Archive for the 'Fiction' Category


Promise to Cherish by Elizabeth Byler Younts

Friday, October 10th, 2014

 

promise to cherish 

World War II draws to a close, nurse Christine falls in love with roguish Amish boy Eli and must choose between a new, uncertain life in the Amish faith or face the judgment of a conservative postwar American society for her past mistakes.

It’s 1945, and Christine Freeman is a nurse at Hudson River State Hospital, where she works alongside members of a Civilian Public Service unit. Eli is one of the conscies—conscientious objectors to the war—and he is doing his best to become a man of character instead of the immature heartbreaker he used to be back home in his Amish community.

Christine and Eli are friendly, but when an old acquaintance, Jack, returns home from the war, Christine’s world is violently turned upside down. Eli, heartbroken to see his friend so hurt, offers her an escape within his Amish community. Despite her misgivings, Christine is fully embraced by Eli’s community. She slowly begins to feel valued and loved as she learns the Amish way of life.

Christine finds herself falling for Eli. But soon, the abusive Jack discovers Christine in her Amish hideaway and starts causing trouble for the quiet community. Christine can’t see herself becoming Amish, and she knows that if Eli leaves the church to be with her, he will be shunned. Will she escape Jack and possibly have to give up the one thing she holds most dear, or will she follow her heart and promise to cherish the Amish man who loves her?

My Comments: I love this book! I never realized or really thought about what the Amish did during the World Wars and this story gave me an explanation. WOW! One Amish man + one girl who lost two brothers and had a permanently disabled father from the war meet and become close? What a story line! The storyline kept me engaged throughout. I had a hard time putting it down when I had to get ready to go to work or go to sleep at night. What a dilemma these characters faced, and genuine help came from unexpected places. I will read more by this author. She tells a great story steeped in history that few know about!

I received a free review copy of this book from Howard Publishing in exchange for my honest review, which I have given. Great book!

Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

About the book:angels walking

When former national baseball star Tyler Ames suffers a career-ending injury, all he can think about is putting his life back together the way it was before. He has lost everyone he loves on his way to the big leagues. Then just when things seem to be turning around, Tyler hits rock bottom. Across the country, Tyler’s one true love Sami Dawson has moved on.

A series of small miracles leads Tyler to a maintenance job at a retirement home and a friendship with Virginia Hutcheson, an old woman with Alzheimer’s who strangely might have the answers he so desperately seeks.

A team of Angels Walking take on the mission to restore hope for Tyler, Sami, and Virginia. Can such small and seemingly insignificant actions of the unseen bring healing and redemption? And can the words of a stranger rekindle lost love? Every journey begins with a step.

It is time for the mission to begin…

http://youtu.be/h-PyPGV2PMw

My Comments: Karen Kingsbury has done it again! After the Baxter series I didn’t think a series of books could be better, but this one is just as good if not even better. Normal, struggling people involved in living life to the fullest despite huge problems. Sometimes Kingsbury is a little too sentimental for me and this book has some of that, but not everything turned out happily every after in the traditional sense. We see God definitely working in lives and I love that as well. People have choices and Tyler Ames displays both bad and great choices in his life, with the consequences shown for each.

Even though I don’t really like angel books, the difference in this story is that even though they are an integral part of the story, they are not the main characters. I’m sure they will continue for continuity as the series goes on, but as long as they are not the main characters, I will definitely continue reading this series. I loved this book! I wept, I laughed, and I could relate to the characters! Thank you Karen Kingsbury for great thought-provoking entertainment!

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

Rival Hearts: Quilts of Love Series by Tara Randel

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

rival hearts

Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver have been rival magazine writers for the same publishing group for years. When both come up for the same promotion, they find themselves in an unexpected competition to win the spot. Molly, editor of Quilter’s Heart, and Ben, editor of Outdoor Adventures, must switch roles, each working for the other for one month, then submit an article at the end of their quests.

Can girly-girl Molly survive the outdoor adventures that Ben has planned? Can Ben navigate the perils of the social dynamics of quilting events without destroying a valuable quilt in one short month? More importantly, in this he-said, she-said situation, will Molly and Ben give in to their attraction and fall in love, no matter who wins?

My Comments: If you enjoy sweet, quick-read romances this book is for you. I enjoyed the rivalry and the stretching the characters went through. What a concept – pitting two employees against each other in totally uncomfortable and stretching situations. I like the way families are strengthened and characters grow. I enjoyed this book as I have enjoyed all in this Quilts of Love Series. Keep them coming!

Thanks NetGalley for providing this book for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Walk by Richard Paul Evans

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

the walk

“My name is Alan Christoffersen. You don’t know me. ‘Just another book in the library,’ my father would say. ‘Unopened and unread.’ You have no idea how far I’ve come or what I’ve lost. More important, you have no idea what I’ve found.” —Prologue

What would you do if you lost everything—your job, your home, and the love of your life—all at the same time? When it happens to Seattle ad executive Alan Christoffersen, he’s tempted by his darkest thoughts. A bottle of pills in his hand and nothing left to live for, he plans to end his misery. Instead, he decides to take a walk. But not any ordinary walk. Taking with him only the barest of essentials, Al leaves behind all that he’s known and heads for the farthest point on his map: Key West, Florida. The people he encounters along the way, and the lessons they share with him, will save his life—and inspire yours.

Richard Paul Evans’s extraordinary New York Times bestsellers have made him one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. A life-changing journey, both physical and spiritual, The Walkis the first of an unforgettable series of books about one man’s search for hope.

My Comments: I began this series in the middle, now I go back to the beginning because the content compels me to, and I am glad I did. I listen to it as I drive around town and I’m hooked, and he time flies by. This story is so unbelievable. This part of the series sets the stage and gives the reason for the walk across America. WOW! The writing is so enthralling. I grew up in the northeast, lived in the southeast, midwest, and now west coast. I have traveled by car to many places in between and I know so many of these people and places, but still not on the level of someone WALKING and spending real time getting to know each character. I remember a book I read in my early twenties named “A Walk Across America” by Peter Jenkins and this book affects me in many of the same ways except I have lived life a lot longer now and appreciate the experiences more. If you have never read this series by Richard Paul Evans, I would recommend it, especially if you enjoy people and different regions of the U.S. Each region offers its own charm and beauty. Alan walks from Washington state to Florida. He experiences a lot to get him to the point of actually taking the walk, much of which is heart-breaking. I was in tears during much of the story. The character, Alan, is a man anyone would want to know and have as a friend. As I said previously, this book sets up the reason for the walk and the beginning of the walk. All of is engaging and thought-provoking. I have listened to books one, four, and five and I have ordered book two and will then order book three. Then I will listen to all again in order. I enjoy it that much!

The Table by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

table by window

Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love
 
The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way?

My comments: I loved this book and living vicariously through it.  Although I am a granny, I love reading books about travel, food, and romance.  This book was all of that and more.  The romance was online which is quite interesting to me. I’ve heard it CAN work and in this book it seems to. Having said all of that, I was disappointed that the story was not concluded in one volume and that I have to wait to find out the “rest of the story.” There are a couple of unfinished plot lines – what really did happen to Juliette’s grandmother and others. I love reading about a young woman finding her own way – separate from family and expectations. This is not my “usual” type of book to read, but I am glad I read it.

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

Deeanne Gist’s Fair Play – A Great Historical Fiction Novel!

Monday, May 5th, 2014

fair play

Saddled with a man’s name, the captivating Billy Jack Tate makes no apologies for taking on a man’s profession. As a doctor at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, she is one step closer to having her very own medical practice—until Hunter Scott asks her to give it all up to become his wife.

Hunter is one of the elite. A Texas Ranger and World’s Fairguard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character, and skill. Hailed as the toughest man west of any place east, he has no patience for big cities and women who think they belong anywhere but home…

Despite their difference of opinion on the role of women, Hunter and Billy find a growing attraction between them—until Hunter discovers an abandoned baby in the corner of a White City exhibit. He and Billy team up to make sure this foundling isn’t left in the slums of Chicago with only the flea-riddled, garbage-infested streets for a playground. As they fight for the underprivileged children in the Nineteenth Ward, an entire Playground Movement is birthed. But when the Fair comes to an end, one of them will have to give up their dream.

Will Billy exchange her doctor’s shingle for the domesticated role of a southern wife, or will Hunter abandon the wide open spaces of home for a life in the “gray city,” a woman who insists on being the wage earner, and a group of ragamuffins who need more than a playground for breathing space?

My Comments:  When I began this book, I didn’t think I would like it, but I did indeed like it quite a bit.  The historical setting, the fight for a woman to survive in a man’s “world” with a Man’s “occupation” was fascinating and completely believable, as was Billy’s struggle with marriage and motherhood.  Wow, so many issues to consider.  I love the struggle between living in Texas and living in Chicago. This book was completely entertaining and engaging.  I recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction, women’s rights, and last, but not least, an different type of romance.   I would give this book 4.5 stars!

I received a review copy of this book from Howard Publishing in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Terri Blackstock’s Distortion

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

distortion

Juliet Cole’s life has been dismantled by the murder of her husband. She doesn’t know who—or what—to trust when everything she has believed to be true about her marriage has been a lie. When Juliet Cole’s husband of fifteen years is gunned down in a dark parking lot before her eyes, she thinks it was a random shooting. Devastated and traumatized, she answers hours of questioning. When she’s finally allowed to return home to break the news to her boys, she hears a voicemail that takes the situation from a random shooting to a planned, deliberate attack. “Mrs. Cole, we know you have access to the supply and the money. If you don’t turn fifty million over to us and give us the codes, then you’ll be burying more family members.”

 

Suddenly, Juliet realizes that she and her children could be in danger. She teams up with her sisters and PI Michael Hogan to dig into the sham Bob has been living for years. The more she learns, the worse the betrayal. A drug trafficking history, a fortune in cash, and a secret family all emerge to turn Juliet’s belief system on its head, and threaten the things she loves. Are she and her sisters skilled enough as sleuths to get to the truth?

My Comments:  I read this book in just a couple of days.  I was engaged throughout.  Distortion is the second book in a new series by Terri Blackstock entitled Moonlighters Series and this book continues somewhat where the first book, Truth-Stained Lies left off.  I can’t even imagine finding out my husband life was a lie.  I also can’t imagine being a PI.  This book takes me to a world I know little about, but it is fascinating.  This poor family has been through it.  Two murders in just a year or two. It seemed to all begin when they found out their pastor-father had an affair and left the church.  I would love to hear some of the back story, since my husband is a pastor and my kids grew up in a pastor’s home.  Please bring us more Terri.  I love your books.

I received this book free in exchange for my honest review from Zondervan Pubishing and NetGalley.  This is my honest review a 4.5 star book.

Frostfire Inn by

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

frostfire inn

Lauren Endicott is haunted by the injustice of a father sent to prison for a murder he didn’t commit. She never expected the novel she wrote about the case to become a bestseller, one in which a thinly disguised local senator was the actual murderer, and she certainly never expected to face the town’s outrage after the senator committed suicide. Most of all, she never wanted to hurt the senator’s son, Flynn Huntington, the boy she had loved from afar, the one she knew could never be hers. After the senator’s death, the town and the Huntingtons wanted her gone, and truth be told, Lauren was glad to go. She knew Flynn Huntington hated her, and that she would have to make a life for herself elsewhere.

Ten years later when Lauren is forced to come back to town for a short stay, she has no intention of confronting her past. She’s changed her name, colored her hair, and hopes no one will recognize her. To her shock, she immediately finds herself the focus of Flynn’s attention. He’s no longer a boy, and in any other circumstances she’d be dazzled by the handsome and sophisticated man he has become. He doesn’t recognize her, and is under the mistaken impression she is an employee at the local inn. Lauren finds herself right back where she was so many years before, dreaming of someone who can never be hers.

Should Lauren tell him the truth about her identity? Or should she walk away before she breaks both their hearts?

My Comments:  This is a complete short story.  I was completely engaged throughout the short e-copy.  Parts of this story reminded me of  the television program, “Revenge” although without all the violence and deceit.  However, Lauren wanted to find out the truth about who murdered the person her father was accused of murdering.  Her own past is interesting, she is an attorney who wrote a best-selling novel.  She falls in love with a man who cannot find out her true identity.  Lauren is confronted with difficult decisions.  Read to find out what happened and why.  You will be thoroughly entertained.  I recommend this novella.

Thank you to Story Cartel for a free copy to review in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Echoes of Mercy

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

 

echoes of mercy
Sometimes a secret must be kept for the truth to be revealed.When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education.

Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?

My Comments:  Echoes of Mercy was an interesting, engaging book.  I love Kim Vogel Sawyer’s writing! I feel like I look at history in a different way – as if I were really there.  Caroline, “Carrie,” came from a difficult background, a child laborer with abusive parents, and was “saved” by a wonderful Christian couple, Noble and his wife.  Oliver “Ollie” Dinsmore and Carrie fell for each other while acting as someone other than themselves.  It sounds confusing, but it is not. The story has everything – romance, mystery, suspense, and Christianity. The Christianity was woven in well through Oliver wanting to learn how to pray.  I will be looking for more books by Kim Vogel Sawyer to read!

 

The Thief by Stephanie Landsem (The Living Water Series)

Monday, February 17th, 2014

the thief

Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Abandoned by the God she once loved, her only recourse is to depend upon Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, to keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and the landlord satisfied.

Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure and is desperate to escape the accursed Judean province. Accepting a wager that will get him away from the aggravating Jews and their threats of revolt, he sets out to catch the thieves harassing the marketplace.

When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Nissa hopes for freedom from her life of lies. But the supposed miracle brings only more misfortune, and Longinus, seeking to learn more about the mysterious healer, finds himself drawn instead to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.

Cedron, Longinus, and Nissa are unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. As danger closes in on them from every side, they must decide if the love and redemption Jesus offers is true or just another false promise. How can the so-called Messiah save them from their shackles, when he cannot even save himself?

My Comments:  I usually do not care for novels set in Biblical times, but this book is definitely an exception.  While reading this book, I get the sense of real people living during the time Jesus was alive and what He meant to the culture and different types of people.  Problems such as alcoholism and gambling existed then just as they do now.  This is an exciting, engaging, and thought-provoking novel.  This is the first book I have read by Stephanie Landsem, but it won’t be the last.  This book also gives me a different view of Jesus and how people might have viewed him. I recommend this book and if I were giving it stars, I would give it a 4.5 out of 5.

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