Saturday, March 24, 2018

Review: Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Description:Abigail Brantley grew up in affluence and knows exactly how to behave in high society. But when she is cast from the social registers due to her father's illegal dealings, she finds herself forced into a role she never imagined: tutoring rough Kansas ranchers in the subjects of manners and morals so they can "marry up" with their mail-order brides. Mack Cleveland, whose father was swindled by a mail-order bride, wants no part of the scheme to bring Eastern women to Spiveyville, Kansas, and he's put off by the snooty airs and fastidious behavior of the "little city gal" in their midst. But as time goes by, his heart goes out to the teacher who tries so diligently to smooth the rough edges from the down-to-earth men. How can he teach her that perfection won't bring happiness?

My Review:This is a beautiful with rich and unique characters. I loved how the individual personalities developed through the story, how hearts and minds were changed, and how the men responded to feminine gentleness, and how the men set equally changed and broadened the women.

The characters are what really set this story apart from others. Each character is unique, and each has their own voice. They are so distinct that I can "hear" them in my mind. Mack, Buster, Helena, Otto, and the many others all won a special part in my heart.

While the story is mostly light and entertaining threads of mystery, suspense, and danger are woven throughout. It's a story that will have you laughing out loud one moment, and laughing at yourself for praying for fictional characters the next.

The contrast between the stuffy and formal East Coast women and the rough men of the west makes for some great moments, and the story that unfolds as both learn and grow from one another is inspirational.

I really enjoyed this story.

More Information:

Available March 20, 2018

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: God Bless America Adult Coloring Book

This beautiful Americana-themed adult coloring book was a joy from the first page. Each has a peaceful illustration and inspirational quote. The paper is heavy so ink doesn't bleed. The pages remove easily so you can cherish each individual picture.
This is a very relaxing reflection of American life.
This is a great way to treat yourself and also makes a nice gift.

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

Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: Cats in Paris Adult Coloring Book

This is an adult coloring book with beautiful Paris scenes, and many cats. 
The pages are heavy paper, and I have not had any trouble with bleed-through. The pages are two-sided and non-perforated so you cannot remove the scenes. The dust cover is removable and has it's own places for coloring.
While this book was beautifully drawn by a talented artist I found that some of the pages, especially the Paris scenes, were already so detailed that it was best left as ink art. Too much detail actually detracts from coloring. Another issue that I had was the lack of space to add your own art. It seems like often every inch of the paper is taken, so you can color but not create.
With the title "Cats in Paris" I was expecting a book of Paris scenes with cats in them, but the opposite is true. It's a book of cats with some Paris scenes in it. This is not necessarily a problem, but something to be aware of. This is a book for cat lovers, not for Paris lovers. I am not a cat-lover, and found that I lost interest in coloring page after page of cats.
Overall, this is a okay adult coloring book with a few drawbacks.

I must mention that I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

Book Description:
In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.
His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself. 
Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different. 
But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love. 
Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.

My Review:
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

While this is a mingling of history, fiction, and theology it was done in an incredibly accurate yet easy to read manner.
For those who are students of church history and are familiar with the reformation as well as the person and work of Luther, I believe you will find this to be a fair treatment of his life and work. His well-known personality comes through well, and you can just see the softening of the often-gruff Luther as his relationship with Katharina unfolds.
Of course, it is fiction and a delightful but realistic love story. This just makes it all the better. 
The vivid descriptions of the people and events, both historical and fictitious, give the reader a glimpse into issues surrounding the reformation and some of what happened to those who were involved in it.
Overall, I loved this book. This was the perfect blending of history and fiction.

*I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Room for Hope Review and Giveaway

Rarely does a book come my way that lingers with me long after the last page has been read. Those books are a rare gift. This is one of those books.

Neva Shilling faithfully tends to the family store and cares for the twins Bud and Belle as her husband takes month-long trips to sell products in other communities. Though disappointed that she had not provided her husband with the large family they had both desired, Neva is a faithful wife and mother who is warm and caring to all.

With the sound of a wagon pulling up to the shop, her life forever changes. Neva receives word that her husband and his other wife  have died. And, he has sent his three  other children to live with "Aunt Neva." Shocked and heartbroken over the revelation of double life that her beloved has lived, Neva is faced with life-changing decisions. Will she keep the mercantile or sell to Arthur, the owner of the Emporium who has long coveted the shop? Will she keep the children or send them to an orphanage? What will she tell the town?

This book was brilliantly written with an engaging plot, a thread of mystery that runs throughout, and a depth of character that is rare to find in a book today.

There is a strong theme of faith, forgiveness, and the return of prodigals in this book. It is a blessing to see how Neva's faith is strengthened through her trials and how her compassionate heart and depth of love only grows deeper through adversity.

This book gripped my heart from the very first page, and is a story that I am not likely to forget.

Interested in reading this? You can download the first chapter here:

I also have two copies of this book to giveaway, courtesy of Waterbrook Multnomah. Just leave a comment below to enter. Winners will be announced March 1, 2015.

*Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah, who provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway winners (both from Facebook entries) are Janelle and Kristine!
Thank you to all who entered.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: When Grace Sings by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Book Description:

When trouble roars into quiet Arborville, Alexa and Anna-Grace find themselves the target for discord and exposed secrets. Can they continue to seek the God of all grace amidst the fog of confusion?  

Alexa Zimmerman wonders if the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas will ever fully accept her. Her family roots here aren’t what anyone thought when she first arrived, but she is hopeful that her culinary and hospitality skills will win the skeptics over. The bed-and-breakfast she’s operating needs to succeed so Alexa agrees to allow Briley Forrester, the hotshot reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder not knowing his real motives for being amongst the Plain folk.

But when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna-Grace Braun, the presence of extended family brings out Alexa’s insecurities and sets Briley on the trail to uncovering a web of hidden truths.

Plans for a secure future and the sweetness of young romance hang in the balance when Alexa and Anna-Grace have to face that their secrets are interconnected, binding the two in ways they could not have imagined. They must trust in a loving, heavenly Father and His plan for their futures.

My Review:

This book was a big dose of grace right from the beginning. It was very refreshing to read.
The characters are what really make this book enjoyable
Alexa really is full of grace. Her gentle and God-honoring character is a blessing to read about, and she pulls this story together. Put in a very uncomfortable situation while trying to settle in with her new family and new life, her faith and trust are inspiring.

Briley - starts out as typical hotshot reporter. As the plot unfolds, this character show that there is a lot more to him. His colorful character brings a touch of humor. While he's very easy to dislike at first, there is hope for him :)

Anna-Grace is the sweetest character. She is so easy to love.

The story moves along at a very nice pace and keeps the reader interested throughout. I couldn't help but love this family.

I hadn't read the first book in the series, yet it read just fine as a stand-alone. The author does a great job of including enough of the previous story for the reader to understand the characters and the plot. I do plan to go back and read it now.


*I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Blogging for Books.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: The Last Bride by Beverly Lewis

Book Description:

Of her Old Order parents' five daughters, Tessie Miller is the last to marry. She has her heart set on Amishman Marcus King, but Tessie's father opposes the match.

Impetuously, Tessie and Marcus elope to the English world, then return to Hickory Hollow to live as singles, trusting they'll convince the Millers to give their love a chance over time. But when the unthinkable happens, Tessie faces the almost-certain censure of the People. Will she find a reason for hope in spite of her desperate plight?

My Review:

Sweet Tessie Ann! I just loved her. Such a gentle soul, who despite her one rash decision genuinely wanted to obey her parents and the church.

This is one of my favorite books by Beverly Lewis. I enjoyed the familiar setting of Hickory Hollow, and the look back into the lives of the minor recurring characters. There is a lot of depth to this book. Between the struggles of Tessie and her sister Mandy and a father who, in trying to prevent heartbreak, breaks the heart of his daughters there is much to be learned and appreciated.

As long time readers of Lewis have likely come to expect, there is beautiful look inside both Amish life and Amish faith. With a strong view of the sovereignty of God, I found this book to encourage me in my faith, too.

The story unfolds at just the right pace, and I loved seeing the soft romances unfold.

I would strongly recommend this book.

I must mention that I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Preview it: