Monday, February 24, 2014

A Daughter’s Inheritance, by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

The Broadmoor Legacy, Book 1

From the Publisher:

Lose Yourself in the History, Opulence, and Elegance of the Thousand Islands

Cousins Amanda, Sophie, and Fanny Broadmoor are as close as sisters, but when their grandfather dies, the terms of his will just might destroy their bond. Seventeen-year-old Fanny has never put much stock in the conventions of society. In fact, she has given her heart to Michael, the family boat-keeper. But when she receives a surprising inheritance, she discovers just how oppressive society can be... and that she may be trusting the wrong people.

Dare she follow her heart and risk going against her family? What if she loses everything she's ever known? It all comes down to one choice: What does Fanny Broadmoor want her legacy to be?

My Review:

I hated this book. NOTHING was resolved. If you enjoy sequels and intend to read an entire series and don’t mind trudging through the longest story ever where nothing ever happens, then by all means, get this book and read it and the rest of the Broadmoore Legacy series.

My only complaint is that due to not resolving the book, it drug the story out until I was tired of it. I really became bored with the storyline and plot and toward the end I was just trudging along waiting for a quick one chapter wrap-up that never came.

I do want to know what happens to the characters and how it all ends, but rather than making me curious enough to buy the next book, I was just thankful I finished this one and have no desire to continue in the series.

I have really enjoyed the other books I’ve read by Judith Miller, but this one was incredibly disappointing. I find that it’s hit or miss for me with Tracie Peterson. I loved All Things Hidden, but despised Distant Dreams for the same reasons I disliked this book.

I don’t recommend this book.

I was not under any obligation to write a review.

In the Company of Secrets, by Judith Miller

(Postcards from Pullman, book 1)
From the Publisher:

The truth could cost her everything....

Olivia Mott didn't intend to lie. Somehow, it just happened. And wasn't it all Lady Charlotte's fault anyway?

Now Olivia's position as assistant chef at Pullman's elegant Hotel Florence is dependant upon her keeping her secrets. And sometimes lies have a way of leading to other lies. Should Olivia admit her real past and accept the consequences or keep quiet in order to preserve her comfortable new circumstances?

Deception seems to be part of everyday life in the company town of Pullman, Illinois, where the grand Pullman Palace Car is manufactured. Samuel Howard, Olivia's friend and the town manager, seems to think everything is fine, but Olivia observes something quite different. Could it be that Olivia is not the only one harboring secrets?

My Review:

I have really enjoyed other Judith Miller books that I read, especially the Amana colony books. This book was ok, but it wasn’t my favorite by this author. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good book; I just prefer her others.

As always, Judith Miller has well-developed characters that you feel like you know pretty well by the time you finish a book. Like with other books of hers that I’ve read, there was that one character that you just wanted to slap because they were so annoying and then there were other characters that you wanted to be best friends with.

Overall, this was a good story. The book had a good plot that kept you reading to find out how it would all be resolved. I would recommend this book.

I am under no obligation to write a review, positive or negative.

Somewhere to Belong, by Judith Miller

--> (Daughters of Amana, book 1)

Summary from the publisher

Johanna Ilg has lived her entire life in Main Amana, one of the seven villages inhabited by devout Christians who believe in cooperative living, a simple lifestyle, and faithful service to God. Although she's always longed to see the outside world, Johanna believes her future is rooted in the community. But when she learns a troubling secret, the world she thought she knew is shattered and she is forced to make difficult choices about a new life and the man she left behind.

Berta Schumacher has lived a privileged life in Chicago, and when her parents decide they want a simpler life in Amana, Iowa, she resists. Under the strictures of the Amana villages, Berta's rebellion reaches new heights. Will her heart ever be content among the plain people of Amana?

My Review

I enjoyed this book. I feel like it was well-written. There are several types of writing styles; some authors possess a straight-forward writing style that allows quickly read a book and enjoy its plot and characters, while others are truly wordsmiths who write phrases so beautiful that you have to stop and linger over them as one would a rose on a summer day. (See what I did there?)

Judith Miller writes in a straight-forward manner that tells the story and she tells it well. Her characters come alive by the details she shares. She has the ability make you know the characters and cause them to get under your skin and annoy you or make you sympathize with them. Berta annoyed me but at the same time I pitied her and wanted to offer her guidance. I sympathized with Johanna as she tried to offer guidance to Berta and as she dealt with her own life falling apart.

This book surprised me. I suppose I didn’t read the back cover until after I read the book because I had no idea that Johanna was going to learn a troubling secret and the secret she did learn took me by surprise. I love when a book isn’t predictable!!

This was a wonderful book and it was the first book I read about the Amana colonies. (I believe there are two Amana Colony series.) I was very excited to pick up another Judith Miller book. I have thoroughly enjoyed all that I have read by her.

I highly recommend this book.

I am under no obligation to write a review on this book.

A Shining Light, by Judith Miller



The book begins with Andrea Wilson receiving news of her husband’s death at sea. Struggling financially, Andrea decides to return to her father’s home with her young son. Upon arriving at the homestead, she learns that her father sold the farm and died in a fire. She is offered refuge in the Amana colony and there she makes friends, finds peace, love, and grows closer to God. Rather than mourning her husband’s death, she is finally free of his abuse and falls in love with someone who treats her right. In a surprising and disappointing turn of events, Andrea has to learn to lean on God and to trust in His plan even when she doesn’t understand it. In the end, she finds that God’s plan is always for her good.


I really enjoyed this book. It is the second book that I have read by Judith Miller and I have enjoyed them both.

The characters were well-developed and each had their own personal journey in learning to trust in God’s plan. The book was written from multiple character’s perspectives and this changed from chapter to chapter.  As long as I paid attention to who first-person speaker was, it was no problem to follow. The author not only wrote from various perspectives, but she wrote in the voice of the character which made it much easier to follow than it might have otherwise been.

The plot was interesting! It was full of surprises, some good, some bad, but all making the story better. The book took me on an emotional rollercoaster as I sympathized with the protagonists and despised the antagonist and worried for the little boy caught in the middle.

I loved that this wasn’t just a book that mentioned God a few times and was a clean novel, but really wove a relationship with God all throughout the book. It made me think about how God’s plan is always for our good and we can trust Him even when we can’t see the end from the beginning.

I highly recommend this book. You can purchase it through your local retailer, on, or through the publisher's website.

*I was provided with a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review*

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

Author: Lori Benton


Raised by her step-father, Tamsen Littlejohn was raised and trained for the sole purpose of marrying up in order to improve her step-father’s social and financial standing. Desperate to escape the prison that her step-father has created and the marriage he is pushing her toward which would only keep her enslaved to her current life, Tamsen attempts to run away but her plans are thwarted by the “rescue” of her step-father and by the man who will eventually help her escape.

Just as her mother is revealing to Tamsen the way that they can escape the abuse of Hezekiah Parrish, he kills her to silence her. Tamsen, given one hour to prepare herself to meet to smooth things over after a poor initial meeting with  Ambrose Kinkaid, instead runs to find help for her mother. Jesse Bird, the man who first stood in her way as she tried to escape now becomes her only way of escape.

Under false accusations of kidnap and murder, Jesse risks his own life to help Tamsen with Parrish and Kinkaid pursuing them. Tamsen seeks a life of her own choosing; Jesse seeks to discover who he is and where he came from. Each of them will find what they are looking for and more in this exciting story that takes you down a trail of history, suspense, and love, and unfolds a tangled web of family relationships as each discovers who they are.
(Read CHAPTER 1)


This is the first Lori Benton book that I have read and I want to read more! The book is almost 400 pages long and I would not have wanted a single page less. Sometimes you wish for a long book to end because it’s boring, but I only wanted this one to end so that I could know what finally happened!

Lori's writing is incredible. She writes incredible descriptions of the characters and everything is written so eloquently. As I read, it was almost like I was watching a movie. I could see everything happening. Great writing!

I think that the main characters were well-developed and I felt like I knew them pretty well… at least as well as they knew themselves. The supporting characters were enough developed to aid the story without altering the focus; however, they were given enough of their own story that another book could be written with some of them as main characters. In fact, I would enjoy reading a book about Cade (Jesse’s foster father) or Ambrose Kincaid.

I had no idea that there was once a State of Franklin! A little bit of history is woven into the story. I’d be interested in learning more. While this was informative, I did find that at times I got a little lost in the history. Part of that could be due to the fact that it’s history I am completely unfamiliar with, but it could also be that it distracted a little from the overall story. That being said, I wouldn’t do away with it because the book wouldn’t be the same without it and it was a really great book!

I really loved the cover of this book. Tamsen is portrayed beautifully and I found myself often flipping to the front cover to see the picture of Tamsen and picture her in whatever scene I was reading.

I highly recommend reading The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. It will be available for purchase April 15, 2014. You can pre-order the book at and I suggest you do so! It was THAT good.

*I obtained this advance reading copy for free in exchange for an honest review through Waterbrook-Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program.*

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life Support by Candace Calvert

Lauren’s sister Jess is somewhat troubled, so Lauren goes back home to Houston to keep an eye on her. She works at a nurse at the hospital where Eli, a PA, works.

Eli is watching over his sibling as well. He takes care of his disabled older brother, despite many complicated issues in his own family.

Throughout the book both Eli and Lauren deal with troubled family relationships and struggle with how to best protect those they love while getting them the help that they need. For Lauren, that’s dealing with her sister’s mental illness. For Eli, it’s dealing with his brother Drew’s advance directive.

Eli and Lauren have just a tiny bit of romantic history that has been complicated by misunderstandings and difficult family dynamics. They begin to build their relationship, and as storms rage in their personal lives and a hurricane rips through Houston, they find hope and love.

My review:

This book was written by a former ER nurse so it has all of the interesting medical/ hospital stuff that I like without getting too technical for the average reader who knows nothing medical-related.

Each character has their own personal story, but the stories aren’t so intricate and separate that you can’t keep up. It’s just enough to keep you interested and paying attention.

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the characters, their stories, the complicated issues they dealt with, and the fact that in story form, the book addressed real-life problems. It fought some of the stigma that comes with the label of a mental illness. It dealt with some of the difficulties that families face when individuals are dealing with their own personal guilt. The book touched on domestic violence. Overall, the book far exceeded my expectations. Although my expectations were low, it really was a good book.

I had my doubts when I chose this book to review. It sounded like it would be a good story, but it was one of those that you think could go either way – really good or really lame. I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I did just that. In fact, the only thing I didn’t like about this book was the cover. Rather than encouraging me to pick up the book and read it, the 90s-era-cheap-medical-drama type cover really turned me off. I would give this book 5 stars for content and 2 stars for the cheesy front cover.

I would definitely read another book by this author.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Title: Echoes of Mercy
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer

Echoes of Mercy is set primarily in Sinclair, Kansas in the early 1900s. The story centers around Dinsmore’s World-Famous Chocolate Factory. Caroline Lang, an investigator for the Department of Labor, is sent on assignment to the chocolate factory to investigate the suspicious accident and death of a fellow investigator. She goes undercover as Carrie Lang and meets the charming and intriguing janitor, Ollie Moore. Ollie Moore, aka Oliver Dinsmore, is heir to his father’s chocolate factory and is working undercover to see the day to day operations and decide what he can do to improve things when he takes over the chocolate factory.

Gordon Hightower, who has his own aspirations to one day own the factory, manages the factory and no one will stand in his way of getting what he wants. But Carrie and Ollie have other ideas.

Meanwhile, Carrie meets and befriends fifteen year old Letta when she covers for her theft and then teaches her that stealing is not the way to obtain what you need. After Letta’s father’s death, Carrie and Ollie are faced with the challenge of finding a home for Letta and her two brothers, Leslie, and Lank.

In the process of solving mysteries and working out problems, Oliver and Caroline discover more than they bargained for. They find love and mercy in more ways than one.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It has about 4 primary characters and 6 supporting characters. Each character, whether primary or supporting is well-developed. Kim Vogel’s description of each character immediately brings to your mind’s eye a picture of what they might look like.

The story is a little bit of everything: mystery, romance, adventure, and lessons in Christianity. I enjoyed how Kim wove multiple stories into one: Ollie and Carrie and the mystery of the chocolate factory death and the secrets they uncover, Oliver and Caroline’s budding romance, and the story of Letta, Leslie, and Lank and their search for a place to belong.
This was a very well-written book, beginning to end. This is the second book I have ready by Kim Vogel Sawyer and both in my top 5 favorite books that I’ve read so far this year. (The first was Waiting for Summer’s Return.) I highly recommend not just Echoes of Mercy, but anything by Kim Vogel Sawyer.