Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt

Oh my goodness, I loved this book! What a perfectly delightful read this was, from the moment Allison runs out of the church on her wedding day to the heartwarming ending. Beth K Vogt is a welcome addition to the fiction world and I hope she continues down this new path. The only thing I didn't like about this book was the additional story line of cutting, a subject that while serious, has been recently overused. This book would have been fine without that little foray. I loved the characters (even the llama's) and truly captured every scene in my mind's eye.

Reminiscent of Rachael Hauck and Denise Hunter. If you like their books you will love this one!

Read this one! You won't be disappointed.

From the back cover:
Kissing the wrong guy days before her scheduled wedding leads Allison to become a runaway bride. But can it also lead to happily ever after?
Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom.
Still, kissing the groom's brother, Daniel, in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison's life is nothing but mistakes at this point. Daniel's adventures--chronicled through a collection of postcards--have always appealed to Allison's well-hidden desire for something more. But how can betraying her fiance's trust lead to a true happily ever after?
Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Recognizing she doesn't have all the answers won't be easy because she's used to being in control. To find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her--one outside her carefully defined comfort zone--and find the strength to let Him lead.

Beth K. Vogt is also the author of Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood After 35. Beth is a consulting editor for MomSense, the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) International's magazine for moms, as well as a bimonthly columnist for MOMSnext, their e-zine for moms of school-age children. She's been published in a variety of magazines, as well as Chicken Soup for the Soul:A Tribute to Moms and The Mommy Diaries. Beth and her husband, Rob, treasure their four children and son-and daughter-in-love.

This book was provided for review by Litfuse.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad

The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad is a fun glimpse into early amusement park history. Travel back in time to Lake Manawa, Iowa as Lilly Hart finds love again after the death of her husband. Taking care of an adventurous six year old boy is no easy task, especially for a single mother whose in-laws want to care for him in their own way. Lilly runs a lunch counter for the vacation town and is catering to the workers who are spending their days building the latest attraction: a roller coaster. Lilly is determined to never set foot on it and to keep her son as far from it as possible. The man in charge though slowly begins to warm her heart and...well, you have to read it to see how it ends! What a delightfully fun book. Easy to read and full of believable characters who will endear themselves to you. I highly recommend this one!
Also, nice to see some local history with the mention of the Leap the Dips in the author's note in the back of the book.

Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Provided for review by Revell.

About the book:

The Ride of Her Life
By Lorna Seilstad

Lorna Seilstad creates an entertaining story filled with delightful characters and romance set at the Lake Manawa summer resort in 1906.  Feisty heroine Lilly Hart’s exploits will make you laugh out loud and sigh contentedly as she navigates the summer’s adventures.   
The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws' home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. However, her in-laws find that life utterly unsuitable for their grandson, and when a row ensues, a handsome stranger--who designs roller coasters, of all things--intercedes on her behalf. Still, Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky (though charismatic) gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life.

A history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer, Lorna Seilstad is the author of Making Waves and A Great Catch. She draws her setting from her home state of Iowa. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

The Messenger is Siri Mitchell's latest historical novel, and the first of her historicals that I did not enjoy at all. The story idea was interesting: Young Quaker lady whose twin brother is thrown in jail, she ends up being a spy and aids in helping numerous prisoners escape. The way the story was told was unbearable. It was told in first person by two characters and it dragged and dragged. This book took me almost two weeks to read (I'm the type who normally reads a book in 2-3 days), it just didn't capture my attention at all.

It was hard to read Hannah's telling of the story because she talked in "thee's". It was hard to concentrate on. I was so glad when I finally finished this book!

I suppose that once in a while an author will produce a dud, hopefully this is it for Siri, as I've enjoyed all of her other historical novels. I won't give up on her because I've found that she's proven herself over time. I look forward to her next work.

This book was provided for review by Bethany House.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

After All by Deborah Raney

After All is the third and final installment in Deborah Raney's Hanover Falls series and what a fantastic ending it is! I hated saying goodbye to the characters that I've learned to love. In this volume we catch up with Susan Marlowe, who lost her husband, David, in a fire in the second book (Forever After), two years later. Her work at the homeless shelter is still going strong but her friends are starting to worry about her, especially since she's receiving notes and visits from someone who used to stay at the shelter. He insists he must speak with her alone, but she isn't sure she can trust him. Enter  Peter Brennen, the fire chief who lost four of his men-David included-in the fire that can't be forgotten. Peter and Susan start to realize they have feelings for each other and soon this romantic suspense is shooting fireworks in every direction!

An excellent summer read that you'll enjoy. I especially like the way the author included a little blurb at the beginning of each chapter, it kept me reading on when I should have been doing housework!

This book was provided for review by Glass Road Public Relations and is published by Howard Books.

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade is new from Bethany House.
Back cover copy:
Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.
Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can't help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can't quite put her finger on. He's clearly wounded--hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light...whether he likes it or not.
When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?

My thoughts:
Boring. Slow. Uninteresting characters.
I wanted to love this book. The cover drew me in, the back cover copy sounds adorable. In reality this book is so slow moving, that it bored me. He did this. She said this. She wore this while drying her hair. There isn't much depth to this one.
At one point the elderly group coming over for poker night is referred to as the "geriatric club" which I found to be more than a little insulting.
The attic full of priceless antiques found in the barn was unrealistic.
Plus the chapters are really long. Just when I thought it would end soon so I could take a break there were still pages and pages until the end of the chapter.
I kinda felt like I could have just read the first couple chapters, skipped the middle, and read the last couple and still would know all there was to know about Kate and Matt's love story.

This book was provided for review by Litfuse.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning is the first novel I've read of Olivia Newport's, and I'm proud to say that I'm an instant fan! It was so much fun to escape into American past and follow Lucy in her adventures in Chicago. It was interesting to watch the story unfold as Lucy began to realize that the future that was planned for her may not be what she truly desired. I really enjoyed the friendship she shared with Charlotte, her ladies maid, and the way the two helped each other even when they both knew it could get them into trouble. Lucy was such a lovable character, I hated for the story to end. 

About the book:
Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago's rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work and squeeze herself into the mold of the well-dressed wife who spends most of her time and money redecorating.
When she meets Will, an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World's Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. Can she break away from her family's expectations? And will she ever be loved for who she truly is?
Get swept away into the lavish world of Chicago's high society as Olivia Newport brings to life an age of glitz and grandeur, stark social contrasts, and one woman who dares to cross lass lines for what she believes.

This book was provided for review by Revell.

Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins

Brandilyn Collins has done it again with Gone to Ground, her latest novel from B&H Books. How she keeps coming up with these nail biters is beyond me, and I actually feel quite guilty that I can whip right through one of her books in hours. If you're looking for a perfect vacation read that will keep you on the edge of your seat then I recommend this new one!
A  murder mystery told by three different characters who all think they know who the killer dubbed as The Closet Killer is. Cherrie Mae, a cleaning woman who has the trust of everyone in this small town of 1700 people, Tully, a young pregnant woman who suffers abuse at the hand of her husband, and Deena, a hairstylist whose clients include most of the townspeople. All three women know of each other, but circumstances and speculation cause them to come together as they reveal the heartbreaking details of the people they suspect.

Here's a recent press release about the book:

Three women from three generations battle a killer
In Brandilyn Collins’ latest Seatbelt Suspense®, a murderer wanders a small Southern town

"There are many reasons why Brandilyn Collins’s books repeatedly top the ‘best of’ lists year after year.”  --Book Reporter

"After reading 13 novels by Brandilyn Collins, I’m still surprised by how unique each of her books feel…Gone to Ground is another exceptionally well written novel which captures the feel of a small southern town."  --The Christian Manifesto

"The popular novelist’s talent continues to flower…sales will flourish come spring." --Publisher's Weekly

[Collins] is best known for her gripping mysteries, but it's her well-drawn characters that keep us coming back time after time. --Romantic Times Magazine

NASHVILLE --Amaryllis, Mississippi is a scrappy little town of strong backbone and southern hospitality. Its citizens are friendly, its families tight. On the surface Amaryllis seems much like the flower for which it’s named--bright and fragrant.

But the Amaryllis flower is poisonous.

In the past three years five unsolved murders have occurred within the town. All the victims were women, killed in similar fashion in their own homes. And just two nights ago--a sixth victim.

Now three terrified women are sure they know who the murderer is--someone dear to them. Unaware of the others’ suspicions, each woman must make the heartrending choice to bring the killer down.

But each suspects a different man.

Gone to Ground (March 2012, B&H Fiction, $14.99, Trade Paper) is the latest suspense by Brandilyn Collins (OVER THE EDGE, DECEIT, EXPOSURE).  As Brandilyn's 23rd book, this is her first set in the South.

"To research this book, I traveled to Jasper County, Mississippi, where my fictional town is set," says Collins.  "I met people, interviewed them, and walked the exact area where my town of Amaryllis is placed.  I love placing suspense in small towns, because there, everybody thinks they know everything about everybody.  They don't.  The secrets just run…deeper."

BRANDILYN COLLINS is the bestselling author of 23 novels, known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense® -- fast-paced, character-driven novels with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith.  Awards for her novels include the ACFW Carol Award (three times), Inspirational Readers' Choice, and Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice.  In 2002, The Writer magazine named her nonfiction release, Getting Into Character (John Wiley & Sons) one of the best books on writing published that year.  She and her family divide their time between homes in the California Bay Area and northern Idaho. For more information, please visit
This book was provided for review by PR By The Book.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Stubborn Heart Giveaway!

Win a Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight in Becky Wade's My Stubborn Heart Giveaway and RSVP for FB Party {5/24}!

Celebrate with Becky by entering her My Stubborn Heart Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 5/24!

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Brand New Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™

  • A $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate

  • A copy of My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on May 24th. Winner will be announced at the "My Stubborn Heart" Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/24. Becky will be hosting an book chat, testing your trivia skills and giving away some great prizes!

So grab your copy of My Stubborn Heart and join Becky on the evening of the May 24th for a chance to meet Becky and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 24th!

A Place to Belong - Circle of Friends worship CD

 This CD started with a few tunes that I'd already learned to love from a worship CD that came out several years ago featuring Susan Ashton and Michelle Tumes. The arrangement was slightly different on this one, but the songs were still okay.
A total of eight songs on this CD:
1. Love Falls Down
2. I Believe in You
3. Your Love Endures
4. Let Us Bow Down
5. Thank You For The Cross
6. God the Victorious
7. I Found Grace
8. Lifting My Praise Up

I believe this CD is meant to accompany the A Place to Belong Book, but I wasn't sent a book, only the CD so that's all I have to go by.

It would have been nice to have a lyric sheet included in the CD.

The music and songs remind me of an early 80s type recording. It's very mellow and slow-paced, very relaxing. Lyrically, the songs not written by nationally known recording artists were almost wishy-washy. I really didn't enjoy this recording and won't be listening to it again. It didn't do anything for me.

This was provided for review by The B&B Media Group

About the CD:

Inspirational music & message from
Circle of Friends President Lisa Troyer
Every woman needs acceptance, love and a place to belong. That’s the underlying theme of the new music CD, A Place to Belong (Lifeway Worship) from singer/songwriter Lisa Troyer, president of Circle of Friends Ministries. Refreshingly authentic and dynamic, the companion worship CD to Troyer’s recently released book, A Place to Belong: Out of Our Comfort Zone and into God’s Adventure (Barbour Publishing), tenderly draws women into a place of true freedom and belonging in the very heart of God.
In her book,Troyer shares her own journey to acceptance as well as the story of a group of dynamic “women helping women” who call themselves the Circle of Friends. Troyer encourages readers to form their own circle of friends, a safe place of truth and love where women can develop lasting relationships and discover together the purposes of God for their lives.
Obviously noticeable in both the book and CD is Troyer’s passion to lead others into the bottomless love of God. This fierce desire compelled her to plunge deeply into the heart of the issues all women face, but most keep to themselves. With tendencies toward depression, anxiety attacks and an eating disorder, Troyer knows firsthand the bondage of secrecy and shame. “Living with a secret,” Troyer admits, “doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t change your heart. As well hidden as your secret is, that is how deeply lonely you will be. I’ve been there. I know it’s true.”
The newly released companion CD reinforces her book’s admonition that there is complete freedom and acceptance to be found in the Father. “This CD was birthed out of the knowledge that music is so often used by God to solidify a written and/or spoken message,” says Troyer. “Dawn Yoder and I have been blessed by the friendship and songwriting partnership God’s given us, and songs like ‘Let Us Bow Down,’ ‘Lifting My Praise Up’ and ‘I Found Grace’ (Circle of Friends theme song) are reflective of how, by finding a place to belong, we are inspired to share encouragement, while keeping our focusing on worshipping in ‘Spirit and in truth.’”
A Place to Belong has the potential of changing the way women think about themselves, about others and about doing God’s work in this world. In both her book and worship CD, Troyer challenges women to connect to one another, comfort each other and affirm each other in using the gifts God has given them. Ultimately, A Place to Belong offers a healing dose of real hope that life can be rich, life can have purpose and no woman need ever be alone.
The new Circle of Friends CD is available online at and iTunes. It can also be purchased through your local Christian retailer.