Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Christmas Cradle" by Charlotte Hubbard

About The Book

The Christmas Cradle

For the peaceful town of Willow Ridge, November presents an early holiday surprise. Stranded in the snow, 18-year-old Lena Esh and her boyfriend Josiah Witmer need more than a place to stay for the night. Lena defied her strict family and their judgmental beliefs to run away with Josiah and have his baby. But she's starting to wonder if he can prove as responsible as he is passionate. And she isn't sure how—or if—they can ever find a place to truly call home.

Expecting their own miracle baby, Miriam and Ben Hooley rally the town to help the young couple, and Lena draws strength from their unexpected support. Though trouble may come calling, in this season of joyous rebirth, a little child will lead them. And two couples will see their dreams of forever family come true . . .

Please visit Charlotte Hubbards website

Buy "Christmas Cradle" from Amazon
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Read more reviews on Goodreads here

This book was released in September 2015
This book is part of my personal library that was used to review

My Review

“Christmas Cradle” by Charlotte Hubbard is the final book in her 'Seasons of the Heart' series. Though this is the final book it can be read by itself if someone hasn't read the prior books, but I have to say that there is something special being missed out by not reading the prior books. There is one constant thread throughout the series and that is who the bad guy is.

Not long ago I read a review on a book (can't remember what book sorry about that) and it was the message of forgiving a character who the reader just hates. This series is a great example of hating a vile character who got nuttier and nuttier with each book to the point where I couldn't stand this character and wished for just deserts for this character. I wasn't sure what was going to happen but I kept thinking that no matter what happened I have to forgive this character even though they are just a fictional character with no real person to forgive. In all honesty it was a great exercise in forgiving in those who seem unforgivable. That is all I am going to say about that for anything more and I would be spilling the beans on what happens with the character.

This is a book with some pretty important lessons such as forgiveness, overcoming mistrust and hatred, learning to step up to do what needs to be done, to grow in maturity, and how to handle the uncertain future with grace. Things don't always work out the way one expects or hopes for but with the support of family and friends, but above all else being in God's will nothing is impossible for a person to have that peaceful, happy ending. That is one thing that really seemed to be the most important message in the story that if we are in God's will, even if we want to be in control, things will work out in ways that we can't even begin to understand.

Lena and Josiah are a young couple that are facing an unknown future with so many unknown factors in their future as well. This is really a story that gives hope to all those young couples who are facing the same problems as this young couple for together things can be overcome. With love and support of family and friends nothing is impossible, but it always help to remember that hard work is a major component in making things turn out for the best. That is something that was never in question though for neither Lena or Josiah were afraid of working hard and sometimes it seemed as if they were working a little too hard at somethings and not hard enough for other things.

To give my opinions on the young Lena and Josiah would sadly give away something really special about them for they go through so many changes throughout the story. As I said they are not afraid of hard work in the slightest but at times work a little too hard on somethings. There are plenty of changes that this couple face and mistakes that they each made that they have to own up to along the way. There are some pretty big changes that happen which makes it so hard to describe this young couple without giving away part of the plot so I am going to leave them as it stands with what I said.

I loved seeing Ben and Miriam again playing such a large part of the story for their strength is something that was really needed in this story without a doubt. Ben and Miriam have played such a large part in the entire series, even though each book has been stand alone books, Ben and Miriam have been important with the lessons that really fit the story itself. This is no different but here they play a larger part and the lessons they teach are just as important.

This entire series is going on my keep shelf so that I can pull it out over the years to read time and time again so that I can see what new message will be there for me to discover. I hope all who have been reading this series will enjoy this book as much as I did, and for those who haven't read the other books, I hope with this book will entice those who haven't to pick up the other books to do so. I look forward to the new series that will be starting next year.

Other 'Season's of the Heart' Books and Novellas
                                                      found in An Amish Country Christmas
                                                   found in An Amish Christmas Quilt

Monday, October 5, 2015

"A Western Christmas" by Renee Ryan and Louise M. Gouge

About The Book

A New Family Makes the Perfect Christmas Gift  

Yuletide Lawman by Renee Ryan

A Christmas to remember—that's what Ellie Wainwright wants to provide for Sheriff Caleb Voss's little girls. But she can't agree to a marriage of convenience. Ellie wants nothing less than real love. Caleb long ago gave up on love, yet sweet Ellie's kindness to his children could make a believer of him again.

Yuletide Reunion by Louise M. Gouge

Emma Sharp's family needs to rebuild their barn before Christmas. All help is welcome—even if it comes from the handsome neighboring rancher who jilted her two years ago. Can Jared Mattson prove that he wants to build not just a barn with Emma—but a bright future together?

Please visit Renee Ryan's website
Please visit Louise M. Gouge's website

Buy "A Western Christmas" from Amazon
Buy "A Western Christmas" from Barnes&Noble

Read more reviews on Goodreads here

This book was released in October 2015
This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review
My Review
“A Western Christmas” is a book that has two novella's written by Renee Ryan and Louise M. Gouge. I received this book from Ms. Ryan in exchange for an honest review, so honesty it is going to be just like every other review.

Here are two novellas that take place in Wyoming and New Mexico in the month of December with the same theme it seems in both of them. The theme is grace, forgiveness and understanding. Though the characters are four very different characters, they are very similar at the same time. Some are stubborn to the point to where they might just cut off their noses in spite of their face, others daydream a bit more freely, and all of them have suffered some kind of heartache. As I said they are similar yet there are plenty of differences to make each story unique and special to read.

I would try to tell a little about each story but honestly the little blurbs on the back of the book (can be found above) covers all the important aspects of the story so I wont bother trying to tell more about them, for if I do then I run the risk of spoiling the stories for other readers, and I hate when I learn too much about a book I am thinking of getting because somebody basically told the story in their review. So since I hate that I won't do that to anyone else.

These two novellas are heartwarming and tender Christmas stories that really highlight the Christmas message of love, forgiveness and so much more. Christmas is a very important in each of the stories with each having a different focus it seems but both on the message in one way or another, on love. Love for each other and how love is.

I honestly enjoyed this book and it really put me in the Christmas feeling with the messages that they each portrayed. The message of hope and forgiveness, joy and grace just seemed to shout Christmas. So grab a warm blanket, cup of your favorite hot drink and enjoy this book.

Monday, September 28, 2015

“Rekindling the Widower's Heart” by Glynna Kaye

About The Book

A Future to Build On 

All widower Luke Hunter wants is to raise his three kids—and be left alone. When Delaney Marks arrives in town to oversee the youth group's house renovation project, Luke decides he must come out of hiding. He's worried she's too young to get the job done. He'll have to keep a close watch on her—and on his heart. Because being with the vibrant girl makes it easy to forget their age difference and to start hoping for a future he doesn't deserve. As tensions rise over project pressures, Delaney tries to make Luke see that some things are just out of his control—and that he is worthy of happiness…with her.

Please visit Glynna Kaye's website
*Please note that the site does appear out of date at the time of this posting*

Purchase "Rekindling the Widower's Heart" from Amazon
Purchase "Rekindling the Widower's Heart" from Barnes&Noble

Read more reviews on Goodreads

This book was released in October 2015
This book used to be reviewed was a library book that I was the first to read.

My Review

“Rekindling the Widower's Heart” by Glynna Kaye is the first book in her 'Hearts of Hunter Ridge' series and it is a wonderful start of a series as well. I think there are a few characters whose stories are still to come in this series and I look forward to seeing them, and this story I almost want to say let the reader in on a little bit of each of the Hunter family past.

I have to say that this really isn't the May-December relationship that the back hints at for I would say it is more of a July-September relationship. Though what is the actual age difference isn't something that I would have even blinked at eye at one does seem to have a problem with it, but I got a kick out how they each handled things. A lot of times when I have seen a age difference that seems to matter to one character more than the other, one character might be a little more immature while the other one is way more mature than most people their age, but this time it is not the case.

Delaney is a woman who has some dreams and she is taking time to reach those dreams, but she is not unrealistic as to think she is owed anything while she tries to reach her dreams. She has this positive outlook for nearly everything she does or is a part of. She is a woman who remembers what it is like to be young by continuing to live life to the fullest and having unplanned fun when the opportunity arises. Delaney is also a woman who shows a lot of determination and though she really doesn't explain at first why she is determined to do what she says she will do but once everything is out there it makes a lot of sense. She is a woman who tends to feel a lot while not allowing those feelings to rule her in a remarkable balanced way.

Luke is a man who is a bit too set in his ways it seems like. At times I became frustrated with him because of how set in his ways he was but yet when he interacted with his family there is something that really shows what is underneath all of his stern behaviors. As his whole story comes out, I saw him a completely different light. This is a man who only wants what is for the best for his family more than anything else even if that means doing something unpopular. He has a bit of a dark outlook on everything it seems but then again with what has gone on in his past, it is understandable why he is just this way.

Neither Luke or Delaney is too mature or immature for their age, which actually blended perfectly with who each one of them were. They seemed to balance each other out in the long run when they gave themselves a chance to work together. It seems as if there is a roller coaster of ups and downs with this relationship, if you even want to call it that, for it seems as if one or the other, for different reasons, pull away from the other. When they worked together it was something really special though that is for sure.

It seemed to me that the biggest theme in this story is compassion. Compassion offered to those that some don't believe deserving yet determination to offer the compassion none the less. This was a story that not only showed compassion but how offering compassion can lead to understanding and possibly forgiveness. Several times there was a soft and tender reminder about why no one should judge another without getting all the facts first for things are not what they always appear to be. Guilt is also another issue that is dealt with for one and/or more of the characters are dealing with their own guilt which is either fully or at least partially dealt with by the end of the story.

About the only thing I didn't really care about the story is the fact that it took place over a short period of time. I didn't get the feeling that there was really a deepening of the friendship between Luke and Delaney while they worked together but I didn't feel the attraction to each other from the start. I never felt that the feelings that they admitted were forced or anything but I have to wonder how they could be so sure of their feelings after the short period of time when they didn't know what all made them tick, though in one night secrets that has never been revealed to anyone else comes out. I might have missed something though I will admit in the relationship between Luke and Delaney.

As I said that was the only thing that I had issue with for this story was well written with a theme that seemed to be a perfect reminder to me at the moment. The conflict between Luke and Delaney was a nice blend to add to everything that was happening. Though I missed the deepening of friendship I found this story to be wonderful in all other aspects for the characters had their strengths and flaws and even their humorous moments. The writing of the story is done in such a way that it is hard to not allow your emotions through and I found it hard to put the book down period. This is a book I would highly recommend to all who are looking for a tender romance with a special message.