Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

Annie Martin loves the Plain ways of her Old Order Mennonite people, like those revered by her beloved grandfather. Retreating from a contentious relationship with her mother, Annie goes to live with her Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.

But as spring moves into Pennsylvania and Annie spends time amongst the cherry trees with the handsome Aden Zook, she wishes she could forget how deeply the lines between the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite are drawn.

Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm?

While I do read a lot of Amish Fiction, this was the first book I've ever read with a Mennonite character in it. I did not realize how different the two faiths are, or that they are not allowed to court someone from the other faith. Woodsmith created characters that were all visibly flawed in some way and wove a story of faith, forgiveness, and love. Despite having three young children and a full time job, I read this book in two sittings. I found myself rooting for Annie and Aden to find a way to be together without destroying their families and simply couldn't put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and am thankful I was able to receive a complimentary copy from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eyes of Justice

The Triple Threat Club has solved intense murder mysteries before…but this time it’s personal.
Cassidy, Allison, and Nicole fight for justice every day—Cassidy as a crime reporter, Nicole as an FBI agent, and Allison as a federal prosecutor. Together they’re a Triple Threat to be reckoned with.
But when a ruthless murderer kills one of their number—and the authorities seem intent on keeping them out of the investigation of the crime—their desire for justice goes into overdrive. They find an unexpected ally in a quirky private investigator named Ophelia whose methods confound the wise.
Yet just when it seems police have the killer in custody and justice is within sight, he somehow strikes again. Not knowing whom to trust, the team engage in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the killer. Nothing can be taken at face value…and nothing will ever be the same.
A riveting Triple Threat mystery that will leave readers shocked and satisfied.
When I logged on to Booksneeze, Thomas Nelson Publishing's blogger program, to pick a new book to review I was excited to see a book by Lis Wiehl. I recently reviewed another Triple Threat Novel and really enjoyed it, so I requested this one without reading the teaser. I was shocked when the murderer "kills one of their number," as is states in the teaser. Once the shock wore off, I found the book had a bit of a lull before becoming engrossing once again. Overall, I found the book to be suspenseful and left me wondering if there will be another book, and how the author will segue into the next phase for these characters.

Booksneeze has provided me with a complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stand By Me

Kathryn Davies is a bright young woman from a prominent Phoenix family. But after making a leap of faith at a Christian music fest, dropping out of med school, and moving to inner city Chicago, her family has all but disowned her. Kat’s enthusiasm for her newfound faith tempers the sting of their rejection.
When Kat discovers SouledOut Community Church, she longs to become a part of the multi-cultural church family. But her tendency to say whatever she’s thinking and her eccentric ways step on the toes of nearly everyone she meets—especially Avis Douglass, a woman she admires but who seems distant.
Avis is known for her mature faith and her reliance on listening to God more than people. Married to a kind and successful businessman, she is the principal of one of Chicago’s highest performing elementary schools, and a founding and active member of SouledOut. But the country’s economic downturn has thrown both her and her husband’s jobs in question. And Avis hasn’t heard from her youngest daughter in months—an estrangement that gnaws at her every day. Where is God in all this?
Kat’s flamboyant zeal for living a “radical” Christian life is a stark contrast to Avis’s quiet crisis of faith. But in God’s own mysterious ways, the two women discover they need each other in ways neither of them expected.

I have heard of the Yada Yada Prayer Group book series, but I have never read any of them. I didn't realize that Neta Jackson was also the author of those books when I downloaded my complimentary copy of Stand By Me through Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review. However, I have heard good things about the Yada Yada series, so I was excited when I discovered that connection. Avis Douglass is a character from the series, and apparently we get a deeper understanding of her through this book. I think I would enjoy going back and reading the Yada Yada series now that I have been introduced to the characters. Personally, I found Kat to be a little bit annoying, but that was good because it helped me empathize with Avis' annoyance of her. By the end of the book Neta had me rooting for both women to find what they needed. I am glad that this is the first in a series, and look forward to more about these ladies in the future.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dawn Comes Early

Disgraced dime novelist Kate Tenney fled the city that banned her latest novel for the emptiness of the desert. Answering an ad to be “heiress” to a vast cattle ranch in the Arizona Territory, Kate hopes ranching turns out to be as romantic as she portrayed it in her novels.
But what awaits her is a life harder than the one she just left. There is no room for mistakes on a working cattle ranch, and Kate is ill-prepared for her new life. She quickly learns that dawn comes early. But she is tenacious.

Having been abandoned by a string of men, Kate has no intention of ever marrying. But she didn’t expect to meet Luke Adams, either. Luke awakens feelings inside Kate she doesn’t recognize, and his steady presence is a constant distraction. She has only written about love in the past, never known it herself. But her feelings for Luke stand in the way of all she has to gain if she is chosen as the heir.

Perhaps God brought Kate to the barrenness of the desert to give new life to her jaded heart.

The  first half of this book was rather slow for me. It was spent in character development and describing how hard ranch life can be. I found myself getting tired of it when suddenly the story turned around. The second half of the book was filled with more action and curiosity about what the main character would do, which provided a lot more interest for me. All in all, I give it 3 stars out of 5, as it took a long time for me to get into the story enough to care about knowing how it would end.

I received a complimentary copy of Dawn Comes Early through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for an honest review.