Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dreaming on Daisies

Author: Miralee Ferrill
Publisher: David C. Cook
October 2014
ISBN: 978-0781408103
Genre: Historical Romance

When her father's debts, brought on by heavy drinking, threaten Leah Carlson's family ranch, she fights to save it. When handsome banker Steven Harding must decline her loan request, he determines to do what he can to help. Just as he arrives to serve as a much-needed ranch hand, Leah's family secrets—and the pain of her past—come to a head. They could destroy everything she's fought for. And they could keep her from ever opening her heart again.

This is western historical romance that offers hope and healing to the deepest wounds in a woman's past.

DREAMING ON DAISIES is the third in the Love Blossoms in Oregon series, but it easily stands alone. I didn’t read any of the two previous books but had no problem keeping up with what was happening in this story.

Leah is a very strong heroine, caught in a world of loss. Her mom died, her brother took off, and her stepfather checks out of life by becoming a drunkard. Steven, too, suffered a lot of loss. His sister vanished as a child, when she was recovered his mother checked out to dote on her, he lost his family land, and his home. I wondered how these poor characters would persevere and conquer.

I enjoyed reading this book, but it wasn’t stupendous, I must keep this on my bookshelf great.  It was more of a happy, quiet read that left me satisfied with a story well told, but I won’t have any problem passing my copy on to a friend.

If you like historicals, books based on Oregon history, then DREAMING ON DAISIES will be a great book to check out.  Recommended.

4 stars. Available in paperback and kindle. 384 pages. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Love Unexpected

Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
December 2014
ISBN: 978-0764212376
Genre: Historical Romance

Presque Isle, Michigan

What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?

All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

LOVE UNEXPECTED is a historical romance set in the area of Presque Isle, Michigan, one of my favorite lighthouses on Lake Huron.  I loved reading this story, getting acquainted with Patrick and Emma and learning their histories.  I absolutely loved the way Emma reacted toward Patrick’s son, calling him “Little Love.” So sweet. I felt sorry for Patrick with his past histories.  I pretty well knew how it would play out (I’m a writer, I know how a writer thinks) so there wasn’t any surprises, but it was far from predictable.  Jody Hedlund is quickly rising to the top of my favorite historical authors list. 

If you like historicals, lighthouses, or books strong on Michigan history, then LOVE UNEXPECTED will be a great book to check out.  Highly recommended.

5 stars. Available in hardcover, paperback, and kindle. 352 pages. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easter Stories

EASTER STORIES:  Classic Tales For The Holy Season
C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, et. al.
Easter / Literary Collections
Plough Publishing House
373 pages
$18.00 U.S. Softcover

Everyone who believes Easter is about more than bunnies and eggs will be grateful for this new collection of short stories that shed light on the deeper meaning of the season. Selected for their spiritual value and literary quality, these classic tales capture the spirit of Easter in a way that will captivate readers of all ages. Parents and grandparents will find that children love to hear these stories read aloud, year after year. Easter Stories includes time-honored favorites from world-famous storytellers such as C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Selma Lagerlof, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Goudge, Maxim Gorky, Ruth Sawyer, and Walter Wangerin – as well as many you’ve never heard before. Illustrated with original woodcuts.

Don’t tell me that the publishing houses cannot produce a quality softcover book . . . I’m holding one in my hand!

Seriously, the first thing that impressed me about this book was the quality of the binding, even before I started reading.  The craftsmanship that went into this book is just another bonus to an already superb literary work.

This collection of stories from the masters is a thought-provoking, challenging, and uplifting adventure in prose and poetry, all with one aim in mind:  to lift Him up! 

They’ve succeeded.

This is a short review, because to cover every contribution to this anthology would make for a rather lengthy one.  Which would keep you from diving in and relishing the offerings from some of the world’s finest literary minds.

So please, don’t let me stop you.  Get in there!  The crown jewels have nothing on this book!

5 stars for a collection of timeless treasures!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

You Have a Brain

Author: Ben Carson, MD
Publisher: Zondervan
February 2015
ISBN: 978-0310745990
Genre: Nonfiction / Young Adult / Memoir / Christian Living
Reviewed by Jenna

Throughout his life, renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson has needed to overcome many obstacles: His father leaving the family; being considered stupid by his classmates in grade school; growing up in inner-city Detroit; and having a violent temper. But Dr. Carson didn't let his circumstances control him, and instead discovered eight principles that helped shape his future.

In You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to Think Big, Dr. Carson unpacks the eight important parts of Thinking Big—Talent, Honesty, Insight, being Nice, Knowledge, Books, In-Depth learning, and God—and presents the stories of people who demonstrated those things in his life. By applying the idea of T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. to your life, and by looking at those around you as well, you too can overcome obstacles and work toward achieving your dreams.

Includes discussion questions at the back of the book.

YOU HAVE A BRAIN is a book about  a famous neurosurgeon and his growing up years. He talks about his anger problems, discovering how he knew he wanted to be a neurosurgeon and his successes and failures. It is very interesting and he encourages thinking about what kind of doctor you want to be. He also encourages going to God when you need help.

I liked this book a lot. Very inspiration! I recommend it to those who don’t know what they want to do. They should read this book for encouragement.

5 stars. Available in hardcover, audio, MP3 CD,  and kindle. 240 pages. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Andrea Carter's Tales from the Circle C Ranch

Author: Susan K. Marlow
Publisher: Kregel
March 2015
ISBN:  978-0825443794
Genre: Tweener
Reviewed by Jenna

Join Andrea Carter for more adventures in nineteenth-century California!

The independent tomboy Andrea Carter and her beloved horse, Taffy, were first introduced in Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home in 2005. Since then, popular author Susan Marlow has penned five more books in the Circle C Adventures series, filled in Andi s early years with the Circle C Beginnings series, and started a chronicle of Andrea s teen years in Circle C Milestones.

Published to celebrate the tenth anniversary of this positive role model for girls, Andrea Carter s Tales from the Circle C Ranch is a collection of short stories inspired by fan questions that fills in many of the gaps between Circle C Beginnings and Circle C Adventures. Taking place between 1873 and 1880, each story is prefaced by an explanatory note that pinpoints the action of the story in relation to events in the existing Andrea Carter books.

Wholesome fun, and with a clear Christian message throughout, Andrea Carter s Tales from the Circle C Ranch is a must-read for fans of the series and a fun introduction for those who haven t yet discovered these historical gems.

ANDREA CARTER’S TALES FROM THE CIRCLE C RANCH is a whole bunch of short stories based on questions that readers asked about other books they’ve read. Basically it’s a collection of stories behind the stories.

Some of them are funny, some of them are serious. I feel I missed a lot because I didn’t read all of the books. It makes me want to go back and find the books I missed and read them.

I enjoyed ANDREA CARTER’S TALES FOR THE CIRCLE C RANCH a lot and I recommend it to other fans of Ms. Marlow’s books who want to know more about the books and the characters.

Available in paperback. 160 pages.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Amish Childhood

Author: Jerry Eicher
Publisher: Harvest House
February 2013
ISBN: 978-0736950060
Genre: Autobiography/Memoir

Bestselling fiction author Jerry S. Eicher (nearly half a million books sold) turns his pen to a moving memoir of his life growing up Amish.

Jerry's mother was nineteen years old and nine months married when he was born. She had received Grandfather Stoll's permission for the wedding because she agreed to help out on the farm the following year. However, with Jerry on the way, those plans failed.

Jerry recounts his first two years of school in the Amish community of Aylmer, Ontario and his parents' decision to move to Honduras. Life in that beautiful Central American country is seen through an Amish boy's eyes--and then the dark days when the community failed and the family returned to America, much to young Jerry's regret. Jerry also tells of his struggle as a stutterer and his eventual conversion to Christ and the reasons for his departure from the childhood faith he knew.

Here is a must-read for not just Jerry's fiction fans, but also for readers curious about Amish life.

Okay, let me preface this by saying I’m not a fan of memoirs. I try to avoid them. But this one sounded like one I might be interested in, kind of like Ira Wagler’s, maybe.

No. Not at all.

This book is set in Honduras, and it very much reminds me of Dale Kramer’s Amish books set in Mexico—a failed Amish community there. Except this one is real, and Dale’s is loosely based on a true story.  I can’t say that I really enjoyed it. It is a memoir… and it is a collection of Mr. Eicher’s stories about his childhood, but one doesn’t really learn anything about the Amish culture or about their beliefs.

Still, if you’re a fan of Mr. Eicher’s books or interested in his life, or maybe interested in Honduras, or just really love memoirs, then you might enjoy reading MY AMISH CHILDHOOD.

Available in paperback  and kindle. 256 pages. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pieces of the Heart

Author: Bonnie Calhoun
Publisher: Abingdon Press – Quilts of Love
June 2013
ISBN: 978-1456752728
Genre: Historical romance

Layers of hope and prayers may not be strong enough to cover the wounds of war.

Cordelia Grace watched Bernard Howard, the love of her young life, go off to fight for our country in WWII. And she has spent the last three years creating the Pine Cone quilt that will grace their marriage bed when he comes home. Each row of triangles signifies a layer in her life, sets of memories, hopes, dreams, and prayers for her future, enough spoken words to cover them forever. Her image of their “happy-ever-after” grows proportionally as the quilt expands.

But is the man that returns from the war, the same man that she remembered? Are the dark shades of color that she had to use for the outside edges of the beloved quilt prophetic of her life to come? Can love and faith overcome all?

PIECES OF THE HEART is set during World War II. Cordelia and Bernard are African American during a time of racial segregation. They plan to marry. But Bernard joins the army first and comes back a changed man. Throughout these years in their lives, both young people learn about prayer and God's love and deepen their relationship with him.

The storyline is rather misleading. The book starts with Cordelia and Bernard as thirteen year old children. Most of the book is set as they grow up together. I found it choppy, without a smooth flow, and I couldn’t really get into it, though I wanted to.

If  you like Abingdon’s Quilts of Love series, and missed this one, you might want to get it. They are all about a different quilt, written by different authors, during different time periods. Fans of historical romance, WWII, quilts, and/or Bonnie Calhoun might enjoy this book.

Available in paperback  and kindle. 242 pages. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Taming the Wind

Author: Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House
September 2012
ISBN: 978-0764206177
Genre: Historical romance

A young widow nursing the wounds of her past...
A cowboy with demons of his own...

Though grateful for the blessing of her daughter, Carissa Lowe has accepted that widowhood is her lot in life. Bound by fear and mistrust, she feels incapable of opening her heart again.

Tyler Atherton has never forgotten Carissa. When he discovers she's living with her sister on a nearby ranch, his life becomes intertwined with the lovely widow's. And Carissa's daughter, Gloria, seems determined to wrap herself around his little finger. But while Tyler longs to provide a home and future for Carissa, he is haunted by an obligation he feels unable to fulfill.

Challenged by mounting hardships, can Carissa and Tyler preserve their fledgling love in a land as unforgiving and vibrant as the people who call it home?

TAMING THE WIND is the third book in Ms. Peterson’s Land of the Lone Star series. Fans will want to read the first two books, Chasing the Sun and Touching the Sky.  I didn’t read either of the first two books, but this last one does stand alone.

Carissa is recovering from an abusive marriage and happy to be a widow. She would like a father for her daughter, but since that would involve a man, she’s resigned to her not having a daddy. Tyler is a kind, gentle man, but it is angry and bitter at events that he had no control over, which kind of scares Carissa when he talks to her about them.

The whole story is rather stiff, slow, and I struggled my way through it. If you enjoy historicals,  set in the aftermath of the Civil War, in Texas, you might enjoy TAMING THE WIND better than I did.  Ms. Peterson is still a great author, this particular story was just dull and redundant to me. This is just a miss for me.
Available in hardcover, paperback, audio, audio CD, and kindle. 336 pages. 

Monday, March 23, 2015


Author: Dani Pettrey
Publisher: Bethany House
February 2015
ISBN: 978-0764211966
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Finally Returned Home, Reef McKeena
Finds His Beloved Alaska Facing Its Greatest Threat

Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now, working together as search-and-rescue for Alaska's arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments. Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night.

Kirra's uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing: Frank's daughter has been kidnapped. Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl's life--but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen

SABOTAGED is a fast-paced, romantic suspense that kept me up late so I could finish it. I loved getting to know Reef and Kirra and to catch up with the rest of the family. That it was set during the Iditarod was a major plus. We got to read some interesting details about this race.

I felt sorry for Kirra, with her back story. I had to admire her strength in facing it. I didn’t figure out who the informant was until near the end, but some aspects of the mystery I did figure out in advance.  I loved reading this book. If you like romantic suspense then you’ll want to read SABATAGED as well as all the books in the Alaskan Courage series, Submerged, Shattered, Stranded and Silenced. Highly recommended.

Available in paperback, audio, and kindle. 335 pages. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Blessings for the Morning

Author: Susie Larson
Publisher: Bethany House
October 2014
ISBN: 978-0764212932
Genre: Nonfiction / Christian living / Devotional

A Blessing a Day from Popular Author and Radio Host

This beautiful devotional gift book is for readers who want to start their day with a reminder of God's love and purpose for them. So often we wake up worried about our to-do lists and responsibilities and need a reminder of how God feels about us and who we are in him. Several years ago Susie began posting daily blessings on Facebook, and since then thousands have responded and forwarded the blessings along to others.

The blessings take only moments to read, but are packed with biblical promise and perspective. Along with a blessing, each day's spread also includes a related Scripture to point readers back to God's timeless truth.

BLESSINGS FOR THE MORNING is a great blessing a day. Not exactly a devotional, it doesn’t serve to “feed” you spiritually. But it does have a verse, and a series of uplifting, encouraging comments. Short, sweet and too the point. Now go, take on your day.

I enjoyed reading these out loud to my family every day and encourage you to at least pick this book up and look at it. It is a great gift book for your favorite friend at Easter, or your favorite Mom at Mother’s Day, or just an anytime pick-me-up.

Available in hardcover and kindle. 208 pages. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Teen Mom: You're Stronger Than You Think

Title: TEEN MOM: You’r Stronger Than You Think
Author: Tricia Goyer
Publisher: Zondervan
March 2015
ISBN: 978-0310338871
Genre: Nonfiction / Christian Life / Women’s Issues
Everything changes the day you discover you're going to be a mom. It's not just yourself that you think about—you have a child to care for, too. While you wouldn't trade your child for the world, some days are just hard. Baby-daddy drama, dealing with your parents, and worries about school, work, and your future slam you. Your friends can't relate to your little family, and you wonder if God has turned His back on you, too.
Tricia Goyer understands.

A mom at age 17, Tricia remembers what it felt like to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. She's also been the coordinator of a teen mom support group for over twelve years, and she's cheered on many young moms—from all walks of life—through their journey.

In Teen Mom, Tricia pours out her heart and shares advice for the hard things you face. She also longs to provide encouragement, reminding you that you can be the mom your child deserves—not in your own strength, but in the strength God provides.

TEEN MOM is nonfiction, geared to teen moms. Ms. Goyer is brutally honest in the pages of this book, sharing her own heart-breaking story of how she became a teen mom, how she felt, the trials she faced, etc. Teen mom’s will be able to relate to her honesty and vulnerability in the pages of this book.

When a Christian writer goes through a traumatic, life-altering event, it serves to give the author a heart for God to share His love, mercy, and grace. Ms. Goyer shares how teens need God, how they won’t find love in the arms of a hormone-raging boy who is only interested in sex and not in forever. She reminds girls to hold out for marriage if they haven’t, warns what the consequences of sex may be, and also ministers to those who didn’t wait and found themselves pregnant.

My teen daughters are not teen mothers, but I am asking them to read this book before I take it to the Crisis Pregnancy Center that I promised it to.  I think this is definitely a book that should be required reading for teen girls, whether or not they are teen moms.  Great advice!  Highly recommended.

Available in paperback and kindle. 224 pages. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You?

How Many Times do I Have to Tell You?  

About the book:

How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? (Apologia Educational Ministries, September 2014)

You've probably said these things to your kids, but have you listened to what you're saying?

"I remember the day you were born."

"Turn down the music!"

"This is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you."

"Hold my hand."

Your heavenly Father wants to tell you many of these same things. Rachael Carman knows how noisy it can be when you're raising children---she has seven! But this lovely devotional book will help you to hear God's still, small voice amid the chaos of carpools, cut fingers, and carpet crawlers. You'll learn how to recognize God's instructions for you, even as you seek to follow His example as a parent.

My thoughts: This is a great book for new parents. Full of true stories from the author's life as a mom of seven children, it will appeal to young mother's. This would be a great gift for Mother's Day. Encouraging, both spiritually and mentally, and with discussion questions included, it is great for a topic starter with your MOPS group, a Mom's Time Out group, a small group, or a book discussion group. A great book for a church library.  As a mother of five, I could relate to all the stories in this book--and I love the way she included a spiritual truth and application.

Purchase a copy: http://amzn.to/1FcMvCl

About the author:

Rachael Carman
 is an author and speaker for Apologia Educational Ministries. The wife of Davis and the mother of seven children, Rachael challenges parents to live by reckless, obedient faith. As a direct reflection of her heart's desire to encourage, inspire, and celebrate motherhood, Rachael also leads Real Refreshment Retreats, weekend events that energize and invigorate homeschooling mothers with meaningful worship and speakers plus practical encouragement for the homeschool journey.

Find Rachael online: websiteTwitterFacebook

 Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Author: Shauna Niequist
Publisher: Zondervan
February 2013
ISBN:  978-0310335283
Genre: nonfiction / memoir

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”

The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness.

It’s the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy.

This is what I’ve come to believe about change: it’s good, in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good, and failure is good. By that I mean that it’s incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God’s hand, which is where you wanted to be all long, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be. 

I’ve learned the hard way that change is one of God’s greatest gifts, and most useful tools. Change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who we’ve become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I’ve learned that it’s not something to run away from, as though we could, and that in many cases, change is a function of God’s graciousness, not life’s cruelty.

My thoughts:  I love the quote at the top of this review. It is so wise. We need to celebrate the good times—and to grow from the bad, and in all things, give thanks. 

I enjoyed Ms. Niequist’s voice in this collection of essays. She is real, honest, and to-the-point. With a conversational style, she isn’t just talking at us, she is showing us through her life experiences the lessons she learned.

The only thing is, I feel like I stepped into the middle of the story. I was confused in some areas and would’ve liked more information. But that might be just me.  I also have already lived through most of her “stories” so they aren’t relevant to a woman  who is grown (40 plus) so much.

If you are looking for a book on “change, grace, and learning through the hard times” and are a young adult (20-30 year old) then BITTERSWEET is a book to consider. Pick up your copy today.

 Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio. 256 pages

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Dawn of Christmas

Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
October 2013
ISBN: 978-0307732132
Genre: Amish romance novella

This Christmas, experience learning to trust alongside the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania in this heart-warming tale of second chances.

Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance.

To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?

I absolutely loved this book – and am thrilled to have read the stories of the rest of the characters mentioned in the book. Ms. Woodsmall is a stellar Amish author and I love her books.

Levi and Sadie are both hurting, distrusting of the opposite sex, and both with good reason. They don’t deliberately set out to deceive—at least not at first.  I did see the black moment coming from the very beginning, and it was just as hurtful as I imagined.

If you like romance, Amish, and Christmas stories, don’t miss THE DAWN OF CHRISTMAS. Great book.

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 176 pages

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

All Dressed Up in Love

Author: Ruth Logan Herne
Publisher: Zondervan
February 2015
Genre: Contemporary romance novella

Tara walks into Elena’s Bridal and finds her dream job—and a handsome man to match.

A third-year law student, Tara Simonetti just needs a job to pay the bills and put food on the table. After her father’s untimely death, she’s determined to give her small hometown what he didn’t have: a good, honest lawyer, but law school isn’t cheap. When she answers a want ad that leads her to Elena’s Bridal one blustery morning, she feels like she’s died and gone to heaven. All of the organza, gowns, and pearls she could ever imagine—her dream job, indeed.

To complicate matters, hotshot lawyer Greg Elizondo is working at the shop, trying to keep it afloat after his mother’s passing. He’s kind and more handsome than Tara cares to admit, but his laser-focus on the corporate ladder makes him the wrong match for her.

As they work to save the shop from its impending closing, their feelings begin to grow. But with Tara bound for the valleys of northern Pennsylvania and Greg set on New York City, all of the outside circumstances scream “NO.”

In the midst of juggling Bridezillas, wedding dress orders, and an upcoming gala for the shop, their attraction deepens, along with the reality that their goals are pulling them in two separate directions. No matter how Tara does the math, it doesn’t add up. Can God orchestrate their desires and goals into one happy ending?

My thoughts: ALL DRESSED UP IN LOVE is a lighthearted approach to romance. Tara is a go-getter, a fighter, and she’s willing to do what it takes. Greg is proud that he hasn’t sacrificed his family in his ride to the heights, but then realizes he has… I liked that both of them had issues to work through, decisions to make, and the faith message was medium strong.

This was a fun book to read. I fell in love with the characters and had to keep reading to find out what happened with them. Would Tara earn her law degree and return home to her destiny? Or would she follow her dream job where it may take? Would Greg cut his losses, liquidate his mother’s business and follow his dreams to New York City? Or would he fight to keep someone else’s dreams alive?

86 pages. Ebook only.

Monday, March 16, 2015

An Amish Cradle

Authors: Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
March 2015
ISBN: 978-0529118677
Genre: Amish women’s fiction novellas

Tiny fingers,
Tiny toes,
And lives that will never be the same.
Journey with four families as their lives are about to change forever.

In His Father’s Arms by Beth Wiseman

Ruth Anne has been dreaming about motherhood her entire life. Now she is doubly excited that she and her best friend are due with their children the same week. But when Ruth Anne’s baby is born with Down’s syndrome, she and her husband struggle to understand God’s plan.

My thoughts: I can relate to this one. Teen parents, firstborn struggling to adjust to not only the demands of a newborn, but also to the challenges of a special needs child. I didn’t like how Ruth Anne treated her friend when she found out her secrets, and I didn’t care for the way Ruth Anne and Levi shut each other out, but that, unfortunately is realistic in cases like that. I did like Ruth Anne’s spunk and courage. And I enjoyed the way Levi loved the baby. This was a rather depressing story… 4 stars.

A Son for Always by Amy Clipston

Carolyn and Joshua are thrilled to be pregnant with their first child together. Carolyn was just a teenager when she had her son, Benjamin, and she still feels solely responsible to secure his future. As Joshua watches Carolyn struggle to accept his support, he knows he has to find some way to convince her that she—and Ben—will always be taken care of.

My thoughts: This story was simplistic, and had a more young adult feel to it than women’s fiction. Carolyn had a child out of wedlock and even though her husband adopted him she feels she has to pay his support all alone. I thought her mother-in-law was quite hateful and I hoped they’d come to a truce—I didn’t know how this story would end, and (to be honest) I didn’t really care. Either way was fine with me. 3 stars.

A Heart Full of Love by Kathleen Fuller

Ellie’s mother hasn’t stopped meddling in her personal life since Ellie lost her sight—and she’s taken it up a notch now that Ellie’s pregnant. When Ellie gives birth to twins, her mother insists on moving in to care for them. But when her mother’s behavior becomes unbearable, Ellie is forced to take a stand . . . and finally find out why Mamm can’t let go.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. A mother/daughter reaction is edgy at best when a daughter has a baby, but a blind daughter, with twins? Admittedly, Edna goes overboard, but she has her reasons. I wanted this pair to work though their differences and for Edna to learn to trust her daughter to not only take care of herself and her babies. I loved Ellie’s daed, and her husband was super kind as well. 5 stars.

An Unexpected Blessing by Vannetta Chapman

At 42, Etta thought she was finished having children, but she’s pregnant again. After a frightening labor, Etta finally gives birth, but her constant worry over her estranged grown son, David, haunts her still. As a new mother again, Etta must hold tightly to the promise that God will watch over her children—and that one day David will return.

My thoughts: Oh, I loved this story. I could so totally relate to Etta. My last baby was born at 41, and I was born when my mom was 42, so I know the feelings, the thoughts, the fears well. The conclusion to this story made me cry it was so perfect and sweet.  I think this was the best story in the whole collection. 5 stars for this one!

Overall thoughts: A great collection, I recommend the last two especially, but fans of babies and Amish women’s fiction might enjoy all four. Recommended. 4.25 stars average for the collection. 

Available in paperback, hardcover, ebook, MP3 cd, and audio. 383 pages

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Ride

Author: Kayla Davidson
Illustrator: Kim Felts
Publisher: Virtuous Books for Kids
February 2015
ISBN: 978-0-9864464-0-5
Genre: Children’s

Learning to ride a bicycle is a risky challenge for Olivia. She avoids this risk and even turns down ice cream, her favorite snack. What will encourage Olivia to overcome her fear and take a chance? The Ride gives children hope and understanding. Regardless of the size of the task or regardless of the person’s age, gaining strength and courage from the Lord is only a prayer away. In this, her second book, Kayla Davidson creates a fun, playful way to teach children how to include God in their everyday lives.

THE RIDE is a cute book encouraging children that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them—even riding a bike without training wheels. Complete with beautiful illustrations that will keep kids entertained. My daughters both enjoyed reading this book, which is actually designed for early elementary and preschoolers, not ones who are into chapter books.

If you have a child who needs a little bit of encouragement, then THE RIDE is a book to consider.  Recommended.

Available in hard cover and paperback.

Kayla Davidson Bio:

Kayla Davidson is the author of “The Ride” and “Daddy’s Little Squirrel”.Kayla Davidson grew up in a small ranching community in Texas and attended Texas A&M University. Kayla graduated from Angelo State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.  While at Angelo State University, Kayla was a member of the educational honor society Kappa Delta Phi and served as president.

Kayla is actively in her local community through the school system, service organizations, and her local church.  Kayla is currently serving on the West Texas Rehabilitation’s Board of Trustees and the Advisory Board for the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health.

Kayla lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys reading, gardening, playing the piano, and “helping” her husband on the ranch.

For More Information

Visit Kayla’s website.
Connect with Kayla on Facebook and Twitter.

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