Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Loving a Lawman by Amy Lillard

It's summer time in the Old Dominion.  Finally!  Even though we've had a ton of rain and May is now down on the books as the wettest month in the books I'm still managing to get outside and relax with a good book and some sweet tea on the porch swing.

I'm also getting a chance to read some some amazing new books.  Amy Lillard has a brand new book releasing in July and I was so stoked to receive an ARC copy in the Cattle Creek Series.
Mosey on with me to Cattle Creek, Texas for a fantastic story.  From the back:  
As cowboys, the Langston brothers of Cattle Creek, Texas, know it can hurt like hell to fall off a horse. But it can hurt even more to fall in love. . . .

Sheriff Seth Langston is head over heels for local wild child Jessie McAllen and has been for years. The trouble is she has eyes only for Seth’s rodeo star brother, Chase. Even though he considers Jessie his girl, Chase is an incorrigible ladies’ man with a wandering eye and no chance of settling down soon.

Jessie is ready to move away from Cattle Creek to put her feelings for Chase behind her, but after she shares a white-hot kiss with Seth, things get a little complicated. Jessie realizes her heart should have been his all along. And in the face of sudden tragedy, they’ll discover if their newfound passion will tear the Langston men apart or make the family stronger than ever. . . .

This was a really great story.  The characters jumped off the page and I felt like I was in Texas right along beside them.  Amy delivered a great story.  I had a hard time putting the book down.  The story moves at a really great pace that had me laughing and wondering what was going to happen next. This book was such a fantastic start to my summer reading list and Amy hit a home run with her storyline.  This story looks at what happens when two brothers are in love with the same woman. How does it all work out?  I won't spoil it, you'll have to pick up your own copy!  It's a great read and I'm ready for the second book in the series, Healing a Heart.  Enjoy and Happy Reading!  

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston

I am a proud member of the Bakery Bunch, Amy Clipston's street team.  There are so many perks. One of the best parts is I get to read books!!  I must say, this is a book I was really looking forward to getting.  The day it came I grabbed the book and headed to my porch swing.  Granted it was a little cold, but books are just so much better on a front porch swing.

The cover is just gorgeous!  I know the old saying but sometimes the cover really invites the reader inside the story.  From the back:  

Years ago, a picnic basket brought two hearts together. For Rachel and Mike, history may be about to repeat itself.

Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Rachel is determined to keep her mind off the pain, and she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities.
Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns that his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal.
With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship.
The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope for the future?

I've been reading Amy's books since the beginning and I have enjoyed watching her writing and talent grow with each book she puts out.  Amy really delivered in the second book in the Amish Heirloom Series.  Amy's life has been touched by illness and you see a part of that woven into the story.  

Rachel was a beautiful character in the story and one that I related to.  Having been a teacher to special needs children myself I loved how she cheered John on and refused to give up on him.  Her tenacity keeps her from giving up on Mike, John's big brother as well.  Mike feels that he needs to take care of his family and doesn't have time for a relationship.  Can Rachel change his mind and move past her own hurts? 

The Courtship Basket is a fantastic addition to the series.  It was good to revisit some characters from The Forgotten Recipe and get to know another member of the Fisher family.  Amy brings the characters to life and the mystery of the hope chest deepens.  I'm looking forward to the third book in the series!  Pick up your copy of The Courtship Basket today.  Happy Reading!  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mail Order Revenge by Angela Couch

This week is a busy one!  I don't normally head too far away from home but I had training this week. I was traveling and didn't want to lug my whole library with me so I grabbled my Kindle Fire and hit the road.

It's been a little bit since I used it last but I had some books in there tucked away for my trips.  I decided to start with Angela's book!

Isn't that a great looking cover?  Plus after marathon training sessions this looked like something I could really get into.  From the back: Elizabeth Landvick knows of one man to blame for her family’s loss of fortune and her parents’ deaths. Now, she will stop at nothing to take her revenge and recover their wealth. Even travel across the country to marry the man’s son. With his focus on his sprawling Arizona ranch, Axel Forsberg has little time for wooing a woman, so when his father finds him a bride from the east, he trusts he won’t regret the convenience. Until horses go missing, barns burn to the ground, a range war begins…and he loses his heart.

This novella was a great fast paced read.  Elizabeth is the strong female lead who is desperatly craving revenge against the family that she believes caused her family's ruin.  She escapes from poverty in New York and takes on a new persona to fool Axel and his father.  While at the ranch anger and bitterness rule her every move as she tries to drag the family down.  

Axel is smitten with Elizabeth from the start and wants to win her affection and trust.  They've made a life for themselves.  Can Elizabeth let go of the past and learn the power of forgiveness or will her drive for revenge drag them all down?  

Pick up your copy today of this fantastic book and see what happens!  Happy Reading! 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Someone Like You by Victoria Bylin

April showers in Virginia have drug into May showers.  We've all been cooped up in the house and I feel like I'm going to have to brush up on my ark building skills!!

The good thing about all the rain is that no one has wanted to rush outside, except the dog!  So I've been able to get some extra reading done.
I got Mrs. Bylin's book and I was excited to dive into some contemporary fiction after I had spent the past week in the colonial era.  I had gotten this book from Bethany House in exchange for a review.  

From the back:  Julia Dare is trying to run her own business, raise her young son, Max, and help her widowed mother. Her biggest worry, though, is keeping Max's father from being a bad influence while still allowing the boy to spend time with his dad. When an account from her event-planning business sends her to Caliente Springs resort, she's shocked to encounter Zeke Monroe, her college sweetheart.

Zeke is determined to keep Caliente Springs running despite financial trouble. When Julia walks back into his life, he's surprised at the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client's wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. With Zeke and Julia both pushed to their limits, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

I had never read any of this authors books before and I'm super glad that I got a copy of this story! Zeke was a well thought out character and from the very start the author took time to make sure that you knew he was what my son calls "a good egg".  Julia is full of fire and spirit!  Both characters are reunited in the book after they had parted ways.  

Zeke and Julia need to battle all sorts of obstacles.  The story wove in many real life situations that Christians face on a day to day basis.  Julia has an awful ex and Zeke is trying to keep a business afloat.  Just because you're a believer doesn't mean life is a cake walk!  This story shows what happens when we do and don't turn things over to God.  Victoria Bylin shows what happens with good and bad choices.  

There were also enjoyable secondary characters that made stories within the story.  Ellen and George had a sweet story line going and Ladybug, the goat who provided great comic relief, had me laughing!  Max was a charmer and I think Ginger is secretly related to one of my daughter's specialists!  

This was a very enjoyable read.  So pick up your copy of Someone Like You before Ladybug eats them all!  Happy Reading!  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

75 Reasons to Believe in God: A Wordless Book of Evidence For a Designer, Creator, and Giver of Life By Sarah Janisse Brown

 I love books that challenge you to not only find your own words and provide stunning illustrations.  Being a homeschooling mama anything that I can incorporate into the school day with the kiddos is a huge plus.

I am a fan of Sarah's work.  She's a missionary in the Ukraine, homeschools a large family, and still manages to turn out amazing educational products and beautiful books.

From the back: A wordless book that vividly illustrates the wisdom, power and creativity of the Almighty God.
The only words in this entire book are on the cover, the intriguing photos speak for themselves.
This book is intended to be used for Homeschooling Creation Science conversation starters and research prompts. For all ages.
If you doubt the existence of God, you need this book. If your friends need evidence for creation show them this book.

This book is beautiful and breathtaking. I ordered it after I had heard Sarah talk about it.  I bought this
book after a hard couple of weeks when I needed some encouragement and uplifting.  I took the book, 
a cup of tea, and hit the front porch swing.  I felt so peaceful and relaxed as I took time and enjoyed the 
breathtaking beauty of the photos.  My children and I have had great discussions about the pictures and 
have looked at the book over and over.  The intent of the book was to discuss how your family sees God 
and creation.  I think you could even do a group bible study with this gem.  

I'm so pleased with the book.  Pick up your copy today and enjoy!  Happy Reading!  

Simple Pleasures: Stories from My Life as an Amish Mother by Marianne Jantzi

I was looking on one of my book groups a few weeks ago and I came across a new find!

I'm a big fan of Amis fiction and was super excited to find the Plainspoken Series.  These are real life stories from the Amish and Mennonites.  I ordered my copy off of Amazon and when it got here dove right into it.  

From the back:  Young Amish homemaker Marianne Jantzi invites readers into her family s life and Amish community. The mother of four young children, Jantzi writes about her daily routines and heartfelt faith with equal measures of wit and warmth. Sewing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and helping to manage the family store take up most hours in her day, but Jantzi finds time to pen columns for the Connection, a magazine beloved by Amish and Mennonite readers. Never sugarcoating the frustrations of motherhood, Jantzi tells it like it is, broken washing machine and bickering children and all. But through her busy days, Jantzi finds strength in simple pleasures of family, fellowship with her Amish community, and quiet time with God.

Hear straight from Amish people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press. Each book includes A Day in the Life of the Author and the author s answers to FAQs about the Amish.

This book is written in a very different style.  What I liked about it was that you got a real look at Amish living.  You get to see it for what it is and real life is very different from its fictional counterpart.  The reader gets to "see" what happens day to day and that part for me was really great.  

But I had some problems with the book.  I'm not sure if it was how Marianne intended or how the publisher put it together but the book jumps around.  A lot.  The writer will start on one topic, like how her daughter found a new word and used it often.  The next paragraph will take a sharp left and talk about squirrels in a bird feeder.  The chapters don't flow together with a particular theme.  You will bump and jump around.  I had a problem with this and had to stop and regroup myself or remember who was what frequently.  I think they were trying to go for a letter style book but didn't quite make the mark.  

So if you are interested in hearing Amish life from an Amish perspective and you don't mind the topics bouncing around and changing this book is worth checking out.  Happy Reading!