Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Review: A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson

Martie Olson is running away. Her past is filled with pain and memories of a dead husband that she loved so much but was taken too early. To escape the memories, she leaves her ranch and heads to Denver in answer to ad for a "Lone Star Bride."
Marriage to a banker seems safe and as far away from the dangers of ranching life that Marty can imagine, and since Jake Wythe is looking only for a "sensible arrangement" and not a match of love, Marty will not have to worry about replacing her first husband in her heart or facing the pain that so much love can bring.
But even banking can be filled with uncertainties of it's own. With missing money, strangers lurking and an economic collapse on the horizon, Marty and Jake's life of ease seems to be precarious. As their friendship grows and their hopes and dreams become known, Marty and Jake will have to decide just how sensible they want their arrangement to be.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story - so much that I read it twice. I really love reading about this time and I love when authors weave real events and history into the story line - it just adds so much depth to the tale. The characters were awesome and I love how Marty is introduced into Denver society and all that comes with it. It didn't even end how I thought it would which is new for me and a great bonus! Usually historical fiction is a bit predictable so I loved having a ending I was not expecting.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishing for a free a copy of this book to review.

Book Review: A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears

Eliza Cantrell, mail order bride, has decided to come to meet her groom-to-be a week earlier than planned. She hopes that she will be able to be a help to him in running his store and find a friend and companion in this man with whom she has been writing. But her plans go all wrong when her train is held up and all her dowry is stolen.
Arriving in town hurt and dirt poor, Eliza seeks out her fiancee only to find that he is not even in town! His partner at the store, Will, allows her to stay and help around the store until Axel, her intended returns. Will soon discovers that Eliza has a remarkable head for business and soon does amazing things with the store. Working together, Eliza and Will form a friendship with sparks of something a little more underneath. What will happen when Axel returns and choices must be made?

I thought this was a really sweet book and I read it super quickly! I love when stories are not a straightforward boy meets girl, blah blah blah :-) This has enough twists to keep you wondering what is going to happen! I've just now notices that Melissa Jagears has another book previously published and I will definitely be looking it up. If it's anything like this one, it will be a good read.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman

When Megan Mc Clare returns from Paris she is so transformed that even those closest to her barely recognize her. Truly blossomed into a beautiful young woman, Megan has big plans for her life. Accepting an internship at the DA's office is more than she could have hoped for until she realizes she will have to work along side the one man who has inflicted the most pain on her life and yet the one whom she was so attracted to - Devin Caldwell
Bram Hughes has always been Megan's best friend, confidant and rock of support. When Megan turns to him for advice about working with Devin, he is surprised by his jealous reaction and strong feelings toward this woman who has always been like a sister to him. 
As everyone tries to sort out their feelings, more than one person will be surprised by love! 

This was probably one of my favorite stories that Julie Lessman has written. I usually am not a huge fan of her works because they seem to focus so much on the physical attraction between people. While this story does still have a lot of that, I think there seems to be a lot more to her story this time and I enjoyed the back and forth and twists and turns in the characters feelings and actions. I also really liked that it followed more than one person and you felt like you got to know a little more of the family and not just the main characters. 

Thank you to Revell Publishing for a free copy of this story to review. 

Friday, November 07, 2014

Book Review: A Mom's Prayers for Her Son by Rob and Joanna Teigan

Rob and Joanna Teigan have created this amazing resource for praying through every area of your son's life (or really you could use this for anybody). Each "chapter" contains a part of life to pray through for your son, i.e "When he needs self-control," "When he needs to find rest," When he has enemies," "When he needs a good friend." Pretty much any area you could think of is in there!
Each section includes Scripture that talk about that area of life and then a prayer that Joanna has written and prayed for her sons. I do read those, but then I find that I just want to pray through that Scripture in my own words after. I just love having this resource. It will even come in handy as I am choosing Scripture when I need to talk to the boys about a specific area.
I would definitely recommend this to parents of boys (I notice there is also one for daughters too if you don't have boys).

A big thanks to Revell Publishing for a free copy of this book to read and review.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Book Review: Deceived by Irene Hannon

This third book in the Private Justice series follows the third member of the Phoenix Inc. private investigation team, Connor Sullivan. And the lady who comes to him for help seems to have a hopeless case. Kate Marshall has been grieving for 4 years after her husband and son were killed in a boating accident. But when she sees a boy who looks exactly like her son at the mall, she cannot shake the feeling that he is still alive even when all the evidence seems to point to the contrary. The further Connor digs into the case, the more it seems that it could be possible that Kate's son was not killed and that whoever has him will go to any length to keep him out of her hands.

I thought this was a good story and I finished it pretty quickly. While I do enjoy reading Hannon's books, I always have to laugh at how quickly the characters in the story are attracted to each other. I also thought it was so funny that for having a no dating the clients rule, EVERY partner ends up liking a client. I don't mind romance, but I think I might have enjoyed the mystery better without it.  Though this book could probably stand alone pretty well, I still recommend reading the first two books in the series just to get more background on the characters.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Review: Love's Fortune by Laura Franz

Love's Fortune finds us following the third generation of the Ballentyne line. Rowena "Wren" Ballentyne grand daughter to the wealthy and extremely successful Silas Ballantyne has been sheltered away in the Kentucky hills since birth. She has lived a simple and peaceful life, only knowing her rich relatives by name. But her life is turned on end when her father is summoned back to his family.
Suddenly, simple "Wren" must become the lady Rowena and do it quickly. As Wren is ensconced with rules, and dresses and dances she feels she will never truly be at home in this place and with these people. Will she ever be able to find her place in this new world?

I thought this story was a lovely end to the Ballantyne Legacy. I would definitely recommend reading the first two books in the series though. It had been a while since I read the second one and I kind of wish I had gone back and re-read it before I started this one, because there is a lot of background history that helps to fill out the story. I have truly enjoyed following this family and I love that you get to see how everyone from past stories are doing. If you like historical fiction - this is a series for you!

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Just for fun, instead of posting a picture of the cover like normal - I saw this on YouTube and thought it was so cool - how the cover art for the book was done :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review: With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

Trevor McDonough was the bane of Kate Livingston's childhood. A fierce competitor all through school, Trevor took the one thing that was most important to Kate.
Year's later, when Kate agrees to team up with Trevor in his work to find a cure for Tuberculosis, she discovers that there is so much more to him than then mean competitive boy she knew in school. Just as Kate is really finding herself devoted to the cause, a shadow from the past causes danger to everything she knows. Trevor and Kate must be willing to face insurmountable obstacles to rise above the danger and continue the work which could save so many!

I LOVED this book! Camden is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I love how much history is behind her stories. It really makes me so interested in the events of the past. I also love when love stories have more to them than boy meets girl, the fall in love and end up together. A good story has more depth than that and Camden does a great job delivering that depth! This is going on my keeper shelf for sure!

Thank you so much to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

Nicole's plan was simple. Put her dying Father's mind at ease by finding a man to marry who can take over his shipping business and at the same time, keeping her family's greatest treasure and her dowry safe. But her plan was not as simple as she thought. Followed by her family's enemies, she comes up with a hasty plan B.
Her hasty plan B includes finding any work she can while she saves up enough money to return home. This work comes by way of Darius Thorton who lives a strange life of isolation and obsession. Taking on a female secretary was certainly not his plan, but he soon sees Nicole as a great asset in his pursuit to make steamship boilers safe.
When a respect and friendship forms between the two, Nicole worries that she will not find a suitable heir for her father if she is falling in love with the man before her, and Darius worries that he will be too distracted from his vision if he is falling in love with Nicole.
Will the two be able to see past their own plans to trust God's plan for their lives?

I really enjoyed this story. I always like when there is an interesting insight into past history in the stories that I read and I really enjoyed learned more about travel during this period and the strides people were making to make that travel safer. I thought there were a few good surprises in the plot and a sweet love story. A great read!

Thank you so much to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to enjoy and review.

Book Review: Blind Trust by Sandra Orhchard

From the Back Cover:

Kate's not sure how deep this deception goes--but she'll do whatever it takes to find out.
Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money and can't believe that it came from her sweet elderly neighbor. Or that it has landed her in the middle of another of Detective Tom Parker's investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor's innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation--and one that strikes too close to home for comfort.

As family secrets come to light, her world--and her budding romance with Tom--begin to crumble. To Kate, it's clear that she won't be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster's secrets. But then will it be too late for her and Tom?

This is the second book in the Port Astor secrets series and I had not read the first book before I started this one. I will say, there was so much background I felt I did not know, so the first thing I would recommend is that if you want to read this, go back and read the first in the series. Besides that, I thought the book was ok (probably due mostly to the fact I hadn't read the first one). It seems like Kate was almost involved in too many incidents to make it really believable. It took a while to get to the real plot, and what was really going on. I would probably read the third book just to see how everything ties together, but I probably won't put it on my "keeper" shelf.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Nowhere to Turn by Lynette Eason

Danielle Harding has had enough of her abusive husband, and now that he is going out of town, she decided to use this opening to finally get away. As fate would have it, though, Kurt Harding dies on the same day she leaves.
Dani is so relieved that she and her son are finally safe from the threat of her husband, but she soon realizes that her husband left behind more trouble than when he was alive. Somebody wants something that her husband took and will stop at nothing to find it. The danger to her and her son has gotten so much worse.
At her wits end, Dani hires Operation Refuge to keep her safe, but even the team are finding it hard to find somewhere to hide.

Book 2 in the Hidden Identity series, Lynette Eason keeps the pages turning with another great thriller. It has plenty of good twists and turns in the plot. I like when I think I know what's going on and then am pleasantly surprised that I don't! There are characters from the first book in the series, but I think you could read this book alone and not feel like you were missing out on huge gaps in the story line. I would recommend it to mystery lovers and those who enjoy Eason's work.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review: In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

Kay Jobson always has at least three or four guys at her beck and call. In fact, it seems that her charms can draw just about any man that she wants. In fact, pilot Roger Cooper seems to be the only man who can not only resist her charms, but actually avoids them. But that doesn't bother Kay too much as he seems way too much of a fuddy duddy for her anyway.
With all their travels and working together rescuing wounded soldiers and delivering need supplies to the the front lines, a reluctant friendship forms and Kay and Roger find that God seems to have a plan for their lives that they never would have imagined. 
This is the third book in the Wings of Nightingale series and though I did read the first, I missed out on the second somehow. I think it stood well enough on it's own, though it's also nice knowing a little about the stories of the other characters. One of my favorite things about this story is that it wasn't just a boy and girl meet and fall in love kind of story but there are so many plot twists and action woven into the pages, it feels like you get to follow them for a good long period of their lives which I love. I read the whole book on a flight  (in hind sight reading about pilots during a war while on a plane may not have been the best surrounding ;-) It was a great read and I would highly recommend it.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Book Review: The Revealing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

It's hard to write a short summary of this book because seriously so much happens in it! The Revealing follows the people at Eagle Hill bed and breakfast and provides closure to a lot of the ongoing stories of the people we have come to know and love there.
Naomi King has broken out of her quiet and reclusive state and made a decision that is so unlike her, that it will shock everyone that knows her.
Tobe Schrock is finishing up his time in prison and need to make some decisions about growing up and taking responsibility for his life.
Mim's secrets are getting harder and harder to keep from everyone.
Bethany needs to decide if she willing to wait for Jimmy Fisher to ever grow up.
Galen and Rose face some huge decisions that will determine if they will have a future together.
Whew! On top of all these stories, add some visitors to town and the B&B and one very huge surprise and you will be reading this well into the night!

This book is a terrific ending to the Inn at Eagle Hill series. In such a short space it manages to address all the ongoing stories from the past books and tie them all together perfectly. I love how Fisher even ties in others from her previous series so that you really feel immersed in the town. I really enjoyed getting to know another family from Stoney Ridge.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Quiz

Two years ago, I posted some answers about Jonathan that Eoin answered (here), so this year I thought I would re-ask the same questions to all the kids to see what they would say :-)

My daddy is (M) 1, (A) 20, (E) 23 years old.

My daddy works (M) at work - doing computer, (A) at work - playing video games, (E) at work - he does work and helps people.

My daddy loves (M) me, (A) babies, (E) the dog, Flynn

My dad likes to wear (M) a t-shirt, (A) t-shirt, (E) Jeans

My dad us SO strong, he could lift (M) me, (A) a baby, (E) a giant branch

My dad likes to eat (M) fries, (A) piggies (I mean ham), (E) eggs and toast

If my dad had time he would (M) pick out monies, (A) work on the ipad, (E) color with us.

He is smart because (M) he helps Eoin, (E) he is really smart at answering number problems

If I could give my dad anything, it would be (M) a present - a t-shirt, (A) present - pizza, (E) a picture of anything that would make him happy.

Happy Father's Day, Jonathan. We think you are pretty great! 

Monday, June 09, 2014

Book Review: Silenced by Dani Pettrey

Kayden McKenna loves the feel of the strain when she is out rock climbing in the Alaskan wilderness, but that all changes the day she finds a dead climber on her climbing route. Something is not sitting right with Kayden as she helps recover the body. This was not a climbing accident - someone else was involved in this fall.
Kayden teams up with Deputy Jake Westin to help solve the mystery behind this man's death. While they are working together, they also must confront the feelings that they have been dealing with since Jake's past has been revealed. But they need to do it before it's too late, the closer they get to solving the case, the closer they get to something very dark and dangerous!

This is the fourth book in the Alaskan Courage Series. You definitely need to have read the previous books to enjoy this one. I missed the first one but was able to catch up in the second and third, but this would not read well as a stand alone novel and it continues the stories of too many people.
My only issue with this series is that how can so many people from the same family end up the target of some nefarious scheme? It's a little far fetched, however each story is still pretty good. I enjoyed the mystery behind this - it kept me guessing for sure!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino

Mary Langton has a problem. Though she longs to have a marriage based on love, she has been left at the altar and now no one in her village seems to think her good enough for marriage. Her father wants to solve this problem by arranging a marriage with well to do man from London.
Her problems may be solved though, when she runs into the handsome baker, Barnabas Horton. widowed and left with two small boys who desperately need a mother. Though Mary is Anglican and Barnabas a Puritan, her father agrees to the match.
Now all Mary has to do is win a place in Barnabas' heart which is no small task considering he loved his first wife so deeply. When the Puritans seem under attack from the English government, Mary and Barnabas take a leap of faith and move to the New World. Maybe there, away from the memories of the past, Mary will finally find a place in his heart.

The thing I really liked about this book is that I felt like I was able to follow Mary and Barnabas through a long period of their lives. So you weren't left wondering what happens after they marry like in so many stories. I was drawn into their tale and enjoyed watching them grow as a family. It was also set during an interesting  time in history so that added another layer of depth to the story. Quite a few sad parts so keep your tissues on hand, especially if you are like me and your family lives in another country! Definitely made me appreciate all the ways of communication we have today :-)

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

NOTE: Through June 16th, Rebecca DeMarino is hosting a giveaway with $250 in prizes! Get details here.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Book Review: A Woman of Fortune by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Claire Massey has it all. Married to a wealthy cattle broker on a large estate, everything she could possible imagine at her fingertips, a picture perfect family...almost.
Everything changes for Claire when her husband is arrested for fraud in front of everyone! She is at risk of losing everything, her homes, clothes, cars, even family. She must rally all the courage and strength she has to keep her family together and remember what is most important in this life.

So I will admit that when I signed up to review this book, I didn't read the description very well. I usually prefer historical novels to modern day. However, this book was pretty good. The main character is older than the characters in the stories I usually read and it provided a different viewpoint. It was also interesting to think about the effects of choices that people like Bernie Madoff made have on their family and the people around them.

Though it probably won't make it to my "read again" pile, it was a good story and I enjoyed reading it.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Book Review: Fatal Exchange by Lisa Harris

Even though her whole family are in law enforcement, Emily Hunt is much happier in her quiet life as a high school teacher. She enjoys making a difference in her students lives. But one of her students is in big trouble, and it gets so much worse when he holds Emily and her class hostage with a gun. So much for not seeing the action the rest of her family does.
What makes matters more complicated is that the police officer dealing with her negations is none other than Mason Taylor, the officer her sister believes is responsible for her brother's death. Feelings that both Mason and Emily felt for each other when her brother was alive are still under the surface, making things tenser still.
They will have to rely on each other to help each other and the students get out safely. 

I enjoyed this second book in the Southern Crimes series and would highly recommend reading the first book before you start this one. I even wish I had gone back and re-read it before I started but I was able to remember the main details at least. I like that the main characters had a bit more background than just meeting and falling in love in a few chapters. There were some good plot twists too, but I don't want to spoil it  - you'll just have to read it  for yourself :-)

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Day my Mam said "Yes"

Because it's Mother's Day, I wanted to write a post for my Mammy :-)

During church on Sunday's, we have been doing interviews with different people, just to kind of get to know them better. One thing they are usually asked is, "what would be an event that was a turning point in your life?" I think this is mine:

I have no idea how old I was at the time (under ten), but one day I was sick and my mam took me to the doctor. For my non-Irish readers, do not picture a "practice" like in the US. At home, doctors will often set up in the neighborhood in one of the houses. So one room will be the waiting room and then the back of the house is usually changed to be the doctor's office. You just go during the times he is there and wait your turn. Usually no secretaries or nurses or multiple offices. You wait your turn, he comes out and calls next, and then you go in for your visit and pay him cash when it's over.

So, there we were in the doctors office, waiting our turn. Our doctor at the time was a man from India - he was a good doc but not super friendly or warm and inviting. After our visit, he turned to my mam and said, "I'm not going to charge you for this visit, and actually, I think I have the medicine you will need right here so you can just have it and not have to go to the chemist (pharmacy).

That. Was. Weird.

That had never happened before and it never happened again. Just that once.

One the way home, my mam told me that the night before, she had been in church. There was a missionary visiting and she felt like God wanted her to give money to the collection for him. All she had in her purse was (I think) a ten pound note and that was all the money she had left for the week. But she gave it anyway.

When I got sick and had to see the doctor, she had no idea what she was going to do. She thought she would go and ask him if they could work something out for the payment. And she sat in that doctor's office praying and praying for God to work something out. And then the doctor told her no charge. She didn't tell him anything - she hadn't even brought it up yet! And THEN he GAVE us the medicine!

I think that day, I saw that when we trust God and obey Him, He will provide in ways we could never imagine or expect. I don't think I ever looked back since that day. My mam's saying yes to God and watching Him work for her was all that it took for me to see that I could say yes to whatever He asked, knowing He could be trusted. And not once has He ever let me down in the over 20 years since!

On this Mother's Day, I want to thank my Mother for her "yes" that day. It changed my life.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Book Review: The Pelican Bride by Beth White

Genevieve Gaillain and her little sister, board the Pelican in France to be taken to a Colony in Louisiana, never to return. Both have pledged that they will help to spread the New World with pure French citizens by agreeing to marry the soldiers at the Fort there. Genevieve is excited to finally be able to practice her religion without fear of persecution, but when she arrives she discovers that she is not so free and at peace as she hopes.
When she finally finds someone with whom she feels she could make a life with, she realizes that settling down and living a quiet life with the man she loves will not come easy. There is unrest among the native americans around them, and on top of that, something does not feel quite right at the Fort - could there be a traitor among them?

Though I thought the time period and the story was pretty interesting, I will admit, it took me longer than with most books to make it through this one. So many French names made it difficult to read as there are a lot of characters with unfamiliar names so it took a while to really know who was who. The story was also a little slow moving at times, though it picked up quite a bit at the end. If you are interested in the time period, I would say give it a go, but it probably wouldn't be the first book I would recommend to someone.

Thank you to Revel Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When Aidan Grows Up...

Always a hero of some sort, but even heroes need a nap sometimes.

The past few months, Aidan has been making a list of things he will do/be when he grows up. Here are a few of his goal this far:

1. Be Ironman (sometimes this changes to other super heroes but it's mostly Ironman)
2. Have a "mushtache"
3. Drink chocolate milk ALL the time
4. Also drink grape juice
5. "What else do grown ups drink? What does coffee taste like? (I tell him I think it's gross) I will probably like it and I will drink it all the time.
6. Live next door to Grandma
7. Not be married (if he does indeed have a "mushtache," this might not be so hard ;-) )
8. Have kids, but not my own - kids who don't already have Daddies.
9. Have 4 tvs
10. Have a Wii and play Mario on it - Eoin can come to his house to play because Eoin will only have one tv.

That's it for the moment. I'll add to the list as he does :-D

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Eóin turns 7

Last month, my baby boy turned 7 years old! This year he chose Mario as his birthday party theme.  I think he gets just as excited about the decorations and cake as he does about the presents. Pics are on facebook here. He had a few school friends over and it was so funny to watch them all talking and playing together since I don't get to see them interact at school much. Such boys and big kids!

He has grown up so much this past year, and we are definitely entering a new phase of parenting. Explaining the reasons behind the rules and really working for him to see the heart behind his actions is becoming more and more important. He has such a tender heart for others which I am so thankful for, especially homeless people and others who don't have as much as our family has been blessed with.

He LOVES to play board/card games - favorites are Sorry, Uno Spin, and Skipbo. He also really enjoys reading which I am so excited about since I am a bookworm too! His other love is video games - it must be a boy thing.

He has also grown up physically. The kid eats like a teenager at dinner, but is still a string bean - just getting taller and taller. He's lost two teeth this year, and doesn't know what happened to either of the teeth. How do you not notice it twice!?! He was very relieved it didn't hurt though and was pretty happy with the dollar under his pillow :-D He is saving for a Wii apparently - might take a few more teeth...

Here's his yearly interview questions and birthday minute pics (most taken at 1:40pm)...
Favorite Food: ice-cream and taco salad
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Toy: Superhero toys
Favorite Song: The Mario Song (really?)
Favorite TV Show: Sonic the Hedgehog
Favorite Place: Crown Center
What do you want to be when you grow up: A Policeman

Feb 15, 2007



Monday, March 10, 2014

Chats With Molly

I was resting for a bit yesterday which as all parents know, send out a signal that only children can hear. It immediately summons them to where-ever you are. So following the resting-parent signal, Molly arrived on my bed two seconds after I lay down. She wanted to play lego on bed, but settled for pretending to play lego since I don't relish the thought of laying on legos at night.
These are generally how our little chats go. We are trying to get her on video more while she still has her little voice and cute lisp :-)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Review: Love's Sweet Beginning by Ann Shorey

Cassie Haddon was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but after her father and fiance both meet untimely deaths, that spoon is yanked away for good. Finding herself and her mother with no means of supporting themselves, and no skills to even try, Cassie is at a loss.
After exhausting the patience and goodwill of family and friends, Cassie finds work at a local restaurant. Since she has never worked a day in her life, Cassie must go above and beyond to convince her boss, Jacob that she is what he and his business have been missing.

This is the third book in the sister's at heart series. I think it would stand well by itself, but it does contain characters from previous books which makes the story richer once you know that. I had actually forgotten that I had read the second book and was pleasantly surprised to meet up with old "friends" again. I read this one super fast - although the story is set in a small town, there is a lot of suspense and drama and I found myself turning page after page. It really is a sweet story!

Thank you so much to Revell Publishers for a free book to review.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Book Review: The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

Left with the responsibility of being provider for his family, Alec Valcourt journeys with his mother
 and sister to a small town where his uncle resides. He is anxious to continue his work as a dancing master, following after his father and grandfather before him.
But when they arrive, they discover this new town has some strange rules and customs that could dash Alec's dreams forever. How can he possibly support his family in a town where dancing is forbidden?!?
Alec finds a friend and ally in the beautiful and rich Julia Midwinter, but when he realizes it was her mother who forbid dancing, he knows that nothing but trouble can come from any further encounters with her.

I can't tell you how excited that I am every time I see a new book from Julie Klassen! I love her writing and this did not disappoint! Lots of secrets and mystery as well as romance (of course) and a look into history and the lives of dancing masters. I love that she always picks an interesting profession that you don't read much about as the main characters for her books. I feel like I've learned something as well as read a great story! Loved it!

Thank you so much to Bethany House publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: With Autumn's Return by Amanda Cabot

Elizabeth Harding is so excited about moving to Cheyenne. Leaving the East Coast where no-one will accept a woman doctor, she feels sure that in this new blossoming town, people will be more eager to accept new ideas and open doors for women. Unfortunately, the town does not quite live up to her expectations and it seems things will be much harder than she expected. Even the handsome lawyer next door cannot accept that a woman could ever amount to more than a midwife.
When some sinister events happen that involve clients of both Jason and Elizabeth, they find themselves having to work together to save them.

With Autumn's return is the 3rd book in the Westward Winds series. I have read the second, but not the first. Cabot does refer back to the previous books so I would suggest not reading it as a stand alone, but you probably could without being too lost. I think you would just miss out on a lot of background into some of the other characters in the book. The main characters, though, did not pop up in the second book so you would not lose anything in the main plot line.
I really enjoyed the story, and especially as it moved toward the end it was very exciting to see how they would solve the mystery together. I also really enjoyed seeing some characters from the second book get their happy ending. A sweet story.

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Top Ten of 2013

It's been a while since I've done any personal posting on here. Though I realize that this is almost the end of January, I at least want to give a quick review of 2013 :-)
So here goes - top ten of 2013 (in chronological order, not awesomeness order):

1. Jonathan was promoted to a vice president position at work and became part of our neighborhood home association board (He's pretty awesome like that).

2. Eoin turned 6. Angry Birds was the party of choice this year. We had fun knocking over our home made angry birds game!

3.  Eoin finished Kindergarten! He loves school and had a great year :-) Here he is giving his research project presentation on his last day of school.

4. Aidan turned 4. Aidan had a pirate birthday this year and despite a ship-wrecked cake right before we sang happy birthday, it was a great success.

5. Awesome vacation to WI for Cara's wedding and a trip to WI Dells. It was such a fun time - Cara's wedding was beautiful. We spent two nights and three days at Mount Olympus in Wisconsin Dells and we had a great time!

6. Karen went to a reunion with her college buddies. First time leaving the kids overnight and it. was. awesome! lol

7. Molly turned 2. Minnie Mouse was her theme and she LOVED being the birthday girl.

8. Molly was potty trained. My goal was to have all kids potty trained by my birthday as a present to myself - ha ha!

9/ We got a puppy. Flynn joined us when he was 8 weeks old. He's been a pretty good dog, especially for a puppy and he is really smart!

10. Jonathan ran in two 5k's!! One was during our second trip to WI for Thanksgiving which was also a great trip. With all the kids being potty trained and a little older, we made it in record time, even though we brought the puppy!

And there you have it - with a lot more fun memories in between these  things, it's been a year full of blessings :-) 

Book Review: The Big Book of Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids by Ron Elliott

This three in one joke book arrived at our house just in the nick of time! We had just got done with a day home from school with a nasty virus. Just as my 7 year old was starting to turn a corner and yet still not feeling well enough to play, we got a package in the mail!
Let me tell you, there were tears running down his face he was laughing so hard :-) The funny part is that quite a few of the jokes were over his head so I ended up explaining a lot of them, but it didn't matter - he thought they were are hilarious either way.
Some of his favorites include:
What kind of balls don't bounce?

Why did the Robin go to the library?
To catch book worms.

I will say, I get followed around quite often being told very corny jokes with him adding GET IT at the end of every one that he gets ;-) So be warned!

Thank you so much to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review that cheered up a sick little boy :-)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: The Calling by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Bethany Schrock has been left hurt and confused after her ex-boyfriend showed his true and awful colors. Now she spends her time cleaning and organizing house for a bunch of old sisters and wondering where her life is headed.
The more she spends time with the sisters though, the more she sees their heart for others and it's kind of catching. On top of that, a visitor at her family's bed and breakfast who is also looking for direction from God, continues to show her what serving others is all about.
While Bethany is growing and maturing she also has some deep questions to deal with like some big issues from her past, and a new love interest in her future.

Once again, Suzanne Fisher has really delved into some real life hard issues in her book. The problems her characters face are not all wrapped up in a chapter with a bow and a happily ever after and I love that about her books. I also love that she weaves characters in from past series' so we can have a peek into the lives of other characters that we know and love. This is book two in the series and I would definitely suggest reading the first book before you begin this as it would be hard to read as a stand alone. I can't wait for the next installment!

Thank you so much to Revell publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Book Review: No One to Trust by Lynette Eason

Everything changed the morning Summer Abernathy woke up to a gun pointed in her face. Why would these men be so interested in finding her computer programmer husband, Kyle? Unless Kyle isn't really Kyle after all. As Summer is forced to run for her life and the lives of those she cares about, the needs to figure out who she can trust because everything depends on it!

I always look forward to getting Lynette Eason's books in the mail, except for the fact that I always stay up way to late reading just one more chapter. The story had a good few surprises along the way and though you already knew the main bad guy, just like Summer, you did not know who to trust! I also enjoyed that the main characters were married so that added another level of depth past the usual two people falling in love really quickly thing that always bothers me in these kinds of books. A great read for over the holidays so you can sleep in a little later after staying up all night reading :-)

Thank you to Revell Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Book Review: Spiritual Warfare for Women by Leighann McCoy

LeighAnn McCoy focuses on areas in a woman's life that are often specifically attacked by Satan. Family, Friends and Church and how to deal with it in a Scriptural manner.

I will admit, I was a bit disappointed in this book but I can't exactly put my finger on why. I think it was not so much the content of the book as the writing style just wasn't my preference. Either way, it took my FOREVER to get through. I did like the "Sharpen your Sword" sections at the end of each chapter which just give the main thoughts of each chapter in a concise sentence with the Scripture backing it, as well as a challenge to commit something to memory. I wouldn't say don't read it, because I think she had some good things to say, just not in a way that is easy for me to read.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Over the Bridge by Mary Connealy

Poor Seth Kincaid has never been right in the head since childhood and after he returned from fighting in the Civil War, he just seemed to get worse. Nightmares, wandering off, and forgetting large chunks of time keep his brothers on their toes watching out for him.
When one day, a women shows up claiming to be of all things, Seth's WIFE (that he can not even remember marrying) the crazy just keeps getting crazier!!

The last book in the Kincaid Brides series, I thought this was the best by far. All of the boys' stories and backgrounds come together to explain a lot about their personalities and actions. I'm not gonna lie - you will need a tissue towards the end! I was balling. If you have read any of the series so far, you will definitely want to finish the series. If you haven't read any, I would highly suggest going back and reading the pervious books - they are closely linked and the story is continuous.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Love in the Balance by Regina Jennings

Molly Lovelace is certainly a passionate girl. And though her heart is completely taken by Bailey Garner, he is poor as a church mouse and so they cannot get married. Sent away to town to get her head about her and her heart under control, Molly meets the man of her family's dreams, Edward Pierrepoint. Rich, handsome and charming, Molly gets caught up a whirlwind romance even though Bailey is always in the back of her mind.

All I can say is you will not believe all the twists and turns this plot takes. It was a refreshing read in that I had no clue what was about to happen. On more than one occasion there was a sharp intake of breath on my part :-) I love how the characters learn about self control, wisdom, and empathy along the way. A good one!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

Joanna Robbins is about to get a birthday present she will never forget. She has been praying for a preacher for so long now, she can hardly believe it when her father shows up with one. But then she finds out where he came from and how her father came by him.
Stolen from a train on his way to interview for a church, Crockett Archer can no more believe that he has been stolen than the red headed girl who he was brought to!  He cannot wait to escape and get back to his previous plans, but Joanna's passion for the Lord and her empty church just won't stop coming to mind.

This was a sweet story of finding out that God's ways are not always our ways and when we listen to Him, we often find that what he has in store can be beyond what we ever would have planned for ourselves. This book is definitely a keeper on my shelves. I love the characters and the twists that play out just when you think you know whats going to happen next!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund

Annalisa Werner's husband is dead. Sad that she should actually feel a kind of relief in that, despite the fact that without a good crop and a husband to bring in that crop, there is little chance of her keeping her home and farm. So her Father sends a letter to the Old Country, asking his brother to send a new groom for Annalisa.
Meanwhile, another man from the Old Counrty appears and agree to help with the farming until the new husband arrives. Though it is plain to see that this former school teacher knows little about the ways of farming, he ways with Annalisa and her daughter are tender and kind and he is willing to work hard to  help her. But they must keep their hearts guarded for the new husband could arrive at any time.

I really loved this story. I tend to enjoy any story with little kids involved and this one will melt your heart. As you follow the plot, watch their hearts grow, and uncover the hidden secrets, you will be turning pages well into the night. I will be re-reading this one for sure!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review.

Book Review: Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Lord Alistair has a terrible secret. Every night he is plagued with awful terrors and vicious nightmares. There is no way he can get married with the torments he faces, but yet that is exactly what is to happen. So Lady Leta arrives at the castle to get to know this prince to whom she is to be wed. But the nightmares are just the beginning of the strange happenings at the castle as all who live there are to find out. Wars that had been fought in hidden kingdoms are about to become very real to the inhabitants of the castle and the regions beyond. Prophecies and stories of old come true as battle must be waged against the dragonwitch!

I am not usually a big sci-fi fan, in books at least, but this seemed like the kind of book my husband would find interesting so I gave it a go. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it actually. This is not the first book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood, but I was able to follow the story very well without having read the others, but I imagine reading the others would give more depth to the tale. If you are into tales of other lands and worlds, I think you would very much enjoy this read.

Thank you to Bethany House publishers for a free copy of this book to review.