Reviews

 

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor by Sarah Ladd

418pusJaxfLIn Regency England an advantageous match could set up a lady for life. Julia knows Matthew Blake, copper mine owner and very eligible bachelor, is the gentleman she should set her eyes upon. But why can’t she steal her gaze away from his younger brother, Isaac?

Cornwall, England, 1818

Julia Twethewey needs a diversion to mend her broken heart, so when her cousin invites her to Lanwyn Manor, Julia eagerly accepts. The manor is located at the heart of Cornwall’s mining industry, and as a guest Julia is swept into its intricate world. It’s not long, though, before she realizes something dark lurks within the home’s ancient halls.

As a respected mine owner’s younger son, Isaac Blake is determined to keep his late father’s legacy alive through the family business, despite his brother’s careless attitude. In order to save their livelihood—and that of the people around them—the brothers approach the master of Lanwyn Manor with plans to bolster the floundering local industry. Isaac can’t deny his attraction to the man’s charming niece, but his brother has made clear his intentions to court the lovely visitor. And Isaac knows his place.

When tragedy strikes, mysteries arise, and valuables go missing, Julia and Isaac find they are pulled together in a swirl of strange circumstances, but despite their best efforts to bow to social expectations, their hearts aren’t so keen to surrender.

It took me a few chapters to get into this book, but I’m glad I persevered as it picked up pace and turned out to be a really good story. And don’t you love that cover?

The characters were very well developed. I enjoyed the strength that Julia showed, and it fit very well with the plot. Speaking of the plot, it was well written. With lots of unexpected twists and turns, I kept turning the pages to see what would happen next. I never did figure out whodunit.

The descriptions by Ladd really made me “see” the manors she wrote about and I learned a bit about copper mining, I think what really struck me, though, was the loyalty to family throughout the story. It was strong and honorable. Okay, except for a certain character but I won’t tell you who. You’ll need to read the book to find that out.

If you enjoy the regency genre then you’ll enjoy this book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

A Match for Emma by Pepper Basham

47945384._SY475_Emma Mitchell may enjoy sprinkling romance into the lives of others, but her own plans involve a single first-class ticket to culinary school in Europe.

When her best friend, Jon Noble, suddenly moves back to Ransom, Emma’s fairly certain her life can’t get any better…until her matchmaking schemes nosedive, her culinary future falls flat, and a life-long friendship begins to teeter on the brink of something unexpected.

With a little inspiration from Jane Austen’s classic and a touch of Blue Ridge charm, will Jon and Emma discover that what they need the most may be the last thing they’re trying to find?

This is my first book by author Pepper Basham, and it certainly won’t be my last. A Match for Emma was sheer delight!

Emma has grandiose ideas, and knows exactly how to make those ideas come to pass. Or so she thinks; she made me laugh with her schemes. Thoroughly charming, I would love to meet her in person. 

Basham does a fabulous job of helping us to see life in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her descriptions are perfect. The characters are beyond well-developed. They’re so much fun! Even Haas, the dog is great.

I plan on backtracking into Mitchell’s Crossroads and catching up on what I missed!

This story of friends to sweethearts kept me turning the pages. If you enjoy contemporary Christian fiction, with swoon worthy heroes, then get this book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

The Bake Shop by Amy Clipston

51+cE8CxQML._SY346_Return to Lancaster County with the first installment of Amy Clipston’s charming new Amish Marketplace series.

Christiana Kurtz loves to bake, but when her bake stand becomes too busy, her mother encourages her to move her business to the local market. Her new bake shop becomes so inundated with customers that the line blocks the leather and woodcraft shop next door, which is run by Jeffrey Stoltzfus. When Jeffrey complains that her stand is driving away business due to the lines, she complains to him that his personalization machine smells. Though their relationship starts off on bad footing, they eventually forge a friendship.

When Christiana’s father makes a surprise visit to the market, he is upset to find that Jeffrey uses the building’s electricity to personalize his items. He tells Christiana that Jeffrey is too modern for her, and she’s forbidden from dating him. Christiana is crushed, but she knows she must obey her father.

When Jeffrey’s shop catches fire one day, he puts the entire market in jeopardy—including Christiana’s bake shop. Christiana, however, can’t deny how she feels about Jeffrey despite his mistakes. Though the odds are against them, can two young people find a way to rebuild both their businesses and their relationship?

Author Amy Clipston begins a new series with this book. An Amish Marketplace is sure to be a winning series for those who enjoy Amish fiction, as Clipston has become one of the premier authors of this genre.

Well developed characters, with flaws and insecurities, make this story very believable. Threads of forgiveness, and learning to trust God are throughout the book, reminding us of what is really important in life. Christiana’s struggle for independence from a strict father added a very human side to this sweet story. 

I think if I had one “complaint” it was that there was a bit too much rehashing of tales between the characters, making the story slow down at some points. But it was definitely worth sticking with and I look forward to book two.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

Amish Front Porch Stories by Wanda, Jean, & Richelle Brunstetter

514DC+2BouL._SY346_Come and sit awhile as you enjoy 18 fictional short stories of love, joy, and the peace found in Amish country.

Amish Country is known for an atmosphere of peace and quiet, perfect for front-porch sitting with a good book. Join New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, as they share 18 heartwarming stories from Amish Country. These fictional short stories include journeys we can all relate to as we seek how to live led by love, joy, peace, patience, and other Fruits of the Spirit. Meet Anna, who struggles to show love to a cantankerous neighbor; Laura, who endures infertility; Nora, whose pride threatens to consume her life; and other women who walk in their faith each day.

A compilation of 18 short stories, the characters go through everyday struggles, some more difficult than others. But through it all we are reminded that God loves us and walks with us.

The fruits of the spirit, found in the book of Galatians, are the topics for each section in the book. Remember that these are short stories, not even novella length so the authors don’t go into deep detail. But it’s a great book to pick up if you only have a few minutes to read. With scripture threaded throughout each story, you’ll come away with much to contemplate.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

All Is Bright Christmas Collection

51AupScj2sL._SX260_Four of your favorite contemporary romance authors join festive forces to bring you the fourth-annual Christmas Lights Collection.

Kari Trumbo- Merry and Dashing: Merry hates Christmas corporate greed. Jacob loves finding the perfect gift for everyone. When Scrooge and Santa volunteer at a local thrift store together, will the mix be Holly Jolly?

Toni Shiloh- I’ll Be Home: What could be worse than being laid off right before the holidays? For Starr Lewis that would include returning home jobless, single, and, oh yeah, just in time to attend her sister’s wedding on Christmas Eve… to Starr’s ex-boyfriend. In the midst of it all, her brother’s best friend soon has her wondering if she can take another chance on love.

Cathe Swanson- Season of Change: Charlea’s ready to sell Serenity Hill, but Drew is back in town, 15 years after their dream date ended in disaster, helping her mother and daughter turn the old commune into a commercial Christmas wonderland. Between poinsettias and sleigh rides, angst and romance collide in this Christmas second-chance romance!

Chautona Havig- The 12 Dates of Christmas: When Reagan runs into Alex, her high school nemesis, he is stunned to discover that’s how she saw him. It’ll take twelve dates and a lot of forgiveness on both sides to even hope for a Christmassy-ever-after.

Brighten your day with these four lighthearted novellas today!

If you want to read some relaxing, entertaining, Christmas stories, then grab this set.These wonderful authors will not disappoint you.

Being a set of holiday tales doesn’t mean that disaster doesn’t happen but through it all we are reminded of what’s important. With charming characters that you will love and of course sweet romance, the Christmas spirit is alive and well.

Written in true Hallmark style, I thoroughly enjoyed these. If you like contemporary Christmas stories, then give this one a read. Add a couple of Christmas cookies and a cup of tea and you’ll spend a wonderful evening.

I received a complimentary copy of these books but was not required to leave a review.

 

Sara’s Surprise by Susan Mathis

41XNAL4VZtLSara O’Neill, works as an assistant pastry chef at the magnificent Thousand Islands Crossmon Hotel where she meets precocious, lovable, seven-year-old Madison and her charming father and hotel manager, Sean Graham. But Jacque LaFleur, the pastry chef Sara works under, makes her dream job a nightmare.Sean Graham has trouble keeping his mind off Sara and Madison out of mischief. Though he finds Sara captivating, he despises LaFleur and misreads Sara’s desire to learn from the pastry chef as affection. Can Sean learn to trust Sara and can she trust herself to be an instant mother?

 

Author Susan Mathis writes books based around the Thousand Islands and they are absolutely delightful. This one is no different.

Miscommunication and misunderstandings abound in this Christmas novella. Add in a lecherous chef and you have a recipe for trouble. A clean, sweet romance, Sara’s Surprise does tastefully tackle some tough subjects, all the while entertaining the reader.

If you enjoy historical fiction with a Christmas theme then grab this one, sit back, and enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

The Telegraph Proposal by Becca Whitham and Gina Welborn

51+EBiYusWLBook 3

In the rough and rugged Montana Territory, the journey to true love is filled with unexpected twists—and sweet rewards—for daring frontier women who faithfully believe every heart has a home . . .

With the help of the Archer Matrimonial Company, Yancey Palmer has finally put Hale Adams, the man she’s loved for ten years—sometimes not wisely or well—behind her. Yancey is so sure of her love for the man the agency matched her with, she readily promises a friend that she’ll help Hale with his mayoral campaign without chasing him.

Hale has also engaged the services of the matrimonial agency. He’s so pleased with one lady, he requests that she join him in Helena to commence a sixty-day courtship. But instead, the Archer ladies arrive in town to reveal the true identities of both Hale’s and Yancey’s matches: each other.  Can they look past their misunderstandings and hurt to see that they are still a perfect match?

I enjoyed book three in the Montana Brides Romance series. It did take me a few chapters to get into it, but once I did, I happily kept turning the pages. (You do need to read the others in the series to follow what’s going on in book 3.)

Opposites attract in this tale of miscommunication and misunderstanding. We see throughout how “no man is an island” because our actions affect others. And in this book boy, did their actions affect others. Well developed, colorful characters move the story along at a good pace with the occasional surprise twist.

Clean romance, mystery, and intrigue make this a book well worth reading if you enjoy historical fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

Double Blessing by Mark Batterson

41itvjXWmQL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgNew York Times bestselling author and pastor Mark Batterson believes the key to radically increasing your faith, joy, and abundance can be found in these three words: Flip the blessing.

His discovery started with a simple experiment. Whenever Batterson received a blessing, he would give a similar blessing away. If someone paid him a compliment or gave him a gift or went out of their way to help him, he would return the favor by doing something similar for someone else.

We flip the blessing by blessing others in the way God has blessed us. That’s how the blessing becomes a double blessing. It turns giving into a game—one we can’t win because God will always outgive us! It’s an ancient truth found within the Abrahamic covenant: “I will bless you . . . and you will be a blessing.”

In other words, we are blessed to bless. The first blessing is receiving, but it doesn’t end there. The second blessing is giving it away! That’s the double blessing. And that’s where double joy is found.

In a day and age where the idea of blessing has been reduced to a hashtag (#blessed), Batterson challenges readers to pursue true, God-glorifying blessing and experience an exponential impact by participating in the double blessing.

Don’t settle for half of what God offers. Discover how you can both get it and give it . . . in Double Blessing.

I love the premise of this book. In this world where many people are more concerned about getting, we are reminded that we get so that we can give. Don’t you love that you can’t out give God? It’s a constant cycle of receiving and giving. Sharing some very good stories from his own experiences we see examples of that in action.

Don’t be fooled by the title. Batterson makes it very plain that we are not given wealth to store it up for ourselves, but to give to others. And blessing isn’t always financial. Is there a way you can bless someone who needs help in other ways? And what about gratitude? Are we thankful? Is our church one that gives? We are challenged throughout!

Written in a very easy to read and understand manner, I highly recommend this book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

God Made Me Unique by Joni Eareckson Tada

51Q1W10dRCL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_God Made Me Unique helps Christian parents and caregivers teach children that God creates every person in the image of God and each individual has tremendous value, regardless of his or her appearance or abilities. The story is set in a classroom where a new student is introduced who has a disability and his classmates learn to ask questions and gain an understanding about their new friend.

God Made Me Unique will help eliminate fear and misconceptions about those who have special needs and emphasizes that every person deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. The inviting illustrations and rhyming prose make this a fun and engaging read for even little children to help them understand the complexity of a vast variety of disabilities and that each person was made by God and deserves to be treated with love and respect. Children often have many questions about disabilities thanks to their curious minds so the back of the book has additional information and resources to equip parents to talk with their children about this important subject.

This book is written very simply and age appropriate, yet is very educational. And the illustrations are beautiful!

Presented in a very natural way, children are taught to see value in everyone through this story. No child is excluded or thought odd because of disabilities. They are accepted and loved because we are all created and loved by God. A great learning tool, it includes resources for parents. I highly recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

Dead Wrong by Vannetta Chapman

51ntLPMVrhL._SY346_A new Amish cozy mystery from Vannetta Chapman.

Who killed Russell Dixon?

When Agatha Lapp’s brother and sister-in-law are tragically killed in a buggy accident, Agatha relocates to the new Amish community in Hunt Texas, nestled in the Texas Hill Country. She’s there to make a success of her brother’s dream–an Amish B&B. Agatha is friendly, efficient, and capable. She’s also a fifty-five year old widow who has learned to be independent. When she discovers Russell Dixon’s lifeless body in Cabin 3, she runs next door where retired detective Tony Vargas lives. The police determine that her guest died of natural causes, but as Agatha and Tony put together the events of the previous two days they become convinced that the police are Dead Wrong.

Dead Wrong is a story of discovering new friendships and embracing a different path in the midst of tragedy. Above all else, it’s a story of God’s grace and provision.

Book One in the “Agatha’s Amish B&B” series has left me eager for book two. Seriously, author Vannetta Chapman knocked this one out of the park.

The characters are so well developed that you will want to go meet them for coffee, and maybe stay at Agatha’s B&B. I really enjoyed getting to know them. They have the same quirky qualities that we do! And the descriptions of the surrounding countryside were perfect.

Dead Wrong moved along at a really good pace, and I hated putting it down so make sure you have a good span of time to read as this one is a page turner.

If you enjoy a good whodunit, snatch this one up!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

The Moon is Always Round by Jonathan Gibson

518JhgDjplL._SX497_BO1,204,203,200_Even young children want answers to the hard questions about God and suffering. In The Moon Is Always Round, seminary professor and author Jonathan Gibson uses the vivid imagery of the moon to explain to children how God’s goodness is always present, even when it might appear to be obscured by upsetting or difficult circumstances. 

In this beautiful, full-color illustrated book, he allows readers to eavesdrop on the conversations he had with his young son in response to his sister’s death. Father and son share a simple liturgy together that reminds them that, just as the moon is always round despite its different phases, so also the goodness of God is always present throughout the different phases of life. 

A section in the back of the book offers further biblical help for parents and caregivers in explaining God’s goodness to children. Jonathan Gibson reminds children of all ages that God’s goodness is present in the most difficult of times, even if we can’t always see it.

In this book, author Jonathan Gibson tackles a hard subject, but does it very gently. I really think the beautiful illustrations are helpful in softening this story.

Talking to our children about death is never easy, especially when the one who passed away is an infant. But children need to know that even though painful things happen, God is always good. Instead of shying away from such topics, Gibson gives us a tool to use that includes biblical help for parents in explaining this topics. I highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

100 Extraordinary Stories of Prayer for Courageous Girls; Unforgettable Tales of Women of Faith by Jean Fischer

44025206._SX318_Praying girls are world-changers! And this deeply inspiring storybook proves it!

Just for the girls in your life, ages 8 and up, this collection of 100 extraordinary stories of praying women of faith–from the Bible, history, and today–will empower girls to know and understand how praying women have made a difference in the world and how much smaller our faith (and the biblical record) would be without them. Featuring full-page, colorful illustrations alongside the true stories of praying women like Anna, Esther, Hannah, Anne Bradstreet, Shirley Dobson, Lottie Moon, Ida Scudder, Corrie ten Boom, Phillis Wheatley, and dozens more, the stories of these 100 women will encourage and inspire girls to become the praying world-changers God created them to be!

What a wonderful tool for the young reader! One page illustrated stories include Biblical women such as Esther and Ruth, to modern day women such as Joni Eareckson Tada and Amy Grant, each sharing about the importance of prayer and how it helps us.

The book itself is a beautiful hardcover, just the right size for a young girl. I really like that there is a bit about each woman, so that the reader knows who this is. There is also a scripture verse with each chapter. This book, which includes an inscription page, would make a lovely gift!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

Why Do We Say Good Night? by Champ Thornton

61eghSR2s0L._SX461_BO1,204,203,200_Going to bed and turning out the light can be a hard time for many children. Award-winning author Champ Thornton wrote this beautifully designed and illustrated book to help parents comfort their children with three truths about God. As a mother and her little daughter talk, they remember together that God made the night, he sees in the dark, and he watches over them just like a shepherd protects his sheep. Children and parents will want to start a new nighttime tradition of reading together about why we can say that the night is good.

In this important, engaging children’s book, parents can bring comfort and encouragement to their children, reminding them Jesus is near.

Written in comforting rhyme with fun illustrations, this book is sure to become a nightly read for your little one.

I love that this book doesn’t brush off a child’s fears but addresses them. Containing so many of the questions that get asked at bedtime, your child is sure to be comforted knowing that you and God are near. I highly recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

Western Christmas Wishes by Brenda Minton and Jill Kemerer

51sfHimc19L._SY346_Two tales of holiday homecoming.

Spend the holidays with family in these two Western novellas!

Home is where the heart is in His Christmas Family when Laurel Adams comes home and discovers a foster kid and a seriously charming horse trainer living on her grandmother’s ranch. And in A Merry Wyoming Christmas, single mom Leann Bowden is starting over when she and her daughter are rescued from a snowstorm. Might the dashing cowboy be the Christmas gift they’re dreaming of?

 

Two heartwarming sweet romances, perfect for the Christmas season.

In both books the characters are not only well developed, they are totally charming. Hard situations bring challenges, and sometimes you’ll wonder if they’ll succeed.  

In the first story, by author Brenda Minton, the ending could have been more neatly wrapped up as we’re left to our imagination. The story by author Jill Kemerer wrapped up for satisfyingly. But both books were a pleasure to read and I recommend them with a couple of Christmas cookies and a cup of tea.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

 

Beautiful Word NIV

51bpkJZr9kL._SY373_BO1,204,203,200_Created especially for girls ages 8 to 12, this beautiful Bible provides ample space for young artists to express themselves through coloring and journaling.

Girls can get creative with the detailed, ready-to-color line art surrounding the hundreds of inspiring verses in the NIV Beautiful Word™ Coloring Bible for Girls. This Bible is a perfect gift for a special young girl in your life and will become a cherished keepsake full of personalized creative expressions of faith.

Features include:

 

  • Hundreds of verses illustrated in ready-to-color line art
  • Thicker white paper for enduring note-taking
  • Lined, wide margins for notes, reflections and art
  • Complete text of the accurate, readable and clear New International Version (NIV)
  • Easy-to-read black letter text in single-column format
  • Lays flat in your hand or on your desk
  • Ribbon marker
  • Beautifully designed Leathersoft-over-board cover featuring screen-printing and other cover embellishments
  • 8-point type size

 

Using the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV) text makes the Bible accessible and easy-to-read for kids. The NIV is the result of over 50 years of work by the Committee on Bible Translation, who oversee the efforts of many contributing scholars. Representing the spectrum of evangelicalism, the translators come from a wide range of denominations and various countries and continually review new research to ensure the NIV remains at the forefront of accessibility, relevance, and authority. Every NIV Bible that is purchased helps Biblica translate and give Bibles to people in need around the world.

This book is lovely and sure to be enjoyed by the girls in your life. A pretty pink with silver dots and matching silver ribbon marker, the book feels very nice. It is slightly on the large side; rather thick due to the extra pages but it’s fine. With a lot of verses to color, this will be extremely helpful in memorizing scripture. It is a reference edition, so that is a nice feature for older girls (10 and up).

All in all a great tool to help your child learn the Word, and to be excited doing it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

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