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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren

This book is about the Christiansen family from Deep Haven, Minnesota.  The Christiansen family has a beautiful resort called Evergreen resort that has been passed on down through the generations.  Darek, the oldest of the Christiansens, is a man who has been angry for a long time over the death of his wife, Felicity.  He is striving to be a good father to his young son, but life seems to be against him.  Meanwhile a new assistant county attorney, Ivy Madison, moves into town.  She has never been in one place for very long and is looking forward to finally settling in the quaint town of Deep Haven.  When Ivy bids on Darek at a charity bachelor auction, she ends up getting more than she bargained for in so many ways.

Watch the video below as Susan May Warren talks about her new series.

This was my first time reading a book by Susan May Warren and I thoroughly enjoyed it!!  I will definitely be looking up her other books.  "Take a Chance on Me is the first in a spin-off series about a family-the Christiansens."--taken from Susan May Warren's website.  I'm excited about this book being a part of a series.  I don't know about you, but I love picking up a second book that continues with the familiar people I met in the first. The title is fitting for this book.  Many of the characters have to take a chance and trust others with their hearts.  It is easy to let tragedy or preconceived ideas
 keep us from trusting others, becoming angry and bitter and withdrawing into ourselves.  The story was well written and one that dealt well with the subjects of forgiveness and trust.  If you're looking for a great read with a moving story line, pick up this book!

**I received this book free from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Icecutter's Daughter by Tracie Peterson

The Icecutter's Daughter is a new book in the Land of Shinning Water series by Tracie Peterson.  Merrill Krause promised her dying mother that she would take care of her father and all her brothers.  She has only known hard work on the Minnesota farm and loves working with the horses.  But as she nears her 21st birthday, she can't help but wonder if anyone will ever overcome their fear of her protective brothers to ask to court her.   The other main character in the story is Rurik Jorgenson.  When Rurik's Uncle Carl begins to decline in health, Rurik heads from Kansas to Minnesota to help with the family business.  Rurik tells his betrothed, Svea, of his departure and thinks that this will be good for them to be apart in order to know whether the Lord really would have them married.  Rurik and Svea's fathers have arranged their marriage, yet Rurik is pretty sure this is not God's will for him.  Both Merrill and Rurik want what God has for them, but neither have any idea of how God will fulfill that in their lives.

Tracie Peterson did a great job at setting the icy scene of Minnesota.  I enjoyed learning about ice harvesting...something I had no idea they did back at the end of the 1800's.  It was interesting reading about other things such as arranged marriages, old customs and traditions from back then too.  After reading the beginning of the book, I wasn't too sure if I would really get into this book since it was talking about the farm, horses and such.  But once I got to know the characters, I had a hard time putting it down.  I'm looking forward to reading Tracie Peterson's next novel in this series which is coming out this summer called The Quarryman's Bride.  You can read an excerpt of the first chapter at the end of this book.  I would definitely recommend this book as a great summer read!

**I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 15, 2013

When Jesus Wept by Bodie and Brock Thoene | iPad Giveaway and Facebook Party {4/23}

About When Jesus Wept

Book 1 in the Thoene's new Jerusalem Chronicles.
 Lazarus occupies a surprising position in the Gospel accounts. Widely known as the man Jesus raised from the dead, his story is actually much broader and richer than that. Living as he did at Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus was uniquely placed to witness the swirl of events around Jesus. When Jesus Wept, the first novel in The Jerusalem Chronicles series by bestselling authors Bodie and Brock Thoene, unfolds the turbulent times in Judea during Jesus' ministry, centering on the friendship between Jesus and Lazarus. With rich insights from vineyard owners and vine dressers, the Thoenes explore the metaphor of Jesus as the True Vine, harvesting the ancient secrets found in the Old Testament. Weaving the life of Lazarus, who owned a vineyard, into the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ will help you understand it is the hand of Love Divine that holds the knife, that cuts and breaks with such tender and loving touch, and that we who have born some fruit, after the pruning, can bear much more. 
Link to buy the book:            


Meet the Thoenes:  

 Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) are bestselling authors of over sixty-five works of historical fiction. Their timeless classics have sold more than thirty-five million copies and won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards. The Thoenes have four grown children and eight grandchildren. They divide their time between Hawaii, London, and Nevada.
Find out more about Bodie and Brock at

My Review:
I was so excited when I found out that Bodie and Brock Thoene had a new series coming out.  Growing up, my favorites authors were the Thoenes.  When I hit college, my leisure reading went out the window with so many required books to read and I graduated from college back in '99.  I just started reading for fun again a couple years ago and have realized how much I've missed it!  When Jesus Wept is the first book in the Thoene's new Jerusalem Chronicles series.  When reading any historical fiction book written about Biblical characters, the reader must remember that it is that, just fiction.  The author has read into the story to "fill in" the missing details.  When Jesus Wept is told from Lazarus' viewpoint.  In the book, Lazarus seems to witness much of the stories about Jesus in the Gospels.  I love how the book makes you identify with the characters.  The reader begins to see Lazarus, Mary and Martha as real people just like him.  They were people who were oppressed by the government and looking for their Messiah to come and rescue them.  Lazarus also owns a vineyard and many applications are drawn from the vine analogy that we read about in John 15.  Mary's background is one thing I didn't really like.  The author made Mary the adulteress women in John 8:1-11 that Jesus defends by telling the ones holding stones to cast them if they themselves have no sin.  Otherwise, I really enjoyed reading this book.  I loved the part where Lazarus is called from the grave.
           "Her [Mary] joy at our reunion was not something I shared.  'I saw them, Mary,' I told her         quietly.  'They're all there.  Waiting for us to join them.'  I could not tell her the glory and beauty I had left behind.  This world was a faded image of what I had experienced."(pg. 284)
           "I spotted Jesus over Mary's shoulder.  Sorrow for me filled his eyes.  Of all those who witnessed my return from the vineyards of heaven to fallen earth, only Jesus knew what joy and beauty I had left behind." (pg. 285)

This made me think about what it really would of been like to be called back from paradise.  Lazarus would of had a right perspective of this life.  And He would of understood a little of what Jesus left behind for us.  This was so fitting to read as we just celebrated Easter not too long ago.  He gave up so much for us.  This book ends with Jesus traveling into Jerusalem for the Passover and the crowds shouting, "Hosanna!"  Then Jesus looks over Jerusalem and weeps.
I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  Make sure to pick up your copy!!  You can head over to the landing page to read more reviews for the When Jesus Wept blog tour by clicking here.

Facebook Party and Ipad Mini Giveaway info:

Celebrate the release of When Jesus Wept with the Thoenes by entering their iPad Mini giveaway and RSVPing to their {4/23} Facebook Author Chat party!


One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A brand new iPad Mini
  • A book club kit - 10 copies of When Jesus Wept
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 22nd. Winner will be announced at the "When Jesus Wept" Author Chat Party on 4/23. Connect with the Thoenes, get a sneak peek of the next book in the Jerusalem Chronicles series, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like yourself. There will also be fun giveaways - gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of When Jesus Wept and join Bodie and Brock on the evening of the April 23rd for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

**I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story by Dee Henderson

Back a while ago, I reviewed my first Dee Henderson novel, Full Disclosure.  I was really excited when I was able to get this new novella Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story since the O'Malleys were mentioned in her book Full Disclosure.  Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story tells the beginning of Jennifer and Tom's story.  Jennifer is a pediatric physician who stumbles upon a handsome surgeon, Tom Peterson, and decides to take a chance on love.  Just when all seems to be going well, Jennifer's new faith in God is tested and put to the test.  When it comes to her family, Jennifer is the youngest of six siblings and is not sure how to share with her older siblings the many things that have come into her life in the past few months.  Their relationship is a unique one in that the O'Malleys are all adopted.  As the family fourth of July event approaches, she has to figure out how to share with them her new budding romance with Tom, her faith in God and other trials that are facing her life.

I enjoyed reading this novella.  It was short and is able to be read in a day or so.  It did peak my curiosity for the rest of the series and I'm definitely going to pick up the next book.  The story line drew me in right from the start and the story kept me interested throughout the book.  I would definitely recommend this book.

The rest of Jennifer's story can be read throughout the O'Malley series beginning with The Negotiator, Book One. 

**I received this free book from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Shattered by Dani Pettrey

I just finished the second book in Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series called Shattered.  This book continues the story of the McKenna family and centers primarily around Piper and her brother Reef. Reef finally returns home.  Of course, his return is just for a snowboarding tournament which is quite a disappointment to his family.  But things quickly go from good to bad when he is charged with killing one of the tournament players, Karli Davis.  Piper is convinced of her brother's innocence but others are not so sure.  Piper goes on the hunt trying to find the real killer and get her brother declared innocent. You'll have to read the book to find out if she succeeds or watches her brother go to jail.  Oh, and did I mention there is a love interest also?  Yeah... love, mystery, murder and adventure all in one book.

I really enjoyed reading this second book in the series. There are a lot of twists and turns to this plot that will not disappoint you.  The story was exciting and kept my interest right up through the end. There is just something about Alaska that brings out the adventure in this story. 

You can read more about Dani Pettrey here at her website.  Click here for a discussion guide, read an excerpt, download a book club packet and more.  Just scroll down until you see her book Shattered and the links are right there.  For the book club link, scroll a little bit further down the page.

**I received this e-book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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