A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith

HANNAH'S STORY

I had started a few months ago by reviewing another series and still plan to continue with it but after a little detour.  I have two very wonderful authors who write in the Christian Fiction genre that have new books out, so I am excited about them and wanted to make sure I got my review posted as they are very newly published.

I am a confusing individual….  One moment I am reading MC Romance Fiction and the next Christian fiction followed by a textbook of some sort after.  I can never get enough to read or to learn.  I wonder if you are like that as well.  When I can add a fact or two in a discussion and people look at me in surprise and ask, “how in the world do you know that?”  I just laugh and tell them I read all kinds of books and you never know what I have stored away.  It can be priceless depending on the bit of information I put out there!

Why Christian Fiction?  I am a Christian who is always searching for something I have yet to put my finger on.  I want more, more, more but what is the more I am looking for?  I don’t know.  When I read I feel I am getting closer to knowing what that might be, but I am still not sure. It seems closer, but still too far away.  What I can say about reading fiction is that if I can find a lesson I need to give more thought to then I have found a wonderful author and story.  If that author can make me understand a Bible story that has been a little vague or make me see it in a whole new light with new possibilities, then I have found something worthwhile.

Jill Eileen Smith has done precisely that with her newest book, “A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story”.  When I heard this book was coming out, I wanted to read it, but I also didn’t.  Hannah’s story has always made me so sad and because of that, I kept thinking …. “No, I can’t, I’m not ready”.  Hannah was placed in such a sad situation.  She had married expecting to have children but didn’t and all believe she never would.  Then she was delivered of another blow.  Her husband took another wife and she would have to share him.  Could it get any worse for such a woman?  Yes, she received blow after blow of mocking and hatred from not only others but this second wife of her beloved husband’s who gave him the children she desired.  For years, Hannah pleaded for God to deliver her a child and then came the day in grief and desolation Hannah made a vow to God.  If he gave her the son she desperately wanted, she would give him back to God when he was old enough to leave her.  Hannah fulfills that vow to God.  Would I have had the strength to do so?  No…. simply no.

 

Jill Eileen Smith brings Hannah story alive and creates a beautiful story of love, acceptance, trust and ultimately forgiveness.  Hannah truly loves the Lord, and even after years of being barren, of being mocked, of feeling that she has lost her beloved husband, she still placed her trust in God.  We read of a woman who was kind even to her “enemy” the second wife of her husband who treated her so badly.  We read of a woman whose trust in God would be greatly rewarded.

But let me tell you what else we read…. we read of a husband who is pulled in so many directions that he cannot grasp what to do and the stress is heavy on his heart.  He loves Hannah as his beloved and it did not matter if she was barren or not for she is all he wanted.  However, his family intervenes and pushes him to take a second wife.  Elkanah is devastated but does as his family and even Hannah has asked of him.  He knows not what to do to bring peace in his family, and he hurts for the pain he knows Hannah hides.  His beloved is his heart and although he cares for his second wife and loves the children she gave him, he is not fully at peace.

We also read about the second wife and her view.  Her jealousy of Hannah, her love of Elkanah and the pain of feeling unwanted.  It was indeed an eye-opener to view Hannah’s nemesis in a different light. And there is one of the lessons…. what is behind the actions of others?

The dynamics of the family unit created by Elkanah and his two wives are shown by the author to have suspicion, jealousy, hatred, and so much pain. Through these dynamics and the ending, she provides, the author gives the reader some thoughts to dwell on.  A Christian will not help but think are we living up to the example Hannah set in her love of God?  Have we placed our complete trust in God as she did through the storms we face in our lives?

 

“A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story” is beautiful and one you will enjoy from the first to the last page.  I hope you give it chance and I would love to hear your comments and if you feel the same as I do.

Enjoy Hannah’s story!

 

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Legally and Lawfully Yours by author Anita Stansfield

Publication Date:  August 1, 2015 Publisher: Covenant Communications  256 Pages

Publication Date:
August 1, 2015

Domestic violence is all around us.  If we aren’t living it, then it is knowledge we have of someone’s existence but we continue on.  If we are living it or it is thrown in our faces through another means it becomes all too real.  We when see it looking in, our hearts break for those carrying the bruises on the outside and the tortured souls on the inside.  We scream it isn’t right!  It isn’t fair!  Those living through such trauma scream the same things along with louder screams of pain.

Anita Stansfield wrote “Legally and Lawfully Yours” in which varying levels of meanings can be seen.  One level is of a young woman who, through diligence and hard work, has finally reached her goal of being a top attorney in New York City.  Her personal life is in shambles after her fiancée cheated.  Her brother is in prison and her co-workers make her life miserable to the point she hides herself away.  She has to ask herself “what now?”

When she gets a message from her brother about his kids, Shannon jumps right into action to check on them.  Their mother has never been a favorite of Shannon’s due to her drug life style and lack of motherly affection.  What Shannon finds at the house has her fighting to keep her brother’s children until he is released and can be there as their father.

Level two comes in to play.  Domestic Abuse!  Shannon and her brother, Greg, were children abused by their parents and ultimately became a part of the foster care system and separated.  Having lived through this, both Shannon and Greg, took different paths in life but shaped none the less by their childhoods.  When seeing her niece and nephew living a nightmare her own past insecurities and memories surface and she must fight those demons and rely on her training and her love to make a better life for all of them. Contacting social services Shannon puts into motion a plan to get the kids legally and take them away.  She has survived and she will make sure that Neil and Jeanie do as well.

Now level three.  Shannon and Greg had never been exposed to God nor attended a church.  While in prison, Greg attends Bible classes and through his faith in God has become a changed man.  He speaks of prayer and faith to Shannon which he never has done before. Shannon believes there is a higher power but has never prayed and doesn’t even know where to begin.  Following a “calming” feeling Shannon lets herself  be lead to Sugar City, where she feels home may just be for them.  There she finds people who genuinely care for her, Neil and Jeanie.  She learns of acceptance, kindness and generosity.  Most importantly she learns of God.  Through the love of Philip and his Mother Marj, she and the kids learn how to live by faith and trust in the Lord.  Having God in their lives, going to church and becoming a family soon have not only Neil and Jeanie but Shannon quickly on their way to healing.

Anita Stansfield has a wonderful, heartwarming story here within “Legally and Lawfully Yours”.  She has characters whose feelings are based upon being a victim of abuse so for some people this may be hard to read.  She has drama.  She has layers of psychological emotions that her characters deal with. She has faith and learning to trust God and live again with people who love and not hurt.  If I could give a hint to the author for another book with these characters it would be a story about Greg and possibly Ceclia.  New beginnings for both of them!

One last note, a personal note of domestic abuse….understanding, love and patience can go a long way toward healing.  Healing will bring about an inner strength that the “victim” inside never knew was there but just needed to be shown existed.

I am a domestic abuse survivor and no longer a victim!

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/1YPTnND

12 Summer Brides Collection-Novella #4

Publication Date: September 1, 2015 Publisher: Shiloh Run Studios 154 Pages

Publication Date:
September 1, 2015

Thou wilt show me the path of life

Psalm 16:11

NKJV

When authors come together to compile a collection of stories based upon a mutual theme into one book you have in my belief a wonderful afternoon entertainment at your fingertips.  I love certain themes, such as mail order brides, so when I have in my hands a book that has not one but multiple stories to read I plan ahead.  I will find somewhere to send my kids, grab my throw for these cold days and a cup of hot chocolate and cuddle into my favorite chair while escape into bliss page after page.

I have several of these collections just waiting for me to pick them up.  The first one I read brought back thoughts of that wonderful warm summer we had not too long ago.  The collection is titled, “12 Brides of Summer” Novella #4.  There are three stories within each book by various authors.  Novella #4 contains stories by authors Vickie McDonough, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, and Davalynn Spencer.

The first story in the novella is, “The County Fair Bride” by Vickie McDonough.  This is a short, sweet romance that begins with two characters that seem an unlikely match.  But that old saying says that opposites attract, right?

Prudence Willard is a woman who is of a strong, forceful personality.  A year ago in the story, Prudence with her overwhelming attitude caused problems for the church pastor and his fiancée and had to leave town to live with her aunt.  In that year, Prudence, under the tutelage of her Aunt Louise realized what kind of person she had become and how much trouble she had caused.  Deciding that she had been more like her Mother than she cared for, Prudence vowed to change her ways.

Prudence’s father, who is the town mayor, falls ill and Prudence travels home to be with him and to help where she can.  She is nervous of course of facing the town, especially the pastor and his wife, after her behavior.  Soon after arriving home, Prudence decides that the best way to help her father is to make sure that the man who has taken over the position is fully aware that he will not be keeping her father’s job.  She is determined to dog his every step to make sure her father’s interests are secure.

Adam Merrick has heard about Prudence Willard and her headstrong behavior, but he isn’t at all prepared for the whirlwind she creates in her wake.  He finds her beautiful but rather difficult to deal with.  No matter how much he tries to tell her he doesn’t need her help, she keeps showing up.  Then to have her accuse him of ill managing the town funds is just ridiculous.  When Prudence demands to know what his plans are for the town and building up the funds, he explains his idea of holding a county fair.

Adam and Prudence are both excited over the county fair and they decide to work together to make it happen. By spending time together and slowly growing to admire each other, Adam and Prudence find they do feel more than friendship for the other.  It isn’t until an accident occurs on the day of the fair that those feelings are admitted by Prudence.  But is it too late to say what she feels to Adam?

The County Fair Bride is a where to very opposite people are brought together through redemption and learning to overlook faults in favor of strengths. Vickie McDonough is a wonderful author of sweet western romances to enjoy.

The second story is “The Honey Bride” by author Diana Lesire Brandmeyer.  This is a story that has the underlining lesson that if our lives go up in flames, God will make something beautiful of the ashes.

Katie Tucker loses her father in a fire leaving her to look after the farm, her brother and her grandmother.  But she has a problem….her father called her delicate and said she will never marry for it.  But Pete Dent sees her courage and her shyness and knows she is far from delicate and wants to marry her.  When Katie finds that her father took a loan out on the farm she tries to find a job to pay the loan that is coming due soon.  To add to her sorrow she will also feel guilty as she discovers that the loan was for the Queen bees she begged her father for in order to sell honey and the wax.  Determined to save the farm as her brother’s legacy she prays for help from God knowing she can’t do it alone.

Pete Dent has had a rough life.  He lost his parents and then his younger brother was adopted separating them.  Pete spent several years drifting trying to find his brother and never settling down which lead to be branded with suspicion.  When Pete meets Katie he falls for her and decides he wants to stay.  When Katie’s father dies in the fire, Pete wants to step in to help and enlists the aid of his friends to convince Katie to hire him to work the farm.

When a drifter shows up at the farm saying that he was hired by Katie’s father she isn’t sure what to do but knows she isn’t comfortable with him.  Pete shows up to help with the drunken, foul mouth drifter but still feels lead to help the man.  W.D. as the drifter calls himself proves himself to be less than ideal to be around with his drinking and attitude.  When God leads Pete to confront W.D. a discovery is made that may force Pete to leave Katie.  Will Katie accept the news or is just too much after all that has happened?

A very good and easy read to enjoy the afternoon with.  Learn the lesson with Pete and Katie that God has planned for them and watch HIS work unfold.

The third book is by author, Davalynn Spencer and is titled, “The Columbine Bride”; A beautiful story of personal strength and determination with God’s love leading the way.

Buck Reiter gave up his life plans to help his widowed sister raise her so and care for the ranch.  Now years later he feels it is his time to leave and find his own place.  He wasn’t expecting God to place him in the mercantile at the same time widow Lucy Powell and her children would be.  Believing his offer to help comes from the Lord’s command to help widows and orphans; Buck doesn’t expect to lose his heart to this family and wish to become a part of it.  Over time, Buck comes to admire Lucy and must choose between her and his life dream.

Lucy Powell cannot accept any more charity.  She has had enough and is determined to support herself and her children.  Her neighbor, Buck Reiter, comes to her aid but she is stubborn. His persistence soon wears her down and she finds she has come to depend on and care for Buck.  Her children love Buck and ask her if he will be their Pa.  Asking God daily for Him to show her the path to follow and placing her trust in His guidance, Lucy finally admits that she loves Buck and wants to marry him.  Lucy informs her daughter that a lady must wait for the man to ask her for marriage… so she waits for Buck to do so.

When Buck is late coming back from the range, Lucy is scared that she has lost him just as she had lost her husband.  Placing her faith in God, Lucy waits and trusts that Buck will come home.

This collection of summer brides was inspiring in that it shows we don’t know what God has planned for us, but if we allow him to take charge and follow the path he sets for us, then we may find ourselves surprised in ways we never imagined.  I love collection such as these for their easy reading and loving messages.  Each story had characters you will love.  Inner strength shines in the women and the men show they admire, respect, support and love them just as they are.

If you are like me and love to settle down for a relaxing afternoon of stress free reading.  I believe you would love these novellas with soul touching inspiration.  I do have more collections waiting for me to read.  Keep watch for the post….medieval times, cowboys, and pioneers.  Sounds like a few great days ahead for me!

 

Amazon Link:   http://amzn.to/1YPU9Kk

A New Paranormal Series by author Tina Moss

Publication Date: Septemer 29, 2015 Publisher: City Owl Press 271 Pages

Publication Date:
Septemer 29, 2015
Publisher:
City Owl Press
271 Pages

I love a good paranormal story with my favorite authors being Lauranne Dohner and Lora Leigh.  Shifters and Vampires, Oh my!  This is the perfect type of story to get lost in and let your imagination take over.

A new paranormal series by author Tina Moss has you wondering what is going on from beginning to end as she throws curves one after another!  With twists and secrets from every angle the characters don’t know what the truth is, who the bad guy is or what everyone is! Vampires, wolves, light energy beings and what the heck is the phage!

Tina Moss creates a society where paranormals are classified into three groups and subjected to registration and monitored by paranormal agencies. But what happens when beings that have existed for centuries are not known about but are now making appearances? You get chaos!  With a bit of mass murder what could be more exciting, right?

Special Agent Talon Rede is the leader of a group of paranormals who work for the Paranormal Crimes Division and they are trying to solve a murder that was obviously done by a paranormal but not one they don’t recognize from the registration.  While in the midst of this, he gets a call from a journalist Sera Benenati asking questions regarding this murder.  Usually not one to take time for such a thing, Talon Rede finds himself bantering back and forth with Sera for some time and then can’t seem to forget her or she him.

When Sera is provided a lead she finds herself surrounded by these “creatures” and her only way to survive is to give herself over  to the voice in her head.  Sera is a paranormal, the problem is that she doesn’t know what she is or why there is a guy talking to her inside her own head!  She just knows that she can’t let him take over or situations could turn ugly quickly.

When Sera is found to be the only survivor of a mass murder, Rede is shocked to say the least.  He tries to act as if she is a witness without ruling out suspect but his instinct is to protect her.  When the two find that is best to work together, they are embroiled in a convoluted mess of which faction of paranormals is good and who is the bad guy.  They may have to change up what they have always believed if they are to survive.

As secrets come to light, Sera and Rede fight to save the world of the phage.  You will have to read to find of if they succeed, find out who is behind the phange, and if they finally admit they are mates!  This is just the beginning as Code Black is followed by Red Alert.

Paranormal fiction is genre based upon imagination to the extreme and this is one series I am looking forward to following.  I did receive this eBook as a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon Link:   http://amzn.to/1XLobRg

 

The Art of Ruining a Rake (The Naughty Girls Book 4) by author Emma Locke

Publication Date: July 21, 2015 Publisher: Intrepid Reads 345 Pages

Publication Date:
July 21, 2015
Publisher:
Intrepid Reads
345 Pages

Roman Alexander is a known rake with mistress after mistress.  But what most of the ton and that certainly includes Lucy Lancester, his friends little sister, doesn’t know is that Roman has a secret.  Roman’s father just about destroyed the family with his gambling which caused his own death in debtor’s prison, but also caused each of his sons to face that problem differently.  Roman is the oldest and holds the title of Marquis, but it is his brother Tony that kept the business matters of the estate going as Roman gallivanted about town.  When his father went to prison, Roman was immature and wanted costly things but had no money. When approached by a woman of the ton who offered in exchange for his ….ahem…personal favors she would cover his debts at one of his establishments, the young Roman Alexander had no problem with such agreements. Soon, Roman was a kept man by enough women that he earned the name of “whore” but which of course was spoken behind closed doors and not in polite society. The knowledge of what he has become rips Roman apart when he must open his secret up to Lucy and risk losing her.

Lucy Lancester has been in love with Roman since she was a little girl, but doesn’t believe she can offer anything other than a fling because of her Mother’s history.  Her Mother was crazy and in a fit she killed Lucy’s father and then herself. Lucy believes she is the same as her Mother and that history will repeat itself.  During a night of seduction, Lucy has her one night with Roman. She then steals away and begins a new life as headmistress of a girls school.  Months later who should come knocking at her school but Roman!  “Get out” she says, but somehow they are found in a compromising position with her legs wrapped around him not long after!  Lucy is asked to step down as headmistress of her own school.  Now what is she to do?

Roman wants to marry Lucy but she continually turns him down.  What started out for him as asking to keep her from ruination, develops into quite the interest as he becomes closer to her and learning more about what makes Lucy, well Lucy.  In trying to make an honest man of himself he sends notice to his women which all but one seems to accept.  That one will make things very difficult for Roman and Lucy.  Roman also throws himself in to his role of Marquis and begins his journey of maturing and building a life that he can include Lucy in.  Lucy on the other hand is building her own life.  She is to become an authoress and be famous!  She feels she must refuse Roman’s marriage to protect him from herself and decides that only a friend with benefits relationship is what they can have.

As these two souls move forward, and slide a bit now and then they must also battle outside influences.  They have jealousy from both men and women surrounding them, an arsonist on the loose, abounding titillating gossip and their own undeniable attraction for one another. Will these two finally get together? Especially when they can’t keep their hands off each other? Will they finally share their secrets and admit their love or continue to deny that love as only a physical attraction?  Who is the arsonist and what is their purpose?   Ah, Roman and Lucy are quite the pair in this wonderful regency romance by Emma Locke.  Luckily, these two will find some unexpected help from their siblings.

The Art of Ruining a Rake is the fourth book in The Naughty Girls Series by Emma Locke. Roman and Lucy first begin their journey in the book 3, A Game of Persuasion: Extended Prologue for The Art of Ruining a Rake. I received this eBook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The Art of Ruining a Rake is a great read in a wonderful series.  It was amusing to read a story where it wasn’t the woman who had the reputation for being a mistress but the man!  Enjoyable read!

Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/1TpfBI0

Four Weddings and a Fiasco: The Wedding Switch by author Sharon Kleve

Publication Date: August 23, Publisher: Kindle Worlds 51 Pages

Publication Date:
August 23,
Publisher:
Kindle Worlds
51 Pages

The Wedding Switch is about a young woman who thanks to her mother’s marital habits has become a pro at wedding planning.  You would think this would scare her off marriage but it hasn’t. She has her own business and is quite successful and dreams of her own wedding.  With her boyfriend proposing this may be her chance to have that dream wedding.  But Abby knows something isn’t right but she can’t decide what it is.

Derrick is a businessman and a ladies man.  He never has had any intentions of settling down until a promotion at works means he has to be married. Abby is the perfect wife material to land the promotion so he asks her to marry him but needs it done before the end of August.  Of course he is attentive and the perfect boyfriend until she agrees, then he shows his insincerity.  When Abby seems to drag her feet he decides she needs to be pushed, by hiring Hunter to pose as an engaged man whose fiancée is unavailable and he needs Abby’s help.  Derrick wants Hunter to get Abby to plan a wedding as if it were his own and then make it happen.  And of course he explains this all to Hunter at a restaurant as he flirts with the waitress!

Abby and Hunter are drawn to each other from the first, yet how can they do anything about it when they are both supposed to be engaged?  Abby begins to question if she and Derrick truly love each other and should be married and if yes why is she so drawn to Hunter.  Hunter wants Abby but he is stuck in this lie Derrick created.

Abby is confused yet she looks at her engagement ring and wonders if she is doing the right thing. She even lost her ring in the sink and wasn’t truly upset by that.  I don’t know too many ladies who are in love with their man who would not be upset and freakin out!  That should be a pretty blatant clue especially for someone who has watched her Mother marry numerous times.

Hunter can’t stand Derrick’s games and decides he has had enough of playing along. Derrick in ass and Abby deserves better.  Yay a real man steps up!  Time to save Abby from disaster..

What a triangle and mess!  What will Abby and Hunter do about their attraction? Will Derrick and Abby marry so he gets the promotion?

A fun, quick read in which the main and secondary characters each gave much to the overall story.

Amazon Link:   http://amzn.to/1Tph8xy

 

Vexed by a Viscount- An All’s Fair In Love Novella by author Erin Knightley

Publication Date: August 11, 2015 Publisher: Night Shift Publishing 112 Pages

Publication Date:
August 11, 2015
Publisher:
Night Shift Publishing
112 Pages

Prudence Landon is stuck!  I mean stuck!  She has been the most dutiful daughter and always bent to her parents’ wishes, but this one takes the cake!  Her father accepted the local squire’s marriage offer and being the dutiful daughter she also accepted but the man is at least twice her age and let’s face it the guy is a creep.

Determined to live her life before she must become the dutiful wife instead of the dutiful daughter, Prudence creates her own form of a bucket list.  This is her chance of a little rebellion to live as she wants and go against everyone else’s wishes including those nasty little rules set be society.  While indulging in the first of her list, she is caught swimming naked in a rather questionable pool of water.  Trying to maintain her calm while unknown water creatures are rubbing against her, she faces her neighbor, Lord Ashby and his amusement.  Can things get any worse for Prudence?  Now she has to figure out a way to shut Lord Ashby up before he tells anyone what she was doing.

When they meet again that night for dinner, Lord Ashby is shocked to learn of Prudence’s upcoming marriage.  While having a moment alone, Prudence explains her list and Lord Ashby is more than happy to help her achieve each item and even add to it.  As partners in crime, Lord Ashby and Prudence can’t help but develop feelings for one another….of course they are just friends as each of them is betrothed to others.

When Squire Jeffries uses his time alone to express his own desires to Prudence let’s just say the creepiness comes out.  Yuck!  Can you imagine being a young women and having an old man tell you how he has a seamstress that understands what he likes in the lingerie department?  Or better yet how he is going to teach you about the wedding night and that he has particular tastes?  When Prudence attempts to dislodge herself from the squire she is hurt, which rouses anger in Lord Ashby but her ever selfish and narrow-minded parents think she should not be so dramatic and allow the squire his wishes.  Ok this part made me mad!  I know that the time period of the story people did look the other way for abuse, and for the sake of the story the parents were written in that way, but in story or life hiding abuse is sickening to me.  Alright, I am done with the rant.

Lord Ashby leaves without a goodbye to Prudence.  While she is alone she realizes that she doesn’t want to live like this anymore and finally stands up for herself. Good girl, about time!  She calls off the wedding and stands her ground against the threats from the squire and her parent’s attitudes.  So what people, you sold your daughter and she no longer wants to be your pawn.  Get over it!

Lord Ashby returns to find slightly drunk Prudence who delivers the news of her calling off the wedding. Nothing could make him happier.  When he shares that he also has called off his own betrothal, Prudence is shocked but delighted and in her drunken state and his amusement they share their feelings for one another.  **sigh** Of course a happily ever after happens for these two characters.

This book was provided by Netgalley for an honest review.  I haven’t read the other three books in this series, although my opinion would be they are just as good as this one.  I was delighted with the story and its humor, rebellious antics and how the characters to came together.  Having only 112 pages it is a quick and enjoyable read.

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1TQz7qU