Monday, December 30, 2013


This was a nice Christmas story centered around the people you have come to love in the "Northwoods Adventure Series".  Kelly is the owner of the hair salon in the quiet  town in Northern Michigan and she is feeling a little lonely because her parents are in Chicago and her brother has moved to California. So one night she decides if she was a "wishing on a star" type girl she would wish for someone to spend Christmas with.  Enter Trevor who is visiting family and who has been told Kelly in an "ice queen" and isn't interested in dating.  Trevor takes the challenge to thaw out this ice queen in the week he is in town.

I liked the way this story incorporated the folks from the first three stories in this series (Emma's Promise, Penny from Heaven and Help Me, Rhonda).  I liked the small town feel and I really enjoyed watching Kelly and Trevor have fun and get to know one another in a very short period of time.  I also enjoyed the way the author wove into this story the need in both of their lives for the Lord and how He is what is most important in their life for true peace and  happiness.  It was a very enjoyable story to read during the Christmas Season and I look forward to reading another story in this series soon, "Saved by Grace".  I encourage everyone to read all the stories in the order they were written (although each story is also great as a stand alone).  I am a real "sucker" for a good romance and especially a good Christmas romance so this gets a great recommendation!  Enjoy, but bundle up because it can get cold in the Northwoods at Christmas.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

WHITE AS SNOW by Donna Westover Gallup

Was this a well written story? Yes!  Did it hold my interest? Yes!  Would I read it again? Probably not.  But I am willing and ready to read the other books in this series!  The author weaved the gospel message into this story in a very powerful and meaningful way and I would definitely recommend this book for others to read.  You will be able to feel yourself in this little cabin in the Colorado Territory in 1864.  You will feel for 10 year old Charlie as he tries to be a man and care for his Gramps and the homestead on his own.  And you will come to understand who sent Jess to help Charlie just when he needed it most.  A favorite quote from the book, "Remember Charlie, God doesn't work on our clock, and He'll wait as long as it takes till we reach that point when we will know for sure that the answer came from Him and no one else."

So why didn't I give it a higher rating than 3 1/2 stars?  Well I don't know how others rate their books, but I base mine on how likely I would be to read this story again.  I am a romance reader kind of girl and although I am glad I read the story, and would read other stories in this series, and would recommend this book to others, it had no romance.  What can I say other than that is just who I am and what I like.  Happy reading everyone!

Friday, December 27, 2013

AN AMISH CHRISTMAS by Kathleen Fuller, Beth Wiseman & Barbara Cameron

This was a set of three stories written by three different authors, but all take place in Paradise, PA and are centered around a specific Amish family. I really enjoyed all 3 stories, but "A Miracle for Miriam" by Kathleen Fuller was my favorite.

This is the first story in this Christmas Novella and what a good story it was.  I was cheering for Miriam all the way through and so appreciated the change in Seth.  I appreciated the fact that true beauty comes from within.  Seth is no longer the arrogant young boy he once was when he made fun of Miriam and broke her heart at the age of 14.  Now they have both grown up and after surviving an almost fatal car accident Seth is seeing life a little bit differently.  I loved this section of the story when Seth is realizing the true beauty of Miriam, “Granted, there were women out there with curvier figures and prettier faces, but now that didn't matter to him.  At one time it had; he couldn't deny that.  There was only one woman he was interested in, one woman who could drive him crazy one minute then sneak into his heart the next.  Miriam Herschberger.”  Seth must find a way to show Miriam he truly cares about her, and Miriam must come to learn to trust in Seth and in the fact that her beauty within can truly make someone like Seth see her as beautiful all over.  Yeah for the way this author championed those young ladies who don’t think they are pretty.  This was a good love story, very believable, and left me very well satisfied.

Story number two was about Miriam's sister, Lydia who has lost her husband and must now learn to forgive and trust her deceased husband's brother, Daniel when he shows up 18 years later on Miriam's doorstep after leaving long ago on Christmas Eve.  He was Lydia's first love and she never understood why he left so suddenly.  When the truth is revealed, Lydia must learn to forgive not only  Daniel, but her husband as well.

I really enjoyed the way the last story was written.  "One Child" was centered around David and Sarah, an Amish couple who lost their baby during the pregnancy last Christmas.  Now they struggle through this one.  But when a blizzard hits they find themselves taking in an "Englisch" couple, who are about to have a baby.  I loved the way these two couples came to know one another, understand the different lifestyles and appreciate the simplistic way of the Amish.  It was a heartfelt story as Sarah and David give of themselves when their own hearts are hurting and how the birth of a child can make a difference in each of their lives.

This was a novella I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


This was an interesting and enjoyable story centered around a quilt. Izzy's grandmother left her a Wild Goose Chase pattern quilt that had a remarkable history behind it.  She also left clues and different messengers along Izzy's way to find a purpose behind leaving her the quilt.  Izzy must work with her mother Janice who struggles with disappointments and lost dreams, and with her brother Brandon, who is convinced that the quilt leads to a treasure chest of wealth.  Izzy is also dealing with Max who wants the quilt for his museum, but ends up wanting Izzy more than the quilt, but is having a hard time convincing Izzy of his true feelings for her.  A midst  it all you will see what the grandmother was trying to accomplish in each of these family members; true happiness doesn't come from material things, but through real love between people.  "Now faith, hope, and love remain - these three things - and the greatest of these is love."  There is a little bit of mystery, alot of smiles and a special romance all wrapped up in this lovely Christmas quilt.
 Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

Monday, December 23, 2013

LOVE FINDS YOU UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Irene Brand and Anita Higman

Two short stories that are a delight to read.  They are both centered around towns that put you in the Christmas spirit;  Mistletoe, Kentucky, and then Noel, Missouri.  I liked both stories, but  "Once Upon a Christmas Eve" was without a doubt my favorite.

"An Appalachian Christmas" takes place shortly after World War II and to quote a section of the book (which really explains the story), "Julia hadn't had a preconceived notion of what she would find in Mistletoe, but in her wildest imaginings, she had never expected any of this!  In the past two days she'd been stranded in the middle of a muddy creek and rescued by a handsome mountaineer, who had stirred her emotions as no man ever had.  Then the man she'd traveled hundred of miles to see had threatened to kill her.  She'd been accepted like family by a mountain woman and her son, and she'd been confronted with local customs that were fifty years behind the outside world's.  She felt as far removed from her normal lifestyle as if she'd suddenly landed on the moon.  What else might happen to her before she left Mistletoe?"  Well you will need to read the book to find out.

"Once Upon a Christmas Eve" was one of those feel good stories. The back cover of the book says it best: "Holly Goodnight's store has just been voted best Christmas shop in America.  All the publicity draws flamboyant novelist Van Keaton to the cozy town of Noel, Missouri, demanding to write Holly's story - a dramatic tale of misfortune and triumph.  She is swept up in his world of beautiful words. . . until Owen Quigly, her lifelong best friend, launches a plan to win her back."  I adored Owen and Holly and their friendship and how Owen works his magic to make Holly see that they are more than just friends.  A classic romance story.  Sit back and cozy up to two stories that will warm your heart.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


If you are looking for a fun and lighthearted Christmas romance, then this story is one you might not want to read right now.  Although it definitely has a Christmas theme to it, it was a story of how a family struggles through a very difficult time in their life.  It was very well written and showed that even a family who thinks they "have it together" can face some real struggles when tragedy strikes.

Natalie and Daniel are raising their one child and working and life seems to be going about in a normal fashion.  Then one day Natalie finds herself getting a phone call that her Mom is in the hospital with a stroke and because no one found her for awhile her prognosis for recovery is not good.  Natalie blames herself for this as she turned down her mother's request to come over to the house and help her the day it happened.  Now Natalie is pulling away from her husband and her family and can't seem to come to grips with her life.  She thinks working hard all the time will help but it ends up separating her from her husband and daughter.  Can anyone or anything get through to Natalie?

I thought the author did a good job of getting into the minds of each family member and helping you to understand their thought processes.  I was a little upset with Natalie and her failure to see what she was doing to her family.  I felt sorry for the daughter who was trying so hard to keep her folks together.  And I wished that Daniel could have tried a little harder to help Natalie.  It was a good but difficult ending to a very somber story.  Love and forgiveness go hand in hand and life is not easy sometimes, but God is faithful and when we take our eyes off ourselves and put them on Him, we can make it through those hard times and come out stronger.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A CAROL FOR CHRISTMAS by Robin Lee Hatcher

This was a short story (120 pages), and it had a good message to it.  This is book one in The Burke Family Series.  I had already read book 2 several years ago, not realizing it was in a series.  It was good to go back and see how this family got started.  You can easily read these two books ("A Carol for Christmas" and "Return to Me") as stand alone books, but they were both very good stories so I highly recommend both of them.

This is the story of newlyweds, Carol Burke and her husband Jonathan.  They fall in love, leave college and get married.  But married life isn't  as wonderful as Carol had dreamed when she gave up her dreams of a music career and followed her husband to Idaho to help learn the family business.  Jonathan has long hours at work while Carol sits alone in their tiny apartment.  Then Carol gets a chance of lifetime to sing and pursue her career.  But is it her chance of a lifetime, or a time for her to trust her future to what God wants for her life.  A tender look at how fragile we can become when we take our eyes off the Lord and set them only on our wants and desires.

I really enjoyed this story.  I thought the author took the verse, "Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this",  and helped me to realize, along with Carol, that "God hadn't promised to give Carol what she wanted because she delighted in Him.  God had promised that when she delighted in Him, the desires of her heart would change and be what He wanted for her."  A good thought to be reminded of.  I was rooting for the love Carol and Jonathan had for each other and was glad to see how each of them came to realize how special their love for each other really was.  I felt refreshed after reading this story.


This was a classic Hallmark movie in book form.  It was a quick read and put you in the Christmas spirit.  Who wouldn't like this town, Nativity, Missouri, and who hasn't at one time wished for the lamp that is in "A Christmas Story".  You have Jake Brisco coming into town to try and save Nativity from going broke since the new highway went in and bypassed their town.  Roni Elliot needs to help him make cutbacks but it isn't fun giving up the town Christmas tree and all the traditional stuff the town does each year.  But sometimes change can be good and sometimes the person you think is mean and a "ba-humbug" can turn out to have a heart after all.  A classic Christmas romance story.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I have read many books by Mary Connealy and she never fails to keep me entertained and enjoying the story I am reading.  The Cowboy Christmas was another enjoyable story that had me cheering for the good folks and anxiously awaiting the bad guys to be caught and taken care of.  This had a wonderful romance story going on, but also conflict, danger, and a battle over letting go of our grief and learning to live again.

Annette Talbot is using her voice for the Lord, until she realizes that the new leaders of the mission troupe she is with want her to use her voice for evil instead of good.  She narrowly escapes and finds herself heading back home to Wyoming, to her father's ranch, where she hasn't been in years.  On the stagecoach ride to her  home town of Ranger Bluff so will meet up with Elijah Walker, a man whose heart has turned cold toward women when he watched his ex-fiance cause his father's death.  But Elijah has a hard time not falling for Annette as he continues to have to rescue her from danger.  But can he trust another women and can Annette trust Elijah with her secrets.

I enjoyed everything about this story.  Annette was a woman full of spunk and character, although she thought of herself as cowardly.  Elijah has a soft heart even though he tries to play tough.  It was fun watching these two people learn to let go and trust one another and in the process sparks will fly.  It is Christmas in Wyoming, so bundle up because its cold outside, but your heart will be warmed from reading "Cowboy Christmas".

Sunday, December 8, 2013

THE CHRISTMAS DOG by Melody Carlson

If you have a soft spot for dogs then you are going to enjoy this story.  This was a cute and endearing story of how a cute little dog brought people together.  It is also a story of how easy it is to let our imagination get the best of us when it comes to people and who we think they are without getting a chance to truly know them.

Betty is a widow lady who needs a break from runaway dogs, mixed up granddaughters, frightening neighbors and angry daughters-in-law.  She has a dog she never wanted and did not need and that has sneaked into her life.   Betty one day discovers a stray "mutt" in her backyard and assumes it is the new neighbor, Jack's  dog.  It is in desperate need of a bath and some tender loving care.  Betty decides to do the nice neighborly thing and returns the dog and leaves him on Jack's porch.  The next day Jack returns the dog to Betty and they play this, who is going to take care of this dog routine.  Then Betty's grand-daughter shows up at her front door and wants to move in.  Avery, the granddaughter, falls in love with the dog and from there this little "mutt" will begin to bring all three people together in a very tender but fun way.  It was enjoyable to see how showing a little kindness and getting to know your neighbors can change your outlook on life.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Okay, it is that time of year again, December, when I get out my books that have Christmas in their title and begin to read and set the mood for the "most wonderful time of the year"!  This is story number one on my list this year:

This was a tender love story set during WWII.  It was the time of the Big Band sounds and I liked the way the author wove some of that music into her story.  I could tap my feet and hum the songs as I read.  I also enjoyed the twist to this story where the girl goes off to serve her country during the war and the boy stays behind and waits for his girl.  These characters were very easy to like and you could understand and feel their pain and sorrow, and also the strong love and attraction they each had for each other.  I would have easily given this book a 5 stars, but I just thought it ended way to quickly for me.

The year is 1944 and Maggie Culpepper has lost her mother to disease and feels like God just doesn't care about all her prayers.  She finds great comfort and strength through her childhood friend, William and they discover the love they both have for each other.  William had polio as a boy and cannot serve in the military because he is deemed physically unfit.  Maggie struggles with giving her heart to someone for fear something will happen and her heart will break like it did when her mother died.  So she enlists, says goodbye to William and leaves everyone she cares about behind.  She is going to give herself completely to serving her country and not open her heart up again.

We all probably know how this will turn out, but the deep emotions that William has when he sees the love of his life leave him and tell him to go on and forget about her is very heartfelt.  And when you see Maggie struggle to just live her life without caring for anyone you see the impossibility of it.  Her anger at God is real and she will need to open her heart again and find God's love had never left her and neither had William's.  There is a caretaker in this story named Mr. Byrd ( he works on the Christmas tree farm that William owns) and his story and his Godly advice was very endearing.  Then there is the final scenes in the book and there were tears in my eyes at times as this story comes to its conclusion.  It was just an all around great love story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  So sit back, and be prepared to find yourself humming along to some big band songs that will take you back in time.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


This is book two in The Great Northwest series, but I was thrown off a little by the fact that this story takes place in history before book one,  Empire Builders.  In begins in 1834 where there is a battle over what country will take control of the uncharted land called Oregon.  Three nations are vying for the land, Russia, the British and the United States.  It was interesting to learn some of the history at that time while reading this story.  It was a story full of intrigue and danger and finding out where ones loyalty really lies.

Savana Rezanov Mackenzie has a Russian-English heritage, whose loyalties are with the British for power in the American Northwest.  She was abandoned by her Russian mother and didn't really get to know her father so she finds herself traveling with her uncle to the great Northwest to possibly meet her grandmother, the Russian countess.  But she will find herself a pawn in the hand of men she is not sure she can trust.

Trace Wilder is a man of many identities. He finds himself in the middle of danger and espionage as he tries to secure Oregon for the United States and protect Savana from a man she thinks will help her in meeting her grandmother.

This was an interesting story full of intrigue and there was a lot of people and countries to keep track of so it was a story that kept me on my toes as I tried to sort everything all out.  There was definitely a romance going on in the story, but there was much more to this book than just a romance novel.  The author researched the history of the time and did a good job of bringing history to life.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

EMPIRE BUILDERS by Linda Chaikin

As I was reading this book I kept thinking I was reading a movie I might have watched.  This was a story that took you on a ride through the Northwest territory in the late 1800s.  It would stop at different times in the story and then take off again until you came to another year or years later.   It was about men who wanted to make it big either in the Northern Pacific railroad or the rich timberland of the Northwest.  It was about what some would do to protect their fortunes and what it would cost them in the end.

Ember Ridgeway in the pampered niece of the railroad tycoon Mack Ridgeway.  She will grow up during this story and find that life doesn't always turn out the way you planned, but if you rely upon the Lord He will see you through when everyone else seems to let you down.  Tavish Wilder is a man who grew up knowing to do good but finds out quickly how evil men can trample you down.  Will he grow bitter and seek revenge or stay true to what his parents had taught him from the Bible.  The story revolves around these two characters but there were so many more people involved in this story.  I think the author did a wonderful job of making this story come alive, like watching a movie!  All aboard for a train ride that will take you through danger, romance, sorrow and conflict but will bring you to a satisfying conclusion.

Monday, November 25, 2013


This is the second book I have read by Tessa Afshar and she is becoming one of my favorite authors.  Her stories so far are written during biblical times and seem very real and plausible.  The characters have struggles and conflicts that touch your heart and the author does a good job of bringing forth biblical truth as she writes.

This story is about Sarah, a Jewish girl who can read and write Persian during the reign of King Artaxerxes, which was not common for a girl during this time..  Her cousin is Nehemiah, the king's cupbearer and her father is Simeon a scribe.  Sarah finds herself being sent to work for the Queen, Damaspia, as her senior scribe at the age of 20.  Life seems good to Sarah as she works at doing her best to please the Queen.  But to show her gratitude for a job well done the Queen arranges a marriage between Sarah and Darius, an official who works under the King.  Sarah has no desire to marry and does nothing to prepare for her wedding, so when she arrives at the wedding feast she finds herself causing shame to her new husband and to the royal family and her own family.  Darius takes her to his home, but wants nothing to do with her.  Now Sarah must learn how to gain her husband's trust and love.  It is a long journey for them both, but well worth the time as you watch each of them grow in their marriage closer to one another.  Sarah must learn to seek her worth in the Lord and not in anyone else.  As she does she will find she can face anything and become the person that will draw her husband to her.

I continue to appreciate this author's style of writing and also enjoy reading about life during Bible times.  I look forward to reading more by this author and I know she is writing a sequel to "Harvest of Rubies" because she had a sneak peek at the back of this book called "Harvest of Gold".   I  highly recommend her books to read and enjoy and fall in love with her characters.
Pages: 342
Year: 2012
Publisher: Moody Publisher
ISBN: 0802405584

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Widow Mandy McClellen Gray has had a disastrous marriage and now finds herself living in a remote mountain "castle" with three children to raise and outlaws who want her dead.  Rancher Tom Linscott is a tough cowboy who raises stallion horses.  He has come to rescue Mandy whether she wants to be rescued or not.  But when he gets her off the mountain he finds that trouble has followed her to his ranch, and he must protect Mandy and her 3 children and himself.  The only problem is Mandy doesn't want his help because she really is the fastest "sharpshooter in petticoats".

This is book 3 in the "Sophie's Daughters" series and this series is the third series of books that all tie in together in this series.  You will read and remember various characters from the other series and it is interesting and fun trying to keep everyone's stories straight.  I really enjoy reading Mary Connealy's stories.  She writes with a little bit of humor and always keeps things moving with lots of adventure, danger, romance, conflict and faith.  Her heroines are great ladies who were raised to take care of themselves, but who all have a soft spot in their heart when the right man comes along.  I liked the way she ended this series and look forward to reading more by this author.

Friday, November 15, 2013


There are many things I like about this author's style of writing.  I like how she immediately begins her stories with a dramatic fast-paced scene that immediately catches my attention.  I like how she develops her characters.  The ladies have a mind of their own and can take care of themselves, but they also know their God-given place as a wife and mother.  There is humor, romance, lightheartedness and tragedy all rolled into a story that keeps me captivated from beginning to end.

This book is the second story in "Sophie's Daughters" series.  I really liked it (but I liked book one, "Doctor in Petticoats", just a teenier, tiny bit more).  In this story "tough Texan tomboy Sally McClellan heads to Montana to visit her pregnant sister Mandy.  But when her traveling party is attacked, Sally is left for dead".  Logan McKenzie, an artist who lives in the Rockies, discovers Sally and takes her home in the hopes that his Shoshone housekeeper can keep her alive.  There is constant danger in the air though as the outlaws discover she is still alive and want her silenced.

Can a tough tomboy cowgirl see the sense in a man who draws and paints for a living?  And can the artist help the cowgirl to see the beauty and worth in what he is doing.  Can these two mismatched people accept each other for who they are and live a happy life?  It was fun watching Sally learn to love this man.

I so enjoyed the fact that Mary Connealy brought in people from her other series into this series.  It was like meeting up with people again that I really enjoyed and finding out how they were doing.  I would advice you to read this series in the order they were written as it helps you get to know all the characters better and because you won't be disappointed in any of the stories.  Saddle up, sit back and get ready for a great adventure!  I am anxious to begin the next book in this series, "Sharpshooter in Petticoats".

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I really enjoy Mary Connealy's style of writing.  They are stories that can make you smile and laugh, but also have characters with real hardships and trials they are experiencing.  I always come away refreshed having read one of her books.  I especially like this series because in book one at least, you are reunited with people from her other series.

Beth McClellen is returning home after 4 years away learning how to become a doctor.  She wasn't planning on having a stage coach accident before she reached her home of Mosqueros, Texas.  And she definitely didn't want to be late arriving home because she wanted to see her sister, Mandy, before she left for Colorado with her new husband.  But God sometimes has other plans for us and in this story you will see how the McClellen family learns how to "go with the flow" when things don't go their way.

At the scene of the stagecoach accident Beth will have to rely upon the "derelict" traveling with her on the stage.  Alex Buchanan may seem like a drunken bum at first, but when you really get to know him and understand what he has gone through, you realize how badly he is hurting.  Beth and Alex will find themselves almost "attached at the hip" for several days and they both will come to need each other for very different reasons.  This relationship will be a joy to watch develop and see where it leads them and the danger they will find themselves in.  So sit back and get ready for another delightful western adventure!  I am off to begin book two in this series, "Wrangler in Petticoats".

Thursday, November 7, 2013

UNSPOKEN by Dee Henderson

Dee Henderson has done it again.  Another great story that has it all; mystery, suspense, romance, danger, tenderness, and much more.  I liked the way the story began and then fast forwarded to the present.  I was in awe of the whole coin collection scenario and the amazing wealth of some people.  And I loved the way the main character wanted to give it away and the way she went about it.

Charlotte Graham (not her real name to protect her from publicity and exposure) was once very much in the news when she became famous for her kidnapping in Chicago years ago.  It took the FBI 4 years to find her and it has taken Charlotte much  longer  to try to come to grips with what happened.  She never talks about what happened during those four years, not to the police, her family or her friends.  Now she finds herself inheriting her grandfather's vast estate and needs help selling off his enormous coin collection.  She approaches Bryce Bishop, a well known dealer in rare coins with a very interesting offer which he finds himself almost forced to take.  This encounter will be the beginning of a very slow but very heartfelt and tender relationship.  I couldn't help but appreciate and love the way Bryce was with Charlotte.  It truly was a very lovely romance.

I enjoyed the fact that characters from the book "Full Disclosure" were also brought back into this story.  I also appreciated the very real struggles Charlotte had with trying to reconcile the two facts - "God was good, and she had been badly hurt".  Bryce would try to help Charlotte understand that "God had created people with a free will, had given people the freedom to decide what they wanted to do. . . .Most people rejected God and the world turned evil.  But in the midst of that, God was still good, He still acted in love."

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and hopefully will read a story about John and Ellie in the near future??!  I received this book from  Bethany House through NetGalley for my enjoyment and honest review.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

DESPERADO DALE by Andrea Aarons

Taken from the beginning of this book: "In Book 4 we meet another Merriweather sibling - Dale.  An unconventional Christian, Dale always the good guy; a great father and loving husband is targeted by the authorities for smuggling contraband onto the Greek isle of Kerkyra.  Why do they want his grandmother's carry-on bag?  Everyone is seeking Dale including Mac and Merry sailing the sloop, Serendipity to rescue him and his family.  The island nation of D'Almata is their short-term goal but in a world turned upside down and driven by dark forces, will they succeed?"

This was what I thought was the final story in this series, but I see now where there is another book coming out as a conclusion to it all.  This for me was my least favorite of all the books so far.  I just didn't connect well with the characters in this story or the story line.  The rest of the family and the cast of characters you have come to know from reading books 1-3 are very much a part of this story.  There were also some rather strange occurrances in this story that were too "science fiction" for me to be true.  Although I know this is taking place near the end of time as we know it now, it just didn't flow that well for me.  I would be interested to see how the author finishes this series with her final story in book five, "Scenic Route to Paradise".

CATCHING KATE by Andrea Aarons

Times are not normal.  The United States has been bombed plus there has been major earthquakes in the Midwest.  Kate Merriweather is in South Africa during this time, taking a small detour for some much needed soul searching before she heads for the island of D'Almata to attend her widowed mother's wedding.  Now catastrophe has struck the U.S.A. and it is reeking havoc all around the world.  Kate finds herself needing to get out of the country, but with no money and traveling by plane hard to come by, Kate does her best to make her way towards D'Almata.  She eventually hooks up with her sister Merry and her husband Mac and they find themselves resting a few days with a bachelor friend of Mac's named Roger.  Although Roger is attracted to Kate, Kate doesn't feel she is ready for any commitments.  When Kate's life is in danger and she finds herself captured by sea pirates, Roger comes to her rescue and things between them slowly start to change.

Although you could read this series of books by themselves, I strongly suggest you read them in the order they are written to fully understand what is going on.  Each book picks up shortly after the previous one and includes the same characters throughout the series.  This was one of my favorite stories in this series of books.  This series is all about the Merriweather family with book one (Cynic, Surfer, Saint) being about Toni Merriweather the widowed Mom, book two (Merry's Mauraders) being about the youngest daughter, and this story being about Kate the older daughter; (book three, Desperado Dale is about the son).  They are written with not a lot of "filler" but very concise and to the point.  I believe the author would have us experience through these stories what the world will be like right before the tribulation in the Bible.  It is an interesting take on things.  With each story she leaves you hanging on how it ended.  There is romance, but you have to use your imagination on what takes place because the "romantic scenes" are few and far between.  I am off to finish this series with "Desperado Dale".

Sunday, October 27, 2013

MERRY'S MARAUDERS by Andrea Aarons

As the book description says at the beginning of this story regarding this series of books, "Scenic Route to Paradise Reality merges with the realm of faith in this almost-could-be story."  This story has some adventure, romance and a lot of "almost-could-be" things happening in it.  There is raiding empty houses, taking over a convalescent home, becoming a "wartime bride" all wrapped up in this story that takes place during a time in America when an earthquake and then a military strike by an unknown emeny drive the town of Santa Fe, New Mexico into an area where each man for himself makes living very dangerous.

This story takes place shortly after book one leaves off.  Merry is the daughter of Toni Merriweather and runs a Christian halfway house ministry.  She is getting ready to go to the country of D'Almata to visit her Mom and Mac from that country arrives to take her there.  When he arrives everything breaks loose and it is like a war torn town.  Mac steps up and helps everyone organize and stay safe.  It is quite a different group of people who come together and work together to stay safe and alive.  It is an unusual scenario and this author has a different style of writing, but I must say at the end of each story she leaves the ending with enough interest to want me to keep reading to see what will happen in the next book.  So I am off to begin "Catching Kate" next.

Friday, October 25, 2013


This was a story written slightly different from a lot of authors I have read.  I can't put my finger on it, but I think it lacked the emotion that I usually feel with a story.  It started off with Toni, a lady in her fifties being hired out for the evening to babysit for some guests on vacation.  While she is watching a little girl men break in and try to kidnap her.  Toni, who is a widow and former missionary, is able to foil their plans, which leads her to a job with the family protecting their teenage son while teaching him how to surf.  With the son comes his bodyguard, Rifta, and his uncle, Hugh.  These folks are from the country of D'Almata and the son, Mishael is about to take over as ruler.  The odd thing is, Toni has never surfed, but her late husband was very good at it and tried to teach her when he was alive.

The characters in this story are all very unique, with interesting life styles.  Toni tries to share her belief in God with them and it was interesting to see her beliefs through their eyes.  It was a story I found myself interested in, but it took awhile to get used to the style of this author.  I was pleased with the ending sort of, because it kind of left you hanging, which was one of the reasons I want to pick up book two in this series, "Merry's Marauders",  and see if it will tell me how I think things will turn out.  Get your surf board out and your imagination on and try "Cynic, Surfer and Saint".

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A HOPEFUL HEART by Kim Vogel Sawyer

The year is 1888 and Tressa Neill finds herself stepping off a train in Barnett, Kansas. She has come to this town, along with several other young ladies, to attend  the Wyatt Herdsman School.  Tressa has been sent her against her desires because the Aunt and Uncle who have raised her think it is her only way to land a man.  The school is a one-of-a-kind set-up where "Aunt Hattie" will teach the girls from the East the skills needed to become a wife of a rancher; from cooking to branding and horseback riding.  The things is, can Tressa survive the training and can she lasso herself a rancher?

This was a unique but very enjoyable storyline.  I liked the concept of girls coming west to learn to live in the west before marrying a rancher.  The town doesn't lack for ranchers and men who want a wife, so it is a matter of finding the right man for the right girl.  Tressa was a lady who at one time was able to see and remember a happy loving marriage before her parents died, and then she endured a loveless upbringing by her aunt and uncle.  She wants to find a man like her father.

Abel Samms is a man who wants nothing to do with women, after he had already gotten a "mail order bride" which didn't work out for him.  But he wasn't counting on being smitten with Tressa.  Aunt Hattie was a jewel in the rough.  I loved her desire to see her school be a success and teach the girls how to become a rancher's wife.  She was a tenderhearted woman who survived heartache in her life, but who had  a strong faith in the Lord and wasn't afraid to share it.  A couple of her gems she shared that I really appreciated:  "We can't really define good.  The problem with our human eyes is that we can only see the right now.  But God, He sees around the corner, over the hill, and clean to the horizon.   So sometimes those things we face that we don't understand - the things we think of as bad - are really for our good down the line."  And then there was, "Man's reasonin' is foolishness in the sight o' God.  Just 'cause things don't go the way we want 'em to doesn't mean God's quit carin'.  He cares deep, but His ways aren't our.  His ways are always better."

The other thing I liked about this story is the mystery behind the cattle rustling going on at Abel's ranch.  There were many times when I thought I knew what was going on behind the stealing, but it wasn't until near the end, where the real truth became obvious to me.  I always like a story that keeps me guessing until the end.  And there were characters in the story that I didn't think I would like, but who surprised me and who I came to appreciate.  All around, it was a very enjoyable romance with mystery and danger thrown in to keep it even more interesting.  So saddle up and head to Barnett, Kansas for a delightful stay at Aunt Hattie's "Herdsman School".

Saturday, October 12, 2013

STRANDED by Dani Pettrey

This author did it again!  Another great suspenseful, fast action, romantic story-line that is hard to put down once you start!  This is book 3 in the Alaskan Courage series and although you could read it as a stand alone, I recommend you read them in order so you can get to know the McKenna family and experience their faith and how they need to depend on the Lord to get them through some tough situations (they have all been great stories so far - but my favorite is book #2-Shattered).  This story is about Gage McKenna.  It takes place around a cruise ship in the Alaskan waters.

Darcy St. James is an undercover reporter showing up on a cruise ship to help out her friend who is investigating a big story.  But when Darcy shows up her friend Abby disappears.  Now Darcy must discover what happened to Abby and what big story she was working on.  She finds herself needing the help of the McKenna family and especially the help of Gage McKenna who is running  adventure excursions for the passengers on the cruise.  Something sinister is going on aboard ship and on land during the excursions and Gage and Darcy are trying to solve the mystery.  What they find is very hard to wrap your head around when you think of the evil that goes on, even in the good old USA!  So strap on your life jackets and get ready for a fast paced story aboard an Alaskan cruise that will keep you reading into the wee hours of the night just to finish and see what happens.

This book was given to me to read from Bethany House through NetGalley for my honest review.

File Size: 716 KB
Print Length: 353 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0764209841
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (September 1, 2013)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

MISS LAVINIA'S CALL and other stories by Grace Livingston Hill

This is a book of 14 different heartwarming short stories by the author Grace Livingston Hill (which includes the Esselstynes which was the author's 1st book published when she was twelve).  The author goes beyond just entertaining; but writes with a message.  As it says at the end of the book "about the Author":  "For Grace, the most important thing she did was not write books but share the message of salvation, a message she felt God wanted her to share through the abilities he had given her.  Grace Livingston Hill wrote more than one hundred books, all of which have sold thousands of copies and have touched the lives of readers around the world with their message of "enduring love" and the true way to lasting happiness: a relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ."  As you read the compilation of short stories you will see this in her writing.  I have long been a "fan" of this author and really enjoy her style of writing and her message.