Saturday, February 24, 2018

An Amish Christmas Love

GIVEAWAY
WISEMAN, BETH
CLIPSTON, AMY
REID, RUTH
IRVIN, KELLY
AN AMISH CHRISTMAS LOVE

A Christmas potpourri of love and romance in Amish country.

My Review:

While not technically a true retro read since this book was published in the fall of 2017, I thought I'd include it on Retro Saturday because of it's Christmas theme -- assuming a winner might choose to wait until next Christmas before reading it. Once again I have my public library to thank for providing me with a copy of this book.

Winter Kisses by Beth Wiseman -- Three generations of Stoltzfus women find romance at Christmas. Grossmammi Ruth has been widowed for a very long time, but not single by choice. She's ardently pursued every widower in their community, much to the embarrassment of her daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Love Ruth because she's funny and frank and full of mischief.

Daughter-in-law, Barbara, also a widow, has no intention of looking for love again...until an unexpected stranger won't take no for an answer.  I have to say that this mature 'forty-something' romance was my favourite. And suitor Wayne definitely wins in the toe-curling category.

And then there's twenty-year-old Naomi who has shied away from love out of fear. Having witnessed the crushing grief of both her mam and grossmammi when their husbands died she's vowed to remain safely single. But this Christmas season changes that conviction.

Wiseman does an amazing job of including three romances and multiple points of view in this Christmas novella.

The Christmas Cat by Amy Clipston -- There's nothing like a good critter story to bring added warmth to a Christmas story and Hank the Cat does just that. This sweet, heart-warming story showcases the true meaning of Christmas as recent widow Emma faces what is sure to be a bleak and lonely Christmas. At least, that's what she thinks until Hank shows up on her doorstep and somehow ends up inside her house -- even though she's never been one to encourage pets in the home. But Hank isn't an ordinary kitty and Emma soon finds herself sharing 45 years worth of marriage memories with the sympathetic feline. Loved those slips into yesteryear as Emma relives the joy of first love and newly wedded bliss. And the power in a love strong enough to survive the hardships of decades together.

And then a group of youngies from the community come to spread some Christmas cheer with Emma (and Hank) and the vibrancy of their youth and caring bring the blessing that there is hope in the future...even without her beloved at her side. A moving and heartwarming read.

Snow Angels by Kelly Irvin -- Fans of the Bee County series will be thrilled over this novella addition to the series. No worries if you haven't read any of the books, this still makes a wonderful standalone story. But it was fun to become reacquainted with some favourite characters and be part of David's chance at a happily ever after. Irvin captures the magic of Christmas miracles in this delightful holiday novella.

Home for Christmas by Ruth Reid --  Ellie's mother took her away from their Amish community when she was a little girl but now that she is grown she has come back to deal with an inheritance left to her by an aenti she doesn't remember.

Widower Ezra had a special relationship with Ellie's aunt who was also his closest neighbour. You might say Aenti Bonnie had matchmaking in mind when she bequeathed her property to Ellie. Of course it's an impossible romance -- Englisch and Amish just don't mix. But Aunt Bonnie was a powerful prayer warrior and that legacy lives long after she has passed away.

An adorably awkward and funny first meet, an intuitive champion standard poodle named Lulu and and a fragile motherless child all contribute to the read-in-one-sitting frenzy that kept me riveted until the very end.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of An Amish Christmas Love, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday February 24 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Judah's Wife

GIVEAWAY
HUNT, ANGELA
JUDAH'S WIFE

To be silent would be to deny their God. To defy would bring the wrath of the King.

Seeking quiet and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she'll have peace. But the very nation that Judah has been named for has been conquered by a cruel king, who decrees that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws or risk death for following the law of Moses.

Judah's father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands Judah to pick up his sword and continue the fight -- or bear the responsibility for the obliteration of Israel. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband's decision -- what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long?

The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah's wife, who learns that love requires courage...and sacrifice.

My Review:

I'm a toe-dabbling biblical fiction reader so I approach this genre with a bit of trepidation. Hence Judah's Wife sat on my TBR pile for a couple of weeks while I gathered the gumption to crack it open. And wouldn't you know it? Once I did, I couldn't stop reading. Seriously, I was instantly mesmerized. Hunt's words seamlessly flow, creating captivating images that helped me feel like I was actually witnessing events as they unfolded.

Using alternate points of view, this story comes to life through the eyes of both Leah and Judah. Now I'm not a biblical scholar. At all. And I knew absolutely nothing about the Maccabean Revolt -- or even thought much about that 400 year gap between the Old and New Testament so I learned a lot from this novel. It's a brutal piece of history so not always the easiest of reads but the author balances that with Leah's and Judah's developing love story.

There's tragedy and triumph and deep sorrow -- all the hallmarks of an epic tale. And as I read, I found myself making modern day connections. In 168 BC, the Jewish faith was threatened by assimilation from Greek culture. The result was the watering down of the old ways which led to unimaginable hardships. Thousands of years later Christians face the same challenge -- do we assimilate current cultural mores in order to please the society we live in? Or do we stand true to biblical teachings? It really got me thinking about where I stand and if I'm ready to answer the hard questions when my answers aren't going to be popular with today's culture. Pretty humbling...and, if I'm truthful, terrifying. I love it when a novel challenges like that!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like the chance to win a copy of Judah's Wife, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday February 25 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Amish Nanny's Sweetheart

GIVEAWAY
DREXLER, JAN
THE AMISH NANNY'S SWEETHEART

Love in Plain Sight

As nanny for her nephew, Judith Lapp's finally part of a vibrant, joyful Amish community instead of being on the outskirts looking in. But teaching her neighbors' Englischer farmworker to read Pennsylvania Dutch wasn't part of her plan. And the more time she spends with Guy Hoover, the more he sparks longings for a home and family of Judith's own.

Guy figured he would never be truly accepted by his Amish employer's community -- even though the Mast family treats him like a son. But Judith's steadfast caring shows him that true belonging could be within his reach...if he and Judith can reconcile their very different hopes -- and hearts.

Amish Country Brides: small-town love, plain and simple.

My Review:

I fall more in love with Jan Drexler's writing with each book I read. She has a gift for creating memorable characters (and,if you are familiar with some of her other LIH work, you'll recognize a few of them playing a secondary role in this one.) And the way she steeps her stories with historical tidbits makes me feel like I've time-traveled into the Depression Era. Plus, her stories are deliciously complicated for a tag line claiming "plain and simple." Plain as in Amish, yes, but there's nothing simple about this historical romance. It's rife with angst and inspiration and the yearning we all have to belong.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Amish Nanny's Sweetheart, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday February 25 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Song Unheard

GIVEAWAY
WHITE, ROSEANNA M.
A SONG UNHEARD

If betraying her heart means saving countless lives will she find the courage?

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a critical task at the outset of World War I -- to secure a crucial cypher key from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he's won -- until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father's work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only distraction he finds from his worry is in meeting the intriguing and talented Willa Forsyythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn't -- that she must betray him and find the key. or her own family could pay the same price his surely has.

My Review:

Such an exquisitely beautiful book! And the title tie-in is just one of the many details that makes this a masterpiece of a story. There's depth of character, an inspiring faith thread and plenty of intrigue -- not to mention the kind of toe-curling romance that will leave your fainting couch in need of reupholstering 'cause you're going to wear it out with all the swooning you'll be doing over Lukas.

Reformed rake. Squeal! Relentless in his pursuit. Squeal! Gentle and patient in that pursuit. Squeal! And full of humour. Squeal! Every time he grins...thud! Thud! THUD! Hence the broken springs in the aforementioned fainting couch. And Willa is so brusque with him but that doesn't faze him one bit. Like I said...relentless. My tummy is still doing back-flips.

But as delicious as the romance is, there's  a whole lot more to this story. We're right at the beginning of World War I and there's plenty of sinister afoot. The story flashes back and forth between Lukas and Willa in Wales and Lukas's sister, Margot, in occupied Brussels. Tension builds as various characters work at cross-purposes that place the De Wilde family in ever increasing danger.

And then there's Willa's deception. My heart hurts just thinking about it. Because for all her bravado, she's protecting a hurting heart. Walled it up in a defensive maneuver and she has no intention of letting anyone, other than her family, in.

And what a family! This is the second book in the Shadows Over England series and if you've read A Name Unknown, you'll recognize the rowdy clan Willa claims as her kin. No worries if you haven't read the first book, this one will serve as a sweet introduction. Just love the whole premise surrounding this series and the overlap of characters. I'm hoping every one of her adopted siblings gets their own story. That will keep Roseanna M.White's adoring public in good reads for a long time to come. And that makes me super happy.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of  A Song Unheard, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday February 25 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Sea Before Us

GIVEAWAY
SUNDIN, SARAH
THE SEA BEFORE US

Nothing but love could heal the wounds of war

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a "Wren" in the Women's Royal Naval Service, who pieces together reconnaissance photographs with holiday snapshots of France -- including those of her family's summer home -- in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn into something more. But both of them have too much to lose to give in to love...

My Review:

A book that is as luscious as this cover promises! And how exciting to be at the beginning of this new series. I adore the way Sarah Sundin brings her historical novels to life. From characters to setting to the World War II backdrop -- this author has a talent for weaving facts and fiction together in a most compelling way.

And I especially appreciate the strong faith thread she has woven into the fabric of this story. Bold but not preachy,  I was never in doubt that I was reading Christian fiction. And honestly, that deeply tangled and sometimes frayed inspirational thread makes this story so much richer, transforming this book into an experience to be savored.

Wyatt is my favourite kind of hero -- emotionally wounded and valiantly trying to compensate. Here is a man anchored by his faith, even though he still wrestles with his past. I love that he's a work in progress -- just like me! And while Dorothy is just as committed to contributing to the war effort, she has let her faith slide as she wrestles with finding God in the midst of the ravages of war. These two have some amazing discussions as their friendship deepens.But, honestly, Dorothy can be such an addlepated ninny at times that I just wanted to box her ears and send her home on more than one occasion. :-) Luckily Wyatt is more patient than I am.

So, along with the angsty romance, Sundin treats her readers to epic battle scenes filled with action (but not bogged down by too much technical detail). And there are some disagreeable secondary characters that need a good purse whomping. Gah! But I do so enjoy being all righteously indignant on behalf of a hero and heroine and the author provides plenty of those moments here. And to top it all off there's even a bit of mystery percolating in the background -- one that brings Wyatt and Dorothy closer together and then threatens to pull them apart.

And can I just say that Sarah Sundin is the queen of epic blockbuster endings?! I'm still all twitterpated over this one.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Sea Before Us, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday February 25, 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Secret Service Setup

GIVEAWAY
PATCH, JESSICA R.
SECRET SERVICE SETUP

A federal agent in the crosshairs
Can the security specialists protect him?

Secret Service agent Evan Novak becomes the target of multiple hit men when someone puts a two million-dollar bounty on his head. Is it the gunrunner he's tracking...or a traitorous agent? Framed and wanted, Evan reluctantly accepts protection from bodyguard Jody Gallagher, his former love who lost her Agency career because of him. But then the bounty is raised to include Jody...

My Review:

Eeeeeeppp! Jessica R. Patch! Eeeeep!!! That's my romantic suspense super squeal, which is more shrill than my other infatuated literary cheers. And for good reason because this author knows how to deliver an adrenaline rush of a read.

She is also horribly mean to her characters...to the point of being downright cruel which leads to a scrumptious amount of angst and mayhem. Including plenty of action packed scenes that had me wincing and ducking. And don't get me started on the first aid scenes...my complexion still has a green tinge.

The suspense is impossibly complicated with hired killers climbing out of the woodwork in a relentless stream of ingenuous murder attempts. But Jody and Evan have some equally clever counter moves. In fact, Jody has a cool superpower which definitely comes in handy a time or two.

And then there's the romance. Be. Still. My. Heart. "His sly grin tipped her heart on its side." (p 117) You and me both, Jody, and my heart hasn't righted itself yet! Even though I know what Evan did to Jody was ...well definitely hard to forgive. Even harder to forget and that keeps Jody holding him at arms length because even though the reader can see he's clearly a changed man, she isn't letting him show her that transformation -- the kind that happens when you have invited God into your life. These two dance around their buried feelings in a delicious way. Their almost kisses turned my toe curls into permanent waves. And the wicked banter -- dark humour to cut through the tension is icing on the cake.

An exquisitely marvelous example of inspirational romantic suspense that belongs on keeper shelves everywhere.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Secret Service Setup, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it`s easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday February 25 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

February Giveaway - Week Three



WON BY DIANA FLOWERS


WON BY LAURA WALTZ

WON BY CONNIE LEE

WON BY LADY SNOW ANGEL

WON BY LUCY REYNOLDS

WON BY SAMANTHA


You know the drill -- I will email the winner if they included their email in their comment. If not, it`s up to the winner to contact me with your mailing address at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If I can`t connect with a winner within a month your win will be forfeited. Books are usually sent out within a week of receiving a winner`s address, but give it a month before inquiring about deliveries to allow for processing and delivery times.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK`S GIVEAWAYS: