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Archive for October, 2013

A Bride for Keeps, Melissa Jagears’ freshman novel and published by Bethany House, is the story of two people whose fears nearly keep them from a most precious love.

On the unforgiving Kansas prairie, we meet Everett Cline, confirmed bachelor and overwhelmed farmer.  Having been rejected by four fiances, three of them mail-order brides, Everett is finished with romance.  Fortunately for him, his best friend’s wife and neighbor, Rachel, has one more trick up her sleeve.

After corresponding with the beautiful, fragile Julia, Rachel determines she would be the perfect helpmate for Everett.  Bringing her to the small Kansas town of Salt Flatts was easy.  Convincing Everett and Julia to make their partnership into a marriage – not so much.  Julia’s past has left her dreadfully afraid of men, particularly tall, handsome, blond men who resemble her abusive ex-fiance.  Can Everett’s gentle, godly personality eclipse his resemblance to Julia’s abuser?  Will Julia’s rejection of Everett cause his already guarded heart to fully harden?

A Bride for Keeps is a gentle exploration of a blossoming love between two injured people facing not only the hardships of farming on a  desolate land, but also falling in love in a desolate world.  Melissa Jagears has cast an innocence over the entire novel, which may be enticing to many readers, particularly in the inspirational fiction category.  I prefer a grittier treatment of these subjects myself.  I also felt  as though the author brought us to the edge of emotion and sort of left us there as she switched scenes.  I never really became fully invested in Everett and Julia, and emotional investment in the characters is of utmost importance to me as a reader.

I give  A Bride for Keeps 3 stars.  Readers who like Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly should find this book thoroughly engaging.

I received A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears at no cost from Bethany House Publishers in return for an honest review.  My opinions are my own.

Amazon links on many of my posts are affiliate links.  When you purchase from Amazon after clicking there from my page, you are helping me to purchase goods to home educate my children.  Thank you!

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Before I read A Woman’s Guide to Fasting by Lisa E Nelson (Bethany House), I had never partaken in a fast.  Truthfully, the reasons and benefits of fasting were a little lost on me.  I had a hazy understanding of denying my physical needs to strengthen my spirit, communing with God during normal meal times, etc.  but no true understanding of the process, reasons, or benefits were clear until I got a hold of this gem of a book.

Lisa begins with a thorough explanation of exactly what fasting is – “a spiritual tool for spiritual growth.” (p.12)  She then goes deeper and explains five reasons why God commands us to fast: 1) Spiritual growth and overcoming sin.  2) Empower intercession.  3) Preparation for spiritual warfare.  4) Obedience to God’s call.  5) Response to a crisis.  In addition to fleshing out these reasons, in the next chapter, Lisa confronts some reasons why not to fast.  In a nutshell, fasting is not a magic trick to make God love you, but it can be a tool to put you in a place of obedience to Him.  The rest of the book is made up of quality advice on how to begin, follow through, and break a fast.

I really appreciate the depth of analysis, thought, and tangible guidance presented in this conversational book.  I definitely give A Woman’s Guide to Fasting five stars.  It is a must read for any woman who is interested in this spiritual discipline.

Disclaimer: I received A Woman’s Guide to Fasting by Lisa E. Nelson at no cost from Bethany House in return for an honest review.  My opinion is my own.

Throughout my post are Amazon affiliate links.  By clicking to Amazon from these links to make your purchases, you can help me to buy supplies to home educate my family.

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Susanna Smith was raised to be obedient and merciful.  Unfortunately, her personality doesn’t lend itself to proper obedience and acceptable mercy.  When she finds herself needing to choose between obedience to not only her parents, but her king, and helping a runaway abused indentured servant, Susanna chooses to follow mercy.

In the process of sheltering Dotty, Susanna seeks the legal aid of Benjamin Ross, a local lawyer of poor beginnings.  Ben is a passionate man who seeks freedom and justice for even the most down-trodden in society.  Having been judged his whole life because of his family’s social standing, rather than their achievements and faith, Ben carries a chip on his shoulder toward the wealthy Susanna.  Much to his chagrin, he also carries a great attraction to not only her physical beauty, but also her quick mind and generous heart.

Tough decisions and tougher consequences are faced in Jody Hedlund‘s newest book, Rebellious Heart, published by Bethany House.  Once again, Jody has pulled from the pages of history and fictionalized a great couple from our past.  In this case, John and Abigail Adams.

One of the things I most appreciate about Jody’s writings, and Rebellious Heart is no exception, is her ability to explore deep subjects while weaving a beautiful, romantic tale with fully developed characters.  I always find myself thinking of the issues brought up in her stories as I close the last page, but I never feel preached at.

Of course, I can’t let this review go by without mentioning the innocent sensuality found in Rebellious Heart.  From foot measurements to stolen moments in a closet, the physical attraction between Ben and Susanna parallels and augments their growing emotional relationship.  I appreciate that more than a passing nod is given to the physical side of the developing love and the fact that the two stay innocent within that deepening attraction.

I give Rebellious Heart five stars.

I received Rebellious Heart from Bethany House Publishers at no cost in return for an honest review.  My opinions are my own.

Throughout my post are scattered Amazon Affiliate links.  By clicking to Amazon from my site and making your purchases, you are helping me to buy supplies to home educate my children.  Thank you!

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Courtesy David C. Cook Publisher

Courtesy David C. Cook Publisher

Cora Deihl-Kensington has changed so much – and she’s not exactly certain she likes it.  Her father, Copper King Wallace Kensington, has grudgingly settled in allowing her the fortune due to her mama and the man who raised Cora.  But what does this mean to her future?  To Will’s future with her?

Glittering Promises, published by David C. Cook, wraps up Lisa Tawn Bergren‘s Grand Tour Series.  Just as full of breath-taking history as the first two books, Glittering Promises doesn’t shy away from either surprise or discomfort.

I give Glittering Promises five stars, but I will say that this book was more difficult, emotionally, for me to read.  Cora and Will, so happy and hopeful at the end of Grave Consequences, seemed to fall apart in Glittering Promises.  During several scenes, I simply had to close the book, because I was angry, disappointed, or heartbroken over the behavior of these characters.  Because these people on the page had become my friends, I had no choice but to open the book back up and deal with their emotions and impulsive choices.

I would say that is good writing, eh?  Don’t worry, without giving too much away, I can tell you that Cora comes to her senses in the end and all ends well.  Of course!  It is a romance novel, after all.

You can read my review of Grave Consequences here.  I do recommend that you read all three books in the series in order, to get the full effect of The Grand Tour series.

Do you like a book to entrench you so emotionally that you have a hard time dealing with the characters’ decisions?  What about endings?  Do you prefer neatly wrapped endings or ones that leave you wondering just a little?

I received Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren free from David C. Cook, via Net Galley, in return for an honest review.  My opinions are my own.

Amazon links on most of my blog posts are affiliate links.  You can help me purchase supplies to home educate my children by purchasing items from Amazon after clicking there from my blog.  Thank you!

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