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Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Promise of Dawn



America. The great melting pot. So many have left their countries to search for a better life on this beautiful country we call home. In The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling, Gunlaug's eldest son, Rune and his wife Signe, and their three sons are brought from Norway at the behest of relatives Einar and Gerd Strand. They have offered to pay their passage to come work in Minnesota, with the understanding that over time those funds would be paid back. Gerd and Einar had never been blessed with sons and they need help in the new land that they have purchased from a homesteader that is covered with huge pine trees that they log and send to the mills in Minneapolis. The money had from those trees has made it possible to build a home large enough to house a family. They farm the land they have cleared, but need help. Gerd is not well and they desperately need the family to come and help.

Living near a small town called Benson's Corner, and the nearest town being Blackduck, Minnesota, there is a school for the younger ones in the winter. Once the trees are felled and shipped on the local railroad spur to the northern mills, we will clear the stumps and plant crops. With only one cow now, the family hopes to increase the number to have a dairy herd once the land is cleared. This is indeed the land of opportunity. So Rune and Signe Carlson along with their three sons leave Norway and head to America. Signe hopes that the baby she is carrying will live after so many miscarriages. When the family arrives at the Strand home, they are immediately surprised by what needs to be done. It seems that their need for help is drastically understated, and Gerd is completely bed-ridden due to a heart issue. The house is barely what you would call livable and is infested with rats. This will completely test the stamina of the Carlson family as Einar puts them all to work immediately treating them more like slaves than family. The younger boys help Signe try and get the house in order along with helping to care for Gerd who is a bitter older woman who screams to get anyone to help her use the chamber pot and demands food whenever she wants it.

For Rune and his oldest son Bjorn at fifteen take to logging in the woods felling trees that Einar hopes to sell to support his family. His unrealistic goals soon render an accident during a thunder storm that render Bjorn with a broken arm and not being able to hear. When the family tries to keep Bjorn at home, Einar insists that one of the other boys step up and bear the weight of Bjorn's absence in the woods. If they refuse, Einar threatens to deport them all back to Norway unless they serve the time that they have agreed to work to pay for their passage to America. It will take the patience of a saint to work with these two who call themselves family.

I received The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling compliments of Baker Publishing Group and Net Galley. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise.  This is a great historical novel that really conveys the hardships that faced many families who came to America in search of a new life. Many of their skills no longer suited them and they had to acclimate and learn new ones if they hoped to have a home of their own. It would take working together in order for any of them to make it during any time of the year. Each season had its own challenges and it seems like Gerd and Einar have found themselves slaves that will do as they are told without argument. I found myself exhausted at all the work Signe had to do along with caring for Gerd while being pregnant. Life on the frontier was hard work and this clearly comes across in this first novel of the Under Northern Skies series. Can't wait for more and for that reason, I give this novel a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about The Promise of Dawn, Lauraine Snelling or where you can pre-order a copy of this book due in August of 2017, please click on the links below:


You can find Lauraine Snelling on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Promise of Dawn, please visit Baker Publishing Group's website. 


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nichole Nordeman - Every Mile Mattered CD Review and Giveaway



I can honestly say, I hadn't heard of Nichole Nordeman until I listened to her latest CD, Every Mile Mattered and I fell in love with so many of her songs. It's not just the words of the songs, but for me there has to be something different from the other songs we hear on the radio to make me a true lover of the artist and I found it in this latest CD.

There are 11 songs on this CD: (1) Every Mile Mattered, (2) You're Here, (3) Dear Me, (4) No Longer, (5) Lean, (6) Hush, Hush, (7) Listen to Your Life, (8) Beautiful Day, (9) Sound of Surviving, (10) Anywhere We Are, and (11) Slow Down.

The ones that really connected with me are Every Mile Mattered, You're Here and my all time favorite on this CD is Hush, Hush! Although I love them all, those three speak to a place in my life that God and I connect on a different level I can't explain. I can't wait to hear what your favorite songs are!

"These are songs that Nichole has been in her heart for years, long before they were bound by lyric or melody. They are mile markers. Places I've been. Things I have seen and maybe see a little differently now. Every mile on that road mattered. The endless miles of God's mercy and goodness. Every bump and bruise. The long stretches I'd rather erase. The journey really does change us, or should, anyway."

I think that is reason why I connected to so many of these songs. We are all on our own personal journeys, some we wished we could have taken a detour and wished God would have given us a "Dead End" sign so we could have avoided some of the issues we have faced. But they make us all unique, strong in our own ways, and they unite us. They are things we can all relate to in this road called life until God calls us home. I can tell you that you will find something in this CD that will speak to your heart and soul, whether by words, melody or simply the way God touches your soul when you hear a particular song on this CD.

I received Every Mile Mattered by Nichole Nordeman compliments of Capital Records and FlyBy Promotions. The lyrics are provided in this CD as well for those of you that love to know the words so you can enjoy your music even more!!! I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
You can hear samples of the songs by visiting Nichole Nordeman's website. Thanks to the generosity of Capital Records and FlyBy Promotions, they are offering a giveaway copy of Nichole Nordeman's CD, Every Mile Matters! Here is what you need to do to enter:

1. "Like" Nichole Nordeman's Facebook page. 

2. Be a resident of the US or have a US mailing address. Please No P.O Boxes.

3. Be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. 

4. Leave a comment below telling me why you'd love to win a copy of Every Mile Mattered by Nichole Nordeman. Don't forget to include your email address is that is how I will be contacting the winner of this giveaway. You can use the words (at) or (dot) instead of the symbols.

The giveaway will end on August 2nd, so be sure to share this with people you know would love this! I will be contacting the winner of the giveaway by email on August 2nd, so be sure you are following my Facebook page, Reviews From The Heart or are following this blog so you don't miss out. Without an email I have no way to contact you! Don't forget!!!

For more information about Nichole Nordeman, Every Mile Mattered or where you can pick up a copy of this CD today, please click on the links below:


You can find Nichole Nordeman on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest projects.

To read more reviews of Every Mile Mattered by Nichole Nordeman, please visit Capital Records website. 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Anything But Simple



"Books opened my eyes to a broader world, gave me a safe place to explore that did not threaten my own existence. Lost in pages, I lived the lives and dreamed the dreams of a thousand people in a thousand times. I ruined my eyes but saved my mind with books. "

This is one of my favorite quotes from Anything But Simple by Lucinda J. Miller because is exemplifies the very reason why I have loved reading books since I was old enough to read. It is the one thing that stands out in my dad's mind when he recalls my childhood. In this book, Lucinda J. Miller tells readers what it is like living as a Mennonite, the differences between being Amish and Mennonite and her own personal struggles with the guidelines that the church establishes for those living in the community in rural Wisconsin.

"I used to wonder, when I was young, what it would be like if the whole world were Mennonite. What if you'd past a gas station and see Mennonites there, pumping gas? And what if you'd go into the grocery store and there were only Mennonite families doing the shopping? The dads in the lead, smiling in a friendly sort of way and wearing long-sleeved dress shirts like the men wore to church, the wives in their dresses and head coverings pushing heaped carts down the aisles, children gathered around them in bundles.

What if you never had to worry about anyone stealing from you or doing bad things, because everyone obeyed Jesus? (As, in my childish mind, I assumed Mennonites always did.) And what if everywhere you went - to the ocean, to the park, to California - it was as if you were meeting family, because everyone was just like you?"

I guess it is something most of us forget when we look at the Amish and Mennonites is how very different they are compared to us. But what about putting the shoe on the other foot and wonder how difficult it must be for them to live among the English world and the ways that are far different from their own. Anything But Simple conveys what it is like for one young woman growing up and seeing so many things changing around her as the established ways that set Mennonites and Amish apart are now trying to hold on to their faith while living in a world quite different from their own. I really enjoyed the stories that Lucinda shares in her book about her dreams of wanting to be a writer but stuck in a sense dealing with being very different and trying to share her own personal legacy with readers in this book. I applaud them in their efforts much like as Christians, we understand how vastly different the world is around us, trying to hold on to our faith in a growing hostile world.

I received Anything But Simple by Lucinda J. Miller compliments of Herald Press. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free andments were received, unless specified otherwise. "But if you try for simplicity, is it simple anymore?" Lucinda compares some of the complex code of laws, both written and unwritten, as exists within her denomination, as the Pharisees of Jesus' day might be an excellent comparison. In the Mennonite world everything matters, clothes matter because they define you as separate in society and they define you in Mennonite circles as part of a certain fellowship or conference, a certain level of liberal or conservative. But then again something as insignificant as whether or not a man's top shirt button is closed during church service can become an important issue in certain church groups. In their world, every decision is given excruciating examination in light of the Bible and the church. This is a wonderful insightful book for anyone who really wants to know the truth about living life as a Mennonite and for that reason I give this a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Anything But Simple, Lucinda J. Miller, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Lucinda J. Miller on Facebook to stay up to date on all her books.

To read more reviews of Anything But Simple, please visit Herald Press' website. 

   

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Name Unknown Review and Giveaway



"Rosemary Gresham may have been a thief, but she was a thief who preferred to work in broad daylight."

I love reading the first sentence in any novel. Most of the time it gives the reader some insight into how this novel will evolve and A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White is no exception. This is the first novel in the Shadows Over England series and one that I am sure most Edwardian Romance fans will absolutely LOVE! Rosemary Gresham is definitely a professional in her trade, that being one of many thieves that prey upon those in the upper class, in order to not only make a living, but so they can put food on the table of a group of similar young thieves that work London's streets. Most of the time, they are hired out by those looking to gain some advantage or to resolve some slight that they feel needs to be recompensed and her group of wayward thieves is more than happy to assist.

Her latest assignment is to prove Peter Holstein is not what he appears as he has the King's ear and many believe his ties with German began when his mother married his father and secured a place and a notoriety among the upper class in London. Now with the threat of war on the horizon with Germany playing a pivotal role, there are some that want to prove Peter's alliances, however innocent, do not lie with London. So Rosemary has been tasked to uncover proof that Peter is loyal to Germany and the price to be paid is so great, she would be a complete fool to pass it up.

She blends into Peter's household under the guise of being a librarian hired out by one of Peter's contacts to help restore his former library to its glory again. As of yet, it simply remains a hoarder's paradise with more books on the floor and every available space than is on the overly full shelves. Peter needs her assistance to locate documentation about his family, but doesn't share the real reason why he needs that documentation. Is Peter truly a German spy living in the midst of London or is he simply an innocent man looking to prove his loyalty to London before war sets in?

I received A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White compliments of Bethany House Publishers and TLC Book Tours.In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise. I absolutely love Rosemary's character because she can justify her shady dealings to help the local street urchins who are orphans and in need of help. She can read people perfectly and knows more about them than they initially share with her. She finds herself at odds the more she grows to know Peter and understands why his stuttering makes him a bit of a recluse in his small town. It gives way to suspicions by the local townspeople that Peter is truly hiding something and thus the need to prove where his loyalties stand in the face of a war on the horizon. I easily give this a 4 out of 5 stars and shows that sometimes our name is not all what people might be willing to believe.

For more information about A Name Unknown, Roseanna M. White or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Roseanna M. White on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on A Name Unknown, please visit TLC Book Tour's page.

Now for the best part, the giveaway. Thanks to the generosity of Bethany House Publishers and TLC Book Tours, they are offering a giveaway copy to one lucky winner. Here are the guidelines to enter:

1. Be a resident of the US or Canada, or have a US or Canada mailing address. No P.O. Boxes please.

2. Share this giveaway on any social media outlet of your choice, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, you name it. In fact the more you share, the more chances you have to win!

3. Leave me a comment below with a link to your social media share along with your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols. I need to have a way to contact you if you're the lucky winner. No email address, I have no way to reach you.

That's all there is to enter. Enter as many times as you want. Remember each social media contact link generates an entry. The giveaway ends on July 31, 2017 and I will be emailing the winner at that time. If you have any questions, please email me at Stevenkat27@gmail.com.





 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Whispering Pines



The pines on LeMaster's ranch is a special place where the four winds converge. It is where the Sioux people hear the voices of their great spirits who have passed away. The Sioux have a special connection to the land. The pines are where their ancestors offered praise to their creator. Church is our special place where we worship God. It is the heavenly sounds where the winds come together in the trees. They say different people hear different things and only the people of pure heart hear the pleasing sounds.

For Rose Langstry she has always dreamed that one day she would marry the right man in those pines but she is headed home to help Granny out on their small farm. She and her sisters left to seek an education out east and now one by one, they are making their way home again. But when her stagecoach happens upon a hanging in progress, she is appalled that one of them is her brother Frankie, and she will do whatever she can to ensure he is not hung. But when Morgan LeMasters tries convince her that Frank and his gang have been caught stealing horses and cattle, and they deserve to be hung, she argues that until all the evidence is brought before the judge, these men need to go to jail. Rose is convinced that her brother is innocent. Just as they head out for town, the stage coach takes a spill over a cliff, leaving Rose unconscious and Frank in control as he uses his sister as a bargaining chip for his freedom.

The men agree to let Frank go, with the vow that Morgan will find him and bring him to justice. But he will have to convince Rose and Granny of Frank's criminal past and he won't rest until Frank is convicted. The ongoing feud between Frank and Morgan is a long one and while no one really knows the details of it, they know that both men will not stop until one of them is dead. Does God have other plans for them or will justice be found within the whispering pines?

I received Whispering Pines by Scarlett Dunn compliments of Zebra Books, Kensington Publishing Corporation and Net Galley. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise. This is such a wonderful novel about the way we judge people's characters despite the way we think we know everything there is to know about them. It shows how far Rose is willing to go to help her brothers find redemption and healing even if it means she overlooks their apparent faults. She doesn't believe anyone is beyond God's help. In this case it will be a loving and protective man who learns what it means to trust and to forgive and what vengeance will result in when they take matters into their own hands instead of leaving it up to God. I can't wait for the next novel which readers get a sneak peek at in the conclusion of this novel. Each sister is on their way home and with it, a novel dedicated to the Langstry Sisters. This is the first novel in the series and well worth 5 out of 5 stars in this readers opinion.

For more information about Whispering Pines, Scarlett Dunn or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Scarlett Dunn on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest books.

To read more reviews on Whispering Pines, please visit Kensington Publishing's website. 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Healing Love



"She spent over $100,000 and two years in grad school for this?"

Makes one wonder about the novel that they just opened with this one opening sentence. I often wonder if a lot of people think along the same lines as Brooke Endress, the main character in Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery. It's hard to discern what God's plan is for our lives and for Brooke, after losing her parents in a car accident, her and her younger sister Aubrey now live with her Aunt and Uncle, so she knows what it's like to lose everything you hoped for your future. After numerous rejection letters from various television stations looking for anchor positions, Brooke believes working as an intern for the last two years is beginning to make her wonder about her future.

Just as she is about to embark on a possible promotion working alongside a colleague for the television station in a new debut program, her Aunt and Uncle ask if she would accompany Aubrey on a missions trip to El Salvador for two weeks as a chaperone since she is took young to do so on her own. Remembering her promise to do just that, she gets permission from the station to take this trip, counting down the days until she can put her career on a possible fast track towards something worthwhile and promising. The last thing she expected to do was fall in love.

Ubaldo Chavez, has spent his entire life, finding ways to serve God. He graduated and obtained his teaching credentials which most in El Salvado never achieve. He now uses those skills to teach the children when they can attend at school in hopes of giving them that same chance at something better. During his down time, he still spends time bringing food and medicine to his family and ailing mother even though his father wants nothing to do with the fact that he believes Ubaldo is too good to be a simple farmer. He also works for a small orphanage raising young girls to keep them safe from living on the streets and becoming victims of prostitution. He just never imagined in all his wildest dreams he would fall in love with a woman who is only going to be in his country for 2 weeks.

I received Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery compliments of author. This entire story is based on the author's own unique experience serving on a missions trip to a third world county and getting an impact on how very different things are in our own country. It completely changes her life, like Brooke in the novel. Brooke discovers a young orphan child, Fatima, who is too afraid to ask for help when she and her younger sister Dinora, leave home to avoid being victims at the hands of their Uncle. She finds meaning and purpose to her life and wonders if God might be calling her into a different future than she'd ever dream is possible. This is a beautiful story of unconditional love, forgiveness and redemption and helps readers understand the plight of young girls in El Salvador. This one easily garners a 4.5 out of 5 stars in this reader's opinion.

For more information about Healing Love, Jennifer Slattery or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Jennifer Slattery on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

His Guilt



"Whatever your past has been, you have a spotless future." - Amish Proverb

Who knew Christian fiction could be so heart pounding? There will be some that will enjoy this book and others the define everything through a black and white microscope might think differently. This is a series unlike anything that falls under the Amish genre, and for someone looking for a bit of suspense in solving a murder mystery, then this is the series for you. It will have you glued to the book until the final page is turning hoping that this doesn't leave you in a cliff-hanger for the third novel and rest assured, you will have all the answers by the last page. Which leads me to ask the question, what will the third novel cover? Guess we will have to sit back and bide our time til it releases.

His Guilt is the second novel in the Amish of Hart County Series with Her Secret being the first. Please read them in order to gain the most satisfaction in understanding where the second novel picks up. Mark Fisher returns back to Hart County, where he and his brother Calvin shared a less than normal Amish upbringing. Suffering at the hands of an abusive alcoholic father, and a mother that seemed to wish both boys were not hers, Calvin and Mark both left to find new futures some place else. Now that Mark Fisher has returned and is trying to find a new future now that his parents have passed away, leaving him the family home to restore, he struggles to fit into the community that is resolved to hold his past against him.

He was questioned before in the assault of Bethany Miller, but was released when they could find no evidence to convict him. However most in the Amish community would rather have Mark Fisher leave and never come back. They are quite so willing to find forgiveness in their hearts. Waneta Cain, a young Amish woman tries to see things from a different perspective along with his employer and great friend, Mr. Lehmann who all work for Blooms and Berries. But when a murder happens, suddenly all eyes look for Mark Fisher, who once again seems to be the focus of this investigation. As more and more violence escalates in the community, members of Hart County seem convinced that Mark is the one to blame, but is he or is there something more sinister happening in the community that no one notices until it is too late?

I received His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray compliments of Avon Inspire, a division of Harper Collins Publishers and Litfuse Publicity. This is one of the best suspense murder mystery series, I have read to date and love how Shelley doesn't give it all away until the very end as police investigations find the real guilty person, and it is not who I thought it was. It reminds you that too often we judge people based not only on their appearances, but also holding their past against them as well. When do we let people try and make a better future for themselves without our judging their actions of the past? For me, this one is worth all 5 out of 5 stars in this reader's opinion and can't wait for the third novel in the series to release.

For more information about His Guilt, Shelley Shepard Gray or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Shelley Shepard Gray on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on His Guilt, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour Page.