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.