Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lilly's Wedding Quilt - Kelly Long

Lilly's Wedding Quilt is the 2nd book by Kelly Long's Patch of Heaven Series.

Lilly is caught in a rain storm and stops at a barn where a man she has secretly liked is hiding after stealing a horse and being shot. What comes next is their story of stretching the truth to save Lilly's reputation and the joy that comes out of the relationship between Lilly and Jacob.

A few side stories of depression, brotherly love, teenagers need for rebelion and a speical needs child are all touched on in a way that make you hope Kelly's next book will be about one of them.

Jonah - Priscilla Shirer

What a great Bible study about how God using interuptions as divine interventions in your life!

Have you ever felt like God interrupted your life? This book shows you how really these interruptions are invitations from God to do something amazing. Something God thinks that you are the best person to handle. (reflect on that a minute)

I have never studied the book of Jonah and I loved it!

Priscilla has a way that draws you in and you can't wait for what she is going to share the next day, I highly recommend the DVD series that goes with this but it can definately be used alone. 
Bring on the next one. 

Angel's Song - Sheila Walsh

This book made me smile. I enjoyed it very much.

It started out a little sad when Sarah dies right before she is going to graduate with her masters degree in social work (this is what my daughter will be doing in a few short months so maybe it hit me harder than some) but the growth of Ann(ie) throughout this book is great. I especially like Keith and the huge role he played in this book. It shows that children with Downs Syndrome are amazing children just like every child that God created is.
I loved Ethan and how true he was to God and his beliefs.

I know there are only a few short pages for a story to be told in a book but sometimes the quickness of people falling in love throws me for a loop because I don't see life like that.

Well done!

An Amish Christmas by Cynthia Keller

I very much enjoyed this book.
This was a book about when God shuts a door he opens a window.
Meg and her family were living high on the hog while her husband lost all their money through losing his job and some bad decisions.
This is the story of Meg, who is devestated by what her husband has done, stands by her man in front of her children and her parents and tries to make the best of a terrible situation.
This is a story of change, forgiveness and the kindness of the Amish (I hope non amish are this kind but I haven't seen it in a long time)
This is a story of bringing a family back together and now sometimes the simple things way out way the complex world

A Time to Heal - Barbara Cameron

 Time to Heal is Barbara Cameron's second book in the Quilts of Lancaster County series.

I very much liked this book, it drew me in from the very beginning.

Chris, comes to visit Jenny (one of the main characters in book 1, A Time to Love) and stays to help on the farm once they become short handed. This is the story of Chris, a wounded solider, learning to accept himself and others for what they are willing to share not what they can get out of it, and of course falling in love.
Chris starts falling for Hannah but because of his past he will decides to leave once he realizes that the bad things that are happening around the farm are because he is there. He decided the best thing to do is leave but before he can things go from bad to worse.
I love the strong faith in God throughout this book - even in Chris who is dealing with some demons from the war.
There are a few questionable moments in this book but overall I loved it.

Another Dawn - Kathryn Cushman

Signs of a good book- they make you laugh, they make you cry and they make you think. All these were accomplished in this book.
My only question,and it is a question as it has been a long time since I have had a 4 year old, is could he really of thought and said all the things that he did. Should the boy have been a little older?
This is a story of a mom who decides not to vacinate her son, unbeknowst to her he comes in contact with someone with the measles. He then gets the measles and passes it on to the babies in the church nursery on Sunday. This is the story of her learning to stay and fight vs running away, it deals with relationships of Father/Daughter, Sisters, Communities, old school friends, Man/Women relationships.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Her Best Catch By: Lindi Peterson

I really did not enjoy this book.  I read a lot of romance novels and just could not get engaged in this one.  Allison Doll, the protagonist is so unlikeable and whiny it was hard to read this entire book from her point of view.  For those of you watching and Bachelorette this season and cannot stand Ashley's continuously self deprecating talk then you will not enjoy this.  I can understand why the hero may not always find her attractive since she is always so negative. 

The first person point of view this is written from is overwhelming.  I would have liked to not be in Allison's head all the time and occasionally get the hero's point of view, or heck anyone else's.  Very predictable ending with no real surprises.  If this book has not have been free I would not have read it.

Playing Dirty By: Susan Anderson

Susan Anderson sure knows how to draw you in.  This is the third book in a trilogy about best friends.  You get to know Ava is the past two books and learn about her insecurites but this book brings all of that to teh forefront and allows you to see her personal stuggles with her weight and how she must work through that in order to find her true love.
In the beginning you are lead to hate the hero, Cade, by the end you are rooting for him to succeed in his business as well as with Ava.  So many romance novels have the hero leave the heroine only to realize his mistake and return but what i love about this book is that it is the heroine who has to realize her mistake.  It is refreshing to see that side a man when he is so in love he cannot think.
The only slow parts are when we are looking at the situation from the bad guy's point of view.  They are neccessary to the story and luckily are short but they do seem to drag.  If you haven't read her first two in this series I woudl recommend you read them all!

Only Yours, By: Susan Mallery

This was by far one of my favorite Susan Mallery books.  I have read almost all of her novels and truely enjoyed this one. 
It continues the story of Fool's Gold residents and the Hendrix triplets.  Montana is just so relatable you cannot help but fall in love with her style and approach to life.  Her beau, Simon is a different type of hero than her normal perfect, stock men who has his own demons to conquer.
What really set this book apart for me was the stories that complement Montana and Simon's journey.  You get the story of Simon's patient on the burn unit as well as Montana's mother's forrages into dating.  Watching all these stories develop and intertwine makes this book a really great read.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

1105 Yakima Street - Debbie Macomber

This is the 11th book in this series. I feel like once a year I go on vacation to Cedar Cove and check in on everyone who lives there. It will be strange letting 'this family' go.
This is the story of Bruce, his daughter Jolene and her step mom Rachel. Jolene and Rachel had a wonderful friendship (see previous books) but Rachel and Bruce fall in love and quickly get married. This does not sit well with Jolene as she to learn to share both her dad and her friend. Jolene being 13 is not interested in the romance of Bruce and Rachel. Rachel decided to move out and this is the story of them trying to work their way to back other.
We also get the pleasure of checking in on other Cedar Cove families - Ben and Charlotte, who are aging and their children need to figure out how to become the parents vs the children. Grace and Olivia and their husbands, Will and his art studio. So many old friends are visited here.
A great read and I am both excited and sad to read 1225 Christmas Tree Lane where Cedar Cove will conclude.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Only Mine - Susan Mallery

Only Mine by Susan Mallery is the continuation of the Fool’s Gold Series that she started a while back.
 I love how I can pick up one of her series books and start reading new story while revisiting old friends from the past. This is Dakota’s story, she is one of the three triplets that was mentioned previously and we were hoping she would have a story.   Dakota has been asked by her boss, the mayor, to help oversee the production of the TV show Fool’s Gold or True Love. This is not the job that she wants but she embraces it. Finn comes to Fool’s Gold following his two twin brothers who are signed up for the show. His goal is to get the boys back to Alaska ASAP – of course this does not happen and therefore we get the story called Only Mine. There are some things that you see coming, a few surprises and quite a few smiles.  It is a book that when I was down to the last 100 pages I didn’t want to do anything but finish the book.   

Friday, June 17, 2011

Irresistible Forces By Brenda Jackson

This was a free Kindle book I got from Amazon and I can see why they are giving it away for free.  The plot is very bland.  Two people start a business arrangement just to have a baby but then fall in love.  Lots of sex scenes in this book that I could have done without.  It was a quick read but not something I wish to read again.  It turns out this book is in a series though and it did what it was intended to do which is make me interested in reading the next one.  However, I am afraid of getting the next one for fear of the same type of boring story writing and over emphasis on sex scenes.

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume By Julia Quinn

Follows very closely to the precursor novel (The Lost Duke of Wyndham).  Takes place over the same time period so you get a new perspective on the same events.  Overall, a good story, I would recommend this novel to others.  Easy read, fun if you enjoy period pieces.  The setting plays a larger part in this novel than some over her others in which you can forget the time period they are set.

What the Lady Wants by Jennifer Crusie

Not one of my favorites by this author.  The minor characters were unlikeable, the main characters were acceptable but not overly relate-able.  Not as much comedy in this novel as in her others.  I would not say this is one of her best, try Manhunting or Getting Rid of Bradley.

Simply Sexy by Carly Phillips

Very quick read, finished it in under 5 hours, in one day.  Great beach read.  There is some story line but heavy on the sex and occasionally light on making the couple realistic.  I read this out of order in the series but was still able to follow along.  Overall it was enjoyable but not the best novel.

Crazy for you by Jennifer Crusie

Very engaging and entertaining novel. A little slow to begin with but draws you in with the multiple story lines and leaves you rooting your heart out for the heroine. I really enjoyed this read. Little longer than some of her other books but it goes quickly. It is definitely a page turner and worth your summer reading time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lydia's Charm

I just finished Lydia's Charm by Wanda Brunstetter.
I have enjoyed her books over the years and this was was no exception. I read all 370 + pages in a little over 24 hours. Its a quick easy read.
This book is about Lydia King who moves with her son to Charm after her husband dies and she loves her job. Her mom and grandfather already live in Charm so she moves in with them. This is Lydia's story of change, love, loss, relationships.
My only issue is near the end of the book I think there are a couple of chapters that are unnecessary. I don't see the need as this is a stand along novel.
I enjoy the recipes in the back and I am planning on trying one very soon.

The Caregiver By: Shelley Shepard Gray

The Caregiver by Shelley Shephard Gray is the first book in her Family of Honor series.

Lucy is traveling by train from her home to the home of her cousin who is fighting breast cancer. It comes out fairly quickly that Lucy was being abused in her marriage and that those in her community chose to look the other way. Her husband has an accident and dies and she must learn to deal with all of this.
On the train she meets Katie and her brother Calvin who are traveling back home after visiting their Uncle John. Calvin left home to mend his broken heart of his girl falling in love with his best friend.
On their way to Middlefield they run into some train trouble and enjoy a few hours together - they have some fun, they have some misunderstandings and they part ways.
This book is thier (Lucy and Calvin) story with a side story of Maddie, who is fighting brest cancer. There are many other people mentioned some with big parts - some with little. On occasion I had a time time remember who all the small part people were and how they fit it.
I hope to find some closure to some unanswered questions as I read the second book, The Protector. 

A Turn in the Road By: Debbie Macomber

A Turn in the Road is the newest Blossom Street Book by Debbie Macomber. Instead of a little bit about everyone on Blossom Street this book focused on Bethanne Hamlin. We have previously met Bethanne and this allowed us to get to know her a lot more.
Bethanne takes a road trip with her daughter and her Mother in Law from Seattle to Florida so the MIL could attend her 50th high school reunion. Bethenne's husband has decided he made a huge mistake and wants Bethanne back. This book explores her thoughts and feelings as she works through this tough choice. There is humor along the way and some surprises. What Debbie book doesn't throw in all these elements.
It is a must read if you enjoy either her Cedar Cove Series or her Blossom Street series.

Plain Proposal By: Beth Wiseman

This is the 5th book in Beth Wiseman's Daughters of the Promise Series.
To refresh your memories about the family tree -- there are five Stoltzfus siblings.  Samuel (Plain Perfect), Noah (Plain Pursuit), Ivan (several of the books, Katie Ann's husband), Mary Ellen (Linda's mother from Plain Paradise), and Rebecca.  Miriam is Rebecca's daughter, and she has been mentioned briefly in prior books.  Plain Proposal is Miriam's story. 
What a wonderful book, it has everything you would want in a good book.
Miriam Raber for years has been smiten with Saul Fisher and he with you but both seen scared to act on it. This is their story - even though Saul is rumored to be leaving the Amish community for the English world, Miriam decides to trust Derr Herr and see if they have a future together.
This is well rounded story with small minor stories included - some of it ties in the previous 4 books (people that I have come to know and care about). It is a book that you want to keep reading vs turning out the light and going to sleep at night.
Well done Beth!

Salad as a Meal By: Patricia Wells

This book was lovely. The pictures were wonderful, it was almost like I could reach out and touch them. The recipes were simple to understand and easy to follow, maybe a few out of the ordinary items but fixable with a trip to the store.
Besides being able to use this book to make dinner I think it makes a great coffee table book. As the pictures would be great conversation pieces.

Dining with the Dollar Diva By: Elizabeth J. Fisher

This is an average cook book to me, I didn't find anything that made me want to run out and buy this book for myself or a friend.

Simple Deceit By: Nancy Mehl

Simple Deceit is the 2nd book on a series about Grace.  In this book she has given up her life in Kansas and moved to Harmony to live in her uncle’s house. She also found love in book 1 and this one continues on her path of true love with Sam.  As with any good book there are some issues in that relationship along with issues happening in the town.
I enjoyed this book, she has left enough things dangling that I am anxious for the third one to come out. She covered most of the unanswered questions from book 1.  I will admit to some of the back story people I had a hard time following when they showed back up, that could be just my age showing though. 
I have not read any other Mennonite books so not sure if everyone in the Mennonite community is as different as all these people regarding electricity, etc but a book I would recommend.

Grace By: Shelley Shepard Gray

I so enjoyed this Christmas book about Katie, Annie and Winnie.  It was almost like coming home myself. It was so nice to see what the girls had been up to and getting to know the new charcters to name a few Melody, Leah, .
This is a book I would highly recommend to all.

Shared Blessings (A Place to Belong)

I enjoyed this book although after reading shared hope I was not sure that I was going to.
 This one like Shared Hope give you a title, a bible verse but then instead of a story, etc it talks about life and how to make the most of what God has given you.
For example: Overcoming Fear, 1 John 4:18, it talks about identifying fears and how to overcome them.
Maybe it depends on where you are at with your walk with the Lord when you read these books. I have read many similiar over the years and some I like better than others.
This one I just couldn't put down.

Missing Mabel By: Nancy Mehl

Just finished reading my first book by Nancy Mehl, Missing Mabel.
I enjoyed it. Light, quick Christian reading. A little mystery, a little romance, some humor. Can't ask for much more.
This is a story about a hair dresser who works with funeral homes to make the loved ones look the best they can before the viewing. She accidently gets involved in a mystery while fixing Mabel's hair and the book concludes with her solving the mystery.
Great job. Looking forward to her next one.

A Simple Amish Christmas By: Vannetta Chapman

This was my first book by Vannetta Chapman and I think she did a good job.
This was an enjoyable Amish fiction book,throwing christmas in there is a stretch for me as the book ended befor second Christmas, the amish celebration of christmas. It was really about the time before Christmas.
I loved meeting Annie's family and getting to know them all but there was lots of talk about a puppy for one of her sisters for Christmas and we never got to see that play out, we never saw the end of the unwed amish girl that Annie had met with a few times.  I just feel as there were loose ends that should of been resolved before the book ended.
 But I will read another one of her books when the opportunity presents itself.

Shared Hope By: Circle of Friends Ministries

I wanted to like this book more than I did.
Shared Hope is  a book about feel good short stories to help you with daily battles: Hope in Purpose, Depend on Him, Confident hope, etc.
Each one starts with a title- for example Hope in Surrender. Then it give you a bible verse: Romans 12:1 then one of many women write how  this verse and this title go together and how it can help you.
For me this book just fell short.

Simple Choices By Nancy Mehl

This is the 3rd book and final book in this series. It did not disappoint.
This was a great book to make you think about your christian life and how you should be living.
I loved how it came full circle with all the characters that were introduced, I didn't feel like there were too many that were brought in that were not needed, everyone had a good role and the character was developed. I didn't feel like this book was rushed or too long.
To me just a very well written book.

Count Down to Love by Julie Ford

For fans of the tv show the Bachelor this is a good read.  For those of you who follow the Bachelor religiously and know the workings of it this book can be seen as a stretch.  I started this book while watching the Bachelorette and did not always like the differences.  I know there must be differences but expecting us to believe the Bachelor cuts 13 people the first night is a leap.
Although written in first person I feel sometimes it took too much liberty.  There were places where we went into the main characters head and read her descriptions of locations or events that were not at all important to the story line leading to a drag in the story.  I believe it would have been better if we would have been able to get the story from the hero's point of view occasionally as many other romance novels do and not strictly read from the heroine's point of view.
 Some of the best seasons were left out of the book and then reminisced about later which I really did not like.  I think we should have been able to live through the moments with the characters.
Overall is was a cute, easy read but not the best.  The story was very predictable and the villain made the story occasionally unlikeable.  I would read other novels by this author but this book did not make it to my favorites list.