“Sons of Blackbird Mountain” by Joanne Bischof, book review

sons of blackbird cover

Sons of Blackbird Mountain” by Joanne Bischof, book review

Aven leaves Norway to come to Appalachia where her only remaining family lives, after the tragic death of her husband. She comes at the invitation of the boys’ aunt, only she has died prior to Aven’s arrival. She is also shocked to learn that the “boys” she is to tend are her age and older, not boys, but men.

But the cousins welcome her into their home and she quickly becomes a member of the family. Each of the men sees her in a different light. The oldest, Jorgen, has a belle he is courting long distance and plans to marry her upon her arrival. The younger two, Thor and Haakon both see Aven as a protentional wife and a rivalry of sorts takes shape. Thor is deaf and mute, and to complicate his life, had a problem with the hard cider that he brews. This cider is also the family’s main source of income.

This is a wonderful, but complex, story of a family working together for a common goal, several goals, actually. Together they support Thor as he fights his addiction. Together, they welcome Jorgen’s bride into their family. Together, they fight the neighbors who wish to do them harm. Together, they devise a new business for the family that provides for them all.

I enjoyed this book, although it was a little difficult to get into at first, but after a couple of chapters I was hooked! I took this book on vacation and really enjoyed reading it by the pool and in my room in the evening. I hope the author will write another book telling the next chapters in the lives of these characters.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Eat at Home Tonight” by Tiffany King, book review

dinner cover

“Eat at Home Tonight” by Tiffany King, book review
101 Simple Busy-Family recipes for your slow cooker, sheet pan, Instant Pot and more

We all want to sit down with our family and eat dinner at home. It seems so simple. But, in reality, it is probably easier to send a man to the moon than to have everyone sitting down at the dinner table with hot nutritious food that pleases all family members! But as moms, we try to make this happen most nights of the week.

Now, Tiffany King has compiled a book of wonderful, family friendly recipes that fit various time restraint categories to help mom accomplish this monumental task: Dinner!

The book is divided into categories that coordinate to the amount of time you have to make dinner, or your emotions at dinner time. These chapter titles are really very realistic: “I only have 15 minutes tonight” or “My refrigerator is empty tonight” or my favorite “Everyone’s on a different schedule tonight.” These chapters allow the cook to quickly determine how to best get dinner on the table when it is time. There are appetizing pictures and heart felt descriptions of the recipes and how to use them to accomplish your goal, feeling your family well. The recipes use real food items that are easily purchased at a regular grocery store, meaning there are very few exotic ingredients that would be difficult to locate. There are recipes for all occasions and for all food types. Lots of variety.

This book is perfect for a wedding shower to for a young mother. Actually, it would be appropriate for college kids too!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of the book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

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A Contradiction to his Pride” by Leanne W. Smith, book review

contraditin cover

“A Contradition to his Pride” by Leanne W. Smith, book review

This is the second book by the author, Leanne W. Smith, following the characters from “Leaving Independence.” After the wagon train arrived in Oregon, the families divide and pursue the objectives that had given them the strength to cover the Oregon Trail. Abigail and Hoke are married after they discover that her husband, Robert, had died during the war. Together, they claim land and build a farm. James, Hoke’s partner for many years, stays on the help with the building. Or is he staying because Abigail’s oldest daughter, Corrine has caught his eye? Either way, he stays and tries to figure out a way to court her.

Corrine is devastated to learn that her father died during the war and they traveled all this way. But with her family settling in Oregon, she is learning to like her new area. And James has stayed to help her step-dad build the farm. He is always joking with her, but is there more to it? He is older than her, but she is at the age when young women are courting. Will he ever ask her?

This is a story of love and courage. When outlaws rob the bank and a young women is caught in the cross fire, everyone is devastated. But when the town receives notice that the outlaws are coming back to take revenge on James, because he killed one of them, everyone is worried. But James had headed east to claim a wild herd of horses before settling down. Can they get word to him before it is too late?

I enjoyed this book. I had read the first book so was very familiar with the characters and was pleased to learn what they were doing now that they had arrived in Oregon. Like in the first book, this book is full of action and stories about the brave and loyal people who lived in the lawless west. The plot was very believable and there were some tense moments. I read this book while on vacation and it was perfect for the long plane ride and relaxing by the pool. While it is the second book, there is enough information about the characters to enjoy this one, if you have not read the first. However, I suggest you read them in the order the author wrote them. I am looking forward to a third book.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Leaving Independence” by Leanne W. Smith, book review

indepence cover

“Leaving Independence” by Leanne W. Smith, book review

The terrible war that had devastated the country had finally ended. Everyone was trying to move on and rebuild their farms and their lives. Abigail had sent her husband and the father of her four children off to war, with his promise to return. She received a notice from the government that Robert had died during a battle. As a grieving widow, she files to receive the death benefit so she could pay the bills. After a long wait, she is notified that the previous message had been sent in error and Robert was alive and serving the west. After the banker forecloses on her farm, she loads the kids and joins a wagon train in Independence to locate Robert and reunite her family.

Hoke had been riding the range for so many years that sleeping in a building felt strange to him. When he and his partner delivered their load of horses to Independence for those traveling west, he is surprised when he is asked to assist in leading a wagon train. With no other real prospects on the horizon, he decides to go. Or maybe when he saw Abigail in the wagon train, his mind was made up.

This is an action packed story of brave families who risk it all to start a new life in the new territories of our, then, growing country. The stories of adventure, joy and heart ache are realistic. The characters are believable.

I enjoyed this story. I read it while on vacation and it was perfect for the long air plane ride as well as lying near the pool. There was no language or sexual content. The characters displayed a high moral compass and lawless was not tolerated. I am eager to read the second book by the author that follows some of the characters as they settle in Oregon.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“A Rebel Heart” by Beth White, book review

A Rebel Heart” by Beth White, book review

Toward the end of the Civil War, Selah and her sister survived a brutal attack on their plantation and the inhabitants. Their mother hid the girls under the porch, which saved their lives. But from their dark hiding place, they witnessed the brutal attack which killed their mother. Now, five years later, Selah is trying to keep her small family together, but it is very hard.

Levi Riggins survived the war and carries the memories of battle in the scars on his shoulder. After returning home, he tries to help his father in the general store, but is not happy. His father suggests he answer an ad in the paper for the Pinkerton agency, and Riggins finds this is a good match for him.

While Riggins is out on assignment, the train crashes while crossing a bridge. Uninjured, he is able to assist the other passengers to escape the damaged cars. Including Selah, who he has met on the journey. He hopes to see her again.

This is a well written and fast moving novel about the time of reconstruction. There were many issues still plaguing our county, and some of those themes are explored in this book. The character development is well done and realistic.

I enjoyed this book. I read it while on vacation, but it is a good read anytime. I hope there is a sequel, so we can see more of these characters.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Revel. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Love Letter” by Rachel Hauck, book review

love letter cover

The Love Letter” by Rachel Hauck, book review

Chloe has made a name for herself in Hollywood, but it is not quite what she wanted to be known for. With each new film, she hopes not only to get the part, but to live. Yup, just live. But each time, she dies… on screen. Maybe this time will be different, as she really wants to play Esther, the Revolutionary War heroine who loves Hamilton.

Jesse was a super smart kid graduating from MIT with his masters in his early 20’s, and became a successful engineer at the family firm. Until it all fell apart when his girlfriend died. So her ran away to LA to become an actor. Then he wrote a screen play using an old family letter as the inspiration. When it is accepted and to be made into a movie, he is beyond excited.

“The Love Letter” is the newest novel by Rachel Hauck. The style of this book is similar to several of her previous stories, where she has two parallel stories from different time periods that slowly grow closer together until the conclusion of the story. This is a wonderful story of resilience and trusting God’s love to overcome all life’s hardships.

I enjoyed this book and it makes a great summer read for vacation or long plane rides. It is a stand alone book, not part of a series, so if you are looking for a wonderful easy read, pick this up.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher, Harper Collins. All opinions exchanged are my own.

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“Together Forever” by Jody Hedlund, book review

together forever

Together Forever” Orphan Train #2, by Judy Hedlund, book review

Marianne needs to find her sister. She really needs to. Marianne feels she lost Sophie, even though it was Sophie’s decision to leave. With her new job with the Children’s Aid Society, Marianne has to perfect opportunity to look for her.

Andrew is a more experienced Agent with the Children’s Aid Society and is accompanying Marianne on the placing out trip. They quickly learn how to work together to provide a secure and comforting environment for the orphans who are looking for new homes.

As the trip progresses, Marianne and Andrew encounter various trials, but work together and lean on God’s guidance to complete the tasks at hand.

This is the second of the Orphan Train series. While this book has enough back ground for the reader to enjoy and understand the story, it is more enjoyable to read the series in order. The author shares many details that allow the reader to understand the times and the challenges faced by people portrayed in the story.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Road to Magonia Glen” by Pam Hillman, book review

road to magonia

“Road to Magonia Glen” by Pam Hillman, book review.
Quinn O’Shea finally gets to leave Ireland with two of his younger brothers to join his oldest brother in Natchez, Mississippi. The trip by boat takes weeks and there is much turmoil and drama aboard the ship. But this is nothing compared to what happens when they finally get on land!

Kiera Young has traveled by the same ship with her younger sisters to the colonies because her brother-in-law has arranged a marriage for her. This will provide a safe and stable life for the three girls. While she has never met her groom, she is confident that he will be a good husband. Her view changes dramatically when she is taken to a tavern to meet her “husband.”

This is the second in the Natchez series and the characters from the first book are here in the second. The story is deeply rich with complex characters and plots, which show the hardships and joys of the time. The book might stand alone, but it will be easier to understand and enjoy if you read the first book prior to reading this one.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Tyndale House. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“Babylon Bee” book review

babylon bee

“How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living” by Babylon Bee, book review

This was a very interesting book, not what I usually read, but I read it with an open mind. The writing style was well developed and flowed, so it was easy to read. I knew going into it that this was satire, so I was prepared.

Honestly, I did not enjoy the book as I had expected. Living in the world is a really hard thing, and being apart of a Bible believing church is a fundamental aspect that makes it all possible, for me. Making fun of this was just heart breaking. I hope that people who are searching for love and acceptance in a church do not read this and think that this is how Christians really think and act.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Multnomah. All opinions expressed are my own.

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“The Girls’ Guide to Conquering Life” by Erica and Jonathon Catherman, book review

girls guide

“The Girls’ Guide to Conquering Life: How to Ace an Interview, Change a Tire, Talk to a Guy, and 97 Other Skills You Need to Thrive” by Erica and Jonathon Catherman, book review

Being a teen age girl is a hard job. There are so many unknowns and new areas of life to explore. Each girl deals with these new challenges differently, but wants to feel in control of her own life. This book is a great resource of useful and practical information for girls. I think it is well written and the format is easy to read. This would make a wonderful birthday gift for a teenage girl or to use with a small group of girls- like a Sunday School class or other small group.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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