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.

Monday, October 7, 2013

THE PRAIRIE PRINCE by Marcia Lynn McClure

Portions taken from the back cover of the book because it says it so well:  "For Katie Matthews life held no promise of true happiness.  Men didn't have time to dote on women - so Katie's brutal father told her.  To Katie, it seemed life would forever remain mundane and disappointing - until the day Stover Steele bought her father's south acreage.  Handsome, rugged and fiercely protective of four orphaned sisters, Stover Steele seemed to have stepped from the pages of some romantic novel.  Could Katie win the attentions of the handsome Stover long enough to be rescued?

This was a "feel good" story.  You get done reading and you feel good because there is a happily ever after at the end.  It is filled with romance, not just with Katie and Stover, but also with Katie's brother and Stover's oldest sister.  The twins were also a delight to the story.  I liked the fact that when Stover fell in love with Katie it wasn't out of pity, but because of her "joy of living, her disregard for what people thought, and the amusing nature of her silly antics.  It was her love for her brother, her determination not to let her rotten father ruin her."  It was because she was a lovely young woman who had a huge capacity to love.  If you want to "get away" and enjoy a delightful romantic story, then pick up "The Prairie Prince" and sit back and get carried away to Custer Creek and a small cabin on the prairie.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


This was a great second book in this trilogy.  Although it wasn't as lighthearted as the first story, it was just as good.  Life isn't always smooth sailing as the author states.  In this story there will be hardships and grief, but there will also be joy, love and endurance.  I highly recommend you read these stories in the order they were written because this story picks up where book one left off and you really want to get to know the family by reading book one first, "The Captain's Choice".

Captain Laurence and his friends all find themselves engaged at sea during a time of war with Napoleon.  Their wives and girlfriends will hold down the homefront which can prove to be a real challenge at times.  But through it all you will continue to love the Bertram family and their steadfast faith in the Lord.  Although Jasmine and Laurence are key characters in this story, it is about all the daughters and their partners in life.  It is about having riches or treasures in the "abundance of family and friends".

There is no lack of entertainment while reading this story.  But there is also alot of rich lessons to learn while reading and the author does a good job of weaving those lessons into her story.  As an example, Laurence has to struggle with some bitterness and resentment in his life and as usual seeks out his father-in-law for advice.  He tells Laurence to let go and turn those feeling over to God.  Laurence has tried but it just isn't working.  Then father Bertram replies, "You haven't really given something to God unless you can walk away from it.  You disown it; it no longer belongs to you."  It is then followed with the precious verses, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."  It is jewels like that which are scattered throughout this story and this trilogy.  I am anxious to read the third story in this trilogy which is called, "The Captain's Gift" according to the back cover of this book, but can't find it out yet.  I surely hope the author is able to finish this series.  She is doing a great job so far!  Happy sailing into uncharted courses with "The Captain's Treasure".