Saturday, September 24, 2016

Quote for the Day

"I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing — that it all started with a mouse."
                                                                                     
                                                                                               ~Walt Disney~


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Bound Heart - My Review


Dawn Crandall's book The Bound Heart is the second novel in The Everstone Chronicles.  This book continues with characters who were introduced in The Hesitant Heiress, yet follows a different love triangle and setting from the first.  The challenges these individuals encounter will test their faith, strength, and endurance in ways they never thought possible, and it is interesting to see how a person will choose the wrong path based on his or her own inner turmoil. 

Meredyth Summercourt appears to be a happy girl, but deep down the guilt and shame she feels for a past mistake overcomes her daily.  She can never seem to move past what she has done, and she punishes herself for it.  Meredyth believes she is tied to one man she must wait for; however, another man decides to willingly give his heart to her, which leaves Meredyth greatly confused.  She does not want to listen to her heart, since she thinks God would not want her to be happy.  She firmly believes God will chastise her the rest of her days because of this one deed that was committed years ago.  Will she ever feel free?  Could she ever even entertain the idea of happiness on earth?  As Meredyth helps those around her through selfless charity, her heart begins to open to various possibilities that could change her life.  

Lawry Hampton has loved Meredyth for most of his days, but she does not seem to want more from him than friendship.  His best friend, Meredyth Summercourt, cannot seem to understand how much he loves her, because she continues to follow after someone else.  Will she ever stop to look his way?  Oddly, Lawry notices a change in Meredyth one day and wonders what could have occurred to alter her disposition.  If only he could protect her and make her feel safe--he would take care of her the rest of his life--if only she would let him. 

Meredyth cannot move past her love for Vance Everstone.  At one point in her life, he was all she dreamed of, and she even begged him to marry her.  As Meredyth will soon discover--all too late--the one event we desire the most may not be the best for us.  God wants more for Meredyth, but will she ever be able to forgive herself in order to find it?  Will she ever take the time to seek God and ask for His forgiveness and help? 

This is an excellent book and another story I could not put down.  I cannot wait to read the third book, The Captive Imposter, in this series.  This text covers so much about life--joys, struggles, forgiveness, mistakes, death, life, and love.  If you enjoyed the first book in The Everstone Chronicles, you have to read the second. 

I love how Crandall's style of writing has the ability to connect her readers with her characters--you really feel like you know these individuals, because some of their adventures may mirror your own.  And it is lovely to see how she intertwines the beauty of the Gospel within her stories, because it shows how various characters come to the place where they find redemption and hope, which in turn shows how the reader can achieve the same deliverance.  


About The Book 

*One accidental kiss from Lawry Hampton. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt's world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn't have the time or the desire to fall for her best friend. But with Vance out of the country, and with Lawry at her side nearly every day, teaching her what the world is like through the eyes of a little orphan girl named Wynn--Meredyth can't deny that what's holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from her past.

Will she marry Vance once he returns from Europe? Or will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she's convinced she deserves, and accept that God's plan for her life includes redemption...and, quite possibly, Lawry Hampton?

*Synopsis is from the back cover of the novel.


About The Author 


Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles from Whitaker House. The series consists of three books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart and The Captive Imposter. 

Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary. Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

 
Visit her online at:  www.dawncrandall.blogspot.com




 
 

Check Out My New Post!

Check out my new post on the Daily Megaphone to find out more about God's goodness.  Happy reading! 

 The Faithfulness of the Lord 
by Heather Snyder




Monday, September 19, 2016

CBN Europe Devotional


Check out my new devotional, Be Still Daily, that was published today on CBN Europe's website.  
Here is the article:

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

Do you ever take a moment to pause and pray?  Do you ever stop to thank the Lord for His continual blessings?  I know there are moments in my life where I suddenly become overwhelmed by the goodness of my God.  He has given me so much!

One of my favorite verses is Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I Am God."  This art of "being still" can be very complicated to understand at times.  In life, we are pulled in so many different directions, and whether you have a job, or are a student, or even a stay at home mom, the workload is never done.  When is there ever time to "be still?"

Yet I know the Lord desires--in fact, commands us to "be still."  He knew that our lives were going to be crazy, and that everyday something else would draw our attention away from Him.  Therefore, He wants us to pause throughout our busy day in order to listen to His still small voice.  He is waiting to talk to us, and the only way He can do that is for us to "be still."

Personally, Jesus Christ has given me so much.  I can look back over the years, and I see His hand in my life.  I see the moments He walked with me through the storms of life, and I knew He would never leave me.  I also see the wonderful times spent with my family and friends.  He kept His promises throughout the tough times and gave me special moments and memories too—not because I am so wonderful—but because my Heavenly Father loves me.  Knowing and trying to understand His love is such a humbling thought.

Today I took the time to "be still," because I really wanted to focus my attention on the Lord and His goodness.  God's love is perfect.  He loves us far more than we could ever love Him, and I cannot even begin to fathom His great love.  Yet, I am so grateful for His grace in my life.  Anything I have ever achieved in my life, any opportunity that has come my way, is only because of His strength and goodness.

So please, take a moment today to consider all of God's goodness.  And then take the time to "be still," as you remember what the Lord has done for you, and the grace He has bestowed upon your life.  It is incredible to consider how precious we are in God's sight; therefore, I want to make time to thank Him for His blessings, while continuing to "be still" in His presence each and every day of my life.  

by: Heather Snyder, M.A. 



 Thank you so much for your support!  Happy reading!  



Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sybil Learns to Cook - Downton Abbey: Season 2

New Books from Bethany House Publishers



*Leona Speicher got the "sister" she always dreamed of the day Gloria Gingerich and her family moved to Lancaster County. The Arkansas newcomers seem to be the answer to Leona's prayers--until Gloria's father is expelled from their Old Order Amish church for reasons no one will discuss. Much to Leona's dismay, the Gingeriches suddenly pack up and disappear. Then, after a silence of several years, Gloria unexpectedly contacts Leona, who makes up her mind to go after her friend. Yet Leona's fiancé--the deacon's son--is alarmed. Will Leona's dearest wish lead to her own undoing?




*Esther Larsen, a top risk analyst at one of the country's largest banking institutions, is becoming more and more convinced that she has uncovered a ticking bomb with the potential to make the 2008 market crash look minor by comparison. And as her own employer pursues "investment" strategies with ever-increasing levels of risk, she becomes convinced she must do something. But Esther is only one person; can she stand up to an international conspiracy of greed? And if she does, will anyone take her seriously?

Every moment of indecision edges the markets closer to a tipping point--the teetering first domino in a standing row that circles the globe. And when Esther finds her voice, those she seeks to expose will not sit idly by. With global markets on the brink, and her own life in danger, Esther is locked in a race against the clock to avert a financial tsunami that threatens worldwide devastation.





*Widower Dr. Matthew Clayborne is devoted to two things: his work with wounded soldiers and his four-year-old daughter, Phoebe. When Deirdre O'Leary, a feisty New Yorker, arrives in Toronto requesting he use his skills to help her stricken mother, he won't abandon either of these priorities to care for one older woman. However, when his daughter suffers a health scare and needs a respite, Deirdre offers a trade--they can escape to the peace of her family's farm, if he will care for Mrs. O'Leary.

Matthew agrees for his daughter's sake, but is intent on staying as short a time as necessary. The sojourn at Irish Meadows does wonders for Phoebe, and as she begins to flourish, Matthew finds himself drawn to the O'Learys, especially to the captivating Deirdre. But since he has no intention of leaving his life up north forever, and Deirdre has sworn off marriage in favor of her career, how will they deal with the undeniable attraction between them?





*When her husband, Adolph, dies suddenly, Clara Vesper is stunned. Not grief-stricken, as their marriage had never been a love match, but staggered by what might become of her and her children. For years she designed the sapphire jewelry that made her husband's company a fortune, but she has little money in her own name and soon discovers that she has inherited nothing. Fearing for the welfare of her two small children, she decides to take them to her aunt and uncle's ranch in Montana, the only place she has ever been happy.

But much has changed since she last visited the Montana ranch, both for Clara and for those she was forced to leave behind. And when dangerous secrets from her late husband's past threaten everyone she loves, Clara must fight to remain where she can fulfill her dreams.





*Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile--even if it's just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well how the dangerous Fire Eyes diamonds have haunted her brother and their friends, and she won't wait for peril to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.

Lord James Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he's determined to live a better life . . . but that proves complicated when old acquaintances pull Cayton into their desperate attempt to seize the jewels. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won't budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her--and his daughter--from those intent on destroying them all?



*Each synopsis is from the back cover of each novel.





Friday, September 16, 2016

The Afters - Battles

Honor Redeemed - My Review


Christine Johnson’s book Honor Redeemed is set on Nantucket Island and the town of Key West during the middle of the 1800’s.  The story follows Prosperity Jones as she travels from Nantucket to Key West in search of her betrothed.  Her mother has just died, and her father has passed away sometime before that, so she hopes to start a new life with David.  He is her last hope in regards to her happiness and wellbeing, and since he is a soldier, she must move to where he is.  Against the better judgment of friends around her, Prosperity makes the trip alone to a place she knows nothing about.  Her only comfort is that David will be waiting for her on the other side. 

David’s heart is broken.  He cannot believe what he has done—not only to himself but also to the woman he loves.  Images of Prosperity flash through his mind as he writes a letter to her.  What can he say?  He does not anticipate that she will ever forgive him; therefore, dread and despair fill his heart.  But he must do what is right despite the consequences.  He never dreamed his life would discover such turmoil.  How could he have been so blind?  How could he have made so many mistakes?  David was so grateful to know that Prosperity lived far enough away, so that in time she would forget him. 

As Property enters this new town that is to now become her home, she feels optimistic about the future.  She cannot wait to see David—it has been so long since she felt his arms around her.  Yet Prosperity could never have foreseen the upcoming devastation that would take place in her life.  New friends and a kind doctor will fill her days and thoughts, since David’s presence will not be by her side.  After Prosperity leaves one dark chapter in her life, she finds herself entering another one.  Will life ever be good to her?  When will this storm pass?  Will it ever pass?  Slowly, Prosperity starts to understand that her life will not be the happily every after she hoped for regarding herself and David. 

This novel is the second book in the Keys of Promise series.  Johnson tells this story from the very heartbeat of Prosperity, because at the close of each chapter, the reader ultimately feels every joy and sorrow that comes Prosperity’s way.  As Prosperity learns to live in this new land, it is clear readers could easily identify with her struggles, because most have felt and endured the various trials she goes through.  As a bystander, one believes life will eventually fulfill her dreams—even if the outcome is unlike what one initially supposed.  Yet there are still many unknowns to consider, and it is not clear if Prosperity will receive the desires of her heart or if David’s world will ever be repaired. 

There are definite twists to the plot of this story followed by many moments of surprise and questions.  But there are also times when the story seems to repeat itself, because the reader is consistently reminded of events that are already known and understood.  Yet each event that takes place delivers an important connection to the main purpose of the text.  Overall, this is a delightful read, and if you enjoy historical literature—you will love this book. 

Make sure to read the “Note to the Reader” at the end of the novel, because Johnson explains how the town and the soldier’s fort, where David lived, actually existed.  In fact, Johnson’s research inspires her to include a character that is based off an actual soldier who helped build the fort so many years ago.  


This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for my copy.


About The Book 

*Two years ago, Prosperity Jones waved farewell to her beloved David as the army sent him to faraway Key West. Now with her parents gone, she has but one prospect for the future: make the dangerous journey from Nantucket to Key West to reunite with David and secure a happier life. Arriving penniless in the South, Prosperity is dismayed to find David married to someone else. Scrambling to survive and nursing a broken heart, she gains the friendship--and the affection--of a kind doctor. Could he be the answer to her loneliness? Or will her life be upended by circumstance yet again? 

With a deft hand, Christine Johnson fills the reader's senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of Key West in this heartwarming story of honor lost, honor redeemed, and a love forged in adversity.

 *Synopsis is from the back cover of the novel.


About The Author 


A small-town Michigan girl, Christine Johnson has lived in every corner of the state's Lower Peninsula. After trying her hand at music and art, she returned to her first love--story. She holds degrees in English and library studies and works part-time as a librarian. She feels blessed to write for Love Inspired and Revell.

When not at the computer keyboard, she loves to hike, kayak, and explore God's majestic creation. She and her husband split their time between northern Michigan and the Florida Keys. Christine enjoys hearing from readers through her web site at:  www.christineelizabethjohnson.com




Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Hesitant Heiress - My Review



Dawn Crandall’s book The Hesitant Heiress is the first novel in The Everstone Chronicles, and is simply a wonderful story.  It is set in America during the late 1800’s, and follows the life and choices of Amaryllis Brigham during her young life.  Interestingly, this text is told from her perspective; therefore, this story is told through the lens of a first person point of view.  It works brilliantly for this book, because the true nature, character, and passion behind every thought and action of Amaryllis comes shining through in order for the reader to understand her better.  

Amaryllis’ parents have passed away, and she has been living off the generosity of Bram Everstone—who has paid for her schooling at various institutions.  However, Amaryllis’ memories of Bram are connected to fear and even a bit of hatred.  She does not understand why Mr. Everstone would support her, but she also does not know that her father made no plans to care for her after his death.  Nor does she realize her father wanted her to live a life he could never give her, which is why Bram Everstone came into the picture.  

Amaryllis finds there are many hidden secrets about her past she knew nothing about, and slowly she begins to discover the mystery of who her parents really were and the family connected to them.  Even though Amaryllis vows never to marry, because she wants to start her own music school one day, she lets her guard down for a man she never dreamed she would love.  A man who is connected to someone she always mistrusted.  

Nathan Everstone has everything a woman would find desirable—looks, wealth, and a position in society.  Yet Nathan is not interested in the typical fluffy façade that decorates the women who are mostly in his company.  There is but one woman he has considered for years—a woman he has never even met—but somehow has fallen in love with because of the numerous stories told about her.  When he finally meets her, she wants nothing to do with him and rejection continually hits his heart.  Will he give up, or will he press on and try to win this woman’s love?  

Nathan’s past is a bit questionable, but eventually distinct evidence reveals how each character is connected to the other and put together like puzzle pieces.  For Nathan, his college buddies will be the reason as to whether his future is successful or not.  In fact, one friend’s choice may challenge his ultimate happiness, and it will be up to Nathan to figure it out and fight for it.    

Deceit, lies, fear, mistrust, joy, happiness, and forgiveness are the makeup to this tale, which pushes the reader to keep turning the page.  Each scene moves quicker and quicker until you reach the ultimate climax that will leave your heart racing.  The reader will truly feel linked to the journey Amaryllis is taking and will plead with her to make the correct choices—all the while understanding how it would feel to be in her place.  

This book connects so well with the reader and human nature that I found I could not put it down.  I had to know what would happen to Amaryllis and her future.  Would her life turn out as I hoped?  Or would she take the easier more sensible path?  I simply could not rest until I came to the last page of the text. 

If you love inspirational historical romances, you will adore this book.  As Amaryllis grows throughout the novel, the role of each character will either place a positive or negative stamp on her understanding of others.  Will she allow their decisions to point her where she needs to be?  Or will her response shatter her hopes and dreams?   

I cannot wait to read the next book in this series!  I will be reviewing that book—along with each book in this series—so stay tuned!  


About The Book 

*After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother. 

Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt's Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother's tragic death. However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems...and everything she never knew she wanted. But can she ever really trust an Everstone man?

 *Synopsis is from the back cover of the novel.


About The Author 


Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles from Whitaker House. The series consists of three books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart and The Captive Imposter. 

Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary. Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Visit her online at:  www.dawncrandall.blogspot.com





Saturday, September 3, 2016

New Books from Love Inspired Historical - September Releases



*After a life of drudgery on her family's farm, Cassie Lynn Vickers relishes her freedom working in town as a paid companion for feisty Mrs. Flanagan. When her father suddenly demands she come home, she has no choice. Unless she can find a husband. If only she could convince handsome town newcomer Riley Walker to marry her…

Riley is on the run. He's desperate to keep his niece and nephew safe from his crooked half brother. But a delay in Turnabout, Texas, shows him everything he didn't know he was missing: home, family—and Cassie Lynn. Can he find a way to become her Prince Charming…and build a real family with the children and Cassie Lynn? 





*Sweet mailorder bride Nancy Bennett can't believe it when her husband is exposed as a cattle rustler—and killed. And when the banker holding the ranch's mortgage questions whether she can run the ranch on her own, the pregnant widow has nowhere to turn. Until steady foreman Hank Snowden proposes marriage…

Racked with grief about his role in Lucas Bennett's death, Hank resolves to do right by the man's wife and child. So it's natural for him to step in as Nancy's newly minted husband. But the marriage of convenience may become more than a mere obligation…if only Hank and his bride can brave the first steps toward elusive true love. 





*Practical, steady, levelheaded: all qualities single father Dr. John Orton expects in both a governess and a wife. But his children's temporary governess Miss Marjorie Maren seems set on finding him an impractical woman to love…despite his plans of marrying solely for convenience. Nothing could be more exasperating to the handsome widower—except his increasing interest in Marjorie.

Vivacious and fun-loving: that's the kind of bride the reserved doctor needs. Before Marjorie leaves to pursue her acting dreams, she intends to match him with a suitable wife candidate. Yet growing affection for her four charges and their dashing father has awakened a new hope—that she might be his perfect bride. But can she convince her employer to take a chance on love and claim real happiness before it slips away? 





*Polly MacDonald intends to tame Mitch Taylor's five mischievous children, even though every other nanny has fled. She needs this job—and Mitch's brood sorely needs affection. Perhaps their widowed papa does, too. But when the children begin scheming to make her their new mother, Polly must resist. She's seen too many bad marriages to want one of her own.

Mitch has come to Leadville, Colorado, to escape a scandal, not find a wife. After the disaster of his first marriage, he's sure he isn't husband material. Though Polly's tender care is working wonders with his children, Mitch knows he should keep his feelings to himself. But can two wary hearts deny the dearest wish of five eager matchmakers? 



*Each synopsis is from the back cover of each novel.