"Where Trust Lies", from authors Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan, continues the story of Beth Thatcher, whom we first met in "Where Courage Calls", B"Where Trust Lies", from authors Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan, continues the story of Beth Thatcher, whom we first met in "Where Courage Calls", Book One in the "Return to the Canadian West" series. After her first year as a teacher in the rural Coal Valley, Canada, Beth Thatcher returns to her family home in Toronto to await word whether or not her teaching career will continue. Leaving behind Coal Valley is harder than she had expected, especially when she also left behind a piece of her heart with Mountie Jack Thornton. Soon after her homecoming, Beth is whisked away on a steamship tour with her family, and many new experiences and acquaintances await. However, Jarrick keeps in touch with letters and phone calls--he won't let Beth forget him--and she is torn between her feelings for him and her ties to her family. When a serious family situation threatens all that Beth holds dear, she must cling to her faith and let her heart be guided by a greater power. But what will her future hold? Is she meant to return to teaching in Coal Valley, and to the man who has her heart, or will family loyalty keep her in Toronto? A wonderfully-written series from a talented mother and daughter duo.
A century ago, beginning in 1914 and ending in 1918, "The Great War", World War I, forever changed civilization. While the conflict centered in EuropeA century ago, beginning in 1914 and ending in 1918, "The Great War", World War I, forever changed civilization. While the conflict centered in Europe, the dire effects spread around the world. "Under the Same Blue Sky", a novel by Pamela Schoenewaldt, thoughtfully details the trials and tribulations of German-Americans during this difficult time. Hazel Renner dreams of life beyond that of a shopkeeper's daughter in Pittsburgh. However, when WWI breaks out, suspicion looms and friendships are forgotten. Peaceful existence is elusive, and Hazel seeks solace in a small rural community, but a sudden, unexpected gift of healing brings about complications of its own. On a quest to discover her true heritage, Hazel will meet a German baron living a life of exile in America, and through him she will meet a gardener, Tom, who will suffer greatly from his own war experiences. The struggle for power and dominance is as old as the origins of man. One hundred years after the "war to end all wars", the world has seen many more horrific conflicts and further loss of innocence and loss of life--horrible suffering which never really ends. Yet, when the human heart has faith and reaches for hope, miracles can occur. People have a remarkable capacity for survival and reinvention, and life goes on. "Under the Same Blue Sky" touches upon many deeply emotional issues, and readers will not be unaffected. As a reminder to enjoy the sweet moments in life where you find them, the author has included a wonderful recipe for "Gudrun's Stollen"--a rich, sweet bread made with dried fruit and nuts. The warm loaves are brushed with melted butter and then dusted with powdered sugar--truly a treat for the senses and the spirit.
Set in the late 1920's of Eastern Oklahoma, "Maud's Line" is a gritty, compelling fiction debut from author Margaret Verble. A vivid blend of AmericanSet in the late 1920's of Eastern Oklahoma, "Maud's Line" is a gritty, compelling fiction debut from author Margaret Verble. A vivid blend of American history, the author's own Cherokee legacy, and Maud's well-imagined story, the novel takes place in the government land allotments parceled out to the Cherokee people when their own lands were confiscated to enhance the statehood process. Maud Naill is an attractive young woman who works hard, accepts more than her share of family responsibility, and for all practical purposes, knows that a routine life, based around the land, will be her future. A newcomer to the territory, a peddler with good looks and books, will change forever change Maud's life and expectations. A green-eyed widower with a pleasing manner and the allure of travels and experiences Maud has never known, Booker Wakefield captures her attention and turns her thoughts to more than her everyday existence. But as he steals her heart, is theirs meant to be a permanent relationship, or will the peddler's wagon continue its journeys? A story as raw and real as Oklahoma territory itself, "Maud's Line" is an entertaining tale featuring an intriguing heroine who will leave a lasting impression with readers.
A young woman desperate to change her life and a widower just beginning to realize that life goes on find their "Safe Haven" in each other in this romA young woman desperate to change her life and a widower just beginning to realize that life goes on find their "Safe Haven" in each other in this romantic suspense tale from author Nicholas Sparks. Erin Tierney began her marriage with the hopes of all young brides for a happy family life with a loving husband and children to cherish. Instead, she suffered years of physical and psychological abuse from her jealous and controlling husband, Kevin, a detective with the Boston Police Department. After more than one failed attempt to flee her personal Hell, Erin plots a meticulously timed and executed escape. While blonde Erin Tierney seemingly vanishes, dark-haired Katie Feldman travels a circuitous route down the East Coast, finally settling in Southport, North Carolina. Quiet and personable, with few possessions, and having missed more than her share of meals and someplace to call her own, Katie begins working in a local eatery called "Ivan's". Renting an old cabin just outside of town, she walks back and forth to work and to the local mercantile. The owner of the store, Alex Wheatley, is a widower with two small children. He notices Katie each time she comes to shop, and he tries to keep the things she buys in stock--looking forward more and more to seeing her in the store. Katie senses his interest in her, but she is not looking for a relationship, and she is keeping a very big secret. The somewhat mysterious woman who rents the cabin close to Katie's is named Jo, and she and Katie become friends. According to Jo, Alex is a good man, and he would never hurt Katie. Before Alex had married his wife, Carly, he had spent years in the army as a criminal investigator, and he is very familiar with the characteristics of an abuse victim. He recognizes that Katie is hiding many truths, but that doesn't stop his attraction, and soon he and Katie and the children began spending time together. Katie cannot deny the appeal of Alex and the children, and eventually she tells Alex the truth of how she came to be in Southport. All the while that Katie has been building her new life, the threats from her past have continued to escalate back in Boston with the psychotic behavior of the left-behind Kevin, who will stop at nothing to find her and punish her for leaving him. The author allows this story to be told from the perspective of all three lead characters, and the insights into the violently-distorted mind of the Bible-quoting Kevin are extremely chilling. Once Kevin zeroes in on Katie's location, events will unfold which will forever change all their lives. Nicholas Sparks writes with intensity about abuse and its lasting, widespread effects–not just on the victim, but on those who care for the victim. All of us, whether we realize it or not, know someone who has been abused at some point in their life. The first reaction to abuse is denial. It’s a subject which makes people uncomfortable, and the victims often linger in a very painful silence. Writing about it may encourage someone who is a victim to seek help. Acknowledgement is not only a first step, it’s a giant leap toward reaching out for peace of mind and a chance of personal happiness. ...more
Returning to author Robyn Carr's fictional community of Thunder Point, Oregon is such a pleasure for me as a reader. "A New Hope", Book Eight in the TReturning to author Robyn Carr's fictional community of Thunder Point, Oregon is such a pleasure for me as a reader. "A New Hope", Book Eight in the Thunder Point Series, is perhaps the most emotionally compelling and beautifully poignant entry so far in the series. That's saying a lot--each of the books has been wonderfully characterized with involving storylines and layered word imagery. We previously met Ginger Dysart in "One Wish", Book Seven in the series, and the heartbreaking tale of the SIDS death of her baby and the breakup of her marriage set up the connections for her own story to become featured in "A New Hope". Starting over in Thunder Point with the help of her cousin, Ray Anne, Ginger begins working in a local flower shop and gradually finds life to be on its way back into her good graces. The work in the flower shop is much to her liking and so is the kindness of her newfound friends. Helping with the flowers for the large, loud, lively Lacoumette wedding is challenging and exciting, but it comes with an unexpected price: an unpleasant encounter with the bride's disgustingly drunken brother, Matt. Trying to make up for his embarrassingly offensive behavior, Matt pays a visit to the flower shop to apologize to Ginger. Surprisingly, despite a very rough beginning, something begins to bloom between Matt and Ginger. The two of them have both been deeply hurt by those who should have shown them the most care, and as they spend time with each other, understanding takes root, and trust begins to grow. Can these two survivors leave the pain of the past behind and reach for the hope of a bright and happy future filled with love for each other? As with all books in the Thunder Point series, we are treated to visits with old friends, and we meet new characters who will have a larger role in upcoming storylines. A highly recommended series from a gifted storyteller.
Two hearts that bonded in childhood, then went in very different directions, come full circle in "A Love Like Ours", an inspirational contemporary romTwo hearts that bonded in childhood, then went in very different directions, come full circle in "A Love Like Ours", an inspirational contemporary romance from author Becky Wade. Jake Porter's childhood days were spent riding horses and finding one new adventure after another in the company of his two brothers and his best friend, Lyndie James. Nothing could separate Jake and Lyndie--until the fateful day that Lyndie's family moved far away and left Jake and his broken heart behind. Twenty years later, Lyndie returns to Holley, Texas where Jake is now the trainer at Whispering Creek Ranch's Thoroughbred Farm. Jake is not the boy that Lyndie once knew. Tall and ruggedly handsome, bearing a facial scar from a devastating incident during his service in the Marines, Jake also suffers from PTSD. He lives a somewhat solitary life, has trust issues, and guards his heart with Marine fierceness. Lyndie is still beautiful, full of life, fearless, and blessed with an abiding faith. Reluctantly, Jake allows Lyndie to work with special needs horses, which includes riding and retraining. Even while he fears for her safety, the magic she works on the horses begins to work its spell on Jake as well, and he starts to allow himself to feel real emotions once again. However there are many issues which must be resolved before these long-separated loving hearts are truly reunited. Will Lyndie's great faith and Jake's rediscovered hope be strong enough to bring them back together and keep them together for a life of lasting love and happiness? A moving and inspiring love story from wonderful writer Becky Wade.
Like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces of our lives are not symmetrical. They are irregularly-shaped segments that eventually fit together to form the wholeLike a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces of our lives are not symmetrical. They are irregularly-shaped segments that eventually fit together to form the whole picture. In "Together with You", author Victoria Bylin ties together human imperfections, along with strengths and weaknesses, and binds them all together with faith, hope, and forgiveness. One day while working at mall toy store, former social worker Carly Mason finds a lost little girl playing with stuffed animals. The child's father soon arrives to claim his daughter, but not before Carly has recognized the signs of Fetal Alcohol Effects in the girl, Penny. Dr. Ryan Tremaine has made his share of mistakes--bad judgment and careless behavior lead to an affair which produced a beautiful little girl who would forever be affected by his recklessness. His ex-wife has remarried, and while she is away on a trip, Ryan is trying to cope with keeping Penny, his two teenaged sons, his medical practice, and the rest of his life all in order. Fate has brought Carly and the Tremaines together for a reason, and eventually she becomes Penny's nanny. Carly had left social work because her emotional involvement with a young client, a teenaged girl, had made her feel responsible when the girl became a runaway. Ryan and Carly are strongly drawn to each other, and as time passes, she becomes more and more a part of the family. However, both of them each have personal issues to resolve before they fully reach out to each other. Carly is a woman of great faith, and Ryan is a man seeking to find real faith--will love's healing redemption give them a chance for happiness? "Together with You" is a thoughtful, poignant, and inspiring contemporary romance from talented storyteller Victoria Bylin.
With each book I read from author Debbie Macomber, I become more impressed with her skills as a storyteller. Her stories are imbued with everyday lifeWith each book I read from author Debbie Macomber, I become more impressed with her skills as a storyteller. Her stories are imbued with everyday life matters, and humor and hope help to heal the more difficult aspects of existence that we all face from time to time. Romance is delightfully written, and love pervades the storylines. With "Last One Home", the author tells the tale of the three Carter sisters, separated by anger, with time and distance expanding the estrangement. While the focus is on Cassie, the middle sister, her older sister Karen, and her younger sister Nichole are also featured. At age eighteen, Cassie had run away to marry someone whom her parents had forbidden her to see, but in love, and unbeknownst to her parents, pregnant, Cassie had plunged forward into what would become a nightmare. Her dreams shattered by her husband Duke's fists, Cassie never told her family of the abuse she suffered. Duke had taken her from her family and home in Spokane, Washington and settled in Florida. Eventually Cassie found the strength and courage to divorce Duke and press charges against him for domestic violence. Returning to Washington state, she contacted her sister, Karen. During Cassie's absence, both of her parents had died, and she had not been able to go home for the funerals. Family tensions continued to escalate, and there was much bitterness between the sisters. When Karen finally answers Cassie, it is to offer her what is left of their parents' belongings--after Karen and Nichole had taken their pick. Cassie is grateful beyond words--she and her daughter, Amiee, have long lived a very frugal life. Will this be the chance for a family reconciliation? Is there hope after all for the Carter sisters to once again be together as sisters should be? If Cassie takes a chance on a new start, with family and a promise of unexpected happiness, will she be rewarded with more joy than she could have imagined? I would like to thank Debbie Macomber for choosing to write about abuse and its lasting, widespread effects–not just on the victim, but on those who care for the victim. All of us, whether we realize it or not, know someone who has been abused at some point in their life. The first reaction to abuse is denial. It’s a subject which makes people uncomfortable, and the victims often linger in a very painful silence. Writing about it may encourage someone who is a victim to seek help. Acknowledgement is not only a first step, it’s a giant leap! A recommended read from wonderful writer Debbie Macomber.
Noted cookbook author Judith Fertig blends together all the right ingredients for her delicious contemporary fiction debut, "The Cake Therapist". WhenNoted cookbook author Judith Fertig blends together all the right ingredients for her delicious contemporary fiction debut, "The Cake Therapist". When her marriage fails, Claire "Neely" O'Neil leaves New York behind and heads home to Millcreek Valley, Ohio. A gifted baker and pastry chef, Neely also has another "gift": the ability to "taste" the feelings in flavors. Using her intuition combined with her skill in the kitchen, Neely is able to sense the right "food fix" for the people she encounters. There's one taste she can't get out of her own mouth, however, and that is the awareness of secrets and the portent of more to come. She has always been there to help others, but will the unknown elements swirling around be her own help, or will they mean harm? One chapter begins with "Dark Chocolate. Rich Coffee". Perfect! Just the right accompaniment for this fabulous, fun serving of foodie fiction.
A poignant character study, "Ballroom", pulses with the underlying rhythm of the Tango dance. Author Alice Simpson's debut work centers around a New YA poignant character study, "Ballroom", pulses with the underlying rhythm of the Tango dance. Author Alice Simpson's debut work centers around a New York dance hall of the late 1990's--long past its glamorous heyday, but still offering an essence of grandeur and the hope of grand dreams. Connecting its devotees with a fleeting reprieve from the realities of daily life, the Ballroom is an escape route set to a rhythmic beat. Among those linked together in interconnected storylines are: Harry Korn, the aging dance master; Sarah Dreyfus, single and approaching forty with a loudly ticking clock; Gabriel Katz, resplendent in his self-styled presentations; Joseph, who longs for Sarah to notice him as more than a dance partner; Maria Rodriguez,a star in her own right, and the apple of dance master's eye; and Angel Morez, Maria's partner, and a man with many plans of his own. Caught up in the atmosphere and ambiance of the grand old Ballroom, each of them seeks their own version of time in the spotlight--time to dance, to dream, to dare to engage in something more than the routine of their everyday lives. Each of them will experience unimagined highs and lows as they are propelled ever forward by the driving force of the dance.
Author Linda Goodnight's "The Memory House" is a compelling tale of grief, loss and redemption, and the ultimate power of love and faith. A dual storyAuthor Linda Goodnight's "The Memory House" is a compelling tale of grief, loss and redemption, and the ultimate power of love and faith. A dual storyline of contemporary and Civil War Era Tennessee weaves together the past, present, and future to offer a richly atmospheric tapestry for the reader's imagination. In present day, Julia Presley devotes herself to operating the Peach Orchard Inn. Caring for her guests and providing for their comforts keeps her busy and helps her to survive. The unsolved abduction of her son six years ago and the subsequent dissolution of her marriage had left Julia bereft. The daily matters of management of the inn had given her purpose--a reason to get up each day and keep moving forward. Eli Donovan, a man at a crossroads of conscience, had given up a life of privilege for the prison life. After seven years, he is free, but unsure of what "freedom" really means for him. Unexpected news that he is the father of a son whose mother has passed away is a jolt to his already jangled sense of place. Fate will bring Julia and Eli together, and time will lead them to healing, friendship, and more. However, time also has other plans for the two of them, and the discovery of haunting love letters from the past will propel them into an unexpected journey which will forever change their lives. Settle down into your favorite reading spot, sip some of the peach tea like Julia serves her guests, and enjoy this lovely and involving romantic story.
A favorite author, Katie Ganshert, once again combines her marvelous wordsmithery with a deep, abiding faith in the inspiring, compelling read, "The AA favorite author, Katie Ganshert, once again combines her marvelous wordsmithery with a deep, abiding faith in the inspiring, compelling read, "The Art of Losing Yourself". Two half-sisters, who share an alcoholic mother, are seemingly not just years apart, but a world apart, having vastly different coping mechanisms. Carmen, a successful Florida TV meteorologist, has spent her lifetime seeking an elusive level of perfection. She and her husband, Ben, a popular high school coach, would seem to have it all--except that their dream of becoming parents is more of a nightmare due to a series of devastating miscarriages. Gracie, a seventeen-year-old rebellious runaway makes her presence known when she hides out at a rundown motel that belongs to Carmen's aunt, who suffers from dementia and resides at a care facility. In the midst of Carmen's concerns and doubts about her own life and future, in comes Gracie with her immediate needs and daunting reality. Life is never what we expect it to be--it is frequently more challenging, and often less comfortable, than we ever imagined. However, it is always worth a leap of faith. Katie Ganshert is a wonderful storyteller, and I have read each of her books with great enjoyment and appreciation. "The Art of Losing Yourself" is a beautifully poignant and highly recommended read.
Review Copy Gratis WaterBrook Press via Blogging for Books...more
Author Hillary Manton Lodge once again offers up a fictional feast in "Reservations for Two: A Novel of Fresh Flavors and New Horizons", Book Two in tAuthor Hillary Manton Lodge once again offers up a fictional feast in "Reservations for Two: A Novel of Fresh Flavors and New Horizons", Book Two in the "Two Blue Doors" series. Peppered with recipes, seasoned with sentiment, and rich in romance, this sweetly poignant story spans both continents and generations. Juliette D'Alisa took a leap of faith when she gave up her job as a food writer and pursued her dream to run a restaurant with her brother. A photo found in a cookbook that had belonged to her much-loved grandmother will send her on a journey through Provence and Tuscany, seeking answers to past mysteries and clues to finding the key to her own personal happiness. Accompanying her on her taste-filled travels is Neil McLaren, the long-distance romance she can't resist. As letters from long ago lead to new revelations, questions about the future can't be ignored. Can Juliette's restaurant life in Portland somehow merge with Neil's medical career in Memphis? If not, is there a new love waiting to capture Juliette's heart? Love, family, friendship and a deep appreciation for great food, fine wine, and other treasures for the senses converge for foodie romance lover's treat of a read.
Review Copy Gratis WaterBrook Press via Blogging for Books...more