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.