26 October 2012

Diana Flowers Reviews An Uncommon Grace by Serena Miller


An Uncommon Grace

An Uncommon Grace - Serena B. Miller
Howard Books, 2012

Reviewed by Diana Flowers
5 stars~*****

WUNDERBAR!


Serena Miller takes the reader from the hot, dusty, war torn Afghanistan desert; laden with military helicopters and Taliban mines, to beautiful Holmes County, Ohio, where the scent of apple blossoms, honeysuckle, and homemade pies permeate the air!

Grace Connor, a military nurse in Afghanistan, is summoned to her grandmother's farm in Ohio, by her seventeen yr. old sister, Becky, to help her convalesce after heart surgery. Grace has never seen a more beautiful, peaceful place until tragedy strikes her grandma's kind Amish neighbors. Levi Troyer's pregnant mother is wounded and his stepfather murdered by an unknown intruder, and as Grace steps in to help, a forbidden attraction develops between the two of them.

Levi, a member of the strictest Amish sect, the Swartzentrubers, where no indoor plumbing is allowed, no orange reflector lights on the back of their buggies, and no books or phones are allowed, has begun to question their teachings. His thirst for knowledge must go unfulfilled, as also his attraction for Grace, for to disobey the orders of the Bishop will cause him to be shunned by his people. When thrust together with the bishop's vengeful, but beautiful daughter, Zillah, Levi's rejection of her causes false accusations to rise against him, and he is put under the ban.

Will the truth come out, and will Levi be exonerated, or will he be forced to marry Zillah? Will Grace reenlist and go back to Afganistan, knowing that nothing can ever come of her feelings for Levi? And who is stealing antiques out of her grandma's garage and why?...and how is her sister, Becky, involved? Is the murderer still in town putting all of their lives in jeopardy, or has he moved on?

I literally had a hard time putting this one down! Serena Miller has fast become one of my favorite authors of Christian fiction. Her excellent use of imagery and endearing characters drew me in and I loved the homey atmosphere of Holmes County, OH. With an element of suspense and a unique, unpredictable Amish storyline, I literally did not see how ANYTHING was going to work out...even when I was 80% into the book! Serena threw in her wonderful sense of humor that I so loved in her first book, and if you want to read about the billy goat prancing around wearing an old woman's underwear on his horns, you will have to order the book! :) Wunderbar (wonderful) job, Serena Miller!

I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest opinion.


You can get Serena's books through Amazon, CBD and other bookstores.


GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week's contest. Drawing will be late Saturday, your choice of author's books and choice of format*. Void where prohibited by law. *International winners will only receive the book in ebook format, not as a paperback.

100 comments:

  1. wow! this one has a very intriguing plot line that is right up my alley :) must.read.

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  2. ANNE, this is one of those books that one can look back on and say I LOVED that book! I would encourage everyone to get a copy, whether you like Amish fiction or not. It's that good!

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  3. Sounds Wunderbar Diana!! Awesome review! :)

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  4. Awesome review, DIANA! I remember that I tried to get it through NG, but a week later I got a msg that they had archived the title, so I was too late. :(
    I really think I would like this story, so maybe one day, when I have time... ;)

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  5. Wunderbar indeed!!! Your review is amazing Diana and I know the book is by that. I didn't know about this one and haven't read Serena's work. I will surely enjoy reading it! :D Please enter my name. Blessings! Darlene
    spangldlady[at]gmail[dot]com

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  6. Awww, MARIAN...you would have enjoyed this one. Later maybe....and thanks for the kind words!

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  7. DARLENE, thank you! Serena is one gifted lady, and I haven't read one of her books yet that was easy to put down. Fascinating--all of them. You should really give her books a try! I hope you'll win this one. :)

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  8. It was wunderbar, PAT! Hoping for a win for you!

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  9. Hmmm. An Uncommon Grace sounds like such a good book. Thanks for your great review Diana. I haven't read a book of Serena's that I didn't like! This is a must read for me!

    Blessings!
    Judy

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  10. Wow!! This sounds like a great book. Please add my name to the list. Thank you for the review.
    Karen G.
    kmgervais(at)nycap(dot)rr(dot)com

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  11. JUDY, I hope you get a chance to read this one. I think you and I enjoy the same type of books, so almost know you will enjoy this as much as I did! :)

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  12. Hi, KAREN! Wonderful to see you here as always, and I HAVE thrown your name in the hat. Thank you so much!

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  13. Oh, I'd love to read this one too.

    vernetlh(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  14. LOLLIPOPS, I knew you would!!! lol And I hope you get to-ASAP!

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  15. Sounds like an intriguing story, would love to read it!

    mom2acat@yahoo.com

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  16. MOM2ACAT-Lots of luck to you! This is another one of SERENA'S awesome books that is just too good to pass up!

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  17. Rita Kellogg-Ok, I put my email address on the site, but I can not figure out where to leave a comment. There was a post and comment button, but it did not go to the site where the book was advertised. THIS SATURDAY IS MY BIRTHDAY AND WINNING THIS BOOK WOULD BE A GREAT GIFT!!!!!!! PLEASE, CAN YOU PUT THIS IN AS MY ENTRY???? THANKS AND GOD BLESS!!!

    **This is Rita Kellogg's comment to me on a site where I posted my review...not sure why the link didn't bring her here as it worked for me. I wish her a Happy Birthday and hoping she WILL win this for her birthday. I do admire her persistency! :)

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  18. Thank you for the opportunity to win "An Uncommon Grace" and for your review. Two comments: NO BOOKS! And the murderer being a "he," maybe not... sounds like hopes have been murdered too. Hope I win! Thanks. Kathleen
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  19. KATHLEEN, I couldn't say she and give it away, now could I? LOL Ok, how about he/she? Thanks for coming by, KATHLEEN! You are always so much fun! And NO BOOKS? That sounds like a terrible fate!

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  20. I would love to read this book!!!!
    joeym11@frontier.com

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  21. DIANA, thank you for coming by and hopefully random.org will love you! It should-after all you have the best first name I believe I have ever heard! ;)

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  22. An Uncommon Grace looks like a great book. Thank you for the opportunity to win it.

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  23. Uncommon Grace looks like a really great book. Would love to win this one. Thanks for the great review.

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  24. Thanks, LORRAINE! I'm so excited you were finally able to post! Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

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  25. JUANITA, it was one of THE best Amish books I have ever read and that's saying alot since I have read a few in my time. lol I hope you win it, but if not I hope you will be able to order it! Or hint quite frequently right before Christmas. (wink)

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  26. Would love to win a copy of Uncommon Grace -- looks like a wonderful book.

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  27. MARY ELLEN, I wish we could give you all a copy, but maybe when we reach millionaire status that will happen. lol Until then, we wish you all the luck in the world!

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  28. Oh my I would really love to win the book
    Uncommon Grace. The reveiw was very captivating.
    CherylB1987@hotmail.com

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  29. Thank you, CHERYL! What a lovely thing to say! Lots of luck in the drawing!

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  30. This review was so interesting that I'd love to win this book.
    Thanks,
    Carolyn
    carolynj63@att.net

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  31. Thank you, CAROLYN...I try. When a book is this good it's not hard to write an enticing review. :)

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  32. Would love a chance to win this book. It sounds like a great read. Thanks for the chance.

    Glenda Parker

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  33. And I would love for you to have a chance to read this, GLENDA! Keeping my fingers crossed!

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  34. The cover for this book is gorgeous! If I win a copy of this book, my daughter is going to try and steal it from me....but I would share. :)
    debsbunch5@jesusanswers.com

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  35. sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance to win
    likesmusic2@consolidated.net

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  36. CHAPLAINDEBBIE, SERENA has the best covers on all of her books! And all of her books are so awesome, which proves my point that you CAN judge a book by its cover! lol Thanks for sharing this one with your daughter, too, if you win.

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  37. DEBBIE, it is! Have I ever steered you wrong? lol

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  38. Thanks for the generous opportunity to win your book!

    bjhooten@hotmail.com

    southernamish.blogspot.com

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  39. Would love a chance to win one of Miller's books -- love her writing!

    Thanks!
    Susan Ferrell
    susan828(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  40. This looks like an amazing book. It would be so wonderful to win this book. Thanks for the review Diana...wonderfully done

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  41. You are oh, so welcome, BRENDA! Thank you for coming by and visiting us here at OTT. Please come back often as we love seeing you!

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  42. Thank you so much, ALYSON! I know you will enjoy it and hoping you will get a copy in your hands asap!

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  43. Thanks for a lovely review, Diana, and for directing me to this review! I'd love to win a copy of one of Serena's books. Thank you for the offer!
    Nancee
    quiltcat26[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  44. NANCEE, you are the best!! Thank you and good luck in the draw.

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  45. Would love to win. Shaun srpaulsen3@gmail.com

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  46. SHAUN, thank you so much for stopping by! Dropping your name in my little cyber hat here. ;)

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  47. DIANA Sorry I'm running late coming by. Wonderful review, I haven't had my Amish fix lately so this one sounds like a good one. A thief and a murderer in peaceful Amish country. Yep need to read this one. :)

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  48. Wow, Diana, I wish I had your gift with words when it comes to writing a synopsis of a book. Great job! And you didn't even give anything away that would ruin the surprise! Thank you so much for the review, too. It means so much.

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  49. About the cover: Simon & Schuster's cover artist just about pulled his hair out over this one. The problem was the heroine wasn't Amish, and the marketing department really wanted a bonnet on the cover. My heroine was ex-military and not at all Amish. They compromised by putting the "bad" Amish girl on the cover, Zillah, just as she's running away from home. I promised him that from now on, I'd make sure the heroine was Amish so he wouldn't have to go through that again:-) I do, however, have some of the best cover artists. I actually cried with happiness when I saw the cover for A Promise To Love.

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  50. love this cover and I love reading Amish books thanks for chance to win

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  51. I'm not a big fan of Amish fiction but An Uncommon Grace doesn't look like typical Amish fiction. I like that it has a strong suspense element. Your review sold me; I'd love a chance to win a copy!

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  52. SERENA, they did a wonderful job on this cover but I was confused by it, knowing she wasn't Amish in the book. I'm glad you explained that b/c normally the heroine is on the cover. I didn't cry with happiness when I saw the cover of A Promise To Love, but I sure did sigh with happiness when I saw it! And I can see why you cried-it's gorgeous!

    Thank you so much for you kind words concerning my review...what an awesome book this is.

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  53. PAM, I'm so glad you were sold by the review...that gives me a satisfying feeling that I did my "job" well. :)

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  54. TERESA, thank you, gf! You have read one of Serena's Amish books, so you know how well she writes them. This one is right up your alley!

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  55. FYI--SERENA has a new Amish book coming out in Apr. 2013, called Hidden Mercies! It sounds awesome and the cover is another beauty! Check it out on Amazon...

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  56. Thank you for coming by, APPLEBLOSSOM. Gotcha entered!

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  57. Thanks for mentioning Hidden Mercies, Diana. That one will be out in April and is built around Levi's mother's love story. Grace is in her forties and is widowed within the first chapter of An Uncommon Grace. In Hidden Mercies, which takes place two years later, she is supporting her family by working as a midwife. I had a real-life Amish midwife contact me after she had read Love Finds You In Sugarcreek, and invited me to her home up in Michigan. She is Lancaster County trained and had forty years experience in helping birth over five hundred babies. I took notes like crazy, built much of the book around the life I watched her living, and we talk on the phone frequently--hers is in her barn and she wraps up warm and goes out there on Saturday nights to have a nice visit with me:-) She and her husband are extraordinary people. I'm hoping she enjoys the book that came out of our visit and I hope my readers enjoy it as well.

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  58. What a great review! Thanks for the chance to win.

    jmschwindt0306 at gmail dot com

    Jennifer

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  59. Thanks for sharing that with us, Serena! I for one, can't wait!!

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  60. Thank you, JENNIFER, for taking time out of your busy schedule to come visit with us here at OTT. Wishing you lots of luck in the drawing!

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  61. I would love to win this book.I love Amish books.Thanks

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  62. It's really exciting to see so many people responding and happy about the possibility of winning this book. My church friends, who have already read it, said to tell ya'll not to start reading until you've got some free time. I ran into one friend in the bathroom at church last Sunday morning. She didn't look like she felt good. I inquired about her health. She said, "Oh, it's just that I've got An Uncommon Grace headache!" I asked her what in the world that was! She said, "I started the book yesterday and ended up reading until five this morning. Now I've got a headache from lack of sleep and I probably won't be able to stay awake during your husband's sermon." I fished some Ibuprophren out of my purse for her and then went and found some coffee so she could stay awake. I felt sorry for her, but inside I have to admit--I was grinning like crazy, thinking, wow--the book actually works!

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  63. JACKIE, so do I, gf! Thanks for dropping by...we love seeing you here!

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  64. LOL, SERENA! I can barely put down any of your books! That's such a great story-love it!

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  65. Oh my! I need to read this. Sounds like romance with a lot of mystery mixed in. Levi will probably have a rough time with the accusations, being the accuser is the Bishop's daughter, and, he is the one who will determine who is right. How to get out of this? If he knows she is lying, would be hard to marry her, and, not loving her. Will Grace be accepted into the Amish after being in the service? Got to know these answers. Please enter me for this give-away. Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

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  66. Wow, the review really makes me want to win this book! Sounds like a very exciting story. I enjoy reading about the Amish, but especially when the plots are a bit different, so I love the military nurse angle!

    Thanks!

    followsjc[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  67. would love to win a copy of this book,
    rhonda_nash_hall@comcast.net

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  68. MAXIE, that is wonderful that this review raised those questions for you. You MUST get the book so you can have some answers! Not to mention why was the billy goat prancing around with underwear on his head!? lol

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  69. I've stopped by several times and gave up looking for the place to post a comment! Glad you explained where to look, tonight. With such enticing book covers, I'm eager to read all of your books,Serena!
    Carol B. Grosser
    chloeblaire@ymail.com

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  70. Hi, CAROL! I'm sorry you had difficulties finding where to comment. If the review is shared through networked blogs it's at the bottom, but if you saw this on Christian Fiction or one of those sites, for some reason it's at the top. I'm so glad you didn't give up and came to visit us tonight!

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  71. http://mom2acat.blogspot.com/2012/10/recipe-slow-cooker-cream-of-chicken-and.html#comment-form Mom to a cat--I like your blog. And this recipe!!! I tweeted it! Blessings!

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  72. I love a book where you can't figure out how it's all going to work out even when you are near the end!

    Patty
    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  73. I don't think I've thanked those that review the books for letting us know what's out there in the market. THANK YOU!

    melodydurant@hotmail.com

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  74. PATTY, so do I! I got tired of predictable books a long time ago!


    Carrie-You sound hungry...bless your heart! I can't say as I blame you ;)

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  75. MELODY, how thoughtful!....and you are so welcome! There's not too many things more rewarding to me than reading great Christian fiction novels and telling others about them. I love letting others know that there are good, exciting, and CLEAN alternatives to some of the smut that is selling big time out there. Thank you, MELODY!

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  76. This book sounds excellent! This is a new to me author.
    shopgirl152nykiki@yahoo.com

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  77. Just so you know...
    I really enjoy reading your blog, ladies. So informative and fun! Kathleen

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  78. I want to win this book so bad!!! I LOVE Amish books! Thanks! makeighleekyleigh at yahoo.com

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  79. I'd love to win. The review is so great and I know the book will be. Blessings! Darlene

    spangldlady[at]gmail[dot]com

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  80. Great review! I've never read anything by Serena Miller but would love the opportunity!
    Marie Ferland
    mariefluffy@yahoo.ca

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  81. I loved the army nurse part too, LISA! It made the book well...different than your typical Amish storyline.

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  82. RHONDA, hoping for a win for you and if not, buy yourself a well-deserved gift. You'll be so glad you did! :)

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  83. MARIE, you have so been missing out, honey! Go to Amazon and check out her list of wonderful books--I love ALL of them!

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  84. Thank you, DARLENE! I hope the Lord blesses you with a copy soon!

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  85. And MEGAN, I want you to have this book soooo bad! lol Hopefully you will get a copy soon-perhaps from us!!

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  86. KATHLEEN, what a kind thing to say about our blog. But it's our wonderful readers and followers such as you that help make it sooo fun. We love your enthusiastic posts!

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  87. VERONICA, you have been missing out! SERENA is a great author...hop on over to see her list of books on Amazon! SERENA won't mind a bit if you order one, or two, or three. lol! Thanks for coming by and hoping for a win to introduce you to SERENA'S great books!

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  88. And make sure you all hop over to Amazon and pre-order her Apr. 2013 release, HIDDEN MERCIES! SERENA tells about it in a comment above. I can't wait to read it!~

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  89. Rita Kellogg, this is for you! da-da-da-da-dah...
    Happy Birthday to you! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ •♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸
    ღ♪♥ღ ♪♥ ღ ♪♥ღ ♪♥ HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU ღ♪♥ღ ♪♥ ღ ♪♥ღ ♪♥ HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU ღ♪♥ღ ♪♥ ღ ♪♥ღ ♪♥ HAPPY BIRTHDAY ღ ♪♥ღ ♪♥DEAR RITA, ღ ♪♥ღ♪♥ HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU ღ♪♥ღ ♪♥ ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY from Kathleen!! "May the LORD bless you and protect you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His Favor and give you HIS peace."--Numbers 6:24-26

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  90. I gotcha now, KATHLEEN! No more confusion. lol That is beautiful...I hope Rita will see it! We all join together on OTT in wishing her a very Happy Birthday!

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  91. I hadnt "discovered" Serena yet! Id love the chance to win her book...and Im sure, just from your review, that it would become a bookshelf favorite of mine.

    Lynn Brokaw
    flladyrose@yahoo.com

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  92. There have been so many comments about the military nurse, I wanted to jump on here one more time to tell how that came about, Diana. My oldest son is working in Afghanistan as civilian support staff. He spends a lot of time at the huge Bagram Airforce Base there. We were discussing potential heroines one day over the phone and he said that the most heroic people he had ever seen in his life were the military nurses and medics who go out to bring in the wounded. He said that when the call comes that some of our soldiers are down, the nurses and medics don't walk, they run flat out--just like on the beginning scene of old M.A.S.H. re-runs. They are in terrible danger every time they go out. Their helicopters have big red crosses on them, and by international law, are not armed. Sometimes they are bringing in soldiers under intense fire anyway, and Apache helicopters that ARE armed go in to try to protect them. That is who Grace is and what her life has been like when An Uncommon Grace begins. I became so fascinated by these brave men and women that in Hidden Mercies, I bring in one of those Apache helicopter pilots, a friend of Grace, to become the love interest of Claire.

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  93. LYNN, bless you for coming by! You will love SERENA'S books...I hope you get the chance to read one soon!

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  94. Thank you for sharing that with us, SERENA! I was very intrigued by the character of Grace...so tough, and yet so vulnerable as well. Brave men and women-all-and we thank God for their courageous service to our country. I am so excited about Hidden Mercies!

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  95. I loved your review and plan to read the book. Thanks. susanngarrylee@yahoo.com

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  96. Congrats CAROLYN!!! You have won a Serena Miller book. Blessings!

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  97. GARRY, we have a winner, but do come back and visit us often! We have a three book giveaway this week coming up with Tamera Alexander! And do by all means treat yourself to this wonderful book...you'll be so glad you did! :)

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  98. CAROLYN, congrats to you! Now comes the hard part...choosing which one of Serena's books you would like most to read!

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