This book is the first in the Lone Star Hero series by Shelley Shepard Gray. The second installment is called An Uncommon Protector and the expected r
This book is the first in the Lone Star Hero series by Shelley Shepard Gray. The second installment is called An Uncommon Protector and the expected release date is February 17,2017. Let me just say that February of next year is a really long time to wait for another installment in a series that started off with such a strong and well-developed story.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I felt there was just the right amount of suspense and romance but I was slightly annoyed with Robert's initial deception when he arrived in Galveston. This is my own personal opinion but his deception really didn't add anything beneficial to the story. I get why he did it but I felt that Miranda would have been open to opening up to a friend of her husbands. Otherwise, I really adored Mr. Robert Truax's character. I felt that he had a strong presence and was genuinely a nice guy.
The characters in this story are really well-developed though I did feel that Bella's story was a bit rushed. Are there plans to expand on her story in a future installment? I hope so because I'm left wondering. Was she a prostitute or was it just her mom? Did I totally read too much into that? I wanted to know more.
I did feel that the book was a little melancholy at times but that's okay! Life is not always pretty and I would assume any woman would feel depressed and angry after losing her husband. Add in rumors and threatening mail and of course that would have been a recipe for disaster for this young lady.
Honestly, every book I've read by Shelley Shepard Gray has been very well written. The characters feel real and as if you can relate to them. I also enjoy her little quirky ability to work in a little suspense in the sweetest of romances. I am absolutely looking forward to book two!This review was originally posted on A Simply Enchanted Life...more
This book is absolutely amazing. I didn't know how the author could improve from the original release but he did! This book will make you smile. It wiThis book is absolutely amazing. I didn't know how the author could improve from the original release but he did! This book will make you smile. It will make you cry. Most of all, it will bring a sense that God is still working miracles and that He is there.
These characters are raw and gritty. They're not picture perfect and each one have fallen short in some way or another or been wronged in their life. These characters are realistic and their pain is very real. Each and every sinner on this earth possesses a fragmented heart that can only be healed in Jesus. That is certainly true of these characters as well
This book resounds with me much more than the first time that I read it too. Since the initial release several years ago—I've suddenly found myself identifying as a mom of a child with special needs. Life can be uncertain and filled with pain but it is in Him whom I must trust. Yes, God gives doctors knowledge and he can guide their hands but He has all the answers and ultimately, it is in Him that I need to place my trust.
There are ups and downs, triumphs and disappointments in the lives of these characters. It's gripping, realistic and absolutely beautiful.
I think the life experiences that this author has shared from his own life and the wisdom and the knowledge that God has granted him has given him a unique ability to write an authentic tale of grace and redemption that will seep into your heart and pull you closer to the Great Physician.
I'm reminded of a favorite scripture that says that God's grace is sufficient. It truly is. Through hurt, pain, love and loss—His loving hand is there for you if you only believe.
The Ringmaster's Wife is a stand alone novel written by Kristy Cambron and it gives a fictional look into the life of John and Mable Ringling. The ciThe Ringmaster's Wife is a stand alone novel written by Kristy Cambron and it gives a fictional look into the life of John and Mable Ringling. The circus has always fascinated me. I have certain misgivings about the way circus animals have been treated but I'm not talking about that. What fascinated me was that large groups of people and families traveled, lived and worked together—performing.
I mean, the whole logistics of making this large traveling circus work has always been interesting to me. I often wondered how they lived and how they made it all work and this book touches on those topics a lot. I feel like I took a step back in time and got to experience what life would have been like as a circus performer.
I love the attention to detail and how much work this author puts into researching the historical facts surrounding her characters. I honestly never knew much about the Ringlings but after reading this book, I spent an evening reading everything I could find on the internet. You can also find a tour of John and Mable Ringling's home, the Cà d'Zan on the author's Youtube channel.
This book basically has two stories intricately woven into one beautiful tale. First, you have the story of Rosamund and Colin and then you have flashbacks of the fictionalized account of how John and Mable may have met and fell in love. Little is known about how John Ringling met Mable so I loved that the author was able to take a little creative license and was able to bring two beautiful romantic stories within one book.
This has been absolutely enchanting and is a must read for fans of historical fiction. I think the reader that enjoys as much as historical accuracy as is possible in a fictional retelling will appreciate and enjoy this book. Lastly, anything this author has written has been a delightful so be sure to read not only this book but any of her others as well. There is a fiery passion that's evident in her writing that allows her to bring characters to life in a way that you'll feel as if you're a part of the story.
A Dream of Miracles is book #3 in The Amish Wonders series and though it is part of a series it is able to be read as a standalone novel without any c
A Dream of Miracles is book #3 in The Amish Wonders series and though it is part of a series it is able to be read as a standalone novel without any confusion whatsoever. This book really touched my heart because I'm the mother of a special needs child. My own child's diagnosis is a rare medical diagnosis that is a mystery to many. My heart skipped beats while reading this because when my child started having health issues I was so scared of someone misunderstanding my family and my heart just broke for Mattie.
The characters in this story are so well written and developed. I connected with them on a personal level and I really couldn't put this book down! I devoured this during one of my daughter's therapy sessions and sat with huge tears rolling down my face and hoping no one else walked into the waiting room. I am sure the therapists were giving me some weird glances when they brought my kids back because they asked me if I was alright. I must have been a sight!
I think this book is a book that any special needs mom can relate to on some level even if it did cause me a little anxiety. I was so happy with the outcome though because at one point I really didn't understand how it was all going to come together and the author pulled it together so beautifully. I didn't think this author could get any better (because I adore her books) but she sure has. This series has been a hit right after the other but this one was my favorite!
I have had the pleasure of reading this author since the release of her debut novel and she's grown by leaps and bounds as a published author. Each book is better than the last and I honestly cannot wait to see what she does next. Ruth Reid is definitely someone you should have your eye on if you're a fan of Amish fiction!This review was originally posted on A Simply Enchanted Life...more
This is a fantastic novella, I actually own it as a standalone as well as in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Christmas Collection. When I was gifted the colThis is a fantastic novella, I actually own it as a standalone as well as in the Kauffman Amish Bakery Christmas Collection. When I was gifted the collection for Christmas I thought it was the perfect time to read A Plain and Simple Christmas (which I had never read) and Naomi's Gift (One that I had read but couldn't remember as it had been a long while) and review them individually.
Before I get to the review, I do want to go back to the fact that you can get these books as standalone novellas or you can purchase them in a single collection which I linked above.
Now, on to my thoughts...
There were people in this novella that I took as being catty and mean. Catty is not a trait you usually think of in the Amish but I love this because they're just like us--they're human with faults and shortcomings. I'm sure they have their share of grumpy people and I think it gives a nice element because a lot of Amish fiction is very idealistic and everyone is just perfect. Sometimes I get bored if everyone is just peachy and have no problems. So, this is an element to the story that I appreciated.
I really liked Naomi and I adored Caleb--both of these characters were just so well written. When I really like a set of characters I'm often not satisfied with a short story because I want to spend more time with them and that was certainly the case in this story. Now, it's not a bad thing...it's a really good thing! It means I enjoyed and connected with the characters and their story.
This story could be enjoyed any time of the year in my opinion. Yes, it's set during the holiday season but with the Amish stories the commercialism is missed so they're easier to enjoy year around. Which, if you're like me it could be read to you by Old St. Nick and you'd still enjoy it (yes, I'm a Christmas freak--sue me.)
I know you're probably wondering why the world I'd be reviewing a Christmas story in April but I'd received for Christmas and decided to pick it up! B
I know you're probably wondering why the world I'd be reviewing a Christmas story in April but I'd received for Christmas and decided to pick it up! Besides, anyone that knows me knows that I love Christmas any time of year.
I really loved Anna Mae but I connected more with Kathryn. I have a tendency to lean towards fairness even when it makes some people upset. It's a character trait that I've often lamented as it puts me on the outs with others around me. So, I really connected with Kathryn on a personal level.
Anna Mae has sought out Kathryn's help in reuniting with her family after being shunned for leaving the community to marry outside of the Amish faith. Kathryn doesn't want to defy her husband but she feels like the family needs peace and healing and she agrees to help plan Anna's visit during the Christmas season.
Anna Mae's mother welcomes her back with open arms but her father is bittern and not quick to forgive--even though he's a bishop and should be an example in godly behavior. Even so, I think even the most godly of people can be so heartbroken that they let bitterness creep into their lives and that has a way of alienating us from the people we love.
If you're looking for a quick read and enjoy themes of forgiveness and acceptance--this is definitely an enjoyable novella.
Yes, I'm really just discovering this series--as an adult and years after the release. I'm really surprised how much I have enjoyed the books so far.Yes, I'm really just discovering this series--as an adult and years after the release. I'm really surprised how much I have enjoyed the books so far. In fact, I felt in a way that I had hit a bit of a reading slump. I felt like I'd gotten to a point where I was just all read out and as I picked these books it just reignited the magic of reading.
Another thing? I'm intrigued by J.K. Rowling's ability to grow her characters with each book. It's interesting to see the slow maturing and progression that the characters and how the book gets a little more dark because her characters are a year older. When these books came out, it not only gave her characters time to age but also her readers and it's fascinating to me that a person has this ability in storytelling.
I know I'm late to this series and I have seen the movies so I do know who ends with whom and yet, I've still found myself already shipping the characters I feel should be together. I can pretend not to know how this all turns out. The books really that much fun!
I am totally loving Ginny. Yes, she's a little love struck but she's just too adorably cute. She is definitely my choice for Harry and I'm not saying that because I let the movies influence me—I really think she's adorable.
My daughter is in complete disagreement on this matter. She really wanted Harry and Hermione together and I just can't get with the idea. Hermione is just such a bossy know-it-all at times! I mean, don't get me wrong, I appreciate her character. I just can't bring myself to ship her and Harry because I feel she can be a little overbearing. My daughter says I dislike her because I'm a bit like Hermione. I gave her a death glare and told her I had no idea what she meant before sticking my nose back into my book.
Overall I really enjoyed the character development that has taken place so far. From Dobby's misguided desire to help Harry to Gilderoy's boasting and bragging—every single character in this story had an element of humanity in them. I'm just stunned that somehow this little nugget of pure delight eluded me for so long.
This series so far is just a lot of fun and I really look forward to seeing how things play out. Would I recommend this to other adults? Absolutely. If you're anything like me, you'll be whisked away into a delightful little world in which you'll feel the wonder of childhood again. If this is not your experience—well, I guess you're just a muggle and wouldn't understand. *grins*
I really loved this book and I actually was torn on whether I should give this a 4 or a 5 star rating so I went with 4.5 stars. I loved all the characI really loved this book and I actually was torn on whether I should give this a 4 or a 5 star rating so I went with 4.5 stars. I loved all the characters in this book and honestly, I was very torn on who Neva should romance. It is my indecisiveness that makes me give this a 4.5.
Should she get with Jesse? He seems a little young for Neva in terms of maturity I guess...not a bad guy but I almost wanted him to get with a younger more naive girl than Neva so that they could grow together as a couple. Then there was Arthur. I liked him too but for some reason I read him as older than Neva and he was grumpy. I know people can change but typically a person still has certain character traits and so then that left me swinging back to Jesse.
At the end of the story I still couldn't make up my mind. I'm glad the author chose for me but then I questioned if that was who I really wanted her with. See how crazy this made me? Not in a bad way at all...I love a book that makes me think!
Overall this story was fantastic. Things really moved along at a smooth pace and it seems like all the story lines are tied up pretty well. Although I would love to know whether a future book maybe covers what happens to umm...the one Neva didn't choose. Thought I would spill it, didn't you? Nope, you'll just have to read to find out who Neva chose and then let me know in the comments below who YOU would be the perfect match for Neva!
This was a really good book. I'm really curious as to what secret is hiding in the attic! The Courtship Basket was a sweet little romance. I feel likeThis was a really good book. I'm really curious as to what secret is hiding in the attic! The Courtship Basket was a sweet little romance. I feel like the author is really hitting a groove with her writing with this series and the covers are just gorgeous.
The Courtship Basket is book #2 in the Amish Heirloom series written by Amy Clipston. The characters felt real and were developed very well. If you're looking for a new series to read, The Amish Heirloom series is enjoyable. I look forward to seeing how the story progresses with additional titles in the series.
I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
A Heart Once Broken is book on in the St. Lawrence County Amish series written by Jerry S. Eicher. This was one of the most heartbreaking Amish storieA Heart Once Broken is book on in the St. Lawrence County Amish series written by Jerry S. Eicher. This was one of the most heartbreaking Amish stories I have ever read. I initially thought that the heart that was broken belonged to a character in the story but I really think it was my heart that was shattered.
I fell in love with the characters in this story though I first I felt that the competition between the girls was petty and immature. I suppose as young women we have all had those petty moments though and I really watched each of the girls blossom.
As always I feel like some people could perhaps be offended by how much say that a parent or a bishop has in these book when it comes to matters of love and friendship. I think it works for this genre though and it is probably a little more accurate for how things are for young people living in Amish communities.
I really look forward to the rest of this series. With how invested I was in the character's lives and how deeply I felt their grief...I cannot wait to see what is in store for me as the series continues.
I thought I loved an Uncertain Choice but honestly, this is probably the very best YA book I've EVER read. You read that right...the BEST YA book I'veI thought I loved an Uncertain Choice but honestly, this is probably the very best YA book I've EVER read. You read that right...the BEST YA book I've ever read. Everyone knows that I don't read YA fiction very often but when I do, I love it. The Hunger Games and Anomaly for example both pop into my mind as books I loved but A Daring Sacrifice just blows those out of the water.
I hate to gush in reviews, it makes me sound juvenile and like I'm fangirling but it cannot be helped with this book. The characters, the writing, the romance...absolutely every detail about this book is amazing.
I don't know how to describe the emotions I had while reading this book. They ranged from scared for favorite characters to total book crushing on Collin. I really loved the characters even though there were times I wanted to scream at Juliana to not shut Collin out. I can understand why she did but oh, I just loved Collin so much.
If you're looking for a quick read that is enjoyable, clean and on the young adult level, look no further. Jody Hedlund really has written a fantastic set of books that can be enjoyed by both young adults as well as older adults such as myself. This is a fun series to read alongside my daughter so we can exchange thoughts and dialogue about the characters. I really cannot wait to see the continuation of this series.
I hope you've enjoyed this review and as an added bonus I've included a short Q&A with the author as well as additional links to other reviews in this blog tour!
Q: You’ve based A Daring Sacrifice a little bit on the Robin Hood story. What drew you to this medieval tale? A: I've always loved tales about underdogs rising up against injustice. The story of Robin Hood encompasses such an element, where the poor are unfairly cast from their homes, forced into hiding, and must rely upon their fearless leader to fight for their rights. Instead of a nobleman leading and fighting for the needs of the underdogs, I decided to add a twist and have my heroine, a displaced noblewoman, be the leader of a band of poor outcasts. As a skilled archer, she's gained a reputation as the "Cloaked Bandit" doing her best to protect and provide for the people she's grown to love.
Q: How is writing for a YA audience different than writing for an adult audience? What are the similarities?
A:The Differences: While many of my adult readers have enjoyed my YA books just as much if not more than my adult novels, I do get adult readers now and then who are surprised, maybe even disgruntled, with the fact that my YA books are slightly different than my adult novels. And I try to gently remind them, that they’re supposed to be different. First, my YA books are shorter, crisper, and less historically detailed. In fact, I’d almost go as far as saying that my YA are more fairy-tale world than true historicals. They contain enough detail to give a “flavor” of another place, but not too much to bog down younger readers. Secondly, my YA books are more plot driven than character driven. I’ve included battle scenes as well as some of the seat-of-your pants danger that appeals to the modern teen reader. I plunge my characters into desperate, life-threatening situations which, in the era of books like The Hunger Games, is appealing to modern readers). A third difference is in how I'm approaching the heroine and the romance. My YA heroines are a bit younger and so they are more of a coming of age story where the heroine must grapple with some "growing up" issues. I’ve also tried to keep the romance very sweet and tender (as opposed to my adult novels that while clean, are more passionate in nature). The Similarities: Whether my adult novels or YA, I simply want to tell a compelling story. I hope that I’ve been able to entertain and perhaps even inspire in both of my markets.
Q: How do you keep a faith focus in A Daring Sacrifice without becoming "preachy"?
A: It’s definitely tricky to keep a faith focus without becoming preachy. One of things I try to do is intertwine the characters’ emotional and spiritual arcs, so that they are closely related. I start off by giving my characters flaws or weaknesses that they must work through as the story progresses. As they wrestle through issues, they don’t end up perfect. But by the end I try to bring about some emotional and spiritual growth with their story flaw. For example, in A Daring Sacrifice, Juliana harbors a great deal of bitterness toward those who’ve hurt her family and her people. She’s resorted to stealing from wealthy nobles and justifies what she’s doing. Obviously, this is her flaw. As the story unfolds, she must learn some lessons about acting with integrity, even if it requires great sacrifice. Another way that I add in the faith aspect to my stories without being preachy is by having the characters pray, go to chapel, and or draw comfort from God in a historical context. People during the Middle Ages were extremely religious and so it’s only natural to add this aspect into the story to remain true to the times.
Suggested Age: 13+: The light romance is completely clean. There are situations of war and mention of suicide bombers. No sexual situations or inap
Suggested Age: 13+: The light romance is completely clean. There are situations of war and mention of suicide bombers. No sexual situations or inappropriate language. This book is clean and suitable for Christian teens.
How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck is the perfect recipe for romance.
1 American Southern Belle 1 Handsome Prince from another Country Throw in a villain or two Add some brave soldiers into the mix Stir in a bit of mystery and suspense
Serve with a big helping of Christ and you've got the recipe for a fantastic Christian Romance. You might even Catch a Prince!
This was a wonderful story of love, loss and faith--a delightful modern romance that any romantic at heart can love and enjoy. I mean, what's better than brave men serving their country and a young woman falling in love with a handsome prince? Maybe it's just me--I'll admit that I'm a romantic at heart and that I'm a bit enamored by royalty (which we don't have here in America) but nothing beats the old cliché story of the girl who gets the prince!
Though this book is one of three, I really think you could get by with reading it as a standalone. With how great all three of these books are--I don't know why you'd want to do that! Do yourself a favor and pick up all three books in the Royal Wedding Series by Rachel Hauck.This review was originally posted on A Simply Enchanted Life...more
Suggested Age: 13+: The light romance is completely clean. There's mild suggest violence in the last book but nothing inappropriate.
An Amish M
Suggested Age: 13+: The light romance is completely clean. There's mild suggest violence in the last book but nothing inappropriate.
An Amish Market is a collection of four novellas by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin and Vanetta Chapmen. Each of the four novellas are easily read as a standalone story but also expand on existing character communities from each respective author. It isn't necessary to have read any previous books by any of the authors but it's a nice treat for their regular readers to get a quick revisit with favorite characters.
Amy Clipston led off the story collection with Love Birds. Ellie is still mourning the loss of her brother. You may recall this tragedy from The Forgotten Recipe and while that book covered the loss that Seth's fiancé felt--this novella took us into his home and into the life of his sister.
This sweet little romance really pulled me in from the very first page. In fact, my first goodreads update was, "Ellie and Lloyd better get together!!!"
This story made me sigh and smile. Amy really has a way of writing characters that are genuine and authentic. She is able to create an emotional bond to her characters in a way that few other authors can. Love Birds was definitely a fantastic addition to the Amish Market.
Kathleen Fuller brought to Hannah and Ezra to life in A Bid for Love. I really both of these characters. Ezra was a little frustrating at times but in a completely adorable way. I was really rooting for these two from the get go. I really loved the conclusion of this novella as well. Oftentimes with short stories I feel like the story is rushed and that it doesn't tie up well in the end. This story was just lovely and the ending made me shed a little tear.
Sweeter than Honey is the first thing I've read by Kelly Irvin. I wasn't familiar with the characters but I did enjoy the story. I will have to check out the other books and give them a go. I thought that while the story was very sweet, it seemed to rush a bit more than the first two characters. I really liked Will and Isabella but I thought their journey to romance was just a little rushed feeling. I'd still like to check out this author though as the writing was solid and the characters were enjoyable.
This collection is brought to an end with Vanetta Chapman's unique Amish mystery, Love in Store. There's just not a lot of Amish mystery out there. I guess it's because people write about them being a peaceful people and thus, there's not much murder and mayhem. Vanetta blended mystery and the Amish in very well together. I've always enjoyed a good mystery and this was a classic who-dun-it. I'm very excited to pick up her Murder Simply Brewed book soon. This delightful little mix of almost conflicting interests was a breath of fresh air for the Amish genre.
Want to read more? Check out these reviews for an Amish Market by these other bakers!
Suggested Age: 13+:Nothing inappropriate but likely enjoyed more by an older audience.
I really enjoyed the conclusion to the Land of Promises
Suggested Age: 13+:Nothing inappropriate but likely enjoyed more by an older audience.
I really enjoyed the conclusion to the Land of Promiseseries by Jerry S. Eicher. I experienced moments of pure outrage on behalf of Miriam in regards to Mose and I think that's a really good thing...I like an author that evokes emotion from his readers.
I felt like the characters showed a lot of growth in this book. While I still saw a lot of dependency from Miriam I was very pleased to see her family and community take a stand on her behalf. Her family seemed to finally stop caring whether or not Miriam was the wife of a bishop and more about whether or not she was happy. This made me extremely happy as I felt briefly that no one in this story truly understood and supported Miriam's hopes and dreams. I was so glad to be proven wrong.
These characters are sometimes a bit simple and yet they possess a lot of emotional depth that I could relate to. I totally appreciate characters who feel confused and sometimes even a little bit lost. It gives them a human element that I connect with.
Overall, I really enjoyed the series. I do wish this last book would have maybe given a glimpse into how Ivan and Shirley were both faring in their lives. Also, what happened to Shirley's old flame? Did he ever get closure for his part in Shirley's accident? I would love to see these characters revisited perhaps in another series so I can learn more about them and their community.
Like book two, I did find a minor mistake and though it didn't harm the story in any way, I feel compelled to mention it. In book two, Wayne and his sister pass away and it is recorded in the following passage:
Then in book three I happened to notice there was a mix-up in the character's name.
It is a minor mistake that I probably wouldn't have even noticed had I not read the books back to back. It didn't ruin the story in any way but I felt the need to mention it.
I would give this concluding book to the Land of Promise series a solid 5 stars and the series a 4.5 star rating. The entire series was a really quick read and despite a few errors not caught by the editor, I felt it was very well written.