Thursday, December 18, 2014

Price of Privilege - A Book Review

I love when an Author writes a series of books and you really get to know the characters and get to read one continuing story throughout several novels.  What I don't like however, is when I make the mistake of getting a later book in the series and not realizing I'm reading the third book until after I start.  Grrr!  I have read several series that the author does such a good job at reintroducing characters and plots that it does not matter if you haven't read the previous books, but lately it seems like the later books in the series are continuing a story that I am clueless about and the author doesn't take the time to introduce new readers to the characters.

If you haven't guessed yet, this is what happened to me with the Price of Privilege.  Do to my own mistake, I requested a book to review that was book three in a series and did not realize it until after I started the book.  I was completely overwhelmed with all the different characters presented in Price of Privilege and I had no idea who was who and what was being talked about.  It took me a while to get passed this, but throughout the book I continued to feel like I was missing important information and trying to piece it all together was difficult.

What I did like was the author's writing style.  It was different than anything I have read lately.  The author, Jessica Dotta reminded me of an old soul.  Her writing reflects that of Jane Austen and seemed very elegant to me.  I liked the regal feeling to it and even though I had trouble getting into the story because of the above mentioned, I would definitely read more of Jessica Dotta's books.  A matter of fact this book sparked my interest enough to go back to the beginning and start with book one to see what I was missing out on.

I would recommend this book as long as you start from the beginning of the series!  The first book is Born of Persuasion and the second book is Mark of Distinction.

If you would like to learn more about the author and her books she has a website and you can get to it by clicking HERE.

Description from the back of Price of Privilege:

Having finally discovered the truth of her birthright, Julia Elliston is determined to outwit Chance Macy at his own game. Holding a secret he’d kill to keep, however, is proving more difficult than she imagined.

Just when Julia thinks she’s managed to untangle herself from Macy’s clutches, he changes tactics with a risky ploy. As the scandal of the century breaks loose, drawing rooms all over London whisper what so far newspapers have not dared to print: Macy’s lost bride is none other than Lord Pierson’s daughter—and one of the most controversial cases of marital law ever seen comes before Victorian courts.

Though Julia knows Macy’s version of events is another masterful manipulation, public opinion is swaying in his favor. Caught in a web of deceit and lies, armed only with a fledgling faith, Julia must face her fiercest trial yet.

***This book was provided to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hope Crossing - A Book Review

When it comes to Amish fiction Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite authors.  Her style of writing is so enjoyable.  Her books are what I consider "easy reads".  They are the kind that I love to curl up with for an afternoon of reading with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate.

Hope Crossing is the complete Ada's House Trilogy and includes all three books in the series.  The three books included are The Hope of Refuge, The Bridge of Peace and The Harvest of Grace.  I cannot pick a favorite book out of the three because they are all so good.  All the character's are easy to connect with and if you are anything like me you won't even want to take a break between books, you'll just keep on reading!

The first book, The Hope of Refuge is about Ephraim and Clara.  Clara has lived a hard life, after her mother died and her father abandoned her she grew up in Foster homes.  Now she has a little girl named Lori and they are running from a stalker who has been tormenting Clara for years.  Clara ends up in Amish country after finding a clue from her mother in a diary.  Ephraim comes to Clara's aide which gets him shunned in his community.  Clara and Ephraim are both surprised when the realize this is not the first time they have met.

The second book, The Bridge of Peace continues on with the same characters but now the main characters are Lena and Grey.  Lena is a school teacher and at 27 years old she is sure that she is to live her life alone.  With a huge birthmark on her face she knows that her looks turn everyone away.  She is happy with her life as a teacher, but now her job is being threatened and Grey is the only person who will stand up for her.  Grey is dealing with some personal tragedies of his own and only wants friendship from Lena.  Lena on the other hand is quickly developing deeper feelings for Grey.

The third book, The Harvest of Grace concludes the stories that we have been reading in a very satisfying way.  It completes the stories of the previous books, but also focus on Sylvia and Aaron who both have different goals in life and their struggle of trying to come together.  I read this book several years and it was actually the first book I read by Cindy Woodsmall and I have been reading her books ever since.

If you have not had the pleasure of reading this series yet, Hope Crossing is a good place to start since it has all three books combined in one book for one low price!

***This book was provided to me by in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Bracelet - A Book Review

The thing that drew me to The Bracelet by Dorothy Love was the mystery and I have to admit that it was the "mystery" that kept me intrigued, but that is about all.

The book starts off with a young distraught woman thinking about ending her own life, but she changes her mind...too late or so we wonder.  The death was believed to be accidental, but through some events it leaves the reader wondering if it was actually a murder?  Next, we fast forward to 1858.  It is a just a couple years before the Civil War.  I normally love books written from this time period, but I did not connect with the time period in this book.  There was something about it that just didn't seem true to that time period for me.

I also did not connect well with the characters.  The main character Celia has just gotten engaged to Sutton her childhood sweetheart.  At the same time a reporter starts poking around trying to uncover the mystery of the tragedies that took place when Celia was a child.  Celia begins to realize that there are some deep family secrets and she decides if she wants to know the truth she will have to discover it for herself.  As she begins to search out the truth she starts getting threats.  One inparticular is a Bracelet that has a secret message, a threat, within the stones.  Instead of backing down this makes Celia all the more determined to find out the truth of her family and who is sending her the messages.

I found no chemistry between Celia and Sutton.  I have to say I didn't even like Sutton's character so it was hard for me to want Celia to marry him.  There is also Ivy, who is just annoying to me.  Her character just seems stupid and I didn't connect well with her either.  All the "fluff" surrounding the mystery really just bored me.  I wanted to read about the mystery and find out the truth of the tragedies.  All the rest just bored me.

***This book was provide
d to me through in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Love Unexpected - A Book Review

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund is a great historical fiction book.  I knew I would love this book because I love all of Jody Hedlund's books.  The way she writes is more like painting a picture, it's like watching a story unfold right before your very eyes.  I love the way she includes factual historical events and this is one author who really does her homework.  For example, at the end of Love Unexpected there is an "Author's Note" where she shares about the research she did and how the book ties in with real historical events, which things were true and which were just based on a true event.  Some of the character's are based on real people from the past and she shares who those people where and how they inspired her.  For someone like me, who loves history this is just awesome!

Another thing I love about this book (and all her books) are how rich they are in faith.  This story shows how the mistakes we have made in the past can still affect our future even after we give our hearts to God.  I once heard a preacher say that even after you get saved you sometimes "reap what you sow".   Although God forgives us sometimes we suffer the repercussions of our mistakes after God has saved us.  I have experienced this in my own life, but through the grace of God, he not only forgave me of my sins, he turned those bad things into blessings!  Isn't God great like that?!

There was also a message of forgiveness and showing the same mercy to others that God has shown to you.  Sometimes this is a hard thing to do, but we have to remember that we were once a sinner just like them and we need to share the love of God so they can see God shining through you.

I loved the characters in Love Unexpected.  Emma is a young girl traveling with her brother when their ship is attacked by pirates.  Her and her brother are rescued by lighthouse keeper Patrick.  All Emma has ever wanted was a home of her own.  She has all but given up on that dream.  No man ever came calling and she doesn't think anyone would think her attractive.  Patrick has just buried his wife and is left to run the lighthouse and take care of his two year old son on his own.  It seems that Emma is the answer to his problem and after a quick wedding Emma finally has the home she has always wanted.  Now that she is married she is starting to realize that she knows nothing about being a mother and the man she married seems to have many secrets.  There are even rumors around town that he is a dangerous man.  When Emma discovers Patrick's secrets will she be able to stay with him?

There is a novella prequel to this book called Out of the Storm.  If you don't read it first it will not take away from the book, but it would help you connect with a certain part of the story, plus it is really good too.  Love Unexpected is book one in the Beacons of Hope series and I can't wait till the next book comes out!

If you have not read any of Jody Hedlund books, you are missing out, but it's not too late!  You can start with this series!

***This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Bachelor - A Book Review

I get  so aggravated at myself when I request a book to review only to find out it is the second in a series and I have yet to read the first.  I really need to pay more attention to this!  Sometimes this is not a problem, but more often then not it is better to read a series in order.  So, with that being said, that is what happened to me with The Bachelor.

The Bachelor by Stephanie Reed is book two in the Plain City Peace Series.  As I mentioned, I did not read the first book in the series and I feel like this really took away from the book for me.  I felt lost and unconnected to the characters, especially at first.  It seemed as if I was missing the first part of the story and I guess I was, I think this book picked up right where the first one left off.  The end of The Bachelor is a bit of a cliff hanger so I am sure that book three is going to pick off where this one ends as well.  Even though I started with the second book it did peak my interest enough to make me want to go back and read The Bargain, which is the first book.  I think I'll wait till the third book comes out though. The Bride is not to be released until 2016 so I will wait till closer to that time and read book one for the first time and then book two again to refresh my memory.

There were several things about The Bachelor that I liked.  It was different than a lot of the Amish fiction stories I have read in the past.  It is set in the 70's and I have read very few books from that time period and I really enjoyed that.  I also liked that it gave a more realistic view of Amish life and their beliefs.  I would definitely recommend reading it, but be sure to grab The Bargain first and start from the beginning!

More about The Bachelor:

Betsie Troyer is back home in her Amish community after her parents have left for the English world.  Her parents have been shunned by the community and Betsie is now caring for her siblings.  Betsie is happy with her life and feels like she is getting everything "back on track".  Her and  Charley Yoder have made promises to each other and she is looking forward to a future with him, but when her English neighbor asks Betsie to care for his 12 year old daughter Sheila, Betsie's life gets turned upside down once again.  Between trying to keep peace with Charley, taking care of a 12 year old, and her friendship with Sheila's brother..the draft dodging, hippy Englisher named Michael, Betsie begins to question what God's plan is for her life.  Will God make the choice clear?

More about the Author:

Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, the site of a once-thriving Amish community.  She gleans ideas for her novels from signs glimpsed along the byways of Ohio.  To check out her other books and learn more about her you can go to her website HERE.

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pray the Scriptures When Life Hurts - A Book Review

I have some mixed feelings about the book Pray the Scriptures When Life Hurts by Kevin Johnson.  I was first drawn to this book because of the title.  As a christian  it is important that we know God's word and it is good to use it in our prayer life.  The Bible is full of God's promises and His word can give us encouragement during the hurting times of our life.  I was hoping that the book would give me some guidance and encouragement in "praying the Scriptures".  On the second page of the first chapter the author uses the phrase "cut the crap".  Now I know what I am getting ready to say will get me viewed as a goody-two-shoes by some, but when I read that phrase I was instantly disappointed and frankly disgusted with the author of the book.   In my opinion, those words do not belong in a book entitled Pray the Scriptures.  This is a devotional book and I expect to see uplifting and godly words, not words that I hear out in the world every day.

I thought the book would be an encouragement, but instead I feel that it can discourage more than encourage.  Each chapter of the book focuses on a different emotion.  A few examples are loneliness, resentment, frustration, surrender, hope...In the beginning of each chapter the author shares some thoughts and then there is a section with a Bible verse followed by questions/journal prompts and a space for you to write your answers.  I did really like this set up.  I like a devotional that you can write in and that asks thought provoking questions that encourage you to examine your heart with the purpose of drawing you closer to the Lord.  But it seemed like a lot of the journal prompts/questions were focusing more on what you are going through and how bad it is rather than how great God is and how He will see you through anything that life throws your way.

It is my opinion that if you are in a hurting place in your life, a place of sickness, or heartache, maybe grief...whatever the trial, YOU can pray the scriptures.  Get your Bible out, read God's promises.  Be encouraged!  My all time favorite chapter in the Bible is Psalms 91 and it has encouraged me through many trials.  Here are just a FEW other scriptures that I believe are a good start to help "pray the scriptures".

Psalm 9:9-10
James 4:7
Psalm 50:15
Psalm 34:7
Isaiah 41:10
Exodus 14:14
Joshua 1:9
Deuteronomy 31:8

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.