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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


If you haven't read Lisa Heaton's books then you are missing out on great stories.  This is her second book I have read and both have been excellent!   I can't say enough about how much I enjoy the way she writes.  This story caught my attention right away and it took me places I wasn't even expecting.  There was so much in this story I could talk about that touched me as I read it.  There was sorrow, heartache and despair, but the joy and peace that comes from a heart that is right with God is something that is so precious words cannot describe how it makes one able to deal with life.  Is forgiveness possible when horrible things have happened to someone?  Yes, but I believe only through a person who has a right relationship with their God.  I want to just say a big "thank you" and "well done" to Lisa Heaton for her gift of storytelling.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book, "chaos and torment are the absence of peace.  The absence of peace means you have somehow stepped away from God.  And make no mistake, He will never leave you nor forsake you, so absence means you have moved, if you are a believer, that is."  Page 59 does a great job of explaining the whole concept of "unmending the veil" and makes total sense in this story.  Regarding this veil, "With the wall in place, they mistakenly believe God doesn't see them, or probably more accurately, they are hoping not to see Him.  In this way they run from His presence rather than run into it. They live out the Christian experience missing the One they really need, Jesus.  It becomes a lifetime filled with ritual and routine, but never a relationship with Him."  "Learning the secret of contentment came as a result of unmending the veil.  Once every barrier in her heart intended to keep God away was removed, she could see, and know, and be in His presence as He died to achieve."  I could go on, but don't want to make this review too long.

What is this story about.  It is about a young lady who flees a perfect marriage that gradually turns ugly and dangerous.  About a man who comes to the Inn she runs and helps her find the peace she is looking for in her life.  About a husband who finds himself in jail, but also finds a Savior, Jesus Christ.  About forgiveness, about starting over, about being sensitive to God's leading in their lives.  It is a story that will stay with me a quite some time and one I will keep on my shelf to read again.  The picture on the cover was great and went so well with this story.  Be prepared to shed a few tears as you read this thought provoking and heart stirring story.

Print Length: 312 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1481290304
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 28, 2013)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

EVERLASTING by Amanda MacLean

This is book three (and the last one) in this series, and I must say I was impressed with the whole series.  This story is about Callie's good friend, the young Irish lady Sheridan O'Brian.  You will have met her in book 2, so I highly recommend you read these stories in the order in which they were written.  This story will take you to the California gold fields and you will experience the dangers, the greed and the lifestyles of those who only wanted to make it rich.  You will also discover though those whose hearts are good and who delight in doing good.

Sheridan begins her quest to California in search of her twin brother who has gone missing after he supposedly struck gold.  She writes to the editor of the newspaper in town and requests a detective to help her find her brother when she arrives.  Marcus Jade takes on the detective assignment, even though he actually owns the newspaper.  He wants to discover what is going on with the miners who are suddenly disappearing.  It will be an exciting and perilous journey and these two will eventually find themselves taking on two orphans to watch over.  Sheridan will have to learn to guard her tongue and her temper and Marcus will learn how to show himself faithful and trustworthy.  Together, with the help of the Lord, they will discover a love that is "Everlasting".

Saturday, July 19, 2014

STONEHAVEN by Amanda MacLean

This is book 2 in this series and I liked it a little better than book 1.  You could read it as a stand alone, but I don't recommend it as this story is about Callie, the younger sister you were introduced to in "Westward" (book one).  Callie is now a young lady who has continued to live with her sister and her new husband in New Mexico.  But Callie has always vowed she would return home someday to their father's plantation and discover what her uncle did to gain control of it.  When her life as a secret underground railroad leader is discovered while she is in college she finds herself fleeing to her southern belle status at her plantation home, enduring her uncle while she tries to discover a way to expose him and his evil business tactics.  Hawk, a man she would trust with her life, but who finds a way of irritating her oftentimes will finds her and help her as she struggles with treachery and intrigue, danger and sacrifice.

The author did a good job of historically writing about the underground railroad and the dangers of being involved in it.  She brought out the way people's eyes were blinded to what was happening all around them. There was a lot happening in this story and it kept me turning the pages to see what happens next.  I liked how Hawk and Callie interacted with each other and the way their feelings for each other were finally admitted by each other.  Looking forward to book 3 next, "Everlasting"!  Good job Amanda MacLean.  I like the way this author weaves the caring and forgiving God into her stories and how He never leaves nor forsakes us, even when we completely ignore Him at times.

WESTWARD by Amanda MacLean

Juliana St. Clair has had a southern plantation born lifestyle.  But when her father suddenly dies, Juliana and her younger sister Callie must suddenly leave the plantation behind and run from their uncle who has plans for them they want nothing to do with.  They head West, with a goal of reaching New Mexico.  Along the way Juliana will be be torn between the attraction she has for the rugged captain of their wagon train and the protection offered by another man who seems to say and do all the right things.  There will be adventure, danger and intrigue and of course a beautiful romance in the historical drama set in the 1800's.

I found the story very interesting and was always wondering what would happen next to these two young ladies.  I did have a hard time liking Miss Juliana St. Clair.  She seems to be intelligent in some of her decisions but very lacking in her ability to see the true worth of some men.  She was a hard lady for me to become friends with, but by the end of the story she seems to get her act together.  This had  a lot of interesting characters in it and a very good theme throughout of how God interacts with folks by loving, forgiving, guiding and always being there for us when we need Him.  I look forward to book two in this series, "Stonehaven".

Saturday, July 12, 2014

THE PROMISE by Kathleen Sherwood

I loved this story!  It was a story about not casting judgement upon someone without knowing all the facts; of letting your light shine before men that they will see your goods works and glorify God; of keeping a commitment to God (as a young woman) to wait until marriage before having a physical relationship with a man; of how important it is to have a firm foundation of faith so you have something to lean on when tragedy strikes.  I say well done on telling this story Kathleen Sherwood!

Connor Christianson is a successful New York lawyer who promises his younger brother on his death bed that he will find his child that he has never seen and take care of her and tell the mother he is sorry.  Connor sets out to find and take care of the child, but is mad that the mother wasn't there with the child at the end of his brother's life, and he plans to get custody of this little one.

Kaley Mills if trying to get her life on track as she raises her young daughter Macie.  She works at a diner at night and goes to school during the day to become a teacher.  When a stranger enters the diner one night it will be the beginning of a different kind of life for Kaley and for Connor.  Connor is a bitter man and Kaley will have a tough time softening his heart with her life style and witness for her Lord.  They both have broken pasts and will find themselves drawn to each other by a love that is strong and true.

I fell in love with the story from the very beginning.  I was so glad the story continued on even after Connor and Kaley finally got together.  There was so much love and understanding between these two.  The growing and sharing and openness they finally found with each other was refreshing.  I grew quite found of these two and of little Macie and the other characters in this story.  There were unexpected things that happened in this story that I wasn't expecting and I always like to be surprised.  A book I can easily see myself reading all over again!  All in all I highly recommend this story and this author.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

HEAVEN SENT by Colleen Coble, Jill Stengl, Tracie J. Peterson, Andrea Boeshaar

This was four very different historical stories filled with romance, but also filled with a very clear biblical view of what it means to be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.  I was thrilled with the way each author brought out the importance of believing, having faith and trusting in the Lord to get you through tough times.  I am not sure which story I liked best, because there were certain aspects of each story that was special to me as I read them.

In "The Cattle Baron's Wife" set in the late 1800's you have Lucy Stanton trying to make a life for herself and her siblings when a mysterious man comes along and offers her a home in exchange for marrying his son, Caleb in Wichita, Texas.  Lucy is desperate and accepts the offer and finds herself in Texas with a husband who is furious at her and at his father.  But marriage is for keeps and they both will find true value in one another. A favorite quote from this story, "God loves us for who we are, Margaret.  We can't work our way to His love.  That doesn't work here on this earth, either.  You either love someone for who they are, or you can forget it.  Love that is earned is no love at all.  It won't last."

In "Myles from Anywhere" Myles Trent left a promising future at home at a young age and never looked back.  Now he is falling for the boss's daughter, Beulah, but knows he is not worthy of her and has a past that can separate him from the woman he loves.  Forgiveness is there for the taking, Myles just needs to surrender.  Favorite quote from this story when Myles is questioning why God doesn't prevent evil or crush wicked people,  "There are things we won't know until we reach eternity.  You see, Myles, our faith is based not upon what God does but upon Who He is.  God tells us that He is just, loving, merciful.  We must take Him at His word and know that He will do what is best.  He doesn't explain Himself.  He doesn't guarantee prosperity and good health.  But He does promise to be with us always, guiding and directing our lives for His purpose.  Once you place your faith in Him, you will discover, as I have, that He never fails, never disappoints.  He will give you perfect peace if you will accept it."

Then there is "Logan's Lady" where the prim and proper "English folk" arrive in America to journey by horseback into Estes Park, Colorado.  Logan is the guide for this group of uppity folk, including Lady Amelia Amhurst who is being forced into an arranged marriage by her father and has no faith whatsoever in God.  Logan will have his hands full with enduring this group of whiners, but Amelia will stand out in the crowd and take to the rugged life in Colorado.  Logan will just have to work on her unbelief in God and he is up for the challenge.  I would give a favorite quote here but feel my review is getting a little long right about now.

In "The Unmasked Heart"  Angie Huntington has had a past she is trying to forget and a future she is looking forward to with the charming sea captain Garrett Witherspoon.  When Paden Montano shows up as Garrett's cousin, Angie is fearful.  Paden is the man who helped rescue her from her past.  Now she must face whether or not to tell Garrett about it and have him reject her, or continue to live a lie.  She must also come to terms with whether she truly loves Garrett, or has feelings for Paden, a secret Pinkerton man.  Both men will strive for her affection but only one will win in the end.

All in all this was a special volume of stories that I enjoyed very much and would recommend to anyone wanting to read inspirational, historical, romantic fiction.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A DECEMBER BRIDE by Denise Hunter

This was a fun quick read.  How quickly a little lie can blow up into a huge misunderstanding.  Layla needs a date to her ex-fiance's wedding..  Seth isn't who she wanted, but he was available and willing.  When the bride and groom ask them  if they are together they quickly cover by saying yes, they are dating and then further entangle themselves when a December wedding is mentioned.  Because of her "engagement" to Seth, he convinces a big client to look at her work and possibly give her a job with his agency.  It would jump start her "fledgling home-staging business".  So the couple must put up with each other, which won't prove hard for Seth, who has cared about Layla for a long time.  Now this is his chance to make their fake wedding plans become a reality.

I enjoyed myself while reading this.  It was enjoyable watching Seth do his best to make this work and Layla doing her best to try to get out of an awkward situation.  Together these two will finally turn their deception into a beautiful love story with a happily ever after ending.