REVIEW: The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

Ranger Ford Brannon and Naturalist Margie Lane both have a deep love for God’s land. In this novel, they both work at Mt. Rainier National Park.  Ford has taken over as head ranger after the death of his father.  Margie gets her spot primarily due to her father’s role as state senator.  A large donation promise by the senator to the park leads, indirectly, to Margie’s job.  Ford underestimates pampered Margie’s abilities and skills in dealing with the public and handling herself in the wilderness.

The conflict of the story comes from Margie’s ex-fiancé, Philip, who is unrelenting in his pursuit of possessing Margie and blackmail and deceit to her whole family.  Margie has gladly gone to Rainier to get her life back and hide out from Philip.  Unfortunately he pursues her there and promises to develop the park land into a commercial resort.

There’s a lot going on in the story which takes place over the course of a summer season at the park.  As I’ve been able to visit the park, I greatly enjoyed reading about places I’ve seen.  The 1927 setting was interesting as it was a period of excess for some families.

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I look forward to more books in this series.  Plus, what a beautiful, artful cover for the book!

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REVIEW: The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

Nurse practitioner Mia Robinson had a quick jolt to adulthood when she took on raising her 10 year old sister at her own 20 years of age. Fast forward about 10 years to Lucy’s time to make her own life. Mia wants to make sure that Lucy is making wise decisions; she’s protective with good right. It’s also a time for Mia, though, to get her own God-directed path in line. Into the picture enters Jake with PTSD who is great friends with Lucy’s guy, Sam. Mia wrestles with the missionary plans she has had for years.

I found the story to have more depth than expected and I enjoyed it greatly. Thanks to Bethany House for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Amish Cooking Class – The Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Heidi is back as a cooking teacher, giving much more than just cooking lessons.  Six students from all walks of life take her class and learn more about themselves than they might about actually cooking.  Heidi and her husband are barren and the cooking class allows her an outlet for her talents as she waits on God for direction.  Her faith is demonstrated to the class members as she shares wisdom and Scripture each session.

Characters from book 1 are mentioned in the story.  Other than Heidi’s storyline, it is possible for a new reader to start the series with this book.

Thanks to Shiloh Run Press for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover that their divorce was never finalized.  With much hurt between them, they don’t want to encounter one another to take care of legal issues.  However, to move on with their lives, they have to make some time for one another.  This is a Hosea and Gomer type story, though Josie isn’t as unfeeling as we’re led to believe of Gomer.  So many times a person’s history influences their steps.

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The severity of the snowstorm was a surprise for me and that part of the storyline added to the plot.  Set over a three week timespan, this book moves quickly.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

In the late 1930s, the five Foss children find themselves entrapped at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage. They were collected against the true knowledge of their parents, through the work of Georgia Tann. Ms. Tann for years ran an illegal adoption ring and was in charge of child trafficking. Although the Foss children are a fictional family, the stories their lives hold are based on accounts from children impacted by the scandal. Actually much bigger than a scandal, but oh my.
It’s a riveting read as modern day granddaughter who is an attorney seeks to find out and maybe hide the possibly family dirty laundry. What Avery Staffords finds will keep the reader turning pages. In finding the truth behind May’s story, Avery is also forced to make personal decisions that will impact her own adult years.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

This was a much anticipated, by me, book as I’ve read and relished her other stories over the years. Thanks to Lisa Wingate for another super read! And, thanks to Ballantine Books for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson

Hope, the middle sister, hardened her heart to everyone except her two sisters and maybe her uncle’s family. After the demoralizing personal attack on her at the Whitman mission, she has good reason to be wary. Older sister Grace and younger sister Mercy gently encourage her to give the fear and hate over to God. Hope, though, is resigned to her delicate hold on a normal life. Given an opening, though, God can get in and do wonders.

Beloved Hope, Heart of the Frontier Series #2   -     By: Tracie Peterson
Thanks to Bethany House for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Barbara and Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest: Discovering New Purpose, Passion, and Your Next Great Adventure by Barbara Rainey, Susan Alexander Yates

Barbara and Susan help empty-nest women redefine the “mom” role.  I thought they did a good job looking at the empty nest stage through a variety of circumstances.  They include their own experiences and they draw on the stories of other women who have moved beyond the high school years.  It’s coming and I can see some good things and some sad things.  Having just moved our oldest into his own apartment for his first real job, I thought it was time to tackle this topic.

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I greatly enjoyed the insight.  I felt that enough of the experiences they portrayed were close to my own.  I found a “fit” in several of their topics.  Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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