Sunday, September 09, 2018

Jane of Austin Hillary Manton Lodge ~ Reviewed

Jane of Austin
Hillary Manton Lodge
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook (June 13, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601429347

Description:

“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience - or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.” ― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.

But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.

While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas.

In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn't so far away.

 Review:

I love Jane Austen. And I tend to enjoy the creative tweaks her ideas have spawned. Traditionalist, classic Austen lovers who don't want her stories trifled with might not find this novel as endearing as I did.

Hillary Manton Lodge stays close to the story but builds it into a believable modern twist. Jane, Celia and Margot are displaced after a family scandal leaves them without a protector of sorts. They move far away from their beloved home to start fresh.

There Jane is rescued (or at least her tea plants are) by a knight in shining armor who then woos Jane's heart. While living in the carriage house on a cousin's property, they rebuild their lives and look for a new, perfect location for a tea shop. They struggle together to make sense of all the difficulties they've faced, in a way. Jane, though distracted by Sean and the search, is concerned that Celia won't even talk about the most important thing she left behind, her love. Distance grows between the sisters. And then a handsome friend of their cousin's enters the picture. Captain Callum Beckett traded his leg for a load of nightmares while serving his country. Burdened and coming home to face a mess his father and brother left behind, he discovers he is concerned about Sean Willis, and the damage he might do to Jane's heart.

The author included quite a few recipes and a satisfying conclusion. I definitely recommend this one.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer


Disclaimer: A review copy of this novel was sent to me for the purpose of reading and reviewing. I was not obligated to give a favorable review. My opinions were not swayed by the free copy. If you purchase a copy through the provided link I will receive a small percentage of the sales.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher ~ Reviewed




Back Cover Copy:

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 Kelly.

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 Penn Dutch 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.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a story of dreams deferred--and the promise of hopes fulfilled.

 Review:

The Devoted is book three in the series, The Bishop's Family. In this book, we follow Ruthie Stoltzfus. She is finding that she is restless with the Amish life, and is wondering if she wants to follow in her Aunt Ruth's footsteps to leave the Amish life and become a doctor or some other “worthy” profession. Just as she thinks she has things figured out, a young man named Patrick Kelly arrives in town. He is determined to join the Amish faith, and enlists Ruthie's help to teach him Penn Dutch in 30 days. In the meantime, we are also learning more about her Aunt Ruth, also known as Dok, who has taken over the practice of the town doctor. David, on the other, hand, is still settling into his role as bishop, trying to figure out how to deal with the change in the townspeople since oil was discovered on the town's land. I think my favorite character in this book was Patrick. As an outsider, he came in with all of these ideas of what the Amish life was like, and jumped right in. Not only was he sincere, but he was able to point out some observations from an outsiders point of view that shed light on many issues going on in the town.

Review by Sarah Meyers

DISCLAIMER: A copy of the book was provided for review purposes. A favorable review just means the reviewer liked the book, not that there was expectation of a good review. In addition, if you purchase through our provided link we may get a small percentage of the price paid.

Friday, July 20, 2018

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti


A Fragile Hope
Cynthia Ruchti 
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (April 4, 2017) 
Language: English 
ISBN-10: 142679150X 
ISBN-13: 978-1426791505



Back Cover: 

Josiah Chamberlain's life's work revolves around repairing other people's marriages. When his own is threatened by his wife's unexplained distance, and then threatened further when she's unexpectedly plunged into an unending fog, Josiah finds his expertise, quick wit and clever quips are no match for a relationship that is clearly broken.
Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what’s left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?

Review:

Cynthia Ruchti is one of the authors I am compelled to read. She writes deep characters and adds settings that richly paint heart wrenching scenes. A Fragile Hope was the first book I've read of hers that has a male point of view. And what a point of view it is. As a marriage expert Josiah Chamberlain is sought out, his books sell, his wisdom changes lives. But one day he types "the end" on his latest manuscript, emerges from his comfortable home office and discovers that his own life is upside down and inside out. Josiah's "wisdom" turns out to be worthless in light of his new and uncharted territory. His theories leave him empty and his fragile hope only returns when he turns to God and gets real with his responsibility and failures. If you love powerful fiction, Cynthia Ruchti or novels that force you to look inward and assess your own choices and beliefs then grab a copy.

Reviewed by Kelly Klepfer

Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided. My review is not favorable because of this. I honestly liked the book and recommend it. If you click on the Amazon link and purchase this book I may get a portion of the price. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Shine Like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky ~ Reviewed

  
 Shine Like the Dawn
Carrie Turansky


Cover Copy:

In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event shattered  their idyllic family life and their future prospects. Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart as she begins to wonder if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.

When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son and Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, Nathaniel, returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll, and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will the search for the truth about her parents’ death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts?


Review: 


Shine Like the Sky takes place in the northern Edwardian England, and focuses on a young woman named Margaret Lounsbury. Having lost her parents and sister in a tragic accident four years earlier, she now resides with her grandmother and five year old sister in her grandmother's millinary shop. She holds onto a lot of anger and bitterness, not only at the loss of her family, but at the loss and what she saw as abandonment from the family who employed her father, especially young Nathaniel Harcourt. Nathaniel, however, was not notified by his family of the accident until a week after it happened and was kept from young Margaret. Now, they have been brought back together, and other facts about the accident have come to light which could cause further division between the old friends.

This was a great story. Nathaniel has come to know the Lord during his time away, which helps him in dealing with the difficult situations he is encountering. Meanwhile, Maggie has to learn to let go of her anger and put her trust in the Lord for all things. This was a great read.  by Sarah Meyers


Disclaimer: This reviewer was provided a copy of this novel for the purposes of reviewing. This in no way guaranteed a positive review. These are the honest thoughts and review of the reviewer. In addition, clicking and buying on the link will result in a small monetary gain for this blog through Amazon.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne ~ Reviewed



BACK IN THE SADDLE
Ruth Logan Herne
Series: Double S Ranch (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Multnomah (March 7, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0735290652

Back Cover: 

The Prodigal Is Coming Home 

It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.
 
He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye, and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding...and why. 
 
Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick, who’s longbeen Sam’s right-hand man,isn’t thrilled when Colt inserts himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the town’s people forces  all the Stafford men to reconsider what it truly means to be a neighbor.  As Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district—or stay in the saddle for good?

Review: 
Back in the Saddle tells us about Cole Stafford, who left the “confines” of the Double S Ranch in Gray's Glen, Washington, to make it big on Wall Street, only to have a bad investment ruin his reputation and hurt his pride. After losing most everything, he returns home to the ranch he grew up on to help his ailing father. Their relationship has not always been the best, so Cole does not have high hopes of things going well. He is surprised to find that his father has hired a housekeeper, a beautiful woman named Angelina Morales, who pretty much runs the whole place. While there is an attraction there, Cole is confused about why this woman is here, and what she seems to be hiding from. Angelina suffers from trust issues due to unfortunate circumstances in her past, and while she is becoming more and more attracted to Cole, she is afraid to give into those feelings.
This book started out a tad slow, but soon picked up the pace, and I got pretty invested in it. As with most books, there were communication issues between the two main characters that made you want to grab each of them and tell them what was going on and to talk to each other instead of assuming the worse, but of course, it all worked itself out. I particularly liked the part of Cole's father, Sam. We read a lot about how he was in the past and why Cole doesn't want to be around him, but by the time we meet him, he has already come to know the Lord and he is making changes in his life. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Reviewed by: Sarah Meyer

Thursday, November 16, 2017

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander ~ Reviewed

By Tamera Alexander
Publisher by Zondervan
ISBN#978-0310-291084
372 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: Set against the real history of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a powerful love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in American history when both were tenuous and hard-won. 
    
Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success--General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. 

REVEW: The author pens a rich historical tale that gives readers a peek into the complex in a post-Civil War America Southern society where they meet Alexandra Jamison, daughter of a wealthy attorney who is part of Nashville’s elite upper-class social order. Her father demands she gets married soon. It’s been a year since the death of her fiancĂ© David, it was time to move on. Her father’s demands shake her to the core and move her into action. Alexandra is ready to risk everything in order to make her dream a reality. She heads to Fisk University; which is the first Freedmen’s University. There was more to life than marrying for money’s sake; David has shown her that.

Sylas Rutledge leaves Colorado to end up near Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. He’s on a mission …

To Continue Reading Nora’s Review Click Link http://psalm516.blogspot.com/2017/08/to-wager-her-heart-reviewed.html

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Life in Chapel Springs by Ane Mulligan ~ Reviewed

Life in Chapel Springs
Ane Mulligan
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (September 5, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1946016136

Description: 

Is it a midlife pregnancy or ... cancer? Claire will keep her secret until she's sure but it isn't easy. Neither is trying to buy a home pregnancy test without anyone finding out. Between her twins double wedding, the caterer canceling, a looming nationwide art tour and her health, Claire's life is upside down. 

Shy Lacey Dawson was happily writing murder mysteries for the community theater with her eye on Broadway. Then, a freak accident causes her traumatic injuries requiring facial reconstruction. When the bandages come off, Lacey's world is tuned inside out. Will Chapel Springs rally behind its own ... or will life unravel? 

When the mayor announces he has found quartz on his land, the local TV station reports: Where there's quartz, there's gold. Then Mayor Riley discovers Howie Newlander has bought the mineral rights to his land. Howie and his nefarious investors are struck with gold fever and set out to buy all the homes in Chapel Springs and mine the gold. Will life in Chapel Springs become the tailings of a gold mine?

Review: 

Ane Mulligan's little Chapel Springs is a community I want to visit. Maybe for a really long time. Depends on the bugs and snake population. Mulligan has created a group of characters I'd love to spend time with, and a landscape that beckons. 

And the trouble they get into in Chapel Springs. This time, while working on wedding details for the twins and an upcoming art tour and a play, Claire ends up getting intimately involved in the gold fever sweeping the town. Unfortunately, the gold is not what interests the out-of-town big guns, but the quartz. Mining the quartz would nearly destroy the town and an unknown buyer is snatching up mining rights that were somehow not attached to properties, and attempting to get residents or landlords to sell. 

Lacey suffers a painful crisis when she is involved in a freak accident and her life changes radically. The only hope she has is in turning her eyes to God. 

Fortunately, Claire is not responsible for Lacey's accident. The other big crash heard around the hamlet was Claire's fault, but on purpose. She knows what those big ol ceramic pots can do from experience and feels the need to do it. 

Claire and Patsy are friends I'd love to meet with at Dee's. Mulligan sprinkles chuckles on nearly every page as the characters get involved with saving the town, making Lacey's script magical and rocking a wedding and reception. Claire even managed to get through the wedding with both feet on the ground. If you love characters and fun, clean escapism grab this one. If you haven't read the others you should probably buy the whole series.  

Review by Kelly Klepfer