Love at Christmas Inn: Collection I by Tanya Stowe, Marianne Evans, Mary Manners and Delia Latham

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About the Book

Nestled into five beautiful acres just outside Hope Creek, Tennessee, Christmas Inn is an unforgettable place known for its joyful atmosphere and festive setting. Holiday decorations adorn each room. Trees glittering with ribbons and ornaments, gorgeous wreaths, velvet stockings and pine-scented candles brighten visitors’ stay at this vacation spot dedicated to Christmas all year, every year. The resort offers all the usual enticements plus one unique amenity…love. The little white chapel behind the inn, built by the Christmas family in the 1890s, boasts bell tower bells that toll when couples fall in love.

But Christmas Inn has fallen on hard times. The chapel bells haven’t rung for many years, and this Christmas may be the final celebration at the resort…unless love finds its way home.

My Review

Four magical stories are woven into the sweet enchantment of new love discovered and lost love found in Love at Christmas Inn:  Collection I by authors Tanya Stowe, Marianne Evans, Mary Manners and Delia Latham.

Christmas Inn, built by Angus Christmas in the 1800’s, has a rich history and an interesting legacy. According to legend, if a couple at the inn falls in love, the bells at the chapel begin to ring. Interestingly enough, the bells stopped ringing years ago, except when a couple has fallen in love.

I enjoyed reading the four novellas in Love at Christmas Inn. The stories are all connected together seamlessly.  Each story is distinct from the others, yet the plots are often overlaid. For instance, several of the stories share the same snowball fight, many characters reappear, and of course, the central setting is always the Christmas Inn.

The rich imagery of the Inn, decorated year-round in a Christmas theme, comes alive with each author’s story. I couldn’t keep from imagining myself walking over Jingle Bell Creek on the North Pole Bridge, watching children playing on the giant Santa’s sleigh, sitting in the quiet chapel or marveling over the Nativity near the frozen waterfall.

The legend takes on a life of its own as the four authors find different and unique ways of “ringing the bells” for love.

If you revel in the magic of Christmas and a year-round celebration of the season, you will want to read Love at Christmas Inn!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Amish Cooking Class-The Seekers by Wanda Brunstetter.

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About the Book

Join a class of unlikely Ohioans who take cooking lessons at Lyle and Heidi Troyer’s Amish farm. A woman engaged to marry, an expectant mother estranged from her family, a widowed mom seeking to simplify, a Vietnam vet who camps on the Troyer’s farm, and an Amish widower make up the mismatched lot of students. But Heidi’s cooking lessons soon turn to life lessons as they each share the challenges they are facing. Is this what God had in mind when Heidi got the idea for cooking classes?

My Review

Heidi Troyer, an Amish woman, needs something to occupy her time. Taking a page from her Aunt Emma’s life, she decides to give cooking lessons similar to her Aunt Emma Miller’s quilting classes (Many of you may remember Emma from The Healing Quilt). Little did she know that she and her students would learn many life lessons along the way.

The Seekers has a motley crew of cooking learners that include a Vietnam vet with PTSD, a young woman who was kicked out of her home when her parents found out she was pregnant, a widower still grieving his wife’s death, an amateur photographer who becomes engaged and a widow with two small children yearning for a simpler life. Each person, including Heidi, is searching for answers.

Wanda Brunstetter does an impressive job of developing each of the characters and relating the story from each one’s viewpoint.  As you read and watch each one change, you are cheering or jeering for the individuals, depending on what the circumstances are, and come to care about each one.

Heidi’s recipe cards (recipes are at the end of the story) include an apt and applicable Bible verse, and it’s neat to see how each person reacts to the different verses.

Even if cooking isn’t your forte, I believe you will still enjoy reading Amish Cooking Class-The Seekers by Wanda Brunstetter.

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

Heat, Finally!

The heat’s working in the dorm, finally! (Fixed yesterday.) Someone said the part had to be ordered and delivered from Japan. I guess that is why it took so long, since before Thanksgiving, to get it back in working order, still. . . I mean, room and board is expensive and not doing anything to alleviate the problem is unacceptable.

Anyway, I am thankful it is now fixed. I’m also thankful that we live close enough that coming home for weekends wasn’t a problem, but I feel for the poor kids stuck in a COLD dorm.

Enjoy your weekend, we’ll be enjoying the Super Bowl before taking our intrepid student back to the school.

Watching the game is a family tradition started by my dad, and we all want to carry it on even though he’s no longer with us. It helps not to feel the loss so greatly, as we have a friendly rivalry, and reminisce over his love of football, especially the Dallas Cowboys. And of course, they didn’t make it this year, but boy what a year!!

Who else is watching the game, or are you like I used to be and can take or leave it?

The Miracle of Mercy Land

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About the Book

What if you had the power to amend choices you made in the past? Would you do it even if it changed everything?

Mercy Land has made some unexpected choices for a young woman in the 1930s. The sheltered daughter of a traveling preacher, she chooses to leave her rural community to move to nearby Bay City on the warm, gulf-waters of southern Alabama. There she finds a job at the local paper and spends seven years making herself indispensable to old Doc Philips, the publisher and editor. Then she gets a frantic call at dawn—it’s the biggest news story of her life, and she can’t print a word of it.

Doc has come into possession of a curious book that maps the lives of everyone in Bay City—decisions they’ve made in the past, and how those choices affect the future. Mercy and Doc are consumed by the mystery locked between the pages—Doc because he hopes to right a very old wrong, and Mercy because she wants to fulfill the book’s strange purpose. But when a mystery from Mercy’s past arrives by train, she begins to understand that she will have to make choices that will deeply affect everyone she loves—forever.

My Review

From the very first sentence in The Miracle of Mercy Land, the author River Jordan takes you by the hand and pulls you into a fantastical journey full of darkness, sunshine and life.

I was surprised when I received the book, to find Mercy Land is the lead character’s name and not a place; however, that only adds to the power of her story. (I received an Advanced Reader Copy with little description included.)

This book will affect each person that reads it differently for the same reasons the character’s lives are affected differently; we all have our own weaknesses, demons, desires and individual stories.

This book is full of mysticism and fantasy, not my usual reading fare. Nevertheless, the last two books I’ve reviewed have been of this genre and in spite of this, I’ve enjoyed both books. Perhaps the Lord is telling me to enjoy more whimsy in my life?

Mercy is a young woman who left her home in Bittersweet Creek, Alabama for Bay City, Alabama in order live her life as she wanted and not as conventional wisdom dictated.

Along the way, she becomes the indispensable right-hand woman for Doc Philips, the editor and publisher of the local paper.

One early morning Mercy receives a strange call at her boarding house from Doc Philips. Thus begins a journey into a world of suspended belief and fantasy.

Doc possesses the biggest news story of her life, but she can’t print a word of what she knows and comes to know as a result of Doc’s mysterious call.

The Miracle of Mercy Land will leave you asking yourself a lot of questions about your own life and choices made.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a  blogger book review.

I am not required to write a positive review. 

**This is a corrected, updated version of an earlier review.**