Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Titus Return is Amy Lillard's latest installment in her Wells Landing Series. If you haven't read the others in the series don't worry, you won't be left behind. Titus Returns is the first book I've had the privilege(sp?) of reading in the series and I definitely plan on going back and reading the rest.
Titus Lambert isn't sure he can do it. What's that saying? You can't go home? He never truly believed it before but after spending 5 years in jail he isn't sure he can face the past. Maybe he should just stay in the English world and not trouble the community any more than he has. But he's not a coward and he knows he's going to see his family, he owes them that much. It's just a lot harder to battle the ghost than he thought it would be.
Mandy Yoder loved Titus Lambert with all her heart. She promised to wait on him, forever and a day she said. However, five years is a long time to wait and see all your friends grow up, marry and have babies of their own. So when, Levi Burkholder starts coming around declaring his intentions to court her, she decides to take a chance and ends up marrying Levi. Now with Titus back in Wells Landing what does that mean for her and Levi? The Amish marry for life but what if you've made a huge mistake?
Abbie King hates Titus Lambert with a passion. He was the one driving the car that killed her twin brother. She knows it's the Amish way to forgive, but she just can't bring her self to do it. Her dad is drinking and left the running of the dairy farm to her. Her mom can barely get out of bed and has all but lost the will to live. So, yeah, she's angry and she's not afraid to let Titus Lambert know just what she thinks of him when she sees him.
I was blown away by Titus Returns. I have to admit, I never really thought about what it would be like for an Amish man, or woman, to go to prison. I always assumed that the wayward would be automatically welcomed back into the fold. It's hard sometimes to remember that the Amish aren't robots or super heroes. They struggle with forgiveness and anger and other issues just as we do. Amy Lillard handles each subject with such respect that it makes you think, What would I do in this situation?
I felt bad for Titus, he's served his sentence and yet he keeps punishing himself. He can't forgive himself for the death of his friend, Alvin and the Englisher and putting his other friend Eli in a wheel chair. He struggles to believe that this could be in God's will. Why was he the only one to walk away unscathed. Surely the community will never truly forgive him for the wrongs he's done. He fears he will constantly be judged even though people say they forgive him. He carries so much guilt that I was afraid he would never recover.
Abbie King was by far my favorite! She's still hurting after losing her twin Alvin. She's doing her best to move on but it isn't easy. Left alone to care for her parents in their grief stricken state, she can trace all her troubles back to Titus. The nerve of that man to waltz back into Wells Landing like all was forgiven. Not by a long shot, Abbie is just waiting for the opportunity to tell Titus what she thinks of this whole situation and then tell him to go fly a kite. I loved her because she was so real. She struggled with anger and the ability to forgive. You could feel her grief pour off the page. I just wanted to wrap her in a hug and let her know everything would be alright.
Mandy Berkholder got on my nerves. I hate to say it, but she did. She was blinded by what could have been that she nearly ruins what a great thing she has now. She always seems to be pining for something; Titus, a baby, her husband to pay her more attention. She truly believes the grass is greener on the other side. I almost shouted Hallelujah when Titus told her that they stood absolutely no chance together and that she should go back to her husband. It was then that Mandy realized her unseemly behavior and started to make things right.
Titus Returns is a tale of love, loss, tragedy and healing. I got swept away in the emotion and the story so much so that I hated to see it end. I can't wait for the next installment to catch up with the residents of Wells Landing and see how everyone is doing. I truly hope you will pick up a copy of Titus Returns and enjoy the magic for yourself.
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.
Monday, December 26, 2016
Healing a Heart is Amy Lillard's second novel in the cattle creek series. You could read it as a stand-alone, but I believe you will enjoy both books in the series.
Jake Langston has had enough! With all of his responsibilities along with running the ranch and taking care of his daughter, he doesn't have time to keep running women off the ranch. Sure, being named the 15th most eligible bachelor in all of Texas was good for the ego, but, he is not interested in a woman. Been there, done that and to say it ended miserably would be putting it mildly.
Bre Talbot has no clue what she's doing at the Double Diamond Ranch. No, that's not true, she knows she has to tell Jake that she's carrying his child, she just doesn't know how. Maybe a simple "I'm pregnant" would do, but when she sees him ride up looking all kinds of mad, all coherent thoughts fly out the window. She manages to interrupt his tirade long enough to share her news only to be crushed when he tells her to "Get rid of it". She wants this baby more than anything. Bre lost her parents and her baby sister whom she practically raised, The baby would be her second chance at a family. She has no intention of following Jake's orders, nor does she want anything from him, she just thought he should know he is the father.
Both Bre and Jake have suffered their share of heartaches and disappointments, but can they come together for the good of their unborn child?
Jake isn't as hard as he'd like people to believe. Truth is he's afraid of being hurt again. When his wife died giving birth to their daughter, Wesley, he somehow felt responsible. He likes Bre and doesn't want her to suffer the same fate as his late wife. That's why he told her to have the abortion. As the news grows on him and he's had the chance to spend time with Bre, he couldn't imagine life without her or their baby. He's just not sure how to convince himself of that.
Bre is all alone in the world. Well, except for her baby. She doesn't want anything from Jake, they were a one night stand after all. She just knew that if she had family out there she'd want to know. She has no intention of staying but when Jake's mother and grandmother insist she decides to try and work out a plan with Jake.
Going back to Cattle Creek is like visiting old friends. I have to admit I didn't like Jake at first. He seems like a hot headed hard hearted cowboy but the truth is he's just afraid. Bless his heart he just doesn't know how to say things sometimes. I found myself wanting to tell him to just shut up, he was making things worse! Poor Bre can't seem to get a hold of her hormones or her overactive imagination. She tends to believe she has the situation all figured out but when life, or Jake, throws her a curve ball she panics. I felt sorry for Bre because she's all alone with only one true friend, Rick, who doesn't always give the best advice, even though he has the best of intintions.
Healing a heart will make you laugh, cry and believe that love really does cover a multitude of hurt and wrongs.
You can grab a copy here: Healing A Heart
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
When shy Katie Rose Gingerich’s dat sends her to Huckleberry Hill to secure a marriage proposal, she never expects to long for carefree Titus Helmuth—or to hope that he might want to spend every Christmas with her . . .
My Thoughts: This collection of heartwarming stories has something for everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed each of these stories and it's impossible to pick a favorite. To me, some had a more serious overtone than others but they will all warm your heart and maybe even make you smile. It was my first time reading some of these authors but they did not disappoint. I found myself laughing at the antics of goats and cheering for a little boy who needs a Christmas miracle. I truly hope you will give The Amish Christmas Kitchen a try and experience the fun for yourself!
* I was provided a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
About the Author
Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.
Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.
Guest Post from Jennifer Beckstrand
What do you get when you combine Anna and Felty’s earnest grandson, Titus, with a pretty girl who’s practically engaged to someone else, a sleigh full of Christmas bakery orders, and two mischievous Christmas goats?
A wild, wacky, and wunderbarr Christmas, that’s what.
Anna and Felty Helmuth are determined to make this the most romantic Christmas ever on Huckleberry Hill, but have they bitten off more than they can chew trying to match their slightly scatterbrained grandson Titus with timid Katie Rose Gingerich? Titus tends to be a little thick in the head when it comes to love, and Katie Rose is too shy to open her mouth. It might take every potholder Anna can knit plus a determined goat and a little Christmas magic to bring Titus and Katie Rose together.
Titus would do anything for his Mammi Anna, even eat her very bad cooking and learn how to knit, but why does he have to be the one to care for Mammi’s new goat? Goats give him the willies. But when Titus meets the pretty girl staying with his grandparents for Christmas, he doesn’t mind the goat so much. The more he sees of Katie Rose’s gentle ways and loving spirit, the more he wishes he were the kind of boy she would bake a pie for. Can he convince her to love him without offending her boyfriend? And will Mammi notice if he gets rid of her goat?
After I wrote Huckleberry Hearts, I just knew there had to be someone special out there for Titus Helmuth, Anna and Felty’s lovable grandson. Christmas is the perfect setting for “A Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill” because Titus is one character who seems to have the spirit of Christmas in his heart all year long. When Katie Rose is homesick, Titus does his best to make her feel welcome and comfortable on Huckleberry Hill. He delivers her Christmas goodies, writes poetry for her, and sings Christmas songs. When he finally realizes he loves her, he’s going to have to use both Christmas goats and every trick in the book to convince her to marry him. It’s a fun, heartwarming, wonderful-guteChristmas romance.
“A Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill” is in The Amish Christmas Kitchen novella collection, and it will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
December 15: Daysong Reflections
December 15: cherylbbookblog
December 16: Karen Sue Hadley
December 16: Jeanette’s Thoughts
December 17: Quiet Quilter
December 17: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 18: The Power of Words
December 18: A Greater Yes
December 19: Christian Bookaholic
December 19: Lighthouse Academy
December 20: Neverending Stories
December 20: D’S QUILTS AND BOOKS
December 21: Reading Is My SuperPower
December 21: Autism Mom
December 22: Bigreadersite
December 22: Splashes of Joy
December 23: Blossoms and Blessings
December 24: A Baker’s Perspective
December 25: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog
December 26: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
December 26: Southern Gal Loves to Read
December 27: Bibliophile Reviews
December 27: Donna’s BookShelf
December 28: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away three copies of Huckleberry Christmas. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/acec
Monday, December 12, 2016
Carol becomes a Red Cross doughnut girl, serving GIs and boosting their morale. Convincedwartime romances are doomed to disappointment, she attempts to avoid entanglements. She didn’t plan on Chet, the navigator who tempts her to throw caution to the wind.
Chet’s father and brothers always belittled him. As a squadron lead navigator, he longs to prove them wrong. He’s already been offered a terrific job with PanAm after the war. First he must survive his combat tour. Will he even have a future?
My Thoughts: I was suprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I have to admit some of the talk of war, loss of lives, limbs, etc, made me sad, even though I know it's a sobering reality of war. However over all I found the book really interesting. I loved how lighthearted it could be a times with the girls learning the jitterbug to help bring a smile on the soldiers' faces and also the ghost of their room! I had never heard of a doughnut girl before this book. I think it's amazing that these women left their lives and homes to go overseas and bring a little home to the soldiers. Whether or not historical fiction is your normal genre, I hope you will give Soar Like Eagles a chance.
* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.
About the Author
Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.
Guest Post from Terri Wangard
For the third book of my World War II series, I needed something to involve my main character with. At first I considered the train canteens, where volunteers laden with food met troop trains crisscrossing the country. That wouldn’t work though, because my navigator was heading overseas and I didn’t want a correspondence relationship. Besides, someone else had already written a novel about the canteens. Then I discovered the Red Cross clubmobiles.
The American Red Cross operated canteens on the home front and clubs and clubmobiles overseas during World War II to provide soldiers and sailors with a cup of coffee, a doughnut, and a bit of friendly conversation that gave the men a familiar connection with home.
Around the world, the Red Cross staffed permanent service clubs, traveling clubmobiles, and other recreational facilities. Service clubs provided refreshments, accommodations, and comfort and recreational activities wherever American troops were located overseas. In major cities, they offered meals, recreational activities, overnight accommodations, and barbershops and laundries. Some also provided sightseeing opportunities, touring museums, castles and cathedrals, and attending local theaters and movie houses.
Smaller clubs provided food in outlying areas near American military camps. The Red Cross also operated rest homes, often in stately manor houses in rural, tranquil locations overseas, for service personnel needing respite from the pressures of war.
To serve military sites in isolated areas, the Red Cross used clubmobiles in Great Britain in 1942 and later, the continent. Staffed by three American Red Cross women and a local driver in England, they visited several sites in a day, bringing refreshments, entertainment, and a touch of home to the troops in a foreign land. They used converted half-ton trucks and single-deck London buses, which featured kitchen equipment for making and serving doughnuts and coffee. Some carried phonographs and loudspeakers to provide music for the troops, and the women often danced with the servicemen. On the continent, the women had to drive and service their trucks.
Many American servicemen had never traveled far from home. At Red Cross clubs and clubmobiles in far-flung places around the globe, they received a connection to home and civilian life through friendly American women and familiar food. The Red Cross served a basic purpose of raising morale.
Carol Doucet of Soar Like Eagles was proud to be a Red Cross Doughnut Girl.
December 8: Blossoms and Blessings
December 8: Artistic Nobody
December 9: Daysong Reflections
December 9: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
December 10: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
December 10: Bukwurmzzz
December 11: Petra’s Hope
December 12: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
December 12: The Power of Words (spotlight)
December 13: A Baker’s Perspective
December 14: Carpe Diem
December 14: Reading Is My SuperPower
December 15: Bigreadersite
December 15: Quiet Quilter
December 16: Christian Bookaholic
December 17: A Path of Joy
December 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts
December 18: Karen’s Krayons
December 19: Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)
December 19: A Greater Yes
December 20: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 21: Bibliophile Reviews
To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed paperback copy of Soar Like Eagles. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/aa5f
Friday, December 9, 2016
About the Book
A miracle once saved her life ~ will another give her a future?
Cyprus was little more than a child when a fall left her paralyzed…and when the boy known as the wonder-worker healed her. Ever since, she has wondered why the Lord spared her, what he has in store for her. But her pagan father thinks she was spared solely so she could be introduced to the wealthy wonder-worker, Nikolaos.
Nikolaos has never questioned that his call in life is to dedicate himself to the church and to God. Never, that is, until he and his cousin Petros meet the compelling Cyprus Visibullis. For years he struggles with the feelings she inspires…and with the sure knowledge that Petros loves her too.
Petros knows he will never be good enough for Cyprus’s father to consider him as a match for his favorite daughter not as long as Nikolaos is there. But when tragedy strikes the Visibullis family, he will do anything to save his beloved. Unfortunately, his beloved is determined to do anything to save her sisters ~ even at the cost of herself.
As the festival of lights bathes their Greek city in beauty, Cyprus, Petros, and Nikolaos celebrate the miracle of their Savior s birth together one last time. And in remembrance of their Lord’s greatest gift, one of them will make the ultimate sacrifice for the others…and a centuries-long tradition will be born.
My Thoughts: This is the first book by Roseanna M. White that I've had the priviledge of reading but I can promise it won't be the last. I started reading it and couldn't put it down. I just HAD to know what would happen to Cyprus and her sisters. The characters and their struggles are real, I found myself relating to each one somehow. Whether it was Cyprus and her desire to know why she received such a miracle from God or Nicholas who wanted to help others and follow God but he wasn't exactly sure how.
The characters will become your friends and by the end you will be filled with hope and wonder. The story will stay with you and change the way you view not only Christmas but also your faith walk. I think you will fall in love with this book and it will be one you will read again and again.
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.
About the Author
Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two small children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.
Guest Post from Roseanna White
I was fed up with Christmas.
Or, no. I was fed up with the Christmas the world kept shoving at me. The one that was all about presentes. I’d always enjoyed gift giving and receiving, but I began to wonder: What was it I really valued—my Savior . . . or the stuff? We all say the right thing when this question is brought up. But we also all talk about “giving people Christmas” who can’t afford it. About how disappointed our kids might be if they wake to few packages under the tree. And you know, that belies our claims that it’s all about Jesus, doesn’t it?
And of course, when one thinks of gifts at Christmas, a jolly old elf springs to mind. So I started thinking that if I wanted my kids to understand the meaning of Christmas, it might be time to pull the plug on the embodiment of the commercialism: Santa Claus.
But I’m a historical novelist, and I believe in looking at the real history before making decisions. So one morning before our homeschool day began, I sat down and did some online research about Saint Nicholas. About the traditions he began that persist to this day. Who was he, before the Victorians turned him into the figure we know today as Santa?
I read. And I was awed.
Within fifteen minutes, I realized that St. Nick wasn’t the problem with Christmas. This was a man who was committed, above all, to honoring Jesus. Who believed in giving anonymously, so that all the glory went to God. Who performed miracles. Who healed and shepherded a flock under persecution.
St. Nicholas was a man who deserves my honor and respect. Who should be my inspiration for what Christmas is really about, not my scapegoat.
Nicholas gave generously—and in secret. It wasn’t until after his death that the stories started making their rounds about the many times he quietly gave of his wealth. But for centuries afterward, whenever someone wanted to give a gift anonymously, they would sign it from St. Nicholas—it was like saying, “This is because God loves you.”
Why are we giving? Is it to give God glory . . . or to please ourselves and our families? Would you still give if you got no credit for it? If no one even knew it was from you?
That day I read about St. Nicholas, I also decided I’d write a book with him as one of the main characters. A novel that brings one of our traditions—gifts coming down chimneys, stockings stuffed with goodies—to life. And so, we have Giver of Wonders.
Is it a Christmas story? It is. But not like the others out there. Is it about Santa Claus? It is, but not the version you see all over your TV. Is it about giving? It is. But not about presents wrapped and put under the tree. It’s about sacrifice. And it’s about Jesus. And it’s about what He really asks of us, and what He really did for us. And what we’re willing to give for love of Him.
Because that, my friends, is Christmas.
December 6: Neverending Stories
December 6: Blossoms and Blessings
December 7: Moments Dipped in Ink
December 7: A Greater Yes
December 8: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
December 8: Book by Book
December 9: Stuff & Nonsense
December 9: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
December 10: Blogging With Carol
December 10: Giveaway Lady
December 11: New Horizon Reviews
December 11: A Simple Life, really?!
December 12: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
December 12: Genesis 5020
December 13: Daysong Reflections
December 13: Inklings and Notions
December 14: A Reader’s Brain
December 14: Pause for Tales
December 15: Redeemed Hope Dweller
December 15: simple harvest reads
December 16: Baker Kella
December 16: For The Love of Books
December 17: Bibliophile Reviews
December 17: Reader’s Cozy Corner
December 18: Henry Happens
December 18: Bigreadersite
December 19: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after
December 19: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a stocking full of wonder! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway!
Friday, December 2, 2016
In her new book Choosing Real Bekah Jane Pogue shares her experience of choosing to be real with God in the midst of ordinary and sometimes trying times.
Sometimes we think we have to do it all no only do we have to be mom, wife, sister, friend, etc but also have to put in the effort to have a relationship with God. It can feel like one more thing on the never ending to do list but what if we have it all wrong? What if God meets us right here in the middle of life's mess and loves us just as we are?
Bekah writes in such a way you feel like you are sharing a relaxing visit with your closest friend. She gets it and she gets you. She shares her story in a way that any woman, married or not can find some truth to apply to her life. This is not a step by step program to help you find God where you are. Rather, it's more like a friend saying "pull up a chair and let me tell you what I've learned."
I was thoroughly impressed with Choosing Real. I loved that Bekah made her self so apporachable and didn't come off as preachy or condesending. I just know if I met her in real life we'd be life long firends! I loved that as she shares her story she offeres practical and friendly advice on what she did as she was learning to be real with God and let Him lead.
I truly believe this book to be an invlauable resource to any woman in any stage of her life. I hope you will grab a copy of Choosing Real and discover your own amazing journey.
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.