Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Greatest Author

What is the best selling book of all time, and who is it’s author?

 If you said the Bible, and Jesus Christ--you are right! (OK, I know that prophets and other such men did the actual writing, but Christ is really the "author" wouldn't you agree?!)

Being that this is December, and the month where the world joyously focuses on the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, I thought it was only fitting to feature Him as the author of the month.

The book of Hebrews calls Christ the "author and finisher of our faith."

Our Savior is truly the greatest Author of all time. His writings bring such joy, comfort and peace that we should turn to the scriptures daily and feast upon His words. I love the quote, "When you want to speak to God, pray. If you want God to speak to you, read your scriptures."

Christ came to earth as an innocent child, to bring to pass the eternal life of man by dying for each of us. He suffered all things so we need not suffer. Through His atonement we are saved and “with his strips we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) I know that Christ knows us individually—He can help us in our trials because He already suffered what we now suffer. He can take us from the slums of sin into His glory if we will but trust in Him, and do His will. Again, in Hebrews 5:7 it says: He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.

Christ lived a perfect life—a life He asks us to emulate. Of course, we are imperfect and will always be sinners. But we can be perfect through Christ because of his sacrifice for us, and because of His love we can enjoy the blessings of a joyous eternity at the right hand of God.

Being a Christian isn’t easy. God requires a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He requires us to forgive “seventy times seven” and love all men no matter their wrongs against us. At times it feels as though the very jaws of hell have opened beneath us and we may fear that we are lost forever--but God is faithful. I have a testimony that Christ is always with us and will never leave us comfortless. John 16:33 is likely my favorite scripture (it’s hard to just pick one!). Christ says to us: In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

What greater comfort can we have then from God? He has overcome the world!

I know that Christ lives. I know He is the Word, the Great I Am. I know that “He came to earth, oh, wondrous plan/To suffer, bleed and die for man.” The story of His birth never ceases to bring tears to my eyes and warmth to my soul. God’s love for His children is without end—it is fathomless! I feel His love daily and I hope someday, to sing praises with the angel choirs in heaven— “Glory to God in the Highest!” I am humbled to the dust, knowing that the Author and finisher of my faith, is my eternal friend--my Savior.

I pray that you will feel His love this season, and that you may remember that Christ was born for you—He lived for you, and He died for you. He rose again on the third day, having conquered death and hell, and because of Him, we can live forever. Praise be to God!

I want to close this post with my favorite verse, of my favorite Christmas hymn, O Holy Night:

"Truly He taught us to love one another, 
His law is love and His gospel is peace. 
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. 
And in his name all oppression shall cease. 
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, 
With all our hearts we praise His holy name. 
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we, 
His power and glory ever more proclaim! 
His power and glory ever more proclaim!"

This is my prayer and my testimony. In His glorious name, amen.

Happy Reading and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas Roses

Prepare to get all choked up...

Book Rating: Up All Night'er

I'm starting on my Christmas book reviews now and I'm loving it! This adorable holiday story written by Amanda Cabot will have you sniffling your way through the end. 

As with many HCR's, I began this book prepared for a great romance, but in that respect it didn't deliver. However, the end was SO dang-flippin' cute it more than made up for the slow parts. (No kisses in this's a very clean, very sweet book that--in my opinion--you could have your daughter read. Which in fact, I believe could be said for all Cabot books. I have only read one other by her--Summer of Promise, but it too was very clean. For me, her style borders on unexciting, but the messages and just plain lovable characters make her stories enjoyable.)

Celia Anderson is a widow caring for a young daughter while running a boarding house in a small Wyoming town.  When Mark--a traveling carpenter--comes to town looking for his long-lost father, he needs a place to stay for just one night. Little did they both know how their serendipitous meeting was actually God working in their lives.

I must admit, my favorite part of this book is when Mark comes to find Christ and connects with Joseph (as in Mary and Joseph) and what he might have experienced with being called to be the Savior's "earthly" father. Mark wants to be a father to Celia's daughter (as well as a husband to Celia, of course!) but he isn't sure he can do'll have to read the rest to find out how he comes to terms with it.  I have always LOVED thinking about Joseph and what he experienced and felt through the whole miraculous story of Christ's birth, and I was just thrilled to see that Cabot included that in this book.

A side note here...have you noticed the trend toward many characters/stories with a Swiss, Dutch or "the like" background? Celia had that heritage as well and I found it fascinating that it seems to be so popular. Other books such as the Blue Willow series by Brendan and the book I just reviewed by Miller...and I know there are other books that have characters from Holland, Norway, Switzerland, etc. Have you noticed that too?

Anyway back to this book...

The end will melt your little 'ol heart. I was so touched and I know you won't be able to escape the sticky sweetness...have a tissue ready!! When you read this one let me know what you think about it!!

*Thank you to Revell for providing this review copy to me for free.*

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Latest Top Ten...

Happy Friday!!

It's been a while since I have updated my TOP TEN and I thought it was about time. I have read so many wonderful novels lately (by some truly AMAZING authors) that I figured I better make a new list.

Here they VERY particular order. *wink* Again, you can expect this list to change again in a few months when we finally get settled into our new house and I can get back to my regular reading schedule--I like to devour a new book every few days, but my addiction will have to go on the back burner for a while.

1. To Win Her Heart
2. A Bride Most Begrudging
3. A Heart Revealed
4. The Doctor's Lady
5.The Measure of a Lady
6. Within My Heart
7. The Colonel's Lady
8. Short-Straw Bride
9. Unending Devotion
10. A Hope Undaunted

I have a HUGE to-be-read pile. Here are just a few of the books that I will be reviewing in the next several NO particular order. *wing again*

Cowboy Christmas, Mary Connealy
Wrangler in Petticoats, Mary Connealy
Sharpshooter in Petticoats, Mary Connealy
Doctor in Petticoats, Mary Connealy
A Home at Drayton Valley, Kim Vogel Sawyer
Christmas Roses, Amanda Cabot
Betrayal, Robin Lee Hatcher
Letter Perfect, Cathy Marie Hake
The Certain Spark, Cathy Marie Hake
The Silent Governess, Julie Klassen

So, tell me your top ten! What books will you read over and over again?!  Hope you have a great weekend and look for my review of Christmas Roses in the next few days!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Light in the Window

A pure joy!

Book Rating: Best of the Best

As I've mentioned before, I am a Lessman addict. All of her stories are heartwarming and truly uplifting. (Uh, not to mention ridiculously romantic and always filled with drool-worthy leading men.)

This lovely book was no different. A Light in the Window recounts the romance between Patrick O'Connor and Marceline Murphy. Now that I know how these two fabulous characters got together--and the faith and passion that fueled their lasting relationship--I totally want to go back and read the rest of Lessman's books over again!

Marcy is such a strong woman, and her faith is magnificent. She is a great example of trusting in the Lord and staying true to what you believe. (Have you noticed how I'm talking about her as if she's a real person?! That's what Lessman does--she makes these characters so dang real, you feel like you know them!) Marcy has been in love with a man named Sam O'Rourke for many years and he cares for her too--but his "passion" is very physical and Marcy isn't sure what to do... Enter, Patrick O'Connor. (Patrick and Sam are actually best friends...that's what makes this so awesome!!)

Patrick has got to be one of my favorites. His love for Marcy is so powerful that he changes who he is and turns from a well-known rogue to a strong follower of Christ. Not only is he good looking, he's sweet with children, and thinks about others before he thinks about himself. *Awww!* The ending totally made me teary!!

There are some great twists and turns, but over all, I just felt that this was a sweet, thoroughly enjoyable story and you won't be able to put it down. The spiritual message was lovely--Lessman has orchestrated another truly fabulous tale.

If you are looking for a perfect holiday themed HCR my friends, your search is over. This book is available now so if you haven't ordered it--what are you waiting for???!!! Snuggle up in your favorite spot with a nice warm cup of cocoa and enjoy!!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Stealing the Preacher

Holy Guacamole!!!!!

Ladies, I'm so excited about Karen's next book I think I'm gonna make a paper chain to count down the days before it comes out.

Here's a little blurb to whet your appetite!!

"On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna's outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?"

Is that not totally exciting?!?!

The only thing that I'm not thrilled about is the people on the cover. I really wish the HCR market wouldn't use people's faces! I wonder why they do that. Does that bother anyone else?

Happy Reading!!
PS This book comes out June 1, 2013!!!!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Who's the Happy Winner?!

Good morning, good morning!!! 

I am very pleased to announce that the winner of the drawing is:

Shan Hogan!!  Shan, I'm very excited for you and I know you will love her books!

Can't wait 'til next month ladies. Thank you to all who entered and thank you for your comments and following my site.

God bless you all and have a wonderful day!!

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Promise to Love

I would categorize this book in the "mildly satisfying as far as romance is concerned" category.

Book Rating: Here a little, there a little

As my opening statement suggests, I read this book looking forward to a great romance--cuz it had AH-MAZING potentiel, but in my opinion it fell short. Let me explain why...

Ingrid Larsen is looking for her brother who has disappeared into the lumber camps of Michigan. (This was a fact that I felt was not touched on too greatly for a large portion of the book actually...) She "crosses paths" with Joshua Hunter--a man who has just lost his wife and has been left with five children. She offers to marry him and whammo--they are husband and wife--and they don't even know each other! I was expecting there to be tons of great romantic tension, but I just didn't really feel it...bummer.

There is a lot of fun mystery and excitement surrounding Joshua's former wife's death. In fact at times I thought it was a bit creepy, but in the end I just felt plain sorry for the woman. I don't want to give too much away--but I wasn't clear on whether she had a condition that made her that way, or if she was just "bad." (You'll have to tell me what you think!)

Ingrid was a likable gal. However, the fact that she spoke such broken English made it difficult for me to connect with her for some reason. I also almost got this feeling that she was too strong and didn't really have any weaknesses. I like to see a heroine really growing in some way.

And Joshua, well, I liked him alright, but he wasn't the kind of hero that makes your knees go weak or anything. I had a hard time getting close to his character as well. Am I the only one that feels this way?

As for the spiritual aspect of things, I thought it was very nice and I found it uplifting and encouraging.

I do really like Miller's style and I thought she kept the action going and did an excellent job of keeping me hooked, but I just would have liked a lot more romance.

Happy Reading!
Buy It!

*Thank you to Revell for providing me with a free review copy*