Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Thorn

I accidentally read this one out of turn, so my next review will be of The Telling.

The Thorn
By: Beverly Lewis

Back of the Book:
Two Amish sisters divided by one sister's impulsive marriage to an outsider.

Hen longs for the Old Ways she left behind. . .

Rose is unsure of her own heart - devoted to the bishop's rebellious foster son, yet courted by another.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. I hope I don't sound morbid in saying this, but I like reading books where everything doesn't work out into a perfect happy ending. Real life happens. That is this book.

The Thorn has an intriguing plot that keeps you reading - I couldn't put it down. One point that sticks out to me is that very rarely do you see anyone leaving the Amish community and then desiring to go back. It is a very interesting perspective on a sparsely traveled road. Kudos to Beverly for traveling it.

Another point that sticks out to me is the dynamics of Amish families. They fascinate me. The way they take care of each other, respect one another, and trust one another is amazing to those of us growing up in the 21st century. The most intriguing family in this book would be the bishops. You don't typically hear of the Amish 'fostering' Englishers. She presents a very realistic view of the bishop and very much humanizes him. So often in Amish literature the church leadership is condescending and harsh, but this book definitely shows a different angle.

I highly recommend the first book in The Rose Trilogy and can't wait to read the second, The Judgement.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Miracle of Mercy Land

The Miracle of Mercy Land
by: River Jordan

Back of the Book:
Mercy Land has made some unexpected choices for a young woman in the 1930s. The sheltered daughter of a traveling preacher, she chooses to leave her rural community to move to nearby Bay City on the warm, gulf-waters of southern Alabama. There she finds a job at the local paper and spends seven years making herself indispensable to old Doc Philips, the publisher and editor. Then she gets a frantic call at dawn -- it's the biggest news story of her life, and she can't print a word of it.

Doc has come into possession of a curious book that maps the lives of everyone in Bay City -- decisions they've made in the past, and how those choices affect the future. Mercy and Doc are consumed by the mystery locked between the pages -- Doc because he hopes to right a very old wrong, and Mercy because she wants to fulfill the book's strange purpose. but when a mystery from Mercy's past arrives by train, she begins to understand she will have to make choices that will deeply affect everyone she loves -- forever.

My Thoughts:
Overall this was a very entertaining book to read. Once I got past the first couple of chapters and adjusted to the way the book was laid out - very choppy transitions between characters - I was able to enjoy it. The premise of the book is very thought-provoking. What if you could see how every decision you've made has affected you and others? It would certainly change the way you thought about everything.

The characters in this book were very personable - people you could really picture seeing in real life. I've always had a fascination with small-town living and this book certainly fed into that. Doc is the character that stood out to me the most. I could just picture him in every scene as the 1930s newsman that he was.

As far as lessons to learn in reading this book the most obvious is definitely to live 'other's first'. Every decision we make not only affects us, but those around us, as well. Would they thank you for the decisions that you have made? Or carry regret and bitterness?

Thanks for stopping by!

This book was sent to me by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.
I was not influenced on how to write my review.

An Unlikely Blessing by Judy Baer

An Unlikely Blessing
by: Judy Baer

My Thoughts:
An Unlikely Blessing was a refreshing book aside from my usual genre of romance. This piece of Christian fiction follows a new pastor entering his new parish. With a new 'career' in a new town, quite different from what he is used to, Pastor Alex Armstrong is not quite sure what he got himself into, but is sure God has a plan for him here.

I love the colorful group of characters Judy has introduced in this book - All of them full of small town, country charm. My favorite would be the part-time church secretary, Gandy. I love characters that add flavor while contributing to the main story. The mixture of Gandy's hair and clothes along with her sweet spirit make for a very colorful character.

There are many lessons to be learned while reading this book, however, I believe the main theme would be trust. Learning to trust God no matter the circumstance and trusting one another.

I definitely recommend reading An Unlikely Blessing to see how Pastor Alex is used to solve some local problems, including uniting two parishes that have been at odds for years.

About the Book:

New pastor and lifelong city dweller Alex Armstrong is reluctant about his first assignment: a small parish in the wide plains of North Dakota. The farming community of Hilltop Township, his new home, blooms from the prairie like a wild pink rose -- lovely and prickly all at one, much like the people who live there.

As Alex settles in, he quickly finds that this place is in quiet peril. Jonas Owens, a faithful member of Hilltop parish, is on the brink of losing his farm. Ben and Nancy Jenkins are planning to raze their historic farmhouse and build a home that's easier to heat. The Packard children need more help than Alex can imagine. His two churches are divided over a feud that goes back decades. Alex believes that God called him to Hilltop to help turn things around, but how can he save this rural community?

Grace abounds in unexpected ways in Hilltop, and it's not long before Alex starts to see evidence of God's hand in his new home -- from the unending supply of casseroles delivered to his door to the miracle of a new litter of kittens. And when his faith is tested in ways he never expected, Alex starts to see that the people of Hilltop have as much to teach him as he does them about trust in God's mysterious ways.

About the Author:
Judy Baer is the author of over seventy-five books for adults and teens. She has won the Romance Writer of America Bronze Medallion and has been a RITA finalist twice. She lives in Elk River, Minnesota with her husband. Follow the Hilltop characters on Judy’s blog and find out more about Judy and her books at

To purchase this book click HERE.


Prolific author of over 75 novels, Judy Baer, is launching her new Guideposts
series, Forever Hilltop, with a KINDLE giveaway! The first book in the
series, An Unlikely Blessing is available now wherever fine books are sold.

Read the reviews here.

In celebration of the release of An Unlikely
, Judy is giving away a KINDLE prize package worth over $175.

One lucky winner will receive:

  • Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi

  • A $25 gift certificate to

To enter just click on one the icons below and then tell your friends! Winner will be announced on February 21st on Judy's blog,

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

For more information please visit the Litfuse website, and click {HERE}!

This book was sent to me by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.
I was not influenced on how to write my review.