08 October 2015

'THE BEST GIFT OF ALL' by Julie Lessman - Reviewed by Bonnie Roof

Bonnie reviews 'THE BEST GIFT OF ALL' by Julie Lessman 
IN Home for Christmas: Christmas Historical Romance Collection 
5 Stars *****

"I need 'you', Lizzie - your laughter, your encouragement, your gentleness, your love - and not just in my bed. I need you in my heart and my mind, to feel your love like before, when it was just you and me. I need to be close to you, hold you, talk to you, pray about where I've been in my mind lately." (The Best Gift of All).

Boston, Massachusetts  - 1934

It's 9 p.m., Lizzie Brady sighs as her husband, John, is late getting home from work - as on so many previous nights. During the Depression many people are pressed to work long hours, as does John with his business partner Collin McGuire, Lizzie's brother-in-law, at their printing business. John - previously always gentle, kind, and steady - has become irritable, Lizzie feeling he is no longer the perfect spouse, mentor, and lover. Even six-year-old Teddy and four-year-old Molly have noticed their father's "grumpiness". Lizzie, has put baby Sara to bed, Teddy and Molly are hoping to stretch bedtime long enough to show their father their artwork. Lizzie is fatigued, due to her advancing pregnancy and caring for three children; this pregnancy affecting her worse than the previous three.

Work isn't the only thing contributing to the changes in John. When Molly gets out of bed repeated times, having problems sleeping - Lizzy gets in bed with her, John's resentment of the attention Lizzie gives their children - reappears. Until Lizzie's current pregnancy, John felt he had the perfect marriage - Lizzie's feelings near worship (one look or kiss being all it used to take to make her "swoon"), they almost never fought.

He loves his children, yet his jealousy of them fills him with guilt, shame, and makes him feel weak - the attention Lizzie gives them leaves little for him; he doesn't know how to tell her without sounding selfish. "What kind of man resents his children? A man who needs his wife." Lizzie is the best mother he knows, but sometimes he needs a wife, sometimes - their children need to learn the love of he and Lizzie come first. He was always a man who inspired trust - now his own lack of trust could destroy him and the love of his wife. He can be prideful, continue to withdraw into his work, forget his convictions and God, watch his love being strangled through his resentment; but chooses to beseech God to free him of jealousy, restore his heart and the peace and harmony he and Lizzie have always known. 

Lizzie doesn't feel their marriage can be the same as it was before they became parents, with responsibilities to their children. When she invites a former boyfriend, Michael, John's estranged brother who betrayed both of them - to their house, in the hopes of renewing John's relationship with his brother, tensions are stressed to the max. She feels a stranger to her own husband, weak, an imperfect mother, and a failure as a wife. Feeling, also, John has a clean heart and pure love - unlike her - and doesn't love her as much as he once did.

Two people struggling to mend the lines of communication, and their love - in the process. Julie Lessman has written a beautiful, heart-warming fiction that is based on fact from a friend's story, and one that, unfortunately, many people are now confronted with on a daily basis. I loved visiting with the warm, endearing, members of the O'Connor family again - enjoying all the other elements I've come to expect in Julie's stories: passion, romance, drama, unexpected twists, anguish, humor, forgiveness and redemption - through God's love and seeking His plan for one's life. 'The Best Gift of All' will be an inspiration to all!

And they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. Mark 10:8-9.

'The Best Gift of All' is part of the 'Home For Christmas', Historical Christian Romance Collection, available at Amazon. NOTE: We hope to review some of the other fine novellas in this collection soon! Ruth Logan Herne, our front-runner for Angel's Heart Award (Julie won our first one!) has Second Chance Christmas, Pam Hillman, who we've also hosted on OWG blog has All Aboard: Destination Chrismas (Which sounds great!), and Janet Dean has A Daddy for Christmas (sweet!)--so be on the watch!!!

PRE-ORDER NOW from Amazon - Kindle copy for only $2.99--Releases October 10th!!!

Giveaway: Julie has generously offered an ebook giveaway copy of 'The Best Gift of All' to one blessed commenter!! Question: What book of Julie's is your favorite?  

06 October 2015

Diana's Review Of AFTER THE RAIN By Rita Gerlach

After The Rain By Rita Gerlach
Sept. 30, 2015

Reviewed By Diana Flowers
~5 stars~
(No Spoilers!)

Such An Alluring Fragrance 'Tis After The Rain...
In After the Rain, author Rita Gerlach pens an unforgettable Edwardian era novel that sweeps the reader from the opulent busyness of Chevy Chase, Maryland—where past and future intertwine with the invention of motorcars and telephones—to the vast, quiet beauty of the small hamlet of Chestnut Creek, Virginia, where one can hear the whispers of the winds through the pines and the water tumbling over the rocks in the creek.

Although Louisa Borden lives in a gorgeous mansion in Chevy Chase, she feels suffocated by her overbearing and ofttimes cruel grandmother, Beatrice, who insists upon her marrying Rupert Eastcott—a wealthy man she doesn't love. The stubborn Louisa definitely has no desire to marry the stuffy Rupert and live in a huge lonely mansion in England. When she is thrown from the saddle by her high spirited horse above the creek, she is rescued by Jackson O'Neil, a handsome stranger who carries her up the slippery bank—muddy and totally humiliated. Intrigued by this rugged country man, Louisa finds herself falling for him until Rupert reveals an unforgivable secret concerning the enigmatic Mr. O'Neil. Love-sick, crushed by another shocking revelation from Beatrice, and a terrible tragedy befalling her as well, Louisa pays a visit to her fun loving, widowed aunts in Chestnut Creek. After the rain, will the sweet fragrance of new blossoms spring forth with healing for her broken heart...and perhaps love?

One of the reigning queens of descriptive imagery and masterful storytelling, Rita Gerlach, has set the bar high with her newest release, After the Rain! The sights, sounds, and scents of this wonderful book permeate the readers' senses as this amazing tale of love and forgiveness unfolds. I instantly fell in love with the strong, yet vulnerable, Louisa, and the charming, compassionate man of her dreams as well. I cried along with them in their trials, and chuckled at her enthusiastic, wise aunts and their optimistic zest for life! With three romances for the price of one, After the Rain is a memorable novel and one I highly recommend!

~*~ Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. ~*~
Mark Twain
This book may be purchased through Amazon.
GIVEAWAY: Rita is generously giving away a copy of After the Rain in winner's choice of format -- ebook or paperback which will be releasing very soon! To be eligible, please leave an email addy written (at) and (dot) to protect yourself from spammers.

04 October 2015

Seven Blessings From "I Can't" by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Praying Hands from Oral Roberts University

Have you ever felt like you've run into a brick wall with what you are trying to do? Are you worn out? Tired? Maybe sick for weeks like I have been recently? Sometimes we have to grab ahold of the notion that we can't. We cannot do. We are unable to accomplish what we believe needs to be done.

There is something grand to be said for getting to "I can't"!

  1. Sometimes we have to get to the end of ourselves to open the door wide for God.
  2. We get back more fully into His Word, which brings direction, and peace.
  3. We come before His throne and pray and submit ourselves to Him and are blessed and bless others by lifting them up.
  4. When we do that, we can more readily discern His will.
  5. When we walk in His will our lives are blessed and ease follows.
  6. We bring glory to Him when we credit Him with what HE has done through us - what we could NOT do ourselves.
  7. I can't becomes I CAN with God's help!!!
If you are struggling this week, will you go to Abba Father and tell Him you CANNOT?  He already knows!  Let Him bless you by reaching this stage--and congratulations on getting to the end of you and letting Him restore you.  

01 October 2015

Diana's Review Of THE IMPOSTER By Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Imposter By Suzanne Woods Fisher
Revell, September 2015

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
5 stars~
(No Spoilers!)

A Heart Once Deceived...

In the exquisite, unique style she is so well known for— best-selling author Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a tale of unrequited love, betrayal, and secrets—set amongst the seemingly idyllic Amish community of Stoney Ridge—where Jersey cows and horses graze on lush, verdant grass alongside of placid streams and creeks twisting into the thick woodlands.

Widower, David Stoltzfus, feels blessed to be summoned to this veritable paradise as the new preacher, but it is not long before serious problems begin to develop. His daughter, Katrina, has her heart set on marrying John, her handsome boyfriend—and live happily ever after. However, a bitter betrayal leaves her heart shattered with nowhere to turn. Feeling suffocated by her concerned father, she decides to move in with a widow in the community and help her in a new business venture.

There she meets Andy Miller, a farmhand who appears suspiciously too good to be true. Katrina is not about to let a man deceive her again and tiptoes cautiously around Andy. Then there are those who want to be rid of David Stoltzfus; who believes in walking close to God, worshipping Him daily, and meditating on His word. As wickedness seeks to envelope him he discovers an unlikely friendship in Birdy Glick, the plain-faced but kindhearted, 6 foot 2 inch tall school teacher. However, someone is not who they portray—there is an imposter in Stoney Ridge, but who could it possibly be...?

Beginning with the first book she ever penned, Suzanne Woods Fisher has long since been a favorite Amish author of mine. Her grandfather was raised Plain which lends a realism to her books that many other Amish novels may not have. Her ability to write so many sub-plots integrated into one...and many a romantic entanglement simply amazes me! Even if you aren't an Amish fiction fan—you'll love the aura of mystery, multi-faceted characters, the rocky road to more than just one romance, and the spiritual theme interwoven throughout The Imposter! Oh, and let me not forget the humor interspersed amongst the colorful scenes in this splendid novel and a huge surprise twist I did not see coming! Highly recommended!

~*~ “Remember that the longer you carry a grudge, the heavier it gets.” Amish Proverb ~*~

Dairy Farm In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

This book may be purchased through Amazon, CBD, BAM, and your local bookstore!
GIVEAWAY: Suzanne Woods Fisher is generously offering a paperback copy of The Imposter to one blessed commenter! To be eligible, please leave your email address written (at) and (dot) to protect yourself from spammers.

29 September 2015

Noela reviews THE LOST HEIRESS by Roseanna M. White

The Lost Heiress

The Lost Heiress (Ladies of the Manor, Book #1)
Bethany House Publishers (September 8, 2015)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

 A thrilling turn of the century tale of mystery and romance!

How have I not read anything by this author yet?!! I was utterly swept away by this entrancing Edwardian-period tale that unfurls into one of the most intriguing mysteries I’ve ever read! Merged with an enchanting albeit heart-wrenching love story, ‘The Lost Heiress’ enthralls from the beginning to the satisfying end!

The beautiful and carefree Brook Eden is stunned to learn through her long-standing friend Justin Wildon that she is a long-lost Baroness. And so we follow Brook’s journey from the bright and warm Mediterranean atmosphere where she was raised in the palace of Monaco, to the purple-sprigged countryside and dreary weather of England. How will this impulsive and spirited personality fit into her new role as the Earl of Whitby’s daughter and missing heiress? Will she be accepted by her father and his staff when so many before have tried to pass themselves off as the Earl’s long lost daughter? The anxious Brook leans on Justin, her anchor in this new land, and who has traveled to his home country along with Brook to be her mainstay. Numerous questions lay yet unanswered as to why Brook was separated from her family in the first place. When mysteries deepen and danger escalates, Brook needs answers but longs for peace.

Justin, a future Duke himself, has come to realize that his deep affection for Brook goes beyond friendship and longs to court her but cannot while she is only just discovering her true identity. But even so, Brook seemingly only thinks of him as an adored brother. As Brook struggles to adjust to her new life, Justin’s own pressing responsibilities grow. With too much time apart, trouble brewing, and intense emotions surfacing between them, Justin and Brook’s charming, easy-banter relationship becomes tempestuous and unpredictable, whilst simmering in unspoken feelings. This thrilling novel is rife with clandestine meetings, ominous threats, grave deception, and murder. Our two heroes will learn that God moves even in the darkness to accomplish His will.

The varied and vibrant characters all left their mark on me, as did the exquisite and irresistible romance, making this a story one longs to return to. Roseanna M. White has eloquently crafted a tantalizing and riveting novel, and it is my pleasure to highly recommend it to all!

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You can find this beautiful story at these places and others: Amazon, CBD, B&N, BAM

GIVEAWAY: Roseanna is generously donating a copy of The Lost Heiress to one blessed commenter! To be eligible, please leave your email address for contact purposes should you win. Using (at) and (dot) will protect you against spammers. 

26 September 2015

Noela reviews A PIONEER CHRISTMAS COLLECTION by Various Authors

A Pioneer Christmas Collection by 9 Authors
Barbour Books (September 1, 2015)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow
5 Stars *****

This is a re-release of an extremely popular Christmas collection that showcases some of the best authors in the business! Each of these nine novellas are a wonderful gift illustrating God’s bountiful provision and care, and touchingly wrapped in adversity, adventure and romance. This charming compilation of intriguing tales of pioneer life and love in untamed lands, feature the new pioneers celebrating Christmas in fascinating, unconventional dwellings.

‘Defending Truth’ by Shannon McNear, sees Truth,
Defending Truth
a young woman in western North Carolina,
alone and responsible for her younger siblings after her father had left them to fight the British. What will she do when she comes across a half-starved militia man loyal to the Crown? This is an intriguing and heart-warming story reflecting the battle on King’s Mountain and of God’s grace.

‘The Calling’ by Kathleen Fuller centers around a tavern in Unionville, Ohio, that also doubles as a stagecoach stop. Elijah Montgomery is pushed by his parents to travel and preach. Is he just being obedient to his folks or hearing the calling himself? What part might Milly, the lovely tavern girl who works for her father, have in helping Elijah to find his destiny?

‘A Silent Night’ by Anna Urquhart illustrates the struggles of a mother and young child surviving on their own in the woodlands of Michigan Territory in 1830. Refusing a marriage of convenience that most women would have taken up leaves Lorna vulnerable and unprepared for winter. How can she possibly survive and will they get their Christmas miracle that 6 year old Afton is praying for?

A Pony Express Christmas by Margaret Brownley has the bloomer-clad Ellie-May Newman searching across the unforgiving Nebraska Territory for her missing brother who rode for the Pony Express. After saving a man, she informs him he’ll be helping her on her quest. There’s an interesting love triangle in this story and an unexpected outcome for Ellie at the end of the trail. Margaret Brownley is a brilliant storyteller and this tale is a hearty feast for a novella!

A Christmas Castle
‘A Christmas Castle’ by Cynthia Hickey ambushes Annie Morgan with quite a few eye-popping revelations when she arrives at her ranch in Prescott, Arizona, to chase down her new husband who was supposed to meet her in town. This story by Cynthia was fast-moving, delightfully romantic, and especially captivating!

‘The Cowboy’s Angel’ by Lauraine Snelling has a very pregnant woman and her son living on the Dakota Territory plains in 1875 waiting for her husband to return home after leaving weeks earlier to purchase supplies. With a baby coming, a 4 yr. old son, animals to care for, and snowstorms, Belle is in much need of a Christmas miracle from God’s angels. What could have befallen her husband?

‘A Badlands Christmas’ by Marcia Gruversoon has Australian Jonathon Nancarrow 
journeying from sophisticated New York City along
A Badlands Christmas
with his two daughters to the small town of Medora in the heart of the wilderness, still seeking peace and healing after the death of his wife. His eldest daughter Noela takes quite a while adjusting to the overwhelming differences, especially having to live in a house made of dirt and grass called a soddie! Will this little family survive a harsh Dakota winter here and can Noela find love in the wilderness? Marcia Gruver writes an immensely memorable and highly entertaining read, delivering an enchanting story with a very sweet romance.

‘Buckskin Bride’ by Vickie McDonough takes us to Oklahoma Territory in 1889 to where Mattie and her two sisters Milly and Jess are living in a tipi, which unknowingly happens to be on handsome Irishman Conall Donegan’s land. Their father hasn’t returned and Mattie having been left in charge feels a huge responsibility to keep her sisters safe, fed, and sheltered. When Jess is hurt and they are all discovered, Mattie feels like everything is falling apart. Can things come together for Christmas?

The Gold Rush Christmas
‘The Gold Rush Christmas’ by Michelle Ule delivers an interesting and unique story with twins Samantha and Peter Harris travelling to Skagway, Alaska with good friend Miles. What sets out as a search for the twins’ father ends up becoming so much more for all three of these ‘musketeers’. This takes place during the 1897 Gold Rush bringing many unsavoury characters to the region; however this story which is based on a true account ends with an extraordinary Christmas inspired conclusion.

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You can find this new release of A Pioneer Christmas Collection at these places and others: Amazon; CBD 2013 edition & 2015 edition; Barnes & Noble; BAM; and in Australia - Koorong!

GIVEAWAYS: We have THREE BOOKS for giveaway today!! Generously donated by Marcia Gruver, Shannon McNear, and Michelle Ule! To be eligible leave a comment below the review along with your email address for contact purposes should you win. Using (at) and (dot) will protect you against spammers.

24 September 2015

Bonnie Roof Reviews To Get To You by Joanne Bischof.

Published by Mason Jar Books

Reviewed by Bonnie Roof
5 Stars*****

"There are some things you can't go back from. You just lay the broken pieces down and then there's grace and it's glue, and in a strange way, you're more whole than before, because this time ...  This time it's not by your own doing". ('To Get to You')

'To Get to You' is a story of love on 3 different levels: a teen boy's first love, a parent's love for his child, God's love and grace for mankind. A tender story told from the point of view of a troubled 18-year-old boy, a product of a broken home, who has shut the world out and pain in.

It's Christmas eve - Riley Kane is closing shop at Harmony Farms feed store and Christmas tree lot, in the small mountain town of Idyllwild, southern California. A teenage girl appears, pulling a sled - attempts to load a large left-over Christmas tree Riley has discarded alongside the highway, her feet slipping in the snowy slush from the weight of the tree. Feeling compelled to help, yet his jeep in the shop for radiator repair and the girl on foot - Riley walks 2 miles to her Airstream trailer home, pulling the sled. Along the way, he realizes her to be a church friend, from childhood - Rebecca "Becca" Fletcher.

When Becca's father, a semi-truck driver, is seriously injured driving off the road to avoid hitting a children-filled van, the driver having swerved to avoid a deer - his family drives to a hospital in New Mexico to be with him, taking the trailer with them. Riley is shocked to find an empty lot when he arrives at Becca's - his name written on a grocery bag hanging from a branch of the discarded Christmas tree, a note inside explaining the family's plight. His phone not charged - Becca had tried, unsuccessfully, to call him.

Riley is determined to get to Becca, to help the family by bringing their stored generator and water barrels. When his jeep transmission goes out, stranding him - his mother, who is out-of-town, insists Riley solicit his father's help. Jake Kane, a world-famous professional surfer - hasn't seen his son since Riley was in the 3rd grade, nor spoken to him since he was 11 years old. A man Riley hates, one he feels ruined his life.

What follows is a road trip in a rare '65 VW Samba van for Riley, Jake, and Jake's surfer buddy Saul Ramirez. A trip full of adventure, and emotion-filled discoveries about, and for, both father and son. So vivid are the descriptions and life-like the characters, I felt I was along for the ride, and privy to their thoughts. 'To Get to You' is filled with the emotion and beauty I've come to expect from Joanne's writing - a tender, heart-warming story that alternately made me smile and shed tears. My heart ached for Riley, sympathized with Becca, and loved her vulnerable, innocent heart.

An inspiring, sweet story of redemption, acceptance, hope, forgiveness, faith and love. Made even sweeter by the "Behind the Scenes" revelations at the end, 'To Get to You' is book 1 in the Wild Air series. Derived from a short story,'The Balsam Walk', in the '21 Days of Christmas' short story/devotional anthology. 

Both books are available at AmazonBarnes and Noble and Books-a-Million.

GIVEAWAY: OWG is grateful for Joanne's gracious provision of a paperback copy of 'To Get to You' - a giveaway to one blessed commenter! Please leave your email address using (at) and (dot) to protect yourself from spammers. 

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