Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Quilting Circle

For the first time in print you can get  Amy Lillard's quilting circle trilogy in one volume. Which is handy, because once you start reading, you can't put it down. Also, you don't have to wait a few months for the next one to come out. I enjoyed all three stories and I honestly can't pick a favorite. I know this is one book I will read again and again.

More Than Friendship

Clara Rose Yutzy and Obadiah "Obie" Brenneman have been friends their whole lives. Some people say a boy and a girl can't be friends, but these two have proven them wrong. Clara Rose is enganged to Thomas Lapp and can't wait to be his wife. She has dreams of a big house and farm with lots of children running around. That is until Obie tells her something, "You can't marry Thomas", that makes her doubt everything.
I loved Obie! It was apparent from the start  that he loved Clara Rose and as more than just a friend. He's tried to do the right thing, he hates himself for blurting out that she can't marry Thomas. Of course, he would never come out and tell her that he loved her, especially when she's engaged to someone else, so he has to be vague in his reasons. Surely Clara Rose could tell he loved her. He's the one person, outside her family, she knows she can count on for anything. They are supposed to be together, now if only he can get Clara Rose to see that before she marries Thomas.

I didn't care too much for Thomas at first. I felt like he was hiding something, because he would always try to be perfect. He was so stiff and rigid that I felt like he would keep his feelings too close to his vest. In the end though his huge heartfelt gesture to Clara Rose made me fall in love with him.

More Than A Promise

Mariana Miller has had it rough. Her beloved Leroy had lost his battle with brain cancer, but truth be told she lost him long before that. The cancer changed him, until he was nothing like her loving caring husband. On top of that, she and Leroy spent years praying that she would conceive. When she finally did he was too far gone for her to share the happy news. Marianna isn't sad for herself, she's just lost. She has to find a way to provide for her and the baby now that Leroy has passed away. The community will help, for sure, but it's not their burden to bear.

Reuben Weisel has been friends with Leroy and Mariana for years. In fact he and Leroy were business partners. Reuben has never married and he feels it is his duty to take care of his late friend's wife. Although, he isn't quite sure what to say, or do, he still tries and that has to count for something.

This story was in my opinion one of the sweetest love stories I have ever read. Here is Mariana living out her marriage vows and God blesses her with the baby that she and Leroy have longed for. I love how even though Mariana grieves for Leroy she doesn't wallow in her grief. She knows she has something to live for and does her best to put one foot in front of the other. Plus, she has Reuben to help. Although she isn't quite comfortable relying on him too much, she is thankful that he is willing to step up and help around the house. And he won't take no for an answer!

More Than A Marriage

Tess Smiley isn't happy and she hasn't been happy for a long time. She and her husband are newlyweds and have moved to Wells Landing for a fresh start.  She longs to own her own farm and house, but right now she'd settle for having her husband put his blasted cell phone away. It's supposed to be for business purposes only but more and more she finds Jacob with his head buried in his phone.

Jacob is frustrated, this isn't the way life is supposed to be. He figured he and Tess would move to Wells Landing with his parents and they'd buy them a farm and build a house. Instead, he had to get a roofing job with an English boss. To make matters worse, Tess has goats that she has to take care of. She makes cheese and things from goats milk and uses the money from that to help with a down payment on a farm of their own. Every time he looks at those goats he sees his failures.

This story is an excellent reminder that there are two sides to every story. Tess loves her goats, she finds them silly and entertaining. Plus, she loves the fact that she can contribute to her household and help Jacob save for a down payment on a farm of their own. Of course, Jacob doesn't see it this way and  that is the problem. They never communicate to each other what their wants and needs are. They just assume the other person sees it their way. Tess can be a little whiny and Jacob a little bull headed. In some parts of the story I got so frustrated with the two of them I wanted to yell at them, as if they could actually hear me, lol.

I truly enjoyed each of the stories in the Quilting Circle. It was fun to follow the same characters throughout the stories and see how their lives continued after their story. I also learned some valuable lessons from each story. Like you can't look to hard at something or else you'll miss what's right in front of you. Also God is faithful, even when we have long given up on a hope or dream God hasn't and in his time he rewards our faithfulness. Possibly my favorite, marriage is a two way street each person has to give 100 percent or else the marriage develops pot holes and nobody likes pot holes.

I hope you will grab a copy of The Quliting Circle. If you do I'd love for you to comeback and tell me what, if any, lessons you learned from the community of  Wells Landing.

* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own,

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bringing Maggie Home

Bringing Maggie Home is Kim Vogel Sawyer's latest novel and my favorite by far. It follows three generations of women Hazel Mae, Diane, and Meghan during their journey to find healing, but most of all find themselves.

Hazel Mae still remembers the day that changed her life forever. The day her younger sister, Maggie, went missing. She was ten years old and turned her back for a moment, when she turned back around Maggie was gone! She begged and pleaded with God to just bring Maggie back and fix her family, but that never happened. That was over seventy years ago and Hazel hasn't given up hope that someday, somehow she will be reunited with her sister.

Diane resents her mother who was always so overprotective and smothering. Diane couldn't even go to a high school dance without her mother wanting to be a chaperone. Her mother was out to ruin her life. Even though she is grown with a grown daughter of her own, Diane still clings to the resentment. That's why she took a vacation and followed her daughter, Meghan, to Las Vegas, Nevada. She couldn't allow Meghan and mother to spend the whole six weeks alone together. Mother will sink her claws deeper into Meghan and turn her against her for good. Besides, mother is in her 80's, if Diane can prove she's incompetent she can have her put in a nursing home and be rid of her for good.

Meghan was badly injured in a car wreck and forced to take a leave of absence from work. She misses her grandmother and longs to spend her recovery time getting to know her better. She's shocked and a little miffed when her mother shows up unannounced in Las Vegas. Mom and grandma can't stand each other. This is definitely going to be a long six weeks! Determined to make the best of it Meghan puts a smile on her face and plays mediator. She does everything she can to bring mom and grandma closer together, but she's not God. She's not even sure God exists, and, if he does why can't he make her family get along?

Bringing Maggie home is a a beautiful story that will pull on your heartstrings. Some parts are so sad that you will need to have you tissues ready. Others will have you laughing so hard that you will have tears of joy streaming down your face. I loved the story and how imperfect and believable the characters were. I'm sure you have someone in your family who is a Hazel Mae, Diane or Meghan.

Meghan was the one I felt sorry for. She loves both her mom and grandmother dearly! It seems no matter what she does her mother finds fault with it. She agreed with her grandma too much, or she hugged grandma to long or whatever. Meghan seemed to be the most level headed out of all three of them. On more than one occasion she had to play mediator between her mom and grandmother to keep peace in the house. She never understood what the issue was  that made her mother resent her grandmother so, but she longed for peace between the two women.

My heart broke for Hazel Mae. She carried guilt over losing her sister, it seemed to color everything she did. That's why she was so overprotective of Diane. She loved her so much, she didn't want the same thing to happen to her that happened to Maggie. Of course Hazel never spoke of Maggie. Her parents forbid it when she was younger and perhaps she was afraid if she spoke about it her granddaughter would hate her. Whatever the case Hazel is a dear sweet woman who loves with all her heart and just wants to make right all the wrongs.

Diane reminded me of a spoiled brat. It's harsh but it's true. I could understand her resenting her mom when she was younger because that's what teenagers do. They always think they have the worst parents on the planet and believe the worst of them even when it isn't the case. I figured her attitude would change when she had a daughter of her own but that wasn't the case. She seemed to go in the severe opposite direction. Instead of coddling Meghan and loving her, she gave her way too much freedom. Meghan wasn't a wild child but she was fiercely independent and Diane felt pride in that. I'm not sure she ever stopped to consider her mother's point of view on anything. When she showed up to Vegas to stop Meghan from bonding with her grandmother I wanted to smack her. Diane was pretty self centered and never stopped to think how her actions might hurt someone else.

I so enjoyed Bringing Maggie Home. It has all the elements of a great story and a great movie for that matter! I love a book that will pull on your heart strings and won't let go until the very end. You will laugh, you'll cry, you may even find yourself wanting to smack a character or two!  Either way I know you will love it and I hope you will grab a copy and take a trip to Vegas with the DeFord women.

*I was provided a free copy of this book and a review was not required. All opinions express are my own.

Read what others are saying: Bringing Maggie Home

A Semi-Sweet Summer

About the Book:

Name of book: 
Semi-Sweet Summer
Author: Jan Elder
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 18, 2017
Cassidy Cooper never wanted to set foot in Crystal Falls again. Ten years earlier, she’d given her heart to a boy who’d, in turn, humiliated her deeply. Now, back in town as the sole beneficiary of her sister’s estate, she’s determined to make her sister’s dream of an upscale chocolate truffle shop, come true.
Hunter Gray is very intrigued by his new neighbor. His escape artist cow, Marigold, engineers an introduction…but it’s not quite the first impression he was hoping for. Baffled by the nagging suspicion he’s seen this woman before, he plots to win Cassidy’s heart at every opportunity.
With the object of her unrequited love living within shouting distance, Cassidy prays for strength to forgive and forget. And Hunter? He just wants to get back to his own dream to grow his farm and get to know the pretty girl next door. If she’ll let him.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed A Semi-Sweet Summer. It hooked my attention from the first page and I couldn't put it down until I finished. I felt a kinship with Cassidy. She has trust issues but no mater what she never lost her faith in God. She may not be as close to him as she once was but she knew where to turn when her life was falling apart. I admired her for her confidence, it seemed not matter what life threw at her she knew she could handle it. There is a small mystery type element in A Semi-Sweet Summer. I had figured it out before it was revealed in the story but that didn't take away from the book. If you are looking for a fun sweet read I hope you give A Semi-Sweet Summer a try. 
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own 

About the Author

JAN ELDER is an inspirational romance writer with a passion for telling stories otherwomen can relate to on a deep level. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader’s faith, introducing the reader to a loving and forgiving Lord who walks beside us in our daily lives, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story.
Happily married for fourteen years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a chubby black and white tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a willowy tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.

Guest Post from Jan Elder

How did you come up with your premise? Is there a story behind your book? How did the story evolve?
When I first parked myself in front of my laptop, preparing to write A Semi-Sweet Summer, I was waxing nostalgic. Shortly before that, I joined a Facebook group, people from a church I had attended when I was a teenager. Memories flooded through me and a myriad of feelings, some quite strong, rose up to assault me. There were a great many pleasant remembrances, but what I recall the most about being in those “stuck in the middle” years was that there was a great deal of anxiety, the sensation of being so very different—certainly not part of the “in” crowd.
A large part of this book harkens back to my teenage years, my thoughts swinging to a boy I had the biggest crush on in high school. He was three and a half years older (I still remember his birthday) and he was definitely in the “elite” segment of our church youth group—the cool kids I so longed to be a part of. Sorry to say, I followed him around like a puppy, learned all of his favorite foods, chosen hobbies, etc. I try not to think I actually stalked him, but I was very aware of his presence, and searched for ways to be near him.
In A Semi-Sweet Summer, I tried to transfer some of that raging angst into fodder for Cassidy’s discomfort in finding her unrequited love living right next door. Cassidy never really fit in, hardly that enviable cheerleader, not a person that anyone would notice. Rather, she sees herself as sort of an ugly duckling. Now she’s back ten years later and it’s a tough situation. By this time, my characters have grown and changed from the people they were in high school. They are well on their way to the path God has set before them. And by the end, they are very different—kinder, gentler folks who have learned a bit more of what it means to truly love.
I like to think that God can use our experiences to help others through similar situations. Maybe this novel will provide some hope or closure for those who have been in the same boat, and spur them on to get past the pain. And hey, who doesn’t love a good story about baked goods, happy cows, and chocolate truffles?
As for me? The funny thing is, my husband has the same first name as my first love. He even has the same color hair, the same easy grin as that other guy. I guess one could say I am attracted to a certain type. But oh, my sweetheart is so much better. My guy is the man God had waiting for me. The other was only a pale imitation, just practice for the real thing.

Blog Stops

ASC Book Reviews, October 12
Remembrancy, October 16
A Greater YesOctober 19
Carpe Diem, October 19
autism momOctober 20
Quiet Quilter, October 23
Karen Sue HadleyOctober 24
Reading Is My SuperPower, October 25 (Interview)


To celebrate her tour, Jan is giving away a 12 piece box of Godiva Chocolates and a Kindle Fire HD Tablet with Alexa (Valued at over $100)!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Place At Our Table Interview with Amy Clipston

Ever wondered what it would be like to have your favorite author over for dinner? What questions would you ask him/her? In honor of her upcoming release A Place At Our Table, Amy Clipston has graciously sat down and answered some of our most pressing questions. So, grab a snack and imagine yourself at dinner with Amy.

*What was your favorite comfort food as a child?
~ I think it's always been popcorn!

*What would your husband say is your best and worst cooking attempts?
~ Joe would say my best was Parmesan chicken. He says I once tried to make a roast when we were living in our first house, and it turned out as a disaster. I don't remember this but he insists we laughed about it, 

* Would you rather follow a recipe to make dinner or make up your own recipe?
~ Since my schedule is crazy I'd rather follow a recipe. I'm not very courageous or experienced when it comes to cooking. 

* Would you rather cook or bake?
~ Honestly, with my crazy schedule, I don't have time for either. I suppose I'd rather cook since it doesn't take as much time. 

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Amy a little better, I know I have! I would like to thank Amy for taking time out of her busy schedule to chat with us, also Amy is also hosting an exclusive giveaway so please enter below! Thanks Amy and good luck everyone!!