Monthly Archives: February 2014

Worth the Wait (Waltham Academy Book One) by Laura Jackson

Worth the Wait (Waltham Academy Book One) by Laura Jackson

What Worth the Wait is about: Ellie Lansing has a blessed life with a great family and friends and the perfect boyfriend of several years… all by her senior year of high school. But then her world shatters when she finds out that her mother has cancer and needs surgery and treatment AND her longtime-perfect-boyfriend has cheated on her! Ellie learns that as her world is shattered, God is there for her through it all and His plans are Worth the Wait.

My thoughts:
I loved this book! It is a Young Adult book, but I am almost 30 and absolutely loved it! Laura Jackson gripped my heart in a way that few authors do. I found myself constantly thinking about this book and God’s promises that are interwoven as I was reading this.

Worth the Wait tackles some tough issues with cancer and sex, but it was done masterfully. Of course there are no graphic, inappropriate scenes, but it does deal with teenage sex and purity. This is a topic often glossed over in many YA Christian novels, but Worth the Wait dealt with it and taught a powerful lesson. The cancer issue was realistic and moving also.

The characters are well developed and so “REAL”! They are lovable people with flaws, just like we all are. One of the minor moments that really touched me was when the main character’s dad made a comment on how Ellie should be feeling and when the main character (Ellie) got upset about this, her dad left an apology note for her. It showed human flaws in all their glory, but how something so simple as acknowledging and apologizing can make a world of difference to someone.

I think we all can relate to feeling lost at times or impatient or worn down. Worth the Wait offers God’s promises and timing in a moving, unforgettable tale.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. It gripped my emotions and I highly recommend it!

I received this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Meet the author: Laura Jackson

I love books—reading and writing them. As an elementary school librarian, I get to spend most of my day sharing great books with kids. After work, I write my own stories to share.

When I’m not surrounded by words, I love watching sports. I’m a huge Rockets fan, and I love the Texans.

I’m passionate about Jesus, books, trees, and cupcakes.

I love to hear from readers, so please find me on Facebook, Twitter (LauraJackson80), Goodreads, or on authorlaurajackson.blogspot.com.

The Quilted Heart (Three Novellas in One) by Mona Hodgson

The Quilted Heart (Three Novellas in One) by Mona Hodgson

What they are about: On Thursdays, Elsa Brantenberg hosts a Quilting Circle at her house. The women who go there have all experienced heartache related to the Civil War. They are trying to get through their lives and circumstances with friendship and prayer.

Back of Book blurb:
Dandelions on the Wind
When Maren Jensen took a job on Elsa Brantenberg’s St. Charles, Missouri farm, she never expected to call the place her home. As she grows to love Mrs. Brantenberg and her granddaughter, Gabi, Maren is transformed from a lonely mail-order bride-without-a-groom to a beloved member of the Brantenberg household. But when Gabi’s father, Rutherford “Wooly” Wainwright, returns to the farm unexpectedly, everything changes for Maren, and she feels compelled to find another job. Are her choices in obedience to God, or is she running from His plan?

Bending Toward the Sun
Dedicated to her education and to helping her father in his general store, Emilie Heinrich is convinced she doesn’t have time for love. But when a childhood friend returns to St. Charles, Missouri, after serving in the Civil War, his smile and charm captures Emilie’s eye and her heart. Will she be forced to choose between honoring her father and a future with a husband and family of her own?

Ripples Along the Shore
Change is brewing in St. Charles. A group of brave souls are preparing to head west on the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train, led by the mysterious and handsome Garrett Cowlishaw, who served as a Confederate soldier in the war that killed Caroline’s husband. Despite her dislike for him, Caroline is tempted to join the wagon train and start fresh somewhere new, but when Mr. Cowlishaw forbids her—a single woman—to travel with them, will one man’s prejudice destroy Caroline’s hope for a new future? Or will the ripples of God’s love bring the answer she needs?

My thoughts: I really liked the first novella, Dandelions on the Wind, one because the main character, Maren, is loosing her eyesight. I work with blind children, so this issue is a soft spot with me! Maren’s “employer” Mrs. Brantenberg character, is so touching and insightful.

The other two novellas were; Bending Toward the Sun and Ripples Along the Shore. All of the stories were enjoyable and fun and had some great messages in them. Novellas are really nice to read when you want to read a whole story in on sitting or evening but do not have the time for a full-length novel. These novellas are gentle and sweet and were worth my time. I enjoyed them, but I did feel a bit disjointed with the characters like I sometimes tend to feel while reading novellas. The third and final story, Ripples Along the Shore, was a bit confusing for me at times with the point of view switching to a couple of secondary characters. I loved how the stories followed each other and were very connected so I could find out what was happening with all of the characters. With how many main characters there were through these three novellas, the characters were well developed and interesting and fun.

I rate The Quilted Heart 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book free from bloggingforbooks in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Meet the author, Mona Hodgson:
Image of Mona Hodgson

Mona Hodgson is the author of nearly 40 books, historical novels for adults and children’s books, including her popular Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, The Quilted Heart novellas, and upcoming Hearts Seeking Home Series. Her children’s books include bestseller, Bedtime in the Southwest, six desert and princess Zonderkidz I Can Read books, Real Girls of the Bible: A 31-Day Devotional, and her six I Wonder books. Mona’s writing credits also include several hundred articles, poems and short stories, which have appeared in 50 different publications. Mona is a speaker for women’s groups, Christian women’s retreats, book clubs and reading groups, schools, and conferences for writers and librarians.

Love’s Sweet Beginning by Ann Shorey

Love's Sweet Beginning by Ann Shorey

What Love’s Sweet Beginning is about: Cassie Haddon is twenty-five years old and finds herself with no skills, yet she needs to provide for herself and her mother. It is now after the War Between the States, and they no longer have servants or husbands or fathers to care for Cassie or her mother. Cassie sets out to make a living to provide a home and food for herself and her mother. This is no easy task! Cassie needs to convince Jacob West, who owns the local grocer and restaurant, that she can learn fast and he needs her skills! Jacob has his own past he is also dealing with while he and Cassie fall in love. These pasts all collide and mesh in ways they never imagined to try to build their own futures.

What I loved: I loved how easy it was to get lost in this book and forget about my real life. Ann Shorey has a gift of writing where it just flows and it’s so easy to picture what she is describing. I have not read a book in a really long time that was so easy to follow and it just flowed. I loved Cassie, the main character. She grew so much throughout Love’s Sweet Beginning! It did seem like she was younger than she really was in the beginning, but she grew into a lady by the end of the book!

What I didn’t like as much: I did get frustrated with Cassie always running to her manipulative mother’s requests. I was starting to get irritated with that when things changed and it worked out okay. At times the plot did seem to go a little slow, but as soon as it became noticeable, then there was nice a plot twist to make it fun again.

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review.

About Ann Shorey: She is the author of the At Home in Beldon Grove series, Where Wildflowers Bloom, and When the Heart Heals. She has also published selections in the Cup of Comfort series and in Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul. Ann and her husband make their home in southwestern Oregon. Learn more at http://www.annshorey.com.

You can purchase this book from Revel, Amazon, Christianbook.com and other retailers.

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley

 

What it’s about:

Shadows of the Past is a novel by a new author, Patricia Bradley, that takes you into Taylor Martin’s life and bring you on a mysterious ride!  Taylor is a psychology professor and criminal profiler who is being stalked and her stalker is getting bolder as time goes on and is now making attempts to take Taylor’s life.  Taylor’s father disappeared about twenty years ago and as she digs into his disappearance, the threats and attempts on her life increase.   Taylor meets Nick Sinclair, a best-selling author, who is related to one of Taylor’s lead suspects of her stalker.  They are attracted to each other, but both have pasts to deal with along with trying to keep Taylor alive.

My thoughts:

Patricia Bradley builds strong likable characters in Shadows of the Past. As much as I liked the characters though, I struggled with the first half of this book. It was okay, but after the strong beginning, everything seemed to fizzle a bit and it got much too slow for my liking for a suspense novel until a little past mid-way in the book. Then, everything seemed to pick up and I really, really enjoyed Shadows of the Past until the very end!

Taylor, the main character, is a woman who is totally relatable in her thoughts, yet she has carved out a pretty extraordinary career path for herself. I would say, Nick, the other main character, is a lot like Taylor in that way. A best-selling author, yet he was a likeable, dependable character. I really liked a supporting character, Kate, and would love to read more about her life/story. I also hope to learn more about Scott, Nick’s brother and Allison, Taylor’s mom. As you have probably gathered, I really am excited for the next book to come out and follow this cast of characters! I am excited to watch this new author grow with her next books and think she will only improve!

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. The first half was okay and 3 stars for me, and then the last half was great with 5 stars for an average of 4 stars. If you are reading this and not sure if you should continue at about half way, please read-on! It’s well worth it!

I received this book free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for my honest review.

You can buy Shadows of the Past from Revell, Amazon, and other retailers.

Meet Patricia Bradley:

Pat's-FB-43

About the Author

Patricia Bradley‘s manuscript for Shadows of the Past was a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award, winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier award (1st place, Inspirational), and winner of a 2012 Touched by Love award (1st place, Contemporary). She is a published short story writer and is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc. When she’s not writing or speaking, she can be found making beautiful clay pots and jewelry. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at http://www.ptbradley.com.

You’re Going to Be Okay by Holley Gerth

You're Going to Be Okay by Holley Gerth

I think the best way to summarize this book is to take the simple yet so meaningful words off the front cover and back cover… not the actually summary, just the little blurbs that catch your eye. “Encouraging truth your heart needs to hear, especially on the hard days.” And,
“If your life isn’t perfect…
If you’ve ever ben disappointed…
If you feel stressed or tired…
This is for you.”

You’re Going to Be Okay is organized into the introduction, ten chapters, and the guide to go with this book that can be for individuals or groups.

When I had the opportunity to read and review this book, I wanted to pass on it because I often struggle through non-fiction books even if the content is really good. It takes me forever and I knew I didn’t have a lot of time, yet I kept going back to this one like a child with a new favorite toy until I requested it. God moment? I think so, and now I know why! Holley Gerth has changed the way I think and feel about non-fiction! She was so ‘real’ and honest that I felt like I was having a conversation with her (okay, it was a bit one-sided) 😉 and she read my mind and thoughts so many times! I loved so many parts where she made me laugh out out loud with sarcastic thoughts that were going through my head! I think these types of books either hit home with us or not, depending on what we are going through at the time. This book was definitely one that I needed to read when I did.

I cried within the first few pages, Holley spoke right to my heart and poured a soothing balm on it. She simply blessed me over an over again throughout this book. I kept wondering if I could really like this book so much, all the way through… and YES! I loved the entire book. My favorite chapter was You’ll Remember These Words.

This is the first time I have ever wanted to go out and buy all of a non-fiction author’s books! I highly recommend You’re Going to Be Okay and can’t wait to see what Holley’s other books are like!

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!

I received this book free in exchange for my honest review from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Holley Gerth
Holley Gerth
Photo Credit: © Brooke Robinson
Holley Gerth Holley Gerth is a bestselling writer, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and books like You’re Already Amazing, You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream, and Opening the Door to Your God-Sized Dream. She’s also cofounder of (in)courage and a partner with DaySpring. Holley lives with her husband, Mark, in the South. Hang out with her at http://www.holleygerth.com

You can purchase this book from Baker Publishing Group, Amazon, Barns and Noble, and other retailers.