Friday, April 11, 2014

Monday, September 30, 2013

Love's Awakening, a review

Ellie Ballantyne, youngest child of Silas and Eden, has left finishing school. But back at her family home in Pittsburgh, Ellie finds that her parents are away on a long trip and her siblings don't seem to want her to stay. When she opens a day school for young ladies, she begins tutoring the incorrigible daughter of the enemy Turlock clan. The Turlocks are slaveholders and whiskey magnates, envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly tangled with the Turlocks, she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future--and Jack Turlock, a young man striving to free himself from his family's violent legacy. How can she betray her family and side with the enemy? And will Jack ever allow her into his world?

Love's Awakening, dare I say it...I love better than Love's Reckoning.

I feel guilty describing my fascination for this novel, and especially for Ellie and Jack. I do not know how Laura Frantz does it, but she managed to yet again bring a solid, fascinating, and utterly brilliant story.

Jack is now my second favorite Frantz hero. My first is found in Courting Morrow Little. Ellie needs a man like him, and so does her family. In every way, Frantz has brilliantly weaved a backdrop of history with fiction. The Ballantynes are a force to be reckoned with as they set upon themselves to do good. The Turlock clan...that is a different story, except for one toughened, trodden-upon-by-his-own-family young man. The character arc of Ellie was elegant just as she is...and I found her to be well-matched to the strong, roughened Jack.

One thing which struck me so much in Love's Awakening is the ever present theme of faith. Laura Frantz...thank you for giving us a story where we see redemption and grace. It refreshes my soul.

And, now...I must return to my second reading of the second novel of the Ballantyne Legacy!

I received a complimentary review copy in return for my honest review. Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Welcome to Last Chance, a review

The red warning light on her car dashboard drove Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico. But as she encounters the people who make Last Chance their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life for Lainie's comfort--especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie finds that she is increasingly drawn in to the dramas of small town life. An old church lady who always has room for a stranger. A handsome bartender with a secret life. A single mom running her diner and worrying over her teenage son. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little hick town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

This is a delightful debut for author Cathleen Armstrong. Lainie Davis is a young woman running and God directs her step by step. I was intrigued by her story...and how the other characters fit into her life. They showed her love, compassion, and friendship- things Lainie was unused to. I appreciated the spiritual journey she went on as well. She has a path in her spiritual life to take as well as her physical journey to safety that parallels. I loved that created a thoroughly interesting character!

I am looking forward to more from Cathleen Armstrong in this series!

Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thank you to Revel Publishing for the complimentary review copy in return for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

the passion returned for this little girl....

who once dreamt of horses

she's willing to brush a coat
step up to say "I love you, Zach"

the willingness returned for this little girl....

who once giggled with happiness

when the time to ride arrived
so what happened?

perhaps the time apart was fruitful
in its own right

we will not understand
but I'm thankful to God that HE

can fashion in her heart this love again...

and she will ride!

*the photo was taken at a fair about 5 years ago. always, one of my favorites

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Simple Song

Katrina Yoder loves to sing, but her Amish parents view singing as vainglory and a sin. Katrina's best friend, Bekka, is convinced Katrina should try out for American Star, a televised singing competition that Bekka has been secretly watching. Katrina resists the temptation until her father's health worsens. He desperately needs a surgery the family cannot afford. Katrina decides she must go against her parents' wishes to win the money needed to help her father. But how will she handle herself as an Amish teenager out in the world?

Teen girls will be swept into the excitement as Katrina ventures out of her quiet Amish world to become a reality television star. Will she be successful? And will she be accepted back into her community when it's over?

Melody Carlson has written a gem! I allowed my preteen daughter to read it and between the two of us, it was decided that the story was sweet and quite satisfactory! We are American Idol fans here, and as the story line reminded us of that, but held its own characteristics within the realm of Christian fiction.

Katrina is a character you absolutely root for. Her journey is one that is filled to the brim with decisions and also surprises. I absolutely loved the side story pertaining to her grandmother. Will Katrina be truthful to her heart and sound in faith? And will her dad receive the treatment he needs? I enjoyed my own journey to finding the answers to these questions!

Thank you to Revell for the complementary copy in return for a review.

Deadly Devotion- a review

Research scientist Kate Adams and her colleague Daisy are on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy suddenly dies. Kate knows that if it hadn't been for Daisy's mentorship, she wouldn't have the job she loves or the faith she clings to. So when police rule Daisy's death a suicide, Kate is determined to unearth the truth.

Former FBI agent Tom Parker finds it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gives him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom's just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation of her friend's death, he knows his job is at stake. In fact, despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate looks a bit suspicious herself.

As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?

The first installment of the Port Astor Secrets series gives the right amount of mystery blended with a little bit of romance. Kate is a determined woman trying to find the proper justice for her friend, Daisy. Tom is a man who decides to help Kate- but off the record. Whenever something becomes "off the record," the story is bound to be interesting! Sandra Orchard does not disappoint!

Twists and turns are very believable....and the relationship of Kate and Tom will just have to continue.

I received a complimentary copy from Revell Publishing in return for an honest review.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

These spring days..

Turning into summer

Mostly mind-challenging, trying to complete

What I must complete

Do what I must do

It's tiring, painful, but blessed, I know, by God....

He makes these flowers, which my littlest

So enjoys

To pick for me from our own yard

And extend with his hand....

Gifts. In pink. Yellow. White.

Their green stems sometimes long enough.

Other times, just enough to set within a little saucer.

I love his utter joy in giving me such growing, living things.

Many times, my own growing is stunted. Refusing to turn colors. Where are MY stems?

I should trust. Be diligent. Not forget. Worry less. Give grace to myself more.

I'll start by learning a lesson from my own child. And enjoy what is in my front yard, the backyard.