Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia

Last week and this week I have been and will be reading through the entire Chronicles of Narnia. I have never done that before. For someone who loves to read I have really failed in reading some of the greatest works of literature there is out there. It is my plan to change that in the coming months and years. While I will continue with great pleasure to seek out and read new Christian fiction, I want to read some of the classics in between those.

I am on the fourth book, Prince Caspian. I have seen the movies, all three. After seeing The Voyage of the Dawn Treader it made me want to read the books. So many people told me that it was their favorite of the Narnia books. So I can't wait to read it.

I am finding the books very interesting. They are short enough that I can usually read one in about a day and a half, when I have the time to spend. I would encourage you to read it, if you are an adult or a child. You won't be disappointed. I won't review each book on here. I just wanted to let my readers know what I was up to this week. Happy reading!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kaydie by Penny Zeller

A fresh start and a new life

For the first time in years, Kaydie Worthington Kraemer can breathe easily. Although she is still haunted by memories of her abusive husband, Darius, she takes comfort in knowing the man is dead. Staying with her sister McKenzie and brother-in-law Zach Sawyer at their ranch, Kaydie is still wary of men, especially now that she has another life inside of her to guard. As she looks forward to her baby’s birth, she builds a protective wall around herself that won’t be easy to tear down.

Ranch hand Jonah Dickenson views his boss, Zach, like a brother. He does not, however, envy Zach’s new role as a husband. Deserted by his mother at a young age and forever despised and rejected by his own father, Jonah has few close relationships. But there’s something about Kaydie that draws him to her and makes him question his decision to remain a bachelor. When Cedric Van Aulst, an old friend of Kaydie’s, comes to town, an unforeseen prospect of marriage arises. Cedric is someone Kaydie trusts. Will she settle for a safe union with him, or can she trust God to guard her heart and her life in the arms of Jonah?


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Kaydie
 
We get to know both Kaydie and Jonah in the first book of the series, McKenzie. I love books that carry on with the same characters because I have a hard time letting go of them when they become so real to me. The books that Penny Zeller writes are like that for me. I can't get enough of the characters she has created. And I love that they are not limited to adult readers. Young readers can read them without fear of inappropriate situations and words. Even young preteen girls will enjoy these books. And still adult women will enjoy it just as much.
 
Back story: Kaydie is a shy girl who dared to go against her parents to marry a man who talked of adventure and daring. She didn't know at the time that it was all a lie and he was not the man she thought he was. As soon as they married and were away from her family he allowed his true colors to show. He was a cruel man and his death was a welcomed escape for Kaydie. After his death, she is taken in by a Christian woman who leads her to the Lord. When she sees a notice that her sister has married and moved to Montana Territory looking for her she makes plans to travel where her sister is. She goes there to recover from the years of abuse her husband put her through and have her baby, the one blessing from her marriage to Darius.
 
Kaydie struggles with the pain she went through and wonders if she can ever trust another with her heart. When she meets Jonah for the first time there is an attraction between them but Kaydie cannot accept it as that and it turns to fear. She becomes uncomfortable and avoids him.
 
Jonah understands her pain and doesn't blame her for how she is reacting to him. He prays for God to help him show her she can trust him as a friend. He has no intention on it getting any farther than friendship. He doesn't want to get married because his mother left his father when he was three and his father didn't treat him well. But that doesn't stop him from caring for Kaydie and wanting to be her friend.
 
They grow closer in their friendship. But there is so much history for both of them that it holds them back from what they truly want, each other. All the while her parents are planning for her to go back to Boston and marry someone there. But the life she wants is the one she has in Pine Haven.
 
Both of them seek God's guidance throughout the story. They allow themselves to become the best of friends. Kaydie learns to laugh and have fun again. But...
 
Can she overcome her fears of the past? Can she go against her parents again or will she move back to Boston to make them happy? Can Jonah take a step of faith and trust that God will guide him in being the husband and father he needs to be? You'll have to read and find out! You won't be sorry.
 
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Want More?

The Montana Skies Series

McKenzie available now 

Kaydie due to be released in April 2011

Her Blog: http://pennyzeller.wordpress.com

Her Website: http://www.pennyzeller.com

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

McKenzie by Penny Zeller

Desperate Times

Desperate times call for desperate measures" is the reasoning that prompts McKenzie Worthington, a young lady of Boston’s high society, to respond to an ad for a mail-order bride for a man in the Montana Territory. McKenzie is desperate, after all, to save her beloved younger sister, Kaydie, from her evil, abusive husband, who robs banks for a living. And so, it is with reckless determination that McKenzie runs away from the comforts of home and hearth to head West and meet her new husband—whom she’ll divorce, of course, after she rescues her sister.

"Desperate times call for desperate measures" is the reasoning that also prompts Zachary Sawyer, a rugged rancher after God’s own heart, to post an ad for a mail-order bride in various newspapers across the country. Managing a ranch and caring for his adoptive son, Davey, has become more than one man can handle alone, and Zach prays for God to send him a wife with whom to build a life and share his dreams.

When McKenzie arrives at Zach’s ranch, she immediately puts her plan in motion, searching for her sister and doing all she can to keep her new husband from forming an attachment. But his persistent kindness and significant self-sacrifices begin to change her heart—and ruin her plans. God has a way of working things out to the good of those who love Him, though, as McKenzie will soon see.



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McKenzie
McKenzie Worthington is not what I expected when I started reading. At first she seems like the usual nice Christian heroine. But we find out that she isn't what she seems in many ways. It is a welcome change to see how this young woman grows and changes when she finds out that her Bible isn't just something to carry around and church isn't just a social event. She goes from lying easily to feeling guilt for doing so.
 
Zachary Sawyer is a strong godly man who has known sadness and loss in his life but his faith has grown through it. From the beginning you see him taking it all before the Lord and trusting Him to guide him. He actually shows her how to have a relationship with God. That is him being the spiritual leader in his family and I loved it!
 
I recommend this book to readers of all ages. It is wonderful to see a romance that is an option for younger readers, too. I wish there had been romance like this when I started reading romance at the young age of 11. I am so pleased to see more and more available like this.
 

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Want More?

This is the first book in the Montana Skies Series. Be on the look out for book two: Kaydie due to be released in April 2011
 
 
 
Watch for my review on Kaydie coming soon!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Finding Becky & Caroline's Choice by Martha Rogers

Will Becky's newfound independence lead her away from friends, family, and even God?

 Rob Frankston has waited four years for Becky Haynes to come home, but she arrives back in Barton Creek newly graduated from college with an independent spirit that puzzles him. What's more, she is accompanied by Geoff Kensington, a recent acquaintance who is showing more than a passing interest in her.

Becky is flattered and taken in by Geoff's attentions, but when strange accidents start happening around the town, Rob becomes suspicious. Believing the old Becky is hidden beneath her facade of new found independence, he is determined to find and bring her back. Is it just jealousy? Or will he find answers and convince Becky to return to the faith of her childhood before it's too late?

Book three in the Winds Across the Prairie series brings you back to the town of Barton Creek, providing a glimpse into everyday life at a time when Oklahoma was drawing homesteaders to its territory before the days of statehood.

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Finding Becky

This is my favorite out of the four. In book one, Becoming Lucy, you meet Becky as a young girl. Throughout Morning for Dove, you see her grow up just a bit more. When Becky comes home from college with all the new ideas you see her trying to act like a city girl. Deep down, she is still the country girl she always was. At the same time you see her new knowledge of what woman could be a part of as Oklahoma draws closer to becoming a state. She forsakes her faith for a time, thinking herself to independent to need God. What a blessing to see that in a story about such a strong young lady and how she finds out God isn't just there for us when things go wrong but when things go right.

Martha is a gifted writer and has made these early days in Oklahoma seem so real to the reader. It was interesting to read about how the country was changing so rapidly and how it effected the people living in the area.

Check out her website: http://www.marthawrogers.com/


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Will Caroline finally find the adventure she longs for- or is she fleeing the very things that matter most?

At age twenty-six, Caroline Frankston is certain life is passing her by in the town of Barton Creek. Her feelings for Matthew Haynes appear unrequited, so she decides the time has come for her to move to the big city for a fresh start.

Once in Oklahoma City, Caroline is fascinated by the many opportunities there and begins moving on with her life. As time passes, Matt realizes his true feelings for her and plans to tell her on her next trip home. When Caroline goes missing after her train is in an accident, Matt sets out in search of her, wondering if any chance of spending his life with Caroline has disappeared.

Book four in the Winds Across the Prairie series brings you back to the town of Barton Creek, providing a glimpse into everyday life at a time when Oklahoma draws closer to statehood.

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Caroline's Choice

This book is filled with all of the wonderful characters we met in the other three books plus more. It is a great book of discovery and growth. One of finding and seeking God's will for our lives and understanding that His plan is the best for us. It also shows us that love can overcome many obstacles.

I would recommend this series to anyone. They are good for any age.

Check out her website: http://www.marthawrogers.com/

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jewel of Persia by Roseanna M. White

How can she love the king of kings without forsaking her Lord of lords?

Kasia grew up in a poor Jewish home with more siblings than luxuries. But when a chance encounter forces her to the palace of Xerxes, she becomes a concubine to the richest man in the world. She alone, of all Xerxes' wives, loves the man beneath the crown. She alone, of all his wives, holds the heart of the king of kings.

Traveling with Xerxes through Europe as he mounts a war against Greece, Kasia knows enemies surround her, but they’re not the Spartans or Athenians. The threat lies with those close to the king who hate her people. She determines to put her trust in Jehovah–even if it costs her her marriage.

Years of prayers are answered when Kasia's childhood friend arrives at the palace after the war, but even as she determines to see Esther crowned in place of the bloodthirsty former queen, she knows the true battle is far from over. How far will her enemies go to see her undone?

Combining the biblical account of Esther with Herodotus's Histories, Jewel of Persia is the story of a love that nearly destroys an empire . . . and the friendship that saves a nation.

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Jewel of Persia

I knew a little more what to expect from this book since reading A Stray Drop of Blood. I had also read Chapter One that was offered on the website. Like her first book, the characters came alive from the very beginning. The ones you are supposed to love, I loved deeply. The ones you are supposed to despise, I despised just as deeply.

I love how Roseanna intertwines history with fiction is such a way it is hard to tell where the truth ends and fiction begins. She has lots of historical information listed on her website to help you see how she wove her story around those facts. She is very clear on what she created and what is factual. It is done so beautifully that it is easy to see how it could have happened the way she wrote it. But make sure you check it out AFTER you read the book. There are spoilers in her information.


Esther has always been one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Roseanna has created a most intriguing story that shows what life could have been like in the house of the King of Persia during that time. I recommend that everyone read this book. It is a must have in my library collection. I got the digital copy but will get the paperback when it comes out in June of 2011. I look forward to many more novels from this wonderful author.


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Want more?

Read Chapter 1

Her Blog: http://www.roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/   

Her Website: http://www.roseannawhite.com/

Jewel of Persia: Companion Guide and Discussion Questions

Do you want an autographed copy of Jewel of Persia?

Check out: http://www.crosspurposesbooks.com/ 

Make sure to leave her a message on her website that you ordered it and would like it autographed.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Stray Drop of Blood by Roseanna M. White

Beautiful is a dangerous thing to be when one is unprotected.
 
For seven years, Abigail has been a slave in the Visibullis house. With a Hebrew mistress and a Roman master, she has always been more family than servant . . . until their son returns to Jerusalem after his years in Rome. Within a few months Jason has taken her to his bed and turned her world upside down. Maybe, given time, she can come to love him as he says he loves her. But how does she open her heart to the man who ruined her?

Israel's unrest finds a home in her bosom, but their rebellion tears apart her world. Death descends with Barabbas's sword, and Abigail is determined to be there when the criminal is punished. But when she ventures to the trial, Barabbas is not the one the crowd calls to crucify. Instead, it is the teacher her master and Jason had begun to follow, the man from Nazareth that some call the Son of God . . .

Born free, made a slave, married out of her bonds, Abigail never knows freedom until she feels the fire of a stray drop of blood from a Jewish carpenter. Disowned by Israel, despised by Rome, desired by all, she never knows love until she receives the smile of a stoic Roman noble.

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A Stray Drop of Blood

I am not sure what I expected when I picked up this book. But I got much more than I could have ever dreamed. The story sounded great. I was hooked from the first paragraph. The characters came alive as I read. And not just a few but each one that came through the book grabbed my attention as if I were in the same room watching it all happen. It was a powerful story that gripped my heart.

It is not your typical romance and it isn't your typical Christian romance. It takes into account the way things were done in the time period with the Roman and Jewish cultures mixed together. The fact that it had so many different twists, just like real life was one of the reasons it was so good. In some books everything seems to work out too easily and the book is over too quickly. This one had so many twists, some good and some not so good. But you could see how God worked through each of those situations to bring about His purpose for their lives.

I have to tell you that this is one of my very favorite books. I have many but I just fell in love with this book and can't wait to read it again. I purchased it on Kindle but after reading it I knew I HAD to have it in a hard copy. I ordered it from the link below and am getting Roseanna to sign it for me! On her website she shares how this story came to be. Make sure you check that out, it is amazing!

You just have to read this book! If you don't, you will be missing a great blessing and a great read. Enjoy!

------------------------------

Want more?



A Stray Drop of Blood: Companion Guide and Discussion Questions

Do you want to order an autographed copy of A Stray Drop Of Blood?

Check out: www.CrossPurposesBooks.com 

Make sure to leave her a message on her website that you ordered it and would like it autographed.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Masquerade Marriage by Anne Greene

A SECRET LIST

He was born to a clan of noted warriors and musicians. Yet to protect his loved ones and escape the dark fate of his brothers, he abandons his identity. Hiding from relentless soldiers who want him dead, he vows to protect the woman he loves more than life, more than freedom, more than Scotland. But his presence throws her into danger.

A VOW HONORED

She weds a stranger to save his life. But do vows make a marriage? When does a marriage become a marriage? What if she holds a different love inside her heart?

A SACRIFICE MADE

Steeling himself against the pain, he condemns himself to a life of heartbreak without her. Wanting her desperately, knowing he can’t have her, he surrenders her and heads alone to certain death. Outlawed, with a price on his head, does she love him enough to give up castle, lands, and family, and risk the agony of surrendering her heart a second time?

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EXCERPT FROM MASQUERADE MARRIAGE


Like a determined hero, the fugitive warrior strode through the door at the far end of the tiny stone kirk.

Megan’s eyes widened. Her clenched jaw relaxed. Some of her dread dissolved.

“Impressive.” Molly, Megan’s Irish maid, whispered from where they stood together in the vestibule.

He stopped in front of the hand-carved altar and half-turned toward her. Megan pulled in an uneven breath. This Highlander, wearing formal kilts, was no scrawny lad grown older, nor was he a big, hairy Scot with a bushy beard. The tall, strapping soldier stood with legs braced as if about to do battle.

Her heart skipped. Though she’d known Brody when she wore short skirts, this blond warrior was far more than she expected. Her pulse throbbed in her temples. Doubt niggled her brain. Brody was too tall, too obviously a Highlander. How could she hope to pass him off as a Lowland Laird? He appeared to have too big a chip on his shoulder to let her command him.

Brody’s thick sandy hair swept the collar of his linen shirt. Lace-trimmed cuffs matched the white jabot at his muscular throat. A silver broach clasped his crimson and black tartan to his wide right shoulder. His Claymore, dirk, and thick sword belt startled her.

Megan suppressed a shudder. The English outlawed kilts. With his dress, Brody spat in the face of the English and further imperiled his life. Why?

His intense sapphire stare blazed a trail across the empty wooden pews toward her. His eyes made her feel dizzy as if she just danced a fast reel with a lively partner.

Molly grinned and handed Megan the bridal flowers.

What had she gotten herself into?

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Masquerade Marriage begins on April 16, 1746 in Scotland during the battle at Culloden. Brody MacCauley survives the battle. Orders to kill all remaining highlanders cause him to hide to stay alive. He is given an option that will protect himself and his remaining family. He struggles with hiding his identity and pretending he is something he is not, a lowlander.

Lady Megan MacMurry is the younger daughter of a lowlander family. The purpose of marrying Brody is two-fold. She wants to help one of the highlander survivors but also wants a way out of an arranged marriage to a violent man. She picks his name off the list because she recognizes it from their childhood. She thought he hated her because he picked on her to no end but....

From the first page I was drawn into this time period. The facts of the war at that time are intertwined throughout the book. I fell in love with Brody and Megan very quickly. This book is a wonderful historical romance that is filled with love, adventure, strong characters and wonderful storyline. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in some exciting Christian romantic fiction. I look forward to more books from Anne Greene.

Check out her website: http://www.annegreeneauthor.com/