Archive for the 'Christian Fiction' Category


Love Arrives in Pieces by Betsy St. Amant

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

Love arrives in pieces

About the book: For so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.

Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn’t trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to brokenness, so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but she always falls short. So she keeps her passion for art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn’t get another job soon, she’ll be stuck living with her parents.

Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he’ll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town’s old theater and is shocked to discover that the designer for the project is his old flame, Stella.

Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and past as they struggle to compromise and work together on a vision for the theater. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness—and their unresolved feelings for each other—until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, while losing her trust in the process.

A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice—to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness.

My Comments: I heard a lot of good things about this book – good romance, great beach read, and I saw it on many TBR lists for the summer. Stella, who grew up in a pastor’s home, is not a typical pastor’s daughter. She won beauty contests, she’s been married and divorced, and now she was just about ready to move back to live with her parents until her mother finds her a job in her field of interior design. What neither she or her mom knows, however, is that she would be working closely with an old boyfriend, who just happens to have history with both Stella and her sister.

The book is good. It includes a nice southern flair. I like the exploration of complicated relationships which we see in several parts of this book. It IS a great summer, beach read.

I am giving my honest opinion in exchange for a free copy of the book from the publisher.

Kim Vogel Sawyer’s When Grace Sings

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

when grace sings

When trouble roars into quiet Arborville, Alexa and Anna-Grace find themselves the target for discord and exposed secrets. Can they continue to seek the God of all grace amidst the fog of confusion?

Alexa Zimmerman wonders if the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas will ever fully accept her. Her family roots here aren’t what anyone thought when she first arrived, but she is hopeful that her culinary and hospitality skills will win the skeptics over. The bed-and-breakfast she’s operating needs to succeed so Alexa agrees to allow Briley Forrester, the hotshot reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder not knowing his real motives for being amongst the Plain folk.

But when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna-Grace Braun, the presence of extended family brings out Alexa’s insecurities and sets Briley on the trail to uncovering a web of hidden truths.

Plans for a secure future and the sweetness of young romance hang in the balance when Alexa and Anna-Grace have to face that their secrets are interconnected, binding the two in ways they could not have imagined. They must trust in a loving, heavenly Father and His plan for their futures.

My comments: This was an interesting, engaging read – a mix of English, Amish, and Mennonite groups. It was written by multiple points of view but clearly labeled so it wasn’t confusing. The characters were extremely likable and open to change which served the story well. I love the idea of a Bed and Breakfast story line and setting and this one did not disappoint. The Englishers whose car broke down and subsequently visited for a few days added modern times to a story that was basically steeped in the past (Amish and Mennonite faiths seem to be like a step back in time). Briley, looking for dirt on these groups, was charming most of the time, but he was surprised at all he found out during his visit. The story moved along well with many surprised embedded along the way. I recommend this book to Amish fiction and romance book lovers!

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

Dee Henderson’s TAKEN

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=tYFoSv5juAoframeborder%3D0allowfullscreen

An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand,
and his new client, missing far too long…

Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her–even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.

My Comments: I couldn’t finish this book. It is too involved and slow moving for me. I was getting bogged down. I read about half of it, then decided to move on. I normally love Dee Henderson’s book, and maybe in a different mood I could have finished this one–but for my mood – too many details and the story just wasn’t moving fast enough. Maybe this summer I’ll try again.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my free e-copy. This is my current opinion.

taken

Amy Clipston’s – A Simple Prayer

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

prayer

About the book:

Linda is no stranger to hardship. Now she dares to hope for a chance at love and a new beginning.

As the sole survivor of a buggy accident that left her orphaned at age four, Linda Zook was reluctantly raised by her Uncle Reuben. She longs to be worthy of someone, but the lasting trauma of her injuries and embittered upbringing have destroyed her self-worth. When Hannah Peterson asks her to work at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast, she’s finally able to realize some confidence.

Aaron Ebersol left the Amish community seventeen years ago when he could no longer bear the restrictions or the constant tension with his father. Despite years of unanswered letters to his parents and the roots he’s put down in Missouri, Aaron rushes back to the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania, after receiving word of his mother’s stroke. Hesitant to get too close to the family he was once a part of, he decides to stay at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast. Talking with Linda allows him to explore his feelings about his family and his position in the Amish community.

As Linda and Aaron open up to each other, their feelings for one another turn into more than friendship, and Aaron must make a decision about his future as an Amish man.

Can Linda and Aaron forgive the family members who have deceived and forsaken them? And will Aaron be able to convince Linda that she is worthy of his love?

My Comments: I took a break from reading Amish fiction and came back to read this great one! To be Amish, or not to be Amish – that is the question! I could hardly put this book down. The ending (which wrapped up the whole series – Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel), kept me in tears. Needless to say, it was a cathartic read. Bitterness pays a high price as was played out in the characters of this story. Linda is an amazing character – someone I’d like to be like when I grow up 🙂 I wish real life could be like these books – sometimes it is, that is our hope.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review which I have given – great read – especially for fans of Amish fiction. Thank you Amy Clipston for another engaging story!

Historical Fiction at its Best – The Wood’s Edge by Lori Benton

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

the woods edge

At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.

On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.

When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both—Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?

My Comments: I was anxious to read this book ever since I read that it was predicted to be one of the best Christian fiction books written in 2015. I have read Lori Benton before and enjoyed her writing. I was not disappointed.

I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction anymore, but there are always a few exceptions and this is one. I enjoyed the story – very different from other books I’ve been reading. I enjoyed the depth of the writing including the rich and interesting characters. The research done by Benton was remarkable and the writing is very in tune to the time period including the language.

The story is about how two families become interwoven and connected to each other in a very unusual way. We go through deep regret and guilt with Reginald – there are always consequences to our actions.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys great writing and historical fiction. You won’t be disappointed!

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

Chasing Sunsets by Karen Kingsbury

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

chasing-sunsets-9781451687507_lg

Growing up in a comfortable home, Mary Catherine wanted for nothing. Though she loves her wealthy parents, their lifestyle never appealed to her. Instead, Mary Catherine pursues meaning through charity work, giving away a part of herself but never giving away her heart.

Mary Catherine lives in Los Angeles with her roommate, Sami, and volunteers at a local youth center with coach Tyler Ames and LA Dodger Marcus Dillinger. Despite Mary Catherine’s intention to stay single, she finds herself drawing close to Marcus, and their budding romance offers an exciting life she never dreamed of. That is, until she receives devastating news from her doctor. News that alters her future and forces her to make a rash decision.

My Comments:  I wish life was like a Karen Kingsbury novel. Seriously, there are usually one or more happy ever afters. Having said that, this book has the flavor of Frank Peretti books in that there is serious spiritual warfare. We’re talking angels and evil spirits. Thankfully, this book does not have the after-effect those books had on me. There is a lot more feel good about this story. It is easy to read and a quick read. The characters are somewhat multi-faceted and lack perfection. Most of them are trying to live for Jesus. They are Christians of various spiritual maturity levels. I think this book would appeal to young adults and young marrieds, although I usually read all of Kingsbury’s novels and I’m past that age group. In fact, I knew a 90 year old women who loved and read all of  them! I recommend this and all of Kingsbury’s books.

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

Wanda Brunstetter’s – The Decision

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

the decision

Discover along with Jonah Miller how life can begin anew in the prairie state of Illinois. Moving from Pennsylvania, finding rewarding work, and leaving heartbreak behind is the best decision Jonah ever made. But is he ready to consider love again when he meets Elaine Schrock? Will his scarred heart mend when she chooses family loyalty over love?

See video on Wanda’s website below:

http://www.wandabrunstetter.com

My Comment: This book had a lot of things going on and not too many of them were happy, but they WERE real to life. I read this book almost all the way through because it kept me wondering what was going to happen next. The main characters, Jonah and Elaine had some major issues to work through, and although I didn’t always agree with how they handled these issues, I had to admire their choices. They were definitely not choices I would make. This is one reason I love reading about the Amish. I can’t wait to read the rest of this new series and find out what happened to all of the characters I became bonded with.

Daughter of the Regiment by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Tuesday, 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

River’s Edge by Terri Blackstock (Cape Refuge Series)

Saturday, 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.

Murder Simply Brewed by Vannetta Chapman

Sunday, 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!