Tuesday, July 31, 2012


 by Lori Wick

Harvest House Publishers

In the frontier town of Denver, Colorado, Sabrina Matthews is given a second chance to escape the perilous life of a prostitute by a policeman and his wife. Danny and Callie give her everything she needs to start a new life, sharing their home and their faith in Jesus Christ.

Cleaning up after working the night district isn't the hard part - it's the past that nips her heels at every turn. Danny and Callie send her to Montana Territory to give her a chance for a fresh start. But will her willingness to help others in Token Creek drive away the first chance she's ever had to fall in love? Or was it a dream that was out a reach for a woman with her checkered past?

When I initially began the story about a prostitute, I was wasn't sure I was going to really get into and enjoy the book. Sabrina surprised and entertained me with it's characters, their relationships with God and each other, but most of all, their love. Without truly knowing about Sabrina's past, the town accepts and embraces her as their own without questions or reservations.

The story was romantic and a page turner, and her past did not dictate who she became. A recommended read, and a book I will read again.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


by Lori Wick

Harvest House Publishers

Cassidy Norton spends all her days either working in her clothing shop, or spending it with friends from her church family. Despite the hustle and bustle of the small frontier town in Montana Territory, 1880, her life is full, rich and always interesting.

She hasn't always lived in Token Creek, and despite her close friendships with several people and families, she feels like she is keeping a secret by not telling her friends the full story of her past. Thinking she is safe with the people in a town she has grown to love, will the past catch up to her? Or will her reluctance to be honest and forthright cost her more than she is willing to pay?

While this western romance was an easy, fun read, I didn't understand why the author used the phrase "that lady"or "that man" instead of "she" and "he". It's simplicity is much different than I'm used to reading, but it seemed stilted somehow, and odd as far as dialogue goes.

The characters were as big as life, and the story moved along at a comfortable pace. The plot was interesting, and caught me by surprise several times. The characters grew in faith, fell in love, and grew closer together. Human emotions such as fear, love and forgiveness were explored, and the church family should be an inspiration to believers everywhere. A book I will read again and lend/give as gifts.

Friday, July 27, 2012


by Colleen Coble

Thomas Nelson Publishers

Hannah Swartz is a faithful girl in her Amish community, at least until she meets Reece. One fateful night, her parents are killed and she finds herself letting Reece take her away from the only home she has ever known in Parke County, Indiana. Finding forgiveness for her parents' killer impossible, she believes Reece is her only chance of a happy life.

But four years into her marriage, she leaves Reece in hopes she can do better for herself. Returning years later to her community, she sees a chance at redemption from her anathema. But will decades of hurt come back to destroy the few people left in her family? Or will bigger lies forever shatter any hope of return and acceptance?

While I immensely enjoyed the storyline, I thought the author gave away an important element and key fact too soon into the book. It would have been nice to not have discovered the truth so soon. But the overall plot kept me guessing and wondering what else could possibly go wrong. The Amish community's reactions to the shunned Hannah reminded me too much of my own experiences when I left my own church, and I really sympathized with her plight. There are many rich word pictures and colorful depictions of Amish life, and as a reader I got a true sense of what it could be like to be in that life. I couldn't put the book down and I read it in a day. I would definitely recommend this book and author.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Every Secret Thing

by Ann Tatlock

Bethany House Publishers

Beth Gunner returns to the school of her youth, this time as an English teacher. But the mysteries of the past aren't the only things haunting her steps, and despite her questions, there are no simple answers. While she wonders what went wrong with her favorite English teacher, she is terrified thinking that if the answers to her query are ever brought to light - the truth may be more than meets the eye. 

But then the past returns to taunt her, and begins to cloak everything she does. Nightmares that she cannot stop cloud her mind. Something in Beth changes as time progresses, but with more questions than answers she takes each day as it comes. 

I was strangely drawn to this odd, slightly mystifying tale. I couldn't get into it at first, but each time a new element was introduced, my curiosity to see where it would lead took over. While I appreciated the love of literature from several characters, I wish I could have seen more character depth from the four original friends. It is very subtle for a mystery novel, but it was very captivating. Something propelled me on to keep reading, and I felt as if an era had ended when I came to the last page. 

The way the story ended wasn't disappointing, but on some level I wish the author would have given some characters more attention than those that fell away. Ultimately, some characters that were given attention tricked me into thinking they were important. So when the end finally came, I truly was surprised by the outcome.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Longing

by Beverly Lewis

Barbour House Publishing

The thing Nellie Mae Fisher has longed for the most is gone - her dream to be Caleb Yoder's wife. Her stance against the new found faith of her family has changed, and she years to learn more in their New Order church. Her new friend, a young Mennonite, Christian Yoder has secrets to share about Suzy's final days - news that will change how Nellie sees the world. But does he have more than friendship on his mind?

Caleb wants nothing more than to make Nellie his bride, but despite his plans to make a life for them, his plans are thwarted by an accident. Struggling to stay on track, he hopes that Nellie hasn't forgotten him and her promise to be his bride. Will they ever be able to be together? Or will circumstances - and his father keep them apart for good?

This was a very enjoyable ending to the Courtship of Nellie Fisher. Lewis has given us her usual serving of mystery, romance, and family drama to keep me turning pages and loosing sleep. She does not disappoint in this final installment, and keeps everything fresh despite the concurrent theme of her writings. An excellent writing based on actual events. I recommend this book, this series, and this writer.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Forbidden

by Beverly Lewis

Barbour House Publishing

Nellie Mae Fisher has the expectations of the People riding on her shoulders. Too much is at stake to falter with her choice. She wants to be with her New Order family, but will she be able to split her allegiance between them and her Old Order beau?

Caleb Yoder is torn between his love for Nellie Mae, and the promise his father made to him if he stays away from her. The conflict between what he knows is right and what he is starting to feel in his heart are two completely different things. He will loose everything if he disobeys his father, but he will loose Nellie if he doesn't make a decision soon. Will they be too late to satisfy their heart's desire? Or will forbidden fruit be sweeter than the consequences?

This second installment in The Courtship of Nellie Fisher is as good as the first. I couldn't put the book down for wanting to know what would happen to the community, Caleb, and Nellie. There comes a point when reading becomes an addiction, and if this book doesn't cause that to happen to you, then give up reading and go watch a movie.

Even though there are multiple plot lines going on at once (which we've come to expect from Lewis) I never once felt overwhelmed with everyone's story. It always lead to the bigger picture of what was going on, and the depth of character development made me feel that even Caleb's father was paid attention to and not just inserted as the bad guy. A recommended read for young people and adults alike. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Parting

by Beverly Lewis

Barbour House Publishing

Nellie Mae Fisher falls in love with Caleb Yoder at a tumultuous time in her Amish community. Her family is in the midst of dealing with the death of a child, and her community is at an impasse with the details of the Ordnung. Nellie tries to balance all the details of her life, but it seems like she is not meant to have everything.

Will the church be able to settle their differences, or will a split be necessary to placate all parties? Will Caleb's father accept them as a couple, or will something bigger keep them apart? Will her sister's death remain a mystery? Nellie wants to do what is right by God and the church, but is stubbornly holding on to Old Ways truly what God wants of her?

I wasn't sure this series had enough to catch my interest, but boy, was I wrong! Somehow the idea of there being trouble in an Amish community in the 60's over the Ordnung rules and ordinances gives us a whole new look into this fascinating world. The plot kept taking new twists and turns, and I turned the page into something I never saw coming more than once.

The family is torn apart when a daughter and sibling dies, and the questions that surround the mystery of her death incite the curiosity of this Old Order Amish household. Lewis has done it again with this first installment to The Courtship of Nellie Fisher series, and it is worth the read. It is based on actual events from a time and place where the redeeming grace of God was given freely to even the most stubborn of hearts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Sister's Secret

by Wanda Brunstetter

Barbour House Publishing

Grace Hostettler has put her past behind her and started a new life after rumschpringe. Grace joins the Amish church, Cleon Schrock begins to court her, and life settles down. Cleon is completely ignorant of her past, but he loves Grace and wants to make a life with her.

But then Gary Walker comes back to Holmes County, Ohio and seemingly tries to jeopardize her future. No matter what the consequences, Grace determines to tell Cleon and her family what went on during her running around years. But no matter how much she wants to tell them the truth, fear of rejection and reproach of what she has done follows her footsteps. Will she get the truth out in time? Or has time - and the truth - finally caught up to her?

From the beginning of the story, I thought I had the story all figured out. But when Grace's secret finally comes to light, I kept getting surprised all over again. The story is rich in Amish culture, and it was a welcome relief from the Lancaster County setting so many authors write about.

The plot of this book was refreshingly new for me, and piqued my interest from the first page. I have always enjoyed this author, but her stories felt predictable for me in the past. This one surprised me at every turn and stayed fresh and original till the very last page. I highly enjoyed it and can't wait to read the rest of the series!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Alaska Twilight

by Coleen Coble

Thomas Nelson Publishers

Haley Mitchell is a photographer that is given the rare opportunity to document biologist Tank Lassiter's work with bears in Alaska. She loves the beauty of the wilderness, but knows how deadly it can really be. Haley struggles with trying to find clues to the mystery of her past, but is strangely drawn to the wilderness  - and Tank. 

Haley is in Alaska for reasons of her own, and so is Tank. He could never imagine living anywhere but Alaska, and with a little girl to raise on his own, he couldn't choose a better place for her to grow up. But when a human death is blamed on one of his grizzlies, Tank is racing against the clock to prove otherwise. Will Tank and Haley find answers in their quests for the truth?

Coble paints some very beautiful word pictures in this novel; scenes of the great Alaskan wilderness and the deadly beauty it offers. While the romantic interests of the characters is the typical song and dance we are getting from almost any Christian romantic novel, this story line is interesting and fresh despite the anticipated outcome. A little bit of mystery and suspense was thrown into the novel, and that kept it fresh and intriguing. A solid read and a good mystery besides.   

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My husband pointed out today that I read entirely too much, and much too fast as well. We calculated I read at least 1,000 pages a week, and that's even if I have a lot of chores as well as a long work week. So in an effort to slow myself down a little bit, and "smell the pages" I am going to write a review after I'm done with a book instead of barreling on to the next little piece of heaven. There are a lot of authors out there to explore, so let the games begin...