Sunday, November 27, 2011

Promise Me

I love reading Richard Paul Evans' new Christmas book each year. So when I found Promise Me at my library I quickly checked it out, even though it was from last year.  Promise Me is a story about a woman named Beth.  Beth tells the story if her life especially the loves of her life.  After the death of her second husband she meet Matthew, who changes her life forever.  Her and Matthew keep a secret.  Beth has had to keep that secret for eighteen years.  She has a 6 year old daughter, Charlotte, who is sick with an unidetifiable disease and after losing her first husband has a lot of issues with trust and love until she meets Matthew, only she can't fall in love with Matthew.  So, how will Matthew end up helping her.  You'll have to read to find out.
This Christmas story was really different than Evans' other Christmas books.  First, the story just seems too unreal.  Second, much of the book has nothing to do with Christmas.  Even with those two negatives, I really enjoyed this book.  I really like Evans' writing style.  the chapters are short, the pages turn fast and you feel like you are part of the characters lives.  While this is not one of my most favorites of Evans.  I still enjoyed it.

Spring for Susannah

Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond is the story of Susannah Underhill who becomes a mail order bride after the death of her parents and a banker who attacks her to try to colect money that he says her parent's owed. Susannah is sent to the Dakota's to marry a man named Jesse who is the brother of the pastor who's family has taken her in after the death of her parents. Susannah gets married with a proxy standing in for Jesse before she gets to the Dakotas. Sussannah starts out as a shy girl who does not seem to know a lot about life except for the rules her mother taught her about being a lady. Many of those rules do not apply to Susannah's new life.As the book progresses Susannah seems to gain some self confidence and is more sure of herself. Will she be able to deal with the loneliness the new land offers to her and will she be able to learn to really love and trust Jesse.

I really liked this story. Prairie type stories have been a favorite of mine. I also seem to enjoy stories with a mail order bride theme after reading quite a few this year. The author really made me feel like I was right there with the characters. I think these early pioneers heading west really had to have faith as there were very few pastors in the area during the time and life was hard. This book really flew by for me.

I was given a copy of the book through Net Galley and Thomas Neilson.       

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Falling to Pieces: A Quilt Shop Mystery (Shipshewana Amish Mystery)

For years all I read were cozy mysteries until I got into the Amish fiction genre. Falling to Pieces written by Vanetta Chapman beings both reading styles to me. I love that we were trying to fiqure out who did it while still getting the Amish feel too.

Falling to Pieces: A Quilt Shop Murder is the first book in Chapman's Shipshewana Amish Mystery series. The story starts out with Callie Harper comes to Shipshewana after inheriting her Aunt Daisy's Quilt shop. She plans to come and sell it. After meeting with someone about selling the store, she learns that she will make more money on the property if it is a running store. So, she decides to keep the store open and keeps her aunt's promise to help three Amish women sell there quilts. Deborah Yoder, one of the quilt makers, becomes friends with Callie and ask her to sell the quilts on e-bay to help them make more money on the quilts. Callie agrees and everything seems to be going well until the newspaper editor writes and artile saying Callie is taking advantage of the Amish by selling the quilts on e-bay. Callie tries to get the editor to listen to her when she ends up finding him dead. Callie becomes the number one suspect in the murder. The murder ends up breaking into other business in town. Deborah and Callie decide to do some detective work to prove Callie was not the murder. Will they ever find the murder or will Callie take the heat?

I really loved this story. It was so neat getting to know the characters. I really did not want to leave Shipshewana. I wanted to know so much more after reading the story, so I'm sure I will be reading the other books in this series. This is a hard book to put down and a very easy fun read.

I was able to read this book thanks to Zondervan publishing and Net Galley. I was not required to give a postive review but an honest one.        

Christmas Mail Order Brides

 Mrs. Mayberry's Matrimonial Society for Christians with Moral Character helps three unmarried women find husbands.  Each unmarried woman becomes a mail order bride and travels the Transcontiental Railroad to meet their grooms.  Each run into problems along the way.  The last story is about Mrs. Mayberry meeting her match.

The first story was A Trusting Heart by Carrie Turansky. Annika Berstrom has lived with her twin sister since her parents deaths.  When her sister decides to get married she decides to become a mail order bride.  She travels to Wyoming to meet her groom, Chase Simms, who has dissappeared when she gets there.  Annika is left with Chase's father, daughter, and brother.  She learns to trust Chases's brother and actually starts to fall in love with him.  What will she do when Chase returns?  Will her heart still be open for Chase?

The second story was The Prodigal Groom by Vickie McDonough.  Jolie Addams was raised in an orphanage after her mother dies and her father does not want her.  She is forced to become a mail order bride after the orphanage tries to make her leave because she is too old to be in the orphanage and wants her to work for a mean man.  As she goes to Nevada to meet her new groom, the stage coach is robbed and she is force to spend the night with Clay Jackson who is shot during the robbery.  When she gets to her groom he decides he can't marry her because of the situation.  Clay decides to marry her and take her home to meet his family that he has been estranged with.  Will they be able to make their fake marriage work?

The third story was Hidden Hearts by Therese Stenzel.  Elizabeth Larby becomes a mail order bride after her fiance breaks up with her and her aunt writes to Mrs' Mayberry's Mail Order Service.  Elizabeth goes even though she still has feelings for her ex.  She ends up marrying Zane Micheals.  Both come to the mariiage with secrets will they survive when all the secrets come out?

The fourth story was Mrs. Mayberry Meets Her Match by Susan Page Davis. Amelia Mayberry is finally ready to retire from the match making service.  She has a nice home of her dreams and enough money to live in peace.  Amelia decides to find a match for one groom who's match went wrong.  She travels tp California to try to get Lennox Bailey to let her try again so she can retire with no worries over the business. Can she make a match for Lennox this holiday season or will she go home to retire?
I really enjoyed every story in this collection.  I think the second one was my favorite though.  The stories can easily be read in one sitting and are a great way to get in the Holiday spirit.

Christmas Mail Order Brides is available on Amazon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Log Cabin Christmas

A Log Cabin Christmas is a collection of 9 short historical stories that all have to do with finding love during Christmas time. Each story has a log cabin in it, whether it’s a school, church, store, or home. All of the stories were heartwarming and sweet. Each story can be read in one sitting. I enjoyed all of the stories, but my favorites were; The Christmas Secret and The Courting Quilt. Here is a recap of each story.
The first story was Snow Angels by Margret Brownley set in Texas in 1885. This short story is about Maddie Parker who is the new school teacher from Boston. Most of the families do not like her and the sheriff does not either. One evening as the kids are staying to practice for the Christmas program a snow storm suddenly leaves them stranded in the old cabin being used for a school. The sheriff goes out to find them and ends up getting stranded with them. What will happen to the teacher, sheriff, and the three students who are trapped at the school? Will the sheriff get over his bad feelings toward the new teacher?
The second story was The Christmas Secret by Wanda Brunstetter is set in Pennsylvania in 1880. Elizabeth and David are planning to get married and live in the cabin where her parents first lived together. One day Elizabeth is cleaning the cabin in preparation for wedding and finds an old journal. The journal contains a secret about her deceased mother that could destroy her future.
The third story was Christmas Traps and Trimmings by Kelly Eileen Hake. Mina Montrose travels with her nurse Belinda to Kentucky to find her guardian Sam Carver. She is running to prevent being forced into marrying her cousin. When she gets to Sam’s cabin they experience an earthquake that will shake up a lot of things. This story was really interesting because it is set in the state which I love and gave some history about the earthquake.
The fourth story was A Star in the Night by Liz Johnson. This story is set in Tennessee. Cora Sinclair finds a Yankee soldier in the snow on her way home one night and takes him home to her log cabin to care for him. The soldier Jed stays with Cora and her grandfather. Jed and Cora fight the feelings they have for each other because they both know he will have to go back and fight the war. Will they ever be able to love each other?
The fifth story was the Courting Quilt by Jane Kirkpatrick and is set in Oregon in 1867. Mary Bishop runs a store in a log cabin built by her and her deceased husband. She has been praying for a long time for an answer to her problems of not making enough money with the store due to more modern stores coming in the area and taking her business. When a salesman comes to sale his thread, Mary sees him as the answer to her prayers and they start a business together. Richard takes a cart around the area to sale Mary’s goods to the ladies who do not get out much. All the ladies start falling in love with Richard and compete to be his bride. Mary is starting to fall in love with him too, but will her white hair make him think she is older than she really is? Everything comes out at the church bazaar. Will any of the ladies get him?
The sixth story was Under His Wings by Liz Tolsma and takes place in Wisconsin in 1885. Adie O’Connell’s farther dies in a logging accident at a work camp. Adie is left alone. Adie’s father asks Noah to take care of her if anything should happen to him. Adie feels like she does not need protecting. Can Noah convince her that she does?
The seventh story was Dogtrot Christmas by Michelle Ule and is set in Texas in 1836. Molly and her brother James are building a dogtrot cabin on a new claim. James lost his wife and Molly has cared for James and his son. James and Molly are worried when they find out that the claim they bought was never sold by the original owner. Will they lose their land? Will Molly and James find happiness in this new land? I liked the Mexican culture that was woven in this story.
The eighth story was A Grand Country Christmas by Debra Ullrich. Awyna lives alone after her father is found dead and something or someone steal all of her meat stored. She is forced to go out in the winter storm and hunt for food. She finds a deer but Amadeus Josef stops her from shooting it saying the deer is his pet. He promises to take her in from the storm and feed her. She goes and stays with him, his mother and his children during the storm. Awnya tries to help the family deal with the loss of their mother especially Amadeus’ older daughter. When Awnya finally goes home, she finds everything is stolen that she possesses. Amadeus takes her home. Can they ever be a family?
The ninth story was Christmas Service by Erica Vetsch. Beth Sorenson wants nothing more than to be a preacher’s wife. So what will she do when Todd Rambec comes wanting to court her and him a mere blacksmith? The two work on the church Christmas program together where Beth learns many things thanks to Todd. Will Beth ever be able to accept Todd as a courting partner or will her desire to be a preacher’s wife win out?
I received an e-copy of this book from Barbour through Net Galley. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own.