While some of the books I review on my site are furnished by the publishers, authors, or publicists for the purpose of review all of my reviews are truthful, honest, and my sincere opinion.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Forever Hilltop by Judy Baer

Thanks to Litfuse Group for letting me be a part of this wonderful blog tour! Scroll to the bottom for the giveaway information!

About the Book

The charming and often hilarious Forever Hilltop series follows the experiences of former city dweller Alex Armstrong as he settles into his new role as pastor of a Scandinavian community in rural North Dakota. Alex is sometimes baffled by his parishioners and their colorful ways, but he comes to appreciate their simple wisdom. One thing's for sure -- life in Hilltop Township is never dull! This new two-in-one format features An Unlikely Blessing along with its sequel, Surprising Grace.

In An Unlikely Blessing, Alex Armstrong is a former city dweller who has just accepted his first parish assignment to a small community in the wilds of North Dakota. In Hilltop Township, Pastor Alex becomes familiar with the residents and their odd traditions, from julebukking to King Oscar's fish balls. And then there's the excitement the single pastor creates among the unmarried women in the community! Alex soon discovers that his new church home has as much to teach him as he has to teach them.

In Surprising Grace, Alex Armstrong is settling into his new role as pastor of Hilltop Church, and he's even starting to understand the strange ways of the people who populate this barren stretch of North Dakota prairie. But he also finds that his flock needs help and counsel like he never imagined. In this cozy and entertaining read, Alex must choose between the woman he once loved -- and the home he's come to love.

For more information about Forever Hilltop please visit Judy Baer's website or follow her on Twitter.

Keep reading for the giveaway information!

My Review

I normally wouldn't read two books from the same series back to back, as I tend to need a change of "scenery" after I finish a book. I usually just want to immerse myself in a new set of characters and different surroundings. So I was worried that when I read this by the time I got to the second book it would be hard for me to read. But these characters are so touching that I didn't want to give them up - even after the second book! I could have just kept reading about Alex and Hilltop.

I LOVED the characters - and there are a lot of them. But what I really think helped me connect to the mass of characters in these two books is that the main character Rev. Alex Armstrong is just getting to know his new community. So as he's learning about all of these people we're learning about them also. There's no "learning curve" because as he finds something out so do we. And the characters are just endearing. Some of them I just wanted to hug and others I wanted to give a big kick in the butt. But they're all connected and without even one of the characters the community would be missing so much!

I've never lived in a small community like the one in Hilltop, where everyone really does know everyone's business. Where I live are a lot of nosy neighbors who think they know what's going on, but really have no clue. So to see how a community like this worked was kind of neat to me. Because not only does everyone know your business, but they're a family and if one of the family is in need everyone does what they can to help out. I really do mean everyone. And usually the help has something to do with food. Food was a major theme through the book. So much so that there are recipes throughout. And with one exception I want to try all of them! I've read books with recipes in them, but usually they are at the end of the book. This book, as the recipe is mentioned in the story there's a copy of it right there on the page for you.

These two book were so easy for me to escape into. I could see the people and the places in the book so vividly. Baer really does an excellent job of writing. I have to say her character development was amazing. To be able to connect with so many characters - and believe me through the two books there are a ton of them - can only be attributed to an amazing author. There were a few times when I felt that the story was being rushed, and wasn't being allowed to fully play out. But for the most part the reading is smooth and easy going. It was a pretty quick read (for being two books in one) but the pace of the books - much like Hilltop - was pretty leisurely and laid back. This book would be a perfect one for sitting outside on a warm day and just getting away from it all for a while. I really liked these two and can't wait to read more!

Ok now time for the giveaway! Good Luck

@JudyKBaer is giving away a Kindle for YOU … and one for a Friend in her Forever Hilltop Giveaway!

Celebrate with Judy by entering to win a Kindle for you and a friend!

One lucky winner will receive:

  • Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi to Giveaway to a Friend!
  • Forever Hilltop by Judy K Baer for you and a one for a friend

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 22nd. Winner will be announced 5/24/12 on Judy's Blog.

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 21st!

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