Tuesday, May 19, 2015
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.
This is book two in a series and while this book could be read as a stand alone I highly recommend reading the first book of the series. First, it's a good book and second, it will make some of what happens in this second book a little bit clearer. The other thing I will mention is that you will want to read book three after reading one and two - I know I'm anxiously awaiting it.
This book focuses on Alexa Zimmerman, one of the main characters in book one. Alexa is running a B&B in her grandmother's house and trying to find her place in a family she has just recently been reunited with.
Briley Forrester is a guest at her B&B but he's there looking for a story. And he is going to find one! But will he be able to bring himself to print it?
And then there are Anna and Steven - will they move to Arborville? Will they get married? Will Steven realize his dreams?
The title of this book is what the story is all about - Grace. What it is. Who needs it. Who is willing to give it. And, most importantly - who is willing to accept it?
Pick up book one and read it and then read book two - and wait on pins and needles for book three.
This book was provided for my honest opinion courtesy of the Blogging For Books program.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Unselfish contains 99 inspiring stories of people putting others before themselves. Each story is accompanied by beautiful photography, making this the ideal coffee table book. Everyone is trying to get noticed. Selfies are taking over the internet. Selfish behavior seems to be at an all time high. But there are people who do Unselfish things everyday. Acts of kindness that no one notices. Extraordinary sacrifices that don't go viral. This book celebrates just a few of the unsung stories of regular people and celebrities alike going against the grain and helping their fellow man. Unselfish will reignite your faith in humanity and may just inspire you to "love thy neighbor as thy selfie".
Great reading for the entire family. The pictures are beautiful, the stories are moving. Seldom is there a book that is entertaining and holds the attention of the entire family. Uplifting stories that will restore your faith in mankind.
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Marlena needed time to let things sink in. It was beyond her how all this could possibly work out--adding the care of an infant to her daily routine. Fortunately, it would just be until Luella returned home from the hospital and was stronger.No more than a couple weeks, surely.
Marlena Wenger's life takes an unexpected turn on the day she learns she must care for her estranged sister's baby. Spending the summer in Brownstown, Pennsylvania, to assist her Mennonite grandmother, and miles from Marlena's Old Order Amish beau, she feels out of her element in nearly every respect. Yet Marlena determines to do her best and stay focused on her future, even as those hopes become drastically altered.
Another fabulous book by Beverly Lewis, the original bonnet-book author.
Flawed but lovable characters, lush descriptions and a "will she or won't she" storyline that are a complete joy to read.
There are two story lines - Marlena helping her Grandmother after the death of her Grandfather, with the addition of her sister's infant daughter to care for. And the family next door - Small Jay and his friend Boston - both who have physical challenges but accept each other without hesitation or limitation.
Nice light read - easy to pick up and put down but compelling enough to continue to pick up.
My copy of this book was graciously provided by Bethany House publishers in exchange for my honest review.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her, this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.
Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby Bell, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city—the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village—all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.
Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’s kitchen, where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.
I have to say that this book was compelling - but it was also disturbing.
The writing and the descriptions were enough to make you feel like you were there - but I can't imagine why anyone would want to be there.
The life Ruby lived was horrendous. But the pure, unselfish love that Ephram shows is incredible. For the majority of the book, Ruby is considered to be crazy - and who could blame her with what she went through. There are glimpses of sanity and in those times, there was hope.
I suppose the thing that is the hardest to deal with is that these types of things actually did happen.
As compelling as the book was - I really would not recommend it.
This book was given to me for my honest review by the Blogging for Books program.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
What could be more familiar than the Christmas story -- and yet what could be more extraordinary? The cast of characters is strange and exotic: shepherds and magicians, an emperor and a despot, angels, and a baby who is Almighty God. The strangeness calls for an explanation, and this book provides it by examining the characters and the story in light of the biblical and historical context. Bestselling author Scott Hahn who has written extensively on Scripture and the early Church, brings evidence to light, dispelling some of the mystery of the story. Yet Christmas is made familiar all over again by showing it to be a family story. Christmas, as it appears in the New Testament, is the story of a father, a mother, and a child -- their relationships, their interactions, their principles, their individual lives, and their common life. To see the life of this "earthly trinity" is to gaze into heaven.
This book begins with a trip to the Holy Land with his family and how the trip affected his daughter Hannah. She was particularly taken with an orphanage they visited. Fitting as they had just left the cave where Jesus was born.
The book is presented in chapters about different views. The differences between the Gospels tellings of the story. The magi, the angels, Mary and Joseph. The killing of the babies by Herod. He discusses genealogy and the different people involved in the story.
Very well written, in depth information that brings the Joy of it all to the celebration.
My copy of this book was provided by Blogging for Books for my honest review.
Monday, February 16, 2015
David Lapp (from Promised to Another) survived a "code blue" when he was in a buggy/semi truck accident in Seymour, Missouri. Now after extensive therapy he has lingering mobility problems and is still struggling to find his place in the world. Lured away from Webster County by thoughts of closed buggies and a postcard friendship he's developed with an Amish girl in Jamesport, he moves north, hoping for a fresh start. He finds temporary work in the area teaching school, and also makes fishing flies and weaves baskets. He sells his products in the Amish markets in the Jamesport area.
Rachel Miller dreams of travel, but feels tied to her Amish life. She is being courted by Mark Graber, but wonders if there's more to life. When she sees David's name mentioned in The Budget, she strikes up a pen pal friendship with David while he's in the hospital and in therapy, consoling him when he and his girlfriend part ways. She never dreams that David will come north and move into her community. David is still fearful in the buggy, especially in high traffic areas. Feeling he's called by God to preach, David spends hours in the Bible, but the Amish discourage him, believing their ministers should be drawn by lot. Will David follow his call, even if it takes him out of the Amish church? Will Rachel realize her dream to travel?
I didn't realize, when I received this book, that it was the second in a series. But I have read enough of these types of books to pick up on different things that were said that led me to believe I wasn't at the beginning. But the book is still wonderful even if you don't know the back story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read a lot of Amish fiction - it's probably my favorite type of fiction. The culture of a slower paced life, focusing more on family and God - and of course the quilting! - draw me in. There are many different branches of the Amish community and I love reading how different authors portray the different communities. This story showed a difference that I have seldom seen explored - the idea that some Amish do not subscribe strictly to the Ordnung and the belief that the Bishop and the Pastors dictate what parts of the Bible are not to be followed. I loved that David and a few other characters (don't want to give any spoilers here) knew that they could be saved.
There were a couple of other reveals - that might not have been reveals if I had read the first book - that I wasn't sure where leading to where they led.
The characters where great - flawed but lovable. Some you just wanted to pray for because you knew they were wrong about things. And the descriptions - during the snow storm I wanted to get up and cover up with a quilt!
Highly recommended - whether you read the first book first or not - although I will be looking for that book shortly. And I will definitely be keeping my eye out for a follow up book to this one.
Thanks to Laura V. Hilton for providing me with this book for a fair and honest review.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
When Laney Carrigan sets out to find her birth family, her only clue is the Hawaiian quilt—a red rose snowflake appliquéd on a white background—in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island and battling fears of rejection, Laney begins a painstaking journey toward her true heritage. Kai Barnes, however, is determined to protect the people he’s come to regard as family. He thinks Laney is nothing more than a gold digger and blocks every move she makes toward her Hawaiian family. As their conflict escalates, it puts at risk the one thing that Kai and Laney both want most—a family.
I simply love the Quilts of Love series. I have read at least ten of them and have not had a single one I didn't enjoy - so I was terribly upset to see that they are stopping the series at 25!
This book was just as good as every other one in the series. Set on the Big Island and using lots of Hawia'an terms (with a glossary in the back) and offering lush descriptions of the area, you felt like you were right there.
Twists and turns and some surprises I admit I didn't see coming made this a quite enjoyable book.