Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Anne's Top Reads in 2014

2014 offered some great books in Christian Fiction.

Life threw me some unexpected interruptions that slowed down my reading but I tried to get in as many books as possible. I read both contemporary and historical novels, and enjoyed some very well written novellas, too!

In no particular order, my Top Novel Reads in 2014 are:

Somebody Like You by Beth Vogt

Displaying  a mastery of writing skills, Beth Vogt has penned an astonishingly complex and emotional novel.

Life Support by Candace Calvert

There are times I read a book, put it down and basically forget the story. This was not the case with Life Support! My heart strings were being pulled from one side to the other like a rope during a rousing game of tug of war. 


Petticoat Detective by Margaret Brownley 

Petticoat Detective is my favorite book from Margaret Brownley! It’s a fast-paced, funny and poignant tale of a female Pinkerton detective who goes undercover in a brothel. Doesn’t sound like something you would want to read? Well, you just might be surprised! 

Hawk by Ronie Kendig

Hawk is the second book in the Quiet Professionals series. It has a consuming plot line filled with engrossing  and complicated technological intrigue. Between bullets and missiles and literally running for their lives, there shines through some tender moments that gave me breathing space to catch my breath.

The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

The Daughter of Highland Hall is the second book in the Edwardian Brides series and from beginning to end, I felt as if I was part of the Ramsey family. This is one of my favorite books so far this year!  In fact, the opening scene where Kate is learning to curtsy, and Jonathan sees her, is one of the most delightful I have read in a long time.  

 A Match of Wits by Jen Turano

A Match of Wits transports us into a charming and rousing tale with Agatha. She is a woman before her time--fearless,  impassioned about many things, and relentless in her pursuit of a good news story.  In many ways, she is a product of a forward moving generation.

Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot

 An awkward young woman. A haunted young man. A forbidden instrument. Can the love of music bring them together . . . or will it tear them apart? (from the publisher)

Note: I won Prelude for a Lord book in a giveaway and just recently made time to read it, and I am happy to say it is a definite top read! I'll write a review and post it as soon as I can.

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

Full Steam Ahead is one of my favorite books that Karen has written. It will make my Top Ten this year.  It’s filled with fascinating history regarding steam engines, lots of daring adventure, and her trademark humor woven in with a beautiful message of faith.

Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig 

I’m not sure how to describe this book. It’s one of those that has so many layers, once they’re peeled back, more and more appear. It is full of intensely gritty scenes that even though I found difficult to read, I couldn’t stop reading. The prose is mind-blowing  and held me hostage from the first page to the last. The intensity of emotion in Raptor 6 tops every one of this author’s other books.

Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson
Historical/Contemporary Hybrid

With alternating chapters, this story gripped my heart from the opening scene in the chapelle, to the ending  scene in the same chapelle some 70 years later. I don’t know a lot about France during WWII but I was mesmerized from the start by the story of Giselle, a young woman fighting for her country in the only way she could during a most horrible time in history.

Beowulf by Ronie Kendig

Beowulf resounds with quintessential Kendig. Packed with deep characterization, rich descriptions, and her trademark rapid-fire dialogue, once you start reading you won’t be able to stop.

Call of the Prairie by Vickie McDonough 

Vickie McDonough has the ability to paint such realistic word pictures that I was sure I felt the prairie breezes blowing and could see the majestic windmill standing front and center in the town square. 

Now for the Novellas!

A November Bride by Beth Vogt

 Operation Zulu Redemption by Ronie Kendig
A 5 Part Serialization Project

 The Fruitcake Challenge by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Christmas Comes to Little Hickman Creek by Sharlene MacLaren

Did you enjoy any of these books in 2014? If so, I would love to hear what you thought about them. If not, what did you read? Leave a comment and lets chat books!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Red berries

My daughter let me cut some of this Holly from her tree on the 23rd and it still looks great! I just sat it on the porch table; didn't even put it in water because we've had plenty of rain! The wind blew it into the flower bed a few times and I just tossed it right back up there :)

I have a huge Holly bush but it didn't produce any berries this year. My husband thinks it's because we didn't trim it last year. I suppose we'll trim it this year and see if he is right.

I hope y'all had a Merry Christmas! 
I wish you best wishes in the coming new year.

See you in 2015!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Good News of Great Joy

Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.   Luke 2:11

Do you see that? It says 'for you'!

Christ came for you and for me

There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah.  Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law,  Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said:
Now, Master,
You can dismiss Your slave in peace,
as You promised. 
 For my eyes have seen Your salvation. 
 You have prepared it
in the presence of all peoples—
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and glory to Your people Israel.

Luke 2:25-32

This is Good News of GREAT JOY!!!

 That is the reason for the season, my friend!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Candles Around the World

In memory of our daughter, Amy. 

We participated in another year with The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting, uniting family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor the memories of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and grandchildren who left too soon. As candles were lit at 7:00 p.m. local time, on December 14th, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorated and honored the memory of all children gone too soon.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas and an Ornament Exchange

Christmas is upon us and let us not lose sight of the reason -- Christ Jesus!!!

compliments of The Graphics Fairy
Welcome the day to our hearts ever dear,
Day of rejoicing now is here;
Hail, happy morning, welcome thy dawning,
Jesus is born the Savior in Bethlehem.
Beautiful Christmas, time of rejoicing,
Day when our hearts are aglow;
Richest of treasure, giv’n without measure,
Freely dost thou bestow.
J. Lincoln Hall ~ 1900
(compliments of Abby @ Little Birdie Blessings

I participated in the second ornament exchange hosted by Vicky @ Life on Willie Mae Lane.
It was a blessing to give ornaments to Stephanie @ The Enchanting Rose 
and to receive ornaments from Cecilia @ My Thrift Store Addiction.

 Aren't they pretty? I love all of them.

Thank you, Cecilia!

And a heartfelt Thank You to Vicky for hostessing this exchange for the second year in a row.
To see more beautiful ornaments that were given and received,
just hop on over to Life on Willie Mae Lane.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review ~ Petticoat Detective by Margaret Brownley

About the Book

Pinkerton detective Jennifer Layne is no stranger to undercover work. But posing as a lady companion named Amy at Miss Lillian’s Parlor House and Boots is a first for her. She’s finally landed a high-profile case and is on the trail of the notorious Gunnysack Bandit, when one of Miss Lillian’s girls essential to her investigation meets an untimely demise. Only a handful of people are in the house at the time of her death, including handsome Tom Colton, a former Texas Ranger determined to clear his brother’s name. Amy has many reasons to suspect Tom of murder—and one very personal reason to hope that she’s wrong about him.

My Review 

Petticoat Detective is my favorite book from Margaret Brownley! It’s a fast-paced, funny and poignant tale of a female Pinkerton detective who goes undercover in a brothel. Doesn’t sound like something you would want to read? Well, you just might be surprised! It really is a great story. There’s the trademark humor Ms Brownley is famous for, but along with that is a deep and satisfying story of how women come to be in certain situations, and the hope of redemption through Christ. 

I read this book in just a few hours. I could not put it down. It has one of the best casts of characters!  I’m a dialogue person and it’s fairly snapping in this book! The mystery is solid but what got me was how beautifully the inner hurts and secret longings of the women were portrayed. Miss Lillian, the owner, is a hoot. On the surface she seems to be just an older washed up and worn out madam, but she’s got spunk--and secret aspirations of being a legitimate business woman. 

Jennifer Layne aka Amy isn’t the only one wearing a ‘mask’.  By the time the ending came, I was completely surprised on several accounts and the whodunit kept me bewildered right up until the Gunnysack Bandit was revealed. I’m looking forward to the next book in the Undercover Ladies series. I honestly don’t know how this one is going to be topped. 

I want to thank Margaret Brownley for sending me an electronic ARC for review purposes. No compensation has been received.

About the Author 

Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this, except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."

Margaret wasn't sure that was true, but she wasn't about to take chances. She now has more than 28 novels and is a New York Times bestselling author. Not bad for someone who failed 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.

You can find out more about Margaret and her books by visiting her website:

Monday, December 1, 2014

FREE Ebook - Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Guthrie

                                              Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room 

But hurry....Limited time only!!!

Tyndale House Publishers is offering this Ebook devotional for the Advent season FREE until Dec 3rd. Just click the word FREE and you can see the current offerings, their prices, and the vendors available to purchase from.