Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt – Howard Books



MY REVIEW:

Allison Denman had become more and more uneasy as the day for her wedding approached. It was her wedding but somehow every decision concerning it had been made by someone else, down to a wedding gown she absolutely hated. A spontaneous kiss with the groom’s brother just days before the wedding left Allison filled with guilt and even more uncertain about her upcoming nuptials. When the big day arrived, she actually made it halfway down the aisle before making a fast exit to the astonishment of the groom and their guests. So now that she had thoroughly embarrassed herself, her groom and their families, what was a girl to do? The first thing she needed to figure out was exactly why she couldn’t marry Seth, the man who had gone from making her feel safe to making her feel smothered.

“Wish You Were Here” is a terrific first novel by Beth K. Vogt that kept me engrossed until the very end. The plot moved at the perfect pace with ell-developed characters, excellent dialogue, and the perfect blend of drama, romance and humor that combined to make one satisfying story. The author bravely introduced several sticky situations but handled them tactfully and brought them to a satisfying resolution. Her spiritual theme was woven seamlessly throughout the story and never seemed to be heavy-handed. I thoroughly enjoyed “Wish You Were Here” and will be on the lookout for future releases by this author.

This book was provided for review by Howard Books.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Kissing the wrong guy days before her scheduled wedding leads Allison to become a runaway bride. But can it also lead to happily ever after?

Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom.

Still, kissing the groom’s brother, Daniel, in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at this point. Daniel’s adventures—chronicled through a collection of postcards—have always appealed to Allison’s well-hidden desire for something more. But how can betraying her fiancé’s trust lead to a true happily ever after?

Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Recognizing she doesn’t have all the answers won’t be easy because she’s used to being in control. To find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her—one outside her carefully defined comfort zone—and find the strength to let Him lead.

A Love Forbidden by Kathleen Morgan



MY REVIEW:

Based loosely on actual historic events, “A Love Forbidden” chronicles a period of American history that does not always show the white man in the best light. As the settlers steadily moved west, their quest for more and more land forced the native Indians off their hunting grounds onto reservations. Sometimes misguided but good intentions and sometimes greed or racism inspired the government’s attempts to tame the savages which ended in disaster most of the time. In “A Love Forbidden” relations between the Ute Indians and the White River Indian Agency were strained at best. Government promises to the Utes had not been fulfilled and they were being manipulated in order to receive the supplies they so desperately needed to survive under the government’s new regulations. Both sides were truly in a no-win situation.

Shiloh Wainwright’s thirst for adventure and a desire to make a difference led her into this simmering situation when she accepted a job at the agency as a teacher for the Ute children. Little did she know the danger she had placed herself in. To her surprise, she soon became reacquainted with an old childhood friend, Jesse Blackwater, a half-breed Ute who was living with the tribe. Although his attraction to Shiloh grew as he spent time in her presence, Jesse’s main thought was to get her back home to safety before it was too late. Besides, there was no place in her life for a half-Ute like him.

Although technically “A Love Forbidden” is a historical romance novel, the history seems to take center stage in this book – but that is not a bad thing. The story of Shiloh and Jesse works perfectly with the historic background which makes it all the more realistic. Shiloh’s faith and compassion were strongly emphasized throughout the story. The reader gets an excellent overview of what the Indians were up against as well as how the white settlers felt about the situation.Knowing a bit about the actual history made this story a bit hard to read at times because I suspected what was coming.

Complete with a spunky but caring heroine, a strong but troubled hero, a near hopeless romance, and lots of action, “A Love Forbidden” should keep most readers turning the pages until the end. In my opinion this is a must read for lovers of historical fiction.

 

This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Kathleen Morgan explores themes of mercy, fidelity to one’s beliefs, and compassion for those different from oneself in this sweeping Western saga. Set amongst the wilds of the Colorado Rockies in 1879, this is a tale of a forbidden love and a faith tested in the midst of intolerance and the harsh realities of life on the untamed frontier.

Moved by the desire for adventure and a yearning to help the Ute Indians, twenty-year-old Shiloh Wainright impulsively accepts a teaching position at the White River Indian Agency in northwestern Colorado. The new job, however, isn’t what she imagined it would be, and Shiloh soon finds herself caught in the cross fire between the Utes, their unyielding Indian Agent, and the unrealistic demands of the US government. Her unexpected encounter with Jesse Blackwater, an embittered half-breed Ute and childhood friend, only complicates matters as they battle their growing feelings for each other amidst the spiraling tensions threatening to explode into a catastrophic Indian uprising.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathleen was born in sunny Long Beach, California, one of four daughters of a career Army officer.

As a former Army nurse with a master’s degree in counseling, she has lived in Germany, Korea, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, Florida, Washington, D.C., Alabama, California, and Colorado.

She is married to a retired Army helicopter pilot and is the mother of two sons-one deceased- and stepmother to another son and a daughter, both of whom have been very busy making her a grandmother.

In her free time, Kathleen likes to quilt, play the Celtic harp, and be companion and caretaker to an aging English cocker spaniel. She is also a companion and the wifely caretaker to her husband, who is not quite so aged :)

Kathleen began her career writing contemporary romances and soon moved to historical and futuristic romances. She sold her first book, a futuristic romance, in April 1990 while stationed in Korea as an Army nurse. Additional romances soon followed, until she had sold a total of fifteen books in the general market, establishing a loyal readership along the way.

Since that time, she has received numerous awards for her work, including a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award and Career Achievement award, and The Literary Times award for Literary Excellence in the Field of Romantic Fiction. She was also a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist.

Kathleen now focuses her writing talents in the area of inspirational fiction, offering readers characters who struggle to redefine their growing faith in everyday life.

The Anniversary Waltz by Darrel Nelson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Anniversary Waltz
Realms (May 15, 2012)
by
Darrel Nelson
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from the author:

I am a schoolteacher by profession and have taught school for (thir—ahem!) years. I grew up in Raymond, Alberta, and attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school and serving a two-year mission to Japan. During university, I met and married Marsha Smith, and we are the parents of four children, which has grown to include their spouses and our ten grandchildren.

I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers). But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world.

I’ve had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and have written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. I won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running, and have had one of my songs receive international airplay. I have written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but I read them annually to my fourth grade students and my students tell me they love them, the darlings.

Learn more about Darrel and his books on his Website.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

At their sixtieth anniversary party, Adam Carlson asks his wife, Elizabeth, for their customary waltz. After the dance they gather the family and share their story—a story of love and courage overcoming adversity and thriving in the face of overwhelming odds.

It’s the summer of 1946, and Adam has just returned from the war to his home in Reunion, Montana. At a town festival he meets Elizabeth Baxter, a young woman going steady with his former high school rival and now influential banker, Nathan Roberts.

When Adam and Elizabeth share a waltz in a deserted pavilion one evening, their feelings begin to grow and they embark on a journey, and a dance, that will last a lifetime.

If you’d like to read the first chapter excerpt of The Anniversary Waltz, go HERE.

MY REVIEW:

The Anniversary Waltz is a beautifully told nostalgic love story set during the year immediately following World War II. Contrasting excitement over the end of the war and returning soldier with the many financial and other challenges faced by the returning heroes, the story illustrates the era well. Hero Adam Carlson and heroine Elizabeth Baxter’s courtship is fraught with complications as they face overwhelming situations and tragedy. Only their faith and some creative solutions help them overcome the odds against them.

As a debut novel, The Anniversary Waltz shows great promise of more good stories to come. The characters are true-to-life and it was easy to become involved in their lives. The setting was the perfect backdrop and I almost felt like I had stepped back in time to post war Montana. I enjoyed The Anniversary Waltz and look forward to reading more by this author.

Beyond Hope’s Valley by Tricia Goyer



MY REVIEW:

“Beyond Hope’s Valley”, the third installment of Tricia Goyer’s Big Sky series takes Marianna back to her home in Indiana to help her brother prepare for his wedding and to make plans for her own wedding to Aaron. Although everything she had dreamed of was working out for her, Marianna finds that everything and everyone in her old home seem to have changed.  Or is it that Marianna herself has changed. She finds herself missing Montana and the family and friends she left behind. Then there are the whispers behind her back and the secrets that no one wants to tell her. She  is even beginning to wonder if she is supposed to marry Aaron after all.

“Beyond Hope’s Valley” clearly contrasts the more legalistic group of Amish in Indiana to the Montana Amish who mix more readily with the Englisch. Marianna’s quest for a true relationship with the Lord is well written and helps the reader understand the difference between relationship and following a set of rules.

I very much enjoyed “Beyond Hope’s Valley” as I did the first two books in this series. I was quite happy with Marianna’s final decision and the overall conclusion of the book. The Big Sky series is not the usual Amish fiction I have become used to and I found it to be a refreshing change.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Beyond Hope’s Valley – Book Three in the Big Sky series

After an extended stay in Montana, where Amish traditions are different than in her home state, Marianna Sommer returns to Indiana for two reasons, first to help her brother and his girlfriend prepare for a baby and their wedding. Second, to plan her own wedding to Aaron Zook — a marriage she’s been dreaming about ever since childhood. And yet, although she had missed the idyllic farms and families of her upbringing, Marianna is surprised that Indiana is somehow making her long now for Montana.

As months pass, secrets that were hidden in winter’s frozen grasp thaw and take on a life of their own. The truths about a child, about a past relationship, and about God’s plans are being revealed. Walking through a valley of questions, Marianna must hold on to hope as she decides where and with whom her heart truly belongs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of thirty-two books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

More info: Living Inspired and www.triciagoyer.com.

Purchase a copy of Beyond Hope’s Valley HERE.

Read what other reviewers are saying about Beyond Hope’s Valley HERE.



Win a Custom Amish Prize Pack from @TriciaGoyer in her Beyond Hope’s Valley Giveaway! RSVP for All Things Amish Party {5/21}!

Celebrate with Tricia and enter to win a custom-made Amish Wall hanging in the colors of your choice … and much more!

One fortunate winner will receive: 

  •  Custom Amish Wall Hanging {You choose the colors!} 
  • An Amish Doll {Sweet.} 
  • Amish-made basket {It’s picnic season!} 
  • Doilies, potholder and an Amish cookbook {All items form Bird-in-Hand, PA!} 
  • Three book Big Sky Amish series {Be swept away by this captivating series.} 

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 20th. Winner will be announced at “All Things Amish” Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/21. Tricia will be hosting an author chat (on Facebook and Live from her website) and giving away books, gift certificates and more!

So grab your copy of Beyond Hope’s Valley and join Tricia on the evening of the May 21st for a fun chat, trivia contest (How much do you know about the Amish?) and lots of giveaways. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter
Don’t miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 21st!

Annie’s Truth by Beth Shriver

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Annie’s Truth
Realms (May 15, 2012)
by
Beth Shriver
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Childhood memories of her grandfather’s ranch came alive as Beth wrote her first Amish story. Her parents grew up in the country, so she understands pastoral life and respects those who make a living off the land. She frequents a nearby Amish community just south of Fort-Worth for an occasional church service or brunch with the bishop and his wife. And on the way home she stops at the community store to get some plum jam!

In 2003 Beth began writing her first book. A couple of years later it was published and she has been writing ever since. Beth received a degree in social work from the University of Nebraska and was a case worker before starting a family. Beth followed her passion and has written in a variety of genres in both fiction and non-fiction.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

After learning the truth about who she really is, can this prodigal daughter be accepted back into the safety and security of home?

Annie Beiler seems to have it all—a loving family in a tight-knit Amish community and the affections of an attractive and respected young man. But when she learns that she was adopted after being found as an abandoned newborn, she sets out on a journey to find out who she is.

Her father is strongly against her decision to leave, as it could mean Meidung, or excommunication from the community and even her family. But Annie knows she must find “the path that has her heart.”

As Annie’s search brings her into the fast-paced world of modern life, she is confronted with all of the temptations she was warned of. Can she make her way back to the order and security of her family? Or will she remain an outsider—torn between her two worlds?

If you would like to read an excerpt from the first chapter of Annie’s Truth, go HERE.

Learn more about Beth and her books on her Website.

MY REVIEW:

For true fans of Amish fiction, Annie’s Truth adds yet another choice of books in that genre. Featuring members of an old order Amish community, the narrative reveals several differences between various sects and gives the reader an inside look at their lives. The story itself was interesting, particularly the varied reactions to Annie’s time away from the community. With a primary message of forgiveness,  Annie’s Truth was quickly read and enjoyable.