Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What I Read in September, October and November

I know I haven't been posting a whole lot in the past few months. This semester ended up being a lot busier than I anticipated and I ended up having a lot more school work, which meant that I didn't have as much time to read anything other than what was assigned. That being said, even though I haven't been blogging as frequently as I used to, I still plan on reading and posting reviews. With that being said here are the books I managed to read this semester:

1. The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck
I read this book back in September, and if I am not mistaken it was also the first book I read for my first blog tour that I did ever. I enjoyed this book, it was a nice, fluffy contemporary read, although there were a few weird things that made me lower my rating. I loved the theme of forgiveness that was woven throughout the novel. Click here to read my full review. I gave it 3.95/5 Stars.

2. Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
This was the next book I finished in September. I had to read it for a Theology class I am taking this semester and it was really good - it deals with the sins that most Christians tend to glance over or not even consider to be sins. Jerry Bridges also gives applications on how to biblically handle these sins. I gave this book 5/5 Stars.

3. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Yes, I finally finished this book! After slogging through it for about 6 months I finally completed it. I enjoyed this book and I am writing my senior thesis on this novel. I gave it 4/5 Stars.

4. A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanne M. White
This was a historical fiction book that filled with intrigue and mystery. Roseanna M. White was also a new author to me and I can't wait to check out more of her works in the future. Click here to read my full review of A Lady Unrivaled. I gave this book 4/5 Stars.

5. The Keys to Spiritual Growth by John MacArthur
This was a re-read for me because I had to read it for a class, and I think I loved it even more the second time around. I feel like there were some things that I missed the last time I read it and I definitely learned a lot. 5/5 Stars.

6. The Wish by Beverly Lewis
I really enjoyed this book. I always enjoy reading books about the Amish community and Beverly Lewis didn't disappoint with her latest serving. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the theme of redemption that was woven through out the novel. Click here to read my full review. 4/5 Stars.

7. There Really is a Difference by Renald Showers
This is another book I had to read for class, it was good except I found it confusing at first but the topic it is dealing with can be somewhat confusing at first. I liked how the author provided scriptural evidences for his argument so that the reader can see where he is coming up with his conclusions. 4/5 Stars.

8. Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin
This was a great book! It was intriguing and I was hooked until the very last page. Click here to read my full review if you would like to know more of my thoughts on this amazing book. 5/5 Stars.

9. American Exceptionalism by Charles Murray
I had to read this little booklet for a paper I had to write for my U.S. History class. It was an interesting read - it discusses the factors that made America exceptional. Even though it was good, it was dry in some places. 3/5 Stars.

10. The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection by Various Authors
This was a great collection of cute, lighthearted love stories. Click here if you would like to read my thoughts on each individual story. 4/5 Stars. 

11. Aboard Providence by Keely Brooke Keith
This was an interesting story. The whole concept was intriguing, however there were somethings that were missing, namely the world-building. Click here to read my full review. 3/5 Stars.

12. Finding Margo by Jen Turano
This was another great novel, if you love mystery, tales set in the Amish community, or you're just looking for something fun to read, I highly recommend you pick this one up. I really enjoyed it and I flew through it in a couple of days. Click here to read my full review. 4/5 Stars.

13. Daughter of the Nile by Jill Eileen Smith
Daughter of the Nile was a great novella that was rich in historical details. I love how this dealt with a woman who is only mentioned briefly in the Bible but we don't know her name. This was a nice story to see what she might have possibly been like. I will have a longer review up soon. 4/5 Stars.

14. Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior
This was a great biography about Hannah More, a woman that very few people know about today but they should. Hannah More was friends with so many prominent people in both the literary scene, as well as the abolitionist movement. I am still deciding whether or not to write a review on this book, but I am writing a term paper on Hannah More for my Neoclassicism class because of this biography. 5/5 Stars.

15. A Heart's Obsession by Colleen Coble
This picks up directly after the events of A Heart's Disguise. I enjoyed the characters, although the timing between events seemed a bit off and there were several things that I wish had been explained better. 3/5 Stars

16. A Heart's Danger by Colleen Coble
Again, this picks up directly after A Heart's Obsession. It was action-packed but there were a few plot holes. I loved the resolution at the end of this book though! 3/5 Stars.

17. A Heart's Betrayal by Colleen Coble
I enjoyed this book, however the blurb at the back gave away almost the whole plot, which was kind of annoying. 3/5 Stars.

18. A Heart's Promise by Colleen Coble
This picks up directly after the events of A Heart's Betrayal and I really enjoyed it. I liked the development of the characters and events over the course of this novella. 3/5 Stars.

19. A Heart's Home by Colleen Coble
This was a great conclusion to the series. But there were a few things that happened that I wish had been explained in greater detail. However, I liked how everything was resolved in the end and it was sad to see all of these characters go. 3/5 Stars.

20. Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly 
This was a great sequel to Deep Blue. I love the continuous world-building that takes place over the course of this novel. There are so many plot twists and it keeps me entertained until the very last page. I will have a longer review up soon. 4/5 Stars.

21. Dark Tide by Jennifer Donnelly 
This book was amazing! It was a page-turner and I finished it in a couple of days. I can't wait to read the conclusion of this series, although I am sad to see these characters go. 4/5 Stars. 

22. Sandy Toes by Robin Jones Gunn 
This was a cute read. I loved revisiting these beloved characters, especially as they enter into a new phase of their life. I almost stayed up all night last Thursday just so I could finish it but the turkey coma prevented me from doing so. 4/5 Stars.

23. The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid 
When I first started this I wasn't sure how I felt about it but once I got into it I loved it. This book was a pleasant surprise, so much happens that I was not expecting at all and it kept me interested until the very last sentence of this book. I will have a longer review up soon! 5/5 Stars.

These are all the books I have read this semester. I am hoping to post a monthly wrap-up again, as long as I don't have any more reading slumps. Thankfully I will be on Christmas break in a couple of weeks and I will have more time to read.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L.C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Finding Margo



Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Book

Off the charts and on the run.

International pop star Margo Hartman could use a night off. A grueling tour and overbearing entourage have sent her over the edge. It’s time for this diva to disappear. And who would think to look for the superstar in a small town in Ohio?

Sheriff’s deputy Brock Moore is undercover as well. He knows Margo isn’t who she appears to be, but her uncanny resemblance to a local Amish woman is raising all sorts of questions . . . the kinds that make her a target for a killer.

Both are determined to find answers, but their mutual attraction stands in the way of either of them doing it alone. Is finding Margo the solution to Brock’s problems or the just the beginning . . . ?

My Thoughts

I have been a fan of Jen Turano's books for several years now and I love her novels set in the Gilded Age. However, Finding Margo is obviously not a historical novel - it is a contemporary novel and Jen Turano does not disappoint her readers with her latest serving.

Finding Margo was interesting because not only is it contemporary but it mainly takes place amongst the backdrop of the Amish community - and the main character is a pop star! These were all unique elements that contributed to a unique plot. I enjoyed the sense of mystery, but I also loved the soul-searching that takes place in this novel.

I loved the characters, although I found the main characters' dialogue to sound kind of old-fashioned at times, however I still fell in love with them. I loved getting to know Margo and watching her find herself over the course of the novel, as well as reconnect with her Christian faith that she had drifted away from in recent years. Brock was a cool character, and also kind of swoon-worthy. I love how over the course of the novel he also has some lessons to learn about himself and life in general as he tries to help Margo out.

The side characters were good too! I loved Mrs. Hershberger, she came across as this quiet older woman, yet she gets the ball rolling in helping out Margo find out more about herself. I also enjoyed getting to know Ian, Brock's brother-in-law, and how he is still dealing with the grief of his wife's death even a year after the events. Margo's parents were complete pills! They were so awful to each other and Margo, I can't go into too much detail but they were just awful people. And then there was Gabby the duck, yes there is a duck in this book! Gabby the duck was probably one of the best side characters ever, although I think she would be a main character since a lot of the events that take place in the novel are because of her.

I really enjoyed this book, although there were times when the plot seemed to drag on, however a lot happens over the course of the novel that also makes it somewhat fast paced. I loved how there were several major plot twists over the course of the novel, I can't name any because they are spoilers, but they were all connected to each other in the end. This book was very different from what I was expecting it to be but it was so good. I can't wait to read the other books in this series because I need to know more about these character. I am giving this book 4/5 Stars because it was a good read, although it was slow in a few places. 

About the Author



USA Today best-selling author Jen Turano writes contemporary and historical romances with quirky characters and unusual storylines. Just outside Denver, Colorado, Jen and her husband live as empty-nesters, and they do so fabulously. Contact Jen at jenturano.com.


Guest Post from Jen Turano

The Making of “Finding Margo

By Jen Turano

To say that my entrance into the publishing world was a tad difficult is certainly an understatement. My very first attempt at writing was centered around a middle grade book, specifically written for my son who was in the third grade at the time. After finishing that, and sending it out to all of five companies, none of whom represented middle grade, I then moved on to young adult with a little more interest sent my way, but no success story to report in the end. Not one to embrace the idea of complete and utter failure, I then tried my hand at a contemporary romance, moved on to what I assumed was a delightful regency romance, but one that turned out to be not that delightful, at least according to numerous agents, and finally landed on gilded age stories, filled with quirky heroines. That is when I finally received my very first publishing contract, which then saw me catapulted into the very weird world of publishing. After completing the second gilded age story of my two-book contract, I found myself with some time on my hands as I waited to see if anyone would read my stories, which might then result in an offer of additional book contracts. As I waited, I decided I might as well keep writing, so decided to try another contemporary story, although my agent at that time suggested I try to write an Amish book since she had numerous requests from publishers for those specific books. Because my writing voice is not what anyone might consider normal, I really didn’t believe I’d be able to do justice to an authentic Amish story.

Because of that, I settled on the idea of writing a contemporary romantic suspense, being a huge fan of that genre. I had a vague notion of exploring a theme centered around a dog walker who might stumble on a body while walking her pack of dogs, or perhaps have a storyline that centered around a makeup artist who witnessed a crime while setting out her makeup for a client, but those ideas went straight away when I pulled out the vacuum one fine day.

Vacuuming, as well as staining the deck, cleaning the shower, and power-washing the garage, are my go-to activities when I need to get the muse working right before I start a first draft. On that particular day, as I pushed the vacuum around the house, I suddenly had the most intriguing idea – an idea that started off with two delightful little words…What…and…If.

That was all it took for a premise to begin festering through my mind, a fester that grew into this – What if three Amish children were stolen straight out of their beds, never to be seen or heard from again until… Now here’s where it gets interesting. I decided to have a woman by the name of Margo Hartman, an international superstar no less, stumble into this small Ohio town quite by accident, and…she happens to bear an uncommon resemblance to an Amish woman who lives in this town. To add an addition sense of intrigue, someone immediately begins trying their very best to kill poor Margo.

By the time I was done vacuuming, the storyline for “Finding Margo” was firmly cemented in my mind, which translates into Jen had no choice other than to write the story. However, before my agent at that time found a home for the manuscript, I signed another contract for more gilded age books, which meant I did not have the time to commit to what was certainly going to have to be a three-book series since, well, there were three Amish children who’d gone missing.

Fast forward around five years and I found myself a little ahead of schedule at exactly the right time. There was a new publishing house in town, my current agent remembered me talking about this quirky book I’d written long ago, and as luck would have it, I found the flash drive that’s been home to “Finding Margo” for all these years.

Since my writing style has certainly changed since I first wrote Margo’s story, I ended up rewriting the entire book, and I must say that I’m still just as intrigued with the storyline as I was when it popped to mind while vacuuming what seems like ages ago. I’m just tickled to death that Margo Hartman has finally found her way out of a flash drive and onto the pages of a book. I’m hoping readers will enjoy her as much as I enjoyed writing her.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me today, and for supporting my books over the years. I cannot properly express how important all my readers have become to me, and I’m incredibly thankful for every one of you. You’ve brightened up my life and without you, well, I wouldn’t have anyone to share the stories that always seem to rumble around my mind.

God bless!

~ Jen ~

Blog Stops

November 17: Book by Book
November 17: cherylbbookblog
November 18: A Reader’s Brain
November 18: I Hope You Dance
November 18: Blogging with Carol
November 19: ASC Book Reviews
November 19: Bibliophile Reviews
November 19: Books,Dreams,Life
November 20: Lighthouse Academy
November 20: Karen Sue Hadley
November 20: Back Porch Reads
November 21: Genesis 5020
November 21: 100 Pages per Hour
November 22: Pause for Tales
November 22: Quiet Quilter
November 22: Bigreadersite
November 23: Just Commonly
November 23: A Greater Yes
November 23: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
November 24: Smiling Book Reviews
November 24: Ashley’s Bookshelf
November 25: inklings and notions
November 26: Daysong Reflections
November 26: The Scribbler
November 28: The Power of Words
November 29: Faithfully Bookish
November 29: Christian Bookaholic
November 30: A Northern Belle

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of her book! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine entries on the giveaway!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Library Haul #2

It's been a while since I've done a library haul, mainly due to the fact that I was in a reading slump and this semester has been pretty busy. But I am out of the slump and I am on Thanksgiving break for a week, so I have some more time to read! I went to the library on Friday and got a few books, here they are: 
1. As Old As Time by Liz Braswell
I don't know a whole lot about this book except it is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a twist: What if Belle's mother put the curse on the Beast? It sounds really interesting and I love Beauty and the Beast so I am looking forward to picking this up soon.

2. Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly 
This is the second book in the Waterfire Saga, I read Deep Blue back in June and I looking forward to picking up this next installment. I am currently reading it and it picks up right where book one left off.

3. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Again, I don't know a whole lot about this book except that it is a fantasy novel that takes place in the desert and there is magic and maybe magical creatures (?). I am also looking forward to picking this one up soon as well.

4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 
I've been hearing a lot about The Night Circus on YouTube. I know it is about a circus that appears at night and a competition between a male character and a female character. The description makes it sound a little bit like The Prestige. I don't know anything more than it sounds interesting and I can't wait to start this one as well.

5. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee 
I've also heard a lot about this book on YouTube, although I don't know a whole lot about it except that it takes place in New York 102 years in the future and there is this thousand-story building that holds a prominent place in New York and it tells the story of several of the characters living in the building. It sounds intriguing and like it might be a good read.

6. Dark Tide by Jennifer Donnelly 
This is the third book in the Waterfire Saga and I don't know anything else except that it takes place after Rogue Wave. I haven't read he description because I don't want to be spoiled for the rest of Rogue Wave. The covers for this series are gorgeous though!!

I hope you've all enjoyed this library haul and I look forward to doing more in the future! 

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Book Review: Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Today's review is on Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and the author in exchange for my honest review. 

Lynn Austin has been on my radar as one of my favorite authors ever since I read Wonderland Creek a couple summers ago. I haven't been able to read a whole lot by her, but I do want to read all of her books eventually. Waves of Mercy was a great, captivating read, in fact it is probably one of my favorite novels of all time! 

The novel takes place tells the story of two women, Anna and Geesje. Anna is staying at the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan after her fiance breaks off their engagement due to her newfound faith. During her stay she meets hotel Derk Vander Veen, who is studying to become a minister, and she goes to him with questions regarding her new faith. Meanwhile, Geesje de Jonge has begun writing her story about emigrating from the Netherlands over fifty years ago for the town's 50th anniversary celebration. However, instead of just writing about what caused her family to move to the United States, she also includes her struggles, regrets and joyful moments of her life over the past 50 years. When Derk reads her story, he decides that Anna needs to meet his Tante Geesje because their stories are so similar. 

I don't even know where to start when it comes to my thoughts on this book. First, I loved how it switched between the "present day" of the story, 1897, and went back to 50 years before when Geesje is writing her story. I loved reading about the very real struggles that both Anna and Geesje had to deal with, even though they are fictional characters. Waves of Mercy shows that it is normal for every believer to go through times of doubt, especially during times of hardship, however it also showed how faithful God is even during those times of doubt. 

I loved the historical details of the novel, especially since it covered over 50 years of U.S. history. I liked how the author explained and gave some details as to why Geesje's family had to leave the Netherlands. I also liked how it dealt with the effects of the Civil War. I also liked how she talked a little bit about steamboat accidents and she did a great job of depicting the Gilded Age. I think this stood out to me a lot more than it usually does because I am taking a class on U.S. History this semester and we had just gone over this section of U.S. history in the class, so it was still fresh in my mind. 

I also enjoyed getting to know the characters, especially Geesje, I loved her story and some of the parallels it had with Anna's story. Anna was also a great character, the struggles she faces over the course of the novel are realistic and I loved how Derk was able to help sort through her questions and mixed emotions, as well as the societal expectations placed on her. I also enjoyed getting to know Derk, however the reader only ever sees him from the perspective of Anna or Geesje, but yet I felt like he was still a pretty fleshed-out character despite this. 

Another thing that I really liked about this novel is that the ending wasn't predictable, I did not expect it the way to end the way it did and I loved it. It wasn't cliche, but it was still a sweet ending! 

I really loved this book and I loved the characters! I can't think of anything that I didn't like about this book I enjoyed it a lot. I can't wait to read more of Lynn Austin's books, and I can't wait to see what she releases next. I am giving this book 5/5 Stars because it was captivating and I struggled to put it down. 

Happy Reading, 
Janelle L. C. 

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 





Saturday, November 12, 2016

Blog Tour and Give Away: Aboard Providence


 
To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

In November 1860, Jonah Ashton boarded the Providence with a plan to escort his family to their new settlement in South America and then return to medical school in Pennsylvania before rumors of Southern rebellion erupt into all-out war. What he didn’t count on was getting lost at sea and falling in love. When they finally reach land, Jonah makes a startling discovery that changes everything, but will it change his heart?


My Thoughts

I liked this book, it had a very interesting concept and I think it was well executed, and it definitely take a good imagination to come up with an idea like the one in Aboard Providence. At first it was a slow start for about the first 50 pages, but once the plot picked up there were a few good twists and turns.  

I liked getting to know all the characters in this novel, however I found Jonah to be annoying, he was selfish and only seemed to care about his future and needs than those of others once they get to the Land. But I did like how Jonah started to change his mind. I liked how Marian was more level-headed and in my honest opinion I believe that she deserves someone better than Jonah.  The side characters in this novel were interesting, but I wish we could have found out more about them. 

I enjoyed finding out more about the Land - however I wish there had been more descriptions about the new island besides the gray-leafed tree. I felt like the world-building was lacking and could have been developed some more. I thought the ending was very sweet and I was happy. 

This book was a prequel to the author's Uncharted series which is also supposed to be good. I don't know if I will read the rest of the series but this was a good introduction to Keely Brooke Keith. 

I am giving this book 3/5 Stars because even though I enjoyed it I wish the world-building had been fleshed out a bit more. 


About the Author



Keely Brooke Keith is the author of the Uncharted series (Edenbrooke Press) and Aboard Providence (CrossRiver Media). Her novels are known for blending genres in unconventional ways. When she isn’t writing stories, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Originally from St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely resides with her husband and their daughter on a hilltop south of Nashville where she dreams up stories, hoping to encourage, comfort, and inspire readers. She is a member of ACFW.






Guest Post from Keely Brooke Keith

The Uncharted series has a past…

The Uncharted storyline begins in the 21st Century in a hidden land that was settled in the 1860s by Americans. Throughout the Uncharted books, the characters refer to their founders’ history. Soon after the release of The Land Uncharted, readers expressed their desire for more. Why did the founders leave America in 1860? How did they plan the group migration? Where did they believe they were going? How did they establish what is now a fascinating culture?

I too was drawn by the founders’ story. When I set out to write it, I enjoyed fleshing out the mystery of how the founders arrived in the Land and what it was like for them, not only for the characters who wanted that adventure, but also those who didn’t. I became swept away on a journey of faith, sacrifice, and God’s unfailing provision.

The result is Aboard Providence (CrossRiver Media, 2016).

Join the founders as they embark on their voyage to an uncharted land.

Blog Stops

October 21: 1994
October 22: A Greater Yes
October 24: cherylbbookblog
October 26: I Hope You Dance
October 26: Mary Hake
October 27: Genesis 5020
October 28: A Readers Brain
October 29: Bigreadersite
November 1: Pause for Tales
November 1: Karen’s Krayons
November 2: Proverbial Reads

Giveaway


In honor of her tour, Keely is giving away The Uncharted Series ebooks! Click the link below to enter; be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine bonus entries for this giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a60d

Friday, November 11, 2016

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection



To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book




Meet nine men and women whose competitive goals take them to state and county fairs between 1889 and 1930. From baking pie to polishing pigs, from sculpting butter to stitching quilts, everyone has something to prove to themselves and their communities. But in going for the blue ribbon, will nine women miss the greatest prize of all—the devoted heart of a godly man?
My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this collection of novellas - they were all light-hearted and a nice break from reality. As usual, I am going to give a short review on each story in this collection and then give my overall thoughts. 

Requilted with Love by Carrie Fancett Pagels: 
I enjoyed this story that was about moving on from the past. However, I didn't like the insta-love between the man characters. It was interesting to find out more about "ballooning" and state fairs. 3/5 Stars. 

Seven Medals and a Bride by Angela Breidenbach: 
This was another cute story, however it skipped ahead to muh and I found myself lost several times. I also didn't like the constant tension between Luke and Bettina, however I did like how it was eventually resolved. 2.75/5 Stars 

A Taste of Honey by Darlene Franklin: 
I really liked how honey was at the center of the story. I thought that Grant and Edith were an adorable couple, although I felt like he was too gruff at times. 3/5 Stars 

Altered Hearts by Gina Welborn: 
This was another cute lighthearted story. I liked how both Luke and Reba were stubborn and had some lessons to learn along the way. I felt sorry for Reba because he mother was a pill! 3.5/5 Stars 

Better with Butter by Jennifer AlLee: 
I really enjoyed the Romeo and Juleit elements in this story. I loved the tension between the two characters. I was hooked from beginning to end. 4/5 Stars. 

Driven to Distraction by Becca Whitham: 
I found the prologue confusing but otherwise it was a cute story. However, I felt like Jolene didn't really have much of a personality. But I still enjoyed this story, especially since I have never heard of auto polo before. 3/5 Stars. 

First Comes Pie by Niki Turner: 
I really enjoyed this novella, however the scene that was added as the climax seemed to be thrown in to add more tension to the story. I loved Lorelei, she had such a spunky personality and I loved her reason for being so dedicated to making the best apple pie. 3.5/5 Stars. 

Front Page Love by Tiffany Amber Stockton: 
This story was alright, again I didn't like the insta-love between the two charaters. However I did like they they eventually to the time to get to know each other. I do wish that the characters had been developed a bit more. 2.75/5 Stars. 

Competing Hearts by Cynthia Hickey: 
Again, this was a cute story. I loved how both Annie Mae and Jonathan had issues they had to work through over the course of the novel. I loved the last chapter of this novella 0 I felt like it was the cherry-on-top for this whole collection. 4/5 Stars. 

Overall: 
As I mentioned before, I really enjoyed this collection of stories. Most of the authors were new to me and I enjoyed getting a taste of some different voices. I can't wait to read other works by each of these authors. I am giving this collection 4/5 Stars because I enjoyed all of the stories, even though I had few issues with some of them. 

About the Authors

Jennifer AlLee believes the most important thing a woman can do is discover her identity in God—a theme that carries throughout her stories. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and RWA’s Faith, Hope and Love Chapter. When she’s not spinning tales, she enjoys board games with friends, movies, and breaking into song for no particular reason. Jennifer lives with her family in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Please visit her at www.jenniferallee.com.
Angela Breidenbach is a bestselling author, host of Grace Under Pressure Radio, and the Christian Author Network’s president. And yes, she’s half of the fun fe-lion comedy duo, Muse and Writer, on social media.
Note from Angela: “I love hearing from readers and enjoy book club chats. To drop me a note or set up a book club chat, contact me at angie.breidenbach@gmail.com. Let me know if you’d like me to post a quote from your review of this story. If you send me the link and your social media handle, I’ll post it to my social media with a word of gratitude including your name and/or social media handle, too!”
For more about Angela’s books (especially more Montana-inspired romances) and podcast, or to set up a book club chat, please visit her website: http://www.AngelaBreidenbach.com
Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram: @AngBreidenbach
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/AngelaBreidenbachInspirationalSpeakerAuthor
Bestselling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont. You can find Darlene online at www.darlenefranklinwrites.com
Cynthia Hickey grew up in a family of storytellers and moved around the country a lot as an army brat. Her desire is to write about real, but flawed characters in a wholesome way that her seven children and five grandchildren can all be proud of. She and her husband live in Arizona where Cynthia is a full-time writer.
Carrie Fancett Pagels is a multi-published award-winning author of Christian historical romance. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!
TIFFANY AMBER STOCKTON has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today she is an award-winning author, speaker, social media consultant, and a freelance website designer who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son and a vivacious Flat-coated retriever named Roxie. Her writing career began as a columnist for her high school and college newspapers. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Historical Romance Writers. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards, and in 2009, she was voted #1 favorite new author for the Heartsong Presents book club. You can read more about her at her website.
Niki Turner is a novelist, journalist, and blogger. Her first completed manuscript earned second place in the Touched By Love 2009 contemporary category romance contest. She writes for local newspapers and won second place for best agriculture story at the 2013 Colo­rado Press Association annual convention. She is a coblogger at www.inkwellinspirations.com. Niki is the president of the Western Slope chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Connect with Niki on Facebook or Twitter, and visit her website for information on her other books: www.nikiturner.net.
ECPA- bestselling author Gina Welborn worked for a news radio station until she fell in love with writing romances. She serves on the American Christian Fiction Writers Foundation Board. Sharing her husband’s love for the premier American sportscar, she is a founding member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club and a lifetime member of the National Corvette Museum. Gina lives with her husband, three of their five Okie-Hokie children, two rabbits, two guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn’t realize rabbits and pigs are edible. Find her online at www.ginawelborn.com!
Becca Whitham (WIT-um) is a multi-published author who has always loved reading and writing stories. After raising two children, she and her husband faced the empty nest years by following their dreams: he joined the army as a chaplain, and she began her journey toward publication. Becca loves to tell stories marrying real historical events with modern-day applications to inspire readers to live Christ-reflecting lives. She’s traveled to almost every state in the U.S. for speaking and singing engagements and has lived in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Alaska.  She can be reached through her website at www.beccawhitham.com

Guest Post from Carrie Fancett Pagels

Welcome to the Celebrate Lit Blog Hop!!!
Carrie Fancett Pagels
Gina Welborn is the brainchild of this collection. The majority of the authors had participated in another collection with her and she got the notion of doing a fair-themed collection set at either state fairs or county fairs and the heroine going for the Blue Ribbon! We all agreed that it sounded like great fun! So Gina threw out the idea to us and we each picked the state we wanted and then the type of Blue Ribbon activity our heroines would have. Fortunately, we all chose different things!
Why I wrote “Requilted with Love” for the collection:
I am from Michigan, so I immediately thought of the Michigan State Fair. And when I go to the fair, I love to go to the Quilting Pavillions and my mother was an excellent quilter so I grew up sleeping under beautiful quilts and have many of my own that she made. For my novella, “Requilted with Love,” I got the idea of having a wedding quilt requilted with appliqués because my mother had made me a gorgeous wedding ring quilt for my first engagement. When we broke up, she held onto it. Later I told her, Mom, I’m not getting married – how about you just send it on to me, and she did. Then when Jeff and I got married, she made us a beautiful appliquéd quilt. I put those two together, so that my heroine, Sarah Richmond, whose first two fiancés died, has requilted atop the wedding ring quilt and is trying to win the Blue Ribbon as a vehicle to promote her wish for better medical care in upper Michigan, where she is from. Gina had suggested I include a balloonist, thinking that would be a fun addition at the fair. So Grant, my hero, is a balloonist who is also an engineer – but Sarah is confused by his uniform and thinks he is a state fair groundskeeper!

Blog Stops

November 1: Simple Harvest Reads
November 2: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
November 3: Bibliophile Reviews
November 3: Smiling Book Reviews
November 5: A Greater Yes
November 6: Artistic nobody
November 7: cherylbbookblog
November 8: Jeanette’s Thoughts
November 9: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner (Spotlight)
November 9: inklings and notions
November 10: Lighthouse Academy
November 11: The Scribbler
November 12: Karen’s Krayons
November 13: Daysong Reflections
November 14: Splashes of Joy
November 14: Blogging With Carol

Giveaway


To celebrate their tour, The Blue Ribbon Brides authors are giving away an award winning themed basket that included a quilt and an Amazon Kindle Fire!
Be sure to comment on this blog post below. If we have ten commentors (not including the authors), I will be picking one person to win a book!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Book Review: The Wish by Beverly Lewis

Today's review is on The Wish by Beverly Lewis.
I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I have been a fan of Beverly Lewis' books ever since I picked up a bind-up of her Summerhill Secrets series when I was 13. I love how she explores the world of Amish and each time I read one of her books I learn something new about the Amish people.

The Wish is about a young Amish woman, Leona Speicher, who becomes close friends with Gloria Gingerich whose family had recently moved to Lancaster County from Arkansas. The two woman are like sisters and do everything together. One day that all changes when Gloria's family decides to move back to Arkansas when her father refuses to submit to the leadership of the church in their district. However, the Gingerich just leaves and no one hears from them again until three years after their sudden departure when Leona receives a letter from her former best friend. Leona is shocked to discover that the Gingerich family has completely left the Amish church and become "fancy." However, Gloria feels empty and reaches out to Leona for help. Leona decides to go visit Gloria in hopes of bringing her back to the faith of her childhood. But, Leona's fiance worries that she might get hurt in the process.

 I loved getting know Leona and see her courtship with Tom Ebersol, it was also interesting to see how much he had to learn to trust her when she goes to find Gloria. Gloria Gingerich was also a good character and I enjoyed seeing her struggle with her new life outside of the Amish community and the faith of her childhood. I think it showed a realistic depiction of how hard it is to make a life-changing decision. I really did not like Gloria's dad, I felt like he was just this despicable character that was only looking out for his own good and not the good of his family but I think that was the intent.

The book itself moved smoothly, it wasn't a quick read but I think that was due to the reading slump that I was in for while (thankfully I am out of it now!). This is a great read if you are interested in finding out more about the Amish community and if you are looking for a quick, light-hearted read. I liked that we got three POVs: Leona, Tom and Gloria, it had some more insights to plot and the various characters in the novel.

I am giving this book 3.75/5 Stars because it started out kind of slow but once I got a 100 pages into it I sped through it. Beverly Lewis continues to write great novels about the Amish people and I can't wait to see what she writes next.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)