Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jolina Petersheim's The Alliance ~ Reviewed


The Alliance
Molina Petersheim
Series: The Alliance
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Author Signed edition (June 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1496402219

Description: 

When Leora Ebersole sees the small plane crash in her Old Order Mennonite community, she has no idea it's a foreshadowing of things to come. Soon after the young pilot, Moses Hughes, regains consciousness, they realize his instruments were destroyed by the same power outage that killed the electricity at the community store, where Englischers are stranded with dead cell phones and cars that won't start.

Moses offers a sobering theory, but no one can know how drastically life is about to change. With the only self-sustaining food supply in the region, the Pacifist community is forced to forge an alliance with the handful of stranded Englischers in an effort to protect not only the food but their very lives.

In the weeks that follow, Leora, Moses, and the community will be tested as never before, requiring them to make decisions they never thought possible. Whom will they help and whom will they turn away? When the community receives news of a new threat, everyone must decide how far they're willing to go to protect their beliefs and way of life.

Review: 

The Alliance takes place in an Old Order Mennonite Community. Leora Ebersole is taken aback when a small plane crashes in her community. The pilot, Moses Hughes, regains concsiousness, and realizes his plane crashed because his instruments were destroyed by a strange power outage the took out the electricity and power in all of the local stores. Not only that, the cars and cell phones of the Englishers in town were not working either. Moses, theory is that there was an EMP attack, causing the loss of all power and electricity, and that it will not come back. This results in the town and the Englischers coming together to ration food and protect their families and belongings from anyone who might come along from the cities. This ordeal tests both Leora and Moses, not only in their faith, but the struggle they have with the growing attraction they feel towards each other.

This was a very interesting storyline that I did not expect when I started the story. I guess the thing that hits home is that this is something that could realistically happen today, and it makes you wonder what will happen, how the world will react, and how we as believers are to conduct ourselves. Of course, God is sovereign over all, and we can trust him if something like this happens. However, it is a bit scary to think about. I'm hoping there is a sequel to this book as I felt like the ending was abrupt.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Suzanne Woods Fisher's The Quieting ~ Reviewed



The Quieting
Suzanne Woods Fisher
  • Series: The Bishop's Family (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (May 3, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080072321X

Description: 

Bestselling Author Delivers the Intrigue and Romance Fans Crave

The Stoltzfus family faces serious problems, both in the church and at home. Everyone in the community expects minister David Stoltzfus to fix things--fast. But David doesn't work fast. He prefers to wait for God to work in individual hearts. However, even he is left wondering if the solution to their most pressing problem might be a Quieting.

When David's mother arrives, uninvited, more upheaval is in store. She has matchmaking plans for everyone in the family, including David and her eligible granddaughters--and especially for David's niece Abigail. When Abigail stumbles onto a curious connection during her genealogical research, it could help David solve one problem--but will it create another?

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher takes fans back to Stoney Ridge, delivering the twists, turns, and romance they adore.


Review: 

The Quieting is book two in the series, “The Bishop's Family.” This book picks up where book number one leaves off. It has come out that the Bishop has been dishonest, but he refuses to acknowledge his sin, so David is at odds with how to handle the situation, as he is not a confrontational person. In the meantime, his overbearing mother decides to come help him get his life and family together. David's niece, Abigail, and her sister, Laura, also come to help. Abigail's main reason for being there is to help her father with some genealogical records of a prominent family in the district. She ends up getting help from one of the family members, Dane, and in the process, begins to have feelings for him as well. But her no nonsense logic threatens to seclude from everyone she cares about and is beginning to care about.

I was SO excited to get this book to see what happens next. I like how it picks up immediately where the other book left off, and while we began to follow some different characters, we also got to learn more about the characters from the last book and how their lives are progressing. Abigail's character was intriguing to me. She saw everything as black and white and was brutally honest in what she said, but had no tact. As the story progressed, I think she began to see that she needed to learn to think a bit before she said what she was really thinking. Can't wait to read the next one.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Beth Vogt's Almost Like Being in Love ~ Reviewed



ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE
Beth K. Vogt
Series: Destination Wedding
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Howard Books (June 28, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476789800


Description: 

From the author of Somebody Like You, a RITA finalist, and one of Publishers Weekly’s top ten books of 2014, comes the story of a woman who has everything for a perfect wedding—except the groom!

Winning an all-expenses paid Colorado destination wedding might seem like a dream come true for some people—but Caron Hollister and her boyfriend Alex Madison aren’t even engaged. How is she supposed to tell him she’s won their wedding and honeymoon when he hasn’t asked her to marry him? Being “perfect for one another” seems like the absolute best reason to get married. But what if their supposedly faultless relationship is merely a safe place to protect his secrets and a way to keep their families happy? After quitting her job, Caron accepts her best friend’s offer to visit Colorado. She needs to catch her breath. Who knows, maybe visiting the destination wedding site will make a future with Alex seem like a reality.

Kade Webster just landed the biggest deal of his life with his company, Webster Select Realty, participating in the Colorado Springs Tour of Homes. He never imagined he would run into the woman who broke his heart—Caron Hollister—right when his career is taking off. Seeing her again, Kade can’t help but wonder why Caron walked away from him years ago, leaving him with no explanation. When Kade learns his home stager won’t be able to help with the Tour of Homes, he vaults past all the reasons he should stay away from Caron, and offers her a temporary job helping him on the project. This time, their relationship is purely business.

Spending time with Kade has Caron questioning everything. The man intrigues her—at times infuriates her—and reminds her of what she lost. Has she been settling for what everyone expects of her? Just because others believe she and Alex are an ideal couple, does that mean they should get married? And how can Caron say “I do” to one man when she’s wondering “what if?” about another?


Review: 

Almost Like Being In Love is the next book in The Destination Wedding Series. This time, we follow Logan Hollister's sister, Caron. Everything she's done in her life up to this point has been to please her father and win his praises – even dating Alex, the son of family friends. Even to the point of breaking up with the one man she loved, Kade Webster. Kade worked for her father in Real Estate, but when he decided to branch out on his own, Caron's father wanted nothing to do with him, so Caron choose pleasing her father over Kade. But after recent decisions in his Real Estate business, Caron has quit her job with him and decides to go visit a friend in Colorado. While there, she happens to run into Kade again. After returning home to sort out her life, Kade calls to offer her a temporary job, which she decides to take. The story then follows them trying to fight their feelings for each other, and, not surprisingly, doing a poor job at it.

I really liked this story. More than Crazy Little Thing Called Love
, I think. I don't know what it was about it. Maybe seeing Caron finally break free and make a decision for herself rather than trying to please someone else. This was a great story!



Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Deb Richardson-Moore's The Cantaloupe Thief ~ Reviewed


The Cantaloupe Thief (A Branigan Powers Mystery)
by Deb Richardson-Moore 
Paperback – June 27, 2016
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1782641920


Book Description: 

A murder mystery set in NE Georgia, USA, and featuring a reporter, Branigan Powers, who is commissioned to investigate a cold case, an unsolved murder of a wealthy widow ten years previously. She enlists the help of Malachi Ezekiel Martin, a homeless man who is both a possible suspect and a possible sleuth: the idea being that homeless people get overlooked, and hence see things that are concealed from the rest of the population.  This is the first in an intended series of novels featuring Branigan, Malachi, and Branigan's friend Liam, who runs a shelter for the homeless.

Review: 

First can I say that this book description is painfully dry? 

I received this novel randomly from the publisher and picked it up to decide whether or not to read and review it or send it on down the road. I get books I don't ask for and review maybe ten percent. Fortunately, I have others near me who love to read and some who review so that's where most of them go. 

I kept The Cantaloupe Thief after opening it and getting hooked early on. I'm really glad I did. There are two solid mysteries in the novel, and many, many possibilities for the culprit or culprits. I like that, there is not much more disappointing then figuring out whodunnit in chapter two. I did not and was leaning a whole different direction for much of the story. Definitely a win in the mystery department. I also liked the characters, setting and overall feel of the story. A great, solid four-star read for sure. Since this is book one of a series I'll look forward to more. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Irene Hannon's Sea Rose Lane ~ Reviewed



SEA ROSE LANE
Irene Hannon
Series: Hope Harbor
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Revell (June 7, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800727541

Three-Time RITA Winner Invites Readers Back to the Captivating Coastal Town of Hope Harbor 
After a devastating layoff, attorney Eric Nash heads back to the town where he grew up--only to discover that his childhood home is being transformed into a bed & breakfast. Instead of plotting his next career move in peace, he's constantly distracted by noise, chaos--and BJ Stevens, the attractive but prickly blonde architect and construction chief who's invaded the house with her motley crew.

As for BJ, her client's son might be handsome, but after a disastrous romance, dating isn't high on her agenda. Yet when they join forces to create a program for Hope Harbor seniors, might they also find healing, hope, and a new beginning themselves?

Three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon takes readers back to Hope Harbor for a new season of charm, romance, and second chances.

Review:

Sea Rose Lane is another book in the Hope Harbor Novel Series. This one involves Eric Nash, who is returning home to Hope Harbor after having been let go from the law firm he was working for. He had been working for most of his adult life to move up in a law firm, so he's at a loss as to what direction he is supposed to go in now. BJ Stevens owns her own construction company and is remodeling Eric's father's home into a bed and breakfast. She left the big city life after a bad relationship, and has enjoyed her time in Hope Harbor, using her talents to help those in need, and enjoying a quieter life. Their first meeting involves a car accident, so they leave with bad impressions of each other, but as they continue to “bump” into each other, they find qualities about the other that are admirable and attractive. However, Eric is unsure if he wants to leave the big city life and stay in Hope Harbor, and BJ is not willing to give her heart away to someone who is going to leave.

I enjoyed reading another book in this series. Hope Harbor sounds like a place I would like to visit or live. I enjoyed watching Eric's perspective change as he adjusted to a slower paced life. The life he had led before, working 60 plus hour weeks and living only for his job, sounds miserable. I think he began to realize that as the story unfolded. This was a great read.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Terri Blackstock's If I Run ~ Reviewed

  • If I Run
  • Terri Blackstock
  • File Size: 1959 KB
  • Print Length: 319 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (February 16, 2016)
  • Publication Date: February 16, 2016
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing

Description: 

Casey knows the truth. But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truthThat’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Review: 

If I run is my new favorite Blackstock novel. From the second the story starts until the minute it ends with a massive cliff hanger I was hooked. 

The opening moments show Casey removing blood stained clothes, gathering what she can't leave behind and grieving a huge loss. And the evidence will show Casey murdered her best friend. 

As she attempts to find truth that can clear her and bring the killer to light she finds herself getting involved in another dark secret unrelated to her murder charges and just as deadly. 

This novel is not tied up in a nice bow at the end. There will be another book or more to finish the story. If you hate cliffhanger endings this one might frustrate you. The only other iffy point is the fact that there is murder and a couple scenes involving child endangerment. But if you love PI or police procedurals it's top notch. I loved the characters as well. Very solidly three dimensional and the writing is smooth and engaging. It's pretty rare for me to give 5 star reviews the longer I've been reviewing. But this one earns 5 from me. 

As per usual, I received an Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher so I could offer my opinions. 

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer
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Friday, August 05, 2016

Kim Vogel Sawyer's When Love Returns ~ Reviewed

WHEN LOVE RETURNS 
Kim Vogel Sawyer
  • File Size: 13773 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook (September 22, 2015)
  • Publication Date: September 22, 2015
  • Sold by: Random House LLC



Description: 

Riddled with doubt and lingering regrets, will Suzanne and Paul find strength in God to explore a second chance at love?  
 
It wasn’t easy to move back to the Old Order Mennonite community from which quiet, responsible Suzanne Zimmerman was shamefully sent away as a pregnant teen. Returning twenty years later to take care of her mother, Suzanne and Alexa—the daughter she raised as her own—have spent months rebuilding relationships with her family. 
 
Now with the upcoming wedding of their biological daughter,  Suzanne and Paul find themselves drawn to one another once again—but with new challenges to face. They have been single parents with painful pasts. Can Paul and Suzanne find the strength to rebuild the loving relationship that was torn apart by their teen pregnancy so long ago? 
 
Suzanne must also let go of Alexa as she heads back to Indianapolis to visit friends--and as her chance to find her birth parents. Leaving the bed-and-breakfast in Suzanne’s apprehensive hands, Alexa embarks on a journey that will certainly change her life completely. Can mother and daughter trust God to restore all things in His timing?

Review:

When Love Returns is book three in The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy. In this book, Suzanne moves back to the Mennonite community to help her adopted daughter, Alexa, run the Bed and Breakfast at her Mother's home. It proves more difficult than she anticipated, as she has to work closely with Anna Grace, the daughter she gave up for adoption to family members 20 years sooner, as well as the man she once loved and Anna Grace's father, Paul. To make matters even harder, Anna Grace does not know they are her parents. In the meantime, Alexa decides she needs to search for her birth mother as well. What she doesn't realize is that her birth mother has also begun a search for her!

I didn't read book one in this series, so I missed out on some of the details, but I did read book two. I was very excited to get this book and see how things turned out for everyone. My heart hurt for Suzanne, having to work so closely with her real daughter while not letting on who she was, and watching her adopted daughter leave to find her birth mom. I had a hard time putting the book down because I wanted to see everything get resolved so that everyone had their happy ending. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers