Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Harvest of Blessings" by Charlotte Hubbard

About the Book

Harvest Of Blessings

The tranquil little town of Willow Ridge is facing a startling challenge. Wealthy Nora Glick Landwehr is determined to make it her home again--and put her past to rest. Cast out by her own family, Nora can't reconcile with Old Amish ways or her strict father. But she'll do anything to help her community embrace the future . . . and make amends to the daughter she had to give up. So, she certainly has no time for her reckless new neighbor Luke Hooley. They disagree about almost everything. And how can she trust him if he always seems to believe the worst about her? Somehow, though, his unexpected support and passionate heart are helping her find her own way in faith. And Nora will discover that even in the face of insidious lies and unyielding judgment, God creates unexpected chances for forgiveness--and love.

Please visit Charlotte Hubbard's website

This book was released in February 2015
This book comes from my personal collection for review
(I couldn't wait for the library)

My Review

“Harvest of Blessings” by Charlotte Hubbard is her latest book in her 'Seasons of the Heart' series. I have to say that this is a book that I am not entirely sure if I would allow my 13 year old neighbor to read, not because of anything that was outright said or any one scene but because some of the innuendos.  I would have to say that the words spoken were not the reason for my uncertainty but it is the other things happening/thought of at the time that makes me weary.  The words spoken frankly taken by themselves were nothing to be concerned about.  When things might have gotten out of hand, things were cut off quickly and without the actual thought to be finished, but enough was given to give the reader the intent of thought.

I do also have to say that frankly I found it offensive that the snakes that live by instinct kept getting insulted in this book. I am referring to fact that the villain of the series was constantly referred to as  being a snake in the grass but frankly this character is more like the dried up slim that is left behind a slug that is crawling across a slim pond. This villainous character has upped their game though in a different way, and they sure didn't expect what happened at the end. The villain may not have succeed like they did in the last book, but I fear we might be seeing a set up for something more in the next book, for the villain is up to something, and this is one character I don't take for face value anymore.  I usually hope that the villain of any book has a change of heart but I don't think that is going to happen with this character anytime soon or if ever.

I have to say that this book really didn't make Amish out to be this group of people who have no faults at all, and that things, both evil and good, happen to them just like in the English world. There is human emotions and desires that can be found in the English world as well in the Amish world, that can be found in this story as well. I do enjoy Amish stories because everything seems to be so idyllic, but this book isn't idyllic.  This book balances both that idyllic sense and real world issues, that made this book so enjoyable.

Luke is a character that we have seen several times through the last few books in the series. Luke is a man who has always been shown as this bachelor who is in no hurry what so ever to change his status by settling down or give up his footloose and fancy free time with the ladies.  Yet at the same time, he is a character I wanted to see finally settle down and was curious as to what type of woman it would take to tame this wild character. Luke is a ladies man who is use to things going his way while sowing his wild oats. Yet watching him through the story it is interesting to see how he changes in little ways and it is apparent with those changes by the end of the book.

Nora is a woman who is trying to right wrongs that happened so long ago, and she also goes through some pretty big changes herself. I have to say that Nora is a pretty strong woman who knew exactly what she was risking when she took the leap of faith that she did, with no promises that things would work out. So many things could have blown up in her face, and when they did in one shape or another, she kept taking one step in front of the other. To watch Nora go from what/who she was in the beginning of the story to what/who she is at the end of the story was a wonderful thing to see.

There is a couple that most people might find the relationship to be disturbing because of the ages of this couple. I have to say at first I was a little uneasy with it but then when I got to thinking about the relationship it is in a different culture with different ways of thinking sometimes. Also the younger person of the couple has been doing work of someone twice their age for a few years, all without complaint.  So there is a physical age difference but the maturity level between the two in the couple actually is not all that far apart. Both of them are hard workers who know their mind. When looking at the relationship from maturity level instead of physical ages, things are not that bad, and what made it even better is at the end when a decision was made without any pressure.

I truly enjoyed this book a great deal because it kept me on the edge of my seat. I just wanted to see how Luke was going to change, what exactly was going to happen next with Nora and just have vile the villain was going to get. I hated putting the book down at one point but a nasty headache came on, and only sleep was going to relieve the pain. As soon as I woke up from sleep I picked up the book again and continued reading until I was done.

Other 'Season's of the Heart' Books and Novellas

                                                      found in An Amish Country Christmas
                                                found in An Amish Christmas Quilt
Harvest of Blessings

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"The Best Man's Secret" by Gail Sattler

 About the Book 

Dave's heart is captured from the moment he lays eyes on Ashley Kruger. Too bad it's while he's saving her from a bank robbery! When Ashley is injured, Dave promises to stay close. He's determined to take care of her—and to win her trust.
Ashley can't believe she was rescued by such a gentle and handsome man. As she gets to know her dashing hero, hope grows that he may be the one for her. But when dangerous secrets from his past come to light, Ashley will have to choose between safety…and love.

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

My Review

“The Best Man's Secret” by Gail Sattler is an interesting book that kept me on the edge of my seat. I am a curious person and like to know things about people especially when there are little breads crumbs to follow and dropped on a regular basis.

I have to say that I haven't read about a more mysterious hero than Dave Ducharme. I couldn't figure out what this guy was hiding. Was he some kind of billionaire who was just trying to live life as a normal person for he didn't want the money anymore? Maybe Dave was some kind of undercover cop who was deep undercover. Then there is possibility that he had been injured in the past in another bank robbery. Maybe for some reason he is in the witness protection program. Then there is the off chance that he is on the run from some crazy ex-girlfriend who is dangerous. Maybe he was on the run from his past that was dangerous. These are all thoughts that I had about Dave as I read the story for it is easy to see he is hiding something but man even within the pages of the book, he is stingy as all get out in revealing his secret.

I can safely say that one of my guesses is correct for Dave reveals all that happened in his past. I wont say what was revealed for man that would ruin the book for those who read it, and part of the fun of the book was the guessing what he did. For as frustrating as I found the bread crumbs into who Dave is, I just couldn't put the book down for I had to know what happened. Honestly I enjoy 'Heartsong Presents' for they are really light reading books that are great for killing time and fairly easy to put the book down to do something else, but not this book. I couldn't put it down in the slightest for I just had to know what was going on.

Ashley is a pretty easy woman to figure out, and she is pretty tough. For all that this woman goes through she doesn't loose her faith or her smile. She isn't perfect for she gets cranky and upset about what happened and what is the result now to her.

I was disappointed though for there is a piece of vital information missing. The information missing is how Ashley discovered something pretty important about Dave. He didn't mention this fact, and yet somehow she knows this information, but how did she find out. Maybe somehow I missed it but somehow I doubt it. Spoiler Alert (please highlight the following text in order to see the spoiler) Dave had been shot in the past and somehow Ashley knows this information on page 132. I looked back over the previous 10 pages to see if I missed anything but still couldn't figure out how she learned that he had been shot. Granted she doesn't know the details but she knows he had been shot. This just didn't make any sense what so ever how she learned it. End of Spoiler Alert.

Over all I did enjoy this story a great deal and think it is a wonderful book that all will hopefully enjoy as much as I did. Though I may not like how something was learned without it making sense, but everything else was great. I couldn't help but follow all the bread crumbs and I hope others enjoy those bread crumbs too. This is only my second book that I have read by Ms. Sattler, and enjoyed both of them a great deal. I think Ms. Sattle is a wonderful author and I will look forward to reading more.