Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ours For A Season by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Happy Release Day to Kim Vogel for her new book, Ours for a Season!

The story centers around Marty and her husband, Anthony who are faithful Mennonites. Marty used to take great comfort in her faith, but she feels God has abandoned her due to the fact that a doctor has told her and Anthony that they cannot have children. This news has really made a divide between Marty and Anthony. Marty can't move past the fact that she will never become a mother. 

When Brooke, Marty's best friend from childhood, offers Anthony, a contractor, an opportunity to come and build a new project of hers located an hour away, Marty really wants to go. One, she misses her best friend and two, she feels a fresh start would be just the thing she and Anthony need to heal their marriage and to help her own devastation at not being able to have children. 

Packing up part of his crew, Anthony and Marty make the trek out to the site and set up temporary homes. When they settle, Marty learns that Brooke is facing a serious medical condition and believes that it is God's timing that they have come when they did. Brooke is alone and Marty is just the person to help take care of her. 

There are more than one ways to become a mother and while Marty's sadness is making her too blind to this fact in the beginning, opportunities arise in the story that may just make her come back to her faith and see that God always has plans to help us, not harm. 

I really enjoyed this story. I thought it had an original premise and I was vested in the characters pretty quickly wanting to find out what was going to happen. Also, I usually don't get teary eyed during books, but the way the author described some of Brooke's struggles really tugged on my heart. This was my first book by Ms. Vogel Sawyer and it won't be my last. 

Thank you to Waterbrook for the advance copy. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Lies by T M Logan

What can I say about this book except, "Buy it when it comes out on 9/11/2018!"  

Joe and his young son, William are out and about when his son sees Joe's wife's car. William wants to see his mother and asks Joe if they can go "surprise" her. Joe follows his wife's car to a hotel. And that's when things start to spiral out of control. 

There is excuse after excuse given, each one sounding plausible but what is the truth and what is a lie?

Well, let me tell you. I thought I knew the ending and I didn't. I don't want to give too much away because you should take this roller coaster ride on your own. There is no filler and the book takes off right away.  But, if you want more, here's the description from Goodreads: 

When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she's supposed to be at work, he's intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe's young son has an asthma attack - and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that's when Joe receives the first message .

You have to read this book! It was exciting. You won't be disappointed!  Thank you to St. Martin's Press for the advance copy. I really enjoyed it. All opinions are my own.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

So, this blog is about Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett. This is the first book I have ever read by Karen Barnett and it won't be my last. Can we swoon over this cover first? Look how amazing the colors are! And, the picture in general! How great is that? 

This says it is a vintage national parks novel, but I was told they are just fine as stand alones. This one is about Margie, a wealthy senator's daughter who is used to luxury and privilege. However, Margie's heart lies with her faith and with nature. 

With an arrangement from her father, unbeknownst to Margie, she is placed in a position to work in the park overlooked by Mount Rainier. Margie is enthralled with  nature and the mountain. She feels very close to God in the park and takes comfort in being in the presence of God's artistry. 

Her supervisor, Ford Brayden, is skeptical of Margie and feels that she is out of her league in the park. As time goes on and she spends time with Ford, she is alarmed that Ford doesn't share her faith in God, mainly due to a tragedy that happened in Ford's life. Margie wants to change his view, which is turning out to be a lot harder than she had hoped. 

Margie is battling troubles of her own. She is being harassed by Philip Carmichael who thinks that Margie owes him more than she does. He feels that he is entitled to a relationship with her based on their shared past. He also does not take her faith or love of the outdoors and flowers seriously. All Margie wants is to be left alone to work in and enjoy the park. 

Margie is greatly tested when she has to go up against Philip who is threatening the life she loves.  Can Ford and Margie overcome their issues while helping each other and by relying on God?

I really liked this book. First of all, I felt the premise and the setting was very original. And, I have said this multiple times in my other posts, but I so love a book that makes me me want to learn something new, something that makes me want to look up more information on the internet. In this case, this book made me want to know more about national parks. 

I definitely recommend this book if you like Christian fiction. It was original and Ms. Barnett used beautiful imagery to really bring the park to life for the reader. 

 Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy. All opinions are my own. 

Have you read it? Comment below! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Under My Skin by Lisa Unger

I like Lisa Unger's books and was excited to read this advance copy, thanks to NetGalley. 

Poppy's husband Jack, has been murdered in Central Park. A year later, she still doesn't know what really happened and/or why. She has vivid, sometimes violent dreams where she doesn't really know if they are dreams or memories. 

Poppy just can't move past all the unanswered questions surrounding her beloved husband's death and the more dreams/memories that flash before her, the more frightened she becomes. There are secrets in Poppy's life that she has been kept safe from and ones she may not want to know the truth about. 

I enjoyed this book. I thought it was fast paced and interesting. I really wanted to see what happened! The only part I thought kind of was odd was Poppy's relationship with Noah. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the tie in to The Hollows, the fictional neighborhood seen in other books of Lisa Unger. 

This book releases on or around October 1, 2018. I really do recommend it! Lisa Unger never fails to disappoint! 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Hope Jar by Wanda Brunstetter

Mary Ruth and Willis Lapp live a simple live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Their daughter, Rhoda, however, left the community many years ago and unbeknownst to Mary Ruth and Willis, Rhoda had a baby. 

Sara Murray is grieving her mother, Rhoda at home. Rhoda recently died from an illness and Sara is devastated. While going through her mother's things, she finds a note explaining to Sara that her grandparents, Mary Ruth and Willis live in Lancaster County, grandparents Sara never knew. Sara immediately wants them to know that Rhoda has passed away and hopes for the chance to go and visit to get to know the grandparents she has never met. 

Mary Ruth and Willis are thrilled. They go to the bus station when they think Sara will arrive and see a young woman that Mary Ruth is convinced is their Rhoda's daughter. Unfortunately, that woman is Michelle Taylor, a woman who is down on her luck in more ways than one. Seeing the chance of having a place to stay, Michelle jumps at the chance and starts posing as Sara. 

How long can this charade go on? Won't the real Sara turn up? Well, I won't get into in where I give anything away, but Michelle starts living a life full of love and laughter. This is something she has never had and she finds in difficult to give it up or come clean to the Lapps.  While there, she makes new friends: Ezekiel, a young Amish man, trying to come to terms with his place in the Amish community, Brad, who is driving for the Amish but getting ready to leave for seminary school, and with Lenore, who is actually the real Sara's cousin. 

The reason it is called The Hope Jar, is because Michelle finds two jars on the Lapps' property filled with thoughts, scriptures and words of the heart. She doesn't know who wrote them, but she finds comfort in them, even in the middle of her charade. 

I liked this book. I am a little biased because I automatically read anything by Wanda Brunstetter. She is my favorite author of Amish fiction. I thought this book was a good story of one of the most important things we can offer one another and that is forgiveness. This is book one of a set, and it is a good thing because there were unanswered questions at the end. This book is due out August 1st, so pick it up then! I think you will enjoy this easy flowing story, but also appreciate the lessons in it. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the Advance Reader's Copy. My review and opinions are my own. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

As the Tide Comes In by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

If you like Cindy Woodsmall, you're in for another treat. I think this book had an original premise. Tara is thrown into a situation that she doesn't want to be in. She has been asked to step in as guardians for her two half brothers, Darryl and Sean, siblings she has never been close to. All three were not close with their mother, who battled drug addiction. 

Tara hesitantly steps into the role of mom to the boys and over the years, realizes that she was meant to do this. Then, just when the boys are leaving the nest, an unimaginable tragedy happens and Tara's world is thrown into upheaval once again. 

Tara, in her grief, takes a trip to Saint Simon's Island, Georgia, where she knows she has some roots. While there, she meets Gavin and his mother, Julep, along with Julep's three other friends who have dubbed themselves the Glynn Girls, after the county they live in. 

Tara can't imagine making a new start after all she's been through. But, she finally allows herself to be helped through her grief by Gavin and the Glynn Girls, who are going through their own troubles. Can they help each other back to a more solid path? 

I won't go too much into the whole link to Saint Simon's Island. I don't want to give too much away. This book is pretty heavy hitting with pulling the heartstrings and some parts are heartbreaking. Haven't we all been through something? Something we don't think we are going to come out the other side of? 

That's one of the things this book is good for. Anyone can really relate to going through personal tragedy. Don't we always ask God sometimes why? Don't we even wonder if HE is doing something TO us when things go bad? Well, one of my favorite conversations in the book is when Gavin tells Tara that God IS love, and if He is love, love doesn't do or cause bad things to people. I took great comfort in that. 

So, all that said, this book comes out August 21, 2018. I was so honored to be part of the launch team for this book from WaterBrook Multnomah. However, all opinions are my own. Thank you to WaterBrook and to Cindy and Erin Woodsmall. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo

Where do I begin with this! First, a recap. 

A young Amish man is found dead in a barn that was on fire. Let me add this: the fire was set on purpose.  Who would want to kill an Amish man and why? It is up to Chief Kate Burkholder to find out what, when, why, what and how. This is the 10th book in a series, but you could really read it as a stand alone. However, it made me immediately want to start book one in the series. 

I am a huge fan of Amish fiction. However, a word of warning. If you like Christian/Amish fiction, you may like this, but be forewarned, it is darker than most Amish fiction. There are curse words and Amish folk that have left the fold and are quite bitter, most for good reason. 

The other interesting aspect of this is the main character, Chief Burkholder used to be Amish herself. So, she sometimes struggles between her current life and her past roots. 

I am so excited that this is a series and I have the opportunity to go back and read 9 other stories in this series. This book is due to release next month, July 2018. I highly recommend it. I read it in a very short time. 

I received an Advance Reader's Copy from Minotaur books (just love them!). No review was required.