Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lone Star Trail by Darlene Franklin

Book One of the Texas Trail Series.  There are 6 books in this series that follows the Morgan family. And 3 authors who wrote 2 books each: Darlene Franklin, Susan Page Davis and Vickie McDonough

Jud Morgan has lived in Texas most of his life... all that he can remember. His father lived and died for the land and he is not about to let any "foreigners" come in and take over.  But when a family of German immigrants breaks down and his mother invites them to stay until they are able to travel again, Jud has no choice but to welcome them to the family home.

Try as he might to dislike the Fleishchers, Jud finds himself drawn to Wande and taken with the character and work ethic of the entire family.  Maybe he has been wrong in his thinking.  Maybe Texas is big enough for them all.

Wonderful start to what I feel sure will be a great series! Looking forward to following the Morgan saga.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Bride Blunder by Kelly Eileen Hake

The final book in the Prairie Promises Trilogy

Gavin Miller is set to settle down and take a wife... and he knows just the woman he want. Marguerite Chandler.  When Marge steps off the stagecoach, Gavin realizes his error. 2 cousins with the same name.. Marguerite.. one called Marge .. the other Daisy, his Daisy.. only she didn't respond to his letter of proposal, Marge did. What is Gavin to do?

When Marge discovers the truth, she refuses Gavin's offer of marriage and sets out to start a new life for herself in Buttonwood.  As she makes friends and becomes a part of the town, Gavin grows to see Marge as much more than Daisy's plain cousin.  But is it too late to turn her heart towards him?

As with the other 2 books in this series, this was a wonderful story with fun and fascinating characters.

Previous books in the series:

The Bride Bargain

The Bride Backfire

Friday, November 16, 2012

Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

I discovered Witemeyer a year or so ago when I stumbled across her book, Tailor-Made Bride on sale at a local store. The cover and write up grabbed my attention and so I snatched it up.  Loved reading it and reviewed it here:

I have sense read To Win Heart by Witemeyer (  )  and was thrilled when this book came up as a bargain on Amazon.  I was, once again, wrapped up in a sassy fun tail with lively characters.  There was nothing I did not like about this book!

Meridith Hayes has dreamed of the same man since she was 10 years old, so when she overhears a plot to cause harm to the Archer ranch she determines to alert Travis Archer and save him from trouble.  Along the way she gets hurt and ends up causing more trouble than she ever expected.. a shot-gun wedding with her as the bride and, after pulling the short-straw in a contest with his brothers, Travis the groom.  

How did a good deed turn into such a mess?  Can Meridith win Travis' heart and teach him to open up to the world outside his ranch?  Or will she find herself trapped in a loveless marriage and on his ranch? 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Goodness Gracious Green by Julie Christie

Book 2 in the Green series. I love this series! Again, never heard of these until I saw them offered for free on Amazon and I love them!

Lois is starting her 2nd year in Green, LA with a new lease on life and a shift in her plans. Her paper is now not just hers, but the rest of the staff has been giving a piece of the pie through profit sharing.  Lois has inherited a house.. has the beginnings of a new relationship.. and is being targeted by an arson setting fire to her life. And then the former owners of the paper show up and announce they want the paper back... they have a big fat check and if Lois refuses to take it, they will sue.  

Did she make the right decision to stay in Green? Should she take the money and run? Only the Good Lord knows and Lois hasn't been talking with Him much lately.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Past Suspicion by Therese Heckenkamp

I can honestly say I doubt I would have picked this book up much less bought it had I seen it in a bookstore. The cover is not appealing to me and the back of the book summary did not grab me. So how did I end up with it? It was a freebie offered by Amazon for Kindle. I discover so many great books and new authors this way!   And this was a good book! Definitely a case of not judging a book by its cover.

Robin Finley is just shy of 18 when her mother dies leaving her a legacy of secrets and fear.  Robin is uprooted from her California home and sent to live with an uncle she never new she had in a small town she never knew existed. While there, Robin discovers her mother was much different in her growing up years than as an adult.. carefree, adventurous, full of life.  That is until the accident.

Robin finds herself drawn into her mother's past and the mystery that surrounds the events that forever changed her life. And in searching out answers, Robin finds danger in a place she never suspected.

Reads a great deal like a Victoria Holt or Phyllis Whitney mystery.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happily Ever After (Deep Haven #1) by Susan May Warren

Life is coming together, finally, for Mona Reynolds. She has the property she wants.. a business partner.. some finances.. and books on order!  Her dream of a bookstore in an old Victorian House on the shore of Lake Superior in Deep Haven is within her grasp. But there is so much work too do.. More than Mona and Liza can handle, so when drifter Joe Michaels shows up looking for work and a place to live they snatch him up without much of a thought to who he is and why he is there.

It quickly becomes apparent that Joe knows what he is doing, but equally apparent is the fact he has secrets.  Mona cannot help but wonder what they are .. who he is.. why he is here.  When things start to go wrong, it looks like Joe is trying to sabotage Mona's dream. But why? Mona struggles with the desire to trust versus how things look. Can she learn to lift her eyes off the seemingly obvious and onto the One in charge?

Great book... looking forward to diving into the rest of this series.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gone to Green by Judy Christie

I had never heard of this series or author until this book popped up on Amazon as a freebie for Kindle. Once again, I love freebies.. not just for the obvious financial reasons, but because I find myself snatching up books I might not even consider otherwise... and with Kindle freebies, I often find books I have never seen sitting on the shelf of a bookstore.  I have discovered new series and new authors along the way, many that are on my to-read list for other books they have written or will write. Christie is one such author. I have since loaded the entire Green series on my Kindle and look forward to reading it in the days ahead.

Lois is on the fast track to becoming Managing Editor of a mid-size corporate owned newspaper when life throws her the curve ball of all curve balls... The Green News-Item... a small town weekly newspaper in the not-so-metropolitan town of Green, LA.  There is a stipulation that Lois keep the paper a year and then, at that time, she can continue on or sell. So off to Green she goes.

Green is far from the quaint little charming town full of warm friendly folks Lois expects. Instead she find unemployment and poverty, a downtown essentially deserted, big opinions, good ole boys, strict expectations and a overall wariness about strangers.. especially those who are not Southern.

Over time, Lois finds a friend or two...  a wayward teen,  an up and coming reporter and a lady preacher to name a few. As she gets to know Green and its inhabitants, Lois sees the possibilities here.  Greed and Politics are ruling Green and it is time for a change. Lois sets out to present not only the standard warm-heart small town news folks look forward to reading (who is marrying who etc) but also some hard hitting looks at the truth to stir civic pride and effect change in Green.

A year passes quicker than expected.  It is obvious that Lois has been accepted by the citizens of Green, who praise her to the spark she has lit.  How will she ever be able to sell The News-Item and leave these people? But she has to, right? There is a job waiting for her at a larger paper... time to get back on track with her dream.. or maybe it is time to create a new one.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent

Yodel Watson was the town gossip... was because she is now dead.. found by Daphne Martin as she delivered yet another cake to Yodel. Daphne was trying desperately to get her custom cake business up and running and she knew Yodel's endorsement would go a long way. After all, Yodel talked to (and about) everyone!  But Yodel is picky and always found fault with the cakes Daphne brought to her. Not this time... this cake was perfect.. but then Yodel was dead, so what did it matter.

When it is discovered that she was poisoned, the town immediately looks to Daphne.. even though Yodel never saw the cake much less ate it!  Daphne has to shift the suspicion off herself and onto the real killer.. and quickly or her business will fail!

Very cute, fun read... another cozy mystery... looking forward to reading more in this series.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble (A Hope Beach Novel)

A friend loaned me this book... so glad she did!  I had never heard of this new series (Rosemary Cottage is coming Summer 2013).

As I have stated here before I love a Cozy Mystery.. I also love Christian Fiction.. this is both AND there is historic architecture involved which makes it even better!  I grew up in a town that thrived on its past and fell in love with old homes and the history and legends that go along with them.

Libby love old buildings and her passion is helping their owners restore and develop them back into the grandeur of their past life. An unexpected inheritance makes her the owner of a grand old hotel in need of her touch, but how can she afford to renovate it much less keep it up afterwards? There is an interested buyer offering her more money that she can fathom.. enough to take her business to a new level and afford her the ability to find more properties and develop them.

She has also inherited a family she never knew she had, but are they open to accepting her? Especially now that her business partner is missing and she is the main suspect.  Libby sets out to find her friend and prove her innocence with the help of a handsome Coast Guard Lieutenant. But it soon becomes apparent to her that even he suspects her of a crime.  As long as she is suspect, no one is searching for the real kidnappers or for Nicole... and time is running short for her and for Libby.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Devil's Puzzle by Clare O'Donohue

A Someday Quilts Mystery -- Book 4

This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series... after all, quilting is involved!  

Archer's Rest is gearing up for a big anniversary celebration and the Someday Quilters are right in the midst preparing for the festivities which will include a quilt show organized by their own Neil Fitzgerald.  

What no one expects is a skeleton from years gone by to be discovered under Neil's grandmother's rose garden. Who is he? When was he buried there? What happened? All these questions go flying around the town along with musings about the vandalism they are experiencing.  Is someone out to ruin the celebration or to prevent officials from solving this latest murder. 

With Neil's grandmother quickly becoming the prime suspect, Neil and her friends set out to solve the crime and clear Eleanor's name.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Love Finds You in Maiden, North Carolina by Tamela Hancock Murray

Take a step back into the Roaring 20s complete with flappers donning bobbed hair and painted faces.  Hestia Myatt is determined to resist the temptation to become a "modern" woman. Needing to get away after a heart-break, Hestia goes to Maiden to spend time with her grandmother as the elderly woman recoups from a fall. Maiden has always been a special place for Hestia and she knows she will find solitude there as she contemplates her future and the choices that lie before her.

While there, Hestia reconnects with childhood friends including Booth Barrington, who has gone from being a bratty pest to a handsome gentleman who watches out for her grandmother, and her glamorous city cousin, Selene, who arrives in Maiden shortly after Hestia. Selene has embraced the "modern" lifestyle to its fullest and now must deal with a consequence of her poor choices.

Will Hestia's modesty and faith draw Selene or will Selene's tales of parties and speakeasies tempt Hestia to make a radical change in her life?

Friday, August 31, 2012

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

I discovered Witemeyer earlier this year and fell in love with her writing style, her characters and her stories. If you read my blog, you know I like "fun" stories with "real" people. Witemeyer's books fit the bill!

Levi Grant is looking for a fresh start.  He has served his time and been forgiven and made new by the blood of Jesus Christ. Spencer, Texas needs a blacksmith and Levi knows the trade well, having been taught by his father.  Spencer is also a place that knows nothing of his past... a place to begin again.

Eden Spencer has resigned herself to spinsterhood and is quite content.  Men are a bother.. they lie and twist the truth to trap women. No more.  Instead, Eden is devoting her life to her lending library and flowers.  Both are tamer and safer!

So when the new blacksmith walks in larger than life and asks to borrow a book, Eden is unprepared for the effect he has on her heart. Surely he is there to impress and entice. Determined to call his bluff, Eden sets out to prove him to be like all the rest. What she finds is quite the opposite.  There are depths to Levi's character she would never have expected to find there.

Just when Eden decides to open her heart once again, Levi's past rears its ugly head. Can she trust this man or is he the greatest deceiver of them all?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Book 1 of the Lancaster Secrets series.

It would be easy to look at this book and think.. yet another book about the Amish.. and to an extent you would be right. This is another book centered around the Amish, but as one who has read a good bit of Amish Fiction, I can say it is very different from the others.  So often Amish Fiction focuses on "rumspringa"... that time in an Amish teen / young adult's life where they are allowed to taste the world and decide if they want to commit to their faith or walk away from it.  The Choice is not about "runspringa" and that, for me, was refreshing.

It also dealt with some things in the Amish culture that I had never considered.  A 2nd marriage after the death of a wife and mom in which the new wife had the assets (land)... chronic illness... widowhood and a woman's options among the Amish.. jail time.. new beginnings.

I will admit the main character in The Choice seems to attract tragedy. No doubt the events are there to move the story along and they are not impossible or even improbable, just tragic.  And that lends for some sad moments in the storyline, but it is not an overall sad book.

Carrie Weaver is in love and contemplating running away with her beloved Sol and in a flash everything changes. Everything she loves is gone and her future uncertain.  There are choices to make... will she make the right one... will it be what she hoped for ... or will she choose a path that takes her far from her heart's desire and from the will of God?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Aggie's Inheritance series by Chautona Havig

I had never heard of this author or this series until book 1 popped up as a freebie for Kindle.. and then book 2 and book 3.. all free. It would be easy to assume that free = bad writing. Not so!  I cannot tell you how many great books I have snagged for free on my Kindle.  And the great thing is, like these, I discover a new author or series and end up purchasing more of their books.  It is a win-win!

This is absolutely one of my favorite series of books ever!  I talk about faves and best book of the year so far a lot, but wow!  This series made my year. They are well written... wonderful real-life believable charters and situations.  I will stipulate that 1) these books deal with a family with many children... my husband and I only have 2, but we have friends with big families... the largest being 9 kids.  We understand the mindset and a good bit about how it works.  We would have loved lots and lots of kids.. God had other ideas.. I, for one, am hoping He plans to give us lots and lots of grandkids!  :-)  2) Homeschooling becomes part of this book... we homeschooled our 2 and have a real heart for this lifestyle.  No doubt those 2 things added to my love of the books... they hit very close to home.. felt so real to me.

Book 1: Ready or Not... Aggie is 22, just out of college, ready to spread her wings and see what the world has to offer.. but God has a different plan.... an inheritance, as it were.  8 children to be exact!  Aggie's beloved sister and brother-in-law are killed and Aggie becomes the sole guardian of their rather large crew of children. Aggie knows noting of raising children or taking care of a house and when the "grandmother-in-law" swoops in with threat and accusations, her confidence dwindles... but faith wins out and Aggie learns to lean on the Lord and follow His lead.

Book 2: For Keeps... 6 months of motherhood and it shows!  New town.. new house (fixer-upper with lots of renovation work).. new schools.. friends.. life.. add in a box of puppies and a chicken pox epidemic and you have the mix for hilarious chaos at its best. And just when Aggie thinks she cannot take another minute, an escape plan is revealed.  Will she take it? or will she stick it out and hold on to this unique family God has given her? And what of love? Will anyone ever love her for her.. and be willing to take on 8 children to boot?

Book 3: Here We Come... Love is in the air... Christmas is looming... "the Plan" is constantly changing... Just when Aggie thinks she has "it" figured out, she is thrown a curve.  And just when she should be on cloud nine enjoying one of the greatest times in a girl's life, her worst nightmare occurs and she once again wonders why her sister and God ever thought she could handle this.

Very short summaries... the books are packed with so much more!  Impossible to share without giving too much away.  Grab these 3 jewels and curl up for a wonderful time ... prepare to laugh and cry and even get mad at times!

I am hoping there is at least one more Aggie book.. more would be better!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Perfect Match by Janice Hanna

I discovered Hanna's books a little while ago.  In fact, this one caught my eye first.. that cute little dachshund on the cover did it for me.. I am a diehard dachshund lover. But when then I found that this is not the first book in a series of stories, so I found the first one and read it and reviewed it here:

You'll notice that author is listed as Janice Thompson on book 1.  I know that on her site she is Janice Hanna Thompson... so Janice Thompson of book 1 and Janice Hanna of book 2 are one in the same.

This is a cozy mystery -- lots of fun and laughter mixed in with a bit of intrigue.  The Perfect Match is has gone up in flames literally and the police suspect arson, but who would want to torch a harmless dating service? Annie Peterson is intrigued and decides to do a bit of sleuthing, afterall she solved the last big crime in her fair town didn't she?

In an act of Christian charity or insanity, Annie takes in the owner (a financially strapped cranky widow with a far from friendly cat)... much to her husband and dogs dismay.  The mixture of all these personalities is priceless!  Fun to read about but not something I would want to experience in person!

Annie and her cohorts set out to find the fire bug before another fire ignites or Annie's family revolts!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist

Deep takes off where Courting Trouble left off.. which makes a review a bit tricky.  Don't want to give away anything in either book.

Let's just say that Essie Spreckelmeyer continues to live large despite the looks and comments of others.  Tony is new to Spreckelmeyer oil and a bit overwhelmed at having a woman for a boss, especially one as outlandish as Essie.

Another book full of fun, adventure and romance!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist

Another wonderful read by Gist!  

1894 Texas.... just prior to the oil boom.  Essie Spreckelmeyer is her own woman.. her own definition of woman (which includes riding bicycles, sliding down banisters, hunting snakes and more!) She sees no reason not to live life to its fullest with joy and spontaneity... and so she does. As a result, she reaches the ripe old age of 30 with no husband and no suitor. Being a woman of her own mind, Essie sets out to find her own man. After weighing the pros and cons of every available man in Corsicana, TX, Essie sets her sites on the "best" candidate and sets off to catch him.  The question remains, is he willing to be caught?

While not a full fledged series, there is a sequel to Courting Trouble.... Deep in the Heart of Trouble. another excellent book!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist

Deanne Gist is one of my absolute favorite authors these days. I just finished up 3 books by her and loved every single one! I have reviewed other books by her on the blog, so be sure to search for them (search for Gist).

Rachel Van Buren is a lady and she is determined to stay one.  When she and her siblings find themselves alone with nothing in the California territory, she sets out to protect and provide all the while determining to hold on to the rules her mother instilled before her death.  But Rachel soon learns that circumstances sometimes require letting go of the rules and that being a lady has more to do with the heart than with keeping the rules.

Johnnie Parker comes to the rescue of Rachel and her charges, fully expecting them to jump on the next boat back to the East. What he does not expect is for Rachel to challenge the lifestyle he has chosen nor to share an interest in "greening up" San Francisco.

1849 San Francisco is raw and new... a mud pit full of opportunity for those who stick it out.. and a pit ready to suck in those who are weak and scared. This is not a book that paints a rosy happy ever after picture. The reader sees San Francisco in its infancy complete with the hopes and dreams... fears and trappings.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot

Once again I have discovered a new-to-me author and thoroughly enjoyed her work.  Abigail Harding is content with her life as a teacher in Vermont.  Her students love her and she has an understanding with another teacher with an engagement to come soon, but letters from her sister, Charlotte, bring her great concern. Charlotte, married and living on a Fort in Wyoming, sounds distressed and melancholy... very uncharacteristic for Charlotte. Abigail decides to make a surprise visit to see for herself what is afoot.

As Abigail travels on her journey, she finds the landscape boring and the trip monotonous... she longs for the beauty of the lush greens of Vermont.  A robbery attempt shakes her from her boredom and opens her eyes to a whole new world... and to Lieutenant Ethan Bowles.

As their attraction grows, so does the tension. Abigail has a life and a sweetheart in Vermont.  Ethan loves the military life and Wyoming.  Add to this a bit of intrigue and scandal at the Fort and you have the makings of a wonderful well rounded story with full rich characters... joy and love, but also heart ache and sadness.

Book 1 of the Westward Winds was a wonderful book and makes me look forward to the others in the series.

Everybody's Suspect in Georgia by Cecil Murphey

This is a 3 in one book... Everybody Loved Roger Hardin, Everybody Wanted Room 263, and Everybody Called Her a Saint.  Three Romance Mysteries in one.

This was a pleasant enough read, but none of the stories really grabbed me and made me want more.

The stories find psychologist Julie West and Pastor James Burton thrown together over and over at the wrong time and in the wrong place.  Their first meet each other at a dinner party in Everybody Loved Roger Hardin. The party, held on a private island, is a grand affair to dazzle all until Hardin is found dead.

Next they both show up at the Carledge Inn where their find a dead body of a mutual acquaintance in Room 623... and oddly enough after the murder Everyone Wants Room 623.

And their final adventure (at least in this compilation) happens on an Antarctic cruise where romance grows cold as they come face to face with the murder of yet another friend in Everyone Called Her a Saint.

A nice cozy read, but not wow.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Psalms 23 Mysteries Book 1 - 3

I am a huge fan of mysteries and while I read serious one for years, I find myself drawn towards cozy ones more these days. I am just not a fan of the intensity and realism of some of the secular mysteries these days.

I discovered this series when book 1 (and then 2 and then 3) were offered as Kindle freebies. I cannot express how much I loved reading them!  I know their is a fourth one and hope there will be others. This is a cross between a cozy mystery and a more serious one.  You have the community of characters and sense of fun, a cozy mystery brings.. but the mystery is more real and complex. There were definitely intense moments, but not overwhelmingly intense.  Very difficult to explain, but if you are a mystery buff I feel certain you will like these books.

Each book involved Cindy, a church secretary, with a strong faith and a fairly normal, even dull, life. and Jeremiah, the rabbi at a neighboring synagogue, who has secrets buried deep so no one can discern them... he hopes.  They meet over a dead body and as their friendship and attraction grows, they seem to find themselves caught up in mystery after mystery.

The author includes elements of each faith and allows the characters to work through the differences as their friendship grows.

Book 1 -- The Lord is my Shepherd -- Cindy and Jeremiah meet and find themselves caught up in a serial killers scheme.  The case is solved and they reluctantly part ways only to find themselves in the midst of yet another mystery.. and as they continue to be tossed together, they learn that despite their many differences, they have a great deal of common ground.

Book 2 -- I Shall Not Want -- Thanksgiving is around the corner and hearts are softening and turning to helping those less fortunate. Joseph, a member of Cindy's church, has started an organization that provides homeless people with a rescued dog who has been trained to be their companion. The goal is to give the folks someone to love and care for.. a sense of purpose.. and in return they enjoy the love of their pooch. Joseph has even worked out medical care and food for the dogs, so as not to add a financial burden for the new owners. But then everything goes wrong.. one by one the folks who received dogs are dying and no one knows why. Once again, Cindy and Jeremiah find themselves flung into the center of a mystery with little time to act before the killer strikes again. 

Book 3 -- Lie Down in Green Pastures -- This was the most intense, to me, of the 3 books.  Cindy recruits Jeremiah as a last minute chaperon substitute for a local kids camp.  Kids from bother her church and his synagogue are headed there to enjoy the outdoors and strengthen their faiths.  Jeremiah is hesitant to go and yet feels compelled. The sense of danger is strong as they arrive and quickly things begin to happen... trouble from without and within... mixed with a dangerous storm bringing flooding and a washed out bridge. Jeremiah is thrown back into a life of survival he thought he had left behind... doing all he can to save the kids in his care. While Cindy, in town away from the flood and danger, works to solve determine who is behind the troubles and what else does he have planned. Very fast paced! Great book!

The Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough

Yet another new-to-me author and again one I will be reading again! Loved this book. I confess the cover reeled me in.. it is just too cute and I felt sure the story would live up to my expectations.. and it did!

This is book one of the Texas Boardinghouse Brides.

When Rachel jilted him for James, Luke's heart broken and he ran.  Now he is coming home to become the new sheriff, determined to coexist with daily evidence of all he lost and to resist the love he still feels for Rachel. But then he learns that Rachel is now a widow and the towns folks expect the 2 of them to pick up where they left off.

Luke is not willing to forgive much less forget and Rachel is resigned to living life without love.

And then the brides arrive.  Luke's mischievous cousins take it on themselves to find him a woman, placing an ad on his behalf and without his knowledge.  Three women arrive as the mail-order brides of the Sheriff's and much to everyone's dismay they find shelter in Rachel's boardinghouse while things get straightened out.

There is a great deal of competition as each lady is desperate to be married and stay in Texas... and when Rachel decides to secretly toss her hat in the ring, sparks fly and humor abounds!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James

Another new-to-me author and one I will watch for in the future.

This is a Ladies of Summerhill Novel.. book 1.. and what a delightful read! Lily Westbrook is a proper lady of 1899 on her way to marrying into a family that will establish her in the realms of Rhode Island High Society,  But Lily has a secret... she is a writer. Oh not the poetry her family sees and hears, no Lily's real passion is writing Dime Store Novels. And she is good!  Donning a pen name and keeping an air of mystery, only serve to increase the popularity of her books.  What would her family... her fiance' .. think if they knew she was Fannie Cole!?

She get to witness their reaction first hand.. and sooner than expected.  A ruthless blackmailer has set out to reveal Fannie Cole's real identity unless Lily pay his price.  Add to that a long-lost beau who returns and purchases the publishing company which employees her.... and who is insisting on meeting Miss Cole.

Oh what a tangled web we weave... and how on earth will Lily every get untangled!

Again, delightful read!  Looking forward to the rest of the series.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I have read a number of books that are set among the Amish world.. mostly by Beverly Lewis or Wanda Brunstetter. This is my first book by Fisher and it most definitely will not be my last. In fact, I have bought another one already and look forward to reading it soon.

Julia Lapp is 21 and looking forward to her long awaited marriage to Paul Fisher.  When Paul tells her he once again wants to postpone the wedding, Julia is devastated and angry. She knows who is to blame for Paul's doubts.. the Bee Man, Roamin' Roman Troyer, who travels from settlement to settlement "renting" out his bees for a fee to farmers and filling other young men's heads with dreams of an unencumbered life on the road.. no ties, no concerns, no responsibilities.

When Roman rents an old cottage from Julia's father, her anger grows. Now she has to face this trouble maker day after day.. even prepare his meals as he eats with her family. What was her Da thinking! But maybe, just maybe she can use this to her advantage. Roman owes her for the trouble he has caused.  If Paul thinks he and Julia are sweet on each other, he just might come to his senses and follow through with their wedding.

The Double Cross by Clare O'Donohue

Book 3 in the Someday Quilts Mystery series

I thoroughly enjoy this series. It combines so much of what I love.. cozy mysteries, a touch of romance, a sense of community and quilting!  These are secular books, but most definitely G rated.

Nell and the Someday Quilts ladies are taking a break from their normal everyday life to accompany friend and teacher, Susanne, as she teaches at a retreat being held at a newly opened B & B.  It just so happens that the owners were once friends of Bernie's... which causes a bit of a stir. Once there, the group is baffled at the poor state of the Inn, as well as the mismatch of folks they have assembled for the retreat. And then when the owner shows up dead and Bernie is a suspect, well everything seems to fall apart.

With the local-yokel law enforcement focused solely on Bernie, Nell and the other ladies determine to clear her name and find the real killer.. before he or she has another victim.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rugged and Relentless by Kelly EIleen Hake

Book 1 of the Husbands for Hire series

What a twist!  I have read a number of books with Mail-order brides, by husbands? Nope.. that is a new one and so clever.  3 women find themselves in charge of a dying town after gold-mine goes under. Determined to not loose all they have.. to make bring back the town.. they determine what they need are husbands.  After all, unmarried women cannot own property. So they set out to find husbands in a very businesslike manner.. they place an advertisement in various newspapers.  They expect to be met with replies.. letters.. when they arrive in Hope Falls.  What they find are suitors.. more than they bargained for.. all anxious to be "the one".

Jacob Granger is in Hope Falls, but not to find a wife.. to find a killer.  The women's scheme provides cover for his investigation, but he soon finds himself drawn in... protecting "those fool women" from themselves and the men vying for their attention.

Rugged and Relentless delivers a wild ride in the old West with laughter and love and a bit of danger thrown in.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Where the Truth Lies by Elizabeth Ludwig & Janelle Mowery

I am addicted to cozy mysteries and this was one of the coziest!  Book one in the Massachusetts Mayhem Mysteries, Where the Truth lies is a delightful read that pulls the reader in from the first word and holds on until the end. Casey is devastated at the death of her beloved Aunt and certain that the authorities are wrong in their suicide ruling. If they won't investigate, she will.  After all, thanks to fictional sleuth Brandy Purcell, Casey is an expert in how a murder investigation should go.

As Casey continues to dig, she finds herself in danger and Luke Kerrigan feels the need to step in and protect. Casey does not need anyone's protection.. especially Luke's. He is, after all, on the top of her suspect list!

Casey continues to dig unearthing secrets long thought buried.. secrets that will shake the peacefulness of Pine Valley and hurt those Casey holds dearest.  But the truth has to be known.

Looking forward to book 2!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quilts of Lancaster County Series by Barbara Cameron

These 3 books were all freebies at one point for my Kindle and so I snatched them up. They have 3 things I love in a book.. Christian Fiction, quilting and Amish.  I had never heard of them nor of the author, so I wasn't certain they would be worth reading. I was soo wrong! They were great and I look forward to purchasing more of her books in the future.

One thing I loved about each book is the look at the Englisch vs. Plain Worlds... and in these books there are Englisch drawn to the simple ways of the Amish versus Amish wanting to get out. Often in the Amish based fiction I read, the main thrust are Amish wanting to leave their culture.. their faith.  Granted they often come back, but still the desire to leave is the crucial.  And I don't doubt that is true in some Amish families.  But I also think there are those from the outside world who are intrigued by and drawn to the simpler life of the Amish. I confess that I would love to experience some of it myself. I am just not ready to give up all my Englisch ways!

Here is a bit about each book.... Each book builds, so be aware the reviews may give away a bit of the story from the earlier book(s).  

A Time to Love... Jenny King is a well-known reporter who heralds the stories of children in war torn countries.. pleading their case before the public in the hopes of bringing them peace and safety.  But then the violence steps in and tries to take her life as she is severely injured in a bombing.  Once released from the hospital, Jenny needs a place to recuperate.  She goes to live with her Amish grandmother... stepping into a world she has only experienced on summer visits.  In Paradise she finds love and time to heal physically, but she also comes face to face with lost love and her uncertain future.  Will she step back into the fray or choose a new path.

A Time to Heal ...  When Christopher Marlowe shows up in Paradise to talk with Jenny, his hope is to find answers and peace for the torment he carries inside.  Instead he meets Hannah and learns that his preconceived notions about Amish maidens are a bit off. Sparks fly from the start between these 2 and it becomes evident that Chris is not the only one who has hurts that needs tending.  Can they put aside their differences and forge a life together? Can either one give up the life they know.. one Englisch, one Plain.  And can they survive the evil that lies in wait to destroy them both?

A Time for Peace...  Jenny has what she has always wanted. A husband and children. But she did not give birth... she "inherited" them as it were.. and she desires to carry a child.. to hold a baby... to have someone all her own.  The bitterness and anger build as she discovers secrets from her past and she mistakenly blames others for her pain and the loss she feels.  Can she learn to forgive.. to open her eyes to God's blessings.. to trust in God's sovereignty in her life?

This is a wonderful series! I wish it could have continued. I would love to visit more with these lovely characters and see what all God has in store for them.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fleece Navidad by Maggie Sefton

Another Christmas themed book read out of season.... another cozy mystery series I love!  Fleece Navidad is part of Sefton Knitting Mystery series... which definitely needs to be read in order!

The holidays are fast approaching and knitting needles are flying at Lambspun in Fort Connor, CO. So many Christmas projects to finish up and so little time. And definitely no time for a murder!  Juliet is a local librarian... quiet as a mouse.. and finally has a Romeo in her life...that is until Claudia comes to town.  Vivacious.. full of life.. flirtatious.. Claudia who is on the hunt for the right man.  A bit of a love triangle ensues and then death kicks it up to a whole new level.  Add to this a former daughter-in-law who is certain Claudia is a money hungry gold-digger who married wealthy men and then kills then for their fortunes.  The holidays are heating up and Christmas cheer is hard to find.

Can the ladies at Lambspun put the pieces together and tie up this mystery in time to restore harmony for the holidays to their cozy little town?

Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy

Book 3 of the Montana Marriages Trilogy

The story for this book starts in book 2 (The Husband Tree) and while I have no doubt you could figure things out if you start with this one, it is a much more enjoyable if you read book 1 and 2 first.

Wade Sawyer is a changed man. Years of being bullied and abused by his powerful father took its toil and he was on his way to being as evil as his Pa. That is until God got hold of his heart and made him a new creation.  So now Wade faces a dilemma.  His father has been hurt.. bed ridden.. and he has sent for Wade to come run the ranch while he mends.  Should Wade go or should he avoid the man who has caused him so much pain?

Add to that, Wade is travelling with a white woman who was reared by Native Americas after the death of her parents and is now, once again, alone as her camp has been raided and destroyed.  How will Wade's father react to her, Abby, and she to him.

There is only one way to find out and so Wade and Abby head for home.

What Wade fines there is far from what he expected. His father still as angry and venomous as ever, but also dejected and broken.  Hired hands with no skill in their hands and no good in their minds.  Danger... treachery.. deceit.. and Wade is determined to get to the bottom of it.

As he does, Abby fights to find her way in this strange new world and wrestles with the feelings she has for Wade.

God has done so much in Wade's life... more than he deserved.. dare he ask for a few more miracles to come his way?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Husband Tree by Mary Connealy

As I have stated before, I love books by Mary Connealy!  Cowboys and feisty women.. you cannot beat it!  LOL!  And Connealy does it right.

The Husband Tree is book 2 in her Montana Marriages series. I strongly recommend reading these in order as they build on each other. (But then I am one who obsesses a bit about reading books in order period.)

Belle Tanner has had her fill of husbands.... 3 to be exact.. and each one got a bit more worthless and lazy. She is thankful to the Good Lord for the 4 children she has as a result of these unions.. and more thankful that they are all girls. What would she do with a boy!?

Now that husband number 3 is buried under the husband tree, Belle is determined to do things on her own.. to not give in to the notion a woman needs a man to survive. She and her girls are as tough and hardworking as any man out there and they are set on a female only ranch.  But when Belle finds she has more cattle than expected and she needs to run 1000 to market, she knows she and the girls cannot do it alone. She sets into town to hire help, only to learn most are already gone with other ranches.

Silas Harden is new to the area and needs a job. He hires on with Belle (not realizing she is a widow) and sets off on the adventure of a lifetime!  1 stubborn woman, a stubborn cowboy, 3 girls and a baby driving 1000 head of cattle across mountains.  How on earth did he get caught up in this and will he ever get out... and does he want to?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Bride Backfire by Kelly Eileen Hake

Book 2 - Prairie Promises

I was thrilled to find book 2 in my local library.  It was just as fun a read as book 1 and while it doesn't continue the story started in one, it picks up where it left off focusing on other characters in Buttonwood.. characters you meet in book 1.

Everyone in Buttonwood know the Specks and Grogans are nice families.. as long as they don't come in contact with each other.  Their long standing feud is as hot today as ever.  Each family has a few members who want to make peace, but don't dare say it for fear of being tossed from their own family.  Hate runs deep.

So when Adam Grogan is caught on the Specks property chasing down a lost cow, he knows he is a goner. That is until Opal Speck speaks up and announces that Adam is the father of her unborn child. Now Adam has always admired Opal with her flaming red hair, but he has never spoken more than hello to her, much less touched her.. other than carrying her to safety from a fire once.

But Adam wants to stay alive and he feels a need to protect Opal, so he goes along with her lie and determines that not only will he marry this forbidden woman, but he will love and rear the child as his own. No one will ever know Opal's shame.

Caught between two feuding families... dealing with secrets and lies... trying to build trust... this just isn't the best start for a marriage and it looks as if this union is igniting the feud more and tearing the families up from the inside out.  Can God use this mess to bring about good?

The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake

Book one of the Prairie Promises Series

I found this book on a bargain shelf at local store recently. The cover caught my eye and the summary intrigued me, so I bought it. (It takes great restraint for me NOT to purchase books!)  I had never heard of Kelly Eileen Hake, but am so glad I decided to take a chance on her.  Loved this book. It is right up my alley.  Pioneer tales.. bit of romance.. strong female lead.. some funny mishaps along the way.. faith... and a happy ending. Pure entertainment.

Clara Fields and her aunt are headed to Oregon to make a new life for themselves.. a life free of men!  Especially those like her deceased uncle and the wagon master. .. not to mention the 2 cantakerous oxen pulling them along the way.  When those 2 oxen decided to run off, the woman are left to fend for themselves as the wagon train moves on.

They make there way to the city of Buttonwood and are blessed to run into Josiah Reed, the owner Buttonwood's Feed and Dry Goods Store. Recognizing their predicament and the determined independence of Clara, Josiah cooks up a scheme to keep them in Buttonwood over the winter and maybe longer. He hires Clara and her aunt to help around the store and his home in exchange for room and board.  After a while, Josiah becomes fond of having the women around and takes his plan to a higher level. His son, a newly graduated medical doctor, is coming for a visit from Baltimore before setting up his practice there.  Josiah wants Saul to stay in Buttonwood. So he makes a deal with Clara. If she can get Saul married of too one of the available females in the area, Josiah will deed her his lovely home.

Clara sets out with a vengeance, but is met with opposition as Saul is not interested in any of the women she sends his way nor in settling in Buttonwood.  He is, however, interested in her.. something Clara never forsaw and is determined to stop.

Josiah's plan is working just as he hoped... if he gets his way Saul will stay and the house will remain in the family... or will his plan be more than he bargained for?

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Holiday Yarn by Sally Goldenbaum

I don't normally read Christmas themed books throughout the year. I save them up and read them from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. It is just one of those quirky things I do.  That said.. I am obsessed with reading books in the order they were written, especially those in a series as they tend to build on each other.  One series I love it Goldenbaum's Seaside Knitters Mystery series.  Love the characters.. the setting..and the coziness of it all! I had planned to read this one during my Christmas-book-read-a-thon, but it didn't happen. So I broke the "rules" and decided to have a bit of Christmas in April!  And I am glad I did!  I would not want to wait until November to go back to Sea Harbor and visit my dear friends!

Christmas is in the air there.. cookies baking.. knitters feverishly finishing up Christmas projects.. snow falling.. Santa is anticipated.. and Mary Pisano is busy transforming her grandfather's estate into a bed-and-breakfast. It won't be officially opened until after the holidays, but Mary's large family will hold their annual meeting there at Christmas and she wants it all ready.

Busyness abounds and a bit of tension over Mary's inheritance of the property instead of one of the other Pisano cousins, but overall everyone is behaving... or so it seems until Pamela Pisano is found dead on the B & B's back porch.

The peace and excitement of the season is shattered as a murdered is sought.  Suspicions run amuck as the police investigate and theorize.  And of course the Sea Side Knitters feel the need to do their own sleuthing.  Can they catch a killer and return Sea Harbor to its normal quiet self? Or will it ever be the same when they find there is a killer in their midst?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Missing Mabel by Nancy Mehl

Obviously I am on a mystery kick right now... cozy mysteries of course!  Those are my faves.

Missing Mabel is book 1 in Nancy Mehl's Curl Up and Dye Series (and is part of the Hometown Mysteries series).

Everything I have read by Mehl has been quirky... and Missing Mabel is no exception!  Hilde Higgins does hair... for the dead... well, for the mortuaries that are preparing dead bodies for viewing and such.  Hey, at least her clients never complain!  Hilde also has a photographic memory... so when she accidentally sees Mabel Winnemaker one day and then is called in to do her hair a few days later, she has no doubt something is wrong. This is not the same body!

The Director of the Funeral Parlor doesn't believer her ... in fact, he thinks she is covering up for her own sins.. theft of the deceased's diamond ring.

Her reputation on the line... and her curiosity peaked, Hilde decides to find out where the real Mabel Winnemaker is.

Along the way she discovers a new friend, with a few secrets of his own; reconnects with an old friend who may just become a new flame; and begins the journey to healing with her mother and her past.  AND she finds lots of laughs and crazy situations to get tangled in as she tries to work through all the drama that is Mabel.

Very fun read!  Looking forward to the next one in this series.

Murder on the Rocks by Karen MacInerney

This is book 1 of the Gray Whale Inn Series.

This book popped up on a list of Kindle Freebies from Amazon a few weeks ago. I had never heard of the author or the series, but something about it caught my attention.. and I am thankful for whatever it was!  I loved this cozy mystery.

I am a sucker for cozy mysteries... whether book, television or movie versions!  I just love them. And this one was a great read and satisfied my need for a bit of intrigue.

Natalie Barnes has risked everything to purchase the Gray Whale Inn on Cranberry Island in Maine. (OK just the name of the Inn and the Island makes me smile!)  Now a huge resort is trying to build next door and turn her life into a parking lot.. literally!  Natalie and friends have formed a group to proclaim the land in question a refuge and nature breeding grounds for Terns.. in their quest to keep Cranberry Island from becoming another commercialized tourist spot.

So when Bernard Katz, the resort developer, is found dead... by Natalie... it is no wonder the local authorities think "she done it!"  But Natalie didn't do it!  Someone is doing a bang up (literally) job of framing her and stirring popular opinion (a.k.a. gossipping women) against her.

Natalie sets out to prove her innocence, catch a killer and hopefully save her Inn.

Again, a very good cozy read.  3 more books to date in the series. They have been added to my every growing and never ending to-read list!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Probably not a book you expected to see here and honestly, not one I knew much about or would have picked up to read if not for my kids.  Both my children (young adults) read and loved this book.  (One loved the movie also, the other did not.) It really had there attention and the attention of so many other college / youth age kids I come in contact with... so I decided to read it and see what the fuss was about.

Do I like it? Good question. It is very well written.. intriguing.. definitely draws you in and hooks you (takes a few chapters though) and honestly, I will probably read the other 2 books in the series because too much is left hanging at the end of book one.

And yet, the subject matter is not an easy one. It is not really as gruesome or gory or gross as you might have heard (although there are a few scenes I felt comfortable skimming over).  The heaviness, to me, is the overall subject .... this idea of a society that has fractured and sectioned off itself in such a way that it is a bit like a Caste system.  And then to create a sport that is so vile and goes so against the moral grain.  And yet (seems to be an "and yet" theme here), we really do this already in many ways.  Think of the shows we watch on television... many, many of them pit people from different walks of life against each other to fight it out to the end... not death, but a set end.  Survivor, the Apprentice, even things like those beat 'em up shows.. American Gladiator and the like.  I know there are others, I am just not a huge fan of reality shows.  Even our sports lean towards this... look at how vehemently some watch football and how they want a rough and tough game. And the thing is the more we watch, the more we want and the more we want the more we watch.. a vicious cycle.  And that is a big part of The Hunger Games.  The ultimate reality show and the spectators while at time repulsed by it want more and more.. more scandal, more action, more blood.

This is a work of fiction and can be read as just a story.. but if we are honest while reading we will see ourselves, our culture, in the midst of it. Collins has just taken it to an extreme to make a point. One I hope we all see and take.

not a fan by Kyle Idleman

The subtitle to this book is "Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus" and that is the challenge Idleman sets forth for believers. If asked, are you a follower of Christ most of us would answer YES without hesitation, but as you read this book you begin to see where that may not be true. ... you may be more of a fan, an enthusiastic admirer.

Idleman does not come up with this theory out on his own... he bases it soundly and squarely in Scripture.. and not random bits of Scripture edited to make it "fit" his thoughts.  No, he digs into a few key passages and verses and teaches the reader from Christ's Words.

Reading this book feels a bit like sitting in a small group discussion... very frank and intimate.. no holding back, no sugar coating, and yet no condemnation.. more challenge and encouragement.

not a fan will challenge you to consider the cost of calling yourself Christian.  It calls you to take a good look at your relationship with the Lord and determine if you are truly living the life or just sitting in the stands cheering.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

So for my first run at the classics, I have decided to read the Anne series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  I adore the movies made about Anne starring Megan Follows, as well as the Avonlea series that was on the Disney channel for a while.  So it stands to reason I would enjoy the books that started it all.

I confess I feared I would not enjoy reading this first book.. Anne of Green Gables.  It is difficult for me to read a book once I have seen the movie of it.  It is like hearing the punchline of a joke before the joke is told.  Takes the wind out of it.  But what I found with Anne is I loved it all the more. There were very few things that differed from the book and the movie.. and what did was trivial and in no way affected the storyline.  I laughed because I saw the movie in my head while reading... the characters were so very clear to me.

The first chapter or two I had to push myself a bit since I knew what was going to happen, but by chapter 3 or 4 I found I was delighting in reading the adventures I knew so well. I've no doubt I will enjoy the rest of the series and have a different experience with them as I don't know the second movie as well and have never seen the final one of the set... and sure not everything in the 8 book series is covered in 3 movies!

If you are unfamiliar with the Anne books, they are set on Prince Edward Island in Canada. Anne is an orphan girl who goes to live with a spinster and her bachelor brother. She has many escapades and adventures as she grows up with Marilla and Matthew.  You will find yourself vacillating between emotions on this roller coaster ride!

A fun book for all ages!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Time for some Classics....

I majored in English Literature in College, so I have read a great deal of Lit... and yet I am woefully lacking at the same time. While I have read Shakespeare and Keats.. Tolstoy and Hemingway...  Faulkner and Milton... Mann and Wolfe... Browning and Twain ... on and on.. there are many books considered classics that I have never read. For instance.. I have never read a book by Jane Austen... I have seen movies of her works, but never read them.  I have never read Little Women or Anne of Green Gables.. In fact, I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie, but never read them until I had children of my own.

I read a great deal with my children.. not just picture books, but chapter books.. we read together well into their early teens.  I got a big fill of classics then... the Sarah, Plain and Tall series... E. B. White books (actually I read those as a child too!)... Phantom Tollbooth (OK another favorite from childhood).. Narnia (I never heard of these until my older child was 8!)... The Wizard of Oz (the book is soo much better than the movie!)... and on and on... Needless to say I enjoyed this part of their childhood a great deal and now that they are grown (24 and soon to be 20!) I miss that read aloud time and those classics. Surely there will be grandchildren to read with one day, but in the meantime...

I have decided to read some classics on my own. Some will fall into the category of "children's classics" (like Montgomery and Alcott's works) and others will be adult fiction (Austen and Bronte).

If you own a Kindle or have a Kindle ap on a device, you can read the vast majority of these for free or at very little cost. Most of the Anne books are free, but I could not find the first 2 in the series in the freebies. What I did find was a collection of all the Anne books for the Kindle for 99-cents!  Alcott and Austen books I found for free, as well as a few others I want to read.

And if you have a library, you should be able to find all of these there for free! I love the library.

And lastly you could purchase print copies.  If you have children at home consider reading these with them.  Even very young children can handle a chapter a night from a children's book and there are so many wonderful ones out there from days gone by.  If your nest is empty, like me, you could save them for future grandbabies or once read, donate them to a school or some program that caters to children and literary needs.. or give to a child in your church or neighborhood.  Anything to promote reading!

If you are looking for ideas as to what to read, here is an excellent place to start:  List of Classics by Age Group

I just finished my first classic of the year.. there will be a review very soon.  It was a delightful read!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Grow Old with Me by Melinda Evaul

Evaul is a new-to-me author.  Grow Old with Me caught my eye because the cover says it is a Quilt Trail Novel. I love anything to do with Quilts and Quilting!  This book does have quilts involved, but oh it is so much more. I was more than pleasantly surprised when I read it.

I truly truly loved this book and hated to see it end... I believe more are coming in the series.. I hope so!  Maybe it was the little bit of Quilt theme found in the story... or the fact that it was set in a B & B... or that the 2 focal characters were in their 50s.. or the fact that Evaul tackled some issues and circumstances not seen over and over in novels.. and handled them truthfully and well.

Set in Love Valley, NC (a real place), Benjamin has come there to do repair work on the church.  He books a room at the Mosey Inn, a local B & B where each room is named for a quilt pattern. Appropriately, this carpenter finds himself in the Carpenter's Star room.  Sarah Campbell owns the inn. It has been in her family for generations, but Sarah is getting tired.. tired of taking care of others, of living on the edge financially, of having physical problems that cannot be dealt with because she cannot afford to see the doctor, of not being loved and having someone to love.  In walks Benjamin, a bit of a loner and outcast with a painful past.  Both are lonely and in need and find themselves drawn to each other. But Sarah is a woman of faith and Benjamin has made it clear he wants nothing to do with God.

Can these two find a life together... a life rooted in faith... despite the gossip and innuendo, financial crisis, health issues, difficult pasts, hurts, insecurities, stubborn pride and more?

A sincerely sweet and frank look at love from a different perspective... and a reminder that sparks still fly even after 50!

I should note that Grow Old With Me is not available as a book-book.. with paper and ink.. it is an ebook. I got mind at Amazon, but it is available elsewhere.  Evaul's site has link to purchase it, as well as neat info on the book and the author... Melinda Evaul

CORRECTION:  I learned that this book is available in print form.  You can purchase it from the author at her site. Sorry about that! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Love Finds You in Hope Kansas by Pamela Griffin

As I have stated before, I really enjoy the books I have read in the Love Finds You In series. I have come no where near close to reading all of them... but I have read a good many and so far there isn't a bad one in the bunch,

There are certain things you see regularly when reading romances:

* A girl leaves home and travels to marry a man.

* He is often a man she does not know. In this case, she has met him but hasn't seen him in years and doesn't really know him.

* The man has children who need a mother.

* There has been a bit of trickery involved.

* The two rub each other the wrong way and seem to spar with each other more than anything else.

* Others can see the truth of their feelings long before they admit them.

All of these are true in Love Finds You in Hope Kansas.  Rafe Munroe needs a wife for himself and a mother for his six children.. he just won't admit it.  So his children decide to help. They write a letter from Rafe asking his deceased wife's younger sister, Alison, to come help and consider staying on as his wife and their mother. From the moment their paths cross sparks fly.. and throughout it all others see the depth of passion each is trying to hide from themselves and others.

Alison is a well-bred woman of society from Boston who said good bye to her older sister and Rafe many years ago. She only met Rafe briefly before the wedding and has never met the children. Life in Kansas intrigues here... an adventure to be had... but she finds much more than she bargained for.

Rafe is determined to stay true to Amy's memory by never letting go of his grief... even if that means ignoring his children and their needs.  He is shocked when Alison arrives and immediate determines that she has to leave.  Together they devise a plan (or two.. or three...) to make the children want her to leave so she can depart without hurting them and so they will give up on the idea of finding a new wife for Rafe and mother for themselves. To say that each plan backfires is an understatement.

Alison and Rafe learn that there is Hope in Hope, Kansas.. hope for each of them individually and together.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt. Denise Hunter

1 book.. 4 stories.. all centered around the town of Smitten, Vermont.  Smitten .. small town America.. reminiscent of a Rockwell painting.. great place to grow up or so you realize once grown and gone and looking back.  The hub that keeps everything afloat is the Mill, so when it closes despair sets in.  How will Smitten survive. What can they do to draw people in and keep their hometown alive?

Romance!  That's what they will do!  4 girlfriends dream up a wonderful to them.. crazy to others idea. Why not capitalize on the name.. Smitten.. and the setting. Smitten is off the beaten path.. untouched in many ways by progress... you can ski on the mountains in winter and on the lakes in summer... it is the perfect spot for a romantic get-away. And so these 4 rouse the townspeople and set out to create a Romance Paradise.

Sadly, none of them have romance happening in their lives... but that is about to change.  

As sweet as the stories are they do contain lessons in letting go of the past, trusting God, surrendering your life to Him, seeing who you are in Him not comparing yourself to others and more.

Another fun read!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Montana Rose by Mary Connealy

I read Connealy's Lassoed in Texas series last year  (Lassoed in TX Review ) and immediately she went high on the favorite authors to read list.  I love cute romances.. spunky women... men who are men... and if you set it in the past and in the west, oh my... you have me!  Many of Connealy's works fit this bill, Montana Rose being one of them.

This is book 1 in the Montana Marriages series. Cassie Griffin is a woman of means and breeding and lives a spoiled pampered life... or so her neighbors think.  But then her husband dies, leaving her penniless, pregnant and presumably helpless.  It is impossible for a lady to live single in Divide, Montana and so Cassie finds herself the center of great attention after her husband's funeral.. single men fighting over who will get her!

Red Dawson wants no part of it. Oh he is attracked to Cassie, but a dainty frail woman is not what he needs to work his place and most importantly she is not a believer. He will not be unequally yoked. Watching al the men clamor.. seeing the fear in Cassie's eyes.. imagining her married to one of those licivious heathen, no he cannot stand the thought and so going against everything he feels, Red impusively offers to marry Cassie.

In a matter of hours Cassie looses one husband and gains another.. trades one lifestyle for another... will she survive?  Will Red?