31 May 2012

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell, Book review


Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith until her twin brother ran off and joined the army and ended up captured and in jail. Suddenly Hannah's world turns on end. She longs to bring her brother some measure of comfort in the squalid, frigid prison where he remains. But the Quakers believe they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. Can she sit by and do nothing while he suffers?

Jeremiah Jones has an enormous task before him. Responsibility for a spy ring is now his, and he desperately needs access to the men in prison, whom they are seeking to free. A possible solution is to garner a pass for Hannah. But while she is fine to the eye, she holds only disdain for him--and agreeing would mean disobeying those she loves and abandoning a bedrock of her faith. 

My thoughts:

Siri Mitchell is definitively an author to reckon with: her latest novel 'The Messenger' is fast paced and scintillates with the kind of details any history buff will love. I found her notes and research to be very interesting!
Set during the War of Independence (US), this is the story of an intrepid young Quaker named Hannah and a Continental Army spy named Jeremiah Jones. Each have need of the other and both parties joined forces but not without concerns for the ramifications involved. As a pacifist Hannah cannot abide violence but Jeremiah's plans ultimately will draw her in a conflict few will escape without scars. 

This is absolutely a story to enjoy without interruptions. I for one knew very little of  Women spies during the Civil War (US) and did not give much thought to Women involvement during the 1776 Campaign.
Prisoners conditions during this tumultuous conflict are rarely spoken of yet we know of the many  hardships endured by the Colonial army, particularly during the winter campaign at Valley Forge. 
Sad to say, many of the reenactments Siri Mitchell developed in her tale of faith and courage for our two courageous protagonists rang only too true! The ravages of war effects innocents everywhere yet we still fight!

'The Messenger, reminds us of theologian Reinhold Neiburh's Serenity prayer: 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

So fitting for this story!
As to the Quaker faith, I have to thank Siri Mitchell for enlightening me: I never thought much about it!

A story of bravery, of beliefs and God's path for each one of us!

I give it 5 stars for pure enjoyment!

About the Author:

Siri Mitchell is an intriguing novelist who has written 10 books to date! When I noticed in her acknowledgment the phrase 'Tu as raison!' I just had to read more about her. 
Find out about her 153 rejections before signing with a publisher, her courage to keep on writing and her many novels on her website (here) (and why her husband was right!).

I received this book free from BETHANY HOUSE as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

29 May 2012

Prayers Needed...

Madeline Belle is not yet one year old...
Most of her life has been in hospital...
She came home on Friday...
She was readmitted in ER on Tuesday...
We ask for prayers...
She is so little...
An her Mum and Dad are so sad...
Please pray for all three of them!

27 May 2012

National Moment of Remembrance...

Tomorrow throughout America a minute of silence will be observed at 1500 hours to remember the war dead...
It is known as National moment of Remembrance...
Please join Military families, friends and loved ones and pray for the living as well!

For Richard, John, Gunny, Tania, Joshua, Mike, and Aaron...

26 May 2012

A Love Forbidden by Kathleen Morgan, Book review


Moved by the desire for adventure and a yearning to help the Ute Indians, twenty-year-old Shiloh Wainright impulsively accepts a teaching position at the White River Indian Agency in northwestern Colorado. The new job, however, isn't what she imagined it would be, and Shiloh soon finds herself caught in the cross fire between the Utes, their unyielding Indian Agent, and the unrealistic demands of the US government. Her unexpected encounter with Jesse Blackwater, an embittered half-breed Ute and childhood friend, only complicates matters as they battle their growing feelings for each other amidst the spiraling tensions threatening to explode into a catastrophic Indian uprising.

Set amongst the wilds of the Colorado Rockies in 1879, this is a tale of a forbidden love and a faith tested in the cauldron of intolerance and the harsh realities of life on the untamed frontier.

My thoughts:

'A Love Forbidden', Book # 2 in Heart of the Rockies series reads like a Western with a powerful message: intolerance is the root of many evils!
Once again Baker Revell brings us an interesting author and I was pleasantly surprised in Kathleen Morgan's vivid descriptions of the 1800 Colorado Rockies! 
There is so much History in the US, often misconstrued yet as rich as many older nations!
I love to discover yet another facet of the Old West and I believe I mentioned it before, the first novel I read in English was written by Louis l'Amour! 

Kathleen Morgan's tasteful description of Shiloh Wainwright and Jesse Blackwater's love story gives us a realistic outlook on frontier life in the 1800's Colorado and the Ute reservation. 
As a teacher on the Indian reservation Shiloh hopes to help Indian children learn the White Man's ways whilst retaining their identity. Her task is not easy as she deals with narrow minded agencies and wary settlers.
Jesse Blackwater is the childhood friend she never forgot and caught betwixt both the White man's world and the Ute worlds, they find themselves caught in a maelstrom of emotions and conflicts, both internal and external.

'A Love Forbidden' might have been just another Historical romance but Kathleen Morgan draws you in the story and you immerse yourself in it. The sum of a good novel, right?
It is always amazing to read lines which create such a vivid panoramic picture of times gone by and in turn creates such powerful emotions! 
Amidst prejudice and growing political tension betwixt both the White and Indian world, you find yourself wondering if you would have the courage and wisdom to do what is right. In such circumstances, where would you stand as a Christian? 

Kathleen Morgan seems to breathe this time period and spares no details to entice us visually. Life on the frontier was often harsh, supplies limited, and communication slow due to long distances betwixt forts and settlements. 
When one side fails to honour its word, the other decided to take action...

Red headed Shiloh is as tenacious in her convictions as in her love for Jesse, whilst he sees the road ahead in a very realistic way. Will they be able to bridge both worlds and find love, acceptance, forgiveness and ultimately peace?

Well depicted, this is a thought provoking story which illustrates the power of love and faith in a world often riddled with prejudice and ignorance.
In the end, you are in God's hands and given the chance, Shiloh and Jesse will come to realize nothing is impossible for them with His help.

I give it 4  stars.

About the Author:

Kathleen Morgan describes herself as 'Refined by Fire, Redeemed by Love, and as you will quickly realize is a well published author with amazing talents! It seems she likes to write on variety of subjects.
If you liked this book, be sure to sign up for her newsletter!
For more visit her website (here).

I received this book free from BAKER/REVELL as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

25 May 2012

Laughing feels so good!

A Corgi smile is the same anywhere in the world!

(Photo by The Daily Corgi)

Note to readers: A Corgi photo a day makes all the blues go away (at least in my case so my children often indulge by sending me corgi photos!)

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.  
~Victor Hugo~

22 May 2012

Forever Hilltop by Judy Baer, Two Books In One Volume Review


The charming and often hilarious Forever Hilltop series follows the experiences of former city dweller Alex Armstrong as he settles into his new role as pastor of a Scandinavian community in rural North Dakota. Alex is sometimes baffled by his parishioners and their colorful ways, but he comes to appreciate their simple wisdom. One thing's for sure -- life in Hilltop Township is never dull! This new two-in-one format features An Unlikely Blessing along with its sequel, Surprising Grace.

In An Unlikely Blessing, Alex Armstrong is a former city dweller who has just accepted his first parish assignment to a small community in the wilds of North Dakota. In Hilltop Township, Pastor Alex becomes familiar with the residents and their odd traditions, from julebukking to King Oscar's fish balls.

In Surprising Grace, Alex Armstrong is settling into his new role as pastor of Hilltop Church, and he's even starting to understand the strange ways of the people who populate this barren stretch of North Dakota prairie. But he also finds that his flock needs help and counsel like he never imagined. In this cozy and entertaining read, Alex must choose between the woman he once loved -- and the home he's come to love.

My thoughts:

This is my first opportunity to review two books in one and I was absolutely thrilled to find out what happens next to Pastor Alex and his congregation!

Readers will recall I reviewed 'An Unlikely Blessing' in February of 2011 (see review HERE) and I enjoyed finding all the little quirks of Hilltop Church!

Judy Baer is one of those amazing writers who appeals to any reader! Reading her books feels as if you are meeting a friend!
An award winning author of dozen novels, she brings us a down to earth and very entertaining insight on a single pastor and his flock on the Prairie, full of blessings and yes, surprising grace!

The best way I can describe the feeling you get when discovering 'Forever Hilltop' it is by telling readers this writer knows how to make you live, love and laugh! A winning recipe if I ever heard one!

At times hilarious, other so realistic you will find yourself praying along the parishioners, you discover your neighbour or even church friend in her novels (and a lot about yourself!).

There are perhaps some unusual characters  in Pastor Alex's congregation...For example the 80 year old driving above the limit at her own perils (and everyone else!), the lonely senior citizen who concocts her own health remedies, the 8 year old electing to keep critters in the parish shed and starting his own 'doomaine society', Twinkle Toes...the sow, Tripod...the canine best friend (it is up to you to figure out why he is called like that!) and the many members of this warm heart community along with an unusual find right in the cemetery (you did not see this one coming, did you?).

Each character reveals yet another facet of human nature and you will discover Judy Baer's Forever Hilltop series gives you an incredible feeling of fellowship!
Thanks to her creative writing, it seems as we are sitting at her kitchen table, drinking a cuppa and yes, hearing the latest gossip...You feel as you belong! Your heart will be full!

Will Alex discover Hilltop fellowship is what he has been looking for in his ministry? And will he find the love and companionship he is yearning for?

Go ahead, find out what happens when a pastor learns how to bake his own bread and looks in his heart...
Judy Baer even shares some great recipes with readers!

I give it 5 stars for the good feeling this series gives me!

About the Author:

'Judy was born and grew up on a farm on the prairies of North Dakota. An only child, she spent most of her days with imaginary people-either those she read about or those she made up in her head. Her most ambitious conjuring did not succeed, however. 
She kept a clean stall with hay and oats for the horse she imagined would come but unfortunately, it never did. As an adult, however, she managed to make that dream come true and raised foundation quarter horses and buffalo for some years. 
A voracious reader, Judy learned to read with comic books, anything from Little Lulu and Superman to the Rawhide Kid. She sold her first story for $10.00 to a farm magazine. She still has the $10.00.'
More on her website (here)


Celebrate with Judy by entering to win a Kindle for you and a friend!

One lucky winner will receive:
  • Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi to Giveaway to a Friend!
  • Forever Hilltop by Judy K Baer for you and a one for a friend

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 22nd (today!).  
Winner will be announced 5/24/12 on Judy's Blog.

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning!

I received this book free from LITFUSE as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

21 May 2012

Backyard Horse Tales by Jackie Easton, Book review


Born with a brave heart and an in your face attitude, Sox was also born with a leg that was not quite right. His courage and complete disregard for his handicap inspire his little friend Emma.
Young Emma Struggles with a learning disability. This lonely child befriends Sox and an unbreakable bond is formed. 
Readers share in Sox's adventures, his friends, and his challenges. Sox is a heart-warming tale for every child who has ever dreamed of a special horse, and for anyone who has loved an equine partner.

My thoughts:

Through a Quarterhorse's view of our busy world and the heartwarming diary of a young girl named Emma with a learning disability, we discover the story of Sox. 
Sox is a horse born with, you guessed it, socks on his hind legs!

Told with a knowledgeable equine insight, you cannot fail to recognize this author's love for horses!  Jackie Anton after all has many years of experience and like every horse owner she has a few anecdotes I am certain that will have you chuckle! Every herd has its clown as I well recall!

'Backyard Horse Tales' is a warm heart story anyone, young and not so young, will fall in love with! There is a magnetism about these beautiful creatures which makes any youngster dream of befriending a favourite steed! 
Anyone who has seen a wild herd running will attest to God's amazing creation!

In this 2nd edition of 'Backyard Horse Tales' we follow Sox as he discovers his surroundings and forges a special friendship with Emma. Through his colt's eyes we see there is much more to live in a stable that eating and exercising. And not everything is as he wishes...

Emma's diary leads us to understand their very special relationship as Sox grows from a foal to a colt and eventually a gelding. As time goes by, both horse and child have much to learn and share with the other. Growing up is not always easy...
Despite the odds, both Sox and Emma dare to be different and eventually overcome their challenges!

There has been countless stories written about horses and their human friends but I found this one absolutely endearing! 

An excellent gift, it is certain to become a favourite book for parents and grandparents to share with any youngster 8 years old and up. The unfolding story and its ultimate message will be treasured for years to come!

I give it 4 stars!

About the Author:

'Jackie Anton was born in Michigan, and much of her first five years were spent there. Most of her remaining years she called Ohio home. By the time she reached high school the author had been enrolled in thirty-two schools from the Great Lakes to the Panhandle of Texas.
As a mother, horse trainer and showman, youth adviser, and horse show judge her travels continued. Visiting new locations, and meeting new people is something she still enjoys. Her travels are reflected in her writing. Backyard Horse Tales documents some of those travels from an equine point of view.'
For more on Jackie visit her website (here).

As part of this blog tour I would like to invite readers to check additional reviews - see below

I received this E-book free from LIGHTNING BOOK PROMOTIONS as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.



19 May 2012

The Pursuit Of Lucy Banning, by Olivia Newport, Book review


Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago's rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work--and the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago. When she meets an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World's Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. Can she break away from her family's expectations? And will she ever be loved for who she truly is?

Readers will love being swept away into a world of mansions, secrets, and romance as they follow Lucy through the streets of the Windy City during one of the most exciting times in the city's history. From opulent upper-class homes to the well-worn rooms of an orphanage, Olivia Newport breathes life and romance into the pages of history--and everyone is invited.

My thoughts:

Engaging and truly refreshing, 'The Pursuit of Lucy Banning'  brings us the first book in the 'Avenue Of Dreams' series. Just as the cover hints we are introduced to Lucy Banning, a young member of Chicago's elite society.  Elegant, privileged and yet unconventional for the late 1800's, Lucy does not conform to the required etiquette of society for women of such epoch.

Olivia Newport's heroine attends university classes and struggles to obtain a modicum of freedom whilst trying to remain a dutiful daughter and prepare herself as the future bride of one of Chicago's best prospects. As the novel unravels we discover not all is as it should be for the parties involved and Lucy must decide what is most important to her. 

This would have been just another light story but I found the 1893 World Fair in Chicago and the involvement of Chicago wealthy families, many who dedicated months, even years to its development truly fascinating. 
I was delighted to see the meticulous details she impart, allowing us a rich glimpse of this momentum in History. And what an amazing time it was! I love history and found the whole concept of attending such an event at the turn of the century absolutely intriguing. 
Ah, to be able to travel back in time!

And Olivia Newport weaves an interesting romance against this amazing event, perhaps unusual in view of the class system so rigid in that time period but this is the 'Avenue of Dreams,...

'The Pursuit of Lucy Banning' gives us an insight on the glitz of Chicago's High society whilst entertaining us with Lucy's secrets: to maintain her rights to a better education and her newly found attraction to an upcoming young architect she defies many rules. 
Her burgeoning friendship with a young woman of the lower class with a secret of her own, just another example of how much Lucy is willing to risk for someone she cares for.

Olivia Newport brings readers just the right sort of entertainment for a warm spring afternoon and even better, her website hints we can expect very soon to hear more about 'The Avenue of Dreams' series!

A delightful read for anyone interested in a good historical fiction and a story even YA will appreciate!

I give it 4 stars

About the Author:

'Hello! I’m imagining you. You walk past as I water my front flowerbeds and we wave. You check the time as we both stand in a long line at the grocery store. You sit in front of me in church. I’m at my table in the coffee shop and you’re at yours.
We may smile politely and move on with our separate lives. Or one of us may speak, a simple invitation to conversation, and the words flow between us...' 

Thus begins Olivia Newport's introduction and you can read more (here). Be sure to sign up for her newsletter! Book # 2 will be published in 2013!

I received this book free from BAKER/REVELL as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

17 May 2012

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade, Book review


A Sensational CBA Debut in Contemporary Romance!  This summer author Becky Wade makes her CBA debut with a fun -- and funny -- contemporary romance.  Amidst the light-hearted banter and laugh-out-loud moments is a compelling spiritual journey of one woman's choice to listen to God and wait on him.  Filled with humor and authentic romance, My Stubborn Heart is shaping up to be the hit of the summer.

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate's grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.
Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house. Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded -- hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Kate can't help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.

My thoughts:

After a couple of minutes into the book I realized I misunderstood the resume and this novel did not deal with teenagers. Covers rarely reflect the actual contents and one should not judge a book by its cover...I guess I missed that class!

In 'My Stubborn Heart' author Becky Wade introduces her protagonists and sub characters to allow the reader to understand the behind the scene emotional context but this was much more a romance story than a Christian novel.

Because of adult thematic language and references, I would like to clarify this is for mature readers only. I realize of course the author never claimed otherwise since it is clearly labeled 'Contemporary Romance' but clearly this is not YA material.

At times funny, at others indulging and slightly overdone, 'My Stubborn Heart' lacks a little finesse and I will admit I winced at the first chapter: 
'Kate Donovan entered the town of Rosebud, Pennsylvania, for the first time driving a car packed with her seventy-six-year-old grandmother, a comprehensive set of encyclopedias on American Antiques, three sacks of non perishable groceries, and enough pink luggage to give  Mary Kay fits of jealousy.' 

Pish Posh...

In lieu of entertainment the author leaves us to ponder on raging hormones, money gambling and drinking Jack Daniels etc...which does not reflect God's trust or purpose for us. Character fitting? Normal talk betwixt adults? Hardly and not necessary!
Neither a prude or a Bible thump-er, I prefer to see life through rose coloured lenses as a dreamer of course and as a believer...

Noting the 31 year old heroine feeling the need to pray for a husband since fourth grade and was now tired of waiting did not help the over all image the plot created as I continue to read.
The Lamborghini didn't improve the picture either, never mind the peculiar descriptions of dating seniors. 

Pish Posh...

Are we really so shallow? Self centered? Is our language so loose and manners so free? Again, this is clearly a novel I would hesitate to pass along.
Readers like to identify themselves in characters, in which they see one or more personal traits and I'd prefer to say 'pass'.

Finally despite a happy ending, in the end the overall effect dims the message of faith the author intended for this novel to reflect surely,  and doesn't do much justice to her writing skills. 

Of course this is just my opinion and I suggest you check it out for yourself.

I give it 3 stars.

About the Author:

 During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.
Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing.
More (here).


Celebrate with Becky by entering her My Stubborn Heart Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 5/24!

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Brand New Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™
  • A $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate
  • A copy of My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on May 24th. Winner will be announced at the "My Stubborn Heart" Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/24. Becky will be hosting an book chat, testing your trivia skills and giving away some great prizes!

So grab your copy of My Stubborn Heart and join Becky on the evening of the May 24th for a chance to meet Becky and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 24th!

I received this book free from LITFUSE as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

16 May 2012

Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt, Book review and Giveaway


Kissing the wrong guy days before her scheduled wedding leads Allison to become a runaway bride. But can it also lead to happily ever after?
Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom.
Still, kissing the groom’s brother, Daniel, in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at this point. Daniel’s adventures—chronicled through a collection of postcards—have always appealed to Allison’s well-hidden desire for something more. But how can betraying her fiancĂ©’s trust lead to a true happily ever after?
Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Recognizing she doesn’t have all the answers won’t be easy because she’s used to being in control. To find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her—one outside her carefully defined comfort zone—and find the strength to let Him lead.

My thoughts:

Beth K. Vogt writing is as engaging as her winning smile! I indulged into a wonderful 'just for me' time on Mother's Day by sitting on the porch with a cuppa and her debut novel 'Wish You Were Here' and I had a lovely time! 

There is always something intriguing in the 'no show at the altar' subject and I will admit to just plain curiosity! I am not a fan of Julia Roberts (oops, sorry!) and  I had a hard time to sit through 'Runaway Bride' but it was the idea of 'running away' which first attracted my attention!

A Runaway bride, a kiss, a series of postcards and God's hidden plans...

In 'Wish You Were Here' Beth K. Vogt gives us a wonderful opportunity to 'run away' from everyday  hum drum and discover yet again, with faith there are amazing things just waiting for us in this world!

Well written and clearly with a zest of life, this is a Christian romance novel you will enjoy with all your heart! Beth K. Vogt knows what makes women, young and older, feel all those butterflies...

The author richly balances all of her characters in this debut novel and you will have a hard time to find just one favourite! Allison is blessed with a solid family, great friends and her life is at a glance just as it should be. When she realizes however she is not happy, she finds the courage to follow a different path, opening her heart and trusting in God's plans.

If I had to choose one protagonist over the others it would be the stepfather figure! With that description Beth K. Vogt wowed me and yet it was just a very small part in the novel! And then there is the unconventional aunt, and the 'Bad Boys' who will have you chuckle starting with their quirky names...Who knew llamas liked cats?

Each chapter starts with a postcard message and you soon discover Allison has attached herself to the wrong groom! Never mind that she also hates her wedding dress!

A delightful story certain to pull at your heartstrings on more than one occasion, you will want to read it in one scoop, forgetting everything else! Absolutely perfect to relax with!
It is just the sort of novel to tuck in your beach bag for a good summer read and the perfect gift for a good friend!

I give it 5 stars of course and I am looking forward to Beth K. Vogt's next novel!!

About the Author:

Beth K. Vogt provides her readers with a happily ever after woven through with humor, reality, and God's lavish grace. She's a non-fiction author and editor who said she'd never write fiction. She's the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she'd never marry a doctor-or anyone in the military. She's a mom of four who said she'd never have kids. Beth has discovered that God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." She writes contemporary romance because she believes there's more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us. Beth earned a journalism degree from San Jose State University and met her husband Rob when he knocked her down at a karate studio. They've been married for 31 years. They have four children, ranging in ages from 28, 25, 23 and - thanks to a funny thing happening on their way to the empty nest-a 10-year-old.
More on her website (here).

As part of this blog tour, let me invite you to check out other reviews of this debut novel (here)


Win an iPad2 from @BethVogt! Celebrate with Beth by entering her Wish You Were Here Giveaway!

One "happy" winner will receive:
  • A brand new iPad with Wi-Fi (The must-have, do-everything gadget!)
  • Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt (Swoon worthy.)
  • $15 iTunes Gift Card (Music, books, apps, & more.)
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 6/4/12. The winner will be announced 6/6/12 on Beth's website!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Beth's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

I received this book free from LITFUSE as part of their blogger review program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

15 May 2012

The Heart Always Remembers...

“Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever.”

(Lao Tzu)

13 May 2012

Mothering's Day...



12 May 2012

Winner Of " As One Devil To Another,

The winner of Richard Platt 'As One Devil To Another, (see review here) is....

Thank you for sharing! I was intrigued with the title so please count me in for this one.

Congratulations Mystica! I will be contacting you shortly for your snail mail address! 
TYNDALE has awarded you a gift certificate to redeem your own copy of this excellent book!

Again congratulations and thank you for entering this giveaway!


Beyond Hope's Valley by Tricia Goyer, Book review


After an extended stay in Montana, where Amish traditions are different than in her home state, Marianna Sommer returns to Indiana for two reasons, first to help her brother and his girlfriend prepare for a baby and their wedding. Second, to plan her own wedding to Aaron Zook -- a marriage she’s been dreaming about ever since childhood. And yet, although she had missed the idyllic farms and families of her upbringing, Marianna is surprised that Indiana is somehow making her long now for Montana.

As months pass, secrets that were hidden in winter’s frozen grasp thaw and take on a life of their own. The truths about a child, about a past relationship, and about God’s plans are being revealed. Walking through a valley of questions, Marianna must hold on to hope as she decides where and with whom her heart truly belongs.

My thoughts:

'Beyond Hope's Valley'  is book # 3 in the series 'Big Sky Novels' and whilst I would have prefered to read the stories in order, this last installment's was in itself a true pleasure. Tricia Goyer introduces yet again to a different facet of Amish life.

I have learned from previous works such as 'Night Song' and 'Dawn of a Thousand Nights' there is always something for me to learn from this author and even better, witness as a fellow Christian.

Amish life varies from area to area and communities such as the traditional one our protagonist belonged to before leaving for Montana is no different. It soon becomes clear returning to Indiana brings to Marianna challenges she had not foreseen and the past casts many shadows over her family.

Beyond Hope's Valley would have been just another Amish story but the interaction betwixt Amish and Englisher gives it a different twist and I found myself drawn to the story after the fourth chapter. The romantic in me found the letters 'written with the pen of the man who dreams of...' captivating.

Tricia Goyer mentions an Amish proverb: 'The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor the man perfected without trials.' Plain and true words!

In this heartwarming tale, Marianna learns to follow her heart and God's love gives her the serenity to accept His plans for her and her family!

A pleasant story to delight any reader who likes Amish inspired novels, complete with mouth watering recipes and solid wisdom!

I give 4 stars!

Note to readers: 'Along Wooden Paths' and 'Beside Still Water' are book # 1 and book # 2 in 'The Big Sky Novel'.

Also as part of this blog tour, I would like to invite you to read other reviews on this book (here)

About the Author:

Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Beside Still Waters, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003.
Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.
For more on this author please visit her website (here).

Tricia is hosting a Custom Amish Prize Pack Giveaway and an All Things Amish Author Chat Party!
Win a Custom Amish Prize Pack from @TriciaGoyer in her Beyond Hope's Valley Giveaway! RSVP for All Things Amish Party {5/21}! Celebrate with Tricia and enter to win a custom-made Amish Wall hanging in the colors of your choice ... and much more!

One fortunate winner will receive: 
  •  Custom Amish Wall Hanging {You choose the colors!} 
  • An Amish Doll {Sweet.} 
  • Amish-made basket {It’s picnic season!} 
  • Doilies, potholder and an Amish cookbook {All items form Bird-in-Hand, PA!} 
  • Three book Big Sky Amish series {Be swept away by this captivating series.} 

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 20th. Winner will be announced at "All Things Amish" Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/21. Tricia will be hosting an author chat (on Facebook and Live from her website) and giving away books, gift certificates and more! 

So grab your copy of Beyond Hope's Valley and join Tricia on the evening of the May 21st for a fun chat, trivia contest (How much do you know about the Amish?) and lots of giveaways. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)
Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning!

I received this book free from LITFUSE as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.