stack to review), but I was not impressed with THE WINNOWING SEASON. However, there are over 100 5 star reviews, so it may just be me. Don’t take my word for it. If you like Amish, you may love THE WINNOWING SEASON. Available in paperback, hardcover, audio and ebook. 322 pages. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Falling in Love

Author: Susette Williams
Publisher: Self
August 2012
Genre: Contemporary romance

Katie Morgan has her future planned. It doesn’t include becoming serious about anyone before she achieves her goals, not even her handsome boss. Just because she does not have time to date, doesn’t mean her boss shouldn’t. Her new mission…to make her boss happy, whether or not he wants to be.

Wade McAlester fell in love with Katie the first day she walked into his clinic looking for a job. He hired her, content to settle for friendship until she lives out her dream of becoming a vet. Against his better judgment, Wade allows her to fix him up with a couple of her friends. The dates are disastrous. He can’t believe the kind of women Katie seems to think he’d enjoy spending his life with. However, when Wade’s old colleague, Dr. Laura Redmond shows up, Katie is rethinking how happy she wants her boss to be, and with whom. Definitely not the gorgeous doctor.

Seasons of the Heart novella series:
Falling in Love - available
Winter Chill - available
Spring Break - Coming Soon!
Heated Summer - Coming Soon!

FALLING IN LOVE is a difficult book to write a review for. I know this author is talented. But this book was amateurish and not up to the standards I expect from her.

Katie is a pre-vet student, working at a clinic, but she acts like a fifteen year old girl. I’m not sure how old she is really. Wade is thirty, a doctor, her teacher, and he is falling all over himself when she’s near.

The characters are Christian and go to church and pray. But it seems Katie is all mixed up. The girls she fixed Wade up with do not meet the criteria she reamed him for when he went out with Laura. Yet she didn’t get mad at herself for fixing him up with them, instead she got mad at him picking a mature version of the ones she chose.

Wow. I don’t mean to be so harsh. Again, I know this author can do much better. But FALLING IN LOVE is not a book I’m FALLING IN LOVE with.

Available in Kindle format only. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spring Broke

Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: David C. Cook
March 2009
ISBN: 978-1589191075
Genre: Chick lit

With creditors hounding her and all her available cash going to make payments on her debt, Kendall's spendthrift lifestyle has finally caught up with her. To complicate matters, she's pregnant and not sure who the father is.

Kendall needs help, but her roommates are caught up in problems of their own: Megan is trying to manage her crazy boss and remain true to her Christian principles. Lelani is still trying to work up the nerve to go home to Maui for a visit with her parents and her young daughter. And after a gaffe on her first job, Anna is trying to regain credibility in the workplace without relying too heavily on Edmund.

So when Lelani's parents offer to host the girls in Hawaii, it sounds like the vacation everyone needs—and no one can afford. A really big garage sale is scheduled, but fraying tempers threaten the teamwork needed to pull it off. Will they finally turn to the One who can really help?

When you've got your first apartment, a real job, and grown-up responsibilities, life can be tough—loaded with confusion, emotion, and secrets you can't tell to anyone but God. In the 86 Bloomberg Place series, Melody Carlson has captured all the uncertainty and joy of being twenty-something in pitch-perfect detail—and their stories just might sound like someone you know.

Oh the drama! I did read the other three books in this series, I Heart Bloomberg, Let Them Eat Fruitcake, and Three Weddings and a Barmitzah, but it was been awhile, so I forgot how dramatic these four girls are. They are each dealing with their own trials and issues, and try to get along with each other, but with four different personalities in the same house, tempers do flare.

Ms. Carlson is a very prolific author, and very talented, handling whatever genre she writes in well. If you like chick lit – then you won’t want to miss any of the books in the 86 Bloomberg Place series. Available in Kindle, paperback, or audio.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Woman Code

Author: Sophia A Nelson
Publisher: Revell
October 2014
ISBN: 978-0800723880
Genre: Nonfiction / Women’s issues / Self help

From the Inside Flap
Women are powerful yet peaceful. We are strong yet sensitive. We are listeners yet we lead. We are resilient yet we remember. We are sacred yet sensual. We are wives and we are mothers. We are single and we are caretakers. We are spiritual and we are sisters.

There is something about women that makes us uniquely connected and, beyond that, simply powerful! In The Woman Code, author, journalist, and TV personality Sophia Nelson shows women that everything we need to lead the lives we want is already inside us. Nelson helps women create a road map of timeless values coupled with modern-day approaches to help us face the challenges of our time.

It is time for women to return to a universal Code of personal and collective conduct, a Code that will allow us to fulfill all we are born to be.

From the Back Cover

Your Key to Unlocking a More Fulfilling Life

Every woman lives by a Code, whether she realizes it or not. The Code is as old as time. It has been practiced for thousands of years, quietly, among the sisterhood of women. This Code is her road map to living, a guidepost residing deep within her spirit. It governs her romantic relationships, friendships, family ties, career choices, and personal sense of well-being and value. And when her Code is out of balance, her life is out of balance.

Drawing from her personal faith and from her experience in the business world, Sophia Nelson explores 20 keys to unlocking the life you want, such as:

· Knowing your innate value and worth
· Teaching people how to treat you
· Making peace with your past
· Learning to lead from within
· Lifting other women as you climb

The Woman Code helps women to honor themselves while navigating the demands of work, home, family, and friendship. It not only calls on women to practice purpose in their lives, it shows them how to do it with grace.

THE WOMAN’S CODE is a book for all women—that will reach you at the core and help you how to get past the personal roads you’ve already traveled and to navigate the current and future ones. The author shares she was going through a hard time as she sat down to write this book, but never-the-less, she has some really thought-provoking ideas in it. Such as: “We all endure different trials, tribulations and triumphs. But in the end we all hope to geet through them intact. Whole. Better than before.” Or, “I accepted what was lost. I made peace with what is now past. And I have learned to be grateful for what and who I still have left.”
A powerful message for today’s woman, to find peace and happiness from the inside-out. Recommended. Available in Kindle, hardback, or MP3-CD.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

An October Bride

Author: Katie Ganshert
Publisher: Zondervan
October 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

What if the only way you could make your father’s last wish come true . . . was to marry the man of your dreams?

Emma Tate has just moved on from one fiancé, so when she announces a sudden engagement to her lifelong buddy Jake Sawyer, every busybody in Mayfair goes into high alert. Of course, no one but Jake and Emma know the real reason they’re getting married—so Emma’s dying father will have a chance to walk her down the aisle.

But while Jake and Emma move forward with their plan—and frantically plan an October wedding—it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications . . . the biggest being their true feelings for each other.

With dubious friends, deliriously thrilled parents, and a town that won’t keep its nose out of their business, Emma and Jake will have a lot to contend with if they’re going to pull this off. The real question is: Who wants this wedding more, Emma’s dad . . . or Emma?

AN OCTOBER BRIDE is the latest in Zondervan’s A Year of Weddings novellas. I loved some of them, didn’t like others, but I have to say I absolutely loved AN OCTOBER BRIDE. I’ve never read any of this author’s books before, but after this one I may have to look them up.

Emma and Jake are total dears and I couldn’t wait to see how this story played out. I fell in love with Jake! The black moment was so sad. But it all worked out, for a HEA and this romance lover is happy. Fans of contemporary romance will love AN OCTOBER BRIDE and most of the books in this collection. $3.79 Kindle. 84 pages.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Out of the Storm

Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
October 2014
Genre: Historical Novella

Having grown up in a lighthouse, loneliness is all Isabelle Thornton has ever known--and all, she assumes, she ever will know. But when her lightkeeper father rescues a young man from the lake, her sheltered world is turned upside down.

Bestselling author Jody Hedlund's Out of the Storm is her first ever novella and introduces readers to Beacons of Hope, a new series set in the 1800s amid the romance, history, and danger surrounding the Great Lakes lighthouses of Michigan.

Author Jody Hedlund writes books set in my home state, based around its history – and I love them. Presque Isle light is one of my favorites and I love that its picture is on every chapter heading. Beautiful.

Henry is a playboy, buying up mines and timber for his father. Isabella is sheltered, naïve, and has a secret that will keep her from ever marrying – though she is attracted to the playful, rarely serious Henry, but also equally repulsed.

It was interesting seeing how this historical romance novella played out. Would Henry grow up, give up his playboy ways and settle down with a handicapped wife? Will Isabella give up the only life she’s ever known and settle down in a mansion with her life managed with servants while she tries to settle into a high society she’s never known? Or will this relationship be nothing more than a brief fling spawned by a shipwreck on Lake Huron? Nothing is really resolved, but a sweet romance. Like someone else said, I would've like a prologue on how it all turned out. Sample chapters of the next book is included at the end of the book. $0.00 Kindle. 141 pages.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Christmas Comes to Little Hickman Creek

Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Publisher: Whitaker House
September 2014
ISBN:   978-1629111803
Genre: Christmas / historical novella

Two years ago this Christmas, Sadie Bennett's beloved husband was killed in a tragic accident at the local sawmill. What was once her favorite time of year now haunts her, with its cheerful trappings a cruel reminder of the love she lost.

The young widow would like nothing more than to hibernate until the festivities are over. When she finds herself assigned to the committee tasked with picking a Christmas tree for the town square of Little Hickman Creek, she begrudgingly agrees but determines to fulfill her duties to the bare minimum. As the search for a suitable tree gets under way, Sadie is dismayed to learn that one of her fellow committee members is a man she's worked hard to avoid.

Reed Harris owns the local livery, and while he's friendly enough, good-looking, too, Sadie isn't ready to invest in another relationship. In fact, she may never be ready, unless a Christmas miracle manages to thaw her frozen heart.

CHRISTMAS COMES TO LITTLE HICKMAN CREEK is a novella to finish out Ms. MacLaren’s popular Little Hickman Creek series. I enjoyed getting to know Sadie and Reed. Reed is completely devoted to Sadie, pursing her despite her obvious disinterest.

I also liked how Sadie, despite being still in deep grief over losing her husband, still participates in the community celebrations. I did worry a bit over Reed pursing her while she was still grieving, but it is fiction and a novella… 

Fans of Ms. MacLaren’s Little Hickman Creek series will be thrilled to have this latest installment to the series and catch up with previous characters.  CHRISTMAS COMES TO LITTLE HICKMAN CREEK has a nice holiday feel, and one could almost feel the crisp air, and see the inch of snow covering the ground as the story begins. So grab a cup of hot cocoa and a few cookies and settle in for an enjoyable holiday read. 144 pages. $9.39 Kindle. $10.64 paperback.

***I loved the snowflakes on each page and the pine tree artwork separating each chapter in this book.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Heart Made New

Author: Kelly Irvin
Publisher: Harvest House
October 2012
ISBN:  978-0736943833
Genre: Amish

In the second novel of Kelly Irvin's Bliss Creek Amish series, readers will be delighted to return to a town and a family they've already come to love.

Annie Shirack is trying to fight her feelings for David Plank, a young Amish man who's struggling with an aggressive case of Hodgkin's lymphoma. David loves Annie too much to let her into his life, only, he fears, to leave her.

When a homeless young woman named Charisma and her two-year-old daughter, Gracie, show up in Bliss Creek, Annie welcomes them into the Shirack household and tries to help them establish a new life. But all the good deeds in the world can't change the ache in Annie's heart...or help her forget the man she loves.

A HEART MADE NEW is the second book in The Bliss Creek Amish series, but it easily stands alone. This book starts with a bang—literally, as the Amish bakery Annie works at is robbed! Scary! I also sympathized with David, as I am a cancer survivor (not the same type he has) and I know about treatments and not feeling well, worrying about leaving those you love.

Fans will want to read the other two books in this series, Love’s Journey Home and To Love and to Cherish. Both are all available for purchase. 336 pages. $8.76 Kindle. $9.22 paperback. Also available in hardcover with big print.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Title: HO-HO-NOOO!: TJ and the Time Stumblers #4
Author: Bill Myers
Publisher: Tyndale
August 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3456-1
Genre: Juvenile / Tweener

Ho-Ho-NOOO! is all about TJ Finkelstein learning the real meaning of Christmas as she prepares for her future as a world leader with a little help from her 23rd-century goofball friends, Tuna and Herby.

 In a competition with her middle sister, TJ races to earn money so she can give it to her father as a Christmas present; he’s lost his job and the family is preparing to spend their first Christmas without their mom. Thanks to Tuna and Herby’s help at her job interview, where their futuristic gadgets expose the true motivation of each candidate, TJ lands a job at the mall—making kids smile for Santa and eventually playing (a much smaller) Santa herself.

That job turns into a nanny gig for pop star Lady Goo-Goo’s spoiled and unattended kids. She also takes on a delivery job to help with dreamy Chad Steel’s plan to provide a hearty meal for the homeless on Christmas Eve . . . only to find herself delivering caviar cream puffs on the whim of TV star and classmate Hesper Breakahart. Despite all her work, her efforts to get money for Christmas backfire, but in the end TJ realizes Christmas is really about being with those she loves and sharing the love God has given through Christ.

HO-HO-NOOO! is very funny. I like it a lot because she finds herself in a lot of fixes. I sort of feel for the kids that she babysits because they never see their mom. She’s a major star and comes home at midnight. All her kids see their mom for a hi, bye and then she goes to her room for her “beauty rest.”  

I recommend HO-HO-NOOO! for kids who have major problems for their age, like family money problems and single parents due to some tragedy. Great for church libraries and Christian schools. Highly recommended. Ages 8 – 12. $5.38 Kindle. $6.99 Paperback. 176 pages. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Snowflake Tiara

Join us in celebrating Montana's 125th birthday, as well as the 150th birthday of its lovely capitol city, Helena!

Authors: Angie Breidenbach and Valerie Comer
Publisher: Gems of Wisdom
August 2014
Genre: Half historical/half contemporary Christmas novella collection

Two Christmas Romance Novellas Set 125 Years Apart

What if you were caught doing something good, but the man you loved didn't see it that way? 

The Debutante Queen by Angela Breidenbach ~ 1889 (Helena, MT): Calista Blythe enters the first Miss Snowflake Pageant celebrating Montana statehood to expose the plight of street urchins. But if her hidden indentured orphan is discovered, Calista’s reputation and her budding romance with pageant organizer, Albert Shanahan, could both unravel. Will love or law prevail? 

My thoughts:  The Debutante Queen is a charming story set at the end of mining days in Helena as they struggle to keep the town from becoming a ghost town. The end of the Orphan Train also caused Helena to become overrun with orphans. It was great getting acquainted with Montana history and getting to know Calista and Albert. A very sweet historical romance.

More Than a Tiara by Valerie Comer ~ 2014 (Helena, MT): Marisa Hiller’s interest in competing in Miss Snowflake Pageant for the city of Helena’s 150th anniversary is at zip zero zilch when she discovers the official photographer is Jase Mackie. Can Jase make amends for past mistakes and offer her, not only a tiara, but a partner in her crusade to help needy children and families? 

My thoughts: I love Jase and Marisa. Such a sweet contemporary romance. I love Ms. Comer's other books. Marisa is a professional model who cares about the environment, natural foods and healthy eating. She's on a mission to teach people how to garden (I wish she'd teach me. I try, but don't have a green thumb). Jase is a previous boyfriend, a professional photographer, who believed Marisa only gardens to make herself look better as a model. But when he discovers the truth is it too late to get her back?  I thoroughly enjoyed this story. 

Final thoughts: I know the story behind the stories, and am so glad these authors decided to self-publish this collection. Both Ms. Breidenbach and Ms. Comer are professional authors, traditionally published and as a result the final product is more professional than most self-published books I've read so far. This collection is very well written, excellently edited, and engaging. I loved this collection and highly recommended. 

(from the inside flap)

Albert flipped open his pocket watch. She'd be expected any second as one of the last competitors. He looked up the stairs -- and there she stood. The light from the chandeliers shimmered off her gown creating an ethereal glow that sparkled around her entire being. His heartbeat picked up speed as if a trolley ran out of control on a hill without brakes.

Calista saw Albert and rewarded him with a smile that slammed into his heart with an electric zap as if that trolley had just jumped the tracks. His feet carried him to her with a mind of their own. "You cannot imagine how beautiful you are to me." Albert whispered.

"I --" Calista's hand fluttered to her heart.

From the authors:

Celebrating romance is fun, but when we found out it was the state of Montana's 125th anniversary and the capital city, Helena, is also celebrating the 150th anniversary of incorporating, well, what better setting to tell a romantic story at Christmastime? The research, history, and fun! Wow, this was quite the experience for us, as authors, and we hope it is for you as the reader too! Helena's birthday is Oct. 30, 1864 so she will be 150 this fall! Montana's birthday is Nov. 8, 1889 so she will be 125 this fall!

While the City Sleeps (Women of Midtown)

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