Reviews

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Politano

51FT5ExEgDL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgTressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first. 

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they’ll not soon forget.

I loved this book. It kept my attention from page one and was extremely difficult to put down. Switching between the viewpoints of Tressa and Donegan, it moved at a really good pace.

The characters were well developed and very real. I learned about tending a vineyard and really enjoyed the lessons from the viticulturist at the beginning of each chapter.

Author Joanna Politano shows us how easy it is to misunderstand those around us; their actions and words. However, unconditional love, forgiveness, and a trust in God is a constant thread through this story.

If you enjoy Victorian Christian fiction, mystery, and a treasure hunt, then I highly recommend A Rumored Fortune. You won’t be disappointed!

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

 

Crack Yourself Up; Jokes for Kids by Sandy Silverthorne

51R1Gp7RHpL._SY346_Any kid can be a comedian with a little help from award-winning author/illustrator Sandy Silverthorne’s Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids. Perfect for kids ages 6-12, this zany collection of one-liners (Did you hear about the missing barber? Police are combing the city.), knock-knock jokes (Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Pizza. Pizza who? Pizza nice guy, don’t you think?), riddles (What’s red and goes up and down? A tomato in an elevator.), puns, and funny lists represents some of the world’s best clean humor. Add in the author’s hilarious illustrations and cartoons, and kids will get hours of fun with the kind of laughs that make milk come out your ose–that is, if you’re drinking milk while you read!

In a world of drama, this book is refreshing. In my home we’ve had a good time laughing and groaning at the clean jokes in Crack Yourself Up. Author Sandy Silverthorne has done a great job, but what would you expect from someone whose bio reads: “Sandy has worked as a cartoonist, author, illustrator, actor, pastor, speaker, and comedian. Apparently it’s hard for him to focus.”

Do yourself a favor. Get this book not just for the kids in your home but for the adults too!!

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

 

The Hope Jar by Wanda Brunstetter

51W2612vFPL._SY346_A Brand-New Series from New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter.
What happens when making an elderly Amish couple very happy means going along with a lie that gets bigger by the day?

Michelle Taylor is not who her new family in Lancaster County believes her to be. The Lapps were looking for their long-lost granddaughter when they met Michelle and she assumed the identity of Sara Murray. Once homeless and hopeless, Michelle has come to love her new Amish friends and even considers the idea of romance among them.

Finding an old blue jar in the barn that is filled with slips of paper containing thoughts, quotes, and prayers by an unknown author becomes a boost to Michelle’s budding faith— but also convicting. How can she tell the truth without hurting the ones she has truly come to love?

This new series by author Wanda Brunstetter is different than any of her other series. Equally as good, I really enjoyed it.

We are given a story line that is not a normal Amish story, and I found that intriguing. With a lot of lying and cover up comes unconditional love. It was great to see how people came to be concerned and caring for the “perpetrator”. (I’m trying not to give anything away here, but still express the warmth and love expressed towards someone who doesn’t merit it.) Undeserved forgiveness is a thread through the story.

Blending both the Amish and English worlds together, much as Brunstetter did in her Amish Cooking Class series, we get a better understanding of Amish life as compared to English life. As always, it’s interesting to learn about another culture.

While the ending may feel a bit unfinished, hang on. Book 2 in the series will be coming out soon!

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

 

Snowbound With the Best Man by Allie Pleiter

39017986Do their matchmaking daughters have the right idea? Snowed in with the best man at a wedding weekend, florist Kelly Nelson can’t help but notice that the handsome widower seems overwhelmed raising his young daughter. So Kelly is delighted when her own daughter befriends the girl. But when the little matchmakers target Kelly and Bruce with an adorable Valentine’s Day plot, will the reluctant single parents give love a second chance?

What a cute book. Who doesn’t enjoy light reading that includes a wedding, a snowstorm, and a romance?! As well as two of the cutest little girls you can imagine.

Author Allie Pleiter did a great job of putting me right in Matrimony Valley. I could see the town and it’s beautiful. I loved the people of the valley. So warm and friendly. And they’re sure to try matchmaking, making for some extra fun. You will smile and be so glad you visited Matrimony Valley.

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

 

As the Tide Comes In by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

51ksGTFwG0L._SY346_.jpgA New York Times best-selling author releases her first southern novel, a Steel Magnolias-meets-Sweet Home Alabama story set on St. Simons Island.

When an unthinkable loss sends Tara Abbott’s life spiraling out of control, she journeys from North Carolina to Georgia’s St. Simons Island. Although confused and scared, she hopes to find answers about her past – her life before the years of foster care and raising her two half-brothers as a young adult. Will she find steady ground on the island, surrounded by an eccentric-but-kindhearted group of older women called The Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter? Or will the truth splinter what’s left of her identity into pieces?

This book kept me fascinated from the first page. Typically author Cindy Woodsmall writes Amish fiction, and that’s how I know her works. However she shows herself more than capable of branching out with As the Tide Comes In. Well written, I hope we see more from the south.

The story has much heart break but through it all we are reminded that God walks with us, even though we may not have answers for tragedy. And though the story line is sad, there is hope as well as laughter. I mean four older southern ladies who want to mother everyone? That gives the reader much to chuckle about.

You’ll love the descriptions of St. Simon’s Island and if you enjoy history, you’ll find it in this book, along with interesting “ghost” stories. Time to plan a trip! With characters so true to life, I’m sure you’ll find Tara and Gavin there, as well as the Glynn Girls. I highly recommend this book.

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

@WaterBrookMultnomah #Partner

 

The Comeback Effect by Jason Young and Jonathan Malm

51jaUFhCWOL._SY346_The key to growth as a church, youth ministry, or a business is getting first-time guests to come back. And as any good manager of a hotel, a store, a restaurant, or an attraction knows, the key to getting guests to come back is not actually the rooms or the product or the food itself; it’s how guests feel when they’re there. It’s about hospitality. No matter how much effort and time we spend on excellence–stirring worship time, inspiring sermons, a good coffee blend in the foyer–what our guests really want when they come to our churches is to feel welcome, comfortable, and understood.

Written by a church consultant and a hospitality expert, The Come Back Effect shows church, ministry, and even business leaders the secret to helping a first-time guest return again and again. Through an engaging, story-driven approach, they explain how service and hospitality are two different things, show how Jesus practiced hospitality, and invite leaders to develop and implement changes that lead to repeat visits and, eventually, to sustained growth.

I’m going to begin this review in a rather unorthodox manner. With this book it works. Please don’t look at this and think this is an “I know everything so I wrote this book” kind of book. Authors Young and Malm tell us that they don’t know everything. But what they do know is incredible. The Comeback Effect is full of rich information that will help both the church and the business. And it’s full of humor. There were times I was cracking up while reading.

Very common sense, the chapters are short enough to read quickly. But I truly have half of the book highlighted. While an easy ready, I gleaned a lot from it. What really stood out was to stop looking at the guest experience from my point of view, but to look at it from the guest’s point of view. Pretty obvious but seldom done.

If you are involved in the area of hospitality in the church or in business this book is a must read!

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

 

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