Monday, November 30, 2015

The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay

  • ISBN-10: 1401689752
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401689759


When Lucy’s secret is unearthed, her world begins to crumble. But it may be the best thing that has ever happened to her.
Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious liberties to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend, James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.
In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother, Helen, hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else.
As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom as Helen confronts ghosts from her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of impossible circumstances.
Now Lucy must face her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that’s been waiting for her all along.

The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay is a must read for anyone who loves romance, suspense, England and of course ~ the Bronte sister's classics. 

The scenery, literary themes as well as the intrigue and romance captured me from the start. I laughed and shed a few tears through this novel. I cheered Lucy on as she lived, learned and strove to find herself. 

All in all, The Bronte Plot is an excellent book. I highly recommend it!

4.5 Stars

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Fantastic Time Travel Novel ~ Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

  • ISBN-10: 1492621161
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492621164


Country clubs and garden parties. The last thing Cassandra wants is to spend the summer before her senior year marooned in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. Cass craves drama and adventure, which is hard when she just feels stuck.
But when a dreamy stranger shows up on her family's private beach, claiming that it is his property-and that the year is 1925-Cass is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making. As she searches for answers in the present, Cass discovers a truth that thrusts Lawrence's life into jeopardy. It won't matter which century he is from if he won't live to see tomorrow.
Desperate to save the boy who's come to mean everything to her, Cassandra must find a way to change history...or risk losing Lawrence forever.

Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins swept me off my feet!  It a fantastic time travel romance that I couldn't put down until I had finished the book.

It is full of mystery, suspense, romance and I experienced a gambit of emotions while reading this book.  If you enjoy reading time travel romance books, this book is right up your alley! 

4 Stars!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for  the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Imposter by Suzanne Woods Fisher

  • ISBN-10: 0800723201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800723200


Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. Those plans started to crumble when her father moved the family to Stoney Ridge, then completely collapsed when John decided to marry someone else. Katrina is devastated. How could she have felt so loved, yet been so deceived?

As she struggles to face a future without him, a widow asks for her help to start a new business and Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose. What she doesn't need is attention from Andy Miller, a farm hand who arrives at the widow's farm just when help is most needed--and who always seems to say the right thing, and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy
for real, or too good to be true? Deceived once before, Katrina is determined to keep her feelings in check. 

When a cascade of events is set in motion by some surprising information, the little Amish church is turned upside down. Soon, everyone has a stake in the outcome, and the community struggles to find the best response to an imposter in their midst. Can they forgive even the most deceitful deeds?

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher introduces her loyal fans to a brand-new series set in their favorite town--Stoney Ridge. As always, Fisher delivers endearing characters and plot twists that keep readers turning page after page after page.

The Imposter by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the first of  her Bishop's Family series.  

I found this book to be an enjoyable Amish romance novel. At some points, I had a bit of difficulty following along with the story but after awhile the story moved smoothly and was an enjoyable read.  

I feel I might have enjoyed it more if I had read some of Ms. Fisher's prior series set in Stoney Ridge though this book can be read as a stand alone novel.

3 Stars!

Thank you to Revell and Netgalley for the opportunity for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

  • ISBN-10: 1601425007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601425003


The Great War shakes the world of a spirited young woman and the brave British pilot she loves, taking her from London to her family’s magnificent country estate, and sending him into the war-torn skies over France. 

Penny Ramsey has always considered Highland Hall her home, but when Britain becomes involved in World War One she travels to London to assist her sister Kate with the eight orphan children she and her husband Jon have taken into their home. Doing her part for the war effort takes priority over Penny’s dreams of romance until she meets Alex Goodwin, a Royal Naval Air Service pilot in training.
Alex is determined to prove his worth and do his part to defend his country. Knowing he is heading off for the dangerous assignment of  chasing Zeppelins across the front line in France, he feels it’s unwise to form any romantic attachments. But he can’t help admiring the pretty, warmhearted Penny and wondering what it would be like to find her waiting when he returns home from the war. 
As Penny writes to Alex, their friendship blossoms, and she becomes his tie to home and normalcy as he faces the hardships war. But being an RNAS pilot means confronting the enemy, and the fallout form those experiences push Alex beyond Penny’s reach. Can God mend the brokenness left by the losses of war? Will faith and forgiveness bring them together again?

A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky is book 3 in the Edwardian Bride series.  While it is part of a series, it can definitely be read as a stand alone novel.  I found it to be quite a relaxing read that I enjoyed over the holiday break. 

It's full of faith, history and romance as well as hope, new beginnings and miracles. I found this book be uplifting and inspirational ~ I highly recommend it!

4 Stars! 

Thank you to Multnomah and Edelwiess for the free copy provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Map of Fates by Maggie Hall ~ Waiting on Wednesday

WOW is a weekly meme spotlighting soon to be released books hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My pick this week ... 

  • ISBN-10: 0399166513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399166518

Release Date: March 8, 2016


Two Weeks...

That’s how long it took for Avery West’s ordinary life to change forever. In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle’s enemies, and fell for a boy she's not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny.

Now Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it's too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day, making her question what she believes at every turn.
But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: In the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem.

Bookish Things I Am Very Thankful For ~ Top Ten Tuesday 2015

                     Hosted by The Broke And Bookish

This week's post is all about  bookish things that I am Thankful for (Listed in no particular order) ...

1. Books were a very dear life-line during my childhood and teenage years. They provided me with comfort and joy. A chance to grow my imagination and explore the world (and universe) through the books I read. To this day books remain a constant joy in my life and I am so thankful for them!

2. I am thankful for my Jr. High Librarian who took me under her wing, saved new books for me to read and suggested other books for reading. She encouraged me to expand my reading to classics and other genres. She definitely was a positive influence towards my love of libraries, books and reading! 

3. I am so grateful for my children and sharing the gift of reading with them. It warms my heart to see them loving to read, enjoying books and watching their individual reading preferences develop over the years. What a true delight! 

4.  I am thankful for those life changing "light bulb" moments when I have read a passage or sentence in a book that has profound meaning and impact on my life. These type of moments are rare (I can count them on one hand) but they have occurred several times in my life and usually  with the most unlikely of books! God has a way of getting His message across to me even when I may be trying to avoid issues and I am so grateful that He does. 

5. I am thankful for my bookish friends. For me there is only one thing better than reading a book ...  it's sharing and discussing it with other book lovers!  

What Bookish Things Are You Thankful for? 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Heart's Journey by Kristen McKendry

  • ISBN-10: 1680471260
  • ISBN-13: 978-1680471267


Adventure is in her blood, so when wealthy eighteen year old Rachel Hamilton’s treasure hunting father disappears in the wilderness of British Columbia, she considers only one course of action: she will embark on a quest to find him. But for a well bred woman with little understanding of the world beyond her upper class existence, the harsh realities of the trail quickly become apparent. Woefully unprepared for the hardships of crossing a wild and unsettled continent, Rachel is hungry, lost, and distraught when handsome frontiersman Peter finds her in the middle of nowhere. 

Taking pity on the downtrodden young woman, Peter promises to escort her to the safety of civilization. Little does he realize he’s taking on a naïve and foolishly brave girl who will test the limits of his patience. But he also discovers the same naïve girl will blossom into a strong, competent, and captivating woman as they undertake an epic journey that will forever alter both their lives.

{ My Review}

Heart's Journey by Kristen McKendry is a historical novel full of clean romance and strong faith. It is a relaxing historical fiction read.  

 Unfortunately, Heart's Journey just didn't resonate with me.  I had a hard time connecting with the story and the characters. I thought the premise of the book ~ an 18 year old girl traveling from Canada to the west by herself to join  wagon train and actually making it to the wagon train ~ was just a bit too far fetched. I couldn't let go of this fact and unfortunately, it affected my enjoyment of the rest of the story.  

Ms. McKendry has talent and Heart's Journey is getting some rave reviews. Please check this book out for yourselves and make your own decision. 

2 Stars

Thank you to Covenant Communications Inc. and Netgalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Wonderful Family Advent Book ~ Ishtar's Odyssey: A Family Story For Advent by Arnold Ytreeide

  • ISBN-10: 0825443938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825443930


A new Advent family devotional from the author of Jotham’s Journey! Fourth in a set of Advent adventure books for families, Ishtar’s Odyssey follows the ten-year-old son of a Persian wise man as their caravan follows a star across the desert. Ishtar would just as soon stay in the comfort of the palace, but slowly he learns that there’s much to see, do, and learn in this world that can’t be experienced in school. He eventually meets Jotham, Bartholomew, and Tabitha as he follows his father and uncles in their search for a newborn king.

Arnold Ytreeide’s family advent devotionals have become a much-loved Christmas tradition, enjoyed by multiple generations. With over 100,000 in print they include Jotham’s JourneyBartholomew’s Passage, and Tabitha’s Travels.

Ishtar's Odyssey: A Family Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide is the fourth in his Advent book series but it can be read as a stand alone book or as part of the series.

It is a historical fiction book that is strongly based on Biblical truths, Bible verses and of course, the story of Christ's birth. Mr. Ytreeide has brought history to life through this book (and series) that the whole family will enjoy as an Advent devotional.

The story is  divided into short chapters  to be read aloud for each day of Advent. After each chapter there is a short summation by the author with end of chapter "thinking points" that can be used to discuss what was just read aloud. He also includes a Bible verse for each day as well. 

There are suggestions throughout the book that can be used to help bring the story "to life" even more. There is a list of Persian food that Isthar ate during his journey next to a "comparable meal for today" as well. At the back of the book there is a list of dates for "Advent through the years" that I think is extremely helpful. 

All in all, Ishtar's Odyssey is a wonderful story and devotional that parents, children and families can share together to experience and celebrate the wonder and joy of the Advent season! 

5 Stars!

Thank you to Kregel publishing for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Patterns of Change by Terri Dulong

  • ISBN-10: 1601835523
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601835529

Release Date ~ November 24, 2015


Chloe Radcliffe was ready to shake the dust of Cedar Key off her feet and sink her toes into the warm sands of Ormond Beach with her soon-to-be husband. But when tragedy struck, she found herself alone, unraveled—and unsure where she belonged…

A series of vivid dreams of a Victorian house with a beautiful fishpond convince Chloe to take a leap of faith and rent a condo in Ormond Beach. There, she makes fast friends with a group of knitters and the owner of a tea shop, who also happens to have a house nearly identical to the one in Chloe’s dreams—and she’s willing to rent her the property. 

Just as Chloe begins casting on her grand plans for the home, her tangled past comes back to haunt her—but her dreams and new-found friends just might point her toward the love she’s been missing all along…

Patterns of Change by Terri Dulong is a relaxing read that I quite enjoyed. The story was interesting and well written with believable characters. The story line was  engaging  though a bit fantastical but what is romance without a bit of fantasy and dreaming?  

Ms. Dulong's ability to capture the essence of the joys and challenges women face in their lives as well as portray so accurately the complexity and joy of the friendships we build with each other is one of the things that I most enjoyed with this book. 

In an effort for full disclosure, this romance novel contains issues of date rape and pre-marital relations though the author has addressed these issues with sensitivity and subtlety.   

3 Stars

Thank you to Lyrical Press and Netgalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Heartbreak, Hope and Faith ~ Another Way Home by Deborah Raney

  • ISBN-10: 1426770456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426770456


Grandchildren are not in short supply for Grant and Audrey Whitman, although their middle daughter, Danae, and her husband, Dallas Brooks, after trying for years, have not been able to contribute to the growing family. Danae is open to adoption, but Dallas will not even discuss it. Her despair over never having a family of her own is so deep, it even causes her to question God’s plan for her life. 

Knowing she must find something to do to fill her lonely days and energize her life, Danae volunteers to work at a newly opened women’s shelter in town. She was only looking for a way to spend her time, but getting to know the hurting women at the shelter fills her heart and she learns to live a life of gratitude once again. 

But heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull the entire Whitman clan into turmoil— and leave them all forever changed.

Another Way Home by Deborah Raney is the third book in her Chicory Inn series. It can be read as a stand alone book but after reading this book, you'll definitely want to catch up on the first two books in this series!

I enjoyed reading Another Way Home. It took me a chapter or two before I truly got into the plot but once I did, I couldn't put the book down. The characters are realistic, well-developed and the story well written. All in all, a really good book

Infertility is such a painful and deep topic to discuss but Ms. Raney did a great job of addressing it in this book. My heart went out to Danae and Dallas. Their story and that of their family moved me and I laughed and cried with them the whole way through reading it.

I definitely recommend Another Way Home and now I am off to read the first two books in this series! 

4 Stars!  

Thank you to Abingdon Press and Netgalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

WOW is a weekly meme spotlighting soon to be released books hosted by Breaking the Spine.

In the spotlight this week ... 

  • ISBN-10: 0062377647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062377647

Release Date ~ February 9, 2016


Destiny and darkness collide in this romantic, sweeping new fantasy series from New York Timesbestselling author Sophie Jordan.
Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok's lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna's survival depends on the world believing she is dead.
But that doesn't stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.
With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

What books are you waiting for?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Debbie MaComber's books and have been for years. For me, one of the highlight's of each Christmas season is reading (or listening to) Debbie's annually released new Christmas book! 

  • ISBN-10: 0553391690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553391695
  • Audio Book: ASIN: B0149JBOT8
  • Listening Length: 4 hours and 31 minutes

From the Publisher: 

Savor the magic of the season with Debbie Macomber’s newest Christmas novel, filled with warmth, humor, the promise of love, and a dash of unexpected adventure.
Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.
At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.

I decided to listen to Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber through Audible this year as I still have quite a bit of crocheting to do for Christmas and wanted to do both at the same time. It turned out to be a definite treat! 

I admit I was a bit puzzled when I first started listening to this book but then I soon realized that this was a funny, obviously fantastical light-hearted tale. I decided to just go with the flow of it and I am so glad I did! 

There were parts of this book that I truly enjoyed and some that I could have done without (aka - car repairman) but overall I laughed my socks off  and came away from the story with laughter in my heart and a big smile. 

Ms. Macomber has a great sense of humor and she has added a large dash of that humor into this story. I truly enjoyed Dashing Through the Snow and I sure did a whole lot of whole lot of laughing too!  

4 Stars!

Spice up your life and enjoy 
this Christmas season! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner

  • ISBN-10: 0825443881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825443886

Synopsis from the publisher: 

Where you come from isn't who you are.

Ten-year-old Pearl Spence is a daydreamer, playing make-believe to escape life in Oklahoma's Dust Bowl in 1935. The Spences have their share of misfortune, but as the sheriff's family, they've got more than most in this dry, desolate place. They're who the town turns to when there's a crisis or a need―and during these desperate times, there are plenty of both, even if half the town stands empty as people have packed up and moved on.

Pearl is proud of her loving, strong family, though she often wearies of tracking down her mentally impaired older sister or wrestling with her grandmother's unshakable belief in a God who Pearl just isn't sure she likes.

Then a mysterious man bent on revenge tramps into her town of Red River. Eddie is dangerous and he seems fixated on Pearl. When he reveals why he's really there and shares a shocking secret involving the whole town, dust won't be the only thing darkening Pearl's world.

While the tone is suspenseful and often poignant, the subtle humor of Pearl's voice keeps A Cup of Dust from becoming heavy-handed. Finkbeiner deftly paints a story of a family unit coming together despite fractures of distress threatening to pull them apart.

A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner is a gripping and captivating novel. The story is very well researched and the agony of those who lived through the Dust Bowl in the 1930's and through the great depression is brought to life with this story. One word to describe this novel? Heart wrenching! 

There is some violence within this story and while it was necessary to the plot and addressed by the author with sincere sensitivity, I wanted to give you all a heads up about this.  The heaviness of this story is balanced with intermittent lighter moments and the suspense of the book kept me reading it. 

 While A Cup of Dust is not  a book that I would call "light reading", it's story is one that will stay with you for a long, long time. Well worth the reading!

4 Stars!

Thank you to Kregel Publishing for the free book in exchange for an honest review.