Friday, December 25, 2015

The Greatest Gift byPhilip Van Doren Stern

I was given this book by a neighbor as a Christmas Gift.  It is the story that the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" was based upon.  Given a second chance by a stranger, George says that his life was of no importance and that it would have been better had he never been born.

Seeing life without himself, shows emptiness and the memories he had do not have any value as he sees how others lives were affected by his having been there and he realizes that his life was important and he was important to many whose lives he touched.

A beautiful heartwarming story to read at Christmas time.  I love the tenderness and rare glimpses of simple things, the way Christmas should be in all our lives but tends to not be so much anymore as we become worldly and unappreciative of the many true blessings and joys we have in life.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Special Guest Post by Amy Lillard and a Giveaway!

I am so lucky to have Amy Lillard share an excerpt from her latest book, Lassoed by marriage, a collection of 9 historical romances of a time when arranged marriages were a somewhat common thing written by some very wonderful authors.  Their book is scheduled to become available on Jan. 1st, 2016.  

Book except:
He was making fun of her. But she had been made fun of her whole life, and frankly she didn’t care. She needed a husband and she needed one now. Today. This could not wait any longer. The crops needed to get in the ground so they would have time to grow and mature before harvest. That meant marrying somebody, dragging him out to the farm, and setting to work.
She turned on her heel and looked back toward the jail cells and the scraggly band of criminals there. She just had to trust in the Lord. Hadn’t He led her here? Hadn’t He provided these men? Though she thought she might need a little more than faith if she took home the older man or even the younger man, really. That left her only one choice.
            “You’re sure there are no others?” A girl had to make certain.
            “What’s he in for?” jumped to the tip of her tongue, but she bit back the words. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know. The only solution she had was getting married. She couldn’t back out. Not now.
The dark-haired man stirred, as if he sensed her eyes upon him. He opened them and they looked as black as pitch. Black hair, black eyes. She had never seen anything like it. A small shudder ran through her.
“H–him,” she stammered.
“Oh, Brannock over there?”
Penny gave a reassuring nod, though it was for her own benefit more than the sheriff’s. “Yes. Him. The one with the dark hair.”
The sheriff slipped around the desk and made his way to stand over next to the bars. “Well now, Brannock, it seems like it’s your lucky day. This here lady wants to marry you. Ain’t that something?”

Amy Lillard Bio
Amy loves nothing more than a good book. Except for her family...and maybe homemade tacos...and nail polish. But reading and writing are definitely high on the list.

Born and bred in Mississippi, Amy is a transplanted Southern Belle who now lives in Oklahoma with her deputy husband, their genius son, two spoiled cats, and one very lazy beagle. Oh, and don't forget the stray kitty that has taken up residence on her front porch. ^..^

When she's not creating quirky characters and happy endings, she's chauffeuring her prodigy to guitar lessons, orchestra concerts and baseball practice. She has a variety of hobbies, but her favorite is whatever gets her out of housework.

Amy also writes contemporary romances under the pen name Amie Loullen.

An award winning author, Amy is a member of RWA and ACFW. She loves to hear from readers. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. For links to the various sites, check her website:

You can contact Amy at this address:
Where to find Amy on the web:

Amy is giving away a copy of her new book to one very lucky winner!  Please leave a comment and if you sign up to follow my blog, you will get an extra chance to win!  This giveaway ends Dec. 27th. Also leave your email address in a safe way so that I can reach you!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas at Harmony Hill by Ann H Gabhart

This book was a combination Shaker story and Civil War story.  Loved the combo and the characters.  The story about Heather, a washerwoman for the Union Army, for which her husband is fighting, tells how she followed the soldiers so that she would not be separated from him during this time.  As her time to deliver a child approaches, she realized she must return home only to be sent away by her father, a Confederate who resents her supporting the "other" side.

As she finds herself in the Shaker village, lots of interesting things occur, which I won't write about.  However, I love a historical novel, a Christmas story and those about people that I know very little about, but through this book have gained some new insights into a totally different cultural and religious group.  I found it an interesting read, and look forward to reading more from this author.

The only thing that I noted was that the end wrapped up rather quickly, perhaps otherwise that would have made it just a bit better.  But I would recommend this book for readers that enjoy historical novels.

The Bartered Bride Blog Tour and Giveaway!



Jem Wheeler has always been a survivor. He just wants to make a fresh start in Colorado Springs after the loss of his wife. But then he happens upon a young mute woman being sold off to the highest bidder. He wasn’t looking for a mail-order bride. He wasn’t looking to rescue anyone either. But desperate circumstances can drive a good man to do things he hadn’t planned on doing...

When Jem steps into Annie’s life, she’s not expecting anyone to save her. Mute from birth, she’s just using all her wits to survive. All she’s ever really wanted is a family of her own. For someone to see her. To look at her long enough to hear the things she can’t say.
Can a rescued bride who can’t speak communicate her love for a grieving widower and his little girl? Will her love ever be returned?

The Brides Series #3

Note: Each book in The Brides Series can be read as a stand-alone novel, but reading in order will provide a more complete reading experience.


Jem took the apple core from his daughter and passed her one of the remaining crackers with a piece of cheese on it. Mae munched that down and looked to him immediately for another, the last one.

He gave it to her, then showed her his empty hands.

She frowned. “More?”

“No more,” Jem said, and showed her his empty hands again, making a bigger gesture out of it, as if the little girl was accusing him of hiding some.

If Annie weren’t so intent on eating her share of cheese and crackers she might have smiled at the sight of them, one of the most dangerous men she’d ever seen sitting side by side with that tiny little girl. They made quite a mismatched pair.

Mae looked over at Annie, at the last cracker in her hand and the last bit of cheese.

Annie gulped down the mouthful she was chewing. She looked down at the last of her meal and back at the little girl. To her shame, she didn’t want to give up her last cracker. She could barely remember the last meal she’d eaten.

“That’s Annie’s food,” Jem admonished the little girl. “You’ve had yours.”

Mae bit her lip. She glanced down at her lap, then back at Annie again.

I can share, Annie attempted to tell Mae with her eyes alone. She snapped her cracker in half—simply unable to bear parting with the whole thing—and passed it across to the little girl. Mae took it and popped the whole thing in her mouth, making Annie smile.

“Mae!” her father said.

She looked at him wide-eyed, her mouth full of cracker. “Whaf dafdda?” she said, muffled, spraying a few cracker crumbs onto his trousers.

He closed his eyes briefly and brushed them off. “You didn’t have to give her any,” he said to Annie, “but thanks.”

Annie grunted, her way of saying she didn’t mind that much. She looked down quickly and finished her last bit of food. The crackers had been crispy and the cheese silky and smooth. They’d tasted like heaven.

“You must be thirsty,” he said. “Do you mind sharing?”

She shook her head and automatically lifted two fingers.

“Two’s no?” he asked.

She nodded, pleased, and lifted one finger. She’d grown up sending signals through the floor of the Ruskins’ house, one stomp for yes, two for no. It came natural as rain now.

“And one’s yes,” he said, catching on quick.

Annie drank deep when he passed her the flask of water, amazed he’d let her drink from it. She tried her best to pour it down her throat without touching her lips to the flask, so he wouldn’t regret giving it to someone so dirty. She wished she could tell him thanks, but after Mae had her fill and he took his own swallow, he was back under his hat, likely going over the events of the day.

How he’d stuck himself with her.

How he probably regretted even stepping off the train at the last stop.

She couldn’t say she blamed him.

She hadn’t much wanted to marry a stranger herself.






LENA GOLDFINCH writes sweet Historical Western Romance / Inspirational Romance and books for teens. She’s always been a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it’s a novel or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Lena has been a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart and ACFW Genesis contests. She enjoys life in a quiet, small town with her husband, two kids, and two very spoiled Black Labs.



In celebration of the release of The Bartered Bride, Lena is giving away some awesome prizes!
·        Grand Prize: $25 gift card (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, or Google Play—winner’s choice) + all three ebooks in The Brides series (Open internationally)
·        Second Prize: Paperback copy of The Bartered Bride (Open to US residents only)
·        Third Prize: All three ebooks in The Brides series (Open internationally)
To enter these drawings, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Winners will be chosen after the end of the blog tour (December 19, 2015).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lena Goldfinch

My thoughts and review:
I just finished reading The Bartered Bride this morning.  I grabbed my Kindle first thing after I woke up because I had wanted to finish reading it before I got up that day.  It was really a sweet, inspirational and interesting read.  It was dated in the 1880's which is a very significant time in history and new frontiers were being forged and the struggles of daily living seemed to be very life changing.

Annie finds herself in a terrible predicament as she is literally bartered for by an unseemly man.  Because of her past life and the fact that she has been unable to speak since birth or write although she can hear, she is at the mercy of whatever his plans are for her.

Jem Wheeler, a widower with a young daughter sees the bidding and the bidder and although he wants nothing to do with Annie realized she is in need of someone's help.  Perhaps he was the someone.

This book certainly kept me reading.  I enjoyed it so much.  I think I will definitely be seeking out and reading this author's other books.  I highly recommend this full length novel.  I know you will enjoy it.

I received a free ebook for my honest review which I have given.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Restoration by Wanda E. Brunstetter

This was a wonderful book and a continuation of the Prairie Friends Series.  At this time the book is still available only for pre-order.  Here is the Amazon link to purchase it.  Having read the previous books, I was anxious to see how things turn out.

Elaine is still having her dinners, and realizes her feelings for Jonah are still there.  But feels perhaps that part of her life has passed by her and needs to continue courting Ben. She is assisted in her dinners by Priscilla, who has two suitors, although she doesn't really realize the fact for a while.  One is Englisch and one is Amish.  The Amish suitor is taking his sweet time to propose regardless of the fact that they have been courting for a long time.
Elam and David and Priscilla find themselves with an interesting love triangle.  You will need to read the book to find out what happens.  It's a good book and I really enjoyed it.  I hope the series will continue!
Wanda Brunstetter is one of my faves!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Skiing Suitor by Niki Turner

The Skiing Suitor was a heartwarming and sweet Christian Historical Romance.  It was a really good read, a novella length, so not so long,  But a read that makes you feel glad that you took the time to read it.

Ruby St. John is an independent young woman and lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado in the 1920's.  She's a skier, and a ski jumper as well and loves it and would never dream of giving this up. A new doctor in town Dr. Warren Kelly may not agree with Ruby's adventurousness but somehow finds her quite interesting, none-the-less.  The story gives us a taste of those cold Colorado winters, people caring for others, and just a good book.

I recommend this book to all you enjoy a sweet romance with a little adventure rolled in.  I was glad for the opportunity to read this book and will gladly read more books by this author.