Saturday, September 12, 2015

“Nursing the Soldier's Heart” by Merrillee Whren

 About the Book
Loving the Soldier 

Nurse Kirsten Bailey places her family above all else. She refuses to give former army medic Brady Hewitt any leeway for being weeks late in visiting his ill grandmother. But Brady has a good excuse, and he's eager to show the pretty nurse that first impressions aren't always right. While working with Brady to care for his grandmother and two orphaned boys, Kirsten realizes that his charm and kindness aren't an act. But Kirsten plans on doing missionary work abroad, and she's determined not to fall for the engaging soldier. Could the man she once dismissed be the one to make her stay forever?

This book was released in July 2015
This is a well loved library book that was used for review

My Review

“Nursing the Soldier's Heart” by Merrillee Whren is the second book in her 'Village of Hope' series but is a stand alone book for these are two new characters and a few characters from the first book in a background kind of way. This is a sweet and tender book that shows second chances are all around us if we are willing to reach out and grab a hold of them, and that second chances are not just with love as in the first book “Second Chance Reunion” but at happiness and life with loved ones.

Lately I have been struggling getting through reading books, for I go in cycles of reading Amish, Historical, and Contemporary, but lately nothing seems all that interesting, but this book was able to keep my interest.

The struggle within the book, was internal without a doubt for one was struggling to move forward when a door closed while the other was struggling with where they belonged period. I guess in a way both of them were trying to figure out where their futures lay after their past didn't work out they way they hoped. One was learning a better way of living and the other was struggling with hopes, plans and dreams not working out the way they wanted them to.

Sadly, I was a bit disappointed for there is one character who frankly seemed a little flatter than the other. I am not sure if that is the best word for it but I couldn't think of anything else for there is something in this character's past that they really avoided talking or even thinking about at all cost, which I think that if at least the readers were able to see this part of the character, it would have explained so much about this character. As it is, I personally didn't understand the motives for holding themselves back part of who they were but yet be so determined to win a challenge. I think if I had more information then things would have been so much sweeter and tender when emotions finally won out.

Kirsten is a woman who is loves her family with all of her heart and it is because of her family that she has made some of the decisions she has made. Her heart is pretty much worn on the sleeve of her shirt but at the same time she is determined to protect her heart as much as she can. She seems to have so much energy for she is doing this or that for other people, but she makes time for those who matter the most to her.

Brady is a man who oozes charm in everything he does, with a bad boy look to him. That is one thing that really disappointed me is the picture of him on the cover for I got the impression that he had quite a few tattoos on his arms yet they are not present on the cover. Even though apparently he has this bad boy look to him, there is a heart purer than gold under it all for he too is willing to do whatever he can in order to help others even when a lot of the helping others had a motive under all that. I got the impression frankly that even without the motive he would have been there helping out so I didn't hold the motives against him.

There are some pretty important secondary characters who had a whole other level to the whole story. Those secondary characters are Cora (we first met her in “Second Chance Reunion”), Tyler and Zach. Each of them play a pretty big part between their dreams and matchmaking and why they are in the story in the first place. I wont give away who does what for they did help with the story.

As I said this book kept my interest though nothing really has had me in such grips that I lost track of all time and only an emergency would have me put the book down for some time. Because it was a new book that kept my interest (lately been rereading books I love since I know they will keep my interest) I am so glad that I picked up this book at the library. It may have come out last month and I have put off reading it a couple of weeks, I am glad that I did. I love the idea of The Village of Hope and wish that there really was a place like that around for oh what it could do for a community. I love all the second chances that seem to be around The Village of Hope, at love, at family, at independence, and so much more.

I would recommend this book to all who are looking for a book on second chances beyond a second chance of a love from the past, for those who are looking for something uplifting and who just want romance that is a bit of struggle to get there. This is a book really worth picking up and look forward to reading more books in the future around The Village of Hope. 

Other Books in the "The Village of Hope" series
by Merrillee Whren

Friday, September 11, 2015

Holland Family Series by Susan Page Davis

About the Book
This is a review on a series of books that I read today.
The first book is one I have reviewed already so you will find the link for my review  
A Truly Yours Digital Edition. . .Robyn Holland loves her work raising and training sled dogs for her family’s business, Holland Kennel, in rugged Alaska. But when her grandfather has an accident, will she be forced to follow her mother’s suggestion and sell the business? Robyn turns to Rick Baker, a neighbor and veterinarian, for help as the Fire and Ice dog sled race approaches. Then some of her most valuable dogs are stolen. As they race against time to find the dogs, a spark ignites between them.

This book was released in December 2009
This was a Kindle book in my personal collection

After her husband died tragically, Cheryl Holland accepted she would never love again. She finds contentment in her family and in her new career at a veterinary office. But when she meets Dr. Oz  Thormond, the new vet for her son-in-law’s practice, she can’t deny the sparks—or the reality that they seem to have nothing in common.
Will Cheryl and Oz allow God to reveal His plan for these polar opposites, that theirs is more than just a magnetic attraction?

This book was released in March 2010
This was a Kindle book in my personal collection

My Review for "Fire and Ice"

“Fire and Ice” by Susan Page Davis is a charming 'Heartsong Presents' book that ties in nicely with “Always Ready” for this is the sibling of the hero in that story. If anyone hasn't read “Always Ready” no worries, this is a great and perfect stand alone book.

This book takes place up in Alaska but this time it is on the main land of Alaska. This is a story of determination and how sometimes that determination can be very good. Also there is something about patience and trying to find the right time for things to happen.

Robyn is a young woman who is determined to do what she must for the animals that she loves, but understands that sometimes those animals must come in second. She loves deeply this young lady, and is willing to help out where she can while at the same time wishes she could do more.

Rick is a man with a dream. That dream is something he is trying to make come true while helping out some people he admires. He is also there when he is needed for Robyn and her mother when things seem to take a turn for the worst. He is there to lend a hand whenever he can, in whatever he can do.

Though it seems fairly early on what the conflict is going to be for the story, there is also a pretty clear idea of who is behind it all as well. This conflict is enough to keep the reader interested in the story. Then there is the romance story that is so sweet and tender. The attraction is there all along but it is how they get to know each other that I thought as sweet and tender.

This is a wonder story to read at the beach or by the pool where one might just want to read something light and fluffy that wont take ones complete attention to follow along. Enjoy this book as I did.

My Review for "Polar Opposites"

“Polar Opposites” by Susan Page Davis is a wonderful 'Heartsong Presents' adventure story with some romance in the mix. This is another story that is connected to “Always Ready” and “Fire and Ice” but this time it is not a sibling but the Mom, Cheryl, who is getting her own happy ending. There is no worries if one hasn't read the other two books for this is a stand alone book.

This book has a bit more adventure than the other books and some nail biting moments. It is Cheryl and Oz who has the adventure while hunting polar bears and they come across some interesting situations. I think part of what made it all that more interesting is that these two characters are older than most characters for they are both in their 50's. Yet their age doesn't stop them in the slightest doing what they must do.

Both Cheryl and Oz had loved and lost their loved ones in surprising ways. For those who read “Always Ready” know how Cheryl lost her husband, but it is gone over again here in this book, this time from Cheryl's point of view. Both of them have this love animals and it is this love that helps them grow closer.

We don't see all the little bits of falling in love with each other but we do see the strength that each one of them has, and when together they are able to show their strength's and strengthen their weaknesses. They both are a little worried about what the future holds but not so much that they fight what they feel, but worry enough to hold back until they are certain.

This is a lovely book that is perfect for those times when one wants to read a little adventure while relaxing somewhere warm wishing for some place cooler. I would have to say out of the three books, this is the one that I felt the coldest in (with my imaginations help of course). I hope all who read the book enjoys it like I did. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

“Huckleberry Harvest” by Jennifer Beckstrand

About the Book 

Nothing gives Anna and Felty Helmuth greater satisfaction than seeing their grandchildren happily married--except for planning their next matchmaking venture. And as springtime comes to Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, the air is filled with promise. . .

Ever since the Helmuths' grandson, Ben, abruptly broke his engagement and moved to Florida, Emma Nelson has kept busy tending her vegetable garden and raising award-winning pumpkins. She can put her heartache aside to help Ben's Mammi with her own pumpkin patch. At least until Ben shows up to lend support to his ailing Dawdi. . .

Gardening side by side with pretty, nurturing Emma is a sweet kind of torture for Ben. She could have her pick of suitors who can offer what he can't, and he cares too much to burden her with his secret. Leaving once more is the only option. Yet Emma's courage is daring him to accept the grace that flourishes here, and the love that has been calling him back to Huckleberry Hill. . .


This book was released in May 2015
This is a well loved library book that was used for review

My Review 

“Huckleberry Harvest” by Jennifer Beckstrand is the latest book in her wonderful 'The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill' series.  It may have taken a while for me to get my greedy little grubby hands on this book but it was so worth the wait.  Reason I had to wait is because none of the local bookstores carried it so I had to wait for my local library to process it and get it out to the patrons.  Remember that when you can't find the book in your local bookstores then check with your local library.  Then again I usually just wait for my library anyway.

Though this is the fifth book in the series, it is a perfect stand alone book.  The only really connection between this book and the rest of the books are the grandparents, Anna and Felty Helmuth.  This couple is so loved that it is their antics that have endeared this reader to the whole series.  I had to laugh for it seems as if one of them has lost their touch with something they enjoy.  This is what really made the story so funny for it was actually embarrassing at times with the antics that were going on.

Mandy is a young woman who is fiercely loyal to friends and family, bossy, loving for she goes out of her way to not hurt her loved ones, and tends to stick her nose where it doesn't always belong.  Above all she is understanding and willing to admit as well as suffer the consequences when she does something she shouldn't have.

Noah is a young man who knows hard work and is not afraid of it in the slightest.  There is something that Noah is trying to hide from his community and everyone while carrying the load of this secret by himself.  Noah might seem gruff, cold and unfriendly but all that hides is the warm, gentle and creative spirit that he truly has.  

This is a book that made me laugh out loud, shed a few tears, I got mad at one or more characters, actually had to close my eyes out of embarrassment and totally devoured this book in a single night, because I just couldn't put it down.  I just had to see what was going to happen next and what Anna's next scheme was going to bring.  One thing I did miss was more of Anna's creative dishes, oh sure we see a few but not many.  I always get a kick out of her dishes for it is such an interesting way to show her love along with those knitting needles.

The trouble maker of the story is, well how do I say it nicely, they are off their rocker.  This trouble maker is not the main conflict of the story and though they are off their rocker, they are not violent.  They cause problems without a doubt, but by the end of the story this trouble maker has a change of heart.  I actually had to laugh at the end with how things really worked out.

This is a book so worth picking up and reading.  I so enjoyed this book and I hope all who pick it up will enjoy it as well.

Other 'The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill' Books 

Huckleberry Hill
                                                          found in An Amish Christmas Quilt 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

“A Wife for Jacob” by Rebecca Kertz

About the Book

His Perfect Bride

Jacob Lapp has loved Annie Zook since childhood. But she's never seen him that way. Once courted—then rejected—by his older brother, Annie's wary of the Lapp men. But now that Jacob is working at her dat's blacksmith shop, he feels he's been given a second chance. It's no secret Annie wants a husband. Yet she's intent on marrying someone older, more established—someone the opposite of Jacob. Can he ever break down the walls she's forged around her fragile heart and prove to her that he's the perfect man for her?

Lancaster County Weddings: Binding two hearts as one in Amish country

This book was published in March 2015
This was a well loved library book that was used to review

My Review

“A Wife for Jacob” by Rebecca Kertz is the third book in her 'Lancaster County Weddings' but never fear this is also a stand alone book. I dont know why but I chuckled often through the book for an old saying kept repeating itself inside my head as I read the book. The old saying is “Man plans, God laughs” and I have to say that is the situation of this book. Annie planned but frankly nothing worked out like she wanted.

Annie is a young woman who has loved and lost, so now she is determined to see herself married to someone older. While she is waiting for the someone older, she freely gives of herself to her family and those in need around her. Annie is a demur woman who is not about to hunt down the someone older, but she is planning for when the time comes. Annie learns a few things about herself as the story is told, lessons that God had for her and thankfully she is not so stubborn as to not listen to what she is being told.

Jacob is a young man who only wants to help those need his help all the while he is trying to figure out what he wants to do. Jacob is not a lazy man by any means for he jumps in with both feet when an emergency arises and sticks around to help all those who need his help. My heart was drawn to Jacob as he struggled to figure out what to do when things seem to be out of his control, but yet because I knew there was going to be a happy ending my heart didn't break for him.

As I said this story reminded me of the old saying “Man plans, God laughs” for really that is what is happened in this story. There is also learning to speak what is on one's mind before it is too late. Also there is discovery of ones self and how it is important to just keep at it until you find that little niche that is just right.

Truly this story kept me going even though the blurb on the back of the book really misrepresented the story inside. I put this book off until the last minute before returning it to the library because the back of the book blurb was really not that interesting. Here is what I would say if I was writing the blurb:

Jacob Lapp and Annie Zook have known each other since childhood. Annie has never seen Jacob as anything more than a friend and she tried to avoid the Lapp men after being rejected by Jacob's older brother. Jacob is now working in the Zook blacksmith shop which means Annie has no choice about being around Jacob. Annie is searching for a husband, one who is older and established but what happens when her heart tells her something different? Can these two people break down walls that are established while listening to God's will or will they be determined to go along with their own plans?

This is truly a wonderful story and I hope all who pick up the book to read it gives it a shot. I know the blurb on the back is not interesting the story itself was wonderful. It was full of so much emotion that one couldn't help but feel it.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

“A Bride at Last” by Melissa Jagears

About the Book


Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts.

Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she'd been deceived about her intended groom, she's now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she'll take on care of nine-year-old Anthony--until two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy's father.

Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony's wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?

This book was published in June 2015
This was a well loved library book that was used to review

My Review

“A Bride at Last” by Melissa Jagears is the third book of her 'Unexpected Brides' series and we finally get to see Silas Jonesey's story.  Here is a book full of faults and the reader sees that finish line for so long that it is sometimes really frustrating.  Though this is part of a series, this can stand completely alone at the same time.  There is a minor, minor series story that continues on but again if one hasn't read the prior books they are not lost so no worries there.

This is a story that caught my interest from the very start with the mad dash from one place to another.  This is a story also full of so many emotions from regret, to uncertainty, deep and unfailing love, a legal fight, deep faith that things will work out, and a few little heart games it seems.  I found this whole story to be so sweet in a love way and frustrating at the same time for it seems the finish line is there and visible for so long but just as one reaches it, then it moves again because we are sliding backwards time and time again.

Silas is a man who knows how life can change, how it is not always easy to change and that it is a fight each and every day to keep the positive change.  We have heard about this man from almost the start of the series but until now it was more as part of the community.  Here is a man who has hit rock bottom and worked his way out, along with who helped him get back up.  This is a man who still struggles and sometimes needs a helping hand to keep fighting the battle.  When something surprising happens time and time again, he keeps moving forward with a faith that helps him a great deal.

Kate is a woman who accepts and loves people as they are but at the same time has to get over some of her own internal issues.  She is willing to help out where she can with all that she has at times, willing to do what she must in order to keep those she loves from harm and is trying to do what is right at the same time.    Kate is also a woman who is fighting her own internal battle when things look hard, but yet while Kate battles that internal battle she is fighting externally for what she wants. 

Then there is Anthony who is a young man who is basically the glue to the whole story.  Anthony is going through his own things and problems but there is something so very special about him.  This is a young man who has had so many changes happening and he deals with them the best way that he can, maybe not in the smartest ways but the best way he can think of anyway.  Normally I don't talk about a third character when talking about the main characters but Anthony is so much more than the hero or heroine of the story for he is the glue that holds them all together.

There are things from everyone's past that can stop happiness if others are determined to hold on to that past, but when everyone is willing to let go happiness is bound to happen.  Both Kate and Silas has things in their past that could prevent their future if they are not willing to over look things.  Happiness is a risk that they must be willing to take, considering their pasts hurts.  Things are not exactly easy at times.  There is one scene in the last quarter of the book that I just loved how it played out for it was so symbolic of letting the past go so that there is a better tomorrow.

There is so much going on in the story from the very start that it is hard to put down the book for any length of time.  We see other minor characters who apparently have their own story to tell.  I have to say after one slimy character reveals a bit about their past, I almost hope that he has his own happy ending only because sometimes the most despicable characters can have the biggest turn around.  Now I wont be disappointed if this character never gets his own story for sometimes despicable people are always going to be despicable.  There is a couple in the series that I would be interested in seeing if they ever get their happy ending.

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

Monday, September 7, 2015

“A Worthy Pursuit” by Karen Witemeyer

About the Book
A teacher on the run. A bounty hunter in pursuit. Can two enemies learn to trust each other before they both lose what they hold most dear?

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the orphaned girl entrusted to her care. Charlotte promised Lily's mother she'd keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When Miss Atherton produces documentation that shows her to be Lily's legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he's been led to believe. Is she villain or victim?

Then a new danger forces Charlotte to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone vows to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he's ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte's heart.

This book was published in May 2015
This was a well loved library book that was used to review

My Review

“A Worthy Pursuit” by Karen Witemeyer is another smash hit with this reader. I had to make time and hold off a couple of days after getting the book from the library to ensure that I would have the entire afternoon to focus on getting lost in the book.  Ms. Witemeyer is an author that I always have to make sure that I can read her books in one sitting for I just can't but them down.  After finally being able to enjoy the book I honestly wish I could have found the time sooner but too many obligations took place. I am so glad I got to enjoy the book finally for it was so worth the read.

From the start of the book it was almost as if I was standing at the edge of the cliff and it wasn't long before someone pushed me over the edge. As I was falling it was as if every so often there is this offer of respite from the fall before it was free falling again. It was pure excitement with only moments of catching one's breathe before the excitement picked up again.

Then chemistry between Stone and Charlotte is something that is so tangible that it it thick enough to be cut with a sharp knife. Frankly I was waiting for that first kiss thinking it was going to come out of one of the many toe-to-toe confrontations between Stone and Charlotte, but that first kiss was something I didn't seem coming and wow was it steamy. I am not talking about the kiss being something demeaning or dirty but really it was something that just so toe curling even for the reader that it was worth the wait and suspense for, at least in my opinion.

We get a pretty good idea who the villain of the story is from very early on, but once the reasons behind the villain is out, the reader can only guess that things are going to get pretty dicey. I didn't think they were going to get like they did but wow what a story of excitement. Then to hear why is just disturbing I guess is the word I want to describe the villain.

Charlotte is a woman who is willing to do what ever she must do in order to protect her charges but there is something else about her. She takes things into consideration fairly quickly then weighs her options. Charlotte is a very intelligent woman with her own hurts from the past, which is why she holds part of herself back but she is still willing to extend a hand of friendship to those around her. There is a strength about her too that is visible to those around her, even when she is shaking in her boots.

Stone is a man who always gets what he is going after. When he is faced with something he never expected he does what any honorable, law abiding person would do and that is take things one step at a time. When things are not as he expected he waited for things to be come clear before he moved one way or the other for it is just who he is. Then once he makes a decision, he sticks to it with his whole heart. I have to say that his final mission really had a lot to say about what his true character is.

I truly hope all of those who pick up this book will enjoy it as much as I did. I would recommend blocking out as much time as possible to read this book so that there are the fewest possible interruptions for those interruptions might get on your nerves. My cat can attest to that for he got locked out of my reading room so I could enjoy the book in peace.