The Brides of the Big Valley Book Review

The Brides of The Big Valley is a compilation of three Christian contemporary Amish romance stories penned by the three Brunstetter ladies.   Matriarch Wanda is joined by daughter-in-law Jean and granddaughter Richelle to produce a delightful fiction book that is unique and engaging.  I have never read any Amish stories such as these.

The Amish lifestyle fascinates me and by reading these three books I was able to learn even more about it.  Opening this paperback is an Introduction section that describes The Big Valley and Amish there.  The three different buggy colors intrigued me.  Their language and cooking do, too.   The Brunstetter ladies have done their research well and really know the Amish culture.  It is evidenced in their well written books.

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Each story has believable characters that are true to life.  They struggle with life issues such as strife, forgiveness, coveting, and not wanting to accept help from others.  Through their tale solutions are given on how to deal with these unfortunate and stressful topics.  God is frontmost in each of the three books.

All three novellas are set in an area in Pennsylvania known as Big Valley.  There are many Amish here but they aren’t all alike in their beliefs and rules.  The three separate districts here range from Conservative to Liberal.  Each one has their own color of buggy to distinguish themselves.

Wanda has written the first book, Deanna’s Determination.  In this story Deanna is a widow with a young son who has Down’s Syndrome.  It is a heart wrenching story that has stayed with me long after I finished reading it.  I was a bit bothered by switching between Dad and Daed throughout the book, but it could be a Big Valley practice.  I loved the little boy,  Abner.  There are so many life lessons to be learned in this poignant tale.

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Jean took on Book Two, Rose Mary’s Resolve.  The common thread between these two books is Elmer.  He works for her father.  In this tale, Mary Rose is deliberating on her faith and finding a man to help her in her walk.  She has been considering jumping the fence over into the Englischer World.  It is a wonderful story and filled with faith, decisions, consequences, and inspiration.  Jean has a very nice style of writing and knows her Amish, also.

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Richelle wraps up the book with Leila’s Longing.  Leila has been helping her mother and has done so without complaining.  Secretly she yearns for a house and family of her own.  Her friends are all married or getting married.  She is goes to a singing where young people gather and mingle.  Her dilemma is can a strict yellow topper be interested in beginning a relationship and family with someone from a different group?

I would highly recommend this to anyone.  If you aren’t certain if you like Amish books, this is a sampling from three excellent authors.  Each of the stories is equally entertaining and inspiring. After the novella each author has included a recipe from her story.  There are no Discussion Questions at the end, but these would be great book club choices for many reasons.  There is heartache, disabilities, and making choices involved in these captivating tales.

After reading these three novella, I am ready for a real trip to Amish Country.  This gave me a taste for the real thing!  I gladly rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.  Each individual story would get a 5, also.  A copy was provided by the publisher but these were my own, honest thoughts.

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About the Book:

In an area of Pennsylvania called The Big Valley, a uniquely blended Amish community thrives in which three distinct groups of Amish identify themselves by the colors of their buggy’s top—white, black, or yellow. Join New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in experiencing the stories of three young women who search for faith and love within this special place. Deanna is a widow who sees her second chance of love slipping away. Rose Mary is at a point in life where she must choose the path of her faith and the right man to walk with her on it. Leila is burdened with family responsibilities and wonders when she will ever start a family of her own.

About the Authors:

Wanda Brunstetter

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda’s stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties. Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Jean Brunstetter

Jean Brunstetter became fascinated with the Amish when she first went to Pennsylvania to visit her father-in-law’s family. Since that time, Jean has become friends with several Amish families and enjoys writing about their way of life. She also likes to put some of the simple practices followed by the Amish into her daily routine. Jean lives in Washington State with her husband, Richard Jr. and their three children, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish communities in several states. In addition to writing, Jean enjoys boating, gardening, and spending time on the beach.

Richelle Brunstetter

Richelle Brunstetter lives in the Pacific Northwest and developed a desire to write when she took creative writing in high school. After enrolling in college classes, her overall experience enticed her to become a writer, and she wants to implement what she’s learned into her stories. Just starting her writing career, her first published story appears in The Beloved Christmas Quilt beside her grandmother, Wanda E. Brunstetter, and her mother, Jean. Richelle enjoys traveling to different places, her favorite being Kauai, Hawaii.

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The God Dare: Will You Choose to Believe the Impossible? by Kate Battistelli

My Thoughts

I hadn’t heard of author Kate Battistelli before this book but her name sounded familiar. Do you think so, too?   Ahhhh, you are smarter than I am.  Yes, she is related to singer Francesca Battistelli, her mother in fact.  While we all know her daughter can singer what we did not know is that Mama can write!

This is a transparent, open look into the author’s life and her relationship with God.  It is written eloquently and gracefully flows from the pages of her book into readers’ hearts.  The stories are so personal and interesting that I felt like I was chatting with a new friend.

In her book, the author discusses how God has plans for each one of us.  He also offers assistance to equip us to accomplish our task.  Like the saying goes, God doesn’t call the qualified but qualifies the called.

She is open and honest with her journey.  There are many personal and family stories of listening to God and following Him.  Biblical stories are used, also.  All of these to help readers realize that we were all born for a purpose at this time.  Our first duty is to find our purpose and the second is to do it.  With God’s leading and helping us, anything is possible.

This is a thought provoking book that will have your wheels turning.  Author Kate challenges readers to search and find our purpose.  Then take the big step and begin working on it.  This will take a lot of prayer, listening for God, trusting Him, and courage.

I love the line “God sees us according to our destiny, not our history.”  God is presented lovingly, approachable, and caring by the author, which is how I perceive Him.  The God Dare is such an encouraging, uplifting book.  I loved it.

I highly recommend it to everyone.  Seasoned Christians will benefit from the refreshing tone and delightful stories that turn hearts and minds to God and what His plans are for each of us.  New Christians or Seekers will benefit, too.  The true, honest writing and sweet words will help draw them in and answer some questions.  They will be inspired and encouraged.

This would be a nice book for a church library.  Yes, a study group would really enjoy it, too.  I will be keeping this in my library but encouraging many people to buy and read it. It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from me.  A copy was provided by the publisher but I was under no obligation to write a review.  These are my own, honest words.

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About the Book

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The God Dare. Where will you hear it? . . .

Deep down inside, you know you’re on this planet for a reason. God has a plan in mind just for you. In fact, He chose you for His plan before the foundation of the world. He designed you very specifically for this time and this place, and He’s perfectly equipped you to accomplish His purpose in the earth.

Through engaging and memorable true stories—both biblical and modern—author Kate Battistelli challenges and encourages you to discover how God has specifically designed you for this time in history, your place in the world, your role in His cosmic plan. Once and for all, let go of your fear, worry, pride and strife. . .

All God ever needs is a willing vessel. Will you say yes?

About the Author

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Kate Battistelli is an author, speaker, mentor. A wife, former Broadway actress, and mom to one of Christian music’s most celebrated recording artists, GRAMMY and Dove Award winning, Christian contemporary singer-songwriter Francesca Battistelli. Kate currently writes about food and faith at her popular website https://katebattistelli.com/ She thoroughly enjoys being Mimi to her four grandchildren, Eli, Audrey Jane, Isaac James and Wyatt Samuel!

What Others are Saying

The God Dare will challenge your heart and soul. But more than that, it will encourage you to walk closer with Jesus. And all of us need that!”
–Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Kate will inspire you to discover the path He’s chosen for you at this time in history and just where you fit in to His cosmic plan. Take The God Dare. It will change your life and change the world at the same time!”
–Dr. Josh Axe DNM, DC, CNS and author of the bestselling Keto Diet and Eat Dirt

“This book is for anyone who wants God’s best and is willing to believe that He can turn your pain into passion, your tragedy into triumph, and take you from mess to messenger. Let Kate’s words of wisdom help you embark on your own God Dare!”
–Jordan Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of The Maker’s Diet Founder, Garden of Life, Beyond Organic and Ancient Nutrition

“Frustrated with a complacent walk with Christ? Kate tells us that age, gender, anxiety, past failures, etc. are no excuse for staying where we are. The God Dare provides examples of how trustworthy He is—in surprising and supernatural ways! Become a world changer…I dare you…no, God dares you!”
–Pastor Steve Berger, Grace Chapel

Shadow Among Sheaves Celebrate Lit Book Tour and Giveaway

Today I am pleased to tell you about a remarkable book that I just read.  “Shadow Among Sheaves” written by author Naomi Stephens is a beautiful retelling of the biblical story of Ruth.  This one is set in 1850’s England and is an exquisite novel.  It is one of my favorite “modern” day takes on Ruth’s story that I have ever read.

Author Stephens has written a realistic retelling in this book.  It makes sense.  Her beautifully written work grabbed me and guided me inside its pages.  I was no longer in my comfy chair reading but in England with Rena, her mother-in-law Nell, and Lord Barric.  From the very beginning I was invested in this superbly written tale.  It is a page turning, reader’s treasure.

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Not only did I read the book, I lived it.  I felt the snubs, was hurt by the insults, and understood the pain.  The women had a hard time and I wanted to offer help.  The author took me on an emotional roller coaster ride with this book.  I made new friends and found people I did not like.  Even ones I liked had moments where they were human and failed.

A review for this stunning book could be summed up in one word. . . WOW!   It is amazing.  This is a very well researched, well planned, and extremely well written book.  It needs to be a movie.  Yes, it is that great.

The characters are all believable.  They are well rounded with character flaws as well as redeeming attributes.  The scenery and daily life are vividly described.  I easily imagined I was gleaning in the fields, trying new foods, and seeing new things just as Rena.

The story is a bit predictable if you know your Bible but it also has some twists and surprises.  It has a good faith message and deals with tough modern day issues such as prejudice, bullying, pride, family, forgiveness, respect, and social standing.

There is so much packed into its pages.  I learned historical facts about India and England.  There was mystery, intrigue, romance, and discussions on placing priorities, family relationships, charity, gossip, and friendship.

I will be watching for more books from author Naomi Stephens.  You should, too.  This one was phenomenal.  I highly recommend it.  I rated it 5 out of 5.  A copy was provided by the publisher but I was under no obligation to write a review.  These are my own, honest words.

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About the Book

Shadow amonght Sheaves

Book: Shadow Among Sheaves

Author: Naomi Stephens

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: April, 2019

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz

The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.

Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own.

About the Author

Naomi StephensNaomi Stephens is a bookworm turned teacher turned writer. She received a M.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and now lives in Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a rascal of a dog named Sherlock.

More from Naomi

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz

The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death.

Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own. Which will he choose? Find out in Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens.

Read an Exclusive Excerpt from Shadow Among Sheaves:

She smiled, stepping closer and placing her hand on the horse’s wet snout. Samson was a pretty beast with wide, ponderous eyes and a few splotches of gray around his nose. The soft puff of air Samson snorted into her palm brought a delighted smile to her lips, and she gasped as he bowed his neck to nuzzle his nose against her stomach. She felt her smile leap into a grin. It was a delightful change, to feel joy so deep it finally showed.

Barric circled around Samson to stand beside her, his hands never leaving the reins. “He’s fond of you,” he remarked as Samson dropped his snout against her hip.

“Unsurprising, I suppose. Though he could also be searching you for a carrot.”

Surprised to hear Lord Barric speak so teasingly, and pleased by the gentle light she found in his otherwise tired eyes, Rena laughed her faint agreement. “That will teach me to come empty-handed, won’t it?”

Their smiles both dropped as a young, lanky stable hand came rushing out to take Samson, and Barric relinquished his hold on the reins, nodding his silent thanks.

As soon as the stable boy had disappeared with Samson, Bar¬ric glanced back at Rena. “Are you going home?” he asked, nodding toward the dusty road looping down the hill to William’s house.

She stepped back, realizing she had dawdled longer than she’d first intended. “Yes,” she answered. “I often come this way to avoid the other workers.”

“Might I walk with you?” He turned to hang his whip on a peg. “Just a short stretch of the road?”

Stunned by his request, and a bit suspicious of his motive, she nonetheless nodded. “Yes, of course.”

Barric drew up beside her, his even strides betraying no unease, though he was silent for some time as they made their way down the golden-colored hill.

“You have seemed tired these past few days,” he observed. Rena did not bother to deny it. She’d been working hard to keep up with the others, as Barric had told her she must, and felt wearier for it. She had tried to split her days in half, the mornings spent binding sheaves with the women and the afternoons spent picking for her own stores, but the work was backbreaking, and, as he had already pointed out once before, she was not used to hard labor. “I realize I haven’t really asked you how you are settling in,” he went on.

“Perhaps you’ve been too busy provoking me,” she answered before she could stop herself.

Barric’s eyebrow inched up as he slanted an approving smirk down at her. “Perhaps.”

Rena cursed her honest tongue. She must have been more tired than she thought, to speak so freely to a man of title. “I have been well,” she tried again, a bit more diplomatically. “The house suits us, if that is what you are asking.”

“The people here do not speak to you unkindly?”

“The people do not speak to me at all.” She had meant to sound casual, unaffected, but heard the hurt in her own voice she hadn’t been able to weed out. As Barric’s expression tightened, she hastened to amend, “Except for you, my lord. Of course. And the Wilmots.”

“They are good people,” he agreed quietly. “And will you be coming with them to the festival this evening?”

She hesitated. According to Alice, harvest home was a yearly tra¬dition, a night of raucous drinking and dancing to celebrate the close of the harvest. All of Abbotsville would be there—landowners, stew-ards, even tenant farmers and common laborers. But Rena was none of those things, and she and Barric both knew it.

“Come,” Barric teased, “do not tell me you are afraid to go. I would never have thought it of you.”

“I am not afraid,” she insisted. “I just had not thought about it.”

At her defensive tone, he smiled—a true smile—one that pinched the corners of his eyes and pressed grooves along the outer edges of his mouth. “You ought to come,” he decided. “Everyone in Abbotsville is welcome, and many are the men who would feel lucky to dance with you.”

But, of course, Lord Barric knew this was not true. The men in his fields regarded her mostly with contempt and made no secret of it— they would not count themselves at all lucky to dance with her. Was Lord Barric trying to offer her words of comfort? Or was he trying to convey a message?

Did he want to dance with her?

This was hardly a safe question, and so she asked another. “Do you dance, Lord Barric?”

When he met her gaze, so direct, she was all the more glad she had not stammered in her reply. The man walked a dangerous line whenever he deigned to speak to her. Far too close, she’d think, and then stern enough to cool her blood with a word.

He surprised her with another smile, this one a faint twist at the corner of his lips. “Perhaps you would have to come to find out.”

Blog Stops

Godly Book Reviews, April 30

Mary Hake, April 30

Worthy2Read, April 30

Back Porch Reads, May 1

Inspirationally Ever After, May 1

Fiction Aficionado, May 2

Splashes of Joy, May 2

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 2

Bigreadersite, May 3

Inklings and notions , May 3

Blossoms and Blessings, May 3

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 4

janicesbookreviews, May 4

Just the Write Escape, May 5

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, May 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 6

For Him and My Family, May 6

Kat’s Corner Books, May 7

Pause for Tales, May 7

Aryn The Libraryan, May 8

Faery Tales Are Real, May 8

Hallie Reads, May 8

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 9

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 9

Through the Fire Blogs, May 10

The Becca Files, May 10

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 11

Older & Smarter?, May 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 11

Texas Book-aholic, May 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 12

A Reader’s Brain, May 13

For the Love of Literature, May 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Naomi is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a finished paperback copy of Shadow Among Sheaves!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/deb9/shadow-among-sheaves-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

Book Review: Marked by Love by Tim Steven

Marked by Love: A Dare to Walk Away from Judgment and Hypocrisy by author Tim Steven is a frank, real, honest look at how we see and love others.  It is an in your face, step on your toes, search inside yourself book that challenges readers.  Are others able to identify us by our actions that we are Christians?  Can they see Jesus shining through us?
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It is not always easy but we are told to love everyone.  Scripture says to love and pray for your enemies.  Sinners, too, need your love.  Perhaps you don’t agree with them, but you can still love them.  Love the person and hate the sin.
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How do you think we are doing? Are we Christians living as the Bible commands?  Are we lovings others?  Do we not judge?  These are stinging questions but this book is a wake up call to anyone who has forgotten.  We are to be Jesus to others and live as He taught us everyday, not just the hour or two on Sunday when we are in church.
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The author explains God said twice in scripture “Jesus is marked by my love”.  Jesus did not have a tattoo or certain color he always wore to mark Him.  The only thing that marked Jesus Christ and the only thing that would mark His followers is love.  We as followers are also marked by love.  Do we act like it?  Can we treat everyone with love?  We are commanded to do just that.  Not just people we like but everyone.  Even those we disagree with in choices, politics, lifestyle, and anything.
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I would highly recommend this walk the walk book to anyone.  It is very upfront about people needing to change.  We need to stop this bickering, judging, and hating.  How would our world be if we treated everyone with love and showed them Jesus?  Think of the changes!  This is a great group read.  Believe me, you will want to discuss it with people.  You will want to change for the better.  This reader did.   It gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me.  I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.  All opinions are my own honest ones.
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Find a Book Friday: The Patriot Bride

Are you a lover of historical Christian fiction?  When I say historical, I mean historical.  Think founding fathers of this great nation of ours and you will be in the right mindset.  The Patriot Bride by author Kimberley Woodhouse is a 256 pages Historical Christian Romance Fiction that follows the first three books in the Daughters of the Mayflower series. It opens with a family tree of the Mayflower Brides.  I loved that.  A visual cuts down on confusion especially with this being book four.

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The Patriot Bride is the tale of Faith Jackson, a wealthy widow.  Faith grew up following George Washington around wherever he went. Orphaned when she was a young girl, George was Faith’s caretaker. George becomes a protective big brother to Faith throughout the years.  This is also the story of Matthew Weber, a friend of George’s. His mentor happens to be Benjamin Franklin, which livens things up in this book.  Author Woodhouse has made Franklin’s character quite funny as he was said to be in real life.
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This book is a true delight!  It has adventure, intrigue, espionage , romance, history, and an inspirational message.  All of this packed into one fabulous tale.  Author Woodhouse has done her research impeccably.  Her novel is well written with descriptions that sent me to the 1770’s.  She detailed the daily struggles and trials people faced as well as the forthcoming war.
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The characters are engaging, charming and relatable.  Their interactions are smooth and authentic. The story contains other characters besides George Washington and Ben Franklin from history such as William Franklin and Paul Revere. They do not have as major roles as the former.   Of course, we must not forget the ladies.  They have Bible studies or readings in their elaborate homes.  Dressed in beautiful silk gowns, sipping tea, with lovely manners, these same gracious ladies run out into the night on to carry messages to spies.  I wanted to have tea, study the Bible, and chat with these brave, beautiful spitfires.
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Inspirational messages and encouragement are woven throughout this tale.  Praying, trusting in God, and having faith are among them.  Waiting on God’s perfect timing and not jumping ahead on our own is one that will resonate with many.  The author has done a nice job planning and organizing this storyline to include life lessons and spiritual ones.
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I was drawn into this fascinating book within a few pages and did not want to stop reading.  The Patriot Bride is a novel I highly recommend. The characters become friends, the setting is so well written you will think you have been to Boston during the 1770’s, the messages are still timely for today, and the history is plentiful right down to the Declaration of Independence.  I happily rate this 5 out of 5 stars.  Pick up a copy for yourself.  If you like history and being swept away in a book, you will love this!
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Find a Book Friday: My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas – Madeline’s Search

Have you ever been to Galveston, Texas before and seen all of the sights?  Before you say yes, let me continue….in the year 1880?  That is a place in time none of us have ever been, but after reading this novel we will all feel as if we had. That, my friends, is the result of a good book.  My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas – Madeline’s Search by author Kathleen Y’Barbo is 256 pages of Christian fiction that will pick you up and take you on a journey to 1880 Texas.  You will be in the heart of action, mystery, intrigue, and even romance.
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Author Kathleen Y’Barbo has a unique style of writing, and I find it to be to my taste.  Her descriptions are on point and characters are well defined.  The dialog is plentiful and flowed easily between characters.  That makes a book more interesting for me.  The story had been researched well so that each detail would put me in 1880 Galveston.  I learned some things which I find to be a bonus in historical books.  It is always a treat to glean knowledge while reading for pleasure.  Don’t you agree?
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This is the tale of Pinkerton Agent Jonah Cahill and investigative reporter Madeline Latour.  Jonah is employed by Mrs. Smith to find her granddaughter.  Madeline is the illusive Mrs. Smith’s traveling companion in hopes of obtaining the story of a lifetime, an exclusive first hand account about this woman and all of her secrets.  Jonah normally travels alone while working, but Mrs. Smith insists that she and Madeline accompany him in his search for her granddaughter.  Who could refuse Mrs. Smith?  Certainly not Jonah.
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In this book a secret about Madeline and Jonah is revealed.  It adds an extra layer of tension and conflict which heightens readers interest and kept me invested in their lives.  This novel have something for everyone – intrigue, mystery, secrets, romance, twists, life lessons, and encouragement.  I found lost treasures, lost loves, and a wealth of historical information.
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I would recommend this book.  It is a delightful historical Christian mystery romance.  There is something for everyone within its pages.  Read it in a group or with friends so that you could discuss the “can you believe that just happened” moments.  It turns into quite the page turner after reading a few chapters.  I rated it a 4 out of 5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.  These are my own honest opinions.

Read a Book Monday: No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens

Do you enjoy something different when reading?   Perhaps you are tired of the usual stories or types.  Fear not because I have one that will cure your longing for something new and different.  No Less Days by author Amanda G. Stevens is a 320 page paperback Christian fiction that is listed in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Mystery & Suspense sections.  It is all that and more.  This is the first book by author Stevens I have read and I am so glad I was introduced to her.

This is the tale of David Galloway.   David is one hundred sixty seven years old but hasn’t aged past thirty-five.   He loves books, is a Man of God, flawed and makes mistakes, and is a soldier and defender. David lives a solitary life by his own choice, but is still extremely lonely.   He is on a quest to learn the reason God created him differently than all other human beings.  Miraculously David meets people who know him and are just like him only who know what’s happening.  He finds people who can help him. David realizes God may have directed these people to him when a secret is exposed.
The author has done an amazing job writing this novel.  It has been written totally from her character, David’s point of view.  She has a style that suits my taste well.  Her descriptions are detailed without becoming overlong and boring.  Characters are defined and well rounded.  They should and seem like real people, not characters.  The author doesn’t tie toe around difficult topics.  She deals with them head on in a Christian way.  The book has a heavy sprinkling of inspirational leadings, such as trust in God, lean on Him and His guidance, forgiveness, and faith.
There were some things that didn’t set well with me, but I have been called a prude.  I do not like it when couples in Christian books mention sleeping together out of marriage.  Certainly it happens a lot, but in a Christian novel our standards should be higher.  Other crass things and words should not be included either.  This is just my opinion.
I highly recommend this book.  Anyone who enjoys a well-written, faith filled, very different, contemporary novel would absolutely love this novel.  Read it with a friend or in a group.  Trust me, you will want to discuss it.  I give it a 4 out of 5 star rating.  I was given a copy of the book from Barbour Publishing.  This review is completely my own honest opinion.

Find a Book Friday: The Prayer Map Journal for Women

Today I have a very different book for you.  It is a prayer journal.  Do you use one?  Would you like to try?  Journaling while praying is one way of keeping track of when and what you and our Heavenly Father discuss.  It offers a record to go back and review.  Most importantly, if you say you are going to pray for someone, please do.  A journal is a good place to list that.09F4AE98-0700-4C4A-82A4-C0EB5037D870  Praying for someone is lifting them up to Jesus for intercession.  No better problem solver ever.  Let’s check this journal out.

The Pray Map Journal for Women by the Barbour Staff is a spiral bound paperback providing a delightful way to record daily prayer time with God.  Published by Barbour Books this 176 page Women’s journal has a whimsical cover and inside road map for prayer.  It would be an easy to follow outline for someone wanting to dig deeper into a prayer life.
This guide to prayer journaling is not just for women.  Teenage girls and preteens would benefit from this as well.  Each entry or day consists of two pages with different sections and a road with arrows directing where to go next.  Beginning with the date, readers are guided to a section for prayer, followed by one on thanks.  The next destination is “I am worried about” which did not settle quite well with me.  C0D229C1-5568-4EAB-A509-3F1D831C0F13I am hoping (and suggesting) in reprints that the word “worried” is replaced with concerned or something else.  (It is a goal of mine to stress not to worry as Jesus teaches us.)  After that stop, readers go on to listing people they are praying for and then themselves.  There is a wrap up, scripture, and that day is complete.  It sounds more detailed than it really is.  This is easy to understand and follow.
The Prayer Map Journal is a great tool for any woman or young woman of faith.  Whether you are just beginning or have been doing this for years, this journal will be a tangible reminder of what you have been bringing to the Father and the date.  It is a medium size 6” x 8” paperback and not too thick.  I can fit it in my purse or tote bag, and it is lightweight..  Retailing for just $7.99 makes this jewel very affordable.  It would make a nice gift for a prayer group, girls’ small group, women’s group, graduation or Mother’s Day.  I highly recommend it and give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.  I would have given it 5 except for the “worry” reference.  Whether you decide to journal or not, keep praying.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
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