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?