Painted Bride by Suzanne D. Williams 

Filed under: Book Reviews on Thursday, March 6th, 2014 by Deanna Gottreu | No Comments

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Painted Bride by Suzanne D. Williams is the second book in the Best Dressed Series and is as great a read as the first book. This story is about Haydn Fabrinni who is almost the complete opposite of Ludwig, his older brother. Everyone considers Haydn a spoiled younger son and to a certain extent that is true. His life comes screeching to a halt when a woman he has dated announces to everyone that he proposed. Haydn does not remember proposing and while sitting in a bar having too many drinks, he makes a bet with a woman that will change his life forever. Marcy Gregg challenges Haydn to a game of pool and the winner takes all. If she wins, she gets one thousand dollars and if he wins, he proposes marriage and she accepts. Both are experienced pool players and each thinks they will be the winner. One can guess who will win and the rest of the story is about everything that happens after the pool game.

Suzanne did a wonderful job writing this story. At first I was a little turned off by all the tattoos but by the time i was half way through the book I had forgotten about them. All the characters were very well developed and their dialogue was right on target. I felt as if I were friends with the characters for they completely came to life on the pages of the book. All scenes were realistic and I was right in the middle of what was going on and even trying to give advice and cheer for Marcy and Haydn. There were lots of twists and turns in the plot but each one just added more interest to the story and even provided a little suspense. The suspense mainly involved the secrets that Marcy was not willing to share with Haydn but eventually she revealed everything. Some big business wheeling and dealing took place in the story and gave the reader a victor to cheer and a villain to jeer.

I highly recommend this book to everyone that loves a Christian romance with a happy ending.

Thanks to the author, Suzanne D. Williams for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Story Shell by Gloria Repp 

Filed under: Book Reviews on Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 by Deanna Gottreu | No Comments

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The Story Shell by Gloria Repp is the second book in the Pibbin series and is just as delightful a story as the first book. As the book opens, Gaffer is preparing for his birthday party to be held that night and unlike most birthday parties, the birthday person gives gifts to all his/her friends. However, there is a big problem, Gaffer’s story shell is missing. He always has the shell beside him when he is telling a story. Pibbin comes to visit Gaffer and learns that the shell is missing. When he looks at the porch, he sees very large prints on the floor and begins to wonder what animal made the prints. Pibbin begins his search to find the shell and the story is about all the adventures he has trying to locate the lost shell. He faces danger in several places but there is always a friend ready to help him out of danger and also to help in the search. With help from an unexpected source, Pibbin is finally able to retrieve the lost shell. Not only is Pibbin searching for the lost shell, he is also trying to find his good friend Leeper who has been missing for quite some time. Leeper is found and rescued from a young beaver who was keeping Leeper for a toy. With Leeper and the shell both back where they belong, Gaffer has a wonderful birthday and delights everyone with the story he tells with the shell on the floor right next to his chair.

Gloria does it again in this second book about Pibbin. The personality of each animal was very skillfully developed and they almost took on human traits, the baby animals acted pretty much like baby humans and the old animals sometimes acted like grumpy old men or women. The wide range of ages in the animals added to my enjoyment of the book. At one point Pibbin said he “felt so small that he could hardly move or even think.” But this did not stop him from continuing to search for the story shell and for his friend Leeper. The dialogue of the animals was so realistic that I could almost forget that I was reading about animals. Gloria has the knack for making the little frogs and other animals come to life. This book also contained colorful, fun illustrations and in my opinion this added greatly to the story and I am sure that any young child would really enjoy the pictures. Since everyone was preparing for the birthday party, there was lot of cooking being done. My favorites were red bug cookies, dried beetle bars, and sweet and sour slugs. The slugs were Gaffer’s favorite.

I highly recommend this book to kids of all ages. It was written for young children but as a seventy-five year old, I enjoyed it very much and I don’t even like frogs.

Thanks to the author, Gloria Repp for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Rogue Trust by Deanne Durrett 

Filed under: Book Reviews on Monday, March 3rd, 2014 by Deanna Gottreu | No Comments

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The Rogue Trust by Deanne Durrett is a great story of a young woman who is the heir to a huge fortune that was created to honor a Vietnam war hero. The story begins with Becca receiving a bouquet of fourteen yellow roses and just gets better and better from that point on. Becca McGee is working hard to provide a good life for her twelve-year-old daughter, Amy K. Becca has been widowed for three years but still wears her wedding ring and really has no desire to date. J.T. Harrison is the young, good looking lawyer that is handling the inheritance and Becca seems to think that he is a jerk, a stalker, and an imposter. Neither want to admit there is an attraction and J.T. has his work cut out for him in convincing Becca to accept the inheritance and to give him a chance to get to know her better. The stealing of Miss Honey, Amy K’s cat, is just one of the many events that put a good deal of suspense into the story. One thing that was not in the story that I kept expecting to read was the amount of the inheritance. The reader is only told that it was a huge inheritance and that Becca would be able to do anything that she had ever wanted to do.

The author did an excellent job in the development of all the elements that make up this story. The characters were very believable and nearly all were very likeable. I was living Becca’s life right along with her for I have sometimes day dreamed about what I would do should I be fortunate enough to inherit a large sum of money. Becca’s struggles are real and the author did a great job in the way she portrayed Becca working through each problem. All the scenes were so well scripted that I felt myself taking part in everything that was going on. There were several twists and turns to the plot but each twist just added more to the story. I simply adored Becca’s daughter, Amy K, for it was so good to read a novel with a sweet and obedient preteen. I very much enjoyed the friendships and family interactions that were woven throughout the story along with the characters dependence on God for direction.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a good romance spiced up with a little suspense and that has love and friendship all through the story.

Thanks to the author, Deanne Durrett, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

All Things Hidden by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse 

Filed under: Book Reviews on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 by Deanna Gottreu | No Comments

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All Things Hidden by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse was a most enjoyable story which also taught me some American history. Harold Hillerman felt called to take his medical practice to the Alaskan frontier. He moved his wife and two daughters to Alaska early in the twentieth century but his wife and younger daughter had only contempt for the land and the people and moved back to Chicago. Gwyn stayed in Alaska with her father and worked in the medical clinic with him as his nurse. In the era of the Depression, one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal projects was The Matanuska Colonization. This brought two hundred families to the area where Gwyn lived and soon her doctor father was greatly overworked. Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan was stripped of his medical license in Chicago, and to get away from the situation and his broken engagement, he moved to Alaska to help Dr. Hillerman who had been his mentor and friend since he was a young boy. Gwyn’s life had been hard since her mother left but she had great friends among the Alaskan natives and she felt that Alaska was the most beautiful place that God created.

The authors did an excellent job in writing this book. Even though it is a fictional story, they accurately presented actual historical events that took place throughout the book. The development of the characters was so well done that they came to life on the pages of the book and I felt as if I knew everyone of them personally. I even found myself taking part in the conversations in my mind. The plot had a lot of twists and turns and just when I had things all figured out, the plot would change. All the scenes were so well written that in my mind I could see exactly what was happening and was right in the middle of the action. Their descriptions of the mountains and landscapes of Alaska were so vivid that I could see them in my mind’s eye and it also made me want to visit Alaska. The story was filled with love, hate, suspense, murder, friendship, romance, forgiveness, and trust in God. I found this story to be uplifting, entertaining, and informative.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great story filled with suspense, romance, murder, history and has vivid descriptions of the beauty of Alaska.

Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Pibbin the Small by Gloria Repp & narrated by Jon Repp 

Filed under: Book Reviews on Friday, February 28th, 2014 by Deanna Gottreu | 1 Comment

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This review was done using the guidelines set up by Audible.

Overall 5 Stars
Performance 5 Stars
Story 5 Stars

What did you like about this audiobook?

I really enjoyed the way that the narrator had a different voice for each character and this brought each little animal to life in the story.

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I am not going to be doing a study of frogs. However, I will be reading all the other Pibbin books in the series even though I am several decades past the age of a young child.

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

Gloria Repp does an excellent job in presenting a story, be it for a child or an adult. I personally am not all that fond of frogs, but I found the story quite interesting, delightful, and even could see why some people do like frogs. Gloria skillfully develops the character of each little frog or other animal and one almost forgets one is reading about animals and not people. Gloria gives the little animals the same traits that are to be found in caring, loving, and helpful people. Pibbin was small and afraid to make the long journey to get help for the injured turtle but he was willing to make the trip because he wanted to help his friend. The story was made even better with the addition of the colorful drawings that were scattered throughout the book. I highly recommend this audiobook for any family has has young children. I had a print copy and followed along and for me it made the story even better. No illustrations in an audio book.

What did you find wrong about the narrator’s performance?

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the narrator’s performance. Jon Repp did an excellent job in reading the book with a different voice for each character. I can see a child’s eyes lighting up and a smile on his/her face when listening to this book being read by Jon.

Do you have any additional comments?

In my opinion, the question should be asking what the listener liked about the narrator’s performance instead of asking what was wrong. Very negative way to approach a review.

Not Done Living by Suzanne D. Williams 

Filed under: Book Reviews on Monday, February 24th, 2014 by Deanna Gottreu | No Comments

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Not Done Living by Suzanne D. Williams is a very suspenseful and romantic story that kept me guessing through the entire book. Casey Hearn is an assassin and she is hired to kill Mason Thornhill. This job does not end with the intended victim being dead but with the intended victim capturing the heart of the hired killer. Casey became an assassin due to circumstances in her life and when she meets Mason, her life begins to change in many way, most of them for the better and because of Mason. Mason is not exactly who he says he is either, but he is a good guy and will help Casey to get her life under control and back on track.

This story was somewhat different than Suzanne’s other stories. She did an excellent job in developing the characters and their fast paced dialogue. The characters came to life on the pages of the book and all the action scenes were extremely real. Since the main character was an assassin, I could picture everything that was going on but I could not picture myself taking part in the action. I was just standing on the sidelines wondering what was going to happen next. There were many twists and turns to the plot that added to the suspense and enjoyment of the story. I must say that I was completely surprised at the ending.

I recommend this book to everyone that likes a good romantic story with lots of suspense and a surprise ending.

Thanks to the author, Suzanne D. William, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

A Match Made in Texas: A Novella Collection by Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, and Carol Cox 

Filed under: Book Reviews on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 by Deanna Gottreu | No Comments

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A Match Made in Texas: A Novella Collection by Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, and Carol Cox is a very enjoyable read and provides a lot of laughs and leaves you feeling happy. In the first story, A Cowboy Unmatched, Neill is hired to repair the roof of Clara, a young widow who is also pregnant. Clara is determined that she will never love and marry again but Neill works to change her mind. In the second story, An Unforeseen Match, Clayton is on his way to the Oklahoma Land Rush and stops in Dry Gulch to earn enough money to be able to participate in the land rush. He answers a classified ad put in the paper by Grace but to his surprise it is not the ad he thought it was. In the third story, No Match for Love, Lucy has come to Andrew’s ranch to care for his aunt and her arrival causes many bizarre things to happen.. Lucy and Andrew work together to solve the mysteries and soon other feelings develop between the two. In the fourth and final story, Meeting Her Match, the matchmaker has the tables turned on her as she is now the one being matched up with a possible husband.

All three authors did an excellent job in the development of all the elements in these four novellas. Characters were brought to life on the pages of the book and I found myself cheering each one on and hoping that they would find a true and lasting love. The dialogue was many times extremely funny and gave me some good laughs. Even the serious dialogue was true to life and very interesting. As I was reading the different stories I found myself submerged in the action that was taking place. These three authors have an ability to bring characters and their dialogue to life.

I highly recommend this book to everyone that likes a good romantic story with a happy ending and in this book you get four such stories.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wings by Suzanne D. Williams 

Filed under: Book Reviews on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 by Deanna Gottreu | No Comments

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Wings by Suzanne D. Williams is a paranormal romance with lots of symbolism, supernatural happenings, and a strong Christian allegory. Sara Benedict is a seventeen-year old who has been a carrier of the Light of God since she was born. When God tells her that it is time to move then she and her parents and older brother move where ever God is leading Sara. Sara has always worked alone but she was sent to her present location to meet Angus Finlay for she needs his help in fulfilling prophecies. There is a very real and great danger in the new location but Sara still has a job to do but it may mean her loss of the Light. The book description stated that it is “an allegorical look at the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.”

Suzanne is an excellent writer and she did a great job with this book and even though paranormal is not a favorite genre of mine, I did enjoy the book. The characters were so real that I felt as if I were interacting with them which at times left me feeling confused and wondering just what I did believe. The dialogue includes a lot of scripture references mostly from Sara but the rest of the dialogue is typical of teenagers and their parents. The descriptions of all the action scenes were so well written that I could see exactly what was happening but I must say that in some instances I had trouble believing what was happening. The plot is pretty much straight forward until the second half of the book where there are some twists and turns that even add some suspense. It is evident that Suzanne is well founded in her Christian beliefs and does an exemplary job of portraying them in this book.

Even though I do not love the book as indicated by five stars, I gave the book five stars anyway for I did enjoy it and the author did an excellent job with the writing.

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a strong Christian paranormal romance of teenagers that also includes a great deal of allegory.

Thanks to the author, Suzanne D. Williams, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

A Christmas Gift for Mary Jones by Kimberly B. Jackson 

Filed under: Book Reviews on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 by Deanna Gottreu | 1 Comment

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A Christmas Gift for Mary Jones by Kimberly B. Jackson is a delightful and most enjoyable story for the Christmas season or for any time of the year. Mary Jones is only forty-five but all the people in her small town call her Grandmother. Unfortunately, Mary has no children and her husband William has recently died. Teresa and her four-year-old daughter, Emma, appear on Mary’s porch and Teresa says that Mary’s late husband is her father. Mary happily takes Teresa and Emma into her home and treats them as her own. Teresa soon grabs the attention of Tom, the sheriff of the town. Emma is kidnapped by Teresa’s ex-husband and even though Tom is working to find Emma, Mary and Teresa realize that they need to stop relying on themselves and rely on God to help them find Emma.

The author did a very good job in the development of the plot of the story. There were several twists and turns and each one just added interest to the story. Characters were so well developed that they came to life on the pages of the book. During all the scenes, I felt as if I were right in the middle of what was going on for they were so well written and the dialogue was always interesting and believable. The story grabbed my interest on the first page and held it until the last page. This was a great inspirational story that dealt with faith, love, suspense, romance, and family. And there was even some Christmas magic. I would like to have known if William was married to Teresa’s mother and was a widower when he married Mary.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read an inspiring and uplifting Christmas story that also includes romance and even some suspense..

Prism Book Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

A Sharecropper Christmas by Carlene Havel 

Filed under: Book Reviews on Monday, February 17th, 2014 by Deanna Gottreu | 2 Comments

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A Sharecropper Christmas by Carlene Havel is an inspiring story that leaves you with a good feeling in spite of the sadness of the story. Alice and Herbert Shoemaker have two sons and a baby on the way. The Great Depression has hit the family hard and they are hungry and homeless. They are living in a tent when Herbert comes home and has great news, he has gotten a job as a sharecropper. They will now have a house but in reality it is little more than a ramshackle shack. But as bad as it is, it is better than a tent. Alice works tirelessly to make the best of the hard times. She covered the walls with newspapers to help keep out the cold and has to cook in a Dutch oven in the fireplace. Now that they have chickens, Alice is saving money from selling eggs to hopefully realize her dream to have a special Christmas for her sons. In spite of the despair and loss of hope during the Great Depression, Alice and Herbert continue to love each other and the boys and trust God to help them through the tough times.

The characters in the story were very well developed and I felt as if I knew each of the family as a close friend and I kept rooting for them to have a better life. Even though the story was somewhat depressing, the plot was able to hold my attention and was very well written. There were many disappointments for the family, but with love and trust in God, things worked out for the better. It was evident that the author did her research of the Great Depression. As I was reading all the action that was taking place, in my mind I was working right along with the characters and trying to help them find even a little bit of happiness.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read an inspiring and uplifting Christmas story.

Prism Book Group provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.