What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer



MY REVIEW:

“What Once Was Lost” is a wonderful story of the way God is at work in our lives even during tragedy and trials and how he refines us and makes us stronger as we trust in Him as we work our way through the hard times. I enjoyed the way I could see the hand of God all through the book as He orchestrated the lives of Christina and the people under her care as well as how the lives of Levi and Tommy were also changed.

With a great setting, an excellent cast of characters, and perfectly paced plot, “What Once Was Lost” captured my interest from the very beginning.  A good balance of drama, action, suspense, and romance kept me reading. The novel provides good examples on the importance of trust – both in God and in others and finding the purpose He has for you. It also beautifully illustrates the impact of forgiveness.

Once again Kim Sawyer has provided me with an enjoyable escape for a few hours. I look forward to the next installment in this series.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group Blogging For Books Program.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

What Once Was LostA woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, a man standing apart—can these three souls embrace a God with new plans for them?

On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house inhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”

With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up against Christina, she begins to question her leadership ability and wonders if she can fulfill the mission to which she’s dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kim Vogel SawyerKim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling author highly acclaimed for her gentle stories of hope. More than one million copies of her books are currently in print with awards including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas, where she and her retired military husband, Don, run a bed-and-breakfast inn with the help of their feline companions. She savors time with her daughters and grandchildren.

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate



MY REVIEW:

I first ran across Lisa Wingate’s books quite by accident while browsing eBay trying to find something to fill my insatiable appetite for books. There is no way I can afford to purchase all the books I want to read new. I was intrigued by Lisa’s Texas Hill Country series and sure enough, after reading them I was hooked. Since that time I have either bought or had the privilege of reviewing her entire library. I am thrilled to be able to review her latest novel “The Prayer Box”.  I wish I could just tell you to run right out and pick up your very own copy because I’d like you to discover the wonder of Lisa’s talent for yourself. But then that wouldn’t quite be a review would it?

I will admit that I did not care very much for the primary character Tandi Jo Reese. I thought she was self-centered and a poor excuse of a mother. But Lisa has a way of making her readers care about the characters so that they want to stick around long enough to see if things will get any better. It didn’t take me very long to realize that Tandi Jo was a wounded soul and had been since childhood. Her lifelong search for affirmation had led her to make poor choices, some of which had quite negative effects on her relationship with her children. It was encouraging to watch how Tandi Jo’s viewpoint changed as she read the letters she discovered in deceased Iola Anne Poole’s prayer boxes and the effect it had on her relationship with her children. Other living characters positively impacted the lives of Tandi and her children who in turn played a huge role in the future of their new town.

“The Prayer Box” is a special story that made a big impression on me. I loved reading Iola’s letters and her almost poetic voice as she shared her life with her Lord. I am certain that many readers will be prompted to create their own prayer boxes after reading this beautiful book.

This book was provided for review by The Tyndale Blog Network.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

The Prayer BoxWhen Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola’s rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper–the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi. – See more HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa WingateLisa Wingate is a magazine columnist, speaker, and the author of nineteen mainstream novels, including the national bestseller, Tending Roses, now in its eighteenth printing.  She is a seven-time ACFW Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, and a two-time Carol Award winner. Her novel, Blue Moon Bay, was a Booklist Top Ten of 2012 pick.  Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.  When not dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women’s literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteers teach adults to read. – See more HERE.

A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano



MY REVIEW:

Book two in The Ladies of Distinction Series, “A Most Peculiar Circumstance” continues with yet another somewhat unconventional road to romance . Once again the heroine is an independent and spunky young woman whose quest to follow God’s direction often leads her to venture outside the boundaries set by society. A devoted member of the women’s suffrage movement, Arabella Beckett’s determination to help other women often leads her into big trouble. The story opens with Arabella praying for God to get her out of a major predicament. When the prayer is answered quickly, Arabella is not as grateful as she should be and definitely not at all impressed by the man sent to get her out of trouble. Arabella and Theodore have very little in common and tend to rub each other the wrong way most of the time. So why do they both find themselves thinking about each other so often?

“A Most Peculiar Circumstance” has its moments – some are dramatic or suspenseful and others are delightfully humorous. Then again the romantic scenes are pretty good also. I like the way the author tells her story through the use of dialogue. Some of the conversations are truly entertaining and there was plenty of action to keep me involved in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel – it met every expectation I had for it. If you are looking for a good, entertaining historical romance, then “A Most Peculiar Circumstance” fits the bill.

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



ABOUT THE BOOK:

A Most Peculiar CircumstanceMiss Arabella Beckett, defender of the down-trodden women of America, is returning from her travels in support of the women’s suffrage movement when she makes a simple offer of assistance to a young woman in need. But things go sadly awry, and both ladies soon find themselves in dire need of rescue. Arabella, always loath to admit she needs help, is particularly reluctant to receive assistance from the arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor who shows up just in time.

Private investigator extraordinaire Mr. Theodore Wilder is on an assignment that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett, but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. He is already in a less than pleasant mood, and when Hamilton’s sister turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he’s at his wit’s end.

Much to their chagrin, Theodore and Arabella’s paths continue to cross when they return home to New York, but the most unusual feelings beginning to grow between them certainly can’t be anything serious. When the trouble Arabella accidentally stirred up in her travels follows her home and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they might have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love.

Read an excerpt HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jen TuranoJen Turano is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. When she’s not writing, Jen can be found watching her teenage son participate in various activities, taking long walks with her husband and dog, socializing with friends, or delving into a good book. She lives in suburban Denver, Colorado. Learn more at www.jenturano.com.

The Letters by Suzanne Woods Fisher



MY REVIEW:

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s “The Letters” is the first novel in her new The Inn at Eagle Hill series. In this book, readers will be able to revisit Stoney Ridge and catch up a bit with familiar characters from earlier novels that took place there. “The Letters’ features the Schrock family, especially Rose, who moved to Stoney Ridge after the failure of her husband’s investment business and remained after his untimely death. Rose’s primary goal is to care for her family as well as to find a way to repay all her husband’s investors who lost their savings. An ailing and grouchy mother-in-law only makes Rose’s life more difficult but somehow in the midst of all her troubles, Rose manages to keep a smile on her face and encourage everyone around her. When Rose feels led to open a Bed and Breakfast in the basement of their home, she meets with resistance from her mother-in-law but with the help of her children and a helpful neighbor, she soon opens the doors to her first guest who decides to stay for awhile. Interaction between Rose, her children, her guest, and her neighbor Galen King profoundly affects each of their lives in unexpected ways.

As I have come to expect from previous novels, the plot of “The Letters” moves at a steady pace with surprises galore. The characters are well-rounded and life-like and most of the situations and events are true to life and believable. I would love to be able to follow Rose’s example and learn to remain so calm and steady in the midst of everything life has for me whether good or bad. I look forward to reading about the family at The Inn at Eagle Hill in Suzanne’s next installment.

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



ABOUT THE BOOK:
The LettersSuzanne Woods Fisher Invites Readers Back to Stoney Ridge in New Series

With her signature plot twists combined with gentle Amish romance, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for fresh stories of simple pleasures despite the complexity of life. Fisher’s tale of God’s providence and provision will delight her fans and create many new ones. Welcome to the Inn at Eagle Hill.

Rose Schrock is a plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband’s debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose’s big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion. As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she’s even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suzanne Woods FisherSuzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author ofThe Choice,The Waiting,The Search,The Keeper andThe Haven, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol Award finalist. She is the host of internet radio show Amish Wisdom and a columnist forChristian Post Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California.

For more information, please visit www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

 

Millie’s Treasure by Kathleen Y’Barbo

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Millie’s Treasure
Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2013)
by
Kathleen Y’Barbo
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

RITA and Carol award nominee Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than forty novels, novellas, and young adult books. In all, more than one million copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad, and her books have been translated into Dutch, German, and Spanish, to name a few.

Kathleen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She holds a BBA from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School and a certification in Paralegal Studies, and is a former member of the Texas Bar Association’s Paralegal Division.

A tenth-generation Texan, Kathleen Y’Barbo has four children of her own as well as seven bonus kids she gladly inherited when she married her own hero in combat boots. Kathleen is proud to be a military wife, even if it did mean giving up her Texas drivers license.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

From bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo comes Millie’s Treasure, the second book in The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series, a new set of novels involving romance, adventure, and hidden identity.

Memphis 1890–Bookish heiress Millie Jean Cope is as clever as she is beautiful. Unfortunately, though adept at solving puzzles and cryptograms, she doesn’t realize her new fiancé isn’t who he claims to be, but instead is a charming scoundrel. The infamous Will Tucker is presenting himself as a British gentleman, Sir William Trueck, though in reality he is a crafty criminal looking for a hidden map to a secret treasure.

Pinkerton agent Kyle Russell has been on Tucker’s trail for years. At last Kyle believes he has Tucker cornered, but he is uncertain whether the lovely woman on the con man’s arm is an unsuspecting victim or willing accomplice. Finding reasons to spend time with Millie is easy. Keeping himself from falling in love with her is another issue entirely.

A fun and entertaining story of how God can shine the light of truth on the most cryptic circumstances.

If you would like to read the first chapter of  Millie’s Treasure, go HERE.

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MY REVIEW:

I LOVE this series! The first book “Flora’s Wish” was excellent and it just might be possible that I liked Millie’s Treasure even more. It’s a hard call because I loved them both. What more could I ask for ? Millie’s Treasure is a historical romance with a dash of danger and suspense and the steampunk element made it all the more interesting and fun. I also enjoyed the historical Memphis setting of a city I’ve known my entire life. I once worked in a building overlooking the roof of the Peabody Hotel which plays an important role in the story so it was especially easy for me to visualize the scenes that took place there.

I found it difficult to put this book down and could easily have been tempted to read it during our church service (but I didn’t). The plot moved at the perfect pace and I fell in love with both Millie and Kyle. It was evident from their first encounter that they were perfect for each other despite Millie’s determination to marry Sir William.  In addition to the romance, the story is filled with adventure, danger, and drama and peppered with humor. Their faith is such an integral part of both Millie and Kyle that the Christian aspect was perfectly natural. The author is to be commended for her devotion to details, especially in keeping Kyle’s inventions potentially early versions of devices that actually exist today.

There is no way I can say much more without the risk of spoilers. Take my advice and don’t miss either of the books in this series – The Secret Lives of Will Tucker. Millie’s Treasure can easily stand alone but it is oh so much better if you have read “Flora’s Wish” first.