Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hannah's Choice - A Book Review

Hannah's Choice is by Jan Drexler and is the first book in the Journey to Pleasant Prairie series.  It is set in the 1840's and focuses on Hannah Yoder and her family.  They live on the banks of Conestoga Creek in Lancaster County.  Hanna has such a good heart and tries so hard to keep everyone in her family happy and on the right path.  From the outside looking in, it appears that everything is great in Hannah's life, but under the surface the family life is far from perfect.  Her mother is in a deep depression after losing two children and she blames Hannah for bringing the sickness that took their lives.  Her father is consumed with worry and her sister Leisbet is heading down a rebellious path.

Two men seek Hannah's hand in marriage, one of them offers Hannah the home life that she has always wanted and the other promises an adventure of traveling west to follow God's calling.  Hannah has to make a choice.  She has to choose to stay true to the faith of her family or defy her father and community.  There is conflict between love and family.  Will Hannah choose to listen to her heart or to her family?

I enjoyed Hannah's Choice.  Hannah's mother's depression was so sad and the fact that she was consumed with grief and blamed Hannah made me admire Hannah and her good spirit all the more.  The way Hannah felt like she had to take care of everything spoke well of her character, but also made me feel so sorry for the burden she bore.  I know it is a great book when I actually feel emotion for the characters!  I was somewhat disappointed in Hannah's choice of men.  I won't say who she chose as to prevent a spoiler, but I connected more and was rooting more for a certain man and he was not her choice, but it was still a good book and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction!

About the Author:

Jan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing.  Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite and Brethern immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700's.  Their experiences are the basis for her stories.

***Thanks to Revell Publishing for providing me with a copy of Hannah's Choice in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Threads of Change - A Book Review

Threads of Change by Jodi Barrows is Part I of A Quilting Story.  Lucas desires to spare his granddaughters sorrow from the changes that he know will come when the Civil War starts.  He decides to send all four of them to Texas by wagon train.  He makes all the arrangements and the girls say goodbye to the only home they've known.  Many difficulties arise along the way, but they are relieved when they finally arrive at Fort Worth, Texas.  It will take a lot of hard work, but they are determined to establish a new home.  It seems that their trials have followed them and they have to work hard so they don't fall to the sufferings of prairie life.  Their faith and their quilting are what gets them through.

Upon reading the prologue to this book I was hooked.  It told the account of Elizabeth walking around the front porch of her home in Louisiana.  She was grief stricken with the thought of leaving her home, and as she looked around she was trying to etch everything into her memory so she would not forget a single detail.  This was such a beautiful was to start the book and the way the author told the account pulled at my heart strings.   It was as if she was speaking the language of my heart and exactly how I would feel if I had to leave the only home I ever knew.

The authors writing continues to captivate throughout the entire novel and all the characters are so likable.  I was sad when they were sad and rejoiced when they rejoiced.  I love that the book is a "quilting story".  I have never made a quilt, but I hope to someday.  How I would love to travel back in time and sit around a quilting frame and discuss life with ladies from long ago.  How much wisdom I'm sure they could share.

I'm anxious to read part two of A Quilting Story!  I have a feeling I'm going to love it too!

***Thanks to Moody Publishing for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Lone Star Trail - A Book Review

Lone Star Trail is the first book in the Texas Trails series by Darlene Franklin.  There is a total of 6 books all together and they all feature the Morgan Family.  I was primarily drawn to this book because it is a part of such a long series.  I really enjoy books set in the 1800's and I love a good series that I can connect and follow a family's history through the ups and downs of their lives.  Some of my favorite books are a part of series such as this.  I found the book a little slow in the beginning, but by the end it picks up.  Enough for me to see what the rest of the series is like!

Jud Morgan's father died fighting for Texas' freedom during the war of independence.  When German immigrants attempt to colonize a New Germany in Texas, Jud takes a stand against them.

After Wande Fleischers' fiance marries someone else, she becomes more determined to make a new life for herself in Texas.  With the help of Jud's sister,  Wande learns English and becomes a trusted friend to the entire Morgan family.

As much as Jud dislikes the immigrant invasion, he can't help admiring Wande.  She is sweet and cheerful and she serves the Lord an all those around he.   Can Jud put aside his prejudice and have a future with Wande?

I've always enjoyed stories about immigrants and it was interesting to learn about some German customs.  I also enjoyed learning a few things about Texas.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series turns out!

***Thank you to Moody Publishing for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.

Evenings with Tozer - A Book Review

Evenings With Tozer is a daily devotional book compiled of 365 devotions that come from sermons that A.W. Tozer preached.  Each devotion includes a scripture reading and a short devotion that was taken from Tozer's sermons and writings.  Tozer often told his friends that his primary spiritual concern was proclamation and promotion of personal heart religion.  His writings during his lifetime reflected this concern.

"The work of a good book is to incite the reader to moral action, to turn his eyes toward God and urge him forward."

I have read several of Tozer's books and I will say that he always leaves me wanting more of God in my life.  This devotional does the same.  As you are ending your day you will be reminded of the goodness of God.

One thing that I like about Tozer is that he writes in an educated way.  For me, it requires a slower paced reading.  No skimming through, therefore making me reflect on what I am reading.  I actually even go back and read some of the passages twice.  They are deep and it takes a little extra time for me to really "sink my teeth into it".

I would highly recommend this book to any lover of God!  There is also a Mornings with Tozer that I have previously done a review on.  I think owning both of this is a great.  It gives you a nice structure to start and end your days with great devotions and the word of God!

***Thanks to Moody Publishing for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Where She Belongs - A Book Review

There are several things that spark my initial interest about a book.  The story line, the title, whether it is considered a christian book (I don't want anything smutty), the author and the cover.  The thing that sparked my interest first and foremost about the book Where She Belongs was the cover.  It has such a beautiful and romantic cover.  Second was the title.  It just sounds like a good book.  After I read the back of the book I was a little skeptical.  I am not big on modern day romance stories.  I would much rather read historical fiction or a good mystery.  I decided to take the chance on Where She Belongs because...well, that beautiful cover.

I did struggle at the beginning of the book.  I had a hard time connecting with the characters and the story line.  Possibly because it is not my normal genre and possible because I had just finished a really good book and the bar was set high.  But I was glad that I did not give up.  It was a charming story that was rich in family ties and "home".  It was the kind of book that makes you smile in the end and feel good that you read it.  I would recommend it to others and I think the author did a great job at telling a beautiful story.


Shelby Kincaid is ready to move forward after the death of her husband left her devastated.  With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family's homestead, Misty Willow, so she can raise her young daughters it the only place she ever truly belonged.  She plans to transform the abandoned house in the the perfect home of her memories.  But she has her work cut out for her.

AJ Sullivan never wanted Shelby's family homestead in the first place.  His grandfather left it to him as a punishment for not following his wishes, and he's let it fall to ruin.  AJ's more than happy to unload it to this spitfire of a woman.  But even after angry exchanges of the state of the house, he can't get her off his mind.

***Thanks to Revell publishing for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thin Ice - A Book Review

Thin Ice is the first book I have read by Author Irene Hannon and right now I am questioning why it has taken me so long to pick up one of her books.  I thoroughly enjoyed Thin Ice.  It has everything I look for in a suspense novel.  I am not into anything too dark and creepy and this book had the right level of mystery and suspense for me.  The characters are well developed and I really enjoyed the romance that was thrown in.  The romance was not graphic or sexual, there is no profanity and it mentions faith throughout the book.  It really is the perfect compilation of all the things I like in this type of book.  I also loved the setting of this book.  Nothing sweeter than a book being set near your own home town.  The book frequently mentions St. Louis, Potosi and a few other towns that are all very close to where I live.  This detail made it all the more enjoyable for me!

Thin Ice is the second book in The Men of Valor series and you don't need to read the first one to understand this one.  Like I mentioned it's the first book I read by this author so this book was not dependent of the story of the first book.  I definitely will be looking back to the first book for my own enjoyment and I will also be checking out her other novels.


After losing her parents and her sister, Christy Reed has been mired in grief.  Now, life is finally starting to feel normal again-until an envelope addressed in her sister's handwriting arrives in the mail.  And the note inside claims that she is still alive.

FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, A former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case...but he's coming up with more questions than answers.  Is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat and mouse game - or the target of a sinister plot?  As Lance digs deeper, one thing becomes clear:  someone in the shadows has a deadly agenda.

***Thanks to Revell Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cats in Paris Coloring Book

Coloring books are not just for kids anymore.  If you have yet to jump on the band wagon it is not too late.  Adult coloring books are all the craze right now and there are so many benefits and reasons as to why you should start.  For me, I was a little slow on joining the adult coloring club, but next year I may just run for president!  It is so relaxing and after a stressful day it is the perfect way to unwind.  

I have a few coloring books and the most recent one I have started is Cats in Paris.  I absolutely love it! The pictures are creative and not repetitive and I love that the images are not too tiny.  They are the perfect size.  I enjoy coloring, but I do not like tedious small shapes.  It would help if you are a cat lover.  The book's main feature is cats and there is at least one to color on each page, but never fear there are also plenty of flowers, butterflies, furniture, books and more that fill the pages.  

My favorite thing to color with is markers.  I also use colored pencils and crayons,  but there is something about the vibrant color of markers that I love.  This book has nice thick pages that are perfect for any coloring utensil.  No worries of it leaking through to the opposite page! 

Excerpt from the back of the book:

Cats in Paris is a magical coloring books where you can say bonjour to the cats of Paris as they slink through its fables streets and alleyways, from Montmartre to the Shakespeare and Company bookshop and into a feline-filled land of playful imagination.  Featuring intricate pen and ink drawings of tabbies, Persians, Siamese, and more, this evocative coloring book's frisky kitties lie in wait for your coloring stylings.

***Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Undaunted Hope - A Book Review

Jody Hedlund is one of my all time favorite authors.  Her books are masterpieces, true pieces of art.  Her words paint a picture in your mind and I am always drawn into her novels. Undaunted Hope reinforced my love for this author!  It is the third book in The Beacons of Hope series and I have absolutely loved this series on lighthouses.  I am a little sad to see this series end.

This book is set in the 1870 in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  Tessa Taylor arrives in town to accept the job as teacher, but upon arriving she realizes there was a mistake made and the town had requested a male teacher.  She is allowed to stay through the winter as teacher, but in the spring the town will find a replacement.  Two of Tessa's students decide to do some matchmaking and think that their new teacher would be the perfect match for their own widowed father.  At the same time, the light keeper Alex Bjorkland starts making his feelings for Tessa known.  Now it seems like she has two men fighting for her attention.  All the while she feels like someone is watching her every move.

There is the perfect amount of adventure, romance and even a little humor in this book.  The characters are well developed and easy to relate to.  The author always researches the time periods she writes about and it shines through.  I love how Mrs. Hedlund always includes a little of the true history at the end her books.  This gives the reader a little glimpse of what is true and where the author got her inspiration.

I can't wait to read Jody Hedlund's next book.  I'm sure it will be great a always!

***Thanks to Bethany House Publishing for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Thousand Shall Fall - Book Review

I have always enjoyed learning about the Civil War.  Gone with the Wind is one of my all time favorites.  So any time I get the opportunity to read a fictional book set in that time period I jump at it!  A Thousand Shall Fall is just such a book.

It is written by Andrea Boeshaar and is about Carrie Ann a nineteen year old disguises herself as a soldier after her sister runs away.  She is determined to find her and bring her home, but when she is captured by the Union army she finds herself in big trouble.  She is arrested for impersonating an officer but Colonel Peyton Collier protects her from worse punishment.

It's not long before Carrie Ann begins to fall in love with the Colonel, but she has promised to keep a dark secret and her silence may be the very thing that takes the life of her beloved.  

If you read very many of my reviews you know that I love a fictional story that is rich in real historic detail.   This book is a perfect example of that!  The Author has done her research and not only will you love the historic detail, you will fall in love with the characters and the story line that shares of hope and healing.

This is the first book I have read by Andrea Boeshaar and I will definitely be checking into more of her writings.

***Thanks to Kregel Publications for providing me a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.