Tuesday, November 25, 2014

THE STONES by Eleanor Gustafson

This is a novel on the life of King David.  The author gave a look at David's motives, emotions, the chaos in his life and his abilities.  She weaved a good believable story of a biblical person we know a lot about from reading the Bible.  This story is told through the person of Asaph, who was a Levite musician, which made it even more interesting.  It is a fictional account, with scriptural accuracy.  You get to see the behind-the-scenes look as to why people did the things they did.  There will be a giant being killed, wars and a lot of fighting men, temptations and deceit, and a man who experienced the unfailing love and forgiveness of his God.

Although I enjoyed reading this story of David and having history "come alive", I felt that David's passion and love for his God could have been more a part of his life than what was portrayed in this book.  David's dependence and worship of his God were what made him to be a man after God's own heart and although I know he was a person with faults and all, I felt his love for his Lord was not as strong in the story as I would have liked to have seen it.  That being said, I truly did enjoy reading this 593 page story which went by very quickly and which I would recommend to others to read and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ANGEL HARP by Michael Phillips

Marie Buchan, an amateur harpist, became a widow at age 34 and is now soon to be 40. She comes to the realization that life is passing her by and decides to follow a dream of hers all the way to the hills and coastal shores of Scotland.  But her longed for summer in Scotland will bring her more than she ever imagined.  The music of her harp will capture the attention of many in the small coastal village she finds herself settling into.  She will also find herself drawn into the lives of the local curate and the local duke and will find herself facing the truth about her life, her Lord and her love of two different men.  Be prepared to travel to Scotland and be drawn into the life of Marie Buchan and others in the quiet local village of Scotland.  You will feel the breeze blowing in from the shores of Scotland and feel yourself there enjoying walks through the fields, right along with Marie.

Michael Phillips, the author, it is said,  "has a unique style of interweaving expansive and thought-provoking spiritual themes with dramatic story lines, memorable characterization, and rich historical settings".  That pretty much sums up what he did here in "Angel Harp". Scotland is considered home for this author for a portion of the year and you can tell this in the reading of this story.  This was not a fast moving story and I had to give myself time to settle in and get the feel of this book, but once I did I had a hard time putting it down as I neared the end.    There is a sequel to this book, "Heather Song" and I look forward to reading it in the very near future.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I liked the story line of this book.  A women, Trudie, approaching her 30th birthday is set up by her sister, Lane, on a blind date.  Lane decided not to date this man, Mason, because he was her financial adviser, so she sets him up with her sister.  Trudie has never tried to compete with her glamorous sister and has always been blunt and to the point with her life and with others.  But Mason and Trudie just seem to hit it off, even on their first date.  The chemistry between them just fit like a glove.  When Lane sees what a great guy Mason truly is, she lets her sister know her change of mind about the man and how she is in love with him after all.  Trudie, being the sister that she is, decides to step back and give Lane a chance to win Mason.  But Mason is a pretty smart man and sees through Trudie's backing off of her wanting to be with Mason.  Can they all find their heart's desire and still stay friends?

I liked Mason as a person.  He was very sincere, romantic and thought things through.  He didn't give up on Trudie, saw the best in her and helped her see her potential and "go for it".  He was also very sensitive to Lane and her feelings.  It was a "love triangle" and I enjoyed myself watching everything unfold and come to a satisfying conclusion.  This is one of my favorites in the "Love Finds You in . . . series".

Sunday, November 2, 2014

EVERY NOW AND THEN by Karen Kingsbury

A story of two people who lost someone they loved on 9/11, and how they each dealt with that loss.  Alex Brady lost his Dad, who was a New York fire fighter and who died in the Twin Towers.  He shut out all the people who cared about him, moved to California, and made it his goal to eliminate evil in the world and prevent tragedies like 9/11.

Holly was Alex's girlfriend when that fateful day happened, and although she tried hard to be patient and wait on Alex to handle his grief, Alex eventually sent her away and that relationship died.  Now Holly is in California working for Oak Canyon Estates and selling houses that are being built.  The problem is that an environmental terrorist group has targeted that sight, during the fire season, to make a statement and burn it to the ground.

This was a well written story that helped you see the struggles Alex was going through and kept you on the edge of your seat at times during a few harrowing action scenes.   I liked how the author helped us all to see "how Christ never intended for people to rid the world of all bad things, but for people to deal with the evil inside themselves".  I felt real peace for Alex when he realized what his Dad had lived all his life; "He believed that trouble was a certainty in this world, but he was not to worry because God had already conquered the evil in this world".

I will give a warning near the end of this story have some Kleenex handy, because if you are like me, you are going to need several of them.  This was part of a series, but you can easily read it as a stand alone.  It does touch base with people from the other two books, and it is always good to read about how people are doing from other stories.  It was a story I finished reading, but didn't forget about when I put the book down.  A story I will think about "every now and then".

Monday, October 27, 2014


Ruth Livingstone's life is suddenly changed when her father, Reverend Livingston,  places a young child in her care and sends her away from her home, to a small village in New Jersey.  She can tell no one her real name and must act as if the child is hers, until her father can be cleared of serious charges against him and the child's dead mother.

Ruth finds her new life hard for many reasons, but finds some solace tending a forgotten garden along the River.  Here she meets Jake Spencer, a man recovering from a serious fall (or so he says).  He also is in town hiding his identity so he can "get the scoop" on Ruth for the newspaper he works for.  Both have a lot they are hiding from each other and so their whole relationship is based on lies.  But love does begin to bloom.  Then the secrets come out and that tender blossoming love will see if it can stand the test of time.

I liked the story, but was a little confused throughout the story why Ruth's father did what he did with the child and with his daughter Ruth.  It will become clear near the end of the story.  It was not a fast paced, action packed, romance read, but a "slow and steady wins the race" kind of book.

Monday, October 20, 2014

BECOMING LUCY by Martha Rogers

A story that takes place in the Oklahoma Territory in the late 1800's.  It was a book that kept moving and always had something happening to keep your interest.  It begins with Lucinda Bishop, a young girl of 17 who loses her parents in an accident and finds herself leaving the well-to-do life in Boston and going to live with her Aunt and Uncle in Oklahoma.  She must adjust to her new surroundings, learn the joys and hardships of living on a ranch in the wild open countryside, and learn what it means to love and be loved.

Jake is a ranch hand who has a lot of things from his past he is hiding.  But his feelings for Lucinda and his new found faith in the Lord help him come to terms with his past and face the consequences for his wrongdoing.  Can they trust their God to work things out for good?  I think you all know the answer, but it is still enjoyable watching how everything works together.  I look forward to reading more in this series as I liked the way this author wrote and felt a part of the life on the Oklahoma Territory.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

AGAINST THE WIND by Bodie & Brock Thoene

I was taken back in time through this story and I found myself on a small boat trying to survive until help arrives.  It is a time of war, where Germany is attacking the British skies, London is being bombed and children are trying to be evacuated to America for safety.  I experienced sadness, hope, and wanting to endure this tragedy.

I liked the way the author kept taking you back in time and letting you read some of Elisa Lindheim Murphy's diary entries.  It helped you in a small way see how she got to where she was at the present in the story.  The people on this small boat, both young and old, you will come to know; some you will like and some you will want to throw overboard.  As it says on the back cover, "Zion Diaries ventures into the lives of the inspiring and intriguing characters who loved intensely, stood up for what was right, and fought boldly during Hitler's rise to power and the dark days of World War II".

This was a hard story to put down once I started, with an ending I wasn't expecting.  I will say no more, except I look forward to more in this series!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

OHIO BRIDES by Cara C. Putman

The three stories written in this one book all take place in the 1940s and are about the Miller family; their two girls and one son.  In book one Josie Miller has just married her sweetheart Art, and now they face the challenges of a new marriage, new job and new city.  It was a good look into how they faced the heartaches and joys that were set before them.  In the second story you find Mark Miller working on a secret project for the war and finding himself drawn to Evelyn Happ who is with the WAVES.  She finds herself working with Mark and they both work together as engineers to help the war effort.  They will battle their feelings for each other as they learn to trust each other.  In story #3 you will fall in love with the youngest Miller, Kat as she makes the All-American Girls Professional Softball League.  Kat will struggle to prove her worth as one of the youngest on the team and also to prove to reporter Jack Raymond that she is more than just a young girl who loves playing ball.

I enjoyed all three stories and getting to know the Miller family.  They were a family that had a love for the Lord and convictions that they lived by and it made a difference in their life.  Each story was different but all had a common thread and that was keeping God in the center of your life and waiting upon Him through difficult situations.  All three had a good love story built in and I enjoyed my time in Dayton, Ohio!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

AT THE SCENT OF WATER by Linda Nichols

I don't think I can adequately express what a great job this author did in telling a story.  As it says on the back of the book, "Two unimaginable tragedies . . . Two broken lives. . . .  that gives one a small clue as to what you can expect.  The title of the story, which comes from Job 14:7-9, also gives one a clue as to what to expect, "At least there is hope for a tree:. . . . Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet 'at the scent of water' it will bud and put forth shots like a plant."  This was a story filled with sorrow, heartache and pain, but through it all God was able to bring forth hope, joy and healing.  You will see Him directing the path and you will find hurting hearts healed.  I will definitely be reading more by this author.

This is a story of Samuel and Annie Truelove.  Samuel is a gifted heart surgeon who married the love of his life, Annie.  They had their home in the mountains of North Carolina and  were blessed with a little girl.  Tragedy will strike this family and deep sorrow will overtake them and they will run from each other and from their God.  But God is faithful and will send people and circumstances into their life to draw them unto Him and back to each other.  Be prepared to feel their sorrow and heartache and to shed some tears, but you will also see the hand of God at work and rejoice in how He works things out.

I will close with a poem you will read near the end of this story which if you never read this story you should at least read this poem,
 "My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me.
 I cannot choose the colors He works so steadily.
Oft times He weaves in sorrow, and I, in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.
The dark threads are as needed in the Weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.
Not till the loom is silent and the shuttles case to fly
Will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why."

Thursday, September 25, 2014


This is book 3 in the "Postcards from Pullman Series".  Although I enjoyed reading this story, it didn't appeal to me as much as books 1 and 2 did.  I would definitely recommend reading these books in the order they were written, because they are a full story together and reading them separately you will miss too much background and information.  I do enjoy how much detail and attention to history this author provided for me as I read her stories.

It is 1894 in the city of Pullman, Illinois and the working class people at the Pullman Car Works are about to unite as a Union and go on strike.  Working wages and housing costs in the city of Pullman are not good and Mr. Pullman shows no signs of caring about the people who work for him, only about the money he is making for himself and his investors.  Fred DeVault and Olivia are still trying to find time for each other as Fred helps head up the strike and Olivia stays busy as assistant chef at the hotel there in Pullman.  Then there is also Lady Charlotte Spencer who finds herself heading back to America from England with her son, Morgan.  There is a lot of things happening during this story but the main emphasis is upon the strikers and the union and how is affects the whole country at times.

My heart goes out to the people that were living during this time in Pullman and Chicago.  Life was not easy for them; they took a risk and I will let you determine whether it was worth it or not.  The "romance" part of the book was not an obvious part of this story, but it just naturally flowed with the story as you saw people trying to live and make a living and at the same time fall in love during hard times.  The faith of some in a God who can work all things out will give hope and courage to those in despair.  This was a series I enjoyed; I felt I was learning the history of this time and place as I read, and getting to know how the people lived during this time.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


This is a series of books that I would strongly suggest you read in the order they were written.  Each story picks up where the previous leaves off and if you were to pick up book two, "Whispers Along the Rails", without reading book one, "In the Company of Secrets", you would not have the background of the characters to fully understand what is going on.  I enjoyed having book two pick right up with the story, and you will close the book wanting to pick up the next one to see what happens next because it kind of leaves you "hanging" at the end.  I also appreciate the covers on each of these stories as they do a good job of portraying the feel of the story.

In this story Olivia Mott finds herself as assistant chef and as an undercover worker for the Pullman Palace Car Company as she rides the rails and observes how the people employed for Pullman do their jobs.  She is VERY naive though as what she thinks are mere suggestions to improve the company, are really sinister ways of getting people fired.  At the same time her "friendship" with Fred seems to be at a standstill as there are too many situations both her and Fred seem to be misunderstanding.  I will say at times Olivia needs to not be so naive and start to put some things together in the town of Pullman.

You will also get to follow up on Lady Charlotte in this story and find her in Chicago.  She will have a lot of growing up to do, but as she finds herself under the wings of a dear Christian lady and employed at Marshall Field's department store you will see Charlotte's heart soften to the things of the gospel and her life change for the better.  She will still need to go back to Pullman though and figure out what happened to her baby she left behind.  I appreciated Charlotte a whole lot more in this story than I did in book one.  I look forward to seeing how the author brings it to a conclusion in book three, "An Uncertain Dream".

Although this is a work of fiction, I enjoyed how the author centered her story around a real town and a real company and the way life was back then.  There was a whole side of the Pullman Company and how it operated and handled their employees and the quality of work they expected that was very enlightening.

Monday, September 15, 2014


As it states in the front of this book, "Judith Miller is an author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her novels".  I was entertained and educated on the town of Pullman, Illinois.  My thinking was this series would take place on a Pullman train car (I didn't read what the story was about, but got this from the cover and the series title), and was surprised to discover that Mr. Pullman built a town around his production of his Pullman railroad cars.  I enjoyed learning about this town and was pleasantly surprised at the end of the book by that fact that the author encouraged her readers to visit this town.  I think I would like to do that next time I travel up near Chicago.

The Bible verse at the beginning of this story was aptly quoted, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor.. . .".   I quickly discovered how much trouble one can get into by not telling the truth.  Olivia Mott didn't set out to lie, but she finds herself fleeing England and her job as an assistant cook to the Earl and Countess of Lanshire, and taking with her Lady Charlotte, their daughter.  Upon arriving in Pullman, IL she finds herself in real trouble with a deceptive job reference, a pregnant Lady Charlotte, and a story to go along with it all which is far from the truth.  She finds herself being sought after by a Pullman supervisor and a Pullman employee and although she only has eyes for one of them, she refuses to be honest with both of them.  Eventually her lies will be found out and then there will be consequences.

I liked the story line, the characters and the things I learned about the town.  I also liked the way it just naturally led itself into a sequel, book two, "Whispers Along the Rails".  It left you hanging a bit as to what will become of Olivia and made me want to pick up book two and begin reading.  There was a little bit of danger, adventure and romance and left me wanting more, which is a good fit for me.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

THE WHITE LADY by Grace Livingston Hill

Taken from the description from the back cover (which I thought did a good job): "If there was one thing Constance Wetherill couldn't accept, it was pity.  So when her family fortune was lost she slipped away from town determined to start a new life rather than risk the sympathy of her wealthy socialite friends and admirers.  Working for a living in a small town where she was a stranger brought unexpected rewards - not the least of them the earnest young minister who made her part of his flock.  Until a man from her past tracked her down, and she was forced to choose between the new life she has built and the old luxuries she has always taken as her due."

This story was not one of my favorites by this author.  It was a little slow moving for me, but I did enjoy some of the characters in the book and the way she brought them to life.

Monday, September 8, 2014


This was an endearing short story that was labeled as "a story destined to become a timeless classic"; I would agree with that person's description.  You have a young student, Maggie MacAuley, who has a tender heart who wants to help her teacher out.  You have Summer Rankin, a fragile child who is best friends with Maggie and then you have the teacher, Jonathan Stuart.  He is the only teacher that has stayed in this little mining town called Skingle Creek for more than a few months.  He has a heart for the children and the people and a love for music. This story takes place in the 1800's when times were tough, but the children will pull together to get their teacher a special gift and will bring the whole community together in the process.  There was sadness in this story, but it was also full of hope and love.  I am glad I read this tender story.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

DRIFTWOOD LANE by Denise Hunter

This was a feel good story and a heart warming romance.  You know how it is going to end when you start reading it, but it is just enjoyable watching how it all comes about.  You have Meridith Ward, who has a well ordered life, and who finds herself becoming guardians of 3 children she has never met.  She must leave her well ordered life and travel to Nantucket to care for the children and try to care for the Bed and Breakfast their parents owned.  Enter Jake, the children's uncle, who becomes the handyman who helps keep the Bed and Breakfast from falling apart, and who keeps his real identity a secret from Meridith.  Meridith will have to learn to trust God with her fears and trust Jake with her heart.

A good summer read as you find yourself on Nantucket Island, enjoying walks along the beach, but also enjoying each of the characters in this story.  It was fun to watch this mismatched family unit learn to like, then love one another.  This is part of a series listed as; four women, four love stories, one island, escape to Nantucket,  I enjoyed each story and felt they could all be read as a stand alone stories.  If you want to get away and escape for the day, then grab "Driftwood Lane" and enjoy a relaxing and entertaining love story that will leave you refreshed and relaxed as you travel to Nantucket Island.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

THE SWISS COURIER by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey

This was a gripping tale of loyalty, love and courage set in the days of WWII.  It is 1944 and the Gestapo is searching out enemies of the Third Reich after someone tried to kill Hitler.  A young lady, Gabi Mueller, who lives in Switzerland,  finds herself in harm's way as she tries to make a difference by being a courier and helping to get a German scientist out of the hands of Hitler before it is too late.

This could make a wonderful movie as I felt as I was watching one while I was reading.  It gives you the place, the time and the date at the beginning of each chapter and the descriptions and attention to details showed that these authors did their homework and even though some of the details were above my head, I still found it very interesting and full of suspense and intrigue.  I won't spoil the story, but will say I was taken by complete surprise near the ending of this story and must say I really liked the surprise.  If you like history and intrigue you won't be disappointed by "The Swiss Courier".

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MAID TO MATCH by Deeanne Gist

A well done story taking place at the Biltmore Estates; a place I have visited and been in awe of (and a place the author explains more about at the end of the book).  The author did a great job of taking you inside this estate and showing a true picture of the life of the servants that keep the place running so smoothly.  One of my favorite lines in this story, which was the thoughts of a man who felt he couldn't be free until he returned to his life in the mountains, instead of working where he didn't want to be: "Freedom didn't always equate with coming and going as he pleased.  Or to living out in the open. Or to doing whatever he wanted.  Sometimes, it was simply a matter of being free to laugh.  Free to help others.  Free to fulfill his calling."   Good job Deeanne Gist.

Tillie Reese has always been in awe of where she is employed and the riches of the Vanderbilts.  Her life's goal is to some day be the "lady's maid".  When that position looks like it could possibly be hers she works hard to do everything right.  The problem is one rule that the house has is that there is to be no romance going on down stairs where the servants live.  That wasn't a problem for Tillie until Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman, shows up to work at Biltmore.  Mack isn't exactly thrilled to be there, but the money is good and he needs it to get his sister out of the orphanage.  Mack finds himself being tutored by Tillie in proper servant etiquette, and they both find themselves drawn to each other; one fights the feelings and the other encourages them.  Then there is also the town orphanage and the cruel cover-up going on that both Mack and Tillie get involved in.  It is a story of realizing your dreams of what you thought you always wanted, might not be at all what will bring the most happiness and fulfillment in your life.  I enjoyed getting to know both Tillie and Mack and enjoyed seeing what went on behind the scenes at Biltmore.  Also great job on the cover of this book and on the title.  An enjoyable read that left me well satisfied as I finished the final pages. It was full of historical facts, with enjoyable characters that took you from lighthearted moments to some very sad and cruel times, but left me enjoying every minute of it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

IN THE MIDST OF LIONS by Sara Mitchell

If you like a good detective story (in this case though it is the Pinkertons) then you will not be disappointed when you read this book.  It is set in the 1890's in southern Georgia.  It is a story of a lust for power, which breeds corruption.  It may seem like you are in the midst of Southern charm and honor, but you will soon discover the fear and intrigue and danger that is all around you. The story kept you guessing as to who knew what and who did what as you, with the Pinkerton men, try to figure the solution to a "sinister plot" that is putting one young lady in some serious danger.

Elizabeth Granger is the lady in danger, even though she doesn't know it yet.  She is taking care of five small children for the wealthy Crump family.  But Elizabeth has her own secrets that she carries very close to her, even when an undercover Pinkerton man tries to help her and at the same time figure out if she is as innocent as she portrays.  It is a game of who knows what and who can you really trust.  A very well written story and the second in the "Shadowcatchers Series".  It can be easily read as a stand alone, but you will encounter characters from book one, "Trial of the Innocent", that you would know better if you had read these books in the order they were written.

Monday, August 18, 2014


This was a well told story that kept me interested until the very end.  It was not however, a light hearted romance.  Far from it.  This was about murder and the more "seedy" side of life.  You will go from Virginia, to New York and across the sea to England, chasing after the villains and trying to rescue those who are in trouble and don't even know it.  There is much evil in the world in the late 1800's and it did my heart good to see see the Pinkerton Agency step up and seek out the bad guys.

Eve Sheridan always had a suspicion about that man her sister married, Giles Dawson, and then took her off to England.  Her sister's letters sound like things are not going well in the marriage and then the letters stop.  Giles Dawson is not who he claims to be and Rebecca, the sister, is in way over her head.  Will Eve arrive in England in time to save her sister?

Pinkerton detective Alex MacKay has suspicions of his own and at first thinks Eve is a part of the evil schemes of two men they have been trying to gain enough evidence on to convict.  But Alex and Eve will have to learn to trust each other as they head to England to hopefully find her sister.  There are men though that want them dead so it is a "watch your back" situation at all times.

This was a thrilling, suspenseful drama with a tender love story that develops, but in no way takes over the intriguing story line.  As it says on the back cover of the book, "Will Eve's struggling faith to trust God despite all obstacles prove strong enough to prevail against the evil that surrounds her?"  You will find out how strong a woman Eve really is as she endures much in this story.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

THE CITY OF FIRE by Grace Livingston Hill

Although I am a BIG fan of Grace Livingston Hill, this wasn't one of my favorite stories.  It seemed a little slow  She had a good message in the story, as all of her stories do, but I just didn't get into the story line that much.

Marilyn Severn is the minister's daughter in Sabbath Valley and has just returned home from her years at college.  She grew up knowing and hanging out with Mark Carter from her town but when she returns she finds him cold and distant from her.  Mark will eventually become a prime suspect for a murder he did not commit and only one boy in town can prove his innocence, but he cannot be found.  Sometimes it takes desperate times in people's lives to show them the love of the heavenly Father, and the love of people in your life that you don't think you are worthy of.  A message of hope for the hopeless and of God working all things out for good because of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

Monday, August 11, 2014

HAILEE by Penny Zeller

I am just going to borrow from other's reviews as they said it best:  Cindy Sproles, "This cozy-weekend read weaves a romance filled with all the elements of a winner - love, strife, joy and trust";  Amanda Cabot, "Engaging characters and heartfelt faith messages make Penny Zeller's "Hailee" a memorable conclusion to the Montana Skies trilogy".  I couldn't have said it better when it comes to describing this story and series.  It is a series I will keep on my shelf and recommend to others.

Hailee Annigan at a young age found herself stealing food on the streets of Cincinnati to keep her two younger brothers fed.  She will eventually get caught and sent to a home for orphaned children.  She is now 19 years old and finding herself heading to Montana to begin teaching at Pine Haven (a town you will become quite familiar with if you read books one and two in this series).  She has never given up trying to find her two brothers though and is ashamed of her past and so tries to keep it hidden when she begins this new adventure to Montana.

In Pine Haven you will find the former high society Boston gentleman, Maxwell Adams Jr., the new church pastor.  He is trying to make a difference in this small town and praying some day his parents will understand his calling to preach the gospel.  When these two young people meet you realize the attraction that is taking place.  It is not without its ups and downs though, but when they come to terms with their pasts they will face a wonderful future together.

Well done Penny Zeller.  A series that left me glad I visited Pine Haven, Montana and learned to appreciate the folks there and the faith they shared and the difference they made.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

KAYDIE by Penny Zeller

Another good story in this series.  I don't know which story I like better; this one, or the first in this series, "McKenzie".  I enjoyed both of them equally.  I highly recommend you read these stories in the order they were written because this story picks right up where "McKenzie" left off and there is a lot of background you would miss by just starting with "Kaydie".  This is another cozy read; where you sit back, cozy up on comfortable chair and just enjoy yourself as you relax and read.

Kaydie has been rescued from an abusive and scary outlaw of a husband when he is killed after trying to rob a bank.  She finds herself reunited with her sister, McKenzie, who is married to a rancher in Pine Haven, Montana.  There Kaydie learns to enjoy her Montana home and get ready for the baby she will soon be bringing into the world.  Kaydie has a hard time trusting her judgement when it comes to men though after her big mistake of marrying the wrong man, who she thought was a nice guy.

Ranch hand Jonah Dickenson has no desire to ever fall in love and marry, especially after being raised by a harsh father and having his mother run off and leave him as a child.  Marriage is just not something he is interested in.  So when Jonah tries to get Kaydie to trust him as a friend only, their friendship is good for both of them.  But the special part of being a friend to someone is that it can often lead to romance, and of course, that is what happens to Kaydie and Jonah.  But lets not get too comfortable because another friend Kaydie hasn't seen in years will come into the picture and try to win her heart also.  Now Kaydie must choose.

This was a story of learning to let go of your past, but learn from it, and of learning to love and trust someone again.  There is a strong family bond between these two sisters that I appreciated and also a strong emphasis upon trusting in the Lord and waiting on Him to direct ones path.  I liked how the author takes a break every now and then from the present, and has one of her characters remember the past and a certain situation that happened to them from the past.  It helped you get to know and understand the characters much better.  I look forward to story #3 in this series, "Hailee", next.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2014

McKENZIE by Penny Zeller

The author states in the back of her book that, "Her passion is to use the gift of the written word that God has given her to glorify Him and to benefit His kingdom".   I feel she did that well in this story.  This story takes place in the late 1800's and begins in Boston, but quickly travels to Pine Haven, in the Montana Territory.  I call this a "cozy book", because you just want to cozy up on a comfortable sofa and enjoy reading through this story until you reach the end.  Then you sigh with a feeling of contentment.

Zach Sawyer is a man any woman would be pleased to find and he is looking for a wife and someone to help him raise his 5 year old adopted son.  He is a "25 year old rancher in Montana Territory looking for possible matrimony.  Man of integrity with dark brown hair, blue eyes, and shy demeanor seeks a kind, educated, hardworking, Christian woman with good disposition with whom to share his life." (That is what his ad in the Boston papers said.)

McKenzie finds this listing in the paper and found it was just what she needed for her "rescue mission: money for the trip and a place to stay, as well as the help of a man in finding Kaydie."  (Kaydie is her sister who ran off and got married and found she had married a cruel man who was in trouble with the law.)

So McKenzie sets out to Montana and finds out how different it is from her opulent lifestyle in Boston.  She starts out as a little bit of a snob, but she will begin to change and adapt to the Montana ranch and the people who live there.  Zach if a very patient man, who has fallen in love with his mail-order bride and is just waiting for her to feel the same.  But McKenzie fights her feelings because she knows as soon as she finds her sister she is leaving.  But what McKenzie couldn't get away from was her attraction to Zach, his godly character, his wisdom and his compassion and love for her.

I enjoyed watching these two people get to know one another and fall in love.  It is a story that shows how a person can change and how God can make a difference when we wait upon Him and give Him time to work it all out for good.  This is the first book in the Montana Skies series and I look forward to reading book two next, "Kaydie".  I confess I have already started the story and it picks up right where "McKenzie" leaves off.  Sit back, get comfortable and enjoy Montana and the people of Pine Haven.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

HATTERAS GIRL by Alice J. Wisler

You will be delighted with the charming characters in this book set in North Carolina's Outer Banks.  Jackie Donovan has two wishes: one is to own the closed down bed-and-breakfast house in her community and two is to find a wonderful man to marry.  Her friends and relatives keep helping her out with the second wish, but nothing seems to turn out right on her dates.  Then she finds herself attracted to man who turns out owns The Bailey House, which is her hearts desire to buy and fix up and run it again with her good friend Minnie.  But when it looks like both her wishes are coming true she finds out sometimes jumping into a relationship and a business deal too fast can be cause for regrets down the road.

I loved the way this author helps you get to know the people in this community.  There are a lot of fun and quirky individuals and you get a real feel for Jackie as she tells the story and shares with us her thoughts and emotions.  Sometimes what you are looking for is right in front of you but you were just so busy looking, you couldn't see what was right there all along.  It wasn't the romance in this story that takes center stage for me, but just getting to know the folks on the Outer Banks and being a part of that community that made me enjoy this story so much (not that I don't enjoy a little romance mixed in).

This story is book #3 in the "Heart of Carolina" series.  I have read book 1, "Rain Song",  and now this story, which is book #3.  Both these stories were stand alone stories that did not relate to each other.  I can't speak for book #2, "How Sweet It Is",  but feel you could probably read these stories in any order you desired.  I also discovered that there is a 4th book in this series, "A Wedding Invitation".  I would also like to give a big thumbs up for the title of this story and the cover on the book; both hit the mark of what this story was about.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

RAIN SONG by Alice J. Wisler

This is the author's first book and she does a good job of making you fall in love with Nicole Michelin and her family.  The dialogue in this story was so sweet between these family members.  There was some romance in the story, but that wasn't the emphasis; it was upon the family, the special bond between a woman and her grandma that raised her when her missionary Mom died in Japan when she was 2.  About coping with growing up with your fears, without a Mom and learning to live in Mount Olive, North Caroline with your quirky but sweet older relatives.  Nicole will face her fears and when she goes to get on the plane I had a huge smile on my face as I face those same fears that she had.  After reading this story I am ready to try the "Pineapple Chutney" that was a big hit by all and whose recipe the author shares at the back of the book.  This author has spent time in Japan and in North Carolina and it comes through in her story.  You get a real feel for both.  This wasn't a suspense, or drama or a big adventure or romance (although I did like how Harrison and Nicole meet and continue to interact with each other), it was just a sweet interaction with the family, as told by Nicole Michelin and a story I enjoyed.  Sit back and just relax and enjoy the southern hospitality.