Saturday, November 20, 2010

Review of Masquerade by Nancy Moser

Bethany House sent me this complimentary book to review for them.

1886. Charlotte Gleason embarks from England with conflicting emotions. She is headed for New York to marry one of America's wealthiest heirs--a man she has never even met. When her doubts gain the upper hand, she swaps identities with her maid Dora. She wants a chance at "real life," even if it means giving up financial security. For Charlotte, it's a risk she's willing to take. But what begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl becomes a test of survival beyond her blackest nightmare.

For Dora, it's the chance of a lifetime. She is thrust into a fairy tale amid ball gowns and lavish mansions, yet is tormented by the possibility of discovery--and humiliation. And what of the man who believes she is indeed his intended? Is this what her heart truly longs for?

Loved this book except for a couple things. At the time in the book where the girls switched identities, the author changed the names throughout the rest of the book to their "switched identity" names, but then back to their original names at the end. It was rather confusing as the switch didn't come until almost half way in and so you had to switch your mind too. It was a very creative idea though in having them switch identities. Good book!

Review of Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller

Bethany House sent me this complimentary book to review for them.

Johanna Ilg has lived her entire life in Main Amana, one of the seven villages settled by devout Christians who believe in cooperative living, a simple lifestyle, and faithful service to God. Although she's always longed to see the outside world, Johanna believes her future is rooted in Amana. But when she learns a troubling secret, the world she thought she knew is shattered. Is this truly where she belongs?

Berta Schumacher has lived a privileged life in Chicago, so when her parents decide they want a simpler life in Amana, Iowa, she resists. Under the strictures of the Amana villages, her rebellion reaches new heights. Will her heart ever be content among the plain people of Amana?

This is the first book in the Daughters of Amana series. A fast read that follows these two girls and their journey of their late teenage years in the late 1800's. One wanting to see the world beyond her village and one entering the village from the outer world. Great writing with some turns in there as well.

Looking forward to reading the second book in this series.

Review of Hearts Awakening by Delia Parr

Bethany House sent me this complimentary copy to review for them.

Life has left few choices for Elvira Kilmer. Her hopes for marriage and a family of her own have long since passed her by, and her arrival on Dillon's Island, nestled in the Susquehanna River, is not of her choosing, either. She needs work. And Jackson Smith needs a housekeeper.

Yet Ellie never imagined the widower would be so young... so handsome.

Jackson, on the other hand, has never met anyone quite so... plain. But he quickly comes to realize that Ellie's presence may solve his own problems--both the rearing of his young boys and the scandal that surrounds his first marriage.

When Jackson offers her something quite out of the ordinary, will Ellie look beyond mere necessity and risk opening her heart?

Set in the mid-1800's, this book speaks of love from the inside out. Not based on a young, beautiful woman, but of a plain woman past the "prime" marrying age. One who was scorned and thought of as a thorn in the side by her extended family. One who has to find work on her own but yet stands up for herself. It's also about a man who loved a woman he couldn't have and married a woman he didn't love, but found out about what true love really is. True love of God and those he created.

A good book that will be read again in the future.

Review of In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Bethany House publishers sent me this complimentary book to review for them.

As three friends who grew up in the same orphanage head off to college together, they each harbor a special plan for the future. Libby Conley hopes to become a famous journalist. Pete Leidig believes God has called him to study to become a minister. And Bennett Martin plans to pledge a fraternity, find a place to belong, and have as much fun as possible. But as tensions rise around the world on the brink of World War I, the friends' differing aspirations and opinions begin to divide them, as well.

When Libby makes a shocking discovery about Pete's family, will it drive a final wedge between the friends or bond them in ways they never anticipated?

Set in the early 1900's, three orphans are embarking on a new stage in life when they head off to college. This book follows the three as they struggle with who they are and who they desire to become. The reader journeys with these three as they learn about true friendship and what it mean's to accept God's love.

Nothing too in depth or cliff hanging in this book, but if you like a good, easy read, this one is for you.

Review of The Falling Away by T.L. Hines

Book Sneeze sent me this complimentary copy to review for them.

He's been running from his calling, his troubles, and his demons. His demons just caught up.

He has a unique name...and a unique problem.

A member of Montana's Crow Tribe, he is called Dylan Runs Ahead. But that name couldn't be more off, because he's spent years running away--from his family, his people, his past...and himself.

Now he's running out of places to run.

He's haunted by his younger sister's disappearance, the recent death of a friend, and his impending sense of being chosen for something of great importance.

But before Dylan can figure out what it really means to be chosen, and whether he's going to embrace the cost of that calling, he's going to have to slow down and face the demons he's been running from. Demons that are all too real...and aren't about to back down.

Enter a world where things aren't quite what they seem...a novel bursting with supernatural suspense, well-crafted characters, and spiritual insights that will defy your expectations and leave you both breathless and hopeful.

Having read a T.L. Hines book before, I somewhat knew what to expect. I wasn't taken off guard when the flash backwards started happening. Or when strange circumstances started taking place. What an interesting read of which I had no idea where it was going or how it would end. Boarding on the line of a Frank Peretti type book, this one had me hooked from the beginning to the end.

Review of Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson

Revell Books sent me this complimentary book to review for them.

Christmas is approaching, and Lena Markham finds herself penniless, friendless, and nearly hopeless. She is trying to restart her life after false accusations landed her in prison, but job opportunities are practically nonexistent.
When a secondhand red coat unexpectedly lands her a job as Mrs. Santa at a department store, Lena finally thinks her luck is changing. But can she keep her past a secret?

This short book was a very sweet, simple read. It showed how there are people who intentionally hurt and those who intentionally love and how both can affect a person on so many different levels.

In this book, Lena has been intentionally hurt and intentionally loved, her struggles through how her past has affected her present and how non-judging love of others helped her move on.

With the holiday season approaching, this book was a simple reminder to be thankful for what you have, for those placed in your life who love you no matter what and for a God who never gives up on you.

Available November 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Lots of book reviews coming down the pike. After that, there will be lots to write about!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Review of Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander

Bethany House Publishers sent me this complimentary book to review for them.

This is Book three in the Timber Ridge Reflections Series. "Deep in the Colorado Territory, widow Rachel Boyd struggles to keep her ranch afloat. Faced with a loss she can't afford--and forced to trust the one man she's always avoided--she is about to learn that sometimes the greatest step of faith is taken neck-deep in fear."

A good read all around. With not having read the first two books in the series, it was a stand easily a stand alone book and easy to follow. It was intriguing reading about the beginnings of using chest compressions to restart the heart and how during this time period it was unheard of and even controversial.

The characters were well developed and the story line was smooth and easy to follow. A good book for the shelf.

My favorite part? The opening scene. Bizarre and very attention getting. Loved that part.