Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

I received a complimentary copy of this book from  Multnomah publishers.  Julia Foster had to leave her beloved India and return to England when her father fell ill.  As soon as he recovers the family will return to their mission work in India, but until then she needs to find a job that will help support them while in England.  She is able to find work close to home as the governess at Highland Hall.  Will her plans change as she becomes part of the family there?
Julia is a spunky character.  She is not afraid to say what she thinks, or wants.  She is treated poorly by a lot of the people around her, but she knows her worth and doesn't let it bother her.  I felt that the initial relationship between Julia and William is a bit of a stretch.  It seems like he trusts her completely almost immediately.  I enjoyed the characters.  I liked the story.  It developed well.  The romances were sweet.  I liked that character was valued over wealth.  I would give this book 4/5 stars. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Anomaly by Krista McGee

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers.  Thalli has never fit in.  She has feelings, and that could get her killed.  Thalli has always been able to hide her feelings, until she is asked to play an ancient song.  She is unable to contain her feelings, and she is taken away. 
Thalli is a very likable character.  She is very strong and determined.  The world is interesting.   They live underground in a facility that was meant to protect the leaders.  The leaders where unable to make it to the facility, so only the scientists were saved.  There is a twist right at the end of the story.  I did not see it coming.  I would give this book 4/5 stars.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Simple Change by Judith Miller

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  Jancey Rhoder has a job that she loves, but when her parents announce that they are moving back to the Amana Colonies she doesn't have to think twice about joining them.  Nathan Woodward wants her to stay and marry him instead.  Jancey can't leave her mother as she is slowly dieing.  As Jancey starts fitting in to the Colony she learns much about herself, God, and the people around her.  I enjoyed this book.  Jancey is a very believable character.  She is trying her hardest to know what is best for her and her family and trying to abide by what God has given her.  I like that when she finally puts her trust in God, thinks start to work out.  She is finally able to understand what she needs to do, and do it.  I did not understand why she kept Nathan around.  He never seems like a very nice person, but she keeps hoping that he will change and be better.  I would give this book 3.5/5 stars.

A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  Arabella Beckett manages to find herself in some pretty interesting scrapes as she works to help the women of America. Theodore Wilder has been sent across the country to find and bring Arabella back home.  When he finally tracks her down he finds more than he bargained for.  I was able to read the first book in this series and really enjoyed it.  This book does carry on from the first book, but it would still be understandable without having read the first one.  The characters are hilarious and they take you on quite the ride.  A lot of what happens seems completely impossible, but I find myself not caring because it is just such a fun book.  I would give this book 4/5 stars.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Bride for All Seasons by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers.  This book contains four novellas.   Each novella is about a different bride from the Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue.  I thought that this book sounded kind of cute.  I'm not sure what I expected, but the books were quite sappy.  In each story, the couple meets and finds out that something in the ads and replies has been changed.  They all start out feeling like there is no way that they could ever love each other.  In each story the couple overcomes whatever the misunderstanding was and comes to love each other.  The characters are interesting and all quite different.  All of the stories take place in 1870, so you get a small feel for what the time period was like.  I would give this book 3/5 stars.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  Eve Marryat's family is finally leaving St. Paul.  It is 1931 and St. Paul is not a place that you want to raise your family.  Eve's father has lost his job and her Uncle Cy has offered to let the family help out at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.  Eve thinks that she has landed in just about the perfect place.  She is making friends and even has a boyfriend.  Then she finds out a secret and everything changes.   I thought that this was a wonderful book.  The characters are very believable.  There is a lot going on and it is all tied together nicely.  I really connected with Eve and loved seeing the strength and drive that she had.  I like how the story started with Eve as a grandma, and how she is telling the story of that summer to her grandson.  Very will written.  I would give it 4.5/5 stars.

Gone South by Meg Moseley

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Multnomah publishers.  Tish McComb has fallen in love with her great-great-great-grandparents home.  The only problem is that it is located in Noble, Alabama and she lives in Michigan.  Tish decides to buy the house and start fresh.  Her fiance died in a tragic accident five years ago, and her mother has moved to Florida.   After arriving in town Tish discovers that the McComb name is not well liked and has a hard time trying to make friends or find a job.  Making matters worse, Tish finds Mel Hamilton just after she has been kicked out of her parents home and offers to take her in.  The town might have forgiven her being a McComb, but they won't forgive her helping out the local thief.   I really like the characters in this story.  It is nice to think that there are still people out there that are willing to risk everything to do the right thing.  Tish is a strong women who is trying to overcome the challenges in her life, and thrive where she is.  George seems like a nice guy, and I found myself hoping that he and Tish would be able to work things out.  Mel is a very immature girl.  I had a hard time believing that she was really supposed to be 20.  Overall I enjoyed this book.  It is great to see a book that shows how just a little help up can change a life so completely.  I would give it 4/5 stars.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.  Grace McCaffery has been given a chance to start over in New York City.  After growing up with an emotionally abusive father and then spending years in a workhouse in Ireland, Grace has a hard time believing in herself.  Can she trust the people that are trying to help her?  Can she be the independent women that she wants to be?  Can she survive the gangsters that she has managed to make mad?  I liked the character of Grace.  She was believable.  It was nice to watch her overcome what others had been telling her about herself and become the strong women that she knew she could.  There was a lot of coincidences in the story.  She just happened to take 3 pictures that made a group of gangsters mad.  This seemed like a stretch.  Overall I enjoyed the book.  I would give it 3.5/5 stars.  An Author Q&A can be found here.   An excerpt from Chapter One can be found here.  And the authors blog can be found here.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Guardian by Beverly Lewis

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  Jodi is still reeling from losing her only sister a year ago.  She has come to Lancaster to house-sit and spend some time regrouping.  Soon after arriving she finds a little girl asleep on the roadside.  Where did she come from?  The girl cannot speak English and Jodi finds herself in Hickory Hollow trying to find the girls family.  Can the gentle Amish friends that she makes help her draw closer to God and help mend her relationship with her Fiance?  I enjoyed this story.  It is interesting to get a glimpse of the Amish life.  I also enjoyed how the characters had a complete faith in God and what he had planned for them.  They were striving to listen to Him and do what He wanted them to.  Jodi is able to find the answers that she needs and make the changes that she needs to.  Even when things don't look like they are going to work out, she is gently be lead down the path that she needs to go.  I would give this book 3.5/5 stars.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook publishers.  Rhoda Byler is just about to finally escape.  She is on the verge of moving to Maine to help start a new Amish community.  She is going to be able to leave behind all of the rumors and misunderstanding that has made her life so hard.  Suddenly she is called home to be questioned by her religious leaders.  Will she be able to be true to herself and still be allowed to move?  I enjoyed this book.  I really liked the characters and I liked some of the questions that were brought up by the story.  Jacob is trying to start a new life by ignoring his old life.  But his old life just keeps showing up on his doorstep.  I liked that Jacob has to deal with his past before he can move forward.  He can't just ignore what he has done, he has to be held accountable.  I also liked Rhoda.  She is a strong female character who knows what she wants and how to get it.  But she also has a strong faith and is willing to let God lead her life.  I would give this book 4/5 stars.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rock Harbor Search & Rescue by Colleen Coble

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishers.  Emily O'Reilly is trying to save up enough money to buy her very own search and rescue puppy.  While watching over a booth at the fall festival for a renowned jewelry artist an expensive necklace is stolen.  Emily has to clear her name or she won't be able to get the puppy that she so desperately wants.  This was a fun book.  Emily and Olivia are fun characters.  A lot of the adults seem very one dimensional and under developed at the beginning of the book.  By the end they are developed a little bit better.  I enjoyed reading about Emily's investigations and how she was able to solve the mystery in the end.  I would give this book 4/5 stars.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Letters to Katie by Kathleen Fuller

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers.  Katherine Yoder has wanted to marry Johnny Mullet since she was 12 years old.  To bad Johnny isn't interested.  Katherine has been dealing with heartbreak for years and just when things look like they might work out she is stuck with a serious illness.  As she is recovering she discovers that she has forgotten everything that has happened in the last three weeks.  Will they be able to work it out?  This was a light easy read.  I enjoyed the characters and the story.  It felt like there wasn't a whole lot that actually happened for most of the book, but it was still enjoyable.  It is fun to get a glimpse of what Amish life is like.  I like how the characters realize that they must turn to God and try to let Him guide their life.  I would give it 3.5/5 stars.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  Lucy Kendall has just returned from the Continent to discover that her father is very ill and the family business is in tatters.  As she tries to save the business her mother is busy trying to help arrange an advantageous marriage for her.  Charlie Clarke is new in town.  He has finally reconnected with his father, and he is trying to start afresh.   The two are instantly drawn to each other, but they are always working at cross purposes.  Will they both be able to do what they need to?  Lucy and Charlie are fun characters.  There were parts of the plot that seemed very contrived.  People did things that seemed very out of character.  They did things in very round about ways when a direct approach would have made much more sense.  The relationships were interesting, but most of the characters were very one dimensional.  I would give this story 2.5/5 stars

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.  Penny Carson in trapped.  She fell in love at seventeen and ran away from her family to marry her Prince Charming.  Only to discover that Trent has quite the anger problem, and he doesn't mind taking it out on her.  Ten years later she is a shadow of the person that she once was.  In a work accident, Trent losses his sight.  Their only option is for Penny to find a job.  Suddenly her world starts changing.  And it can only get better.  I really enjoyed this book.  Penny was a very convincing character.  My heart was breaking for her and the way that she viewed herself.  I enjoyed watching the journey that Penny took.  She had to come to realize that she had worth and that she could do anything with the help of God.  When she finally accepted that she had worth and leaned on God and her friends she was able to do what she needed to do.  I would give this book 4/5 stars.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Domination by Jon S. Lewis

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers.  The Thule are attacking, and Earth's only chance lies in an old legend about the Betrayer.  The US government has been trying to create a Betrayer.  They were unsuccessful until Colt McAlister.  Colt is 16 years old.  Can he save the world?  I enjoyed reading this book.  The characters are interesting.  There are unpredictable plot points.  The pace is fast.  The book was great until the very end.  I felt like it was building up and building up.  Then it very quickly wrapped everything up in just a couple of pages.  I didn't feel that it was climatic enough.  I read the first in the series, but I didn't read the second book in the series.  There was some things that I was a little confused about, but it didn't seem to matter that I missed the middle book.  I would give this book 3.5/5 stars.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Kingsbury Collection by Karen Kingsbury

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Multnomah Books.  This book includes three full length stories.  Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay and On Every Side.  In Where Yesterday Live Ellen Barrett is trying to deal with the death of her father as well as an uncertain marriage.  While trying to figure everything out she reconnects with her first love, and her biggest weakness.  In When Joy Came to Stay, Maggie Stovall is slowly going crazy.  She has been hiding behind a mask for years and the stress is finally catching up with her.  Can her marriage survive the secrets that she has been hiding? 
Christianity is a strong theme throughout the stories.  The stories were compelling.  I enjoyed the characters, but I found myself skimming over large parts of the stories.  There were certain parts of the stories that felt contrived or phony to me.  I also felt like the Christian parts were spread pretty thick.  Certain things were rehashed many times  Overall, I enjoyed the stories, but they could have been much shorter.  I would give the book 3/5 stars.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  Emma Smallwood's father has been ailing ever since his wife passed away.  Emma is determined to help him recover.  She accompanies him to the manor of a baron where he will be a tutor.  As soon as they arrive, odd things begin to happen.  Sounds in the knight, things appearing and disappearing.  This was an excellent book.  The characters were well developed and likable.  The plot was well written.  There was suspense and a few surprises along the way.  There was romance, but it wasn't silly or extreme.  The book definitely grabbed you.  There were christian themes without being preachy.  I really enjoyed this book.  I would give it 4/5 stars.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House publishers.  Mallory Hale finally meets the man of her dreams.  He is everything that she has ever wanted, and he is moving across the country in a month.  Mallory decides to give up everything in her life and marry Daniel and become a mother to Nick.  Mallory learns a lot about herself, how to be a mother and a spouse very quickly.  The house is awful, the location is in the middle of nowhere.  Slowly Mallory learns that this is better than she thought.  When a scandal starts to emerge that threatens her family and her home can she figure it out in time?  I really like Mallory.  She was interesting.  I felt that the supporting characters could have been developed more.  Daniel in particular.  I had a hard time understanding why Mallory was so in love with Daniel.  The suspense was good, but the final plot seemed like it was a bit of a stretch.  I would give the book 3/5 stars.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Threads of Grace by Kelly Long

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers.  Grace Belier has escaped one awful marriage only to have be faced with another.  When her neighbor offers to marry her and keep her from having to marry some one else she decides to take the chance.  She hardly knows Seth, but he seems like a good man.  Will she come to love him as she loves her?  This was a light read.  It was enjoyable.  Some of the plot felt like it was a stretch.  Would anybody really be able to take away her son because she had not remarried within six months of her husbands death?  I like the theme about our past not having to rule our future.  This is the third in a series, but it works as a stand alone.  I would give this book 3/5 stars.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House publishers.  Lady Eliza Sumner has had a really bad year.  She has lost her father, her fortune and her fiance.  She is determined to recover her fortune.  She has left England and followed the thief to New York.  Because she has no money left she has to take on a job as a governess.  Eliza meets Hamilton Beckett and falls in love at first sight, she just doesn't know it yet.  This book was very fun to read.  The characters were very fun, although they were somewhat inconsistent.  There was a lot of crazy adventures and romance.  The plot had some holes, but all in all I didn't care.  It was fun to see what was going to happen next.  I would give it 4/5 stars. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Girl in the Glass by Susan Meissner

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Publishers.  Meg has been waiting for almost twenty years to make a promised trip to Florence.   When it finally comes about it is completely different that she had always imagined it would be.  Meg finds herself arriving alone and completely unprepared.  With no where to stay she finds herself tracking down some of the authors that she has come to know through her publishing job.  Meg meets Sophia and begins a whirlwind tour of the city.  I really enjoyed this story.  Meg is an interesting character.  She is confused about many things, but she is willing to trust those around her.  She trusts her father when she has absolutely no reason to.  Meg spends a lot of time trying to figure things out and in the end she comes to the realizations that she needed to.  The characters all felt very real.  My heart ached for Sophia and the hard times that she has gone through.  I found myself loving Meg even more because of how she helps Sophia deal with the troubles that have come her way.  This was a fun story and I am glad that I had a chance to read and review it.  I would give it 4/5 stars. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Home in Drayton Valley by Kim Vogel Sawyer

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  Tarsie hates living in New Your City.  She has been saving her money for years to get herself out.  Eventually she is able to leave with her friend Mary and her family, and head for Drayton Valley Kansas.  Tragedy strikes when they are almost there and Tarsie's life takes a different path than she had imagined.  I enjoyed this book.  I really liked the character of Tarsie.  I found myself wanting her to succeed at what she was doing, and proud of the strength that she showed.  It was nice to see the changes that came over Joss and to see him become that Tarsie had always know he could be.  The story was well written and believable.  The romance was sweet and not overbearing.  I would give this book 4/5 stars. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Undending Devotion by Jody Hedlund

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  Lilly and her sister have grown up in orphanages.  Lily has finally found a home for her sister and a job for herself.  She is trying to find a way to make a home for her sister and her self when her sister disappears and says that she is going to go and try and make some money at the lumber camps as a prostitute.  Lilly is devastated and does everything that she can to try and find and save her sister.  This story is trying to deal with a big issue, and trying to show us some of the ramifications that go along with it.  Overall I enjoyed the story, I liked the point that it was trying to make.  I did feel that the author was trying to bash me over the head with certain things.  The author dwelt on how Connell had to restrain himself around Lilly.  I felt that this was talked about more than it needed to be.  There were other instances where the author kept repeating things over and over.  I felt that the book could have been much shorter.  I would give it 2.5/5 stars.