Thursday, October 31, 2013

Perfectly Matched (The Blue Willow Brides #3) by Maggie Brendan (Review)


His life runs like clockwork. Hers is a spontaneous adventure. But God's timing is always perfect.

Anna Olsen knows it's time to leave her sister's increasingly crowded house and start a life of her own. Following her sisters' examples, she becomes a mail-order bride, and after a short correspondence with clock maker and jeweler Edward Parker, she moves to Denver to become his wife. 

Almost immediately it's painfully apparent that Anna and Edward are very different. Anna is a free spirit who would rather be painting and enjoying the company of friends than cleaning house. Edward is a consummate perfectionist who, on their wedding day, hands Anna a list of chores that need to be done around the house daily. 

Can this mismatched couple see past their differences to a harmonious future? Or will their disparate passions create obstacles neither is willing to surmount?


I GIVE THIS BOOK:
1 star1 star1 star1 star

MY THOUGHTS:
Perfectly Matched is the third book in The Blue Willow Brides series and it is by far the one I most enjoyed - though that's not saying much, considering I only somewhat enjoyed the first one and strongly disliked the second.

I loved how this book begins right in the middle of Anna and Edward's wedding ceremony. Immediately both characters personalities and quirks were apparent which was great. I especially loved what Edward gives Anna when he takes her to their home for the first time - it made me laugh so much!

Anna is such a sweet character! I loved her heart for caring for stray animals and to stop animals from being abused. However, several times she referred to animals as both "dumb animals" & "God's dumb creatures" which I found to be both annoying and completely opposite of the way she behaved. I think she meant that they were helpless and we needed to take care of them, but the terminology wasn't one I would have ever used - it just sounds mean.

Edward is a great character too, even though at first I wasn't to sure about him. It becomes evident how much he cares for Anna and the lengths he is willing to go to make her feel happy and loved.

There is a bit of an age discrepancy for Anna between this book and Deeply Devoted, the first book in the series. Deeply Devoted takes place in the spring of 1887 and Anna is fifteen. However in Perfectly Matched, which is set fall 1888, Anna is seventeen and turns eighteen towards the end of the story (around November the same year). I personally see no way for this to work, but this is just a small issue - it took away nothing from the story except that it made me check to see if I was mistaken about her age in the other book.

One of the things I didn't care for in the book was the constant repetitive sentences. A person would say something to someone then later that someone would say nearly the exact same thing to the original person and then the original person would behave as though they had never heard/thought of it before - even though chapters before they said it! Another thing I didn't care for was how characters would say something which, to me, came across as they were angry then the other character would say something snippy back and then they would both smile at each other as if nothing bad was said to each other - and they weren't acting, they meant it. Both of these thing were very annoying to say the least!

If you enjoy reading mail-order novels, you would probably find this one to be a nice read. The books in this series can be read out of order, in my opinion, and you wouldn't miss anything and the only things spoiled for you would be who ends up with whom but that's something you can usually figure out just by reading the back cover.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***

If you found this review helpful, will you please click yes HERE. Thanks!

“Available October 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”


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Warning Signs by Katy Lee (Review)



GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT
When a drug-smuggling ring rocks a small coastal town, the DEA sends Agent Owen Matthews to shut it down. A single father with a deaf son, Owen senses that the town's number one suspect—the high school's new principal—doesn't fit the profile. Miriam Hunter hoped to shrug off the stigma of her hearing impairment when she returned to Stepping Stones, Maine. But her recurring nightmares dredge up old memories that could prove her innocence—and uncover the truth behind a decades-old murder. Yet Owen's help may not be enough when someone decides to keep Miriam silenced—permanently.


I GIVE THIS BOOK:
1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

MY THOUGHTS:
I usually don't enjoy love inspired suspense books, they never seem that suspenseful or realistic, but this one was nothing like those. I completely loved Warning Signs! It was everything a suspense book should be.

I honestly didn't really read the synopsis of the book before I read it, so I didn't realize that the main character, Miriam, was deaf - this came as a surprise, the nice kind. I really liked having a main character that was so different than the norm. And while most people would consider being deaf a disability, Miriam didn't think of herself that way and would get irritated when anyone called her that. I liked the analogy used to describe deafness, that it's sort of like when you visit a country where you don't know the language would you be considered disabled?

The mystery about what was really going on in Stepping Stones was wonderfully written. I thought I knew who was behind it right away, but then I kept changing my mind and then when the culprit was revealed I was surprised - never saw it coming!

The romance in the book was so sweet and perfect! Miriam and Owen are perfect compliments to each other.

I heartily recommend reading Warning Signs if you love suspense or a good mystery. This was a great story and probably one I'll end up reading again.

If you found this review helpful, will you please click yes HERE. Thanks!

PRODUCT DETAILS
  • Series: Love Inspired Suspense
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373445598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373445592
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 4.2 x 6.6 inches
  • Available to purchase at Amazon | B&N | CBD

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The Restless Wind and Shifting Sands by Harry Sweeney (Book Spotlight & Giveaway)


With 1.4 billion practicing Muslims in the world it is necessary for all to better understand the culture and belief system. In The Restless Wind and Shifting Sands, author and Islamic scholar Harry J. Sweeney explains the intricacies and tenets of Islam. The educational discourse provides insight into the religion practiced by one out of five people worldwide.

The Restless Wind and Shifting Sands explores the Islamic culture through a series of fictionalized private conversations between three friends—Modi, Mani, and Radi—who each represents the moderate, mainstream, and radical factions. Through their daily talks, the friends tackle all phases of Muslim life including arranged marriages, Islamic law, female genital mutilation, predestination, honor killing, Palestine, shariah, and the Qur’an.

The men discuss how each belief drives Islamic culture and relations with non-believers. Filled with a wealth of information, the exchanges between friends seek to impart a better understanding of Islam and the challenges it poses for Western civilization.

The Restless Wind and Shifting Sands communicates that the Islamic religion can contain its fundamentalist elements and work toward a peaceful future.

BOOK DETAILS:

  • Title: The Restless Wind and Shifting Sands
  • Author: Harry Sweeney
  • Publisher: iUniverse
  • Genre: Literary Fiction
  • Pages: 536
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-44015-931-2
  • Purchase at iUniverse | Amazon



About the Author:
Harry J. Sweeney attended Yale University, studying at the Yale Institute of Far Eastern Languages. He is an experienced researcher, columnist, and radio analyst specializing in the world of Islam and in global terrorism. Sweeney’s columns have received U.S. and foreign praise for technical accuracy and human interest.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (October 30, 2013)


Hosted by Breaking the Spine
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

A Match Made in Texas: A Novella Collection 
by Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, 
Carol Cox, & Regina Jennings

In Dry Gulch, Texas, 1893, a young woman with a tender heart that longs to help those in need takes it upon herself to meddle in the affairs of three acquaintances who are in dire straits. Wanting to stay anonymous, she relies on unusual methods to hire men and women of good character who she thinks can solve the problems facing her “targets.” How was she to know that her meddling would turn into a cupid’s arrow? And what will she do when her friends turn the tables on her with a matchmaking scheme of their own?

Four novellas in one volume.

Why I want to read this:
Gorgeous cover, four great authors, and it sounds amazing!

A Match Made in Texas will be available January 1st 2014 from Bethany House Publishers.


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Straight From My Heart by Jacqui DeLorenzo (Book Blast & Giveaway)


Straight from My Heart presents a collection of true stories and poetry written by a woman who has helped others to discover their true selves. It shares her journey as her life is touched by others.

Author Jacqui DeLorenzo shares several inspiring tales of hope and courage intended to resonate with anyone who has suffered a hardship or the loss of a loved one. She considers whether there is life after death. She also ventures on journeys to the other side of the rainbow—to a place where there is no pain and no illness. She goes to a place where we can fi nd love in our hearts, peace in our souls, and happiness in our lives again, even when it seems that all has been lost along the way.

Each story seeks to open hearts, touch souls, and encourage all to believe in what is possible. Through the personal journeys of DeLorenzo, her friends, her hospice patients, and their caregivers, Straight from My Heart provides the opportunity to know and understand that life continues after this life on earth. We need to open our hearts to the positive energy and the spirit of loved ones who are on the other side waiting to greet us with open arms when it is our turn to journey to the other side.

Book Details:

  • Title: Straight From My Heart
  • Author: Jacqui DeLorenzo
  • Publisher: iUniverse
  • Genre: Inspirational/Self-Discovery
  • Pages: 136
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-47593-972-9
  • Available to purchase at iUniverse




About the Author:
Jacqui DeLorenzo, MS, LMHC, works part-time at North Shore Community College assisting students in achieving their goals. Her mission is to guide each student to healthy self-esteem and success in their journey through life. She received her master’s degree from Salem State University in psychological services and counseling. This is her second book.


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Twice Promised (The Blue Willow Brides #2) by Maggie Brendan (Review)




Seeing how successful her older sister's "mail order marriage" has been and longing to strike out on her own, Greta Olsen answers an ad for a mail order bride in Central City, Colorado. But when she meets Jess Gifford, owner of a thriving mercantile, she begins to harbor doubts. He didn't place the ad to begin with and his business in a busy mining town leaves him little time or energy for love. To compound her troubles, she was not the only bride to answer the ad! Will either bride strike the match she hopes for?

Filled with amusing and awkward situations that will keep the reader interested and guessing, "Twice Promised "is another sweet romance from Maggie Brendan.



I GIVE THIS BOOK: 1 star


MY THOUGHTS:
The writing on this book was all right, not great or good just all right, but the reason I'm giving it such a low rating is the characters were just horrible! For a book sold in the Christian fiction genre the way the characters behaved was so opposite of that and there were no repercussions for it. What happened may have been meant to be amusing, but I just found it sickening and very unbelievable. Any shred of respect I had for the characters in the beginning was gone and I just couldn't wait to be done with the book. I can't really say what the reason was without giving away key details and, in case you plan on ignoring my review and reading it anyway, I don't want to spoil it for you. However, if you'd like to know what it is just ask me and I'll let you know.

I don't recommend Twice Promised at all!

If you found this review helpful, will you please click yes HERE. Thanks!


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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Date by Krista McGee (Review)



The last thing Addy Davidson wants is to be on a reality TV show where the prize is a prom date with the President's son.

She's focused on her schoolwork so she can get a scholarship to an Ivy League college, uncomfortable in the spotlight, never been on a date, and didn't even audition for it.

But she got selected anyway.

So she does her best to get eliminated on the very first show. Right before she realizes that the President's son is possibly the most attractive guy she has ever seen in person, surprisingly nice, and seemingly unimpressed by the 99 other girls who are throwing themselves at him.

Addy's totally out of her comfort zone but that may be right where God can show her all that she was meant to be.

I GIVE THIS BOOK:1 star1 star1 star1 star

MY THOUGHTS:
First Date is the third book I've read by Krista McGee and it's really good! The first book I read by her, Right Where I Belong, was actually the third book with characters that appeared in her other books - which I didn't know before I read it. First Date is the first about those characters, the second one is Starring Me which I hope to read soon. Reading them out of order really didn't affect my enjoyment except that I knew what the final outcome was going to be - at least sort of, it's been awhile since I read Right Where I Belong so I didn't remember everything very clearly which was a good thing :)

Just like Right Where I Belong was loosely based on the biblical story of Ruth, First Date is loosely based on the biblical story of Esther. I love this! It makes you really connect with the story in a way you just don't otherwise. However, because the book was trying to draw similarities with Esther the story got a little silly at times, but nothing too ridiculous.

Many times this book had me laughing out loud, and not just the chuckling kind, which is always a great thing :)

Addy is such a great character! She's a girl every Christian girl should try to be like and I think that she's a great role model for them.

First Date is a book people of all ages would enjoy. I recommend it!

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***


If you found this review helpful, will you please click yes HERE. Thanks!


PRODUCT DETAILS
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401684882
  • ASIN: B009F7R2XM
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 4.6 x 1 inches
  • Available to purchase at Amazon | B&N | CBD


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CrossReads Book Blast: Carlene Havel's "Here Today Gone Tomorrow"


Disappointed, dumped, divorced. Everything Casey Slaughter counted on is gone. While contemporaries start their families, Casey works two jobs to haul herself out of debt. Friends and family recommend a new husband to solve all her problems, but Casey resists their well-intentioned advice. Although she longs for a soul mate, the last thing her flattened self-esteem needs is more rejection—and comparisons to her beautiful, talented older sister do nothing to enhance Casey’s confidence. Unable to have children, she feels she has nothing to offer in marriage. Will bitterness and insecurity destroy her, or can renewed faith in God provide some measure of comfort for this wounded heart? Can Casey ever find love again, or will a string of disasters keep her forever on the run?



Carleen picCarlene Havel has lived in numerous US states, the Philippines, and Turkey. Like most writers, Carlene has always loved to read, and her taste is eclectic. Her other hobbies include sewing, knitting, crochet and embroidery. She especially enjoys Bible study, normally devoting one day each week delving into the scriptures with a small focus group. The Havels make their home in San Antonio, Texas, in the midst of a big, extended family.
Follow Carlene Havel
 



Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 Amazon gift card, sponsored by author Carlene Havel!  


This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

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Putting Life on the Finish Line by Joe Sinclair (Book Blast & Giveaway)


When author Joe Sinclair turned sixty-two years old, he began his quest to run as many marathons as possible. Less than five years later, he has logged more than four thousand miles, participating in more than 150 marathons. In his memoir, Putting Life on the Finish Line, he tells his life story from his early years through his late sixties and details how he achieved his running goals.

Sinclair shares running’s rewards and challenges—crossing the finish line at the toughest marathon in America run entirely on asphalt; completing three marathons in three days in the hot July weather; fighting off attacks by vicious dogs during a lonely, rural, mountain marathon; and helping a struggling young marathoner achieve his very first marathon finish.

Offering personal secrets for success, tips and tricks, nutritional and fitness plans, pre-race plans, and inspiring stories, Putting Life on the Finish Line provides encouragement for those who believe they are too old to accomplish a dream. It shows that personal health and fitness is attainable at any age.

BOOK DETAILS:
  • Title: Putting Life on the Finish Line
  • Author: Joe Sinclair
  • Publisher: iUniverse
  • Genre: Self-help/Fitness
  • Pages: 206
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-49170-608-4
  • Purchase at iUniverse | Amazon


About the Author:
Joe Sinclair has had an education career that spanned more than forty-five years. He served as superintendent of schools in various North Carolina districts for more than twenty years. In 1992, he was selected as North Carolina’s Superintendent of the Year. He and his wife, Claryce, live in Statesville, North Carolina.





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Monday, October 28, 2013

The Diabolist (The Dominic Grey Novels #3) by Layton Green (Book Spotlight & Giveaway)

In this gripping thriller, the bizarre murder of a Satanic priest in San Francisco draws Dominic Grey and Viktor Radek, private investigators of cults, to the scene. Witnesses claim a robed figure, seemingly able to appear and disappear at will, set fire to the priest. When the leader of another Satanic cult in Paris dies under similar circumstances, the case only grows stranger… and more dangerous.

Convinced that a charismatic New Age prophet is behind the murders, the investigators undergo a perilous journey into the world of the occult as they try to penetrate the prophet’s inner circle. From the catacombs of Paris to London’s nefarious East End, from the haunted walls of York to a monastic fortress in the Sicilian wilderness, the case plunges Viktor and Grey into a vortex of black magic, ancient heresies, and the dark corners of their own pasts.

The Diabolist is a chilling novel that not only pulsates with action and suspense, but also mines a trove of fascinating historical, philosophical, and paranormal research to probe some of our closest held beliefs. From the opening pages to the astonishing conclusion, this latest installment in one of today’s most original new thriller series is not to be missed.

BOOK DETAILS: 
  • Title: The Diabolist
  • Genre: Suspense/Mystery/Thriller
  • Author: Layton Green
  • Publisher: Thomas and Mercer (June 4, 2013)
  • Pages: 388
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611099846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611099843
  • Available to purchase at Amazon | B&N

About the Author:
In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for the better part of a decade (even though he still resents having cut his hair for that first interview). He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London, a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, a door-to-door phone book deliverer, and the list goes downhill from there.

He has traveled to more than fifty countries, lived in a number of them, and has a burning desire to see every country, city, beach, moor, castle, cemetery, twisted street and far flung dot on the map. Religion and cults, as well as all things spiritual and supernatural, have also been a lifelong interest. Combine the travel and the religion with fifteen years of Japanese Jujitsu training, and the Dominic Grey series was born.
His latest book is The Diabolist.
Visit his website at www.laytongreen.com.
Connect & Socialize with Layton!

Praise for The Diabolist
“Part international thriller, part philosophic treatise on good and evil, part intricate, unforgettable nightmare-inducing fever dream, THE DIABOLIST has everything you want from a thriller. Layton Green is a master of intellectual suspense. This one’s a killer.”
—    JT Ellison, bestselling author of EDGE OF BLACK

“Layton Green kicks things up a notch and delivers a novel that should, if there's any justice to be found upon the shelves, make him a household name. The Diabolist is a dark, intelligent, spellbinding novel . . . I cannot recommend this one highly enough.”
—    Beauty in Ruins Reviews
 “Green’s The Summoner proved his great talent. The Diabolist ensures his place at the top of crime fiction: his number 1 place.  Unbelievably good, unbelievably intricate, unbelievably Green.”
—    The Review Broads
“The Diabolist by Layton Green brings together ancient religions, New Age cults and heroes with dark pasts in a top-shelf novel . . . It was hard for me to put this book down at night simply to sleep.”
    Night Owl Reviews
“Dan Brown is pretty good at what he does and I don't begrudge him his success, but when it comes to interesting characters embarking on a thrilling exploration into the dark world of cults, religions and magic Layton Green does it SO much better.”
—    Nylon Admiral Reviews

“A well-crafted and exciting thriller with a pair of interesting protagonists . . . and a charismatic villain who makes our skin crawl.”
-      Booklist

“[A] story that will move you to the edge of your seat.”
-   Seattle  Post-Intelligencer


Praise for The Egyptian

“Stirring and imaginative, with an engaging premise that is briskly paced.  Both the characters in the story and the reader are in for a wild ride.”
-       Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling writer of The King's Deception

“[If] James Bond and the X-Files had a love child, this book would be it.”
-      Keryl Raist, To Publish or Not to Publish
“Wow. Layton Green has become the new master of gripping, chilling, and suspenseful stories.”
-      Two Readers Reviews

“[A] fantastic thriller that leaves the reader breathless and on the edge of their seat. Green's writing reminds me of Michael Crichton's works with the mysteries, thrills, and the life-changing scientific discoveries.”
-      Cherie Reich, Surrounded by Books
“This is what you get when you combine Indiana Jones with Ludlum’s Jason Borne . . . A must read for all you lovers of conspiracy theories, thrillers and mysteries alike!”
-      Baffled Books

“I do believe Layton Green has moved into my top 5 author category - not an easy feat to attain!”
-      A Novel Source
“Green’s debut The Summoner was such a great read, I was hoping that he’d duplicate his literary excellence.  In his second book, The Egyptian, Green did not disappoint me, he exceeded my expectations.”
-        BookPleasures.com

Layton Green is an absolutely brilliant writer.”
-      Everything To Do With Books

Never short of climactic events and supernatural thrills, Layton Green twists and turns you in your seat, unraveling a tale so multi-dimensional even the most leery will be attracted.”
-      Luxury Reading


Praise for The Summoner

The Summoner is one of those books that make you want to turn on all the lights in your house and lock the doors . . . The settings are authentic and you can feel and smell the countryside . . . This is a wonderful read for those who enjoy both suspense and action stories.”
—    Seattle  Post-Intelligencer

“Mystical, complicated, completely believable and terrifying . . . [w]ith an ending that will catapult you out of your reading chair.  Riveting.”
—      The Review Broads

“Favorite book of the year so far.”
—      A Novel Source

“An awesome read . . . The writing is polished and evocative, the subject matter fascinating, the characters intriguing, and the pace non-stop.  Spooky and occasionally metaphysical, The Summoner harkens back to The Serpent and the Rainbow in its ability to convincingly portray seemingly paranormal events in a realistic (and therefore even creepier) manner.”
—      Blood Writes, Mystery Pick of the Week
“I moved a little outside my comfort zone with The Summoner, and I am glad I did. A blend of action, history, anthropology, thrills, and chills, all delivered with a mature, polished voice.  I am eager for more from this author.”
—      Scott Nicholson, Bestselling Author

“Layton Green has written a tale with supernatural and political undertones that unravels with ever increasing suspense . . .  The book is plain terrific.”
    Richard Marek, former President and Publisher of E.P. Dutton
“Layton Green is a gifted writer.”
—      Readers Favorite
“Green writes like a dream, and Dominic Grey is a fascinating protagonist . . . . The next installment of Green's suspenseful storytelling and Grey’s next journey can’t come soon enough!”
—      Melody Moezzi, Award-winning Author, War on Error

“[T]his book is above and beyond in its narrative, its cohesiveness, the depth of its characters and the quality of the writing. This is one of the best books I've ever read for Odyssey Reviews.”
—      Odyssey Reviews

Yes, I did put TWO Five Stars up there . . . giving Green's The Summoner Five stars and Five stars alone downplays how I felt about this book . . . BUY THIS BOOK.” 
—      1000 + Books To Read

“[C]alls to mind such series as Jason Bourne and Indiana Jones, with supernatural/religious overtones thrown in.” 
—      Bookhound’s Den

“Wow.  This book, it packs a walloping punch . . . What a truly original story this was.”
—      Tiffany HarkleroadBook Blogger and Amazon Vine Voice

“Truly a captivating novel.  The excitement travels from page to page and this is one story that will stay with you way after you turn that last page.”
—      Socrates’ Book Review

“This is a complex, chilling story, with a lot of depth. It will make you think and it will make you feel.”
—      Bea’s Book Nook


“Fascinating . . . intriguing . . . stunning . . . one of the most thought-provoking novels you will ever read!”
—    Book Reader’s Heaven


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Under a Blackberry Moon by Serena B. Miller (Review)




Just a few days after she gives birth alone in the Northwoods, a recently widowed young Ojibwe woman stumbles into a nearby lumber camp in search of refuge and sustenance. Come summer, the camp owner sends Skypilot, his most trusted friend, to accompany Moon Song and her baby on the long and treacherous journey back to her people. But when tragedy strikes off the shore of Michigan's Upper Peninsula wilderness, Moon Song and Skypilot must depend on each other for survival. With every step they take into the forbidding woods, they are drawn closer together, until the tough questions must be asked. Will she leave her culture to enter his? Will he leave his world to enter hers? Or will they walk away from a love that seems too complicated to last?

With evocative descriptions of a breathtaking landscape, Under a Blackberry Moon will sweep readers into a wild realm where beauty masks danger and only the truly courageous survive, even as the sweet love story along the way tightly grips their hearts.



I GIVE THIS BOOK:1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

MY THOUGHTS:
Under a Blackberry Moon is a very moving and touching tale. The story is rich in detail, which made it very easy to picture everything.

Moon Song was such a complex character. I wasn't sure at first if I was going to like her, but very quickly I did. Then as the story progressed, and I came to understand her, I loved her. I've come to learn that she was a minor character in one of this author's previous books, The Measure of Katie Calloway, and understand why people have said they wanted to see a book about her - she is such a great character!

Under a Blackberry Moon is the first book I've read by this author, but I hope to read her other books soon. Highly recommended!

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***


If you found this review helpful, will you please click yes HERE. Thanks!

“Available October 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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Friday, October 25, 2013

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Katie's Forever Promise by Jerry Eicher

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2013)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In book 3 of author Jerry Eicher’s Emma Raber’s Daughter series, Katie puts her life together after Ben Stoll's betrayal of her love. When she is baptized into the church, she receives a surprising offer that will keep her close to her Amish community—much to her mother’s delight.



Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Series: Emma Raber's Daughter (Book 3)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736952551
ISBN-13: 978-0736952552


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Katie Raber sat on the tall, swivel chair with a smile on her face. She was now mistress and queen of this one-room Amish schoolhouse for the term. Her hiring had been reaffirmed this morning by Enos Kuntz himself, the chairman of the school board. Enos had paid her a special visit, leaving with a friendly nod and a quick comment. “I think you’ll do just fine with your new job, Katie. Let us know if you have any problems.”

Katie swept the top of her teacher’s desk clean with a shaky hand, pausing to replace the small plastic pencil holder she’d knocked over. On the other side of the room, pushed up against the window, sat a table loaded with the year’s supply of schoolbooks. She was a little scared, but she told herself there was nothing to worry about. This world of learning called her, just as she was certain it would also beckon eager young students once school began next week. And then, in less than two months, she would be twenty-one, considered an adult in her Amish community. Her wages would be her own to spend how she chose instead of sharing them with her parents—Mamm and her new husband, Jesse Mast. How blessed Katie felt. It was still hard to comprehend all the changes that had occurred in the last few years.

Katie stood and looked out the window. Enos was driving away in his buggy, his bearded face still visible through the open door. Calm was flooding over Katie now. There could be only one reason he would take the time to drive all the way over here this morning, the week before school officially begins. And it wasn’t because he harbored any doubts about her teaching abilities. The vote to hire her had been unanimous and given with pleased smiles on the faces of all three school board members.

No, Enos had stopped by to emphasize his approval one last time. Likely he thought she needed it—this being her first year teaching. But it was more than that. Enos knew the details of her past, as did all the Amish community. And they wished her well as she continued to put her life back together after the awful situation with Ben Stoll. Even now Ben was sitting in jail, serving out the last few days of his sentence.

Katie had survived that disastrous time because Da Hah had been with her, just as He’d been with Mamm and her after Katie’s daett died. And just as Da Hah had been with the two while Emma Raber raised Katie alone. Katie’s mamm had an awful reputation for a long time. After a love gone wrong in her teen years, a marriage to a man she learned to love, and then being widowed at an early age, Emma had chosen to remain a single mamm, raising her daughter on the land her husband had left her. She’d gone against usual Amish practice by refusing offers of marriage until, by Da Hah’s grace, she’d accepted a marriage proposal by a local farmer named Jesse Mast. That marriage had created a new atmosphere of change and acceptance, and Katie’s reputation had improved along with her mamm’s. After Katie fell in love with Ben and he’d turned out to be involved in the drug trade, part of her acceptance in the community came from how much she was admired for the way she’d handled herself since Ben Stoll’s arrest and imprisonment.

She’d loved Ben with all of her heart. And he had broken and smashed her trust beyond repair. Now he was no longer part of her life. That had all happened over a year ago, when the news of Ben’s arrest had reached Katie while she was in Europe with her Mennonite friends Margaret Kargel, Sharon Watson, and Nancy Keim. Only Da Hah’s healing touch a few days later had kept her from spending years in bitterness and sorrow. The miracle had happened the morning they’d gone up in a cable car high in the Alps to Schilthorn, where she’d seen the mighty works of Da Hah’s hands displayed in the mountain range around her. The tears had flowed freely that morning, washing the deepest pain from her heart. Afterward, she’d returned home and continued mourning her loss for a time, but without the crushing hopelessness that had first gripped her heart. Then last fall she’d made application to join the instruction class to officially join the Amish church, and this spring the wunderbah day had arrived. She’d been baptized by Bishop Jonas Miller himself! She was now a member of the church.

If anyone had entertained doubts about her, they’d been answered in how Katie had lived her life the past year. She still stayed in touch with her Mennonite friends Margaret and Sharon, but she saw them infrequently. The invitation to Margaret’s wedding had arrived in the mail yesterday, and Katie would certainly attend. Beyond that, Sharon and Margaret understood that Katie had made the best choice for her—to stay within the Amish faith. And it was, Katie told herself. Her heart was settled on the matter. The Amish were her people, and this was her home. She’d seen the land of the church fathers in Switzerland, and now she’d chosen this faith for herself. This community in Delaware was the place where her heart could rest for whatever time Da Hah had for her on this earth.

Enos’s buggy was already a black speck just before disappearing around the curve in the road. In addition to his interest in her success in the classroom, there was the suspicion on Katie’s part that Enos had hopes she would be his next daughter-in-law. She could tell by the light that sprang up in his eyes when he spoke to her of his son Norman.

Norman Kuntz, though, wasn’t like his daett at all. He was shy and withdrawn for the most part. The boy was handsome enough and came from an excellent family, so he ought to bubble with confidence, but he didn’t. So far he’d lacked the courage to take Katie home from the Sunday-night hymn singing—although he did spend considerable time stealing glances at her in the meetings. He’d mustered up enough courage lately to send a few tentative smiles her way.

There was nothing in Norman that set Katie’s heart pounding so far. Not like Ben Stoll had done. That had been another matter entirely. But Katie knew she shouldn’t be comparing Norman with Ben. Her life had changed for the better now, and she wasn’t going back to the past. Ben had been a terrible misjudgment, and she didn’t plan to repeat the error.

This time whoever the man was who drove her home, Katie wanted Mamm’s full support. And hopefully Jesse’s too, although he’d mostly care about whether the young man was a gut church member and knew how to work hard. Norman met both of those standards quite well. It helped, of course, that he would be a gut provider for his family, but that paled in comparison to the really important matter to Katie. Her main concern was that Norman would never do what Ben had done—break her heart.

Katie sighed, pushing the dark thoughts aside. Things were coming together well for her. This offer of a teaching job had been another blessing from Da Hah. One of the many she’d been given since Ben’s betrayal.

Katie sighed again, allowing her mind to wander into the past. For years she’d dreamed of capturing Ben Stoll’s attention. Mamm had warned her that such handsome boys were above her, and she shouldn’t dream that way. And that was long before Ben even knew Katie existed. But Mamm had been drawing from her own experience of rejection, and the young man she’d loved had never even asked her home. So Katie had rejected Mamm’s counsel and hadn’t drawn back when Ben finally noticed her at a Mennonite Youth Gathering. She’d ridden in Ben’s buggy and held his hand. They’d even kissed—often and with great joy. How could she have been so wrong about him? Katie pondered the question and managed a faint smile. Even in this situation she could be thankful. The pain of that question no longer stung as much. She’d given the pain and hard questions over to Da Hah. He knew the answers, and He would forgive her where she’d been wrong.

Now she was being given a wunderbah opportunity by the community. They were entrusting her with the care of their children for a whole school year. This honor had been held by Ruth Troyer for the past few years. After chasing Jesse Mast before he’d married Katie’s mamm, Ruth had finally found a man who asked to wed her—Albert Gingerich. He was an older farmer in the community whose wife had passed away last year.

Ruth had stepped down from consideration as a teacher this summer in preparation for her wedding, although she probably hadn’t imagined in her wildest dreams that Katie Raber would be offered her job. Ruth might have hung on for another year if she’d known that. After all, she’d been rebuffed by Jesse in favor of Katie’s mamm, Emma Raber, and the sting of the rejection and community talk surely still rankled in Ruth’s mind.

Katie smiled at the memory of Mamm and Jesse’s courtship. The two widows—Emma and Ruth—had faced each other down, and Mamm had won! The strange thing was that Mamm hadn’t put up much of a fight—at least not out in the open. But maybe that was the allure that drew Jesse in. Katie decided she needed to allow that Mamm had more wisdom than she let on at times. Ruth had had all of Jesse’s children on her side at first, and she put her best moves on Jesse by baking the pecan pies he loved. Mamm, on the other hand, had turned down Jesse’s advances the first few times he came calling, which seemed to make him all the more determined. And when she finally came around, Emma offered nothing but herself. In the end, all of Jesse’s children except Mabel, the eldest, had come over to Mamm’s side.

Mabel hadn’t been the easiest person to live with after the wedding, but since Katie’s return from Europe they were on decent terms. Mabel’s heart had been softened last year by seeing the great heartache Ben’s betrayal had caused Katie.

A rattle of buggy wheels in the schoolyard interrupted her thoughts. Katie walked to the window again. She gasped as Ruth Troyer climbed out of her buggy. What did she want? Had she forgotten some of her personal possessions? If so, she could have come in the evening after I’d gone home, Katie thought. But, there was no sense avoiding Ruth, so she might as well put on a brave front.

“Gut morning,” Ruth said with a forced smile when Katie opened the door.

“Gut morning,” Katie replied as she held the door and invited Ruth in.

“I thought I might catch you here this morning.”

“Yah,” Katie managed to get out, her smile gone now. “There’s much to do before school starts.”

Ruth pushed past her and bustled inside. “I thought I’d drive over in case you might want some advice, seeing this is your first term and all. And remember, I did teach here for three years so I know many of the students and the material. If you have any questions, I’d be glad to answer them.”

Katie swallowed hard. “Did the school board send you?”

Ruth laughed. “Nee, I’m here on my own. Don’t tell me you’re too high and mighty to accept help? Just because you’re a schoolteacher now doesn’t mean we don’t all remember where you came from, Katie Raber. After all, that man of yours is still sitting in jail.”

“I have no connection with Ben Stoll anymore,” Katie countered. “I haven’t seen him since before he was arrested.”

“Well, that doesn’t matter now.” Ruth breezed around the room, speaking over her shoulder. “I guess we all make our mistakes. But I, for one, would have seen that one coming. And I suspect your mamm did, but she was too busy stealing Jesse from me to warn you.”

Katie turned and watched Ruth. This was after all her schoolhouse now, and she’d better act like it was. Katie kept her voice even. “Mamm did have reservations about Ben—just to set the record straight. And she didn’t steal Jesse from you. Jesse made up his own mind.”

Ruth turned around. “Things do turn out for the best now, don’t they? Thank Da Hah Jesse didn’t decide on me. Then I never would have been available for Albert’s proposal. Did you know he farms more than 100 acres northwest of Dover? Some of the best black soil in the area. It’s worth a fortune. He’ll have a mighty gut heritage to hand down to his children.”

Katie forced a smile. “I’m glad for you, Ruth. And Mamm has fallen deeply in love with Jesse, so everything did turn out for the best.”

“It always does.” Ruth glared at Katie. “And I guess you know gut and well why you got this job. Enos is expecting quite a lot out of his investment, if you ask me.”

“I don’t expect you know what you’re speaking of,” Katie said. She tried to still her pounding heart. How this woman could get under her skin! Enos might hope she’d date his son, but he hadn’t made any requirement or suggestion for her to do so while hiring her.

Ruth laughed. “I don’t think you’re that blind, Katie. Enos is a man of high standards. And your past hasn’t gone away, believe me. He’s just overlooking it right now. But if you turn down the advances of his youngest son, I doubt if things will stay that way for long.”

Katie almost sputtered a denial, but she pressed her lips together instead. Nothing would persuade Ruth’s mind. Not once she’d made it up. And there likely was some truth to the woman’s statements.

Ruth smiled, apparently taking Katie’s silence as victory. “Let me show you the books then, and I’ll get out of here. I have a ton of things that need doing for the wedding preparations, but I told myself this morning that I owe you at least one visit since I was the former teacher. I’m aware you know nothing about teaching. I do hate to see you thrown into this situation and making a total mess out of it—to say nothing about all the decent learning from the past few years that could be lost. Let’s look at the books for this term.”

Katie walked toward the table by the window. Two of the books had fallen to the floor while she’d been going through them, but she hadn’t noticed until Ruth’s criticizing presence entered the room.

Ruth marched over and bent down to pick up the books. “This is no way to treat new books! I always told myself, if I don’t respect the school’s property, how can I expect ‘my’ children to? Because they do, after all, learn more by example than by any lecture. But how would you know such a thing? Your mamm probably never taught you much.”

Katie choked back her response. Ruth was trying to goad her into saying something she might regret. And Enos had just been here, and he’d said nothing about books lying on the floor. Everyone knew such things happened during unpacking. But Katie knew Ruth would only see more of Enos’s scheming and favor in his silence, so she might as well keep quiet about that too.

Ruth’s voice continued in lecture mode. “These are your first-grade reading books, Katie. Be sure to spend plenty of time with that age group. The children need to learn quickly because everything else is at a standstill until they learn how to read.”

Katie nodded, forcing herself to listen. Ruth was telling her some
gut things, and she did have much to learn. She even managed to keep a smile on her face as the former teacher droned on far longer than Katie had hoped. Over an hour later, Katie was more than ready to see Ruth leave. She summoned up her best manners as Ruth finally prepared to go. “Thank you for your time, Ruth. I do appreciate it.”

“It’s gut that you can listen,” Ruth remarked. “I guess your mamm taught you something after all. Now, will you come out and hold my horse for me? He gets a little skittish when I take off. Albert promised me a decent horse when I move into his house after the wedding. Now that’s a decent man, if you ask me.”

Katie held her tongue as she walked outside. She held the bridle of Ruth’s horse as the former teacher climbed inside the buggy.

“I hope you remember everything I told you,” Ruth said as she took off with a slap of the reins.

Grinding her teeth, Katie watched Ruth go. That woman was the limit and then some. But Ruth was also a creature Da Hah had made, and her elder besides. And the woman had given her some useful advice.

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