Monday, December 3, 2012

Pansy at the Palace

Pansy at the Palace is a mystery book for children written by Cynthia Bardes.  Pansy is a poodle who is waiting for the perfect person to come adopt her from the shelter.  When a little girl named Avery walks in, Pansy knows she is the one.  Avery lives in a very posh Beverly Hills Hotel and living in a hotel is a new adventure for Pansy.  Pansy loves her new life of meeting all the nice people, eating by the pool, and of course playing with Avery.  The only thing that isn’t perfect is a mean cat named Desiree.  Pansy can sense something is amiss with the strange cat.  Suddenly there is a jewel thief stealing from everyone in the hotel.  If Avery and Pansy don’t find out who it is their beloved hotel will close down.  Follow sweet Pansy on her hotel adventure!
This is a very sweet story that children will enjoy.  Pansy and Avery are easy characters to fall in love with and cheer on.  The illustrations are soft and charming and complement the story well.  The storyline is not scary, but is still exciting so it is suitable for children of all ages. My children really enjoyed Pansy’s hotel mystery and have asked to read it several times.  This is a cute book for the keeper shelf. 
Provided by the Author for Review

Pansy at the Palace

Monday, November 26, 2012

No Safe Harbor

No Safe Harbor is book one in the Edge of Freedom Series by Elizabeth Ludwig.  Cara Hamilton has crossed the ocean and left her beloved Ireland to come to New York for a secret purpose.  Her brother Eoghan left Ireland under dangerous and dubious circumstances and thought to be dead, but has suddenly contacted Cara.  Cara makes fast friends with a mysterious Rourke Walsh and other girls at her boarding house, but she seems to make fast enemies as well for no apparent reason.  Do these enemies have something to do with Eoghan?  With no word from her brother and danger seemingly to close in Cara feels that she has to trust someone, but who?

I loved this book!  It is very exciting, mysterious and suspenseful.  The political and religious turmoil had its roots in Ireland, but came across the ocean at full force.  I don’t know much about the history of New York in the late 1800’s and loved how much history is found in this novel.  I loved how Ludwig incorporated Ellis Island and true historical events to make this a very believable story. We have Irish roots and it was so interesting to see the fierce family loyalty and religious and political prejudice.  Of course the best part is always the love story and it was wonderful!  Definitely recommend this book! 

Provided by the Publisher for review

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Christmas Roses

Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot is the story of Celia Anderson, recently widowed with a new baby.  Celia has opened a boarding house and is barely making ends meet.  Everyone is pressuring her to remarry and she has options, but no one stirs her heart until a stranger comes to town.  Mark Williams is not in search of a wife, but his father who abandoned him years ago.  He follows a lead to Easton Wyoming for his father, but Celia and her daughter Emma capture him and stir conflicting feelings. Could he find his father and love at the same time?  Christmas is a time for miracles! 
I enjoy Cabot as an author and this book is the perfect thing to get you in the Christmas spirit!  Celia and Mark’s story is very gentle and shows God’s love and mercy for his children.  Celia is a strong woman that won’t settle and is willing to work hard to provide for her and her daughter; a heroine you will enjoy cheering on throughout the story.  This is a lovely Christmas story that will be cherished my home for many years to come. 

Provided by the Publisher for Review
Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Promise to Love

A Promise to Love is Serena B. Miller’s latest novel.  Ingrid Larsen came to America from her beloved Sweden to meet her brother Hans with a dream to build a farm together in Michigan.  Yet, it appears that Hans has disappeared which leaves Igrid to find work or starve.  Joshua Hunter is suddenly a widowed father of five after his wife mysteriously dies.  The court will recant his parental rights unless he finds a wife right away.  Ingrid offers to marry Joshua and care for his children.  Reluctantly Joshua accepts to keep his family intact, but vows to shield his heart from Ingrid.  Will the love of her Savior, Jesus Christ and adopted children be enough to see Ingrid through the difficult challenges being married to Joshua brings?

I loved this novel!  I read a lot of Christian fiction and this one really stands out!  The character development is superb and the storyline is exciting, romantic, and haunting at times.  You will want to cheer for Ingrid as she conquers obstacle after obstacle and brings healing to a very broken family.  This book shows God’s redeeming love and how complete healing and restoration can be made real through His grace.  I loved learning all the interesting historical aspects of Michigan that this novel brings to light.  Don’t miss out on Ingrid’s story, it is a joy to read.  Hopefully there is a sequel! 

Provided by the Publisher for Review

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Promise to Love, A: A Novel 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When a Woman Loves a Man: Pursuing His Heart

When a Woman Loves a Man: Pursing His Heart by James Ford Jr. is a guide on how a woman is to love her husband.  Using biblical scriptures and examples Ford takes the wife through six principles crucial to loving the man God has joined her with.  The six principles are:  fulfilling God’s design, completing, submitting, cherishing, caring for and covering her husband.  Society norms and expectations should not determine the behavior and actions of a wife, but the word of God should.  God designed a woman to complete her husband and this book’s six principals show how to do just that. 

This book is a quick read and is packed with biblical substance.  Ford is very straightforward on the role that God has ordained for women in the marriage relationship.  The husband will never become the man God intends him to be if the wife is interfering with his growth with God by not fulfilling her intended role in the relationship.  I loved how Ford described that God made man incomplete when he removed Adam’s rib and can only be completed again when joined with his wife.  I appreciated Ford’s “blunt” approach and this book is an easy read that I know that I reference back to.  This book goes hand in hand with Ford’s book, When a Man Loves a Woman: Pursing Her Heart. 
Provided by the Publisher for Review

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Farmer's Daughter: Recipes from a Mennonite Kitchen

A Farmer’s Daughter: Recipes from a Mennonite Kitchen is a brand new cookbook by Dawn Stoltzfus.  Dawn shares wholesome and simple recipes covering every course!  Her recipes are simple to complete and she includes a “tips” section where she will give you different suggestions to help this cookbook work for your schedule and cooking style.  For example if she has a stovetop recipe she will give you a tip on how to turn it into a crock pot recipe.  I loved her short musings on growing up a Mennonite and being a woman of faith.  I am not a big cookbook person because I usually search online and have limited storage space in my kitchen; I definitely don’t mind making room for this cookbook!  It had me at Mennonite Kitchen and it’s a keeper. 

One recipe I tried was Chicken with Pecan Sauce.  The yummy ingredients caught my eye and I had to try it.  First of all it presented well and is what I consider company worthy.  Breaded and seasoned chicken is topped with toasted pecans and delicious gravy.  It passed the kid test with both my cuties at my house which is always a huge accomplishment!  I don’t often repeat too many recipes, but this one we can definitely have again.  I paired it with lima beans and biscuits and it was a great dinner.  This cookbook is simple with a wide array of recipes and I am so glad to have it on my kitchen shelf! 


Chicken with Pecan Sauce:

½ cup pecan halves

¼ cup salted butter, divided

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. cracked pepper

1/8 tsp. red pepper (optional)

½ tsp. paprika

¼ cup + 1 Tbsp. flour, divided

8 chicken tenderloins or 4 chicken breasts, flattened

1 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

½ cup chicken broth

½ tsp. dried thyme

Over medium-low heat, sauté pecans and 2 tablespoons butter for 2-3 minutes or until pecans are toasted and smell fragrant.  Remove from heat.  Mix salt, peppers, paprika, and ¼ cup flour in small, shallow bowl.  Dredge chicken in mixture.  Sauté in remaining butter for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and fully cooked.  Place cooked chicken on a plate, cover with pecans. 

Return skillet to heat and add remaining flour, brown sugar, vinegar, and chicken broth.  Cook about 3 minutes, stirring, until gravy thickens.  Remove from heat and stir in Thyme.  Spoon over pecans and chicken.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4.


Provided by the Publisher for Review


Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Twice Promised

Twice Promised is the second book in the Blue Willow Brides Series by Maggie Brendan.  Greta Olsen came from Holland with her two sisters to America.  She watched her older sister’s love story bloom as a mail-order bride to a rancher in Wyoming. Greta decides to become such a bride after tragedy steals the life of her fiancé Bryan.  Greta enthusiastically sets off for Central City, Colorado to meet Jess Gifford the man she thought she had been corresponding to for several months.  There is just one problem; Cora Johnson is there for the same reason. To make matters worse, Jess Gifford knows nothing of the two mail-order brides that his brother has corresponded to in his stead.  Will either of them stay?  Will Jess find the wife he never knew he needed?

Even though this is a second book in a series you can read it as a standalone as I did.  I have always been fascinated with mail-order bride stories and this one is very sweet.  Greta is a very likeable heroine and I loved watching the friendship bloom between her and Cora.  A very funny component was how Greta takes to running the store and making several changes much to Jess’s dismay.  This was a lovely read that shows that God can work any situation for our good.  Greta and Cora’s love stories take many unexpected turns but both end with a very satisfying conclusion. 

Provided by the Publisher for review

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Twice Promised: A Novel (The Blue Willow Brides)

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Voice in the Wind

A Voice in the Wind is the first book in the Mark of the Lions Series by Francine Rivers.  Hadassah is the lone survivor of her family during the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and is sent to Rome as a slave.  She is placed in service to a wealthy merchant’s daughter Julia.  As she tries to keep Julia from destroying herself and everyone around her Hadassah is exposed to every sin imaginable and clings to her faith.  As she tries to help Julia find her way she desperately tries to distance herself from Marcus, Julia’s older brother.  Marcus has a hold on her heart that will never be realized.  From gladiators to aristocrats, Hadassah impacts many lives, but what would the cost be if anyone discovers her to be a Christian?

This is my first Francine Rivers novel and I couldn’t read it fast enough.  Rivers takes an incredible part of Christian history and weaves into an epic novel that shows the brutality and persecution that the early church faced.  Yet the more difficult the journey became for Hadassah the stronger her faith grew in the Lord.  I was shocked, saddened, intrigued, and impacted by Hadassah’s story and look forward to the next installment of this series.  If you like history, read this book.  If you like romance read this book.  If you like Christian fiction, READ THIS BOOK! 

Provided by the Publisher for Review
A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Penny and Her Doll

Penny and Her Doll is Kevin Henkes second book about Penny the mouse.  Penny has had the most wonderful surprise, a new doll sent from Grandma.  The doll’s bow is perfect, the doll’s pink cheeks are perfect and the doll’s big buttons are perfect.  The only thing that is not perfect is that Penny cannot come up with a name for her doll.  Mama and Papa try to help Penny come up with the perfect name but nothing seems to fit.  As Penny shows her doll around the house the perfect name finally comes to her!

Nothing goes together like Henkes and mouse stories!  His illustrations are always a treat and every little girl that has ever loved a doll will adore this book.  This is perfect for beginning readers.  Make sure to check out Penny and Her Song as well.  Hopefully there will be more Penny stories to come!

Provided by the Publisher for review
Penny and Her Doll

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Life with Lily

Life with Lily is the first book in the The Adventures of Lily Lapp Series by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher. Lily is a six year old Amish girl who lives on an upstate New York farm with her parents and two younger brothers.  Lily’s days are filled with helping mama with chores, trying to stay out of trouble with her naughty friend Mandy and braving school with a mean teacher.  Lily loves her rag doll Sally, birthday cake, and helping Grandpa in his harness shop.  Lily does not like scary neighbors, little brothers who tattle, and being the youngest kid in school. 

This book was absolutely precious and will capture every little girl’s heart who reads it.   The Amish have such an incredible lifestyle and your child will learn a great deal from this book.  Lily is such a likeable little girl and her antics will crack you up from beginning to end.  It reminded me to be thankful for what I have and the joy of simplicity.  It was very interesting to watch Lily yearn for “English” things such as a real doll, candy bars and store bought bread and be very fearful and shy of certain things like Halloween and a local parade.  I can’t wait for the second book coming February of 2013.

Provided by the Publisher for review

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Life with Lily (The Adventures of Lily Lapp)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Love on the Line

Love on the Line is Deeanne Gist’s newest novel.  Georgie Gail is the switchboard operator for Washington County Texas.  She is a fierce lover of birds, feisty and extremely proud of her independence.  Luke Palmer is supposed to be just another troubleman for SWT&T.  He is not suppose to be an undercover Texas Ranger hunting down train robbers, a crack shot when it comes to bird hunting and just so darn handsome.  As Luke tries to become a member of the elusive gang he is after and Georgie tries to protect her precious birds from ending up dead on hat because of the latest fashions; their worlds crash and crash hard.  Luke will have to protect Georgie and her birds and try to protect his stubborn heart at the same time. 

I adore Deeanne Gist.  She is hilarious and it is always such a joy to read her historical fiction.  She finds these incredible and often looked over bits of history and weaves them with romance, humor and action into a great novel.  Georgie, Luke and Bettina are fantastic characters that I cheered on the entire time.  I could not stop laughing and never knew how interesting birds are.  I have a whole new appreciation for the species.  You will enjoy this Hello Gal’s story as much as I did.  My only complaint is I tend to fly through her work much too quickly.

Love on the Line

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whispers in the Wind

Whispers in the Wind  is the second book in Lauraine Snelling’s Wild West Wind series. Cassie has finally made it to the Black Hills of South Dakota, only to discover some other family has built a ranch on her father’s property.  With nowhere else to go Cassie confronts the Engstrom family.  Ransom and Lucas Engstrom are furious that their mother never told them that their father had a partner and now his partner’s daughter has shown up to claim half of the ranch. Mavis invites Cassie and her traveling companions to stay at the cabin on the far end of the ranch.  Now that Cassie and her loved ones have a home she must still figure out a way to earn money.  Cassie might have a lot to learn about ranching, but she can earn money trick riding and shooting. Now only if she can find a way to perform, prove to Ransom that she belongs on the ranch and protect her family from the town’s prejudice.

I am so impressed with Snelling’s knowledge of the era.  I love authentic and well-researched novels and Snelling does an amazing job of depicting ranching in 1906. The intensity of Cassie finally arriving and confronting the Engstroms was very intense and I loved watching the characters interact and reluctantly come together.  Cassie’s desire to protect her family and provide for them at any cost is fierce.  The Engstrom brothers couldn’t be more different and Cassie is confused by the emotions they each evoke.  The danger, love story and struggle to make her father’s dream come true make Cassie’s story an enjoyable one.  I am very excited about the next installment in the series. 
Provided by the Publisher for review
 Whispers in the Wind (Wild West Wind)  



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Valley of Dreams

Valley of Dreams is the first book in the Wild West Wind Series by Lauraine Snelling.  Cassie Lockwood only knows life as a trick rider and sharpshooter in Wild West Touring Show that she has starred in since she was a young child.  That abruptly comes to an end as her Uncle Jason bankrupts the show and leaves everyone high and dry.  With nothing but the show wagon and little bit of live stock Cassie heads to her father’s valley where he had always dreamed of ranching.  Cassie is joined by Chief and Micah, both show hands and heads to the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Cassie must learn how to take of herself and protect her loved ones.  There are many surprises awaiting Cassie as she ventures to fulfill her father’s dream. 

I always appreciate an author who really researches the era that they are writing about and Snelling offers a very authentic and interesting read.  I loved watching the two parallel story lines unfold and was very excited and nervous for them to collide.  This is an interesting time in our history where innovation was constantly changing how people lived and made their livelihoods.  I am waiting for the love story to blossom, hopefully in book 2, Whispers of the Wind. This was a great historical novel. 
Valley of Dreams (Wild West Wind)

Favorite Funny Children's Books

Every kid needs to laugh and to laugh hard!  I have always loved funny books as a teacher, librarian and now as a stay-at-home momma.  Here are some of my favorites that my school kiddos and babies at home have fell in love with, and most importantly makes them laugh!  I will continue to add to this list of books that hit the spot for a good belly laugh!
Duck! Rabbit!
Monkey Truck (Christy Ottaviano Books)
I Wanna Iguana
Ferocious Wild Beasts!
Rhyming Dust Bunnies
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Chicken Cheeks
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
Silly Doggy!
No, David!

Mars Needs Moms

Skippyjon Jones

Are You A Horse?


Scaredy Squirrel

Product Details

Product Details

Bark, George

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards))


Friday, September 14, 2012

The Merchant's Daughter

The Merchant’s Daughter is Melanie Dickerson’s latest book.  Annabel is scorned by her village for her family’s refusal to help with the reaping of crops every year since the death of her wealthy father.  As punishment she is sent as an indentured servant to work for the new lord, Ranulf le Wyse.  Yet facing the new lord who has a reputation of being beastly is much more appealing than marrying Bailiff Tom-her only other option.  Even though the new lord appears very intimidating and ruthless he continues to protect Annabel, even though it may cost him everything. 

I loved The Healer’s Apprentice and this one was just as good!  I have always loved fairy tales and have really enjoyed how Dickerson weaves fairy tale elements into a Christian love story.  This is a very tender and sweet love story where Ranulf and Annabel fall in love as they spend time in God’s word together.  This was an absolute joy to read and I can’t wait for her new one, The Fairest Beauty coming out in December. 
The Merchant's Daughter

Rare Earth

Davis Bunn’s latest book, Rare Earth brings Mark Royce back with a new impossible mission.  Marc goes undercover as a Lodestone supplier managing supplies for the refugee camps in Kenya.  His true purpose is to find out who kidnapped an Israeli medic and what is so suddenly important about the African soil that several African tribes are getting uprooted and sent to live in the squalor of Nairobi.  He is not welcome on any side.  He is sent in to find answers, but asking questions can get you killed quick.  He finds a unifying bond with the Africans with their mutual faith and unwillingly opens his heart to the mysterious Kitra. 

I love anything by Davis Bunn and have read several of his books.  This is the sequel to Lion of Babylon and is set up to have at least one more in the series.  The action is non-stop and the story line very intriguing.  I loved that the plot spanned over three continents involving corrupt governments, secret identities and intertwined with a sweet love story.  I love history and Bunn can always weave a great action thriller with a really unique historical emphasis.  As always, Bunn hits the mark.  Can’t wait for the next one! 

Rare Earth

Friday, September 7, 2012

Love's Reckoning

Love’s Reckoning is Laura Frantz’s first book in the Ballantyne Legacy Series.  Silas Ballantyne has to serve one more year as a blacksmith apprentice before he can head to the frontier.  He is sent to York County Pennsylvania to serve under Liege Lee.  Liege Lee has much more ambitious plans for Silas than just finishing out his term.  Silas is a master blacksmith and brings much needed business to the Lee home and Liege expects Silas to stay and marry one of his daughters.  The daughters are both beauties but that is where the similarities stop.  Elspeth is dangerous, alluring and cunning.  Eden is innocent, kind and wants nothing more than to know the Lord.  Nothing is what it seems in this house of secrets.  Silas is torn on what to do with his future and that of the Lee sisters.  Every decision seems to have dire consequences. 

Laura Frantz is my favorite author and I absolutely loved Courting Morrow Little and The Colonel’s Lady.  She truly is a weaver of words, an artist with the pen.  This novel was very different than her past work. Her villains in this story just make your skin crawl and the plot was very sinister and dark.  The climax in this story was so intense and haunting.  The love story is in true Frantz style and is absolutely breath taking.  This woman knows how to write romance and I really appreciate her research into the era; she makes you feel like you are stepping back into time. 
Love's Reckoning: A Novel (The Ballantyne Legacy)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Harvest of Rubies

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar takes you deep into ancient Persia.  Sarah is trying to be a Jew in a Pagan land, a female scribe in a man’s world, a daughter to estranged father, and on top of all that she has no idea how to be a woman.  Sarah has lost her trust in God after her mother’s death and only finds purpose in being the head scribe to the queen.  Her world comes crashing down when she is promised in marriage to the King’s cousin and unintentionally belittles him in front of the entire the court.  He exiles her to his estate for the summer as punishment, but Sarah finds corruption on his lands and sets to redeem herself in God’s eyes and save her husband’s wealth.  Sarah just might find God again, true friendship, how beautiful she is and that there might be more to her husband than scorn and distrust. 

I loved Pearl in the Sand and read it twice and oh, this one is just as wonderful!  Sarah’s journey is both painful and beautiful.  I loved how Afshar weaved in the stories of Esther and Nehemiah into the plot.  The intrigue, redemption, humor and love story make this a lovely read that I plan on enjoying again!   The character development is superb and I fell in love with all the characters especially the queen!  The best part is that there is a sequel coming soon!  !  I highly recommend this book!

Provided by the publisher for review
Harvest of Rubies

Be the Mom: Overcome Attitude Traps and Enjoy Your Kids

Be the Mom: Overcome Attitude Traps and Enjoy Your Kids by Tracey Lanter Eyster describes seven “mom traps” that are easy to fall into and can catch you unaware as a mom.  This book goes over simple and healthy suggestions to help you stay an emotionally stable mom and help you avoid very dangerous attitudes that can be detrimental to the family structure.  Tracey shares personal experiences, biblical principles and easy to implement suggestions to equip readers for the bumpy journey of motherhood.  The book has reflection sections at the end of each chapter and can be read as a group or as an individual. 

I absolutely loved this book and got so much out of it. The best part is that it is simple, a quick read, and has strategies that I can implement easily. As I chase toddlers I need something that is going to empower me and not make me feel guilty, I need reading material that has a biblical foundation and something that is quick and simple-this book fits the bill!  This book is extremely practical discussing the importance of feeling cute when you dressed to the danger of spending too much time on social media.  This book is something that moms of infants to moms that have college students can appreciate and use.   The reflection sections are very quick and are a great assessment tool.   I know this is a book that I will be referring back to. 

Provided by the publisher for review

Be the Mom: Overcome Attitude Traps and Enjoy Your Kids (Focus on the Family) 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Raising Financially Confident Kids

Raising Financially Confident Kids by Mary Hunt gives insight to two of the most important things in our lives, kids and money.  Money management should be taught in the home and starting at a young age.  Children need to realize how to give, save, and become responsible money managers in the safety of their own home.  The book goes over savings and debt; giving guidelines on how to treat money according to God’s word.  Teaching children to respect money and learn how to manage it responsibly will help prepare them for adulthood.  Too many children leave home with zero awareness of money management and easy access to credit card debt.  This book equips the reader so that their child does not fall into the debt trap. 

My children are very young so I feel that this is a book that we will refer back to as they continue to grow.  I see several things that my husband and I can start implementing now that will not only equip our children for the future, but help us as well.  I love the idea of my children learning how to become healthy money managers in the safety of our home and plan on implementing the Financially Confident Kid plan.  I think children love any opportunity to have independence and the trust of their parents and this plan gives children the tools in money management to be successful.  I think my future son-in-laws will thank me someday for teaching my daughters money management skills early on!  I highly recommend this easy to read, easy to implement and practical guide to money management for kids! 

Available August 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Provided by the publisher for review
Raising Financially Confident Kids

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Happy Birthday, Jesus! is a Christmas board book by Michelle Medlock Adams.  In this rhyming story children are reminded that Christmas is the day their savior was born.  The children in the book decorate, bake a cake and go out and celebrate this special day by having a birthday party in honor of Jesus.  This book is a must have for parents wanting their children to understand the reason we celebrate.  The rhyming text is so fun and my two young children asked me to read it again and again.  We always make a birthday cake and sing for Jesus on Christmas and this book will become a part of our tradition year after year.  The illustrations are so eye catching with their vivid colors that your young child will be very drawn to the story.  This is a great book that makes celebrating the birth of Jesus more fun than Santa Claus! 


The Fire in Ember

The Fire in Ember starts really intense and does not let up!  Ember Rose, or Bert as she has always been called comes from a good-for-nothing family and she is done with it.  Trying out a fresh start with returning a horse that her brothers stole puts her at the wrong end of a noose.  She is barely saved by a nearby rancher, who is also a deputy-John Timmons.  When John saves Bert and puts her to work on his ranch he doesn’t realize she is a girl.  He doesn’t realize she is going to do funny things to his heart, doesn’t realize she is going to do funny things to his brother’s heart, and that her brothers are coming for her and bringing a whole lot of trouble with them! 

This is the sequel to A Woman Called Sage.  You can read this as a stand-alone like I did but I recommend reading A Woman Called Sage first.  There are a lot of references to it.  I haven’t read anything by Dianne Mills before, but I am an instant fan-this woman knows how to write a western!  This book had so many twists and turns, that I never knew where it was headed!   It was exciting until the very end.  This book had a very tender love story, great action, and was very unpredictable.  If you like a good ole cowboy story and I know you do-read this one! 

The Fire in Ember (Thorndike Christian Historical Fiction)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Highland Sanctuary

Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor takes you deep into medieval Ireland into the Village of Outcasts.  Gavin MacKenzie has journeyed far from his clan to restore Braigh Castle and protect the new owner from mysterious happenings surrounding the area.  Gavin is surprised to find beautiful Serena Boyd in the Village of Outcasts which lies besides Braigh Castle.  Everyone else there has an apparent disability or hardship, but why would Serena be there unless she was hiding something or from someone, or maybe both.  Despite Serena’s many secrets Gavin is drawn to her.  As he continues to fall in love with her he will have to protect her from her past, her future and the mounting amount of enemies that assail the village bent to take her. 

I am not going to lie; I am going to read this at least one more time!  I lost a lot sleep due to this wonderful book and don’t regret it one bit!  I enjoyed Jennifer Hudson Taylor’s first book, Highland Blessing, but this one is ten times better!  I absolutely adore anything medieval and this book was pure joy to read.  The layers of generational bitterness, lost love, and betrayal and how it affects Gavin and Serena is chilling.  Serena’s many secrets should hinder Gavin’s attraction, but only make him feel the need to protect her more.  Serena’s fellow villagers were a sweet and loyal bunch that I absolutely fell in love with.  This book has adventure, romance, and intrigue –just the way I like it! 
Highland Sanctuary


Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher is the story of new beginnings for Felicia Kristoffersen.  Felicia knows the pains of crossing the country on the orphan train waiting for a family to take her in.  She has waited sixteen years to escape the unloving home she was placed in and follow her dreams of teaching.  Her opportunity has finally arrived in Frenchman’s Bluff, Idaho.  Colin Murphy, a store keeper, widowed father and a member of the school board has opposed Felicia’s presence from the very beginning.  He fears that she will up and marry and leave his daughter heartbroken like the last two teachers did.  He doesn’t expect that his staunch opposition begins to blossom into something entirely different. 

I am a sucker for novels with school teachers in them since I taught for six years.  This is my first Robin Lee Hatcher novel and I enjoyed it.  It was a very quick read and I finished in a couple of days.  The history of the orphan trains was a very interesting and sorrowful component.  I loved the character development of Charity; she gave the story a humorous aspect.  This was a good old fashioned love story!  
Belonging (Where The Heart Lives)

Summer of Promise

Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot is the story of Abigail and her journey to see her sister in remote and wild Wyoming.  Abigail senses that her sister Charlotte is unhappy as a newly married officer’s wife so far from family and sets out to spend the summer with her.  Abigail leaves lush and vibrant Vermont and plans to promptly return to her fiancé and teaching job as soon as possible.  Her trip begins with excitement as her stagecoach is nearly robbed and doesn’t slow down as continual thefts haunt the fort.  Abigail will not only have to help her sister, but solve the thefts, help a desperate harlot and try not to fall in love with a dashing officer.  If she is not careful she will leave her heart in Wyoming! 

This was a great read and is the beginning of a series. I haven’t read any Amanda Cabot books before and I really enjoyed her work.  The continual thefts were a very exciting element and the mystery kept me guessing until the very end.  Abigail was a very devoted character and I was rooting for her to choose a new life in Wyoming over going back to Vermont!  I am a dog person so I absolutely loved Puddles!  Oh and I can’t forget the love story-very sweet and satisfying! 
Summer of Promise (Westward Winds, Book 1)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Silly Doggy!

Silly Doggy! by Adam Stower is the story of Lily and the rather large surprise she found in her yard.  Lily has always wanted a doggy and finally her dream has come true!  Silly doggy is perfect for Lily, except that he is grumpy, doesn’t eat dog food, doesn’t like walks, can’t do tricks, and doesn’t listen.  Mommy says that Silly Doggy has a family that is missing him and Lily needs to find them.  Much to Lily’s surprise the zookeeper comes knocking on the door because Silly Doggy is actually a missing animal from the zoo!  Lily is so sad until she wakes up to a new pet waiting for her in the yard! 

This story is so wonderful!  I can’t read it enough to my three year old!  The story is so funny and you can’t help but fall in love with Lily and Silly Doggy!  The storyline is fantastic, but it is the pictures that make this story so special.  Adam Stower definitely has a gift!  We will be looking for more titles from this author/illustrator!  This story is for your keeper shelf! 

Provided by the publisher for review
Silly Doggy!

Huff and Puff: Can You Blow Down the Houses of the Three Little Pigs?

Huff and Puff:  Can You Blow Down the Houses of the Three Pigs?  is a very fun twist of the Three Little Pigs by Claudia Rueda.  In this interactive story the reader gets to be the big bad wolf!  As the big bad wolf you get to huff and puff two little pigs out of their houses.   You have to try really hard when you get to the brick house, but the three little pigs have a big surprise for you big bad wolf! 

My daughter is three and does not like anything remotely scary right now, so this book was so perfect.  She got such a kick out of being the big bad wolf and has wanted to read it constantly since we got it.  She just cracks up at getting to huff and puff throughout the book!  The illustrations are so soft and sweet!  This is a wonderful book for preschoolers and beginning readers!  Highly recommend! 

Provided by the publisher for review
Huff & Puff: Can You Blow Down the Houses of the Three Little Pigs?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Love in Disguise

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox is the story of Ellie Moore.  Ellie has been the faithful assistant to a famous actress in Chicago, but finds herself suddenly without a job and without options.  Luckily Ellie stumbles upon a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and is whisked away to sunny Arizona.  Ellie is supposed to play a small role in the investigation of the silver thefts, but is left high and dry by her partner.  Ellie is forced to pretend to be two different people, solve the mystery of the silver thefts on her own and protect her heart from mine owner Steven Pierce.  Ellie is about to play the role of a life time! 
I read a lot of historical fiction and sometimes it feels that I am reading the same storyline over and over again with just different names.  This book was so refreshingly different!   I loved the mystery, secret identities, and the blooming romance between Jessie, A.K.A Ellie and Steven.  The character development was superb and I especially loved Amos Crawford.  I could not peg the villain in this one until he was exposed in the very end.  This was a very fun read! 

Provided by Bethany House for review
Love in Disguise

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy

Let’s Sing a Lulliby with the Brave Cowboy is Jan Thomas’s latest book.  The brave cowboy is trying to sing his cows a lullaby goodnight, but keeps getting interrupted by such scary things as a flower that he thought was a spider, a stick he thought was a snake and so on.  He finally convinces himself to stop screaming like a little girl every time something looks scary when a wolf shows up.  How will the brave cowboy protect his cows from the wolf?  By singing his lullaby of course! 
I am a huge Jan Thomas fan and I absolutely adore this charming new western!  Her illustrations are always very vivid, amusing and absolutely jump off the pages.  When I was a librarian I always used her books for read alouds and now that I am a full-time mommy she is now a very special part of my own children’s day.  I love that her stories are not only great for beginning readers to practice on, but are always so fun.  She is just as good as Mo Willems and all of her titles belong on your keeper shelf!

Provided by the publisher for review

Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy