Saturday, September 20, 2014

"Song on the Prairie" by Vickie McDonough

About the Book

A Runaway New Mother...

Janie Dunn's dreams of being an opera singer suddenly dim when, at her dying cousin's request, she flees Boston with her cousin's newborn son to protect him from his abusive father.  She moves to Kansas to live with her brother, who poses as her husband to protect her identity, lest the baby's father seek her out.  But it's hard living a lie, even more so the closer she grows to her neighbors on the prairie

A Widower Missing His Children...

Aaron Harper lost his wife four years ago in a tragic accident.  Without a mother to help raise and educate his two children, Aaron sent them to live with his brother and sister-in-law in Windmill, a few hours' train ride from his family's homestead, to attend the local school.  Yet Aaron regrets seeing his son and daughter so rarely.  He yearns to have them under his roof again, but without someone to educate them, it's an impossible scenario.

A Past That Seem Irreparable...

Life takes a dire turn for Janie when her brother dies.  The Harper family turns out to be the greatest  blessing - particularly the handsome Aaron Harper, who keeps the farm running in her brother's absence.  But Janie knows his help is only temporary.  Is a marriage of convenience to Aaron Harper the answer to both their problems?  And is Kansas far enough away from Boston that she is safe fro the baby's vengeful father?  Or will he come after her and expose the secret she's worked so hard to conceal?

"Song on the Prairie" was released in July 2014
The was a well loved library book that was reviewed

My Review of "Song of the Prairie"

“Song of the Prairie” by Vickie McDonough is the third and final book in the 'Pioneer Promises' series, and if I had to choose which of three that I liked the most (for I enjoyed them all) I would say this book was the best. There was just something different about this book that made it so hard to put down for any reason whatsoever. I hated seeing the book come to an end because it seems like the hours just flew by while reading it and frankly when the end came, I felt as if I just settled down to read.

Yes this is third book in the series, and I was asked I would strongly suggest reading “Whispers on the Prairie” and “Call of the Prairie” first, but this book can also stand being read and enjoyed without the others. The reason I suggest reading the other books first is because they help give a better insight of Aaron and what all he has been through over the years. However, there is enough information about Aaron in this book that really helps to give the reader what they need if someone hasn't read the other books as well.

Here is a story with secrets, hurts, love, and so much more that has been woven into this story of truths told, healing, trust and the making of a family. The secrets are done with a purpose of protecting a child, though the secrets maybe something that is bothering Janie she keeps up the pretense. The hurts of the past are on both sides as we learn more and more about Janie and Aaron, and those hurts help make each of them they way they are in the present. The undeniable love that is shown in this story is there from the beginning when it comes to Aaron and Janie with their own kids. Aaron wants the best for his kids above all else, but he misses them, while Janie will do everything in her power to protect Benjy.

This story moves forward constantly with this tension that something is going to happen at any moment, but there is not the focus on that really. There is the uncertainty of what is happening with Benjy's father in Boston and whether or not he will ever discover where his child is. The knowledge that secrets will come out but always wondering when was what helped with that constant tension that is felt through the book. The romance that develops, which it does since it is a romance book, is slow and really doesn't overpower everything else that is going on, making it sweet and so tender.

I enjoyed watching the struggles of blending a family of that time, for it was not easy or smooth, much like it is today. There is a struggle that seemed realistic and the finding a path that works helped with that feeling that life is not always picture perfect. It was watching the family that was finding their way through all the ups and downs that helped create the beauty of this story. Then there was never one complaint from the character who had to give up something that meant so much to them, but instead they kept moving forward in order to have a happy life and all that it meant. Only complaints really that could be found was from some of the smaller characters but that is actually understandable.

I found the use of horse manure to be humorous and well I couldn't help but laugh out loud. The way the scene was created, well the image that I came away with was beyond humorous and was one of the best scenes I have read in the last week. There were several other moments in the book where I found myself laughing, then there were times when I found myself crying as to what was going on. The moments when I wasn't laughing or crying I was so into the book that I couldn't turn away even when things didn't go quite the way I thought a scene was going to go.

I so thoroughly enjoyed this book and I hope that all who read this book enjoy it as much as I did.

Other Books in the Pioneer Promises Series

Whisper on the Prairie (Book 1)
Call of the Prairie (Book 2)

"Call of the Prairie" by Vickie McDonough

About the Book

A Young Woman Dreaming of Freedom...

Sophie Davenport feels like a prisoner in her own house. In her twenty–two years, her overprotective parents have taken every possible measure to keep her from anything that might exacerbate her asthma–in other words, just about everything but reading and needlework. Yet Sophie longs for adventure...and for love. She corresponds clandestinely with a would–be suitor, until they meet and her wheezing scares him off. It seems her fragile health just might sentence her to a lifetime of monotonous inactivity.

A Young Man Dreaming of a Family...

Josh Harper is far more bookish than his brawny brothers. The middle child, he enjoys helping at his family's stagecoach stop in Kansas, where he spends a great deal of time crafting furniture and other items out of wood. But, before long, his book smarts draw him to the nearby city of Windmill, where he begins work as manager of his uncle's bank. He also looks after his niece and nephew, who spend their weeks in town to attend school. The change of scenery is welcome, but Josh yearns for a family of his own. Too bad eligible females are not plenteous on the prairie.

A Reality That Seems to Stand in the Way...

When Sophie's aunt, a resident of Windmill, falls ill and requires help, Sophie volunteers. Despite his hesitation, her father finally relents and lets her go, as there is no other option. Her new role brings her into contact with the children boarding at her aunt's home–and with the handsome uncle of two of them. Is there a larger purpose in her coming to Windmill? Or will Josh Harper reject her, if not for her frail health, then for the rocky nature of their relationship?

"Call of the Prairie" was released in January 2014
The was a well loved library book that was reviewed

 My Review of "Call of the Prairie"

“Call of the Prairie” by Vickie McDonough is the second series of her 'Pioneer Promises'. This can be a stand alone book but I think that there is a wealth of information, that helps with a deeper understanding of Josh Harper, if the first book “Whispers in the Prairie” is read first. That is just my opinion but if that doesn't happen this is still an enjoyable book as is.

I am not sure how many books I have read in the past where the hero was the banker but it might be in the order of where I could still count on one hand. I loved how in this historical time of 1873, when most times the bankers are thought of as the devil themselves because of what they have to do at times, I enjoyed how this showed a totally different side of bankers of that time period.

I was also highly impressed with how the heroine had her own health issues and how she didn't allow those issues to overcome her personality. It is so easy to allow a disability of some kind to overpower a person with bitterness, yet Sophie is so full of life. I can see with how her life has been up to her travel to Windmill, Kansas, where maybe she should have become bitter, yet she looked at everything as an adventure and wouldn't back down even when it seemed as if everything was overwhelming her. She found strength and courage when she didn't think she had them, and that to me makes a wonderful heroine especially since she knows her limits. I might not agree with a couple of Sophie's decisions that she made but I understand why she made them.

Josh Harper is the middle brother of the Harper brothers doing what he can to help his family including watching his young niece, Corrie, and nephew, Toby, who come to town in order to go to school. So not only is he a caretaker but the banker at the bank, he is the bookworm of his brothers, and yet there is so much more to him. Josh indeed has a tender heart but he is not a push over and knows what he needs to do in order to defend those he love and himself if need be. Josh seems to go through some changes through the story which was a joy to see.

There are several secondary characters that play a big part of the story but frankly only two of those really captured my heart. One is Mikey, who frankly I pictured as the little boy in the commercial sometime ago where the famous line was, “Mikey likes it.” after he was eating the cereal. Yet this Mikey there is something so much more to him. I really hope we see him again in the future. Then there is Sophie's father who isn't quite who he wants everyone to see, but yet I saw through him fairly early on in the story.

The struggles that Sophie faces when she arrives in Windmill is something that most people would run from screaming their head off, but not Sophie who runs in head long into it, with a wing and a prayer. Her dreams don't feel like they are going to come true after how the beginning of the book starts off and Josh wonders if there is someone out there for him. These two may have had a sweet and tender first meeting but man the sparks, and they were not always good sparks, flew from the second meeting and lasted for quite some time. When those sparks turned from anger and distrust to something else, that is when things start to get interesting for some unexpected things pop up.

This is truly a wonderful book that is so full of love, lessons, life and so much more that I hope all who read this book enjoy it as much as I did.

Other Books in the Pioneer Promises

Whisper on the Prairie (Book 1)
Song of the Prairie (Book 3)

Friday, September 19, 2014

"Whispers on the Prairie" by Vicki McDonough

About This Book

A City Girl Far from Home...

Sarah Marshall just wants to go home. It wasn't her idea to leave Chicago and head west in search of gold, but her uncle's ambition left her no choice. Neither was her intention to settle in Kansas City with her ailing aunt, but being penniless and without possessions brings little bargaining power. Pretty soon, she resigns herself to her fate, however unfortunate. It isn't as if she has a home to go back to.

A Country Boy Seeking to Right a Wrong...

Ethan Harper, the youngest of three brothers, enjoys a peaceful existence helping run his family's stage shop along the Santa Fe Trail. Only one cloud continues to darken his horizon—guilt over the tragic death of his oldest brother's wife. The only acceptable penance Ethan can think of is finding another woman to marry his brother and help raise his motherless children.

A Match so Incompatible, It Just Might Work...

When a series of misfortunes strands Sarah Marshall and her aunt at the Harpers' Stage Stop, the status quo is overthrown as the presence of an attractive young woman, however unversed in the ways of prairie living, wreaks havoc on the lives of the Harper brothers, all three of them vying for her attention. But will any of them prove himself worth giving up the life Sarah always dreamed of?

"Whispers on the Prairie" was released in July 2013
The was a well loved library book that was reviewed

My Review of "Whispers on the Prairie"

"Whispers on the Prairie" by Vicki McDonough is a book I should have never started at the time I did. Oh I don't mean that in a bad way, its just I couldn't put it down and stayed up way too late into the night to finish it. I just had to find out what happened next, then when bedtime came around I was just going to finish the next chapter, and then it was after the next chapter. Ok you get the picture.

Nothing went the way things were planned, even when Sarah had no say in those plans. It seems that things just kept getting worse and worse for Sarah and her family until one day things could not get any worse.

Then there is Ethan who is carrying a boat load of guilt over the death of his sister-in-law. He is a grouchy, over protective and I hate to classify anyone clueless but when it comes to the matters of the heart, it fits Ethan perfectly.

It is no wonder that from the start there was a certain frustration that could be felt between the two of. It sure didn't help with how they first meet, though quite comical that is for sure. When Sarah and her family could get no lower, Sarah has to decide what to do in order to take care of her family. Marriage proposals are plentiful in land of few women, so who will Sarah choose?

Things in the story moved at a very fast pace almost from the beginning and didn't stop until the last page. Every single one of the characters had such a depth of them that I felt what they were feeling, my heart ached and leapt for joy, I laughed freely and couldn't help but to cry when my heart ached for one if them.

My heart went out to all the Harper brothers and looking forward to reading more about these brothers.  

I so hope that all who have read this book enjoy it as much as I did.

Other Books in the Pioneer Promise Series

Call of the Prairie (Book 2)
Song of the Prairie (Book 3)

Note:  This review was done over a year ago and posted on Goodreads.  Since I will be reviewing the next two books in the series "Call of the Prairie" and "Song of the Prairie", I thought I might as well throw this up as well.  This is not one of my better reviews but it works for me.  Have a wonderful and blessed day.

"A Mother for His Chidlren" by Jan Drexler

About the Book


After her sweetheart's betrayal, Ruthy Mummert leaves behind the small-town gossip of her Amish community for the first opportunity she can find: a housekeeper position in faraway LaGrange County, Indiana. Ruthy didn't realize the job meant caring for ten children—and for their handsome widowed father.

To Levi Zook's mind, Ruthy is too young and too pretty to be anyone's housekeeper. A marriage of convenience will protect her reputation and give his children the security they dearly need. But it could also give them the courage to grasp a new chance at happiness—if Ruthy is willing to risk her wounded heart once more.

This book was released in August 2014
This was a well loved library book that was reviewed

My Review of "A Mother for His Children"
“A Mother for His Children” by Jan Drexler is a book that I was hoping for since I read “The Prodigal Son Returns” where Levi was introduced, and for some reason I was dying to know his story and see how he could have a happy ending.

This book is one of those books that normally I wouldn't read for a couple of reasons, one – the story is taking place in a time period, 1937, that frankly I don't care for, which is anytime from WWI up to the turn of the century and two – because I don't really like historical Amish stories. However, after reading “The Prodigal Son Returns” which is the same time period and subject, I had to read this book for I really became attached to Levi from that book. So now everyone knows why I wouldn't normally have read a book like this, let me say that I really enjoyed the book and really hope that we see more of the characters in the future if possible.

The word 'mis-communication' is a real understatement from the moment Levi Zook and Ruthy Mummert meet each other. The beginning of the book is a cute and humorous way to start off the story and it finished in such a sweet and tender way. There are moments in the story where things don't seem to be moving all that fast, but there is always forward movement in the story. Then when you least expect it there are several twists and turns that take place. I found myself unable to put down the book and thoroughly enjoyed the hours that my nose was buried in this book.

As I said I wanted to know more about Levi since I read about him in “The Prodigal Son Returns”. Here is a man who seems so stoic but determined to do what is right, but there is so much more to him, that we get to see as things move forward. He is determined to do what he must in order take care of his family, even hiring a housekeeper. Also Levi is a man who is only wanting to do what is right in the eyes of God and honorable, but not always able to say what he is thinking.

Ruthy is a young woman who is running from her past, and it is understandable, at least to me, as her story comes out. Once her story comes out, things start to make sense with why she feels the way she does. Though Ruthy is young she knows what she is doing when it comes to dealing with children and a household, and isn't afraid to do what is needed, even if that means stepping on other people's toes. It is her soft and tender heart that she has for others that shines through which makes it easy to forget her age. She may get angry quick enough but she knows how to laugh just as fast if not faster.

At first I couldn't see how this sweet hurting girl could ever find anything to like let alone love in this stoic man, but I was glad for the ride I was taken on that showed how wrong I was. I knew it was going to happen, after all it is a romance book, but when I started I just couldn't imagine how it was going to happen for they just seemed so different. Things didn't always go smoothly and there is enough tension at times with other characters having to have their say, that just really helped kept me reading.

The message of forgiveness is such a huge part of the story and what happens when one doesn't always forgive and how it feels about when one does forgive.  Forgiveness is not always easy and I so enjoy when a character struggles with forgiving another for it shows how hard it can be sometimes, and the harder the struggle, the more I understand the character.

I also really enjoyed the way the story of the "Prodigal Son" was incorporated into the story.  I found that scene to be so touching and powerful, and lasted with me through the whole book. 

I hope all who read this book enjoys it as much as I did.


 Other Books Connected to "A Mother for His Children" written by Jan Drexler

The Prodigal Son Returns

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Lone Star Heiress" by Winnie Griggs

About the Book

Rescuer Turned Husband? 

Plucky Ivy Feagan is headed to Turnabout, Texas, to claim an inheritance, not a widower's heart. That all changes when strapping schoolteacher Mitch Parker rescues her in the wilderness. Straightlaced Mitch has never met a woman like Ivy—beautiful, adventurous and good-hearted—but he already lost love once and doesn't dare try again.

When Turnabout's gossips target Mitch and Ivy's friendship, he proposes to save her reputation. But Ivy doesn't want to marry for honor, and she doesn't need to marry for money. Ivy will only agree to a proposal made for love's sake—but will Mitch make his heart part of the marriage offer?

Texas Grooms: In search of their brides…

Buy "Lone Star Heiress" from Barnes&Noble

This book was released in June 2014
This was a well loved library book that was reviewed

My Review of "Lone Star Heiress"

“Lone Star Heiress” by Winnie Griggs is her fourth book in her 'Texas Groom' series where the last and final would-be groom finds his own happy ending. To finally see the reclusive, stand offish Mitch Parker tumble head over heels was an enjoyable experience to say the least. Though this book is indeed a part of a series, it can stand all by itself as well. Any information that is needed from prior books is explained so that a reader won't feel as if they are missing something.

I have since the first book, “Handpicked Husband”, Mitch has been the character I wanted to know more about for he always was so stand offish and so lonely I thought that there was something deeply hurting him more than the others, though they were hurt too in different ways. As Mitch's story comes out, it is so understandable as to why he is the way he is, and why he feels the way he feels. Mitch is a man that has a lot of hidden parts to him that comes out in this story, though those hidden parts were not that much of a surprise to me for I suspected that they were there.

Ivy Feagan is a woman who is not afraid of life, though she doesn't do anything to put herself at risk, she is one that tries to do everything not to let little things bother her too much. She is a determined woman who has a secret that is slowly revealed through the story that explains why she is the way she is. Her joy and golden heart is visible from the very start of the book, yet so is her determination to do right without giving in to other people thoughts.

So both Mitch and Ivy have reasons to be the way they are, but things change and those second chances are so beautiful to watch unfold. The only really disappointing part of the whole story is that we never really see when and how Mitch changed his mind. I would have loved to see how and when that happened for I think that would have been something really special with all that he had gone through to get to that point. It was just a little let down in my own humble opinion, but that didn't take away from the story for it was a joy to read.

The messages that were sent too were subtle so that maybe readers will take away something different. I took away that one must have courage to stand for what they believe like Ivy did, knowing the consequences, but still standing by her decision. Also that no matter how far we feel that God has drifted away, He is always there just waiting for us to return. Lastly there is the fact that second chances should always be grabbed a hold of and treasured.

This book moved continuously at a steady pace where there was neither too much or too little happening at any one point but moved steady throughout the whole book. Though the book take place over a pretty short time, there is nothing that seems rushed about the relationship that develops for there is plenty of time spent together.

I hope all who read this book enjoy it as much as I did.

Other Books in Winnie Griggs "Texas Grooms" Series

Handpicked Husband
The Bride Next Door
A Family for Christmas

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

“The Amish Nanny” by Patricia Davids

 About the Book

A Family In Need

A reclusive Amish logger, Ethan Gingerich is more comfortable around his draft horses than the orphaned niece and nephews he's taken in. Yet he's determined to provide the children with a good, loving home. The little ones, including a defiant eight-year-old, need a proper nanny. But when Ethan hires shy Amishwoman Clara Barkman, he never expects her temporary position to have such a lasting hold on all of them. Now this man of few words must convince Clara she's found her forever home and family.

Brides of Amish Country: Finding true love in the land of the Plain People.

"The Amish Nanny" was released in August, 2014
This is a well love library book that was reviewed

My Review of "The Amish Nanny"

“The Amish Nanny” by Patricia Davids is another wonderful book in her 'Brides of Amish Country' series, and yet this is a stand alone book. There are mentions of prior books in this book, but everything that is needed is covered again within this book. If anyone really wanted more background information, the only book they would need would be “The Shepard's Bride” which the story of Clara and her sisters, is explained in deeper depth. Really though that is not necessary for really all the important details are in this book so that one doesn't feel lost.

Here is a story of two people who have suffered painful experiences in the past and need to learn how to change the way they look at the world again. Then add three hurting children into the mix, things are going to change one way or the other regardless what any of the adults want or think they desire.

Clara is a woman who has reason to distrust like she does, has her own secrets that come out in this story and yet still is honest even when she tries to hide things. Above all else her heart is still gold, and she is always thinking of others. Though she has some horrible experiences in her past, she is trying her best to move forward, and still has a strange sense of humor. To me that strange sense of humor was brilliant for it made her not so shy and timid.

Ethan is a man who is trying his best to do the best for his family. He is determined to keep his young niece and nephews regardless what others think due to his own past experiences. Ethan is also needing a bit of help to make his family a true family. There are trials with dealing with the young children that he doesn't know quite how to handle, and when he needs help he finally reaches out. There are reasons why he is the way he is and his story comes out fully to explain so much about him.

The children of the story are so precious and so individual that it is easy to tell who is doing what. My heart ached for each of them as they struggled with all the new things going on in their lives.

There is a message of learning to trust when trust seems to be about the last thing a person would want to do and how rewarding it can be. To watch the characters that need to learn to trust again to come to the point of trusting was so special and touching that at times I found myself crying from the pain that the characters went through. This then leads to second chances and how precious they are, whether it be with love of a mate or the love of family, second chances are something to hold onto when they come around, so long as people don't waste them.

I truly hope that we get to see more of the Barkman sisters for they all have touched a part of me with their resilience that they have shown. I hope all who read this book enjoys it as much as I did.

 Please feel free to contact me if you have a Christian or Inspirational book to review or that I should review on my blog.  Please contact me by using the contact form on the left hand side.  Thank You.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Joyful" by Shelley Shepard Gray

About the Book

A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.

Joyful includes a P.S. section with a letter from the author, discussion questions, and a teaser from her next book.

Buy "Joyful" on Barnes & Noble 

"Joyful" was released in September 2014
This is a well love library book that was reviewed

“Joyful” by Shelley Shepard Gray is the third book in her 'Return to Sugarcreek' series and I hope that it is not the last we see of Sugarcreek. If anyone is an emotional reader, such as I am, I would like to warn all of those emotional readers to have plenty of tissue on hand. For me this was a heart-wrenching book to read from the first chapter to the last page, not because it is depressing but because it is wrought with emotions that go from one end of the scale to the other.

Not only are the readers taken back to Sugarcreek, Ohio but they are able to see more of the Beiler family where there have been some major changes since “Hopeful”. Some of these changes are for the better and some need re-working to make the changes work better. This is a story of those changes and how they all work out.

There are three story-lines in the book, the major story-line is between Randell and Elizabeth, the series story-line with Ben and Judith and a minor but still very sweet story-line between Pippa and Bud. There are only four point of views so even with all the different story-lines going on, it is not overwhelming or confusing to keep everything in order. Actually I thought the story-lines all worked really well with each other, though honestly at times it seemed as if it was more of a flash fiction than anything else for the scenes were so short. That didn't stop me from enjoying the story, just a bit of a disappointment at times.

Randell and Elizabeth have some major issues to deal with especially since he broke her heart, and now she is working for him. They have so much in common at times that it is almost comical if it wasn't so sad. Sad in the way that they refused to see the problems in themselves, and wouldn't talk about the issues with each other or anyone else for that matter. These two alone took me on my biggest emotional roller-coaster for they just couldn't seem to make up their minds at times, which really created a wonderful conflict of the story.  During this book both Randell and Elizabeth learned some pretty important lessons that changed them.

Ben and Judith's story is finally concluded and frankly the ending did not come out as I expected, and as a result the tears flowed freely. Judith learned a couple of lessons about faith, strength and doing what is right no matter the cost.

Pippa's story was probably the happiest story of the whole book for it is a story of taking that step in starting again after being knocked down. Maybe happiest is not the right word for Pippa's story, maybe not so emotionally charged is the best way to describe her story.  As I said Pippa's story is a story of taking that first step, and the courage she showed just to do that was so inspirational.

This is a book that was such a joy to read regardless of the amount of tears that fell, it was a light read that took no time at all to enjoy and read through. I hope that we come back to Sugarcreek and the Beiler family again sometime in the future, for I have fallen in love with Levi and little Kaylene. I would love to see more of those two, not to mention a few other who have been introduced throughout the series. I hope all who read this book enjoy it as much as I did.

 Please feel free to contact me if you have a Christian or Inspirational book to review or that I should review on my blog.  Please contact me by using the contact form on the left hand side.  Thank You.