Operation Bonnet by Kimberly Stuart

If you like Sassy Heroines, then you'll really like this offering from Kimberly Stuart. It isn't your "usual" Amish Bonnet novel. 

Nellie Monroe has one deep desire and that is to become a private investigator; and she even took a course to do it. She has no hope for a case until one young man asks her to find out if his true love is going to marry another because he left the Amish circle to live with The English. 

Nellie is a very charming, and quite disarming character. Her wild, red hair depicts her wild and sassy personality which is just as tangled as her hair. Kimberly Stuart does a good job with character development even with some of the background characters, but it seems a bit heavy-handed. The jokes and quirks of each character get tiring.

The first few lines of chapter one make you want to laugh out loud, but when she takes such a long time to get to the point (Nellie actually going undercover at the Amish which is promised prominently on the back cover) you wonder if that really is the point. Characterization is a tricky thing. If the author doesn't do will with the characters then the story falls flat. Certainly, this story is far from that, and there is everything right with quirky and a bit eccentric in the storyline. 

This is a great Sunday afternoon read. I rate it three stars.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Operation Bonnet
David C. Cook; New edition (February 1, 2011)
Kimberly Stuart

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kimberly says:

I am a writer of comedic fiction, and would like to suggest that you laugh regularly when reading my books. Let’s also try for one to two teary moments. If you are crying more than that, you don’t understand my sense of humor and should move on to another author.

I grew up in a book-loving home. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. My mom loves books. My dad loves to read the first chapters of books and then make us all listen as he recites his favorite passages. I, however, enjoy reading books in their entirety and came into writing as a result of book-love. After earning two fancy degrees in education and Spanish, I promptly let the thinking part of my brain take a breather and instead became pregnant. (I’m sure a lot of other things happened between early literacy and pregnancy but I don’t really remember any of that. If you also have shared your uterus with another human, you understand.)

In an effort to author a book that would entertain my sassy, irreverent, breast-feeding/drooping friends, I wrote my first novel, Balancing Act. People were so nice to me after that, I decided to continue with writing. Also, I can’t craft, knit, or scrapbook, so what else was a nice, Christian girl to do?

In addition to writing books to make my friends laugh and cry, I observe the chaos at the home I share with my unfailingly supportive husband and three offspring. We’re doing our best and so far, no one’s been to prison.


Twenty-year-old Nellie Monroe has a restless brilliance that makes her a bit of an odd duck. She wants to be a private investigator, even though her tiny hometown offers no hope of clients. Until she meets Amos Shetler, an Amish dropout carrying a torch for the girl he left behind.

So Nellie straps on her bonnet and goes undercover to get the dish. But though she’s brainy, Nellie is clueless when it comes to real life and real relationships. Soon she’s alienated her best friend, angered her college professor, and botched her case.

Operation Bonnet is a comedy of errors, a surprising take on love, and a story of grace.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Operation Bonnet, go HERE.

Watch the book video trailer:


the mountains bow down by Sibella Giorello

This is a WOW, 5-Star novel. The end of the first chapter made me gasp and I was hooked for every page until the end. I'm delighted to say that Christian Fiction has a magnificent author in Sibella Giorello. You won't want to miss a single paragraph of this novel, and for sure you'll want to purchase all the other books by Giorello.

Even though this is well into the Raleigh Harmon series, it is a perfect stand alone. You know something went on before, but you don't need that information for the storyline or for the characters believability and development.

The cruise ship is a great place for a murder mystery, and the suspects are mostly neurotic Hollywood types, but the way Giorello moves the plot along, you really aren't sure who the killer is until the last which is extremely satisfying.

I have complained so much before that writers are basically inept at combining romance with suspense. I have seen them make characters kiss at the most inopportune times or exchange mooning glances while embedded in unraveling a knot of mystery. Well, I stand corrected. Giorello is a genius at adding that romance touch with just the right amount of flavor and spice. Excellently done. 

This one is a keeper!

Even Alaska can't give Raleigh Harmon a vacation from her job as an FBI forensic geologist.
A cruise to Alaska sounds like the perfect vacation--it's a geologist's dream and will give Raleigh space to sort out her feelings about her recent engagement. But before the ship even reaches its first port, a case manages to find her. The producer of a movie that's being filmed onboard goes missing and is then discovered hanging from the railing. Suicide seems to be the cause, but Raleigh quickly realizes the pieces don't add up.

When the Seattle field office sends Jack Stephanson to assist her in the investigation, her personal uncertainty skyrockets. Why is it that she forgets to even call her fiance back in Virginia. And Jack seems to know her as well as she knows herself. She'll have to wait to sort out those feelings, though, because she and Jack only have five days before the cruise ends to solve this case.


Living in the Overlap by Steve Schaefer

 This is not something you can read over night or even in a week. It is a deeply thought provoking book that asks many questions of you and your understanding of the Gospel. Schaefer offers many answers to these questions, but the most telling will be the answers you offer. We Christians were given a command to share the Gospel as we go about our daily living and to edify the body of Christ. If we do not understand what we believe and why we believe it, then we cannot be effective witnesses, nor can we come close to being an effective edifier.

This is an excellent study book, and one that could even be a hand book. I do not agree with everything Schaefer says, but then the basics are there and that is the most important thing.

How should we deal with our doubts?
What should we keep in mind when we pray for healing?
How can we share the gospel more effectively?

Steve Schaefer contends that when we understand Jesus’ central message—the kingdom of God—we can better handle such issues. The Old Testament prophets predicted the coming of God’s end-time kingdom, but the New Testament reveals a surprising twist: the kingdom arrives in two stages. The first stage arrived with Jesus’ first coming. The second stage will arrive at his second coming. So what happens in between?

Living in the Overlap
clarifies a topic that many Christians find mysterious, exploring the challenges and benefits of living in a kingdom that is both “already” and “not yet.” It offers strategies for successful kingdom living, tackling issues such as:

• Praying for healing
• Walking by faith
• Dealing with temptation
• Being used by God
• Loving others

If you want a deeper understanding of Jesus’ kingdom message, and if you want to explore the kingdom’s implications for your life today, let this provocative and enlightening book be your guide.


Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate

This is a most charming novel. It has a little suspense, a little tragedy, and a lot of great romance. You can't miss with this one.

While I really love her series about the folks from Daily, Texas, it didn't take very long to fall in love with the Game Warden and the Psychologist along with all the other characters that live in this rural area wrapped around a lake and a river in Texas. It has such depth of characterizations in a down home sort of way.

If you've ever lived in a rural town beside or near a lake, then you've already met the characters in this book. What a fun and amazing nostalgia trip for me. If you've never lived in a rural town before, then you're going to want to after reading this novel. Don't miss the baby raccoon in the shower, the Moaning Lady, or Len who is one of the scrungiest, but most interesting characters I've ever read about.

This is a Five Star offering and is well worth the money.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Larkspur Cove
Bethany House (February 1, 2011)
Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of sixteen books. Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its eighteenth printing from Penguin Putnam. Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen (2010). Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, a general market publisher. Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, Crossings Book Club, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women's literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.


Adventure is the last thing on Andrea Henderson's mind when she moves to Moses Lake. After surviving the worst year of her life, she's struggling to build a new life for herself and her son as a social worker. Perhaps in doing a job that makes a difference, she can find some sense of purpose and solace in her shattered faith. For new Moses Lake game warden Mart McClendon, finding a sense of purpose in life isn't an issue. He took the job to get out of southwest Texas and the constant reminders of a tragedy for which he can't forgive himself. But when a little girl is seen with the town recluse, Mart and Andrea are drawn together in the search for her identity. The little girl offers them both a new chance at redemption and hope--and may bring them closer than either ever planned.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Larkspur Cove, go HERE.
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