Saturday, August 31, 2013

Semi-Book Review: Words by Ginny Yttrup

It's been a month of Sundays since my last book review, and unfortunately, there's no plans to resume them any time soon.  :o(  However, I did want to take a moment to share about a book I read recently.  :o)

I've had the pleasure of reading two books by Ginny Yttrup--Lost and Found and now, Words.  The latter book I finished a couple of weeks ago, and I've had trouble getting it out of my mind.  I won't give away any spoilers except to say the subject matter was one that Ginny experienced personally, and knowing that it was a personal connection to her childhood brought tears to my eyes.

I loved the realness of Words.  I loved getting a deeper meaning of some words that I've used all along, but how they can mean other things in different, uglier circumstances.  I allowed myself to naively wonder how God can allow such horrible things to happen, but then allowed myself to take note of how he heals us after we've been scarred.  Ginny's books reveal man's ugly human nature, but also about the God of the universe that washes away all of our sins.

For those that have never read Ginny's books, let me warn you ahead of time that hers are deep, emotional books.  I happened to read her second book first, and there were no words to describe the way it made me feel.  It was good, but difficult for me personally and the place I was in spiritually at that time.

So, not really a book review, per se...just my thoughts about a talented author and her very first novel.  :o)

***

A link to more info about Words.

***

Many thanks to B&H Publishing for supplying a copy of Words.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Book Review: Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd/4 Stars

About the book:

From the acclaimed author of To Die For comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court. Sandra Byrd has attracted countless fans for evoking the complexity, grandeur, and brutality of the Tudor period. In her latest tour de force, she poses the question: What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage—or your life?

In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiance has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between an unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.

Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.


My thoughts: 

It's been several weeks now since I read Roses Have Thorns, and I'm ashamed to say that I've struggled with writing my review of this book. Sandra is not only a great author, but someone that I now think of as a friend. Perhaps that's why I've...um...slightly avoided writing a review of RHT because I didn't connect with it the way I'd hoped I would.

Compared to the other two books in the Ladies in Waiting series, this novel features a Queen rather than the wife of a king. That alone took some getting used to because, as a reader, I wasn't accustomed to being that close to the decisions made by a leader of a country since the first two books were not told from that viewpoint. However, I felt that I learned a great deal more about the political intrigue that must've been rampant at that time, as well as the willingness of Elizabeth I to be totally and completely devoted to her country rather than finding a husband.

I enjoyed Helena as the viewpoint for the story because she seemed to be a woman with a smart head on her shoulders, and knew when she should speak her opinion and when she should keep silent. While I didn't expect things to turn out the way they did for Helena in regards to marriage, I did appreciate the reality shown here that marriage is not always wedded bliss, and "happily ever after" rarely occurs despite our dreams for such.

But as a whole, there just seemed to be something missing. The only thing I can really attribute it to is lack of emotion. As we all know, Queen Elizabeth never married, but did have one gentleman she was fond of. Because of her devotion to her throne and to England, she squelched her desire to explore anything further with him, and from that point forward, seemed to be "all business." Also, there seemed to be a repetition that I've never experienced in one of Sandra's reads, and as a result, it took me longer to finish RHT than it did to finish To Die For and The Secret Keeper combined.

It pains me to no end that this was not as enjoyable of a read for me because Sandra has been one of my favorite authors for many years now, and this is the first book that hasn't received 5 stars from me. By no means will it stop me from reading more of her books, and I think I'll look back on this one as a blip on the radar because I know she's got more great books in store. :o)

4 Stars

**Many thanks to the author for providing a copy for review.

 

Friday, March 29, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: Threads of Hope by Christa Allen

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Threads of Hope
Abingdon Press (March 1, 2013)
by
Christa Allan
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
 

A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, Christa is a writer of not your usual Christian Fiction. She weaves stories of unscripted grace and redemption with threads of hope, humor, and heart. Christa is the mother of five adult children, a grandmother of three, and a brand new retired teacher. She and her husband Ken live in New Orleans with their three cats and do their best to dodge hurricanes.

And, since she is not fond of writing about herself in third person, she asked her oldest daughter to contribute. Like her mother, Erin is not at a loss for words…


ABOUT THE BOOK:


Passed over for promotion and dumped by her boyfriend, Nina O’Malley is further frustrated when her editor assigns her one of the “soft” stories she despises—covering a gala benefit supporting the AIDS Memorial Quilt. More determined than ever to prove she deserves a promotion to the NY office, Nina decides to write a series featuring a local quilting group raising money for AIDs research. At the event, she runs into her high school nemesis: Greg is a widower and the adoptive father of Jazarah, an HIV positive girl from Ethiopia. Unlike Nina, Greg has faith in a loving God, and he trusts in God’s plan for his life. Greg and Nina grow closer, and as Nina interviews the quilt families, she begins to question the choices she has made and her lack of faith. Nina suddenly finds herself facing two possible dreams, two paths for her life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Threads of Hope, go HERE.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: The Survivor by DiAnn Mills

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Survivor
Zondervan (March 5, 2013)
by
DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Kariss meets Dr. Amy Garrett, who survived a brutal childhood attack in which the assailant was never found. Now Dr. Garrett wants her story written in a novel. Kariss wishes she could seek the advice of Special Agent Tigo Harris, but she broke off the relationship a few months prior and seeing him again would be too painful. She interviews Amy and conducts her own research, stepping unaware into a viper's pit of danger. Tigo misses Kariss and wants her back, but he understands why she broke off their relationship. Instead, he concentrates on solving a car bombing and bringing the killer to justice. As Kariss's new story attracts an onslaught of danger that she never expected, can Tigo save the woman he loves and find who wants her dead for writing about an unsolved cold-case?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Survivor, go HERE.

 

Friday, March 22, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wings of Glass
Tyndale House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
by
Gina Holmes


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Gina Holmes began her career in 1998, penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey now called Novel Rocket and she is also the founder of Inspire The Fire.

Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW Religion bestseller. Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain, was also named a Christy finalist. Her upcoming novel, Wings of Glass will releases this month. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

From the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans comes a heart-rending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. On the cusp of womanhood, Penny is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign-town, Penny’s happily ever after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn’t the last, yet the bruises that can’t be seen are the most painful of all.

When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to grow her own.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wings of Glass, go HERE.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: Swept Away by Mary Connealy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Swept Away
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
by
Mary Connealy


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist and an IRCC Award finalist.

The Lassoed in Texas Series, Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.

The Montana Marriages Series, Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.

The Sophie's Daughters series. Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

She is also the author of; Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries and she's one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When a cowboy focused on revenge encounters a woman determined to distract him, there's going to be trouble in Texas!

Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't terribly upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke Stone...so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.

Luke is on a mission to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men currently on the property won't let it go without a fight. Luke plans to meet up with friends who will help him take back the land, and since he can't just leave Ruthy in the middle of nowhere, she's going to have to go with him.

But the more time Luke spends around the hardworking young woman, the more he finds himself thinking of things besides revenge. Will Ruthy convince him to give up his destructive path and be swept away by love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Swept Away, go HERE.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: Strand of Deception by Robin Caroll

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Strand of Deception
B&H Books (March 1, 2013)
by
Robin Caroll


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her 3 beautiful daughters, 2 precious grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?



ABOUT THE BOOK

When Gina Ford, the daughter of a prominent Tennessee politician, goes missing from the University of Memphis a week after another girl was murdered on the same campus, police call in the FBI. Nick Hagar, married to his job as Special Agent in Charge, is assigned to the case, and when Gina’s body is found, her father demands justice.

Maddie Baxter is the forensic expert running DNA tests from the crime scene. When they come back without a match, Nick asks her to do a familial DNA run that yields a shocking result: the prime suspect is Adam Alexander, the very same guy who broke Maddie’s heart when she was in college.

But do scientific advancements tell the whole story? Strand of Deception offers romance, suspense, and a lively debate about the impact of DNA testing, for better or worse, on the United States justice system.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Strands of Deception, go HERE.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: The Icecutter's Daughter by Tracie Peterson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Icecutter’s Daughter
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
by
Tracie Peterson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels.
She received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.

In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.

She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.

Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.

Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max. She's active in her church as the Director of Women's Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer's retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books.


ABOUT THE BOOK

As the lone female in a houseful of men, Merrill Krause dedicates her life to caring for her family and their business, as her dying mother asked. Besides, it suits her; she's never felt like she fits what most people expect in a girl--she'd rather work with her father's horses and assist with the ice harvest. And though she's been mostly content up to this point, a part of her wonders if there will ever be anyone who will notice her amid the bevy of brothers determined to protect her from any possible suitors.

When Rurik Jorgenson arrives in their small Minnesota town to join his uncle's carpentry business, he soon crosses paths with Merrill. But unlike other men, who are often frightened away by her older brothers, Rurik isn't intimidated by them or by Merrill's strength and lack of femininity. The attraction between them begins to build...until Rurik's former fiance shows up with wild claims that bring serious consequences to Rurik.



Can Rurik and Merrill learn to trust God--and each other--when scandal threatens their newfound love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Icecutter’s Daughter, go HERE.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: Flora's Wish by Kathleen Y'Barbo

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Flora's Wish
Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
by
Kathleen Y'Barbo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

RITA and Carol award nominee Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than forty novels, novellas, and young adult books. In all, more than one million copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad, and her books have been translated into Dutch, German, and Spanish, to name a few.

Kathleen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She holds a BBA from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School and a certification in Paralegal Studies, and is a former member of the Texas Bar Association’s Paralegal Division.

A tenth-generation Texan, Kathleen Y’Barbo has four children of her own as well as seven bonus kids she gladly inherited when she married her own hero in combat boots. Kathleen is proud to be a military wife, even if it did mean giving up her Texas driver's license.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

May 1887--Flora Brimm is determined the fifth time is the charm. Back home she has a reputation as "Fatal Flora," a woman whose previous four fianc├ęs died in untimely accidents. Flora is desperate to marry, because producing an heir is the only way she can keep her family's estate. She's confident this visit to Eureka Springs with her grandmother will help her land a husband.

Pinkerton detective Lucas McMinn is hot on the trail of Will Tucker, the thief who broke his sister's heart. When he discovers the slippery fellow with Flora, he thinks they are in on the devious plot together. Will Flora be able to convince Lucas of her innocence? Will Lucas catch the elusive Mr. Tucker?

And, more importantly, will Lucas survive if he pursues Flora's heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Flora's Wish, go HERE.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: For the Love of Eli by Loree Lough

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
For Love of Eli
Abingdon Press (February 1, 2013)
by
Loree Lough


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

With more than FOUR MILLION copies of her books in circulation, Loree has 98 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults; four novels optioned for movies; more books slated for release between now and 2014), 68 short stories, over 2,500+ articles in print, and over 19,000 letters from fans!

Loree loves sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry, and her comedic approach makes her a favorite (and frequent) guest of writers' organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, college and high school writing programs both here and abroad.

A writer who believes in "giving back," Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers' Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and other worthwhile organizations.

She splits her time between a tiny home in the Baltimore suburbs and an even tinier cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of "wolf stuff."

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When unspeakable tragedy leaves young Eli an orphan, two families are devastated. But Taylor, Eli’s aunt and legal guardian, vows to help him remember his parents by creating a Memory Quilt. As she begins piecing together the moments of his parents' lives, the story of the young family emerges and Taylor and Eli begin to heal. But Eli’s uncle Reece is slow to let go of the past and still blames Taylor’s brother for his sister’s death. So, although he has long been attracted to Taylor, Reece keeps a safe distance away. Can their shared love for Eli pave the way to forgiveness or will Taylor and Reece be separated by pain?

If you would like to read a first chapter excerpt of For Love of Eli, go HERE.

Friday, February 15, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: Daybreak by Shelley Shepard Gray

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Daybreak
Avon Inspire; Original edition (February 12, 2013)
by
Shelley Shepard Gray


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold over thirty novels to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Harlequin, Abingdon Press, and Avon Inspire. She has been interviewed by NPR, and her books have been highlighted in numerous publications, including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.

Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When Viola Keim starts working at a nearby Mennonite retirement home, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with resident Atle, whose only living relative, son Edward, is living as a missionary in Nicaragua. Viola understands the importance of mission work, but she can’t imagine leaving her father in the hands of strangers. Even though her family is New Order Amish, it’s not the Amish way, and though she doesn’t know Ed, she judges him for abandoning his father.

But when Ed surprises his father with a visit, Viola and Ed both discover an attraction they never expected. Despite her feelings, choosing Ed would mean moving to a far-off country and leaving her family behind. She can’t do that. Her twin sister, Elsie, is going blind and will need someone to care for her all her life. Her family is reeling with the recent discovery that her grandmother hid her past as an Englischer. Her father seems forgetful and distracted—and to be harboring some secrets of his own. Does Viola dare leave them all behind and forge her own life? Or will family ties mean her one chance at love slips away?

If you would like to read a first Chapter excerpt from Daybreak,go HERE.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: Shattered by Dani Pettrey

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Shattered
Bethany House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
by
Dani Pettrey


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

In real life, Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.

Just in case you’re curious…The real Dani does love traveling. She’s been to some amazing places (Greece, Hawaii, the Keys) and there are many more she hopes to visit in the future.

And while she’s not quite up to sky-diving, cave diving or heli-skiing (too high, too enclosed, too cold!) she and her family love hiking, canoeing, wave jumping and a ton of other outdoor adventures a little further down on the risk scale.

Dani is the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling debut novel Submerged and latest release Shattered. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Piper McKenna couldn't be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed--but despite the evidence, Reef swears he's innocent. And Piper believes him.

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon's career.

With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada's rugged backcountry--and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Shattered, go HERE.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Unbreakable
Bethany House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
by
Nancy Mehl


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and their dog, Watson. She’s authored thirteen books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Mennonite Romantic Suspense Sure to Thrill Readers

Gentle and unassuming Hope Kauffman has never been one to question or try to make changes. She quietly helps her father run Kingdom Quilts and has agreed to the betrothal her father arranged for her with the devout but shy Ebbie Miller.

Despite Hope's and other Kingdom residents' attempts to maintain the status quo, changes have already begun to stir in the small Mennonite town. The handsome and charismatic Jonathon Wiese is the leader of the move to reform, and when one of Kingdom's own is threatened by a mysterious outsider, Jonathon is one of the first to push for the town to arm itself. Hope's fiance, Ebbie, is at the forefront of those demanding the town stay true to its traditions of nonviolence.

When strange incidents around town result in outright attacks on several townspeople, Hope can't help but question what she's always been taught. As the town that's always stood so strong together is torn apart at the seams, Hope is caught between opposing sides, both represented by those she has come to care for. With tensions high and lives endangered by an unknown threat, Hope fears Kingdom can never survive in one piece.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Unbreakable, go HERE.

 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Book Review: The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow/3 Stars

About the book:

Charlotte Farrow, maid in the wealthy Banning household on Chicago's opulent Prairie Avenue, has kept her baby boy a secret from her employers for nearly a year. But when the woman who has been caring for her son abruptly returns him, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean and face dismissal or keep her secret while the Bannings decide the child's fate. Can she face the truth of her own past and open her heart to a future of her own? Or will life's tragedies determine the future for her? 

This compelling story set against the glittering backdrop of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition captures the tension between the wealthy class and the hardworking servants who made their lives comfortable. Author Olivia Newport expertly portays social classes while creating a story of courage, strength, and tender romance.


My thoughts:

After reading Olivia Newport's exceptional debut novel, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, I was oh-so-eager to return to Prairie Avenue to catch the latest happenings in the Banning household.  While Lucy's story had a definite taste of the rich and cultured "upstairs" life, Charlotte's story was all about the "downstairs" life of service.

The story started out great, but before too long, I grew bored.  Believe me, I didn't want to.  The arrival of Henry at the house, and the reasons why he was there, seemed contrived and not believable.  The lack of romance also played a factor in my disappointment.  Archie's attraction to Charlotte never appeared to be fully explored initially, and her reluctance to entertain a relationship with him lingered too long.  And like the first book, the spiritual elements were lacking again.

But on the flip side, the continuance of the Chicago World's Fair and the history of their mayor were thoroughly enjoyable.  The addition of the anarchist movement, while not mentioned at great detail, was a perfect element to include and showed the early beginnings of what we now know as the eight-hour workday.

I do wish to finish the series, and am curious as to which heroine will be the focus of the third and final book.

3 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

**Many thanks to Revell for providing a copy for review in exchange for my honest opinion.