Thursday, December 22, 2011

Can't Help Falling in Love(The Sullivan's #3) by Bella Andre

Although this is the 3rd book, they don't necessarily have to be read in order. They are great books to read! Check out:

The Look of Love (#1)
From This Moment On(#2)

This is Gabe's story:

Gabe Sullivan is a Firefighter. He not only loves the thrill of the job, but also saving lives. He made a promise to himself not to date victims that he saved due to a bad past experience. After saving Megan Harris and her daughter Summer, the promise he once made to himself is up in the air. After losing her navy pilot husband, Megan promise not to date anyone with a risky profession. That is until Gabe walks into her life. Now, she feels as if she owes him everything for saving their lives. Will they keep the promise they once made to themselves or will fire ignite between them? To find out read: Can't Help Falling In Love.

I read the first two books in this series and I loved them! This story line followed the same as the rest. Boy saves girl, falls in love, the end. Although it is predictable, it was still a good story line. Gabe comes across as a strong, independent man. His passion is firefighting. He thought life was good until he saved Megan and her daughter. If he would have met her any other way, there wouldn't be an issue. However, he saved her. Both Gabe and Megan fight their feelings throughout the book and in the end, love really does conquer all. This is a great story.

I rate this book 5/5

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Love Finds You Under The Mistletoe by Irene Brand & Anita Higman

Two Christmas Stories: one historical, one contemporary

According to Goodreads:

An Appalachian Christmas: A promise to her dying sister compels Julia Mayfield to take her young nephew to Mistletoe, Kentucky, a tiny town tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains. Sparks fly when she meets David Armstrong, a World War II veteran like herself. Even as shadows from the past weave a dangerous web around Julia and David, will their love flourish like the mistletoe that blankets the nearby hills…..

The Appalachian Christmas by Irene Bland takes us back in time.  I must be honest. It took me a minute to get into the story but once I did, I couldn’t put it down! It took some time to warm up to Julia in the beginning. I couldn’t quite grasp why she was s eager to pawn off her nephew. However, as the story unfolded, she came to love that child like her own. What a Christmas miracle this little boy had!! His father, who was supposedly dead, shows up in church! I couldn’t help but shed a few tears! Oh, how happy this man was to find out he was a father!! This story is what Christmas is all about.

According to Goodreads:
Once Upon a Christmas Eve: Hollie Goodnight's store has just been voted best Christmas shop in America. All the new publicity draws flamboyant novelist Van Keaton to the cozy town of Noel, Missouri, demanding to write Hollie's story--a dramatic tale of misfortune and triumph. She is swept up in his world of beautiful words and fanciful interludes until Owen Quigly, her lifelong best friend, launches a plan to win her back

 Once Upon a Christmas Eve, by Anita Higman is a story about the present. I can honestly say that I felt bad for Holly Goodnight in this story. I can understand why so many people wanted to know her story considering how her mother left her on the doorstep of the Christmas shop she works at one Christmas Eve. I think when Holly finally decided to talk about that night so long ago and her feelings, some doors closed for her. She was able to forgive her mother. What an amazing man Mr. Goodnight was to adopt this little bundle of joy and raise her to be an extraordinary young woman! It amazes me that after years and years of friendship, Holly and Owen realize that they love each other. Isn’t that how is always works?!

I rate this book 5/5

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Plain and Simple Christmas by Amy Clipston

Do you believe in Christmas miracles?  Anna Mae McDonough is hoping to get her Christmas miracle this year, raised Amish, she left home three years ago to marry her English husband. Now, 8 months pregnant with their first child, Anna Mae dreams about reuniting with her family. She knows this will be very difficult because once she left, she became shunned. 

Anna decides to write her sister in law, her brother’s wife, Kathryn to ask for her assistance. Kathryn’s husband is against this idea. He doesn’t want Christmas to be ruined for his parents. Going against her husband’s wishes, she arranges this meeting anyway, believing this is what God wants her to do.

Arriving in Lancaster, Anne didn’t receive the “open arms” she was hoping to.  Her mother was ever so happy to see her; however her father wouldn’t even look at her. Now, Anne is wondering if she made a mistake.  She is beginning to question her place in her family. Will she receive the Christmas miracle that she is hoping for or will her dreams come crashing down?

I couldn’t put this book down. It was shorter than other books I read, however just as enjoyable. I can’t imagine having to choose between the one you love and the family and way you were raised. In this case, Anne didn’t choose one or the other. You can’t help who you fall in love with. She was shunned because she left.

I was so excited for Anne to reunite with the rest of her family. I was a little worried about how it was going to go to be honest. The first encounter with her brother and sister in law, Kathryn went well so I thought. Her brother seemed to open up as soon as her saw her.

I wish I could say that the second encounter with her family went just as well but I can’t. The next night her parents were there. Her mother took her in with open arms; however her father couldn’t stand to look at her. In fact, he ordered his wife to get in the buggy. Anne was ready to throw in the towel but Kathryn said to give it one more chance and come the next day for Christmas Eve dinner.

That is exactly what they did. However, that didn’t go as planned either. I was so upset with Anne’s father. I don’t understand how he can just act as if his daughter wasn’t there. It took Anne’s husband confronting the man to change anything.

Who would have thought that Anne would give birth in her parent’s home? Who would have thought that her father would apologize for his behavior and welcome them back into their lives? Not only did Anne receive a Christmas miracle, but she received two! She was reunited with her family and gave birth to their first son.

This story was an emotional roller coaster of emotions. I found myself yelling at my book one minute and crying a river the next. Family is extremely important. The bond between a parent and their child should never be broken.

I rate this book 5/5!

A Plain and Fancy Christmas by Cynthia Keller

Rachel Yoder and Ellie Lawrence are living in two completely different worlds. Ever since Rachel’s husband passed away three years ago, she has been living the simple life on her parent’s farm raising her daughter. Ellie on the other hand has been living in New York City. She has a very high demanding job that doesn’t leave much time for family or friends.

One day both of these girl’s lives changed. They both received a letter saying that when they were born, there was a mistake at the hospital and that they were switched at birth! Ready or not, both girls are about to take an adventure. Ellie wants to know more about her Amish family and Rachel is curious about her English family in New York City.

What will happen to Rachel and Ellie? Will they realize that they aren’t who they thought they were? Will the journey they take open doors that they wished remained closed?

Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds? In this case, you most definitely can! I can’t imagine the position that Rachel and Ellie were in, not to mention their parents! The struggles that both families overcome in this story are truly remarkable. 

With every turn of the page, new emotions arose. I was very pleased that by the end of the story Ellie and Rachel were friends, almost sisters. Both families came together on Christmas and share a common bond; that bond being Rachel and Ellie. While this may not be your every day situation, it works for the parties involved. Who says you can only have one set of parents? One family?

So yes, it is possible to have the best of both the Amish lifestyle and the English lifestyle.  If you want something bad enough, you will take whatever measures needed to ensure that it will happen. I absolutely loved this book!

I rate this book 5/5!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Amish Christmas: A Novel by Cynthia Keller

According to Goodreads:

Meg Hobart has everything: a happy marriage to a handsome, successful husband, a beautiful home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and three wonderful children. But it all comes crashing down around her the day she learns that her husband, James, has been living a lie—and has brought the family to financial ruin. Penniless and homeless, the Hobart's pack up what little they still possess and leave behind their golden life for good. But it’s not the material things Meg finds herself mourning. Instead, she misses the certainty that she should remain married to James, who has betrayed her trust so thoughtlessly. Worse, she is suddenly very aware of just how spoiled her children have become. Meg wonders what her family has really sacrificed in their pursuit of the American dream.

A frightening twist of fate forces the Hobarts to take refuge with a kind Amish family in Pennsylvania, where they find themselves in a home with no computers, no cell phones, nothing the children consider fashionable or fun. Her uncooperative brood confined to the Amish world of hard work and tradition, their futures entirely uncertain, Meg fears she can never make her family whole again.

Celebrating life’s simplest but most essential values, packed with laughter and tears, this is a story of forgiveness and the power of love. You will never forget the special moment in time that is An Amish Christmas.

The Hobart's adventure started off a little rough. All the children did was complain about the things they didn't have instead of being grateful for what they did have. Even her husband James forgot about what he was missing and lived in the moment.

I believe that their marriage would not have survived if this mishap hadn't occurred. It's amazing how much we rely on computers, cell phones, and TV. The Hobart's learned that there is more to life than all that. They actually learned a thing or two about the Amish lifestyle. James learned all about what the men do on a daily basis such as farming. Meg was able to cook with the woman and take care of the house. Even the children had chores that they helped with. At the end of the day, there was still time for some fun!

By the end of the book, the Hobart's learned that there is more to life besides electronics. They learned a lot about each other and the people they lived with.

I find the Amish lifestyle intriguing. I do feel as though we rely to much on video games, cell phones, computers, and the internet. It seems as though the Amish lifestyle is much simpler and more family based. When you think about it, our roles are very similar to those of the Amish. The men work outside the home, some women work outside the home while others work at home.

I rate this book 4/5

Monday, December 5, 2011

An Amish Christmas: December in Lancaster County by Kathleen Fuller, Beth Wiseman, & Barbara Cameron

An Amish Christmas: December in Lancaster County by Kathleen Fuller, Beth Wiseman, & Barbara Cameron

The stories in this book are about second chances.
In the first story, A Miracle for Miriam by Kathleen Fuller; Miriam is given another chance at love. Seth, the boy she had a crush on during school, made fun of her and wouldn’t give her the time of day. Now, years later he has come back. In fact, it is his wish that Miriam will forgive him. That he will have another chance to show her how much he cares. Will they both get the second chance that they both deserve? Will Miriam be able to forgive Seth?

The second story, A choice to Forgive by Beth Wiseman is about Lydia’s second chance at love. After her fiancée Daniel disappeared one Christmas Eve leaving Lydia heartbroken, she turned to his brother and built a life with him. Years later, she is a widower with three children when Daniel appears on her door step stirring up all kinds of emotions she kept hidden. Will Lydia learn the reason for Daniel’s disappearance? Will they have a second chance to find love with each other?

The final story, One Child by Barbara Cameron is the story of Sarah. Sarah and David are coming upon the anniversary of their miscarriage. All Sarah wants is a child of her own. She pleads with the man above that if she could only have one that would be enough. An English couple gets stranded at their house for Christmas. It turns out the woman is pregnant. Will this Christmas be the year that things change for Sarah?

I believe everyone deserves a second chance at love! In the first story, I could relate to Miriam. I never thought I was good enough for anyone that is until I met my husband. I was ecstatic to read the story of Seth and Miriam and how her dream came true. She was able to be loved by the man whom she loved.

Does loving one man mean you can’t love another? Lydia feels that she can’t move on. Her husband is gone and her first love is back in the picture. Letting yourself love again after a tragedy isn’t dishonoring your husband’s memory. Daniel in this case made the mistake of leaving and not telling Lydia why. However, I believe he had good intentions that night. Daniel was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I can relate to wanting to have a baby of your own. I think that Kate and her husband were sent to Sarah and David’s house for a purpose. Sarah delivering Kate’s baby on Christmas day was a miracle, a miracle that softened her heart. She was able to think about something else and not dwell on the anniversary of her miscarriage.

I rate this book 5/5

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston

This journey begins with Caleb and his daughter Susie taking a trip home for Christmas. You see, Caleb lost his wife and unborn child in a freak accident 2 years prior. Caleb blames himself for the death of his wife. He feels as that he will not have another chance at love. That is until, his daughter runs into a woman at a flea market. Susie immediately takes to this woman. Caleb’s sister however, has other plans for his brother. She tells Caleb to stay away from a woman named Naomi King explaining that she is very eager to find herself a husband. She herself has been burned by love in the past and fears she is meant to take care of her siblings. Sadie tries playing match maker with a woman named Irene.  However, when Caleb finds out his mystery woman is in fact Naomi; he decides to get to know her. What will happen for Caleb and Naomi? Will they both get another chance at love this holiday season?

I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to review this book through Zondervan. I love the holiday season and what better way to celebrate this season but read some holiday books?! This one in particular drew me in. I felt like I could relate to Naomi King. I wasn’t too fond of Sadie; however I can see that she was only trying to protect her brother from getting hurt again. I completely fell in love with Susie! I loved the way she took to Naomi from the get go. You know what they say; kids have good intuition with regards to adults. Naomi’s gift, in fact turned out to be her love for Caleb and his daughter. I would even go as far to say that Naomi’s gift was being loved in return. The man upstairs is the only one who can tell us how many chances we get at love, how many chances we get in life period. Mistakes are going to be made, we are only human.  While this book portrays more of the “love and first sight” theme, I think it goes even deeper than that. It shows that we can overcome tragedy. Caleb realized that he could in fact, still love his wife and move on with his life. Moving on doesn’t have to mean forgetting the times he had with her. In his case, it means forgiving himself and letting go of the past.

I rate this book 5/5

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

Life as you know it can change in a blink of an eye. At least that is what happened to Rick Denton when he received a phone call from his mother saying that his step-father was in the hospital. Rick is a hard working man who does things on his terms. The thing is, Rick resents his step-father. However, he does love his mother so he agrees to help her out with their “book nook”.  Andrea volunteers to show Rick the ropes of the book store.  Rick was not prepared to find out that his step father’s financial situation was not what it should have been. He was also not prepared to deal with the homeless man that came to the store day in and day out. Nor was he prepared to have feelings for Andrea and her daughter Amy.  Will this holiday season change something inside of Rick?

This story is truly amazing! I couldn’t seem to put it down. At first, I was not fond of Rick at all. I thought he was uptight and arrogant. I will admit that my feelings changed as I turned the pages.  I was inspired by the change that occurred to him. However, once he turned to the man up above; miracles happened for Rick. The ending of this story was a tear jerker. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming if I tried. The transformation in him was a blessing in disguise, not only for him, but for his mother and step-father.  The holiday season has become so over-rated. What I mean by that is people forget the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is not about what you do or don’t get for Christmas. Nor is it about who received the most presents. Christmas is a time to spend with the people that you love and care about. A time to be thankful for what you do have, not frown upon what you don’t. This book opened my eyes up to the meaning of family. Despite the fact that Rick could care less for his step-father, he still was there for his mom in her time of need. Rick’s feelings changing, well that was a true miracle!

I rate this book 5/5

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Christmas Singing By Cindy Woodsmall

According to Goodreads:

After Gideon coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie’s hopes?
Christmas has always been special to cake decorator Mattie Eash, who was born on the wondrous holiday.
Yet the season has lost its appeal in the three years since then, her childhood sweetheart abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Mattie has moved on, left Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania and pursued her dreams of a cake shop in Berlin, Ohio and given her heart to someone new. Someone unlike Gideon Beiler. Someone safe.
Then an unforeseen setback forces her home and into painful proximity to Gideon. Will learning the truth behind his rejection restore her Christmas joy—or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

I absolutely loved this book! I am so glad that both Gideon & Mattie came to closure by the end of the book! I felt so bad that Mattie lost her store. My heart went out to her. I also wasn't to fond of her boyfriend Sol. I thought he was kind of boring for her. However, once again true love won! It broke my heart to hear the real reason that Gideon broke things off with Mattie so long ago. However, I was thrilled to know that he was a good guy and not labeled a cheater. That just shows that he loved her enough to spare her the pain of what he thought his future held. I love the Christmas season!

I rate this book 5/5