Monday, February 16, 2009

One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling

I saw this novel sitting on the shelf while at my local library. I was not familiar with the title, but Snelling is one of my favorite authors so I felt it would be a good read. I was wrong... it was a great read! In fact, I read it in one sitting!

The storyline is different than typical Christian Fiction and Snelling presents it in a very creative and moving way.

Nora Peterson is a wife and the mother of twin teenagers. She is striving for perfection this year... the perfect Christmas... as she comes to term with the reality that her children will be flying the nest soon. But tragedy strikes and Nora's world becomes anything but perfect.

Jenna Montgomery is use to tragedy. As an ER nurse she sees it every day and as the mother of a teenage girl in desperate need of a heart transplant she senses it lying in wait to pounce on her at a moments notice. So when the call comes that a heart is available and the wheels start to move at the speed of light, Jenna is overwhelmed with emotions... joy for her dd... pain for the family of the donor... fear for what lies ahead.

How will these two families find their way after a life event turns their lives upside down? God and faith are the key.

Rebecca's Reward by Lauraine Snelling

This is book 4 of the Daughters of Blessing series. I cannot recommend Snelling's books enough and especially the series (there are 3) set around the community of Blessing. The first series is Red River of the North, next come Return to Red River and finally Daughters of Blessing. While it is not necessary to read each series, I strongly suggest you do. They are just wonderful books!

Rebecca's Reward find Rebecca Baird feeling out of sorts. She wishes her mother were still alive to comfort her and give her advice.... or even her dear friend, Penny, who has moved away from Blessing with her husband and children. Rebecca is stuck without a husband... without a purpose... with 2 stubborn brothers who still think of her as a child.

Dreaming of opening a soda shoppe one day, Rebecca heads off to visit Penny and see a real soda shoppe in person. While visiting, she catches the eye of two young gentlemen.... but to Rebecca's surprise her mind always turns back to a friend in Blessing.

Upon her return home, Rebecca is appalled finds her brothers have arranged her marriage to the local store owner... a loathsome man. She puts her foot down and finds herself more alone than ever... or is she?

Decorating Schemes by Ginny Aiken

Decorating Schemes is Book 2 in the Deadly Decor Mysteries series by Ginny Aiken. This book, like the first, is a fun, light mystery that provided a nice escape in the midst of a tough week.

Haley Farrell is determined to move forward... to grasp her new life as the owner of an antiques auction house while building her career as an Interior Decorator. She is thrilled when a friend recommends her for a large job, but not so thrilled when she discovers a dead body while on the initial walk through. Is this Deja-Vu or has she done it again.... found herself right smack in the middle of a homicide? And who would want to kill a young teenage girl? The reality of the situation almost becomes too much for Haley to bear.

Excellent read! I am looking forward to book #3... Interior Motives.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Circle of Quilters by Jennife Chiaverini

This is book 9 in the Elms Creek Quilters series (I think there are 12 or 13 so far... I am behind!) This is such a great series and while it is especially fun if you are a quilter or know something about quilting, it is not written in such a way that a non-quilter couldn't enjoy it.

With the impending departure of 2 of their beloved teachers, Elms Creek Quilts has advertised for new teachers to fill the vacancies. And so the interviews begin. I love how Chiaverini set this book up... each section focuses on one candidate at a time starting with their discovering the job opening and going through the interview process. Quite often their path overlaps with another candidate, so the reader may see the same scene more than once but from a different perspective.

This method keeps the story line moving well, but more than that it develops the characters so deeply in the readers mind. And yes, you do learn at the end who is hired and who is not.... which just whets my appetite for the next book to see how the new person fits in with the rest of the group.

Milk Money by Cecelia Dowdy

This is the 2nd book I have read by Dowdy and once again she has produced a story that entertains and challenges her reader. Emily Cooper is working day and night to keep her family's farm going after her father's death, so she is less than thrilled when Franklin Reese shows up and announces he is a CPA there to audit the business.

Over time Franklin finds himself drawn to Emily, but what he discovers as he audits the farm concerns him.... and his lack of faith and addiction to alcohol add to the turmoil.

Once again, Dowdy has tackled a subject not often seen in romance novels.... especially Christian romance. Often writers try to deal with only neat and tidy lives that are a bit off track. But here Dowdy has taken a dive straight into the issue of addiction. I also love that she doesn't sugar coat it the struggle to be free or even to remain free from its hold.

Excellent work as always!

Heart of Texas Vol. 3 by Debbie Macomber

It is no secret that I am a fan of Macomber and her Heart of Texas books have been some of my favorites. There are 3 volumes in this re-released series with 2 stories per volume. I strongly recommend reading them in order as they build on one another.

Volume 3 includes Nell's Cowboy and Lone Star Baby.

Nell's Cowboy features Nell Bishop, widow, who lives with her 2 children and her mother-in-law. Nell's husband ran their farm, but it is too much for Nell, so she has decided to create a Dude Ranch. A month or so away from opening, Nell gets her first customer. Travis Grant is in Texas doing research for a book when he finds himself with no where to stay for the night. Nell takes him in and he quickly finds himself falling in love with the area, the ranch, the children and with Nell. But is she ready to love again... and how would it work. Travis is a writer from New York... Nell has no desire to leave Texas... is a long distance romance doable? or could Travis have something else in mind?

Lone Star Baby finds Amy Thornton on a bus looking for a fresh start. Six months pregnant and alone, Amy is determined to make a new life for herself and her child. As the bus is passing through Promise, Texas, Amy is compelled to get off... something about the town seems to beckon to her. And so she finds herself taking a huge leap of faith as she seeks out a place to stay and a job. Both are found quickly and Amy finds herself embraced by the people of Promise... most of them anyway, all towns have their judgmental busybodies. And the fact that Amy has caught the attention of Pastor Wade McMillen makes matters a worse. Wade knows he is to reach out to Amy as a man of God, but what about the feelings he has as a man?

Somebody's Santa by Annie Jones

This was the last of the Christmas books I read over the holidays and what a fun book! I really enjoy Annie Jones' books... her writing style, her story lines and her characters are great.

Burke Burdett has a daunting task left to him by his recently deceased mother. It seems she has been playing "secret Santa" in their community for years and no one, not even her family, knows about it. She has bequeathed this role to Burke. And this "secret Santa" is not the normal type who makes up baskets for the needy. No, she took on a much larger challenge by picking individuals with talents and gifts and no means to develop them. There's a doctor whose medical school tuition was paid her, business owners, artists.... over the years she has provided the means for dreams to come true and lives to be changed... anonymously.

The problem? Burke has no idea where to start.... how to do this... and so he reaches out to the person who least expects to be dealing with the Burkett family ever again.. work-a-holic Dora Hoag. Dora is an organizing wizard with a great mind for problem solving. What Burke doesn't realize is she is also a woman... a woman whose heart is lost to him... so despite her best judgment she says yes... if only for a chance to be near the one she loves.