Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace

Jody Hedlund is one of my favorite authors.  Her books are masterpieces, true pieces of art.  Her words paint a picture in my mind and I am always drawn deeply into her novels. Newton & Polly went above and beyond all my expectations. The book was inspired by the true love story of John Newton and Polly Catlett. 

For those who are not familiar with who John Newton is, he is the man who penned the beloved song Amazing Grace.  I love books that are based on true historic events and this one was one of my favorite to date.  It was so beautifully written, inspiring and full of faith and hope.  It allows you to see God's Grace is a whole new light.  The love that Polly has for Newton is so strong and to see how Newton comes to Christ after thinking he has done to much and sinned to greatly will move the reader to tears.  

Before reading this book I was some what familiar with the story of John Newton, but this novel breathed new life and took me to deeper levels.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound 
that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost, but now am found…

Now remembered as the author of the world’s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father—until the night he hears Polly Catlett’s enchanting voice, caroling. He’s immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.

An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John’s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves?

Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.

***Thank you to for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and thank you to the author for a wonderful novel that touched my heart!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Unblemished - A Book Review

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I began reading Unblemished.  It is the first book by Sara Ella and I am sometimes a little leary of new authors.  But on the contrary, I was pleasantly surprised with this book.  I was instantly drawn into a beautifully written story. 

Eliyana can’t bear to look at her own reflection. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world exists where her blemish could become her strength?
Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her like he does: normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.
But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird. Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.
Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?

This is definitely an author I will be looking out for in the future.  This book was definitely left open for the possibility of another installment and I hope the author writes a sequel!

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

From This Day Forward by Lauraine Snelling

From This Day Forward by Lauraine Snelling is the fourth book in the Song of Blessing series.  I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I get when Lauraine Snelling comes out with a new book about the town of Blessing!  She has written twenty books (compiled into 5 series) about the Bjorkland family and the people of Blessing and I never tire of this family that I have come to love!  When I get a new book I devour it!  It's like getting a letter from home.  There are a only a handful of books that have made me cry while reading them and a couple of them have been Lauraine Snelling books about Blessing.  I am so connected with this family that when something happens, it's like it is happening to my family.

One great thing about Lauraine's books is that you don't necessarily have to start from the very beginning.  She writes her novels in such a way that you don't feel lost.  The first book I read was from the Daughter's of Blessings series.  I loved it so much and became so interested in the family that I when I learned that it was a part of a bigger story I just had to go back and start from the beginning.  So even though this book is a great stand alone story I would encourage you, if you have not already read the rest of the books, to go back to the beginning.  I don't think you will be sorry!

Each book usually features a different characters life, but one thing I love about these books is that even though the story may focus primarily on a certain character, there is plenty story dedicated to the rest of the town and to the matriarch of the whole series, Ingaborg Bjorkland.  It really is an ongoing story of the Bjorkland family and the people of the town of Blessing, but with each book you get to know certain characters a little better.

In From This Day Forward Deborah MacCallister, head nurse at the Blessing hospital, has loved Toby Valders since her school days, but she's had enough of their on-again, off-again relationship. Toby truly cares for Deborah, but he's never felt like he could commit to marriage or a family.

When Anton Genddarm, the new schoolteacher, comes to town, the young women of Blessing see a chance to force Toby's hand with a little strategic matchmaking. But real sparks fly between Deborah and Anton, and she finds herself in an even more complicated situation. The attention she gets from Anton makes Toby do some serious soul-searching, but is it too late?

Then Deborah receives an invitation to study the latest advances in nursing at a hospital in Chicago, and she faces a hard choice. To leave or stay? Should she give up on the dream of Toby and accept the interest of Anton?

Thank you so much Lauraine Snelling for another beautifully written story!  

***Thanks to Bethany House Publishing for providing me with Streams of Mercy in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mattie's Pledge - A Book Review

Mattie's Pledge is the second book in the Journey to Pleasant Prairie Series.  The book is about Mattie Shcrock.  Mattie is no stranger to uprooting her life.  Even as her father relocated her family from one Amish community to the next, she always managed to find a footing in their new homes.  Now as the Schrock family plans to move west from Somerset County to a fledgling Amish settlement in Indiana, she looks forward to connecting with old friends who will be joining them from another Pennsylvania community, friends like Jacob Yoder, who has always held a special place in her heart.

Since Mattie last saw Jacob, they've both grown into different people with different dreams.  Jacob yearns to settle down, but Mattie can't help but dream of what may lie over the western horizon.  When a handsome Englisher tempts her to leave the Amish behind to search for adventure in the West, will her pledge to Jacob be the anchor that holds her secure.

I was excited to read this Amish story, especially since it was set in the 1840's.  I love this time period and thought it would be enjoyable from the Amish prospective.  I really had a hard time getting into the story.  It was very slow paced, especially at the beginning.  I did not connect well with any of the characters and struggle to even like Mattie.  Hopefully the next book will pick up speed!

***Thank you to Revell for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

The Devoted - A Book Review

The Devoted is the third book in The Bishop's Family series and I would have to say that this has been the best out of the three.  So many of the characters have been featured in all three books and that has made it very easy to connect and get to know them.  This book seems to focus more on the Bishop than the other books and I really enjoyed getting to know him.  He is a great man of God who loves the people.  So many of the Amish books I have read seem to paint the Bishop in an Amish community as a hard and unloving person, but not in this book.

I love how the whole series has been rich in love and faith.  I would definitely recommend reading the series in order.  You could read this novel by itself, but I think it would be much more enjoyable if you read from the beginning.  You connect so much more with the characters!

The Amish life is all she's ever known, but will it satisfy her soul?

Restless and adventurous, Ruthie Stoltzfus is right on the cusp of leaving her Amish home.  Secretly, she's earned her GED, saved her money, but she can't quite set her journey into motion.  Just as everything falls into place, along comes Patrick Kelley.

Patrick is a young man on a journey of his own.  He's come to Stoney Ridge to convert to the Amish and has given himself thirty days to learn the language, drive a buggy, and adapt to "everything Plain."  Time is of the essence and every moment is to be cherished, especially the hours he spends with Ruthie, his Amish Tutor.

Ruthie's next door neighbor and cunning ex-boyfriend, Luke Schrock is drawn to trouble like a moth to a flame.  rebellious, headstrong, defiant Luke will do anything to win Ruthie back - and Patrick Kelly is in his way.

Pick up this series and travel to Stony Ridge for a story of dreams deferred and the promise of hopes fulfilled.

***Thank you to Revell for providing me a copy of this book for exchange of my honest review.

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon

I really enjoy reading suspense novels so when I had the chance to review Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon I was instantly excited.  The cover and the back of the book convinced me that it was going to be great.  I have to admit that I was a little disappointed.  The book held no mystery at all.  You know from the get-go who the "bad guy" is and there was no element of surprise.  I found myself a little overwhelmed by all the information that is given and I had a hard time processing everything.

As far as the romance goes, the love story was very well written and Finn and Dana's relationship was enjoyable to read.  I just wish the rest of the story would of been as enjoyable.

After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime.  A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress.  But peace isn't on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own.   Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather.  As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a a menacing tone.  And when it becomes apparent Dana's foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action-ready or not.

This is the Third book in The Men of Valor series.  I do not think it is necessary to read the books in order to enjoy this one.

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Twilight at Blueberry Barren - A Book Review

Twilight at blueberry Barren by Colleen Coble is the third installment of the Sunset Cove series.  You do not have to read all the book in order, but since a lot of the characters are recurring it does add to the joy of the story if you have read the series.  You will be better connected to some of the characters.

I have read quite a few of Colleen Coble's novels and I have come to expect a good mystery that keeps me guessing until the end.  So far I have yet to be disappointed.  Twilight at Blueberry Barren starts of with page turning suspense and the story held me firm in its grips until the last page.  The love story was a bit predictable.  I knew within the first two chapters who was going to get paired together.  That was okay though.  I really liked both characters and even though there is plenty of romance the main focus is not on the love, its on solving a mystery.

Kate Mason has devoted herself to caring for her family’s blueberry barrens. But after her fields stop producing fruit, she’s forced to come up with alternative ways to make a living.
Renting out the small cottage on her property seems an obvious choice, but it won’t be enough. When entrepreneur Drake Newham shows up looking not only for a place to rent but also for a nanny for his two nieces, it’s almost too good to be true. And maybe it is—because Drake brings with him dangerous questions about who might be out to kill his family.
The more time Kate spends with Drake and the girls, the more difficult it becomes to hide her attraction to him. But a family crisis isn’t exactly the ideal time to pursue a romance.
Meanwhile, Kate learns that her uncle—in prison for murder—has escaped. Add to that a local stalker who won’t leave her alone, and Kate is looking over her shoulder at every turn. With threats swirling from multiple directions, she wonders if her blueberry fields will ever flourish again . . . or if this twilight is her last.
If you have yet to read any of Colleen Coble's books and you love romance mysteries I encourage you to pick up this series.  It's been great!
***Thanks to for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Angel Of Forest Hill - Book Review

Each year around this time I look forward to reading for review a few Christmas fiction novels.  I specifically look forward to Author Cindy Woodsmall's books.  I always enjoy her Amish fiction and she writes the sweetest Christmas romance stories.

This year her new book is The Angel of Forest Hill.  It's just shy of 200 pages and I would consider it a quick read.  I started and finished it in one night.  It was a very enjoyable read and I found myself thinking about the book long after I finished it.

The book is about Rose Kurtz.  She is the only girl in a family of 12 and her childhood has been anything but pleasant.  When she is asked to leave her family and go to a new community to help a family in need she has high hopes that she will find kindness instead of criticism.  When she arrives she is surprised to find that Joel Dienner's wife has just passed leaving two small children and a newborn baby behind.  Rose agrees to stay in Forest Hill and marry Joel.  Their marriage is to be a partnership build from need, not love.

As the years go by Rose begins to have hope that their relationship might become something more, but when a pretty widow moves to town Rose feels threatened and a series of misunderstandings has left her heartbroken.

I really love the character of Rose.  Her story is heartbreaking, but to read how she heals through the love of a good man and the love a heavenly Father was quite refreshing.

As the days are cooling and the Holiday Season is fast approaching I would encourage you to take some time and enjoy the few remaining nice days we have left.  What better way to do that than with a good book.  Grab a copy of The Angel of Forest Hill and spend the afternoon reading and preparing your mind for Christmas!

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