31 July 2013

War Brides by Helen Bryan, Book review

Publisher: AmazonEncore (June 12, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-1612183329


With war threatening to spread from Europe to England, the sleepy village of Crowmarsh Priors settles into a new sort of normal: Evacuees from London are billeted in local homes. Nightly air raids become grimly mundane. The tightening vice of rationing curtails every comfort. Men leave to fight and die. And five women forge an unlikely bond of friendship that will change their lives forever.

Alice Osbourne, the stolid daughter of the late vicar, is reeling from the news that Richard Fairfax broke their engagement to marry Evangeline Fontaine, an American girl from the Deep South. Evangeline’s arrival causes a stir in the village—but not the chaos that would ensue if they knew her motives for being there. Scrappy Elsie Pigeon is among the poor of London who see the evacuations as a chance to escape a life of destitution. Another new arrival is Tanni Zayman, a young Jewish girl who fled the horrors of Europe and now waits with her newborn son, certain that the rest of her family is safe and bound to show up any day. And then there’s Frances Falconleigh, a madcap, fearless debutante whose father is determined to keep her in the countryside and out of the papers.

As the war and its relentless hardships intensify around them, the same struggles that threaten to rip apart their lives also bring the five closer together. They draw strength from one another to defeat formidable enemies—hunger, falling bombs, the looming threat of a Nazi invasion, and a traitor in their midst—and find remarkable strength within themselves to help their friends. Theirs is a war-forged loyalty that will outlast the fiercest battle and endure years and distance.

When four of the women return to Crowmarsh Priors for a VE Day celebration fifty years later, television cameras focus on the heartwarming story of these old women as war brides of a bygone age, but miss the more newsworthy angle. The women’s mission is not to commemorate or remember—they’ve returned to settle a score and avenge one of their own.

Here are my thoughts:

An impressive, well honed WW2 story, this time about 'War Brides'. 
First spotted on Josie-Mary's blog, this fictional wartime novel caught my attention and I wanted very much to see what it was all about. Amazon was my first stop as usual and I chuckled at the 2,629 reviews already posted, more than half of these 5 stars. I was on to a winner and the rest is as they say, history.
Author Helen Bryan is not a Brit as I first imagine but she certainly grasps the very elements of British life, particularly during the conflict times of the 1940's.

From the onset this noteworthy story follows five remarkable young women: Alice, Elsie, Frances, Tanni and Evangeline each a War Bride, their lives intermingled through the good times and the hard times of wartime England in a little village called Crowmarsh Priors.

Alice, Elsie and Frances are British, yet their backgrounds are as dissimilar from one another as day and night. Alice is a vicar's daughter who cares for her emotionally dependent mother. Elsie hails from the East End of London and has been taken in service until she joins the Land Girls. Frances' father is a member of the Admiralty and had a privileged upbringing. Tanni is a Jewish refugee newly arrived in England and Evangeline is an American from New Orleans who marries Richard, a British Naval attache at the onset of the war. 

Together these women survive bombardments, rationing and the emotional stress induced by war time separations from their loved ones whilst bringing to each other some measure of comfort and at times, surprising skills. 

Tanni is nothing but a child herself when she first arrives in England with her new husband, yet she is expecting. She dreams of finding a way to bring her twin sisters and parents to safety someday. 
Free spirited Evangeline escaped a brutal matrimonial match by seducing Richard and sails to England with her new husband only to face a whole new way of life in Crowmarsh Priors. Richard however had first proposed to Alice, deemed a real brick by many, thus making the situation most difficult for all concerned. 

Drawing from civilian and military wartime accounts and inspired by the fiftieth anniversary of Victory Day Helen Bryan skillfully draws a breathtaking plot line around these women united by friendship and loyalty, their loved ones and  the shadow of a mysterious traitor. 

Beginning with Boxing Day in 1937 until their reunion in the Spring of 1995, War Brides' unfolds as each woman's story propels you into War riddled Britain, leaving you with nothing but admiration for these women' endurance, both physical and emotional. 

A dramatic ending binds each of these courageous young women, giving them the opportunity to put to rest a niggling question 50 years after the end of the War.

5 Stars! A great plot line for the cinema from an excellent author!

About the Author:

Helen Bryan was born in Virginia, grew up in Tennessee, graduated from Barnard College and lives in London where she qualified as a barrister and is a member of the Inner Temple. She left the Bar to write full time after publication of her first book, a layman's guide to the English planning system "Planning Applications and Appeals".
Her second book was a biography, "Martha Washington First Lady of Liberty," awarded a Citation of Merit by the Colonial Dames of America.

She is the author of two bestselling historical fiction novels. The first "War Brides" is a World War II saga inspired by family holidays in a small East Sussex village, the wartime reminiscences of older relatives and friends, and the true life stories of the brave young women who joined Churchill's Special Operations Executive.
Her new novel "The Sisterhood" is a romantic/religious/mystery saga spanning 400 years, set in sixteenth century Spain and Spanish America and featuring an unlikely modern heroine.

Note: As always please remember that unless stated otherwise, this review reflects ONLY my opinion!

30 July 2013

And The Winner Is...

Sharing books and announcing a GIVEAWAY WINNER is always a pleasure!

Those of you who read my review of 'DAUGHTER OF JERUSALEM' (HERE) know I have a winner to announce...

So here we are...

The winner of the 'Daughter of Jerusalem's GIVEAWAY is...


July 22, 2013 at 7:30 AM
I'd like to be counted in for this one. I hope its open to all!

It certainly was opened to one and all Mystica, forgive a senior moment...

CONGRATULATIONS! I'll contact you shortly to confirm your postal address!


Just because...I only had two entries (!) and my own copy of this inspirational story is hitching to be shared with others...

KAYLEE, you will receive 'Daughter of Jerusalem' as well! I will put it in the post as soon as I get off island, that's a promise!

Thank you both for entering and I hope you will enjoy your book as much as I did!

A heartfelt thank you to both WORTHY PUBLISHING AND AUTHOR JOAN WOLF for making this GIVEAWAY possible!

29 July 2013

Children Of The Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani, Book review

Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1476709093


Sold in 70 countries around the world, translated into 25 languages, hailed by Khaled Hosseini, author of And the Mountains Echoed and The Kite Runner, who calls it "a celebration of the human heart’s eternal yearning for freedom." This is Children of the Jacaranda Tree.

Neda is born in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where her mother is allowed to nurse her for a few months before the arms of a guard appear at the cell door one day and, simply, take her away. In another part of the city, three-year-old Omid witnesses the arrests of his political activist parents from his perch at their kitchen table, yogurt dripping from his fingertips. 
More than twenty years after the violent, bloody purge that took place inside Tehran’s prisons, Sheida learns that her father was one of those executed, that the silent void firmly planted between her and her mother all these years was not just the sad loss that comes with death, but the anguish and the horror of murder.

These are the Children of the Jacaranda Tree. Set in post-revolutionary Iran from 1983 to 2011, this stunning debut novel follows a group of mothers, fathers, children, and lovers, some related by blood, others brought together by the tide of history that washes over their lives. Finally, years later, it is the next generation that is left with the burden of the past and their country’s tenuous future as a new wave of protest and political strife begins.

Children of the Jacaranda Tree is an evocative portrait of three generations of men and women inspired by love and poetry, burning with idealism, chasing dreams of justice and freedom. Written in Sahar Delijani’s spellbinding prose, capturing the intimate side of revolution in a country where the weight of history is all around, it is a moving tribute to anyone who has ever answered its call.

Here are my thoughts:

A mosaic of idealist Iranis facing decades of turbulent political changes, 'Children of the Jacaranda Tree' reminds us how precious freedom is and how little we acknowledge its absence outside of our borders!
This is Sahar Delijani's writing debut and well worth reading!

Hard view critics might debate about its veracity or fault the extent to which she portrays Evin's prison ominous rules. However the malevolent shadows haunting its survivors and their children, viewed through her own parents' prison accounts and the years following their release was her inspiration . Sahar Delijani herself was born in Evin in 1983.

This is not therefore the latest recount of misguided post revolution tenets but as highlighted, the results of the abusive cycle behind the facade. Once reknown as a beautiful country with endless ideals Iran survived a wretched war with its neighbour only to be trampled by terror under a system designed to control its citizens.
In 'Children of the Jacaranda Tree' Ms. Delijani chose to underline the repercussions this system ultimately has on three generations by telling us the fictional stories of Neda, Omid and Sheida.

Beginning in 1983 with Teheran's infamous prison, the novel unfolds, one layer at a time until its closure in another country in 2011. Bittersweet sadness encompasses love and hope, yet obviously remains shadowed by this rigid and unforgiving system.
Fragments of young lives now extinguished like burnt out candles, often hidden in mass graves, fears and hopes of  survivors for their children and the extent to which these children still suffers are all part of the many tableaux Ms.Delijani brings us in her story. 

Each character brings a little measure of hope for the future as the story unfolds. Some chose to leave their beloved country, some return and some chose to remain behind. They are all Children Of The Jacaranda Tree...

A deeply moving reminder of Evin's helpless prisoners and the families who stand vigil outside its walls waiting for a word about their incarcerated loved ones, this is a novel you will not want to miss! 
There is poetic justice behind this poignant story, actually palpable in its denouement, reminding us that everything comes full circle and as long as there is life, there is hope!

Recommended for mature readers.
4 stars!

Note to Readers: Further information about Iran's present situation can be obtained at Amnesty International (HERE).

Amnesty International's logo made up 26,105 burning candles on 5 June 2008.
Source (HERE)

About the Author:

Sahar Delijani was born in Tehran's Evin Prison in 1983 and grew up in California, where she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work has been published in a broad spectrum of literary journals and publications, including The Battered Suitcase, Tryst, Slice Magazine, Prick of the Spindle, Perigee, Border Hopping, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Sangam Review. 
She was nominated for the 2010 and 2011 Pushcart Prize and was for a time a regular contributor to Iran-Emrooz (Iran of Today) Political and Cultural Journal. She makes her home with her husband in Turin, Italy. Children of the Jacaranda Tree is her first novel.
Visit her website (HERE)

NOTE: Unless stated otherwise reviews are NOT requested and reflects ONLY my opinion.

27 July 2013

Angels In The Fire by Dann Stadler, Book review

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-0764211140


An Amazing True Story of Angelic Intervention in a Desperate Situation

The Stadlers' harrowing journey began with a midnight crash caused by a drunk driver. The odds they would both survive the crash were minimal--a testimony to the miracles that began that night and continued through months of surgeries and hospitalizations. The Stadlers struggled to rebuild their lives, only to face more heartache and loss. But through the hard times, their faith grew as God continued to save them from despair and bring blessings into their lives.

For everyone seeking a deeper faith or affirmation of their belief in a good God, this book will provide hope and the reassurance that God still ministers through his angels today.

Here are my thoughts:

If you ask a child (and some adults) angels, guardian angels even, are very much a part of our lives. 
Dann Stadler and his wife were returning from an anniversary celebration when tragedy struck. 
A head on collision in the 1980's trapped them in their car, with little hope of being rescued from the inferno engulfing them. Yet as helpless bystanders watch on, miraculous help came in the form of a stranger who promptly vanished afterwards.

Dann and his wife Tracey survived their ordeal and bravely fought back the terrible injuries inflicted during this nightmarish crash. Throughout it all, they believe they experienced a miracle...

This is their true story and how real life 'angels', those who stopped to help and pray at the time of the accident, the family, friends and neighbours who surrounded them with love and care, inspired them to live and bear witness to God's blessings. For this was not the last miracle...Again and again, the Stadler family believe they have been surrounded by God's unwavering love. 

Powerfully written, an inspiring story guaranteed to touch your heart and well worth sharing with your loved ones as you bask in His glory.

I would like to recommend this book for mature readers only due to the dramatic events recalled.
5 Stars!


About the Author:

Dann Stadler is an energetic speaker, author, father, husband, and tireless advocate for Christ. Creator and author of the popular website saturdayspromise.com, he encourages readers to live in Saturday's Promise, where the sins of our past are being vanquished by the promise of his resurrection tomorrow.
Visit Saturday's Promise website (HERE) and read Dann's biography (HERE)

I received a paperback copy of this title from BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS as part of their blogger review program . I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

25 July 2013

A Big Year For Lily by M.A. Kissinger and S. Woods Fisher, Book review

Publisher: Revell (July 1, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-0800721343


 A Big Year for Lily:

Book Three in the Adventures of Lily Lapp series. Co-written with Mary Kinsinger.

Lily Lapp's family has settled into their new home in Pennsylvania, but life still holds big changes and big steps for Lily. Good changes, like once again living close to her beloved cousin and best friend, Hannah. Bad changes, like a mean girl who plays tricks on her. And no change at all where Lily would most want one--Aaron Yoder sits near her in school and relentlessly teases her. Surprises are in store for Lily as she learns, with Mama and Papa's help, to manage the ups and downs of growing up Amish.

The third of four charming novels that chronicle the gentle way of the Amish through the eyes of a young girl, A Big Year for Lily gives children ages 8-12 a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Amish---and lots of fun and laughter along the way. It combines Mary Ann Kinsinger's real-life stories of growing up Amish and the bestselling writing of Amish fiction and nonfiction author Suzanne Woods Fisher. With charming line drawings in each book, this series captures the hearts of readers young and old.

Here are my thoughts:

'A Big Year For Lily' is the third installment in The Adventures of Lily Lapp series anticipated by many children (as young as 6 years old it seems) if rumours are true. A new 'Anne of Green Gables' or 'Little House on the Prairie' perhaps? 

Thanks to the teamwork of Mary Ann Kinsinger and bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher, it is an ideal introduction to the world of Amish children as you will remember from the previous titles ('Life with Lily' reviewed HERE and 'A New Home for Lily' reviewed HERE).

From the beginning Lily won our heart with her big smile and spunky attitude as the enticing cover shows.   The little girl shown illustrates the delightful character we have discovered in Suzanne and Mary Ann's warm hearted stories!

Lily will soon be 10 years old and there are many changes in store for her. Being the only girl in the family, she is now entitled to her own bedroom (even if it has a few bats). She will now sit with the older children in church instead of with her Mum and then there is school to attend...
Growing up is never easy for anyone but Lily is the first to admit she has her share of challenges: having her cousin Hannah in class was great until she discovers Hannah does not share Lily's feelings about her classmate Aaron. Than there is the taffy incident...Outch! Poor Lily...

Throughout the story we see a little Amish girl who feels just like any other child and lives in a secure environment where everyone helps their neighbour...A few lessons to be garnered for most of us!

A heartfelt thank you to both authors for a story you will not hesitate to share with children age 8 to 12 and even the younger ones. Parents and Grandparents will enjoy sharing these delightful adventures with their families.

I am a fan Folks, so I give 5 stars!

Psst: A new adventure entitled 'A Surprise for Lily' will soon be published! Stay Tuned!!

Landing page: 

About the Authors:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secrets series and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. 

Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California.

Vist her website (and sign up for her newsletter) HERE

Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised Old Order Amish in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. She met and married her husband, whom she knew from school days, and started a family. After they chose to leave the Amish church, Mary Ann began a blog, A Joyful Chaos, as a way to pass on her warm childhood memories to her own children. 

From the start, this blog found a ready audience and even captured the attention of key media players, such as the influential blog AmishAmerica and the New York Times. She lives in Pennsylvania.

Suzanne Woods Fisher and Mary Ann Kinsinger are celebrating the release of A Big Year for Lily, book three in the beloved Adventures of Lily Lapp series, with a giveaway extravaganza!


 One winner will receive:
Twelve winners will receive:
  • Special prizes specially picked by Lily (something new each day)! Suzanne will announce the winners on July 29 on her blog!
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 27th. All winners will be announced July 29th at Suzanne's blog

Don't miss a moment of the fun!

Enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 29th to see if you won one of the fun prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

I received a paperback copy of this title from LITFUSE as part of their blogger review program . I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

23 July 2013

World Youth Day 2013

Today is the 28th World Youth Day, celebrated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by thousand of young pilgrims! These young people came from all over the world to be together!

'Christ, from high up on Corcovado, with arms wide open, invites us to get to know His Heart and to open our own, both to Him as well as to our fellow brothers, participating in His mission to make missionary disciples of all the nations.'

In His name, we pray! 
Together we believe!

Standing proud!

Pope Francis on this special occasion stated:

“The Youth are the window through which the future enter the world”.

(Source HERE)

22 July 2013

Far To Go by Alison Pick, Book review

Publisher: Harper Perennial (April 19, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0062034626


When Czechoslovakia relinquishes the Sudetenland to Hitler, the powerful influence of Nazi propaganda sweeps through towns and villages like a sinister vanguard of the Reich's advancing army. 

A fiercely patriotic secular Jew, Pavel Bauer is helpless to prevent his world from unraveling as first his government, then his business partners, then his neighbors turn their back on his affluent, once-beloved family. Only the Bauers' adoring governess, Marta, sticks by Pavel, his wife, Anneliese, and their little son, Pepik, bound by her deep affection for her employers and friends. 
But when Marta learns of their impending betrayal at the hands of her lover, Ernst, Pavel's best friend, she is paralyzed by her own fear of discovery—even as the endangered family for whom she cares so deeply struggles with the most difficult decision of their lives. 

Interwoven with a present-day narrative that gradually reveals the fate of the Bauer family during and after the war, Far to Go is a riveting family epic, love story, and psychological drama. 

Here are my thoughts:

Alison Pick's remarkable prose shows both the beginning and the end of one family's struggle for survival in a world gone mad. What makes her novel stand out is not just the human elements but the emotions felt by each character!
 For many Anne Frank's diary and Herman Wouk's The Winds Of War  top of course the list of WW2 novels depicting the harrowing events leading to the 'final solution'. 

In her novel 'Far To Go' Alison Pick includes letters ending with heartbreaking footnotes such as (Filed Under, Bauer, Lore, Died Birkenau, 1943)  but to catalog this fictional story is nearly impossible. Epic? Drama? Love story? Suspense? Take your pick, I'll wager however you will find this story unforgettable! There is almost an under layer of persona in her writing, her own search for identity coming out strongly. 

In 1939 Pavel Bauer, his wife Anneliese and their son Pepick live in Sudetenland. Like many secular Jews, Pavel's first allegiance is to Czekoslovakia, he cannot begin to conceive the extent of the Nazi's dark forces which threatens Europe despite the rumours circulating.

As the story unfolds young Martha, Pepik's nanny, becomes the pivot of this poignant recollection of dramatic events the Bauers are helpless from preventing. Hope is dimming as realization hits: no one can be trusted, neither neighbour or business acquaintance. Allegiances just shifted overnight leaving those who thought themselves different (because they did not practice Judaism), bewildered and friendless.
The author does a remarkable job of portraying each character, their hopes, their dreams and yes, even faults, including the crucial role  of the Kindertransport, and its humanitarian outcome.The story is at times poetic, at times crude but always realistic and ultimately beautiful!

As in all praiseworthy stories, there are good things and bad things happening in the Bauer's future. Juxtaposing the past and the present the novel brings readers a wealth of emotions not to be dismissed as they represent the very pillars of the plot line. 
Such a dark hour (in our not so distant past) should always be remembered even if like the grains of sand, names and faces have been erased by time. 
Any attempt to ratify this period is our only way to witness, thus making sure it never happens again!

Finally, Alison Pick's delicate prose shows the beginning and the end of one family's struggle for survival in a world gone mad but with a remarkable twist!

Don't miss it! 5+ Stars!!

Note: Due to Adult thematic contents, for mature readers only!


About the Author:

Born in Toronto in 1975, Alison grew up in Kitchener, Ontario and in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Guelph and an M Phil from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Currently on faculty in the Humber School for Writers' Creative Writing by Correspondence program, Alison Pick in Toronto where she is at work on a memoir.

Additional information may be found on her website (HERE)

Note to Readers: Unless stated otherwise reviews are not requested and this post reflect only my opinion!

21 July 2013

Belgium Independence Day And A New King!

 (Albert II and Paola)

Today is a special day in Belgium as the diverse nation celebrates Independence Day and after saying farewell to King Albert II welcomes their new King, Philippe!

Prince Philippe, now officially King of Belgium, won every heart with his quick smile, aptitude for diplomacy and is a fully certified Air Force Pilot.

Together with Queen Mathilde and their four children, they present a wonderful feeling of continuancy!

Vive le Roi!
Long leve de Koning!

(Sources HERE, HERE and HERE)

20 July 2013

Daughter Of Jerusalem by Joan Wolf, Book review and GIVEAWAY

Publisher: Worthy Book Publishers (April 16, 2013)
 ISBN-13: 978-1936034673


In her lifetime, she knew murder, prejudice, and faith. She transformed from a Jewish girl longing for family to one of the closest friends of Jesus of Nazareth -- the Son of God.
In this fictionalized story of one of the Bible's most compelling women, New York Times best-selling author Joan Wolf beautifully recreates the history, romance, and tradition of Mary's world. Daughter of Jerusalem follows Mary's life from her first love through her loveless marriage, to the moment she heard of a miracle worker in her own town.

As this inspiring chronicle reminds us, Mary was the first to witness history's greatest moment. She was a woman who sought forgiveness for her sins, and a follower of God who yearned for a deeper faith. She was Jesus' beloved disciple. Read Mary Magdalene's story and find yourself in this remarkable woman's journey to discover the Kingdom of God.

Here are my thoughts:

The young Jewish girl Mary of Magdala became during her lifetime a widow, an adulteress, a businesswoman and a follower of the Messiah. To date she is one of the best known women of the Scriptures but despite much speculation there is so much we do not know about her.

With her usual sensible approach Joan Wolf depicts a most tantalizing fictional story in 'Daughter of Jerusalem' about this beautiful woman who saw much hardship throughout her life including murder and much prejudice. 
Unusually learned for the period, Mary of Magdala also witnessed the charismatic man called Messiah preaching and soon discovered her new faith. In fact, she became one of His most ardent followers!

This is my second novel by Joan Wolf and by far the best of the two (see review of 'A Reluctant Queen' HERE). Carefully depicting the cultural and religious differences betwixt the Romans and the Jews, Wolf paints an almost modern woman in Mary, and does a great job of showing where Mary's distrust of the world of men comes from. There is pain but also joy in her plot line and she painstakingly portrays a pivotal era for Christians.

Some critics might deplore the liberties taken by the author but as a student of the Word, I found this fictional work plausible and entertaining.

For older teens and mature readers due to adult thematic contents.

4 stars!

About the Author:

Joan Wolf is a USA TODAY bestselling American writer, whose acclaimed Regency romances have earned her national recognition as a master of the genre. Her many historical and contemporary romances, some of which have been chosen as Literary Guild selections, have been highly praised by reviewers and authors alike.

Joan was born in 1951 and she grew up in the Bronx, New York. A former English teacher, she obtained a Bachelor's degree in Mercy College and Master in English and Comparative Literature at Hunter College.
She is also an avid rider and horse owner!

I have some very good news for readers! 
Would you like to have your own copy of this inspiring story? 

Thanks to the generosity of both the author and WORTHY PUBLISHING I have a very sweet deal for you!
On my desk is an extra copy of 'Daughter of Jerusalem' for one reader!
Just place a comment on this post before the 29th of July and using Random.org I will chose and post the name of the winner on this blog!

Be sure to include an email add in the following format for i.e. 123Mercy[at] yahoo[period]com for contact!

All the best,

I received a paperback copy of this title from WORTHY PUBLISHING as part of their blogger review program . I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

A Bride For All Seasons, Book review and GIVEAWAY

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 18, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1401688530


It All Started with an Ad in a Mail Order Bride Catalogue . . .

Melvin Hitchcock of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalog isn't dishonest---not exactly. If he tweaks his clients' applications a bit, it's because he's looking out for their best interests.
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces four Hitching Post prospects in the year 1870, each one eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they'll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.
And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has been unlucky all her life. But who would guess she'd travel halfway across the country to meet her match . . . only to find him dead!

An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she's not what Matthew ordered. And what's wrong with being a "Bible thumper" anyway? She's determined to show him she's tougher than she looks---and just the girl he needs.

Autumn's Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn't come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. The trouble is, there's no money to send them back. . .

Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy
David's convinced he's not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he's gone---nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?

Here are my thoughts:

In 1870 Mail Order Brides seemed a perfectly normal way to seek a mate, not unlike lonesome hearts seeking their soul mate through online search these days. 

In the four novellas compiled in 'A Bride For All Seasons', Melvin Hitchcok, Editor of The Hitching Post Mail Order Bride catalogue 'for the discerning, lonely, or desperate' might just offer the answer for the four men who placed their advertisement in hopes of meeting the lady of their dreams. 
Melvin however decides to play Cupid and unbeknown to all parties involved edits their correspondence, at times with hilarious, even dramatic results.

Each Christian Historical novella offers a different seasonal background, colourful characters, fun and sweet plot lines, and provide readers with just the right entertainment during these hot Summer evenings. 

Of the four authors, only two were familiar (Hatcher and Connealy) and the novellas format is usually not my first choice yet each story seemed to flow perfectly together, proving these talented writers know their craft well and make a formidable team. 
I am happy to say the authors' interviews included with the four novellas revealed there will soon be a second book on the market called (Four weddings and a Kiss).

Note: Don't miss the Glossary of Mail Order Advertising Terms on page 98 guaranteed to bring a stitch or two! (My favourite is 'Possesses natural beauty: don't let the false hair, cosmetic paints, or bolstered bosom scare you!'.

Robin Lee Hatcher, Mary Connealy, Margaret Brownley and Debra Clopton: Thank you for a fun read! Keep it coming Ladies!

Suitable for any age and earning a 5 stars!


Landing page: 

About the Authors:

New York Times best-selling author Margaret Brownley has penned more than twenty-five historical and contemporary novels. Her books have won numerous awards, including Reader's Choice. She has published the Rocky Creek series, and A Lady like Sarah was a Romance Writers of America RITA (C) finalist. Happily married to her real life hero, Margaret and her husband have three grown children.

Award winning novelist Debra Clopton is the popular Mule Hollow series--the town readers wish was real. She has written 23 books since 2004 and writes books that give God the glory and helps you meet life with a smile. Her books are thought provoking, fun entertainment. Debra's awards include: Inspirational Readers Choice Award, Book Sellers Best, RT Book of the year and others. Her nominations include the prestigious Golden Heart, The Carol, The Holt among others.

Mary Connealy writes fun and lively "romantic comedy with cowboys" for the inspirational market. She is the author of the successful Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters series, and her novel Calico Canyon was nominated for a Christy Award. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters.

Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, the RT Career Achievement Award, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 65 novels.

Four novellas, four brides, and four stories to fall in love with. 

Enter the world of mail-order brides with four of your favorite authors: Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton, and Margaret Brownley. In A Bride for All Seasons (Thomas Nelson) each of the prospective brides is hopeful for a second chance at love—and that second chance always seems to come in an unexpected package.
The authors are celebrating with a fun 12 Days of Unexpected Packages Giveaway! Between July 12-23 visit the authors’ Facebook Page to enter to win a new giveaway each day. 

Winners will be announced at the Facebook Author Chat party on July 23rd! Such fun! 

I received a paperback copy of this title from LITFUSE as part of their blogger review program . I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

18 July 2013

Once In A While...

Once in a while, we like to exchange our island scenery for a little piece of wilderness (20 acres to be exact)...

320 square feet of living space, no running water or electricity...(there is a well, its depth of 306 Ft  guarantees very cold water!)

At this time of the year, we strive to clear the vegetation as much as we can due to wild land fires threats...

Home sweet home...There is always time for a cuppa betwixt clearing the land, felling trees and so on...

We found a lot of these little formations above ground, ants perhaps?

Coyotes, wolves, mountain lions can be heard or spotted...Perhaps a den? There are also elks, cinnamon and black bears and an occasional grizzly...

Mountain flowers...

A few titles I hauled all the way to the top of the mountain to read...and a nest I found in one of the trees I felled...No one was lodging in it so I added it to my collection...

There are some marvelous reminders of the old West here and there...This old barn is still very much in use judging from the new roof...

Western sunset...I was listening to the coyotes' serenades...Haunting for this city gal...