I am so pleased that you have stopped by for a visit. I hope you will enjoy reading my book reviews. If you would be interested in reviewing books on your own blog, check out the links for litfuse and Booksneeze.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Love Amid the Ashes is the debut novel of Mesu Andrews. From the beginning, it is obvious that Mesu has steeped herself in the study of the biblical text, and has done careful research in order to bring a fresh perspective on the sufferings of Job.

At first, I wondered about a love story which takes place in the midst of Job's incredible pain and suffering. But Mesu has done justice to this story, parts of which are well-known, and others, little known. She has carefully woven together a story from details in the Bible, together with possible scenarios. Readers will be wanting to re-read the Book of Job as well as the relevant chapters from Genesis to see how the storyline flows.

Love Amid the Ashes is a story for all time, as it deals with the ageless themes of forgiveness, shame, love and romance, family dynamics, and suffering. Faith shines brilliantly through words and actions. Characters come to learn of El Shaddai, and this knowledge deepens throughout the story. As the reader, I was caught up in the dilemmas of the characters, and felt their mounting tension. I found the hope-filled ending satisfying.

Mesu adds the story of the hoopoe bird, now Israel's national bird, to tie the story line together. She also includes the relevant biblical text at the beginning of each chapter. Author's notes explain how the book came to be written.

This is one of the first historical fiction books set in biblical times which I have read. I am very impressed with this debut novel, and look forward to what is yet to come from Mesu Andrews!

Mesu Andrews is a speaker who has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture. Harnessing her deep understanding and love for God's Word. Andrews brings the biblical world alive for her readers. She lives in Washington.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Visit Mesu at http://www.mesuandrews.com/ and http://www.loveamidtheashes.com/. You may also want to follow her on Facebook or Twitter

Friday, April 15, 2011


Beside Still Waters is Tricia Goyer's first Amish fiction. It is loosely based on a true story.
Marianna Sommer believes she knows where her life is headed. Nineteen years old and Amish, her plan is to get baptized into the church, marry Aaron Zook, and live in the only community she's ever known.

When Marianna's family moves from Indiana to Montana she discovers life and faith will never be the same. As she builds an easy friendship with local guy, Ben Stone, Ben not only draws her heart, he also gets her thinking about what loving God and living in community is all about.

As Marianna struggles to find "home", she also encounters God in intimate ways. Click here to watch the book trailers. http://triciagoyer.com/contemporaryfiction.html#BesideStillWaters

My impressions:
Although Amish books are not my genre of preference, I found BESIDE STILL WATERS refreshingly different. Tricia has done a superb job with characterization. The characters are shown in their strengths and weakness, and as a reader, I care about them. I could feel with Marianna in the dilemmas she faced. She is forced to make tough decisions as her world is turned upside-down. She faced major challenges when her perception of God and community conflicted with her own experience. Would she obey the rules, or would she risk all she had been taught and trust in a God who looked on her with pleasure?

I also liked the story because all the loose ends are not neatly and predictably tied up. The main points are clear'

Tricia has included several Amish recipes in the back of the book, always a nice touch.

About the author:

Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. Visit http://www.triciagoyer.com/ for more info.

About Beside Still Waters Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of the first book in the Big Sky Amish series Tricia is giving away 10 copies of Beside Still Waters and a pair of super cute antique Amish salt & pepper shakers. (photo attached)

Details at Tricia’s blog, It’s Real Life: http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com/2011/04/beside-still-waters-giveaway.html

BONUS! Each person who enters the giveaway will receive a FABULOUS Montana Amish Calendar. Hurry, it’s only available while supplies last!

Please stop by and read the blogs of participants in the Beside Still Waters Blog Tour.


This book is published by B&H Books http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/ and was provided for purpose of review by Litfuse Publicity Group.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


From promotional material: "Each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on society's finest clothing at Madame Fortier's elite gown shop. Yet the three beauties long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream - and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times, and as their destinies intertwine, each girl harbors a secret, wondering if she will be found worthy of the love she seeks."
From back cover: In 1918 Boston, three seamstresses dare to dream of a better life. Fiery Julietta pursues love recklessly. Shy Annamaria falls for the wrong man. Secretive Luciana's past endangers them all. Drawn together amid the opulence of Madame Fortier's dress shop, will each find the fairy-tale ending she seeks?

Siri Mitchell has written an intricately woven story, rich in character. Set in post WWI Boston, it is the tale of three Italian immigrant women, their lives and loves. It is also set against the backdrop of the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918-1919.

I was not familiar with either the Italian immigrant story or the Spanish Influenza epidemic prior to reading this book, so there was much to be gleaned by way of historical detail. For instance, I learned that those immigrating from Italy in that time period found it strange to be referred to as Italians. It was more common to be referred to according their region.

This is a story of secrets, intrigue, faith and family. How are these young women to honor family while at the same time seeking independence and a life of their own? Being as full of surprises as it is secrets, this book intrigues the reader to the end.

Siri tells the story through the eyes of the three main characters and Madame Fortier, using the omniscient point of view. Occasionally, the author interjects in order to comment or clarify.

This is the first book I've read by Siri Mitchell, and found it a fascinating read.

About the author:

Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a speaker and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

Her ninth novel, A Heart Most Worthy, follows prior Bethany House releases: A Constant Heart (October 2008), Love's Pursuit (June 2009), and She Walks in Beauty (Apr 2010). She Walks in Beauty won the inaugural INSPY Award for Historical Fiction in Dec 2010. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. Love's Pursuit was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".