Monday, November 30, 2015

The Impostor by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Review)

  • Series: The Bishop's Family (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (October 6, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800723200

  • Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. Those plans started to crumble when her father moved the family to Stoney Ridge, then completely collapsed when John decided to marry someone else. Katrina is devastated. How could she have felt so loved, yet been so deceived?

    As she struggles to face a future without him, a widow asks for her help to start a new business and Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose. What she doesn't need is attention from Andy Miller, a farm hand who arrives at the widow's farm just when help is most needed--and who always seems to say the right thing, and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy
    for real, or too good to be true? Deceived once before, Katrina is determined to keep her feelings in check.

    When a cascade of events is set in motion by some surprising information, the little Amish church is turned upside down. Soon, everyone has a stake in the outcome, and the community struggles to find the best response to an imposter in their midst. Can they forgive even the most deceitful deeds?

    Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher introduces her loyal fans to a brand-new series set in their favorite town--Stoney Ridge. As always, Fisher delivers endearing characters and plot twists that keep readers turning page after page after page.

    My Review:

    This is the first in a new Amish series by Suzanne Woods Fisher. Stoney Ridge is a setting familiar because some of her other books are set there too. This book can stand alone. The main character for this book is Katrina Stoltzfus. She moves to Stoney Ridge because her father moves her family. Once there she finds out the guy she liked is marrying someone else. Turns out to be a good thing for her though. I liked how her different relationships were developed. The widow and Andy Miller end up being big influences in her life. In the background are the Bishop issues. There is a big twist for her toward the end. The conclusion was good and I look forward to the next book in the series.

    Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of Anna's Crossing, the Lancaster County Secrets series, the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She is also the coauthor of an Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting. She is also a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Sunday, November 8, 2015

    Every Girl Gets Confused by Janice Thompson (Review)

    • Series: Brides with Style (Book 2)
    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (October 20, 2015)
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800724009

    Katie Fisher and Brady James may be a match made in heaven, but that doesn't seem to guarantee them a happily ever after accompanied by angelic choirs. In fact, the sounds being heard at the bridal shop where she works are on the contentious side lately, as a bride- and groom-to-be try to mediate the growing rivalry between their basketball-obsessed families in the middle of play-off season. On top of that, Katie's parents are nagging her to get out of Dallas and come home to tiny Fairfield where her former boyfriend Carson is waiting for her, ready to rekindle their relationship. Oy vey! What's a girl to do? And will she ever be able to wear that gorgeous wedding dress she won?

    The breezy fun continues as Janice Thompson throws everyone's favorite small-town girl into big-city bridal chaos--and makes her choose between the love she thought she lost and the love she stumbled upon in the aftermath.

    My Review:

    This book is the second in the Brides with Style series. I recommend reading them in order because the main characters are the same and the plot continues into the next book. The main focus of this series is Katie Fisher. Her two beaus are Brady and Carson. There are a multitude of great supporting characters including her family and co workers at the bridal shop. The story is told from Katie's point of view only though. Brady is not quite as perfect as he came across as in the first book although he's still good compared to other men. In this book he is faced with the challenge of a second surgery on his knee and possibly never playing as a professional basketball player again. He ends up having to deal with some depression and pushing Katie away. Katie never gives up on him.This author features a different theme in each of her books. This book features Doris Day quotes at the beginning of each chapter. And a Doris Day wedding dress design. Overall basketball is mentioned quite a lot between Brady and the other characters who are fans. This book had the author's trademark humor throughout. Katie is not the only character with relationship issues and romance. There are other characters who fall in love too. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. Recommended to fans of Christian Chick Lit. 

    Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner. She is the author of the hugely popular Weddings by Bella series, the Backstage Pass series, and the Weddings by Design series, as well as Every Bride Needs a Groom. She lives in Texas. Learn more at

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson (Review)

    • Hardcover: 176 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (September 1, 2015)
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800719678

    Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that's exactly what she's getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix--in the dead of winter, no less--the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride--and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading this short Christmas book by Melody Carlson. The premise was interesting. Joy who is 85 years old wants to travel by RV with her middle aged neighbor Miranda down old Route 66 spreading Christmas Joy. Joy has a blog called Christmas Joy where she writes about Christmas. She held a contest for her readers and then picked six people who needed Christmas Joy. These are the stops she plans on the trip. She packs a ton of boxes with Christmas decorations labeled for each stop. Miranda is not sure what she got herself into but no way was she going to let Joy travel by herself at her age. I wish it was longer because I really liked the descriptions of each stop and the people whose lives were bleak and Joy rolls in and brightens it all up with Christmas decorations and sometimes a little more. When Joy gets sick before the last stop I was so disappointed! But Miranda takes up the reigns and does it by herself. I do not want to spoil the book for anyone but I did not like part of what happened on Miranda's last stop. I thought it was unbelievable even for a cozy Christmas book. Relationships between men and women do not form instantly or overnight into marriage talk especially strangers. Otherwise the conclusion was feel good and satisfying. This book definitely put me in the spirit to read more Christmas books. I have liked all the Christmas books by this author I have read. Recommended especially to fans of the Hallmark movies!

    Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with combined sales of more than six million. She is the author of several Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas BusThe Christmas DogChristmas at Harrington's, and The Christmas Cat. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    A Reason to Stay by Kellie Coates Gilbert (Review)

    • Series: Texas Gold Collection
    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (October 6, 2015)
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800722746

    As the host of her own television news show, Faith Marin works to expose the truth for her viewers. But in her personal life, she's anchored her world with firm boundaries in order to hide a family history she'd like to forget. Her pro bass fisherman husband Geary's life is an open book, and unfortunately his busybody family doesn't know the meaning of boundaries. Deception and crippling differences soon derail their tender relationship, leading Faith to believe her only option is to end the marriage. But while Faith considers whether divorce is the only answer to their issues, tragedy strikes and her heartrending decision is interrupted. With her life in the balance, Faith finds that the one she has been shutting out may be the very one she cannot bear to lose.

    Kellie Coates Gilbert takes readers on an emotional roller coaster as she weaves themes of unexpected trial, self-discovery, and forgiveness in this profoundly honest portrait of the tensions that can break a marriage--and the ultimate healing power of love.

    My Review:

    A Reason to Stay is the third book in the Texas Gold Series but can stand alone. They are not connected by anything other than being set in Texas. Faith and Geary have a whirlwind romance after they meet when she is covering a story at a bass fishing event. The sparks were present in full force. Unfortunately they did not dig deep enough on issues before they got married. Faith had a rough childhood with her parents always fighting and not much of a faith background. Geary has a big super involved loud family and his faith is very important to him. His family is also not sophisticated and Faith tries hard to be. They both have faults that get magnified after they get married. He does not have boundaries with his family and Faith works too hard to make it up the ladder. This is a recipe for disaster. The characters and plot were well written and engaging.I felt the emotions. I was a little uncomfortable by the descriptions of their love life. I thought it was a bit much for a Christian fiction book. The plot goes back and forth between present time with Faith in the hospital with a traumatic brain injury and the past. The flashbacks are how we learn the most about the characters and what happened. We never really get to hear or see Geary's side of things. At the end of the book it goes to present with Faith waking up and Geary still there by her side. The troubles have not magically gone away and they still have issues to work through. The conclusion was good but a little predicable. I was not happy with part of the epilogue though and I will leave it at that. Overall a good contemporary book. 

    Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal, and the author ofA Woman of Fortune and Where Rivers Part. Gilbert crafts her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband. Learn more at

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Classics Club Spin 18

    My Classics Club Spin List for August This is a hodgepodge of books left on my list I made in 2017 for the Classics Club. Tomorrow the clu...