Another Sneak Peek!

#SheReadsTruth

#ReadYourBible

Advertisements
Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Questions, I have questions???????????

(Pixabay Image)

Is anyone else having a problem with WP likes?

I spend hours (literally) reading blogs I follow, commenting on some, liking on all. However, I have noticed the last week or so that NONE, as in not one, NADA, of the ones after about 15, shows up or will even let me like the page. It just a funny little jump thing and laughs at me. (OK, maybe it doesn’t laugh at me, but it feels that way!!)

If you are having this problem, or had this problem and know the cause and/or how to fix it, I would appreciate the feedback.

Thanks!

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!!

 

Posted in Books, reviews and more. | 10 Comments

The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson and Gina Welborn

My Review

The Captive Brides is a compilation of nine novellas in one book and is a mix of both favorite and new to me authors. I liked the play on words in the title, too.

In the first story, Love’s Labor Found, by Jennifer AlLee, I was shocked by the gruesomeness (for lack of a better word) of the story. I was also shocked at the callousness portrayed by the victim, though I will say the villain got what he deserved. In fairness to the author and the story, when a book elicits a strong reaction, it usually means it was well-written and developed. I perceived a cavalier attitude toward barbaric cruelty and found it disconcerting.

If I had been steeped in the seventeenth-century moral insensitivity, I might have found the plot less repugnant, but Love’s Labor Found is a novella with word constraints. I never felt fully in the seventeenth century, and I felt twenty-first-century revulsion for a setting in which torture, beatings and murder were the norm.

The cavalier attitude toward evil reminded me of a story (required school reading) I LOATHED, The Great Gatsby. Even Love’s Labor Found doesn’t deal with characters as horrific as The Great Gatsby’s but leaves the same sour taste in my mouth.

Several of the stories deal with abhorrent issues; others aren’t quite so repugnant. Some deal with horrendous acts of enslavement, while others deal with false accusations and arrest, a marriage of convenience, runaway slaves and other tales where women are “captive” to their situations.

Each narrative is well written and thought-provoking. Some elicit more emotion than others, but they overall show how faith and belief in God can draw you out of horrible situations into lives of hope and potential.

I received this book from NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Love Brings Freedom in 9 Historical Romances

Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love?

Love’s Labours Found by Jennifer AlLee – Montserrat, West Indies, 1655
Temperance Simms only wanted a better life. Instead, she finds herself labeled a criminal and sold as an indentured servant. After a kind man saves her life, can Temperance trust that God will turn her sorrow into something beautiful?

His Indentured Bride by Angela Breidenbach – Pennsylvania, 1773-1776
Leaving Scotland for a short indenture with her betrothed, Maire Greer’s contract is sold when disaster strikes her kindly owner, and then extended through cruel circumstances. Can Kirk Lachlan’s service in the American Revolution save her or will she lose love and freedom forever?

The Suspect Bride by Susan Page Davis – Oregon, 1890s
Verity Ames cooks at the restaurant where shy lawyer Jack Whitwell eats lunch daily. As Jack works up courage to ask her for a date, the sheriff walks into the restaurant and arrests Verity for murder.

His Golden Treasure by Darlene Franklin – San Francisco, 1873
Goldie Hatfield grows up on the Barbary Coast until her guardian demands she pay the cost of her upbringing—or work at her brothel. How far will Pastor Joshua Kerr go to set Goldie free?

Through Stormy Waters by Patty Smith Hall – Atlantic Ocean, 1745
Deported to the British colonies for her father’s crimes, Charlotte Singleton helps Captain John Randall when an epidemic breaks out on his ship. Can two battered hearts find love in the midst of a storm?

Moira’s Quest by Cynthia Hickey – New York, 1869
A quest for revenge ends in a marriage of convenience and a feisty Irish lass discovers that not everything is as it seems as family secrets are revealed. An Irish cop, bent on saving the fallen women of Five Points, New York, finds himself thrust into the role of husband with a woman determined to break down a notorious crime boss. Can these two pull together and find a love bigger than they are?

Love’s Escape by Carrie Fancett Pagels – Virginia, 1850
With her life in peril, Lettie seeks escape from slavery. When Nathan offers to “conduct” her North via an unusual segment on the Underground Railroad, will his efforts help or do them both harm?

Waltzing Matilda by Lucy Thompson – Sydney, Australia, 1821
Henry didn’t plan on a runaway convict masquerading as a shepherd. Or on the woman’s baby. Keeping them safe will cost him his freedom—or will it?

A Score to Settle by Gina Welborn – On the Missouri River, 1870
For JoJo the kiss was a means to an end—she wanted his wallet. For Cyrus her kiss changed everything. He vows to help her escape the snake oil salesman she works for, but exposing the man’s lies may mean settling a score at a cost neither JoJo nor Cyrus can pay.

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay (A Guest Review)

Guest Review

A few days ago, I listened while my wife, Robbie, streamed a Katherine Reay book event. Katherine was interesting and intelligent.  Robbie said Katherine always writes about the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, and their cohort of nineteenth-century British authors.  Pulling my nose out of a Tom Clancy novel, she handed me Katherine’s The Bronte Plot.  I got busy.  It was, for me a quick four or five days read.  Robbie would have consumed it in three hours flat.

I enjoyed the book, an endearing story, but was left wondering, “What Bronte plot?”  As I read, I had been alert for a scheme, nefarious machination, or other “plot” involving the Bronte sisters.

Katherine’s protagonist, Lucy Alling, like Katherine, loves Bronte novels, and Jane Eyre is a favorite.  So I googled Jane Eyre and delighted in finding a new term – Bildungsroman.  It turns out that Jane Eyre is an exemplar of the Bildungsroman genre, a novel in which the plot’s action occurs in the soul of a protagonist, as she grows psychologically and morally.  Epiphany! Bronte novels have Bildungsroman plots.  The protagonists’ souls grow in moral strength.  Katherine Reay telegraphs foreshadowing for savvy readers (unlike me) that the action in this book occurs within the soul of Lucy Alling.

It spoils little to reveal that Lucy Alling is inveterately dishonest.  Sometimes she is so ruthlessly and sometimes with premeditation, but often she simply cannot help herself.  Yet she is a sympathetic protagonist we readers come to love and identify with – reminding us, perhaps, that each of us, too, is a sinner.

Lucy, twenty-eight, acquires an octogenarian companion, Helen Carmichael, who is determined to unearth and make right wrongs she thought she had buried forever when she was Lucy’s age.  Helen’s quest takes them from their homes in Chicago to London, to the Brontes’ home in Haworth on the English moors, then on to a necessary rendezvous of Lucy’s own.

The pages of The Bronte Plot are saturated with literary allusion to the nineteenth century British greats – Austen, Dickens, Gaskin, Wordsworth, and eminently, Emily, Charlotte, and Anne Bronte. Initiated readers will revel in recognizing them, as I did when the occasional mention of Dostoyevsky or C.S. Lewis struck a chord with me. As we revel in Katherine Reay’s literary pilgrimage, we marvel at the inner, moral journey Lucy travels.  We are reminded that dealing honestly with others always demands a little courage. To be honest with others whom we have not been requires us to muster unimaginable depths of courage.

You will absolutely love The Bronte Plot if you have read Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and other Bronte plots.  You will also love The Bronte Plot if you have not yet read any Bronte plots, but you will resolve to read some.  I had not, but I will.

Publisher’s Summary

When Lucy’s secret is unearthed, her world begins to crumble. But it may be the best thing that has ever happened to her.

Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious liberties to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend, James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.

In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother, Helen, hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else.

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom as Helen confronts ghosts from her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of impossible circumstances.

Now Lucy must face her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that’s been waiting for her all along.

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Sneak Peek!!

Enjoying studying a new Bible!

Review coming soon!!

#SheReadsTruth

#ReadYourBible

Posted in Books, reviews and more. | Tagged | 4 Comments

Happy Veteran’s Day

Image | Posted on by | 10 Comments

Colors of Christmas: Two Contemporary Stories Celebrate the Hope of Christmas by Olivia Newport

My Review

WOW! I’m not sure what I expected when given the opportunity to review Colors of Christmas, by Olivia Newport. I should have realized, after reading the author’s note, in the beginning, a small foreshadowing of something bringing a lot of emotion to the table, but in an endearing, asseverate way.

I’m always a little leery when I have a chance to review a new-to-me author. It’s terrible I know, but I, like many reviewers, fall into the rut of sticking to their faves. This year, however, I’ve branched out and found a lot of new authors I sincerely like. Olivia Newport is one of them.

Colors of Christmas contains two separate novellas. Each novella deals with loss, but in uniquely different ways.

Christmas in Gold, the first story, introduces us to Astrid, an eighty-year-old woman moving from her home to an independent living home. As Astrid’s lifetime vividly comes to life on the pages of this incredible story, we feel, hear and experience her childhood and early adulthood. First, she survived the Nazi domination of Germany, then she formed a new history in the United States. Time stood still for me as I was thoroughly wrapped up in the story, to the point of just a moment of startlement when I was called out of the book to attend to another matter! Christmas in Gold is a heart-warming, faith-affirming tale; you’ll undoubtedly want to read it.

Christmas in Blue deals with Angela’s heartache and loss of her best friend, Carole. Carole of the larger than expression, full-on celebration of Christmas. All Angela wants to do is magically jump past the holiday season and get on with trying to live without Carole, but everything seems to conspire against her deepest desires. I don’t want to tell too much, because of spoilers, but Angela’s Christmas far surpasses anything she could dream or imagine.

Newport somehow takes two small vignettes, and without making them feel overcrowded or rushed, beautifully portrays two very different and unique perspectives. All while dropping satisfying tidbits of faith, comfort, and joy. I am sincerely looking forward to reading more of her stories as I truly enjoyed her novellas.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Celebrate the joyful hope of the Christmas season as characters find healing in the midst of heartbreak.

Christmas in Blue

In the wake of a personal loss deeper than anyone realizes, Angela plans to bypass as much of the season as possible and get through her duties as the church organist by going on autopilot. Instead, she finds herself in charge of the town’s celebration. After a mysterious young man arrives, townspeople suspect he is the reason that one set of plans after another disintegrate until little is left of their traditions. Yet Angela warms to Gabe because she suspects they share a secret—his real reason for coming to town. Even when all they have to work with is a garish supply of blue Christmas decorations, Gabe helps Angela discover the hidden beauty of hope.

Christmas in Gold

After eighty years, change is nothing new for Astrid. By the time she was twenty, she survived the destructive Nazi regime, caring for her family under brutal circumstances, moving to America, and losing her husband. At forty she was widowed again and left to build a new life with her children. Now, when she faces a move into an assisted living community and meets a young woman on the brink of despair, she resolves to stir up hope through tragedy one more time.

 

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The Beloved Christmas Quilt: Three Stories of Family, Romance, and Amish Faith by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter and Richelle Brunstetter

My Review

I enjoyed how The Beloved Christmas Quilt mirrored three generations, just like the authors – grandmother, Wanda E. Brunstetter; her daughter-in-law, Jean; and granddaughter, Richelle. Each of the stories focuses on the Christmas quilt inscribed with the Bible verse, Psalm 31:3, “For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” The quilt is initially given to the mother/grandmother and is then passed on to the eldest daughter in successive generations.

Amish stories are always fascinating to me. The traditions passed on, the values exhibited, their strong faith embraced and the non-traditional style of life preserved are inspirational. The three novellas highlight each of these qualities.

The Beloved Christmas Quilt is an enjoyable book to read. However, because it showcases three stories, the depth of development isn’t there, which tends to be a downfall for many novellas, unfortunately. There just isn’t enough time or words to truly tell a deeper story. Nonetheless, the stories focus on real-life situations and dilemmas, while using the verse on the quilt as a beacon of hope for each of the women.

I also appreciated the recipes included at the end of the stories. I can’t wait to try some of them out; they seem perfect for a Thanksgiving or Christmas treat!

I received this book from Barbour Publishing and NetGalley. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Review

One Quilt Binds Three Generations of Amish Women

Enjoy the gift of a brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, along with stories by her daughter-in-law, Jean and granddaughter, Richelle.

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. Psalm 31:3
The scripture embroidered on the back of a beloved quilt brings hope to three generations of Pennsylvania Amish women at Christmastime.

Luella’s Promise
By Wanda E. Brunstetter
Luella Ebersol has been caregiver for a dying woman and her young son. When Dena Lapp gives Luella her favorite quilt, she makes Luella promise to pass it down to her daughter. But Luella isn’t sure she will ever marry if she can’t find someone with maturity and faith like Dena’s husband Atlee Zook.

Karen’s Gift
By Jean Brunstetter
Karen Allgyer and her husband moved to a slow-paced village to raise their children, but Karen longs for the closeness of family to help her through the challenges of managing three girls with one on the way. When life’s pressures rise, will Karen cave to her fears?

Roseanna’s Groom
By Richelle Lynn Brunstetter
When the unexpected happens on the day of her wedding, Roseanna Allgyer can’t help blaming herself, despite not understanding why. Then an old friend returns to town, and she battles feeling for him—afraid of being hurt again.

Posted in Books, reviews and more. | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

TEARS. . . .

Image | Posted on by | 10 Comments

To Gain a Bodyguard (Gaining Love Series, #3) by Tanya Eavenson

My Review

Life is hectic for agents Madi Reynolds and Brice Johnson. When you throw in Madi’s brother’s wedding (scheduled around Christmas no less), Brice’s struggle with PTSD, issues concerning human trafficking and then top it all off by a threat on Madi’s life, then things go from hectic to frenetic in no time! To Gain a Bodyguard introduces us to the two ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents with feelings for each other. Both are afraid to show, or even admit to themselves, for a myriad of reasons, their true feelings.

Tanya Eavenson always manages to pack a lot into her novellas, and she does so again this time. Yet, you don’t feel lost or bewildered in the short story. There are many endearing moments, along with some scary situations. I began to care about each of the main characters, riding on a roller-coaster of emotions with them, hoping things would turn out well for everyone. I also appreciated the strength they drew from their faith. There’s a slight cliff-hanger at the end, leaving me with the hope that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Madi and Brice!

I was delighted to be able to catch up with Amabelle and Patrick too, whom we met in Eavenson’s previous books, To Gain a Mommy and To Gain a Valentine. Don’t worry if you haven’t read either of them, as each story stands alone.

If you are looking for a short, atypical romance story, then look no further than To Gain a Bodyguard, (Gaining Love Series, #3) by Tanya Eavenson.  (It is also part of the upcoming box set of Christmas romance novellas, titled Winter’s Kiss by multiple authors).

I received this book from the author, Tanya Eavenson. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Review

Undercover ICE agent Madi Reynolds has spent years infiltrating a human-trafficking ring, but when her life is threatened, she is forced to walk away and advised to leave the country. Undeterred, she continues her plan to attend her brother’s Christmas wedding, with her partner assigned as her bodyguard. But after seeing Brice care for her niece, she finds it’s more than her life that needs protecting. Is there really any defense for the heart?

War Veteran and ICE agent Brice Johnson has been defending his country and American lives for as long as he can remember. Now, he faces the biggest assignment of his life–protect the woman he loves. He’s never been one to run from a fight, but when an old flame butts in expecting a second chance with Madi, and crippling visions of war call out to him, he begins to wonder if surrender is an option after all.

Posted in Books, reviews and more. | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment