March 27th, 2015

Blessing for Miriam

In the second book of bestselling author Jerry S. Eicher’s new Land of Promise series, Miriam Yoder is looking forward to her wedding day with Wayne Yutzy. But when beautiful Esther Swartz arrives to care for her ailing grandmother, Miriam is wary of Wayne’s past relationship with Esther.

When storms rip through the small Amish community in Oklahoma, Miriam’s daett arrives to help in the rebuilding efforts. Under pressure from Miriam’s daett the relationship with Wayne is upended, leaving Miriam to wonder if she must now build her new life as a single Amish woman.

My Comments: Love this author and love this book.  I read someplace that reading Amish fiction is like taking a vacation in your mind, and I so concur with that. This book took me to a place I would not normally get to go and visit. Miriam and her relationship with her parents intrigues me. It is SO not like my experience with my family, especially my parents – father in particular. The submission  of Amish women is mind-boggling to me. Miriam had  very rough go in this second book. Everyone wanted to run her life (in my opinion). She became stronger as she fought tragedy after tragedy. I so admire her and I wonder if there are many women Amish or otherwise quite like her. I finished this book with high opinions of the women and not so high opinions of the men. They definitely rule the roost! I recommend this book and this author to fans of Amish fiction – it is a definite vacation for the mind.

I received this ebook free from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

March 24th, 2015

regimen

About the Book: Maggie Malone inevitably experiences the effects of war firsthand—first, with her brothers joining the Missouri Irish Brigade and again when a group of unknown bandits attack her farm. Desperate to hear news from her brothers, Maggie sets off to find them at the Federal Army camp. There, she quickly captures the admiration of Sergeant John “Colt” Coulter, who immediately notices her skill and dedication. When circumstances require that Maggie remain with the brigade, she discovers that there’s a lot a good woman can do to help the brave men she comes to think of as “her boys.”

As the hostess of an acclaimed Missouri plantation, Miss Libbie Blair has learned to play her part and remain uninvolved in the business affairs and political aspirations of her brother, Walker. When his endeavors lead him to organize the “Wildwood Guard,” a group of locals in support of the Confederacy, Libbie must gracefully manage the house with officers camped out on the lawn. With war drawing closer to her doorstep, she must find a way to protect those who depend on her.

When military maneuvers and a subsequent battle bring the Irish Brigade (and Maggie) to Wildwood Grove, Libbie’s home is commandeered as a field hospital. The two women whose brothers have fought on opposite sides of the same battle come face to face while tending the wounded in the aftermath of a battle won by Union troops.

MEET THE AUTHOR (especially for Nebraskans):

Saturday, April 11 at 2:00 p.m. @ Barnes & Noble Southpointe Pavilions (Lincoln, NE)

Friday, April 17 @ 11:00 a.m. @ Crete Public Library (Crete, NE)

Program lecture ‘Women in the Civil War: From Homefront to Battlefield’
April 24-25, Panel & keynote address @ Wordsowers Christian Writer’s Group Conference (Omaha, NE)

Tuesday, April 28 at 7:00 p.m. @ Wisner Heritage Museum (Wisner, NE)

Program lecture ‘Women in the Civil War: From Homefront to Battlefield’

Saturday, May 2, time TBA @ Chapters Book Store (Seward, NE)

Thursday, June 11 at 7:00 p.m.  @ Lexington Public Library with Plum Creek Quilt Guild (Lexington, NE)

Program lecture ‘Women in the Civil War: From Homefront to Battlefield’

Additional events TBA.

DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT: A Novel by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Faithwords | Hachette Book Group

March 24, 2015 | 978-1-4555-2903-2

336 Pages | $15 | Trade Paperback Original

 About the Author: Stephanie Grace Whitson is the author of over twenty-seven titles. A frequent ECPA bestseller, Whitson is a RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Winner and a two-time Christy Award finalist. When she isn’t writing, speaking, or trying to keep up with her five grown children and perfect grandchildren, she loves to take long distance rides aboard her Honda Magna motorcycle named Kitty. Her church and the International Quilt Study Center and Museum take up the rest of her free time. She received her Master of Arts degree in history in 2012. Stephanie and her husband reside in southeastern Nebraska.

My Comments: I learned a lot from reading this book. I had interest because even though I’m not Irish, I have an Irish name from my husband of 42 years. I loved the character, Maggie Malone. She is strong and independent and way beyond her years and the time in which she lives. I didn’t know how badly the Irish were treated. The time in history is interesting to me. I didn’t get as attached to Libbie Blair. I couldn’t relate to her, and being a born and bred Yankee, I had little understanding of her life. This book also interested me because Whitson took two completely different characters and wove their lives together – fascinating!  This book has action, romance, and historical interest.  If you are interested in history and like reading about fascinating characters, this book needs to be on your TBR list!

E-mail links:

Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/1zFz8bI
BAM: http://bit.ly/1yDj7i1
B&N: http://bit.ly/16ePonI
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Db1NGM

March 14th, 2015

River's Edge

Was Lisa Jackson’s disappearance related to politics, her husband’s affair, or her long-term infertility?

Ben Jackson is going head to head with Jonathan Cleary in Cape Refuge’s mayoral race—and he’s even expected to win—when his wife Lisa turns up missing the day before the major debate. Suddenly the town is in turmoil as proof of an alleged affair surfaces, indicating that Ben Jackson might have had motive to kill his wife.

Meanwhile, newspaper owner Blair Owens has other suspicions—and so does Police Chief Cade. Together they dig deeply into the mysterious disappearance that soon spirals into a web of confusion, dark secrets, and unsettling fraud.

Then the town’s psychic reveals the location of Lisa’s body—at the bottom of the river. Even though Blair doesn’t believe his paranormal gift is real, she can’t imagine how he knew where the body was.

The small-town scandal quickly turns into a national media event. Is the murderer one of the obvious suspects . . . or someone they have no reason to doubt?

My Thoughts:  This book was first published back in 2004. I read it then and loved reading it again. I think I’ll go and read the whole series again. Terri Blackstock is a great writer. She pours over her story until she gets it just the way she wants it. You can definitely tell this when reading. I was surprised at the ending – was not expecting it. This story has romance, suspense, mystery, politics, and Christianity woven throughout. The characters are sharp and likable. There are twists and turns – a couple which were surprising. I know there were probably more, but I enjoyed the two main female characters – neither were perfect, each had their flaws making them easier to relate to than most characters. The same with the two male characters. If you like clean, but suspenseful novels – this may be one you want to put on the top of your TBR pile.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

March 9th, 2015

if you find

 

A heartwarming memoir of love and faith from Hannah Brencher—founder of The World Needs More Love Letters—who has dedicated her life to showing total strangers that they are not alone in the world.

Fresh out of college, Hannah Brencher moved to New York, expecting her life to look like a scene from Sex and the City. Instead, she found a city full of people who knew where they were going and what they were doing and didn’t have time for a girl still trying to figure it all out. Lonely and depressed, she noticed a woman who looked like she felt the same way on the subway. Hannah did something strange—she wrote the woman a letter. She folded it, scribbled “If you find this letter, it’s for you…” on the front and left it behind.

When she realized that it made her feel better, she started writing and leaving love notes all over the city—in doctor’s offices, in coat pockets, in library books, in bathroom stalls. Feeling crushed within a culture that only felt like connecting on a screen, she poured her heart out to complete strangers. She found solace in the idea that her words might brighten someone’s day.

Hannah’s project took on a life of its own when she made an offer on her blog: She would handwrite a note and mail it to anyone who wanted one. Overnight, her inbox exploded with requests from people all over the world. Nearly 400 handwritten letters later, she started the website, The World Needs More Love Letters, which quickly grew.

There is something about receiving a handwritten note that is so powerful in today’s digital era. If You Find This Letter chronicles Hannah’s attempts to bring more love into the world—and shows how she rediscovered her faith through the movement she started.

My Comments: Usually I don’t care for this genre, and this one isn’t so different. It was just ok for me. I love the idea of writing love letters though, so I gave it a chance. I’m glad this has turned into a website and type of “movement.” Many people are lonely and someone going out of their way to write a letter telling these people that they matter is a very useful and caring idea. We are beginning to lost the personal touch in our culture, and love letters helps bridge the gap.

Basically the book is about a girl trying to find her way. It takes us through her later teenage years and early twenties. We delve into some of her relationships, I especially enjoyed reading about Hannah’s relationship with her mom. If you want to check out her website try this: MoreLoveLetters.com. If you want to know more about the author, Hannah Brencher, try the book. 

March 8th, 2015

simply brewed

When the coffee shop manager is murdered in Middlebury’s Amish Artisan Village, two women from different walks of life must join together to solve the mystery.

Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright is optimistic about the growing profit from her collection of Amish shops—until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a solitary hole in the front window and the store manager lying next to the espresso machine, dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register.

When Amber hires a young Amish woman, Hannah Troyer, to take over the shop’s duties, the two women become fast friends—as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death is a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren’t convinced.

Clues that don’t add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and a blossoming romance—all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to reveal answers to the mysteries around them.

My Comments:   Vannetta Chapman weaves together an interesting mystery full of romance, faith, and friendship. I love the mix of Amish and English characters working together. The characters believe that the coffee shop manager is murdered and seek to find evidence to prove it. The two main sleuths, Hannah and Amber, stop at almost nothing to find the truth and to discover who killed Ethan. There are hints a long the way and the ending is not too shocking, but the story flows well, and I’m glad that I didn’t have to wait until the end to find out “who done it.” If you enjoy mystery and Amish fiction, you will like this book! I did!

March 7th, 2015

lighten up y'all

A collection of classic Southern comfort food recipes–including seven-layer dip, chicken and gravy, and strawberry shortcake–made lighter, healthier, and completely guilt-free.

Virginia Willis is not only an authority on Southern cooking, a French-trained chef, and a veteran cookbook author; she is also a proud Southerner who adores eating and cooking for family and friends. So when she needed to drop a few pounds and generally lighten up her diet, the most important criterion for her new lifestyle was that all the food had to taste delicious.

The result is Lighten Up, Y’all, a soul-satisfying and deeply personal collection of Virginia’s new favorite recipes. All the classics are covered—from a comforting Southern Style Shepherd’s Pie with Grits to warm, melting Broccoli Mac and Cheese to Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie. Each dish is packed with real Southern flavor, but made with healthier, more wholesome ingredients and techniques. Wherever you are on your health and wellness journey, Lighten Up, Y’all has the recipes, tools, and inspiration you need to make the nourishing, down-home Southern food you love.

My Comments: This cookbook has quite a few yummy sounding recipes, and since I’m heading back to Weight Watchers, I thought it might help. I really like that the recipes include calories, fat, carbs, fiber, and protein grams amounts. By including this information, I can figure out my points.  Most cookbooks do not. The contents include: appetizers, salads, side dishes, starchy foods, seafoods and shellfish, poultry, pork, beef, and lab, soups and stews, bread goods, and desserts. There is a wonderful recipe called, “Stovetop Apple Pie” which I can’t wait to try! Because I work more than full-time teaching first graders, I will have to wait to try some of the more involved, but delicious sounding recipes such as salmon patties with lemon-caper sauce, and vegetable corn bread, but I can and will try slow-cooked barbecue pulled chicken and Quick and Easy Turkey Chili – YUM!

I received a free copy of this cookbook from the publisher in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

February 28th, 2015

promise

A young Amish woman finds herself torn between the man she’s pledged to wed and the man her heart desires in this heartwarming story of chance, duty, and choice in the face of love—the first volume in the beloved New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.

Amish bride-to-be Leona is thrilled to be in Florida, on a mini-vacation in the pretty town of Pinecraft. Her girlfriends think she’s happy because she’s away from the stress of wedding planning. They have no idea that Leona’s real joy is in being away from her fiancé.

Edmund is a good man, and will make a decent husband . . . just not for Leona. The more time she spends with him and his overbearing ways, the less she wants to be his wife. Her cousins are sure Edmund is the right man for her-and their certainty makes Leona begin to doubt herself. But when a chance encounter with a wayward cat brings her face-to-face with a handsome, fun-loving Amish man named Zachary Kauffman, Leona’s faced with two vastly different futures.

Leona must decide: Does she follow the path set out before her? Or take a chance with only the promise of what could be to guide her?

My Comments:   I enjoyed this book because it presents a different view of the Amish. They seem more progressive in Florida. I find it interesting how different the Amish are in different regions of the country. The romance is sweet. The characters are real. I was a little frustrated because I felt the story ended abruptly and unresolved. I guess that’s why we need sequels.

February 22nd, 2015

edges of truth

Mary Weaver tries to save the life of 11-month-old Melissa Mathes, but the baby dies after being in Mary’s care. The autopsy reveals severe head injuries that were inflicted 7 to 10 days before the baby’s death, but Mary is accused of first-degree murder. Steve Brennecke, a young lawyer and a friend of Mary’s, takes the case. He is convinced of Mary’s innocence and sets out to clear Mary’s name and keep this young mother out of prison. Mary’s case splits the medical community. One group of doctors, eager to stamp out child abuse, insists the baby had to be shaken and slammed during the time Mary was alone with her. Another group believes scientific evidence points away from Mary. The jury doesn’t know what to think. Dr. Ruth Ramsey calls this true story “a frightening wake-up call for anyone who is ever involved in childcare.” Edges of Truth is an account of justice gone wrong, the fight to clear an innocent woman’s name, and the community who supported her. Edges of Truth deals with the question: “Where is God when life ceases to make sense?”

My Comments: This book kept me riveted. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction books, but this sounded like it had lots of elements to it that I love reading, so I am not at all sorry I read it! Mary Weaver was an absolute inspiration to me. The way she kept her faith strong when she was treated totally unfairly. I wish I could be like that. She is definitely a roll model to Christian women. The book again restored my faith in lawyers – Steve was great, and my distrust of doctors (this was a mixed bag), and judges – was not impressed with the second one. Was there money involved with this verdict? It seemed like someone had an agenda to put Mary into jail. Reading the book made me never want to babysit or have my daughters or daughter-in-law babysit!

The book is easy to read, reads like a novel, and the Christianity is real and not stilted. I can’t wait to share it with my friends! If you want to read an inspirational story about a real life Christian woman who has a hard road to follow, please read this, you won’t be sorry!

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

February 19th, 2015

the inn at ocean's edge

About the book:  A vacation to Sunset Cove was her way of celebrating and thanking her parents. After all, Claire Dellamore’s childhood was like a fairytale. But with the help of Luke Elwell, Claire discovers that fairytale was really an elaborate lie . . .

The minute she steps inside the grand Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Claire Dellamare knows something terrible happened there. She feels it in her bones. Her ensuing panic attack causes a scene, upsetting her parents. Claire attempts to quiet her nerves with a walk on the beach, to no avail. She’s at too great a distance to make out details, but she believes she witnesses a murder on a nearby cliff. When local police find no evidence of foul play, they quickly write off the “nervous” woman’s testimony as less than credible.

But Luke Elwell, home on leave from the Coast Guard, has reason to believe Claire. Years ago when his mother went missing, Luke’s father suspected she’d been murdered. He died never having convinced the police to investigate. So when an employee of the grand hotel doesn’t show up for work, Luke steps in to help Claire track down the missing woman.

As Claire and Luke put together the pieces of a decades-old mystery, they discover that some family secrets refuse to stay buried. And some passions are worth killing for.

My comments:  Wow! This book kept me reading and reading. Imagine waking up one day to find out that your entire life was a lie! Not only that – but that you had close relatives you knew nothing about! Then to find out nobody believes you, in fact others think you may be a murderer. I can’t even begin to imagine. I also can’t imagine those closest to me lying about everything. This book was a quick, on the edge-of-your seat read. The setting sounds gorgeous in an eerie kind of way. The characters are believable, and there are many twists and turns. I had a little trouble following the change in characters though – the switch off seemed somewhat awkward, but this may be because it was an advance reader’s copy.

Colleen Coble is one of my favorite Christian fiction authors. I have loved everything she has written and read them all. This book won’t be published until April, but it’s definitely worth looking into.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

February 12th, 2015

the matchmaker

About the book:  When Emma’s interference in her friends’
lives backfires, will the consequences
be more than she bargained for?

Emma Weaver is twenty-one years old and has found a passion for playing
matchmaker with her friends. Her neighbor, Gideon King, warns her about
interfering in people’s lives, but she disregards his advice and plans to set up
Paul, the son of the bishop, with her friend Hannah.

But when Paul misinterprets Emma’s attention, believing she has feelings
for him, he begins asking her to ride in his buggy after Sunday singings and
shows up at her house for Friday evening visits. As she tries to repair the
damage that’s been done and mend the hearts that have been broken, she
finds herself in trouble with the community. Will she learn her lesson and
stop meddling in the affairs of others? Will she find a love of her own?

My Comments:  This book was quite engaging. I read it in just a couple of days. I loved Emma Weaver and her care for others. I loved her daed, and I loved Gideon King. Oh my, the gossip amongst the Amish amazed me. It’s been quite a while since I read Emma by Jane Austin, the book this story is based on, but this book definitely made me want to see the movie again. There are a few twists and turns which kept the story moving, and I loved the Amish slant on the story. I found out about some prejudices the Amish hold.

It seemed like Emma could have had any man she wanted, but she didn’t even wish to marry. She just wanted to marry everyone else off.  This was a great book to read around Valentine’s Day – love was definitely in the air in surprising ways—

I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.

Sarah Price bio – The Preiss family emigrated from Europe in 1705, settling in Pennsylvania as the area’s first wave of Mennonite families. Sarah Price has always respected and honored her ancestors through exploration and research about her family history and their religion. At nineteen, she befriended an Amish family and lived on their farm throughout the years.

As a masterful storyteller, Sarah Price prides herself on presenting an authentic Amish experience for her readers. Many of her stories are based on actual people she has met and her own experiences living among the Amish over the years. Sarah now resides in Morris County, New Jersey with her family.

While she started out as an Indie author, she signed on with Realms, an imprint of Charisma House and Waterfall Press, an imprint of Brilliance Publishing. Her first book, First Impressions: An Amish Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was released in May 2014.

Get the latest news about Sarah Price on Facebook, Twitter, and sarahpriceauthor.com.

matchmaker bio