Friday, March 28, 2008

A Sheltering Heart by Terri Reed

I loved the setting of this book... Africa. For one thing, it is somewhere unknown to me... well of course I know where Africa is and I have read about it and seen pictures, but I have never been there. I was able to see Uganda through the author's eyes instead of viewing it through my own memories and familiarity. Also, I don't recall reading a Christian Romance novel set in Africa before.
While this is no doubt a romance story, there is more to it than that. Gwen Yates is a Physician's Assistant who works with Healing Missions International. Gwen is excited to be returning to Uganda with Dr. Harper and their team, but she isn't so keen on the idea of Harper's son, Derek, tagging along. However, she isn't worried about him getting in her way. After all, he will be shadowing his father while she does her work or will he? When Dr. Harper breaks his leg in an accident right before the trip, he appoints Gwen team leader and tells Derek to learn from her.
Derek has lived a comfortable life in his comfortable world never really thinking about those less fortunate than him. He has also resented the time his dad spent away from home to minister to others. All of that is about to change as Derek comes face to face with the harsh reality of life in Uganda... poverty, civil unrest, sickness, death... it touches everyone there from the youngest to the oldest... but Derek also comes face to face with grace, mercy, compassion... people loving others with the love of Christ.
A wonderful read that not only provides the back drop for a sweet romance, but also challenges the reader to look beyond their cozy lifestyle and see how they can be Jesus with skin on.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

From This Day Forward - Irene Hannon

I have read a number of books by Hannon and enjoyed them all. This is part of a series from Love Inspired called Heartland Homecoming. I am thinking it is the first book in the series, but I could be wrong.

Cara Martin and her husband, Sam, have been separated for a number of years.... but that is about to change and not because she wants it to. Cara has been through a horrible ordeal and she needs somewhere safe to rest and recover. A mutual friends suggests she stay with Sam in his small Missouri town. Having no other choice, Cara agrees. Her plan is to keep to herself and avoid her brash, workaholic husband. What she finds is that man no longer exists. Instead, Sam is now a small town doctor carrying for his patients and trying to be more compassionate and kind in his practice. He is well liked and he wants a second chance. Can Cara find it in her heart to allow him one?

Sweet story.

The Perfect Blend by Allie Pleiter

Love this one! It is a Love Inspired novel. I have read 1 other book by Pleiter and liked it ok. She write Chick-Lit which I don't always care for. The Perfect Blend is an exception to that rule. Not sure why... it just worked well!

Coffee connoisseur Maggie Black has a plan... a God inspired plan. She is going to open a Christian Coffee House... Higher Grounds (great name!) and use it not only as a source of income, but to fulfill her calling to share Jesus with others... especially those who wouldn't set foot in a church. All she needs is funding and that isn't happening! Banker William Grey III, a tea drinking Brit, denies Maggie's loan and crushes her dreams. But there is a way out. Mr. Grey suggests Maggie take his small-business course to learn a bit more about what it takes to start up a business... and Maggie accepts his challenge.
In her efforts to succeed and impress Mr. Grey, she comes to learn that her dream will take a lot more work than she realized and that she needs someone in her life to share the load. Could the stuffy Mr. Grey be the one?
Really good read!

Be My Valentine - Debbie Macomber

Yes, another book by Macomber! This is actually a 2 in 1 deal... 2 stories in one book. Light and easy and fun to read!

Be My Valentine includes the stories My Funny Valentine and My Hero. Both are delightful reads.

In My Funny Valentine, single mom Dianne Williams has promised her matchmaking children that she will find a date for the upcoming Valentine dinner at the community center. Now where to find him? Providence drops a handsome stranger into her path and Dianne finds herself making a business proposition. One night... one date... for cold hard cash. No strings attached. What she didn't expect was her family's desire to meet him ahead of time and get to know him... nor did she expect her own heart strings to be tugged.

My Hero has a unique twist. Bailey York is doing her best to complete her first romance novel, but she has a problem. Her main lead is flat and unrealistic. She needs a model.. someone to watch as she learns what truly makes a hero. Enter Parker Davidson... a successful architect who finds himself taking public transportation one day while his car is in the shop.

Does Bailey do the normal thing and approach Davidson with her dilemma? No ... she follows him... and she gets caught! Finally having to fess up before being arrested for stalking, Parker finds her situation intriguing and offers to help. But his motives are not as altruistic as Bailey thinks. She is looking for a hero for her book... Parker wants to be the hero in her life.

Cute romances.. fun read!

74 Seaside Avenue - Debbi Macomber

As you know, if you read my blog, I love Macomber's books. I mainly read Christian Fiction, but there are a few secular authors I love. Debbie is one of them.

74 Seaside Avenue is the latest in her Cedar Cove Series (a great series... you must read them in order!). I have noticed that Macomber has been adding a bit of mystery and intrigue to her books lately. Not a huge amount... these are not novels of intrigue, but enough to add a bit of "umph" to her already great stories.
In this latest volume, we find Teri Polgar living a life beyond her dreams with husband, Bobby. But danger lurks behind the shadows and it is effecting not only their individual lives, but there marriage. A dear character is diagnosed with cancer, Will Jefferson moves to town with less than honorable intentions, Linnette McAffee leaves town after being jilted... and that is just for starters!
Things are hopping in Cedar Cove... some change is for the better... other changes are inevitable, whether we like them or not.
As always I was thoroughly entertained... felt like I took a trip to visit some old friends... and I am looking forward to the next book in the series, which is due out later this year!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Christmas Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

This is the 8th book in Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts Novel series. There are 3 more books that have been published since this one and another due out in April 2008. Obviously, I am behind!

I love this series. Certainly it appeals to anyone who loves quilts, but there is much more to the books than just quilt stories. This series centers around a diverse group of ladies who are drawn together by their love of the art of quilting. Through the Elm Creek series we are able to see into their lives and also learn about their pasts.

The Christmas Quilt seems to me to be a bit of a reminiscence. It is Christmas at Elm Creek Manor and memories of Christmas past seem to be flooding Sylvia Compton's mind. Many of those memories are found in other Elm Creek novels. It also seems to be a bit out of order.

There are certain events that have happened in the series (wedding, reunion etc.) that have obviously not taken place at the time of The Christmas Quilt.

Chiaverini is known to going back in time or even off on a different hunt in her books. For the most part they are in order chronologically, but not always. That said, I do think it is best to read them in order.

If you like books like Jan Karon's Mitford series, you will like the Elm Creek novels. They are lovely slices of life.