Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipston

Do you ever have a really great series?  One whose characters you come to love and just can't wait for the next installment?

This has been that series for me.  I have enjoyed every book more than the last one.  Amy Clipston does a fantastic job and every book gets better.  From the back: Tragedy tore Christopher’s world apart. But Emily believes there are enough pieces left behind to stitch together a beautiful new beginning.

Emily Fisher is eager to meet the new employee at her father’s shop in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. But when Christopher Hochstetler arrives, his cold demeanor freezes her attempts at building a friendship.

Longing for a fresh start, Christopher travels from Ohio to Bird-in-Hand to work at his uncle’s shop. Christopher’s heart is still wounded from memories of home, and making new friends is the last thing on his mind—he knows the pain that comes with losing those you love. When Emily is kind to him, he tries to remain distant, but he soon finds himself stealing glances at her throughout the day.

When Christopher shares his tragic reasons for leaving home, Emily decides to make a quilt for him as a gesture of their friendship. Even though he is not a member of the church, she’s found someone with whom she can imagine a future. The two are quickly falling in love when a family emergency calls Christopher back to Ohio without warning.

Emily finishes the quilt, in spite of her pain. But when Christopher receives it, will he have the courage to follow his heart? 

Amy Clipston's books get better and better.  She is really coming into her element as a writer and I enjoy each new book that she comes out with.  This book was filled with intense emotions and great characters. Emily and Chris are my favorite couple that Amy has done.  Their relationship starts out awkward and develops so beautifully as the story unfolds.  

The other supporting characters in the book were wonderful as well and we got to still keep up with the other sisters in the series but Emily was the shining star.  This was a hard book to put down and of course I STILL have NO IDEA what is in the chest so I'm just going to be left hanging until the last book!  

So if you are looking for a fantastic read pick up The Cherished Quilt and slip into a great story! Happy Reading!  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection by Cynthia Hickey, Gina Welborn, Jennifer AILee, Angela Breidenbach, Darlene Franklin, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Amber Stockton, Niki Turner, Becca Whitham

I really love stepping back in time to take a peep into a different era.  I recently had a chance to go back in time and visit one of my favorite spots, the fair!  With the help of nine great authors there was so much to see and learn!
The Blue Ribbon Brides is another fantastic collection of great stories from Barbour.  From the back: 
Meet nine men and women whose competitive goals take them to state and county fairs between 1889 and 1930. From baking pie to polishing pigs, from sculpting butter to stitching quilts, everyone has something to prove to themselves and their communities. But in going for the blue ribbon, will nine women miss the greatest prize of all—the devoted heart of a godly man?

First, the book is just gorgeous!  You know sometimes you get a book that you just want to have out on display because it's just beautiful to look at?  This is one of those books!  The cover artwork is lovely, inside the cover is this stunning picture of a pie that makes you hungry to look at, and the pages look like they are individually hand torn for a fancy touch instead of a straight cut.  I just thought it was fantastic to look at.  

There are also nine really great stories in the book and every author brought their unique spin to fairs. From quilting to butter sculpting, ballooning to auto polo, farming and food you can find it all at the fair!  Each story had a great cast of characters and really nice story lines but a couple stood out for me and I wanted to give them a special shout. 

In Requilted With Love by Carrie Fancett Pagels:  Michigan State Fair, 1889.  Mistaken identity leads Grant Bentley to help Sarah Richmond with her quilt display at the state fair.  But when he learns that she lost two fiances to accidents, can he dare tell her of his job of a balloonist, or will the revelation of danger cause her to flee from the developing romance? 

From a really good history behind the story to wonderful characters this is the work I've come to expect from Carrie Fancett Pagels.  Sarah's spirit and courage shine through.  Will she trust in God and His rich promises for his children?  Grant was a bit bossy but it was an endearing flaw and added to the depth of his character.  Then you throw in some quirky characters and a surprise ending and you have a fantastic read.  

In Seven Medals and a Bride by Angela Breidenbach: Chicago World Fair, 1893.  With the shortage of women in Montana, Luke Edwards agrees to go to Chicago and manage the mining exhibition all summer with hopes of finding a wife.  But a pretty botanist, who despises the way most mining ruins land, keeps getting in the way of his pursuits. 

This story was just plain fun.  I had a smile on my face through most of the book.  Once again, we have an author who is able to weave history and fiction together so well.  The tension between Luke and Bettina was tangible and you wondered if they would either get together or ring each other's necks!  The matchmaking was sweet and the story had a great ending!  

There are lots of other great stories in the book and each one had their own unique takes yet managed to fit well in this great collection!  So pick up your copy today and come to the fair!  Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Enchanting Rose Teacup and Mug Exchange

So I do a lot of book reviews and while I am enjoying a good book, chances are I'm enjoying a cup of tea right along side of it.  Having lived in New England for many years it's almost a requirement to enjoy a proper cup of tea.

So while I was enjoying my teatime one afternoon a little blurb from an author I enjoy caught me eye.  She participates in a tea cup and mug exchange.  I was so excited, I had to go check it out!

The Enchanting Rose started this fun tradition back in 2013.  It was a huge hit and she now does it twice a year.  I was excited to participate this time around!  It's super easy, you sign up for one or both exchanges (I did teacup only), you can even choose to ship overseas (I stuck to local, but next time I think I'm going to try overseas for something new!).  You fill out some preferences and voila! You are matched to a "tea buddy".  You can also be a coffee drinker (I can't have it, but I know not everyone loves tea).

This was fun.  I had a blast packing special gifts for my pal.  The lovely woman who got my name, Teri Schultz, went above and beyond in finding special gifts.

These items were all beautiful and she included a personal story with why she chose each one, which made them all the more special.  I loved all the them.  I collect teacups and teapots so this was a super special gift.  Plus tea tastes better in beautiful cups!  

So if you would love something fun to do and would like to be a part of the next exchange (March or April 2017) follow this link to The Enchanting Rose blog.  While you are there take time to look around.  It's a beautiful blog.  Happy tea drinking!  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall and Giveaway

I am a big fan of series books and when they are by one of my favorite writers and you throw in some serious heart thumping scenes with a swoon worthy hero.  So when I had a chance to be a part of the blog tour I jumped on it!

Dawn Crandall brings another amazing story to life in the Everstone Chronicles.  From the back: Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents' New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks but when Violet's own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance&, Vance Everstone.

As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU.

With danger stalking her and a new fiancé who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust, and who to leave behind.

A mark of a good writer is when you think they are going to path a but then surprise you and you are suddenly on path b.  Dawn Crandall leads me on a merry chase every time in her stories.  The only thing I can predict is that I will be wrong, ha! 

Every book of hers gets better and better.  I find myself burning dinner, forgetting laundry, and when my daughter's developmental ped walked in the room I asked her to just let me finish "this last paragraph". Luckily, she has a good sense of humor (and is also a fan of the books)!  

With a beautiful and rich message of God's redeeming love and forgiveness, lifelike characters that jump off the page, kissing scenes that were amazing while still keeping it clean, and a dash of mystery you will find yourself enjoying this fourth installment.  

To make things even better we have a giveaway going on!  Enter here!
Pick up your copy of The Cautious Maiden and get ready for a wonderful read!  Happy Reading!

Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles, which currently consists of: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart and The Captive Imposter. The Cautious Maiden is her fourth book. 

Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little ones and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn't begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream. It didn't take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. 

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.