MY REVIEW OF

JOYFUL: RETURN TO SUGARCREEK

by

SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY

5 STARS

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BOOK DESCRIPTION……..

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.

MY REVIEW

When I realized this was the third book in this series, I was surprised that I did not know about the first two in the series.  Shelley Shepard Gray is an exceptional writer.  Her stories are easy to follow and she eloquently expresses the feelings of the characters whether negative or positive. 

 

It was easy to understand Elizabeth’s confusion as to Randall’s feelings toward her.  She had far more maturity than Randall.  Randall seemed to be short sighted, which is comprehensible in the way he felt so much responsibility for his siblings.  He believed he did not have time for romance and dropped Elizabeth without being able to explain with honesty his purpose in doing so.  In my estimation, he made thoughtless decisions in many areas as well as being insensitive toward Elizabeth as well as his siblings.  Elizabeth put her whole heart into caring for her grandmother.  Since her mother had remarried after her father’s death, she seemed to leave Elizabeth to her own devices to earn money enough to care for herself and her grandmother.  Randall’s brothers devised a plan to bring Randall and Elizabeth together, hopefully reuniting them and help Elizabeth earn money.  Elizabeth’s patience with Randall and willingness to do her finest job is to be marveled.  Frankly, I lost patience several times with Randall and wondered what Elizabeth saw in him in the first place.

 

The two sub-plots were interesting, but I felt a bit frustrated whenever we were drawn away from Elizabeth’s story.  Although I could identify with Judith and Ben wanting to adopt James as their own child – I have three adopted children and could never give either of them up – I had empathy for James’s mother as well.  Pippa’s story was sweet and not long, but there was more I would have liked to learn about her and Bud’s story.  Perhaps Ms. Gray has in mind another story for her in the future.

 

Overall, I liked this story very much.  There are a lot of surprises and definitely much soul searching.  Ms. Gray’s imagination proved lively as she added fun and on again, off again chances for romance between Elizabeth and Randall.  You will need to read this story for yourself to find out all the answers you want to know.  You will fall in love with Elizabeth’s grandmother and her expressions of wisdom.   Particularly interesting are the discussion questions at the end of the book.   Even though I had not read the first two books in this series – Joyful is a stand-alone story.  Is there real joy in the end?  That’s for you to find out.  I am so thankful that God gives writers such splendid inspirations to write about.  You will never be bored with a book written by Shelley Shepard Gray!

 

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…….

Shelley GrayShelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

SHELLEY SAYS……

I grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.

I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.

Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that in God’s eyes that is okay? That from His point of view, we are all exceptional? I treasure that knowledge and am always so thankful for my faith. His faith in me makes me stand a little straighter, smile a little bit more, and be so very grateful for every gift He’s given me.

I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me. I wanted to write stories about regular. likeable people in extraordinary situations-and who just happened to be Amish.

Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed.

http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyShepardGray/timeline.

 

MY REVIEW OF 

SHENANDOAH DREAMS

(Third in the Winds of Change series)

by

LISA BELCASTRO

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Tisbury, Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard.

“It’s just a dream,” Melissa Smith whispers as she stares into the intense eyes of a man dressed in Colonial clothes, as though stepping out of an American Revolution movie set. A school chaperone with Holmes Hole Elementary, she’d boarded the old schooner Shenandoah for a weeklong educational sail. But they aren’t visiting Plimoth Plantation, the Boston Tea Party Museum, or the Concord Bridge reenactment. They’re sailing the waters around the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Yet, when she awakes in Cabin 8, the captain claims to be Isaiah Reed, who sailed the original Shenandoah in the eighteenth century.
He cannot possibly be real, Melissa thinks. And traveling back in time is impossible. But days pass, and she’s still in 1770. What if Isaiah, who is simply too handsome to be real, is real? What if the fire he ignites in her from barely a touch isn’t in her imagination? Can a dream last for weeks on end? If so, how will she find her way home…to the twenty-first century? And can she bear to leave the one man who has captured her heart, when everything in her longs to stay?

 

MY REVIEW

 

“WOW, I thought as admired the covers of all three books in this series – they are lovely.”  That was before I read the book description on the back cover and noticed it said Melissa traveled back in time.  This reviewer is not a fan of time travel novels, but I love history. 

 

Being a land-lubber all of my life, I was not familiar with boats of any kind.   My family did sail on the SS United States when we returned from Germany ending my husband’s military assignment in Germany in 1962 – but all the terminology about sailing was foreign to me – especially on a schooner as large as the Shenandoah.  Like Spike, Melissa’s cat – I was unsure about what to expect on Melissa’s trip on the Shenandoah, but instead of complaining, began reading anyway despite my views of time travel.

 

During the first few chapters I was getting acquainted with Melissa Smith, who was enjoying being single after divorcing her abusive husband.  She had no intention of becoming romantically involved again – if ever!  She was well liked by the Holmes Hole students she taught and excited about spending her fifth summer as chaperone on the annual Shenandoah trip for the graduating fifth graders from each of the five island elementary schools.  Being a camera buff, she took many pictures of each trip and used them for making note cards as well as scrapbooks for each class.

 

On her way to board the Shenandoah Melissa contentedly thought about this two-hundred year old wonder that had been reconstructed and remodeled before Melissa was born.  It had been purchased by Captain Roberts in 1958 and now was a sleek tall ship with a black hull and long masts.  This year Melissa was staying in Cabin Eight, the only cabin which was left in its original state.

 

The first night Melissa had a vivid dream about a person named Adam replying “Ye must be relieved the Townshend Act has been repealed.”  Followed by a reply, “Aye, Adam, we must all be grateful, though the cost was dear.  Five men, five families.  I fear the violence has only yet begun.”  She had the sensation of falling….falling into a black hole.  I think that is as far as I will take you because now it really becomes interesting.   I will tell you that Melissa endures these dreams for two nights and wakes up in 1770 aboard the original Shenandoah and the story becomes intensely attention-grabbing.

 

Okay, okay….now I am a fan of time travel!  Not wanting to give any spoilers, I won’t tell you about Melissa’s life in the 1770’s – you won’t be freaked out…but you will enjoy a history lesson well researched by Ms. Lisa Belcastro and cleverly turned into twists and turns that I totally believed.  Faith in God was as real in 1770 as it is today.  Melissa said her prayers often before 1770, but besieged God with frequent prayers after falling through the black hole.  I will confess her prayers became confusing then….she was not sure for what to pray!  The ending was unexpected.  Lisa Belcastro did an exceptional job with this third novel and now if you will excuse me – I must read the first book in this series, Shenandoah Nights.  I’ll be back in November to report on that novel.  In the meantime, keep reading and thank God for writers like Lisa Belcastro.

 

LISA BELCASTRO

LISA BELCASTRO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR………

Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha s Vineyard. She was inspired to write Shenandoah Nights, the first in the Winds of Change trilogy, while chaperoning her first of two school summer trips with her daughter, Kayla. The weeklong adventure, sans electricity, Game Boys, iPods, and modern conveniences, kindled her imagination to dream of an altogether different voyage. Lisa pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style magazine. She has worked as a staff and freelance reporter and photographer for The Chronicle of the Horse and as assistant editor at The Blue Ridge Leader.

She has written articles for USA Today, Dressage (London), USA WEEKEND Magazine, The Blue Ridge Leader, and Sidelines.

https://www.facebook.com/lisa.belcastro.5

MY REVIEW OF CHILD OF MINE

BY BEVERLY LEWIS & DAVID LEWIS

 

http://www.amazon.com/Child-Mine-Beverly-Lewis-ebook/dp/B00GHXRVUQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406138504&sr=1-1&keywords=child+of+mine+by+david+and+beverly+lewis

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Flight instructor Jack Livingston has been raising his eight-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents’ lives. When he travels, Natalie is tenderly cared for by her Amish nanny, Laura Mast, who loves the little girl as her own.
  
Eight excruciating years ago, Kelly Maines’s baby was kidnapped. Determined to find her child, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. And now, with the clock ticking, one last clue from a private investigator ignites a tiny flame of hope: Just a few miles away lives a young girl who matches the profile. 
 
Can this be, at long last, Kelly’s beloved daughter?

 

MY REVIEW

When I found that over 160 reviews had been written about Beverly Lewis and David Lewis’s recent novel, Child of Mine, I wondered if one more review would be needed.  What could I possibly add?  Indeed, this is an intriguing story!  Many a book by Beverly Lewis has kept me captivated, however the addition of her husband David Lewis changed the complexion of the writing of Beverly just a skosh.  This pair added several dimensions I had not noticed in other Beverly Lewis publications.  The authoress Lewis has written exclusively about Amish, but there was only one tie-in Amish person in this story, Laura, which will be explained momentarily.

 

For instance, I was caught up in the mystery involving a kidnapped baby Emily by her druggie of a daddy and sold to the black market.  His drug overdose following this inhumane action was well deserved, in my estimation.  However, the long eight year search for her daughter, made a bit easier through funds from a compassionate couple and a private detective, was exhausting and led nowhere.  The story begins with Kelly Maines resorting to tricking an eight year old girl in an attempt to get her DNA, only to find the child not to be Emily.  Of course, the hunt continues.

 

Next, we are introduced to Jack Livingstone who is a flight instructor and owner of Higher Ground.  Jack, a bachelor, is raising his 8 year old niece since a tragic accident that took both lives of Nattie’s adoptive parents.  He depends on Laura Mast, a shunned Amish woman, to help raise Nattie.  Then we have San, Jack’s sister, who bedevils him all the time about finding a wife.  He dates a few women, but fails to find one he could fall in love with.  Enter Kelly Maines, who is immediately attracted to Jack and especially to Nattie.   A love relationship begins between Jack, Kelly….and Nattie.  In the meantime, why was Laura shunned?  We learn of Jack’s childhood  – is this the reason he can’t trust women?   Kelly begins to see things from a different spiritual light.  Their relationship grows and suddenly changes to disaster.  Is Jack in love with Laura?  Jack wishes there could be romance for them – but finds he pushes Laura far away.

 

How far would Kelly go to find out if Nattie is her child?  My opinion is perhaps prejudiced, because I have three adopted children and I would go the lengths for each of them.  This story hit close to my heart.  It details every emotion possible on both sides of the story.  There is mystery – written in clean beautiful lines.  Nattie is adorable, however precocious at times, possibly due to high intelligence and living with grown-ups.  The story is a bit long, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it after finishing the book.

 

Of course, this reviewer skipped over all the flowery words felt while reading this exclusive story, because I only wanted to hit a few of the high spots to interest the readers.  Anyone who has not heard of Beverly Lewis and her exceptional writing, just is not a reader.  There is another author I have added to my list – David Lewis – who did a wonderful job of co-authoring with his wife.  I hope to see many more fascinating books written by this dynamic duo.  The ending is not as predictable as you might think.  God does work in mysterious ways – as shown in this emotional story of Child of Mine.  His grace is sufficient, indeed.

 

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

 

“Heartwarming scenes, well-developed storylines and realistic characters combine in this tale of a mother’s love.” -RT Book Reviews

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS…….

 

Beverly and David Lewis

Beverly & David Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beverly Lewis, raised in Pennsylvania Amish country, is a former schoolteacher, an accomplished musician, and an award-winning author of nearly ninety books for adults and children, many of which have appeared on bestseller lists, including USA Today and The New York Times. Her novel The Brethren won a 2007 Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction. Writing memorable stories set in Amish farmland brings Beverly continual joy and inspiration. Her own family heritage is Old Order Mennonite, but she has many dear friends among Amish communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Beverly and her husband, David, live in Colorado

http://www.beverlylewis.com/

 

David Lewis is the co-author (with his wife, Beverly Lewis) of the bestselling Sanctuary. Coming Home is his first solo novel.   An accomplished keyboard artist and piano teacher, was born in Minnesota and raised in the Midwest. He co-wrote the bestseller Sanctuary with his wife Beverly. They make their home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains enjoying their three grown children and one grandchild.

 

MY REVIEW

OF

ALL MY BELONGINGS

BY

CYNTHIA RUCHTI

5 STARS
5 STARS

 

 

All My Belongings_MECH1.indd

Jayne Dennagee has spent her life running from the “doctor death” legacy of her father. His Kervorkian-copycat methods of euthanasia ruined her childhood, covering it in shame. She won’t let him steal her future, too. After changing her name to Becka, she assumes a new life and new job caring for the ailing mother of a handsome young businessman, Isaac Hughes.

Becka struggles to sort out her feelings for her new boss just as her patient passes away under unusual circumstances. Suddenly, her past catches up with her and the unnerving details of her heritage make Becka look like a murder suspect. Worse, all sense of home and all hope for love vanish.

Even if she could clear her name, a phone call from prison wraps a suffocating shroud around her heart. Her father is out—and he needs her help. Can Becka open her new life to the man who has prematurely taken so many? Or will her father’s legacy make it impossible to open her heart at all?

 

 

MY REVIEW

 

Excitement bubbled within me when I chose Cynthia Ruchti’s newest publication, “All My Belongings” to read.  One of first books I won in a giveaway and read on my new Kindle in 2010 was Ms. Ruchti’s debut novel “They Almost Always Come Home.”  It was apparent to me then that Cynthia Ruchti was chock-full of the genuine writer’s spirit

 

This story is an exceptionally uncommon plot and especially imaginative in detail. The subject matter was a total surprise …..unexpected as so rarely considered a writing topic, except possibly to true experiences reported in the news or horror stories – however my attention was swiftly captured.

 

At first my mind could not relate to all the changes Jayne Dennagree, AKA Becca Morrow made in her life to run away with the intention to disappear – even from herself.   She really had no choice being the type of person she was to reveal what she had witnessed and blame her father for causing her mother’s death.   She had done a very brave and honorable thing – although some might consider her a snitch…..after all, her dad had gone to prison for life.

 

The plot begins to thicken when Becca is interviewed by handsome lawyer Isaac Hughes for a caregiver position to his ill and aging mother Aurelia.  Becca’s experience of giving care to her mother’s ALS disease gave her the courage to accept the position to care for Aurelia’s Alzheimer’s   condition.  Becca learns that she can feel new long forgotten emotion of compassion and love, including romantic sensations toward Isaac.  Her life has only begun to settle into some normalcy when Aurelia suddenly mysteriously dies and Becca finds herself as the suspect in a murder investigation.  Ms. Ruchti’s writing throughout this novel is brilliantly executed with twists and turns of love, compassion, mystery and suspense played out through excellent characterizations of the players she created.

 

Becca, after going through heartache, healing and disappointment, illogical happenings, and the journey of life choices soon leads to a beautiful conversion to believing in God…. only after Becca’s realization that she could love and trust another in commitment. 

 

Assuming everyone wants a happy ending, the story is not finished…there is yet a surprise waiting in relation to another suspenseful matter from Becca’s past.  Be prepared for your own emotions to be tendered when Becca becomes the instructor on remarkable forgiveness.  Ms. Ruchti, you do not disappoint your readers …an excellent read…our redeemer has blessed your pen indeed.  I look forward to what you will think up next to entertain the reading crowd with the blessing of your distinctive panache.

 

I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

 

AUTHOR CYNTHIA RUCHTI

AUTHOR CYNTHIA RUCHTI

 

MEET AUTHOR CYNTHIA RUCHTI

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and novellas, speaking for women’s events and retreats, writers’ events and retreats, nonfiction books and devotionals, drawing from 33 years of on-air radio ministry. Her books have been recognized by RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Retailers’ Choice Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and Carol Award nominations, among other honors, including a Family Fiction Readers’ Choice Award.

As of 2014, she has a total of eight books on the shelves, with more contracted for 2015 and beyond.

She and her plot-tweaking husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

In 2012, the radio broadcast Cynthia wrote and produced for 33 years–”The Heartbeat of the Home”–drew to a close. The scripted radio drama/devotional broadcast aired on many radio stations across the country and two cable/digital television stations. Cynthia served as the editor of the ministry’s Backyard Friends magazine, a twenty-page, twice annual publication that reached 5,000 homes, churches, and parachurch outreaches.

Biography

Taking multi-tasking to new heights (or depths, depending on your perspective), Cynthia Ruchti is the author of recent releases “When the Morning Glory Blooms” (novel) and “Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices” (nonfiction). She makes potato corn chowder for her husband of 41 years, loves on her three kids and five grandchildren, recently retired from 33 years of writing and producing a daily radio broadcast called THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME, writes devotionals for TheChristianPulse.com, is past president of the 2,700-member American Christian Fiction Writers and now serves as ACFW’s Professional Relations Liaison, all while working on more book projects in addition to the six already on the shelves. The year 2010 saw the release of her debut novel–“They Almost Always Come Home” by Abingdon Press (a Carol Award finalist)–and a Christmas collection novella, “The Heart’s Harbor” in A Door County Christmas, a Family Fiction Reader’s Choice, by Barbour Publishing. “His Grace is Sufficient…Decaf is Not,” released Nov 1, 2011. Another novella collection–“Cedar Creek Seasons” (Barbour) released in spring of 2012. “When the Morning Glory Blooms” (April 2013) will be followed by “All My Belongings” (2014, also from Abingdon Press). She writes stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark, but she gave up knitting, counted cross-stitch, sewing her own clothes, naps, and dusting baseboards a long time ago. You can find her at http://www.cynthiaruchti.com, at http://www.facebook.com/cynthiaruchtireaderpage, or in the kitchen, brewing herself another cup of tea.

 

 

 

 

 

MY REVIEW OF

A SENSIBLE ARRANGEMENT

(A LONESTAR BRIDES, BOOK  I)

by

TRACIE L. PETERSON

AUTHOR TRACIE L. PETERSON

1544618_746510535388936_39347214_n5 STARS

Five Stars

Marty Dandridge Olson is ready to leave behind the pain of the past.

Answering an advertisement for a “Lone Star bride,” she leaves her Texas ranch and heads to Denver to marry a man she doesn’t know.

Jake Wythe is the man waiting for her….Burned by love, he marries now simply to satisfy the board of Morgan Bank, which believes a man of his standing in society should be wed. Together Jake and Marty agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience. 

When missing money and a collapsing economy threaten his job, Jake’s yearning to return to ranching grows ever stronger, much to Marty’s dismay. But a fondness has grown between them, as well, further complicating matters.


What will happen when their relationship shifts in unexpected ways…
and dreams and secrets collide?

 

BARB’S REVIEW

 

A fun story with a bit of seriousness, Tracie L. Peterson certainly can write a great tale of excitement, drama, romantic mystery, and shadowy incidents, mixed with dreams of being somewhere else in time and geography.  There is an old adage of “be careful for what one wishes for” throughout the message of this book.

 

Widowed and childless Marty Olson wanted to escape from memories of tragically losing her beloved husband, and leave Texas forever where she owns and lives on a ranch.    Jake Wythe, a Denver banker, singed around the edges one last time from romance, places a newspaper ad for a Texas woman to marry in name only.  Jake is in need of a wife to satisfy the bank board members determined notion that his promotion puts him in a higher level of Denver society.  Marty answers the ad on complete acceptance of Jake’s terms.   Unknown to Marty, Jake, a native Texan longs to return to the Lone Star state and run a ranch. 

 

Marty is quite adept at telling little fibs that create larger problems that spin into a web of hurt and misunderstanding for loved ones and new friends.  She does not tell her sister and family the truth about going to Colorado – only that she plans to visit friends.  This time, a lie of omission.  Shades of Annie Oakley!   Marty takes a stage coach into Denver and becomes a pistol-packing damsel to save the lives of the passengers and drivers from a stage robbery.  Our heroine soon becomes the talk and news sensation of Denver and awes the society she has joined as Mrs. Jacob Wythe.  The character quality in Marty’s habit was disturbing to me, however I surmised Ms. Peterson had sensible reasons for this flaw.  We will find Marty’s redeeming qualities in other area of her character concerning orphans.

 

Much is going on with the newlyweds – will love blossom now that Marty and Jake are secretly attracted to one another?  How does Marty, married to a rich banker, handle being included with society wives and living a lie as a new bride?  Is Jake suspected as being part of the scheme of missing funds at the bank?  The stories developing around the household servants are entertaining and humor provoking.  It seems the only real friend Marty has in Denver is Alice, her lady’s maid.  But, what does Alice have to do with information about the missing funds?  Why was she attacked to be robbed of something she knew nothing about?

 

The plot continues to thicken.  Marty becomes anguished over Jake’s intentions of returning to Texas and how she can keep the truth of her ranch from him.  We learn throughout the story that God is in control.  The truth will out, but what happens?  There are some loose ends in the story, however I believe there is purpose in this gifted writers tactics.  Ms. Tracie Peterson has successfully written many books, of which The Sensible Arrangement is my first read.  You have made an impression on my reading tastes, Ms. Peterson, I anticipate reading the next book in this series as well as the many others you have written.  Your faith in our heavenly Father and His love for you brightly shine through your pen hand.  You are indeed blessed.

 

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

 

 

MEET AUTHOR TRACIE L. PETERSON…..

Tracie Peterson is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 95 books. Having given her heart to Jesus at the young age of six, Tracie has always felt called to some form of ministry, and writing fulfills that mission field.

Tracie received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings’ Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership’s vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.

In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers. She has co-written with a variety of authors including Judith Pella, Judith Miller, James Scott Bell and her daughter Jennifer.

Throughout her writing career Tracie has found time to speak at writer’s conferences where she has a special heart for new authors. She is often joined by her husband Jim, whose background in history offers new authors insight into research. Besides teaching at conferences, Tracie also at one time managed Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents book line – overseeing the production of 52 books a year. Tracie teaches at women’s conferences around the country and shares her testimony and insight for Christian living through the eyes of an author passionately in love with her Heavenly Father.

Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests, including USA “Best Books 2011” Awards, best Religious Fiction for Embers of Love!.

Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family–especially her three grandchildren–Rainy, Fox and Max..

For information on having Tracie speak at your event – contact Noelle Buss at Bethany Publishers/Baker Books.

 

http://www.traciepeterson.com/

 

Hi Friends,

Life gets more complicated by the day, it seems.  No less busy either.  My hubby Jack and I are flying to Portland, Oregon next week to spend Mother’s Day with my 95 year old mother.  What a blessing to still have her with us!  Personally, I am facing a few health issues that are in the process of being resolved which will prove to be time consuming.  With eight grown children between us – there’s never a dull moment in our family…..always new situations to face and pray through.  Recently, we’ve been saddened by the loss of two family members, a beloved uncle and a dearly loved cousin.  I guess what I’m saying a mouthfull to get to the point that all this busyness will keep me away from my blogs and writing for a while.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of you ladies with children and mothers to celebrate.  We’ll be in contact again soon.

Stay Blessed,

Barb

 

 

HOW TO BE A GROOVY WORK-AT-HOME MOM

READ

TRICIA GOYER’S

BALANCED 

 

FINDING CENTER AS A WORK-AT-HOME MOM

 

Tricia Goyer

AUTHOR TRICIA GOYER

How can a work-at-home mom raise kids, juggle a career and take care of family responsibilities with only 24-hour days? Working at home while raising kids and juggling a career and family responsibilities is no easy feat. Author and homeschooling mom Tricia Goyer shares her tips for finding balance among all your many hats as a mom. Balancing is a process and a journey, one that Tricia herself has yet to perfect. But between writing more than forty books, raising and homeschooling six kids, being a wife, and being active in her community, she has amassed valuable tips she shares in “Balanced.” 
The book includes tips on: 
—how to create focus themes for your family 
—how to prioritize your schedule 
—how to utilize your job so it also benefits your kids 
—how to keep yourself out of the comparison game 
—how to make working at home work for you 
—and much more!

 

 

 MY REVIEW

5 STARSFIVE STARS

 

When the invitation to read and review Balanced by Tricia Goyer arrived, I almost decided not to read it.  After all, I’m 75 and a great-grandmother, my children have been raised and have grandchildren themselves.  However, being acquainted with Ms. Goyer’s writings and the mutual fact that we both have adopted children……well…I thought I would give it a look over.

 

As we read on the book cover some of the tips included in the book, I knew it would be a worthwhile read.  Finding balance in our lives attends many situations in today’s busy world.  Tricia speaks to busy work at home moms who struggle with family schedules and duties; but she easily speaks to those having careers outside the home.  I raised my children when women were taking additional roles at the same time, which was difficult.  Coming to mind often is an old commercial where an elegantly coiffured woman in a sleek business suit is singing a song about how she does all these things as a liberated woman and “brings home the bacon” as well, while holding up a skillet.   Ms. Goyer puts all that into proper perspective in this thoughtful conversation she shares.  She is to be respected for finding the centering of what God has given her.  She is a true Proverbs 31 woman, in that she cares for her family and her marriage through cherishing truths of tradition without denying any presumptuous concepts that she is doing it perfectly.  One can’t do it all – all the time – without being overwhelmed.  However Tricia Goyer admits that God is her guidance counselor.  I like that about Ms. Goyer and what she reveals about herself within the unique wisdom she conveys about balancing the odds and evens of her life.

 

Balanced might not be a large novel in size, it doesn’t take long to read.  Like that old adage of good things come in small packages, Ms. Goyer has certainly proven what a groovy gift she is to her family and her readers.  She is a beautiful encourager, as it is written in the Bible – “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things.” (Rom 10:15)      I’m glad now that I did not overlook this book – it could become a family heirloom to be handed down for generations.  Hopefully my words will inspire you to read the good news Tricia Goyer shares.

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.

 

MEET TRICIA GOYER…..

 

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of one, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published thirty-three books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by SheKnows.com. Tricia is also on the blogging team at MomLifeToday.com, TheBetterMom.com and other homeschooling and Christian sites.

In addition to her roles as mom, wife and author, Tricia volunteers around her community and mentors teen moms. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently leads a Teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, AR. Tricia, along with a group of friends, recently launched http://www.NotQuiteAmishLiving.com, sharing ideas about simplifying life. She also hosts the weekly radio podcast, Living Inspired. Learn more about Tricia at http://www.triciagoyer.com.

 

Learn more about Tricia at www.triciagoyer.com.

 

MY REVIEW ON

WHERE COURAGE CALLS

BY

JANETTE OKE & LAUREL OKE LOGAN

Courage Cover

Her courage

and her heart

will be tested in ways

she never expected 

Beth Thatcher has spent her entire life in the safe, comfortable world of her family, her friends, and the social outings her father’s wealth provides. But Beth is about to leave it all behind to accept a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. Inspired by her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years ago, and gently encouraged by her father, Beth resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way.

But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she’d feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have had very little prior education, and many of the locals don’t even speak English. There isn’t even a proper schoolhouse. In addition, Beth’s heart is torn between two young men—both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once.

Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she’s had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?

MY REVIEW

FIVE STARS 

While anticipating the honor of writing a review for Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan’s novel When Courage Calls, I pondered if my words could give proper merit to such creative teamwork from these two superb authors. As a long time reader of Janette Oke – often relating her skilled gift to Laura Ingalls Wilder, I perceive the same in Laurel Oke Logan. I am sincerely humbled to be reviewing this work of perfection

 

Beth Thatcher touched me deeply – she had the true heart of a missionary, with a spirit of kindness within a soul full of God’s Holy Word.  All those wonderful characteristics plus courage to venture into the unknown enabled her to face challenges with belief that she could be the impetus to change things through her deep faith in God.  Beth made a daring decision to accept a position as the school teacher in remote Coal Valley, an indigent mining area in Western Canada.  Beth finds herself in a bit of culture shock without the conveniences of home and wealth she had been privileged to know in Toronto. One of my favorite characters, Molly, the boarding house owner where Beth lived, was delightful and quite appropriately written into this beautiful story.  Oh, but then there is Frank…. and the children…..and the unlikely school room…and the Italian miners – there is no end to the unique quaintness versus durability of the people of Coal Valley.  When Beth played her violin and enthralled the community to envision the miracle of Christmas…. my heart felt the glory. When you read this story and find out why Beth’s violin played a part in a huge surprise, you will soon realize there are many surprises in store to keep the pages turning.

 

Edward Montclair and Beth were lifelong friends, however Beth considered him an annoyance and was not intending to gratify their mothers’ presumptuous plans that the two would one day marry.  Beth’s exhaustive train ride from Toronto to Coal Valley had some unpleasant and unpredicted surprises; in a bizarre way concerning Edward.  Beth envisioned no dreams of romance then or after arriving in Coal Valley.  However, this is a love story in my estimation about how God’s love can turn hopeless situations to promising.  It is no surprise that the authors created the characters of this story to breathe and come alive on the page.  Sensational writing includes the vindictive and evil side that plagues the community with mystery.  When the hint of romance comes into the story with Royal Canadian Mountie Jarrick (Jack) Thornton, my own heart palpitated a bit and wondered if Beth would have secret thoughts about this warm and charming Christian believer.

 

Before I forget myself and deluge too much – you can find out from the back cover an excellent synopsis of this solid story, as well as peruse many fine written reviews as to why you should acquire this book and read what’s between the covers for yourself.  Interestingly, I learned When Courage Calls is a special companion story to Hallmark Channel’s “When Calls the Heart” TV series.  You know you are getting the best when you see it on Hallmark.  Where have I heard something like that said before?  Unfortunately, I have not seen or read the prior episodes of this series on the Canadian West.  Through further information, I found this series of seven books was republished in 2005 with updated covers.  These novels will be added to my library as time permits.

 

It is my hope that the Ms. Janette Oke and Ms. Laurel Oke Logan will write another novel in this series continuing the story of Beth and answer all my questions about what happens next.  My curiosity is as real as my admiration for the authors.  Thank you ladies, for blessing your readers through Beth’s story.  I feel blessed having the pleasure of reading it.

 

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

JANETTE OKE & LAUREL OKE LOGAN

JANETTE OKE & LAUREL OKE LOGAN

Janette Oke Celebrated for her significant contribution to the Christian book industry, Janette Oke is the recipient of numerous awards. Her novels have sold more than 30 million copies and are beloved by readers around the world. Janette lives with her husband, Edward, in Alberta, Canada. 

Laurel Oke Logan is the daughter of Edward and Janette Oke, is the author of “Janette Oke: A Heart for the Prairie,” as well as the novel “Dana’s Valley,” which she co-wrote with her mom. Laurel and her husband have six children and two sons-in-law and live near Indianapolis, Indiana.

JANETTE OKE:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Janette-Oke/1125821954198

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/o/janette-oke/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4049.Janette_Oke

LAUREL OKE LOGAN:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laurel-Oke-Logan/1394770507453866

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/437781.Laurel_Oke_Logan?from_search=true

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/authors/laurel-oke-logan/1000

http://www.novelcrossing.com/author/1867/laurelokelogan