Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse

by Julie Klassen
Bethany House Publishing

"Banished from the only home she's ever known, Mariah Aubrey hides herself away in an abandoned gatehouse on a distant relative's estate. There she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how—by writing novels in secret.

When Captain Matthew Bryant leases the estate, he is intrigued by the beautiful girl in the gatehouse. But there are many things he doesn't know about this beguiling outcast. Will he risk his plans—and his heart—for a woman shadowed by scandal?

Intriguing, mysterious, and romantic, The Girl in the Gatehousetakes readers inside the life of a secret authoress at a time when novel-writing was considered improper for ladies and the smallest hint of impropriety could change a woman's life forever."

After reading this FABULOUS book I had to read more by Julie Klassen- that is how good this book is!!  I read everything our local library had that she wrote.  I do like the other books but this one is still my favorite.  I like Julie Klassen's writing style.  The whole entire book was full of mystery and intrigue.  I found all the characters to be believable and realistic.  No matter what my review says I do not think I could give this book justice.  I found myself wondering what I would do in Mariah's situation- trying to support herself and her servant/friend with no support from home.  She is literally an outcast of her own family.  She has a secret that you think you might know what it is but the turn of events keeps you guessing until the last moment.  Thank you Julie Klassen for sharing your talent with your readers!!

Price: $14.99 Purchase through the publisher and you can get a discount.

*I was sent a free copy of this book to read and review.  I am not compensated for my honest review.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hidden Affections

Delia Parr
Bethany House Publishing

"Betrayed by her husband, Annabelle Tyler wears the burden of legally being a divorcee, a difficult position for an upstanding young woman to find herself in. While attempting to start a new life for herself, an unexpected turn of events once again has Annabelle married--this time to Harrison Graymoor, the most eligible, yet elusive, bachelor in Philadelphia. Harrison assures her that he will secure an annulment immediately, unaware that the constable has sent word of the marriage to the press in Philadelphia. And here things continue to go awry. Harrison's past, a philanthropic cousin with his eye on Annabelle, and the appearance of Annabelle's ex-husband threaten the tentative relationship growing between Harrison and his "wife." For two individuals set against marriage, there are certainly a lot of second thoughts regarding the one forced upon them."

The plot sounds fun doesn't it?  It is too bad the book does not live up to the review.  I cringe every time I read an error in a book- really people how many people read the draft before it is published can you not get it right?  Errors for me at least take away the enjoyment of the book.  This book also had no depth to the characters- it really seemed as if part of the book was missing and not just the end or beginning but pages here and there.  As a reader we are told what the characters did to fall in love but we did not actually see it played out.  There were several times I had to go back a few pages to reread something because it did not fit.
While I really liked the idea of the book, I must say I did not like the finished book.

Price: $14.99 Purchase through the publisher and you may get a discount.

*I was sent a free copy of this by by the publisher to read and review.  I am not compensated for my honest review.

Promises to Keep

by Ann Tatlock
Bethany House Publishing

"Eleven-year-old Roz (Rosalind) Anthony and her family have just moved to Mills River, Illinois, to escape an abusive situation. Only days after settling into their new home, they are surprised to find the previous owner, Tillie Monroe, on their front porch reading the newspaper. Though her sons have sold the house and sent her to a facility for the aged, she is determined to die in the place she lived her life and somehow manages to find her way "home" day after day. Feeling sympathy for the elderly woman, Roz's mother allows Tillie to move back in.
Mara Nightingale becomes Roz's first friend in Mills River. In spite of their many differences, the girls discover they have something in common that binds them together--both are hiding secrets. So they make a promise--"cross my heart and hope to die"--never to tell anyone else.
When danger stalks the Anthonys, Tillie exhibits unimaginable courage and selfless love in her determination to protect the family she has adopted as her own."

This was a really weird book.  I did not like it at all.  If I could give it 0 stars I would.  It was not realistic, it gave me a creepy feeling- I really did not want to finish it but I figured I would give it the benefit of the doubt and hoped it would get better- sorry no chance.  I wish I could get those few hours I spent reading this back. I felt that that the book was predictable and poorly written.

Price: $14.99 Buying from the publisher will sometimes give you a discount.

* I was sent a free copy of this book from the publisher to read and review.  I am not compensated for my honest review.

Amish Values for Your Family

by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Revell Publishing

"When it comes to strong families that know how to truly enjoy life together, there is much we can learn from the Amish. Just how do they establish such strong family bonds, such deeply held values, and such wonderful family traditions? In Amish Values for Your Family, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shares the secrets of Amish family life. In this inspiring and practical book, you will meet real Amish families that are a lot like yours. Through their stories you'll discover how to
  • slow down
  • safeguard family time
  • raise children who stand strong in their faith
  • prioritize what's truly important
Amish values like community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more can be your family legacy--without selling your car or changing your wardrobe."

I really like this one.  I think every family in this crazy busy world needs to read this.  There are stories of the Amish- but also ideas at the end of each story on how to make a simpler more satisfying family life.  There is something in here for everyone.  It has made me realize how busy we are- running from here there to everywhere.  I need to remember to stop and smell the roses and play with my kiddos.  Values are sometimes forgotten in our busy lives- a child asks why they should not steal and we say because it is against the law- is that really the reason? Sometimes we forget to instill values into our children so that they can become good citizens later in life.  I really feel this book hits the nail on the head- Amish values can be used in my family- can they in yours too?

Price: $12.99 Purchase from the publisher for a discount.

*I was sent a free copy of this book to read and review.  I am not compensated for my honest review.

Amish Prayers

by Beverly Lewis
Bethany House Publishing

"The Amish and other Anabaptist groups have treasured the same book of prayers for centuries, turning to it for inspiration during times of peace as well as persecution. Now a selection of prayers from Die Ernsthafte Christenpflichtis readily available in English. This exclusive, authentic translation from the original German--with an introduction by bestselling author Beverly Lewis--pairs each prayer with a Scripture passage and offers insights into the rich spiritual foundations of the Plain people. Whether used for personal devotions or in a group setting, this beautifully illustrated collection will draw you closer to God."

I really enjoy reading books about the Amish way of life- fiction or nonfiction.  I chose this book for that very reason.  However I had a hard time reading it.  I believe that prayers need to come from the heart- not from a book to be read and memorized.  I think it might be a good devotional or something to read each day- but not to use as a prayer book- of course if you believe otherwise this might be a good fit for you.

Price: $14.99   Purchase from publisher to receive a discount.

*I was sent a free copy of this book to read and review.  I am not compensated for my honest review.

Double Take

by Melody Carlson
Revell Publishing

"Spring break has arrived. It’s her senior year, and Madison VanBuren is fed up with her surroundings and the pressures of life. Stressed out over choosing an Ivy League school that will please her parents, their marital problems, and her boyfriend's pressure, Madison gets in her car and drives west.

Meanwhile, eighteen-year-old Anna Fisher wants to escape the so-called simple life--which for her consists of caring for younger siblings, sewing, cooking, and gardening--and she's well aware that her future will simply be more of the same with a man she doesn't love.
Madison and Anna stumble into each other in a small town. Realizing their looks are uncannily similar, they both think their lives are boring. Thinking the grass is greener on the other side, they make a decision that will transform them forever and switch lives for one week."  

       While I really like to read novels about the Amish- this was not one of them.  This book was so far fetched that it was hard to read.  The only reason I finished the book was because I needed to write this review.  Yes, I know that this was geared more to the youth, but it was so hard to believe that I could not get past it.  These two girls change places because they look alike.  One of them is a quiet Amish girl and the other is a rich girl from New York city.
       First of all, the Amish speak a dialect of German when communicating amongst themselves- so how did a girl, Madison,  from New York get past this?  She said she had a terrible accident and forgot the language that children learn from babyhood.  They do not learn English until they start school so why would she not remember that and forget English?  She also did not know how to cook, clean, or do anything the Amish do.  While the Amish girl, Anne, is thrown into New York-she is not doing any better.  She does not know how to use the cell phone, she has a maid/housekeeper/cook, but starts cleaning and cooking on her own.  The only people who find out are the Aunt and the girls friend.  It really is fiction.  The one redeeming quality is that it has a moral- the grass is NOT green on the other side.  It does have some funny parts too.
   Don't take my word for it though- read it yourself!

Price:  $9.99 Click here to purchase.  (Buying directly from the publisher sometimes gives you a discount.)

*I was sent a free copy of this book from the publisher.  I am not compensated for my honest review.

A Lancaster County Christmas

by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Revell Publishing

"Jaime Fitzpatrick has a plan. She quit her job and is preparing to launch her photography career in New York City—with or without her husband, C.J. Mattie Riehl has problems of her own. A recent miscarriage has plunged her into feelings of despair that baffle her husband, Sol. He likes problems he can fell like trees.  
The path of these two couples collide as a winter storm blows Jaime and C.J. off-course and into the Riehl’s home on Christmas Eve, including Tucker, C.J.’s Search and Rescue dog.  Awkward and uncomfortable at first, an unlikely alliance develops as Mattie and Sol’s only child wanders off and disappears in the storm. As C.J., Sol and Tucker search for the child, Jaime and Mattie confront fears they had been avoiding. And both women discover the true meaning of Christmas."

I have read many novels with the characters being Amish, and most are really good, however this book blew me out of the water!  I loved how unique this book turned out to be.  One couple, Amish, the other "English" and neither are wanting to become Amish or English- they want to stay what they are.  But, they are brought together and must share Christmas together.  They become friends, confidants if you will.  

I have struggled with secondary infertility and I understood what Mattie was going through- actually gave me a bit of a spiritual perspective.

I love how there were two couples so drastically different being able to become friends.  Most of the Amish books I have read are about seeking love- sometimes in the unforbidden world of the English or in the strict Amish community- this was very refreshing and I loved it!

List Price:  $15.99 Click here to purchase.  (Buying through the publisher sometimes gives you a discount).

*I was sent a free copy of this book from the publisher to read and review.  I am not compensated for my honest review.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Blessed

By Ann Gabhart
Revell Publishing

"It is 1844 and Lacey Bishop's life is a tangled mess. When circumstances move Lacey to a nearby Shaker village, she is not prepared for the new life that awaits her. In the midst of her deep loneliness, Lacey works to fit in with this odd group. But everything shifts when she finds herself drawn to a Shaker man in a village where such relationships are forbidden.
Can Lacey ever find true happiness in this mysterious place?"

Ann Gabhart poignantly shares this story of heartache and finding real love.  I must say that I found the book bizarre in places- like Lacey having to marry the priest and then the priest deciding to leave his Christian faith and join the Shakers.  The Shakers are an odd lot as well, there are no families just single people living together, they also believed that marriage was a sin and intimate relations between men and women were evil.   The odd Shaker ways were quite bizarre as well- constantly working, separated from the opposite sex, spiritual dancing, and having your body be taken over by someone from beyond the grave.  I found myself thinking, "Why does she just leave?"  Then I realize the time period and how women could not just leave and find their own way.

then there is  Isaac.  His beloved bride dies and her father turns on him- he has to escape- and where to?  The Shakers.  He does not believe in their doctrine- he just needs food and shelter.  He finds himself watching Lacey- what will happen in the end?  

Can Lacey ever be free from the priest she is lawfully wedded to?  Will she be able to bring her child with her?  How will she make it?  You want the answers to these questions?  Guess you got to go and read this book for yourself!

Price:  $14.99 Purchase here.  (Sometimes buying directly from the publisher will give you a discount).

*I was sent a free book from the publisher to read and review.  I am not compensated from my honest review.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Angel Sister

by Ann H. Gabhart
Revell Publishing

"It is 1936 and Kate Merritt is trying hard to keep her family together. Her father has slipped into alcoholism, her mother tries to come to grips with their dire financial situation, and her sisters seem to remain blissfully oblivious to all of it. Kate could never have imagined that a dirty, abandoned little girl named Lorena Birdsong would be just what her family needs."

I found this book to be slow, boring and just poorly written.  After reading it, I wished I had those few hours back to do something else.  I was disappointed in the fact that it was published at all.  I could see this as a rough draft but not a final draft.  I felt I did not get anything out of the book.  A girl is abandoned on the steps of a church and her parents left no note or contact information.  The little girl looks to Kate, the girl who finds her, to protect her.  The girl is moved to a home of an older couple who never had children and locks her in a dark pantry for punishment.  Kate breaks in and gets the little girl out.  The girl got in trouble for not letting the lady call her a different name.  There are too many micro stories going on and in the end it fell flat.  But, of course do not take my word for it- read other reviews.  I just can not give a good review to this book.

Price: $14.99 purchase here (Buying directly from the publisher may save you money).

*I was sent a free copy by the publisher to read and review.  These are my honest opinions and I am not compensated for my reviews.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lookhart Photography

Check out A Thrifty Mom's post about Lookhart Photography!  She will be here in April for some short sessions.  Plus enter to win half off one session!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

by Donita K. Paul
Waterbrook Publishing

"In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season. Searching for a perfect gift, a fortuitous trip to Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad’s (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derrick. And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.
 Every year, the matchmaking booksellers of the Sage Street bookshop host an enchanting, old-fashioned Christmas Ball for the romantic matches they’ve decided to bring together.
 This year, will Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith? Or will the matchmakers’ best laid plans end up ruining everything this holiday?"

This book was such a joy to read.  I loved how fun and light it was.  Romance, magic, and Christmas!!

Price: $14.99

*I was sent a free copy of this book from the publisher to read and review.  I am not compensated for my honest opinion.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Movie Night Giveaway!

Check out one of my favorite blog's contest!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Lady in the Mist

The Midwives-Book 1
by Laurie Alice Eakes
Revell Publishing

"By virtue of her profession as a midwife, Tabitha Eckles is the keeper of many secrets. Dominick Cherrett is a man with his own secret to keep: namely, why he, a British aristocrat, is on American soil working as an indentured servant.  In a time when relations between America and England rest on the edge of a knife, Tabitha and Dominick cross paths, leading them on a journey of intrigue, threats, public disgrace, and . . . love. But can Tabitha trust Dominick? Finding true love seems impossible in a world set against them."

I enjoy reading books about midwives.  Although I was dissapointed that there was a lot of actual midwifery in the book.  The book gives bits and pieces of various secrets, but you do not know them until near the end of the book which is nice for suspense purposes.  The chapters go back and forth between the main characters which can be good but confusing as well.

I am looking forward to reading more of Eakes' books especially in her Midwives series.
"Available February 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Price:  $14.99 purchase here.  (the publisher will sometimes have their books on sale).

*I was sent a free copy of this book to read and review.  I am not compensated for my honest review.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stars Collide

by Janice Thompson
Revell Publishing

Another book by one of my favorite authors, Janice Thompson!  I love her fun and sassy writing style- it makes me laugh and ponder at the same time!  Janice has so much talent!  I make myself read slower otherwise I would read it in one night! 

"Kat Jennings and Scott Murphy don't just play two people who are secretly in love on a television sitcom--they are also head over heels for each other in real life. When the lines between reality and TV land blur, they hope they can keep their relationship under wraps. But when Kat's grandmother, an aging Hollywood starlet with a penchant for wearing elaborate evening gowns from Golden Age movies, mistakes their on-screen wedding proposal for the real deal, things begin to spiral out of their control. Will their secret be front-page news in the tabloids tomorrow? And can their budding romance survive the onslaught of paparazzi, wedding preparations, and misinformed

Such a hillarious book!  I just love Grandma- she is seriously funny!  Want a fun, upbeat, light read?  You gotta RUN and buy this one!

I have a feeling there will be a sequel to this one (or is that wishful thinking?).

Price:  $14.99  Purchase here (many times the publisher's website has discounts available).

*I was sent a free copy of this book from the publisher to read and review.  I am not compensated for my honest review.

The American Patriot's Almanac

by William Bennett & John Cribb
Thomas Nelson Publishing

Wow what a great book to have in your home.  I received this book from to read and review.  It is divided into daily readings- some stories if you will.  It is great for devotionals for homeschoolers, or for people wanting a little tidbit of American history.  It is really well done.  It is nice to be able to learn something new about our nation each day.  Sometimes history can be boring and overwhelming to learn- especially for kiddos.  However, with this book it is broken up into small chunks for one to easily digest. 

"This revised edition includes:
A new preface and updated facts and figures Updates to the American History Parade lists and daily readings New special sections on "Faith and the Founders," "State Facts and Symbols," and "Fifty American Quotes"

This book will make anyone love American History!  Great book to give as a gift as well!

*I was sent a copy of this book for free from the publisher to read and review.  I am not compensated for my honest review.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Search

by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Baker Publishing

"As a child caught up in a crisis, Lainey O'Toole made a split-second decision with far-reaching effects. Fifteen years later, when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge--the very town in which that decision was made--she is forced to face the past and discover how her decision has impacted so many.
Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm helping her intimidating grandmother Bertha recover from surgery. It doesn't take long for Bess to realize that her grandmother coaxed her to Stoney Ridge for an entirely different reason. But once Bess meets hired hand Billy Lapp, the summer starts to hold some promise.
Lainey's and Bess's worlds are about to collide and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.
Beautifully written, The Search is a skillfully woven story that takes you through unexpected twists and turns on the long country road toward truth. Immerse yourself in this heartwarming--and surprising--tale of young love, forgiveness, and healing."

This book was set in the 1970's- something I had to keep remembering.  It was a little hard to get in to, but once I did I really enjoyed it.  It is a book about forgiveness, love and finding who you are and what you want.  There are secrets that have been hidden for a lifetime ready to come out.  It is great to find out how those people involved deal with the truth.  I really would love the author to do a sequel. 

Price: $14.99 Purchase here. (Many times the publisher has this book on sale.)

*I was sent a free copy of this book from the publisher to read and review.  I am not compensated for my honest review.

Fatal Judgment

#1 in the Guardians of Justice Series
by Irene Hannon
Revell Publishing

"U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he'd rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward the coldhearted workaholic haven't warmed in the five years since she drove her husband--and Jake's best friend--to despair . . . and possible suicide.
As the danger mounts and Jake gets to know Liz better, he's forced to revise his opinion of her. And when it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life--and his heart--are in danger.
Full of suspense and romance, Fatal Judgment launches a thrilling series featuring three siblings bound by blood and a passion for justice."

Intense and faced paced!  Another book I could not put down.  Jake believed his old friend's view of his marriage with Liz, now years after his death he is started to reevaluate his opinion of her.  Jake's job is to protect her, but he is starting to have feelings for her.  Jake is also trying to figure out why and who is trying to kill Judge Liz Michaels.  This book is a page turner with many twists and turns.  I am excited to read more about some of the other characters in Hannon's next books.

Price:  $14.99 purchase here. (The publisher's website usually has a discount on their books).

*I was sent a free copy of this book from the publisher to read and review.  The opinions expressed in this book are my own.  I am not compensated in any way.