Review ~ Amanda Weds a Good Man

Amanda

The Amish community of Cedar Creek is celebrating a wedding! When Amanda Lambright, widowed with three daughters, marries Wyman Brubaker, a widower with five children, she envisions joining their two households into one big happy family. But it isn’t quite that easy….

Amanda Lambright loves Wyman Brubaker, and after four years as a single mother, she is grateful for his support and for this new chance at happiness as his wife. She’s confident that their children will get along just fine. But once Amanda’s clan moves into Wyman’s home, the tight quarters and Wyman’s reluctance to make changes to accommodate Amanda cause friction. The older kids are squabbling. The little ones are frequently in tears. Tiny Alice Ann isn’t speaking at all. Amanda and Wyman can’t find any privacy. And Amanda wonders if she’ll ever have a chance to pursue the pottery making that means so much to her.

My ****4 Star**** Review

While Amanda Lambright and Wyman Brubaker may be the central focus of this novel, they are really just a tiny portion of the story. As with your typical Amish story, this is about whole communities of people. You get to see the ins and outs of their lifestyle. You see some of the goodness that I’ve always felt drawn to, but then you also get to witness some of their struggles and unforgiving attitudes. I might add here that this is the first Amish story that I’ve read that referenced sex. I was a bit surprised by that. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s not in the least bit erotic. It’s just talked of.

Amanda gets down on herself easily, and while some things I wouldn’t have blinked at, there were times that I didn’t know how she could tolerate certain things and put on such a strong face. I fell in love with other characters in the story besides just Amanda and Wyman. I absolutely loved Abby’s constant cheerfulness. Everyone could use a friend like her. I got tickled at Merle’s excitement.

I’m definitely interested in reading more of the series! I have a few characters I want to keep an eye on!!! I recommend this to anyone interested in the Amish world.

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

About the Author ~ Naomi King

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Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Naomi King (a.k.a. Charlotte Hubbard) writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people—to share hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle, and the foundation of her earlier Angels of Mercy series. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5163868.Naomi_King
Website:http://www.naomikingauthor.com/

Happy Reading,

Alison

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Review ~ The Lady and the Officer

The Lady and the Officer

Bestselling author Mary Ellis (A Widow’s Hope) presents The Lady and the Officer, Book 2 of her new Civil War historical romance series, which tells the stories of brave women and the men who love them.

Serving for a brief time as a nurse after the devastating battle of Gettysburg, Madeline Howard saves the life of Elliot Haywood, a colonel in the Confederate Home Guard. But even though Maddy makes her home in the South, her heart and political sympathies belong to General James Downing, a soldier from the North.

However, Colonel Haywood has never forgotten the beautiful nurse, and when he unexpectedly meets her again in Richmond, he is determined to win her. But while rubbing elbows with army officers and cavalry generals and war department officials in her aunt and uncle’s palatial home, Maddy overhears plans for a Confederate attack in northern Virginia. She knows passing along this information may save the life of her beloved James, but at what cost? Can she really betray the trust of her family and friends?

Maddy’s heart is pulled between wanting to be loyal to those who care for her and wanting to help the man she believes is on the right side of the conflict. Two men love her. Will her faith in God show her the way to a bright future, or will her choices bring a devastation of their own?

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My ****4 Star**** Review

I’ve always been a fan of historical fiction and this story did not disappoint. The perspective was different from the other novels I’ve read set in the Civil War, so I appreciated that. I got to see some struggles and concerns, and quite frankly love and understanding that I normally don’t see in other books set during this famous war. It’s common to hear of how family fought against family, but I was happy to see some acceptance in Maddy’s family because that resonates as true to me for many of the families during that time.

The story was unpredictable and kept me guessing. I’ll even have to admit that at 57% in I had to flip to end because I was freaking out not being able to tell how the story would end. I had to know! It was very suspenseful!

I’d definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys historical Christian romance. I’ll personally look forward to reading more from Mary Ellis.

*I received a copy via NetGalley and Harvest House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.*

About the Author ~ Mary Ellis

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Mary Ellis grew up close to the Amish where she loved their peaceful agrarian lifestyle and strong sense of Christian community. She and her husband now live by the largest population of Old Order in the country where they take weekend trips to research her books. Mary enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught Middle School and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate—a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. Her debut Amish fiction, A Widow’s Hope, first in the Miller Family series, was a finalist in the 2010 ACFW Carol Awards and received the Award of Merit for the Holt Medallion. She has since written ten best-selling novels. Her previous release, Living in Harmony, first in the New Beginning series, won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction.
Website: http://maryellis.net
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6176202.Mary_Ellis

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ Hope at Dawn (Of Love and War #1)

Hope at Dawn

In a Time of War, Love is the Inspiration.

With her brothers away fighting the Great War overseas, Livy Campbell desperately wants to help her family. Her chance comes when she meets a handsome stranger who lands her a job as a teacher in a place far from her parents’ farm. But the war casts a long shadow over the German-American town that Livy now calls home—and the darkness will test everything she thought she knew about family and love . . .

More than anything, Friedrick Wagner wants to be part of his adopted country’s struggle for peace. But when the bitter animosity between Germans and Americans soon turns citizens against newcomers, friend against friend, he will do whatever it takes to protect Livy from the hysteria that grips their town. As tragedy—and dark secrets from the past—threaten their future, Friedrick and Livy have one chance to stand up for what’s right . . . and one chance to fight for their love.

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My ****4.5 Star**** Review

This story takes place during WWI, a time period I haven’t read too many books set in. It seems many authors prefer to write about WWII for whatever reasons. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, and this book did not disappoint.
It’s set in the U.S. and focuses on the struggles of the German Americans during the war. To make things interesting, a forbidden love affair is formed. We get both Livy & Friedrick’s point of view. Livy’s brothers are both fighting in the war against the Germans, and Friedrick is a German American unable to go to war because of his father’s illness. You get to witness first-hand the trials they both face from their side of the fence. It’s a wonderful Christian romance full of wisdom that is still applicable today.

*I received a copy via NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.*

About the Author ~ Stacy Henrie

Stacy Henrie

Stacy Henrie has always had an avid appetite for history, fiction and chocolate. While she had a goal to write and publish a book one day, she turned her attentions first to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Not long after, she switched from writing press releases and newsletters to writing inspirational historical romances as a stay-at-home mom. Stacy loves reading, interior decorating, romantic movies, and most of all, laughing with her husband and three kids. She appreciates the chance to live out history through her characters, while enjoying all the modern conveniences of life in the 21st century.
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5778153.Stacy_Henrie
Website: http://www.stacyhenrie.com

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ The Miracle Girls (Miracle Girls #1)

miracle girls

Synopsis

Ana Dominguez was happy in San Jose, but everything changed when her dad moved the family to Half Moon Bay, California, to open a law practice. Her parents think she’s settling into her new school nicely, but she has them fooled. Riley, the most popular girl in school, has picked Ana as enemy #1, and Tyler, Ana’s crush, doesn’t even know Ana exists.
When Ana ends up in detention with Riley, her life suddenly changes. When Ana, Riley, Christine, and Zoe share their essays on “The Day My Life Changed,” it turns out they have more in common than they ever would have imagined. Now as Ana lives out her faith, she and Zoe are determined to befriend Riley and Christine. But the drama of high school life has only just begun. . . .

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My ****4 Star**** Review

Meet the miracle girls: Ana, Zoe, Christine and Riley. This unlikely group is thrown together for a project during detention. Don’t get the wrong idea. These aren’t your typical troublemakers, but they each have circumstances which led them to this fate. The project is to write an essay about the day their life changed. After they’ve written their essays, they are then told they have to share them with their groups. None of them are interested in sharing, but then they’re notified that they won’t leave detention until they’ve done so. Upon sharing, they all learn that by some miracle, they all escaped a life and death situation. Zoe immediately feels that there’s some higher purpose as to why they’ve all been thrown together. Their group isn’t easily formed, though, especially considering a couple of the girls, Ana and Riley, appear to hate each other.

The story is written from Ana’s perspective, so you really get a good glimpse at all of her personal struggles. These struggles vary greatly, too. She’s new to the area and has zero friends. Her housekeeper and closest confidant has just been diagnosed with lupus. She’s a little obsessed with Tyler, lead singer of the Christian band Three Car Garage, but he doesn’t know she exists. Then there’s her overbearing parents, who have very strict rules and expect nothing less than perfection when it comes to school and looking forward to college. Oh, and don’t forget her role with the miracle girls, particularly her struggles with getting along with Riley.

Ana’s only a freshman and has a lot of growing up to do still. She comes off as a bit judgmental and self-righteous. She obsesses over Tyler for no reason other than his looks. She disregards Dave, bass player, for his looks, despite his amazing personality and interest in her. She also behaves like an airhead at times. Now these qualities would normally put me off in a main character, but it’s obvious that Ana is behaving in a manner typical to her age, and that she’s taking gradual steps in the right direction. Oh, and I couldn’t help but love her because she eats her Oreos and marshmallows the same way I do!

There’s a romance in the story, but this is sooo much more than a romance. This story is about learning some tough life lessons, forming the right kind of relationships, and honoring your parents even when you don’t agree with them. There are some very tense situations that arise, but you get to see Ana mature through them and learn some profound truths.

This story is perfect for younger adult females looking for a story with good morals! There is a romance, but it’s extremely clean. Hand holding is the extent of the physical aspect. There’s no foul language.

I picked up my copy on Amazon when it was being offered for free.

About the Authors ~ Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt

Anne Dayton

Anne Dayton

Website: http://anneandmay.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/135729.Anne_Dayton

May Vanderbilt

May Vanderbilt

Website: http://anneandmay.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/135728.May_Vanderbilt

Happy Reading,

Alison

Review ~ A Broken Kind of Beautiful

a broken kind of beautiful

Title: A Broken Kind of Beautiful


Author: Katie Ganshert


Release Date: April 15, 2014


Genre: Fiction / Christian / Romance

Synopsis

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four-year-old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth — appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows — so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line — an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.

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My ****4.5 Star**** Review

Wow. I am feeling so uplifted right now. This book has left me feeling completely gushy and warm! I don’t think the title could have been more perfect.

Ivy is the main focus of the story. She’s broken. As it turns out, she’s not the only broken person in the story, though. Davis and his sister Sara are both struggling with issues of their own. Then there’s Marilyn who steadily has to deal with discouragement.

This book is full of raw honesty and wisdom. It’s a book I think anyone can relate to. While the characters may have held some lofty positions and their circumstances may not be ones we’d ever find ourselves in, the main issues are ones we can all find ourselves struggling with: fear, loneliness, rejection, lust, GUILT. This is a story of redemption.

Ivy may be a fasion model with problems I’ve never seen the likes of, but I could still completely relate to her emotions.

Davis. What an amazing man of God. He constantly pushes aside the flesh in order to put God’s will first. He’s the kind of caring and self-sacrificing man most single women long for. But he’s punishing himself. I loved listening to the pastor impart his wisdom. He’s a listener, and he knows how to gently guide Davis in the right direction.

As far as the writing itself, the story had a nice smooth pace throughout, and Ms. Ganshert really knows how to grab the reader. There are some quotes that just really hit you. I found myself saying, “Ouch,” more than once. It had me questioning if there were areas in my own life where I was trying to play God. It’s a beautifully written story that I recommend to everyone, especially those of you looking for a Christian romance that is so much more than just a romance.

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.*

About the Author ~ Katie Ganshert

Katie Ganshert

Christy Award finalist, Katie Ganshert is the author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows. She lives in Iowa with her handsome husband, their dinosaur-loving son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption, which she and her husband hope to complete sometime before they are fifty. – See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/author-spotlight.php?authorid=145407#sthash.TW4CBPC1.dpuf
Website: http://katieganshert.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKatieGanshert
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5197636.Katie_Ganshert
More Info: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?work=234965

Happy Reading,

Alison

Harte’s Peak ~ Promo Blitz, Review & Giveaway

Hartespeak

Title: Harte’s Peak

Author: Maria Michaels

Release Date: June 20, 2014

Genre: Inspirational romance

Hosted By: Book Promotions by Literary Nook

Synopsis

Vera Carrington loves her newly renovated home and her cafe, The Bean, but with a balloon mortgage looming over head and a man from her past ready to bounce on her misfortune, she may have to face the agonizing decision of keeping one and selling the other.
Deputy Sheriff, Ryan Colton, is a new man in Christ. His days as a flamboyant pro-circuit skier are behind him, but to help Vera keep her home and her business, he agrees to coach her for an upcoming open ski tournament. He even agrees to hand over the purse if he should win.
Can Vera beat the odds and win the tournament? Will Ryan save the day, or will they both learn to trust God, no matter the outcome?

Excerpt

Vera served dinner at the counter, and they ate on the kitchen stools. No need to get fancy with Ryan. This wasn’t a date, and she wanted to make that clear.

Men like Ryan, church-going men, were to be her friends and nothing more. Even if those brown eyes, that devastating smile, and his athletic form reminded her that once she’d thought him a very attractive man.

A little too handsome maybe. She’d quickly placed him in the compete-with mirror-time category, but tonight it seemed she might have been wrong all along.

“This is delicious,” Ryan said.

He must have meant it because he cleaned his plate. She’d forgotten how satisfying it was to cook a meal for someone who appreciated it. “Thanks.”

“Maybe you should open that restaurant.” Ryan rose and took his plate to the sink.

In the sudden, gaping silence, Ryan seemed to regret his words. “I’m sorry. I know times are hard for everyone. Every business owner in town is struggling.”

Vera winced. She could ski with the wind and cook like a chef. “I don’t need your pity. The café is doing great.”

“That’s kind of what I thought. So tell me, why this urgency to get your hands on the top prize of twenty-five thousand dollars?”

Purchase

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My ***3.5 Star*** Review

I finished reading this one about a month prior to writing this review. I can be the worst kind of procrastinator sometimes. I’m only commenting on this because it had an effect on my rating here. I’ll explain, but first I want to get into what I loved about the book.

First and foremost, Ryan. What good Christian girl wouldn’t love a hero like Ryan?? He’s so full of selfless love that it flows like a river out of him. He’s all about provide and protect, and what girl doesn’t want that out of her man? Then there’s Vera. She stubborn and pig-headed, and I know I could certainly relate! She comes with a past, though, in the form of one scary, powerful guy.

The plot is full of tension and love all in one bundle. Plus, the conflict is more than just one-dimensional, which adds to the intrigue. I found myself whole-heartedly rooting Vera and Ryan on!

Okay. Back to the downside. When I started to write the review. I couldn’t find my notes at first, and I couldn’t immediately remember which story went with this title. This happens to me often, though, as I read sooo many books. I had to skim more than a few pages of the book to bring the story back to mind. This happens from time to time. After the story clicked back to mind, I could quickly remember a lot of the details, but it just took some digging at first.

Overall, I highly recommend this to all you Christian romance fans!!! While this may not be the book that you remember reading a year down the road without some prodding, it’ll definitely be an enjoyable read for a nice afternoon by the pool!! I certainly don’t regret the time I spent with the story! I’d happily pick up another of Maria’s books!!
*I received a copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Pelican Book Group

Author Bio

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When her dreams of achieving Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status were dashed, Maria Michaels tackled her first book in 2010, and now the people and voices that occupy her head refuse to leave.She no longer sings unless you count randomly bursting into song to annoy her children (and the dogs).Maria lives in northern California with her family, including two beagles, one who can say ‘hello’ and the other who can feel a pea through several pillows. Facebook | Twitter | Website

Giveaway

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Happy Reading

Alison

Review ~ A February Bride

A February Bride

Blurb

In A February Bride by Betsy St. Amant, history repeats itself when this bride runs out of the church on her wedding day—in the same dress that had been passed down for generations and worn by her mom, grandma and great-grandmother who also ran out of their weddings. The heroine struggles to break destructive cycles of the past. Can this bride shuck expectation and discover who SHE is as a bride and in the Bride of Christ? And if she finally walks down the aisle, what dress will she be wearing? Readers will enjoy this novel of redemption centered on a winter wedding.

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My ***3 Star*** Review

While A February Bride didn’t WOW me, I did think it was a sweet Christian romance that made for a pleasant read.

I found Allie, the bride, to be slightly quirky, which I often enjoy in a character, but also slightly selfish, which I didn’t care for. I must say, though, that a significant part of the story is about Allie’s growth. One major player in that growth is Mrs. Hall, Marcus’s (the groom) mom. Mrs. Hall’s role in the book is fairly small, but her impact is large! She’s a strong portrayal of what a Godly Christian woman should be. She’s forgiving even when it’s her children that have been harmed, and her wisdom is great.

Hannah, Allie’s bff and Marcus’s sister, also plays a big role. She, like her mother, shows a great amount of forgiveness, and has a huge impact on Allie.

But, I’d be remiss to not mention Marcus. He is half the story after all. You get alternating points of view throughout the book between Allie and Marcus. Marcus is pretty amazing. You can’t help but feel his incredible sadness and heartbreak.

So, I’ll stop here before I give the whole story away. If you enjoy short, sweet and clean romances this is for you. If you’re looking for something with some real depth then I wouldn’t recommend it. Personally, I enjoyed it enough that I’d be glad to read more from Betsy St. Amant.

About the Author ~ Betsy St. Amant

Betsy St Amant
Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group. Betsy is multi-published through Steeple Hill and has been published in Christian Communicator magazine and Praise Reports: Inspiring Real Life Stories of How God Answers Prayer. One of her short stories, ‘Kickboxing or Chocolate’, appears in a Tyndale compilation book, and she is also multi-published through The Wild Rose Press. She has a BA in Christian Communications and regularly freelances for her local newspaper. Betsy is a fireman’s wife, a mommy to a busy toddler, a chocolate-loving author and an avid reader who enjoys sharing the wonders of God’s grace through her stories.

Website: http://www.betsystamant.com/

Happy Reading,

Alison