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#BookReview: Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer

17 Oct

Bringing Maggie Home is a story filled with angst and emotion. The mysterious disappearance of her sister during childhood haunts Hazel DeFord and forever impacts her life. Told from three different points of view, this story gently draws the reader in, and the varying perspectives of three generations offer a deeper understanding of each of the complex characters. A family drama laced with intrigue, Bringing Maggie Home is an enjoyable read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.

 

About the book:

Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year-old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year-old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.

Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can’t understand her mother’s overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother’s inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan—a cold case agent—cherishes her grandmother’s lavish attention and affection.

When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel’s painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that’s been lost?

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#BookReview: Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander

9 Oct

Christmas at Carnton is a wonderful novella that launches a brand-new series from one of my favorite authors! Set against the backdrop of the Carnton Plantation, Alexander once again brings Tennessee history to life and beckons readers to step back in time. I delighted in the richness and vibrancy of Aletta and Jake’s story and was captivated by their heartfelt journey. I love stories set during the Civil War era, and this tender tale is no exception. I can’t wait to continue the Carnton series!

I received a complimentary copy of this story through NetGalley. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.

 

About the book:

In the midst of war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas, the cost of love . . . and of loving again.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year-old son. About to be evicted, she sees an advertisement for the Ladies Aid Society Auction and applies for a position—only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity. And friendship. But can she trust him? Is Jake Winston the man he appears to be? Having lost everything once, Aletta is determined to guard not only her own heart but also her son’s.

Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffers a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Ladies Aid Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.

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#BookReview: Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

8 Oct

Many Sparrows is a stirring story! Benton engaged my senses from the very beginning, transporting me into the rugged wilderness and bringing to life the characters who lived there. Clare and Jeremiah share a dramatic and emotional journey, and I was captivated by their heart-wrenching experiences. Rich in history, Many Sparrows is a poignant story of tragedy and triumph.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.

 

About the book:

Either she and her children would emerge from that wilderness together, or none of them would. . . .

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year-old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son . . . especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do-be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

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About the author:

Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of “Burning Sky,” recipient of three Christy Awards, “The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn,” Christy-nominee “The Wood’s Edge,” and “A Flight of Arrows.”

Find out more about Lori at http://loribenton.blogspot.com.

#BookReview: The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson

1 Oct

The Christmas Blessing tugged at my heartstrings! I delighted in the nostalgic atmosphere of this story, as well as its characterization. Along her tumultuous journey, Amelia Richards endeared herself to me, and my heart ached for her and her struggles. This touching tale is one of love and loss, hardship and hope. I look forward to Melody Carlson’s heartwarming holiday stories each year and am happy to add The Christmas Blessing to my collection.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.  

 

About the book:

When she receives the news in late 1944 that her baby’s father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope. Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant’s paternal grandparents. The only problem is, they don’t know that she–or their grandson–exists. When Amelia discovers that the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son? Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma?

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#BookReview: All This Time by Melissa Tagg

29 Sep

All This Time is a story I’ve anticipated since the moment Raegan and Bear appeared on the page. Beautifully rendered, their emotional journey is tender and touching and not soon to be forgotten! Tagg’s characterization is exceptional, as she has crafted a fictional family that very much comes to life in the mind of the reader. I love the charm of Maple Valley and revel in the Walker’s camaraderie! While I lament the end of this wonderful series, it is certain to remain one of my very favorites.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.

 

About the book:

Bear McKinley’s past refuses to let go.

Ten years ago, Bear gave up everything-his freedom and his reputation-for his mess of a family. But after years of distance and too many attempts at starting over, he finally has a new life doing noble work in Brazil . . . until his past catches up to him once again. Suddenly he finds himself back in Maple Valley, charged with the care of his missing brother’s children, convinced he’s out of second chances to make his life count. And yet, with every day that passes, these kids, this quirky town and the woman he never stopped missing help patch the holes in his heart. Maybe this is the fresh start he’s been longing for all along. But as his newfound hope grows, so does the mystery surrounding his brother’s activities-and when the threat reaches into the lives of those he loves, it’s clear he can’t run away this time.

Fear holds Raegan’s future captive.

Raegan Walker is fine. She’s happy working a slew of part-time jobs, still living in her childhood bedroom and rarely venturing from her hometown. At least, that’s what she tells everyone . . . and herself. But she can’t help wondering what might’ve happened if she hadn’t abandoned her art so many years ago-and if Bear McKinley had never left. When Bear returns and she’s commissioned for a painting that just might revive her artistic ambition all in one week, it’s time to finally reach for more than fine. But doing so means facing the fears that have held her back all this time, including admitting the secret she’s kept from Bear and her family. With her dream and her heart on the line, how much will Raegan have to risk to finally chase her happy ending?

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#BookReview: Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall

22 Sep

Gathering the Threads is a compelling conclusion of The Amish of Summer Grove series! Woodsmall delights readers with another heart-stirring story, as she deftly intertwines the Old Order Amish world with the Englisch. Ariana and her family have endured much, and their emotional and spiritual journeys are both engaging and thought-provoking. I enjoyed Gathering the Threads and highly recommend reading this trilogy in order. However, if you haven’t read the preceding stories, a story line summary is given at the beginning of the book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.

 

Woodsmall pin1

About the book:

After three months of draus in da Welt, Ariana has returned to Summer Grove, the Old Order Amish community where she was raised for twenty years, and life with her Brenneman family. Skylar Nash, the Englisch-raised young woman is working in Ariana s cafe while getting to know her birth family and their Plain way of life. Skylar’s time in Summer Grove has changed her outlook, just as Ariana has grown to see her personal faith in God in a different light than the manner she was taught while growing up. Both women will have to make decisions about their paths and Ariana must decide what role her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, will play in her life.

Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

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#BookReview: 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path by Liz Curtis Higgs

19 Sep

31 Proverbs to Light Your Path is a lovely devotional! Ideal for personal and group study, the thirty-one verses from the book of Proverbs are presented in ways that are applicable and actionable. Higgs offers insights, stories, and inspiration, while compelling readers to perform a quick challenge at the end of each chapter. Uplifting and encouraging, I enjoyed spending time in this wonderful book and look forward to using it again and again!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.

 

About the book:

With her signature ability to blend ancient truth with real-life takeaway, best-selling author and Bible teacher Liz Curtis Higgs examines thirty-one verses from the book of Proverbs, and then offers a unique “One Minute, One Step” challenge at the end of each chapter, suggesting a do-it-now task that requires one minute or less. Readers will quickly discover how practical and applicable the book of Proverbs is, and how the Lord can use even the smallest steps to lead us in the right direction.

Learn more about the book and the author.