Friday, August 31, 2012

The Judgment

by Beverly Lewis

Bethany House

Rose Kauffman is finally engaged to Silas Good, but she pines for Nick Franco, the foster son of their neighbor bishop. Nick disappears after the death of his brother - of which he is a suspect, but Rose cannot keep him out of her mind and heart. Engaged to Silas, but loving Nick, can she marry a man she doesn't love? Or will she forever love a man she cannot have?

Hen has returned to her parent's farm to live in their Dawdi Haus with her daughter Mattie. Separated from her husband, Brandon, by mutual agreement; Hen tries to re-establish herself among the People she betrayed. Hoping to maintain her Plain roots and keep her marriage, will she ever be able to accomplish both? Or do Plain and fancy have no middle ground?

The second book in the Rose Trilogy, this was a wonderful continuation of the intriguing story of a Amish family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I don't know how Lewis does it, but she always writes a book that captures your interest and doesn't let go till the end of the novel. I recommend this series to anyone who loves a good novel by this great author. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Thorn

by Beverly Lewis

Bethany House

Rose is the youngest child and daughter of the Kauffman family, and a spirited young woman. Best friends with the bishop's foster son, Nick, and being courted by a good Amish boy, Rose thinks she has almost everything she wants in life. With the exception that her mother is an invalid, Rose finds joy in her family, friends, and faith. But she soon discovers that life is not a bed of roses, and is caught betwixt and between two lives and two loves. Will she ever be able to make the right decision?

Hen left her Amish family and faith behind when she married a man of the world. Brandon was good to her, until Hen decided to go back to her Plain life and the Old Ways. Taking their daughter with her, she tries to find her way among the People she abandoned. Will Hen and Brandon ever be able to make peace with their lifestyles and love - before an imminent separation tears them apart?

The Thorn was a wonderful beginning to the Rose Trilogy by Beverly Lewis. So many conflicts surround the Kauffman family, and it reminded me that the Amish are just life us - plagued by fears, and followed by the same troubles we are. It's a tale that will take you to a time and place that is only ever weaved into words by a really good author. A sweet story that entertained me and I enjoyed it immensely as well.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Charlotte Leaves the Light On

by Annette Smith

Moody Publishers

Charlotte Carter and her house of girls in Ruby Prairie, Texas are living from day to day never knowing when it will be time for the girls to go back home. Charlotte knows their stay is only temporary, but she can't help but fall in love with every single on of them. She knows it will only be harder when they leave, but love is the only way to live - even when it breaks your heart.

When Jock Masters, the pastor of Lighted Way, makes a discovery inside the church, it changes things between him and Charlotte. Will Charlotte be able to bring more needy children to Tanglewood, or will loosing the ones she has break her heart for good?

In this final installment to the Coming Home to Ruby Prairie Series, Smith does not disappoint. Charlotte  returns to us yet again for another scoop of southern fried love. The quirky characters yet again, captured my heart and made me wish Ruby Prairie was a real place I could go and visit. The series does not disappoint, and is every bit as heartwarming as a heaping serving of comfort food on a cold winter evening. A recommended read for anyone who enjoys a good book.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A New Day at Tanglewood

by Annette Smith

Moody Publishers

No day goes by in Ruby Prairie, Texas that passes without incident. If it isn't the twins up to something, it's the other four girls that seemingly team up to wear Charlotte out. But Treasure is moving in to Tanglewood, and thank goodness. There is always more than enough work to go around at this home for girls, and Charlotte Carter could never go it alone.

Charlotte's fifteen-year-old, Beth, is recovering from her escapades and misadventures with her boyfriend Kirby. But a new challenge lies on the horizon for all the residents of Tanglewood, and for all of Ruby Prairie. Will they all be able to cope with what the news will bring? Or will Charlotte loose the thing she loves the most - one of her precious girls?

The second book in the Coming Home to Ruby Prairie series was a wonderful read with all the humor, adventure, love and faith that Smith gave us in the first book. It's the kind of book you look forward to opening at the end of a long day with a tall glass of lemonade or iced tea.

This is the kind of story that reminds you that there are still little towns, with good people, left in the world. Where you can feel safe and loved, where you can be part of something bigger than yourself, a community. And all I can say is get these books. You won't regret it, and I promise you; the characters will not only grow in you but inspire your faith, and you will never forget them.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Town Called Ruby Prairie

by Annette Smith

Moody Publishers

In a town called Ruby Prairie, even the best of intentions can go terribly wrong. Recently widowed, Charlotte Carter wants to open a home in Tanglewood for needy girls. She is determined to do it all on her own, without the help of the church or the townspeople. She quickly discovers how wrong she is, and how challenging it is to care for six girls on her own.

The townspeople in Ruby Prairie, Texas, are excited about Charlotte's home for girls. One or two hold back, but the majority vote that she's doing a good thing. For the most part, Charlotte seems to doing just fine on her own with six adolescent girls in her pink Tanglewood home. But then chaos ensues, and everything starts to fall apart. Will Charlotte accept the help she so desperately needs - or will she loose the girls she's waited a lifetime to help?

This book introduced me to a very charming little town called Ruby Prairie, and I loved every second of the journey. I have had the Coming Home to Ruby Prairie for 4 years, and have never been brave enough to crack them open. What a surprise I was in for. And how regrettable that I have not discovered them till now. This book was a path into another world, with characters as big as life. This authors' look into Ruby Prairie will enchant, surprise, and put you on the edge of your seat for the rest of the story.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thunder in Paradise

by Jonathan R. Cash

Whitaker House Publishers

Beauty and peace has reined for a thousand years, but Satan will soon be released and shatter their peace. Ken Action and his wife Emily, have served King Jesus since the beginning of the Millennium, but their son Solomon is struggling to choose between right and wrong. Satan has had many years to plan his revenge, and is devising new ways to fool mankind into not giving their hearts to the King.

Being a child of the Millennium, Solomon Action has never seen war or pestilence. But even in a perfect world, they have retained their free will and can decide what to do with their life. Will Solomon make the right choices, or will Satan claim his soul before the final battle is fought?

This book was not only a wonderful and enjoyable, but a book that will strengthen your faith as a believer. The word pictures were breathtaking and based on the scriptures. The story line was completely intriguing from start to finish, and I was taken in from the very first page.

The plot was something completely different than I've ever read in a end-of-days novel, and I was most impressed by the fresh new look at the possibilities of what might wait for us at the end of the world. It was a fun read, yet sobering too. A great read for believers and non-believers alike.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Cousin's Challenge

by Wanda Brunstetter

Barbour Publishers

In this final installment to the Indiana Cousin Trilogy, Jolene Yoder returns to Indiana following the van accident that took her hearing. She is to be the teacher to two deaf Amish children that are new to the community, and though she has her misgivings, she is determined to be a good teacher as she once was.

Lonnie Hershberger is deafened by an accidental explosion, and is having a hard time adjusting to a world of silence. Jolene offers to help him learn how to communicate in his new world, but Lonnie is reluctant to go steady, especially since she seems sweet on Jake Beechy. But Jake Beechy is fighting his attraction to her cousin Ella, despite her continual rejection. Will these young people find God's will - and each other?

I loved this charming series, but one thing I noticed in this book was how accident prone the characters were. It seems as if the author used convenient "accidents" to force characters to action, and there was just so much of this going on in the book. I really had to wonder whether some of the end results and actions were because everyone kept getting into one predicament or another.

Despite my qualms on the excessive accidents, this book gave a very insightful view on life with no sound. Due to previous introduction, the characters kept my interest the whole book through. It was a decent sequel to this wonderful series, and made me realize a very important truth; Amish people are just like us. They aren't perfect, they have their problems, just as we do, and they don't have an easy life. But they keep the faith, simple lifestyle, and sound moral values as best they are able to glorify their Lord Jesus Christ. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Cousin's Prayer

by Wanda Brunstetter

Barbour Publishers

Katie Yoder's life changed drastically the day her boyfriend was killed in a van accident. Despite the change of scenery in Florida, she finds herself suffering from anxiety attacks and depression. No matter how much she tries, she just can't forget about the accident that took Timothy away from her. As she struggles to move on with her life, she slowly becomes aware of something she hasn't felt in a long time.

Freeman Bontrager has been attracted to Katie since they were in grade school. But while the fears that assail her do not deter him from being her friend, the beautiful Eunice Byler just might. Will Katie ever be able to face her fears and love again? Or will the demons keep her from living a normal live continue to plague her?

This novel brought to light how people with trauma in their past might deal with the tragedy.  I was struck by how little I knew of the topic, and how it feels from that point of view. The characters varied from supportive to judgmental, and there was plenty to be learned by all. The author explored the topic with compassion and understanding, and despite the heartache Katie faced, God is ultimately the "peace that passeth all understanding."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Cousin's Promise

by Wanda Brunstetter

Barbour Publishers

Loraine Miller promised Wayne Lambright that she would love him forever, and agrees to be his bride. But when Loraine, and 7 other friends and cousins are involved in a fatal accident, those that remain face numerous obstacles. Wayne wakes up to find himself crippled, and Loraine is there by his side supporting him as he deals with his loss. But Wayne feels like half a man, and tells Loraine that the wedding is off.

Then Jake Beechy, Loraine's old boyfriend, comes back to town. Wayne does what he can to get Jake and Loraine back together, but Loraine stubbornly persists that she promised Wayne forever and meant it. Meanwhile, Jake struggles to get her back despite his blame in the reason they broke apart in the first place. Will Wayne and Loraine work through his injury and make a home together? Or will Jake be the one to win Loraine's hand in marriage?

This story was a classic tale of a girl caught between two excellent choices, while struggling to make the right decision and sticking to her promises. I learned a lot about the Amish from Indiana, and the plot kept my interest the entire book. I liked how simple the language was, and despite the abundance of characters, I was able to keep everyone straight.

The accident portrayed in this book really opened my eyes to how suddenly life can change - and the true struggles people will face in light of that tragedy. This book was a good reminder that God controls our lives, in the good times and the bad. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Lightkeeper's Ball

by Colleen Coble

Thomas Nelson Publishers

Olivia Stewart has everything a girl wants; money to buy gowns in the latest fashion, friends that invite her to their extravagant balls, galas, social events, and family that needs for nothing. But being part of America's Four Hundred in 1910 and heiress to an empire of old titles and old money mean nothing when that wealth disappears - along with the lifestyle that money brings.

Olivia's sister, Eleanor is engaged to be married to one of the country's newly rich Harrison Bennett. But when Eleanor dies under mysterious circumstances, it is up to Olivia to take her place as Harrison's bride. Under her English title of Lady Devonworth, Olivia travels to Mercy Falls, California to investigate her sister's death. When she arrives, she discovers that Harrison Bennett is not who he seems to be, and that Eleanor did not die by accident. Will she be able to salvage what is left of her family's money by marrying Harrison? Or will her desire for more than never-ending parties and wealth keep her from going where her heart leads?

Olivia finds herself in the situation we all find ourselves in - discontent with our lives. This final installment to the Mercy Falls trilogy was a very satisfying read with just the right amount of mystery, excitement and historical details. I really enjoyed the plot of The Lightkeeper's Ball, and the characters were either at peace or against one another. The ending caught me by surprise, and it was a page turner the entire ride.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Lightkeeper's Bride

by Collen Coble

Thomas Nelson Publishers

Katie Russell enjoys her job as a telephone operator in Mercy Falls, California. She hears many things as she works the lines, but one night, a familiar voice catches her attention. Her friend Eliza disappears shortly thereafter, and Katie soon suspects that the crime may be linked to the new lighthouse keeper, Will Jesperson.

They form an alliance, trying to solve the mysteries that surround Eliza's disappearance, and it slowly begins to blossom into something more. But she is expected to marry well, not a lighthouse keeper with neither name nor fortune. Will she be able to look past society's expectations, as well as those of her parents? Will peace from God be enough for her future, no matter what or who is in it?

Collen Coble has done it again with The Lightkeeper's Bride. The second installment in the Mercy Falls Series, she weaves a tale of suspense, intrigue, mystery, romance, and historical drama. I couldn't put the book down, much like the first one. There was such a character contrast between the inquisitive Katie and Will's irresponsible brother Philip.

All in all, it had a very suspenseful plot and believable characters. There were times I wasn't sure if Coble was going to ever get to the happy ending as everyone was in one fix or another in this wild ride set in 1908, California. I learned a lot about the actual process of a telephone operator in this time period, and the book was a peek into the Progressive Era, of which I know little about. A wonderful book, and one I will recommend!  

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Lightkeeper's Daughter

 by Collen Coble

Thomas House Publishers

Addie Sullivan lives in an undisturbed lighthouse with her mother after her father's death in Mercy Falls, California. She cares after people who wash up on her shore, happy to help tend to those who need her most. One night, a mysterious stranger is brought in with the storm, claiming that she is the lost daughter of a wealthy family. Curious, but not wanting to reveal her identity, she agrees to leave her home to fulfill her mission.

Once she arrives, she loves the Eaton's home built among the redwood forests. Edward, the little boy she is governess to, along with his father, John, find a place in her heart in no time at all. But the whispered secrets of the past, along with the new clues that point to sinister circumstances bring her to the brink of discovery again and again. Will she be able to piece the puzzle before it is too late, or will the past rear it's ugly head to claim her as well?  

I particularly love this author, but a series set in the past seemed a little different for Coble. I was worried she would either give up historical detail, or the mystery and intrigue she is so well known for. I worried for nothing. Coble has masterfully weaved of tale of romance, historical setting, suspense, and kept me turning pages till I lost a whole night of sleep.

I started this book with reluctance, but now I can barely wait to read the rest of the series. The author has done the world of Christian fiction a favor by weaving her stories, and I, for one, cannot wait to discover more.

Friday, August 10, 2012


 by Judy Christie

Barbour Publishers

Wreath Willis is a sixteen year old girl who is determined to have a good life. Recently orphaned, she makes herself a list of all the things she needs to do to succeed in life, despite the odds against her. With no guardians, no place to stay and no money, she scopes out the town where her mother grew up, and settles on an old junkyard for a roof over her head.

One of the big things on her "list" is to avoid notice, something she does with no avail. Everywhere she turns is a complication to her plans, and no matter what she does, she draws attention wherever she goes. Will her past fears catch up to her, or will her secrets cause suspicions to the point that she will be forced to run again?

Wreath caught me up in it's spell to the point that I didn't realize I was entrapped until the book came to an end. I realized that every hope and dream of this girl became my own. Every disappointment and sorrow that overtook her became mine to resolve. And it wasn't until I finally had shut the book and looked up at life that I realized I was caught in it's fantastical web, and that the line between reality and fiction was blurred and no longer clear. A wonderful book that I will visit again and again, and again...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Guardian

by Robbie Cheuvront & Erik Reed

Barbour Publishers

Anna Riley is in possession of a 2,000 year old scroll, passed on from generation to generation from the apostle John. When she is appointed the guardian of the priceless scroll, she sets out on a perilous journey to unlock the secrets of the parchment.

With her protector, Jason Lang, they travel the world, hunting down the answer to the seemingly impossible riddle. Armed with the scant knowledge of her ancestors and a determination to see her mission through, she faces corruption and dodges catastrophe at every turn. Will she unlock the secrets the scroll has to offer? Or will unseen forces ultimately win the battle of good verses evil?

Religious thrillers are a dime a dozen, but this one caught my interest with it's straightforward writing, and true biblical roots. While the storyline is fiction, quite a few events are true history, even to the non-Christian world. I appreciated the lack of lovey dovey dribble, yet there was still a subtle romantic undercurrent between Anna and Jason. It was tasteful and didn't choke up the story, and I enjoyed seeing the beginnings to a romantic relationship from the guys' point of view.

The book took so many grand twists and turns, leaping out at me with it's adventures and mysteries. I stayed up half the night, willing the book to not kill off anyone important and breathlessly reading as fast as possible to find the outcome. If you like unique, Christian suspense/thriller then this is the book for you! Definitely authors to watch, and two guys that clearly didn't get the recognition they deserve for this amazing work of word art.

Monday, August 6, 2012


by Lori Wick

Harvest House Publishers

Jessie Wheeler is a single mother, the proprietor of Token Creek's only general store. Abandoned by her husband Seth before their second child was born, she lives every day with regrets of the past. Her heart shattered beyond repair, she lives a seemingly meaningless existence with no hope of the future and no love in her heart except for her girls.

Out of the blue, Seth returns to town with big words and big dreams of a future together for all of them. Jessie cannot believe a man can change overnight. But will she also underestimate the power of God's forgiveness and love - for every single member of her family?

Jessie gave me a rare glimpse of a well-written book on a soul's struggle for salvation, and showed that the beliefs of our parents can truly shape our future. Jessie is plagued by fears and doubts that Seth isn't truly a changed man, and the story really makes you empathize with her and her daughters.

As I've said before, I don't understand why the author chose to use phrases such as "that man" and "that woman" instead of "he" and "she", but the language is still simple and easy to understand. I spent my time savoring this book, because I simply did not want it to end. Saying goodbye to Token Creek in Montana Territory was a little hard, but one can always go back and start over.