Monday, October 10, 2016

5-Star Review of "Christmas at Promise Lodge"

Review of Christmas at Promise Lodge

(Promise Lodge #2)

by Charlotte Hubbard


As the year draws to a close, the brand-new colony of Promise Lodge is thriving, a welcoming community that offers three Amish sisters a fresh start. And as Christmas approaches, gifts big and small are given with love . . .

 As Promise Lodge’s first wedding arrives, the evidence of a community building a foundation for the future is a cause for celebration. But the bishop’s narrow-minded wedding sermon doesn’t sit well with the Bender sisters, the town’s courageous founders, especially widowed Mattie Schwartz. She believes marriage and family aren’t the most important of God’s gifts—even if she suspects her tender feelings for Preacher Amos Troyer run deeper than simple friendship. 
Amos hasn’t given up hope that stubborn, spirited Mattie will change her mind about taking another husband, but when an accident threatens to change the course of his life forever, he wonders if the Lord has sent him a message. He’ll need faith, hope, and charity to find the right path—and a Christmas blessing to convince Mattie to walk it with him. 

MY REVIEW:   Sleigh rides, friends, and lots of delicious baked goods and you have the makings of a beautiful Christmas at Promise Lodge.   After Mattie and her sisters founded the Promise Lodge Amish settlement, not everything is going perfectly.   Not all the Amish in the community agree with everything that Bishop Floyd is decreeing as the Ordnung.   He also shocks them all when he announces that Mattie, Amos, and several others must marry and soon.   Mattie and Amos have loved each other since they were very young but her father forbid them marrying as he felt that Amos did not make enough money.   Will life allow them to marry at last or will they be cheated yet again?   

             The friends at Promise Lodge make life at the lodge seem so appealing.   They have their own little private apartments and they have the companionship and wonderful meals as well as the crochet group they start and better yet, they get to wear their pajamas while they crochet.   I love the people of Promise Lodge and I was really rooting for Amos and Mattie to be joined in marriage at long last.   Readers will enjoy reading to see what happens for this precious couple and getting to know the other members of the Promise Lodge.   

            I rated this book 5 stars and highly recommend it.

            I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:

Charlotte Hubbard

Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard (a.k.a. Naomi King) writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people—to share hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle, and the foundation of her earlier Angels of Mercy series. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

5-Star Review of "Sewn with Joy"

Review of Sewn with Joy

(The Pinecraft Pie Shop #3)

by Tricia Goyer and Sherry Gore


Nothing makes Joy Miller happier than sewing. And nothing makes Matthew Slagel, the bishop's son, happier than spending time with Joy.

With the rising popularity of the Me, Myself, and Pie shop run by Joy's eldest sister, Lovina, comes an increasing demand for souvenirs like aprons and dishtowels. Joy's handiwork soon catches the attention of a television crew preparing to film a new Amish TV series. While she is initially hired to sew the costumes, she finds herself becoming a consultant and fill-in for the main actress.

The bishop does not approve of Joy's involvement with the show—or his son's involvement with Joy. When he asks Matthew to stop seeing Joy, Matthew must make a decision—pursue happiness or follow the rules—unless he can find a way to reconcile those two sides of his faith.

When mounting tension threatens to rip the entire community apart, can an unexpected development stitch them back together?

Inspiration, romance, and creativity abound in Sewn with Joy, the third and final installment in The Pinecraft Pie Shop series.

MY REVIEW:  Pieces of fabric and spools of thread lead to conflict and joy in this Amish novel.   But television cameras, actors, and actresses in the Amish village of Pinecraft, Florida?  These all seem contradictory to the Amish faith. The bishop definitely frowns on the filming of a television series and even worse, the series is going to be about the Amish.  How on earth can Englishers know enough to write about the Amish?  Amish don't watch television unless they are in their rumspringa and  almost the entire community is very unhappy with the entire process. But Joy gets roped into sewing the Amish dresses for the film so that they are authentic after Joy sees the actresses and informs them that the dresses and accessories are all wrong.  Joy and her family get talked into serving as consultant on clothing and set while her mother, sisters, and other women in the community prepare meals for the crew and serve them on-site.  Another very important person is unhappy with Joy and that is her boyfriend whom she hopes to marry, Matthew.  Will Matthew and Joy be able to weather this incredible storm or is it the end of their relationship?
        This is the third book in the Pinecraft Pie Shop series and the characters are so lovable.  Who could dislike Joy and her sisters?  They are very sincere in their faith and their passion for life.  I read the entire series in order and I do think that this could be read as a stand alone or out of order.  This would make an excellent series for preteens and older.  Grab a piece of pie, a good book on gardening and your sewing supplies and you have the foundations for this series.   
         I rated this book 5 stars as it was extremely easy to read because it is just that good!  
         I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Authors:
Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of two, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published thirty-three books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by Tricia is also on the blogging team at, and other homeschooling and Christian sites.In addition to her roles as mom, wife and author, Tricia volunteers around her community and mentors teen moms. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently leads a Teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, AR. Tricia, along with a group of friends, recently launched, sharing ideas about simplifying life. She also hosts the weekly radio podcast, Living Inspired. Learn more about Tricia at

Sherry Gore

Sherry Gore is editor-in-chief of Cooking & Such magazine, the author of "Simply Delicious Amish Cooking", "Me, Myself and Pie" and a weekly scribe for the national edition of the Amish newspaper, The Budget, established in 1890. The National Geographic Channel featured Sherry prominently their documentary series, Amish: Out of Order. Sherry's culinary adventures have been seen on NBC Daytime, the Today Show, Mr. Food Test Kitchen, and Fox, NBC, CBS and ABC affiliates across the country. Sherry is a year-round resident of beautiful, sun-kissed Sarasota, Florida, the vacation paradise of the Plain People. She has three children and is a member of a Beachy Amish Mennonite church. When not spending time with her family, writing, or eating, Sherry is a cooking show host, and an official pie contest judge.

Sherry is currently under contract with Harvest House Publishers for a 3-book novel series with best selling author Tricia Goyer. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

4-Star Review of "Color of Danger" and Giveaway

Review of Color of Danger

(Secrets of Rios Azules #1)

To enter giveaway, see link below!

by Alexa Verde


Former runaway Mari Del Lobo works hard to save her struggling restaurant and to trust people again. Dallas surgeon Dr. Luke Goodman turns her world upside down with terrifying news. A recent murder has her late brother's - aka the Smiling Killer - signature and MO. When attacks on her escalate, Mari fights her growing attraction to the good doctor as fiercely as she fights for her life. To rescue herself and those she loves, will she be able to stop the murderer before he strikes again? 

Luke couldn't save his fiancée from the Smiling Killer, but he'll do anything to prevent more murders, even ask help from the serial killer's sister. Finding a kindred tortured soul and the perpetrator's next target in Mari, Luke is determined to protect the stubborn ex-rebel. But Mari would rather face danger than risk the safety of the man she comes to love.

My REVIEW:  Mari Del Lobo saw her brother die.  She was there.  She blames herself for his death and she is also relieved that he is dead.  But her world is turned upside down when Dr. Luke Goodman arrives from Dallas to confront her and tell her that he is convinced her brother is, in fact, alive, and killing again.   Her brother left a terrible legacy behind...he was not only a psychopath, but he was also a serial killer known as "the Smiling Killer" because he cut the faces of the victims to look like they were smiling.  How could he be alive?   He killed the doctor's fiancee and Dr. Luke Goodman doesn't want him to continue killing so he launches his own investigation into the recent murders.  He wants help and he believes that Mari is the best person to give it.  She is motivated to help him when she learns that her closest friends, who she considers to be her "family", are his targets and she is his prime target.  
         I will admit that I had a very hard time getting into this book as I was having difficulty following the storyline.  I also found the resolution to be unlikely and I don't want to spoil the story here, so I won't say a great deal more about my need to know more concerning the ending proposed by the author.   It was interesting though as I read further into the story.  I really came to like Mari and Luke.  I found her past life to be tragic and sad.  Having to confront her past just made me angry for her.   I believe that readers will enjoy this story.  There is definitely suspense and many instances of sensational features.   
         I rated this book 4 stars and recommend it to readers who enjoy suspense and thrillers.
         I received a copy of this book from celebrate lit bloggers and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.   

About the Author:
Alexa Verde

Alexa Verde writes sweet, wholesome books about faith, love, and murder. She penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has bachelor's degrees in English and Spanish, a master's in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She can claim her 15 seconds of Amazon fame with her books climbing to the #1 spot in Hispanic American and #3 in Christian Mystery & Suspense. She's worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer's hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her popular series Secrets of Rios Azules. For giveaways (Russian souvenirs are the next), news, and recipes, please sign up for her newsletter at Twitter: @AlexaVerde3. Facebook:

Blog Stops

September 8: Daysong Reflections
September 9: Christian Bookaholic
September 11: SueStinnett
September 12: Carpe Diem
September 13: Reading Is My SuperPower
September 14: Mary Hake
September 15: A Baker’s Perspective
September 16: Quiet Quilter
September 17: The Power of Words (Spotlight)
September 18: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
September 19: History, Mystery & Faith
September 20: Bukwurmzzz
September 21: Blogging With Carol

September 22: Rhonda’s Doings


To celebrate her tour, Alexa is giving away a $50 amazon gift card! Click here to enter:

Link to purchase book:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

5-Star Review of "Baby, Baby" and Giveaway

Review of Baby, Baby

and GIVEAWAY!!!!!  to enter, leave a comment on my blog or one of my facebook posts.  For more chances to win, follow my blog!  Tell me if you are a follower to receive additional entry.

Written by Diane Stortz

Illustrated by Ailie Busby


A sweet, colorful board book that appeals to a baby's interest in looking at other babies.

Babies enjoy books, looking at other babies, and their own flowering abilities. This short rhyming poem combines all three in a sweet and happy way, while introducing babies to God's love for them. The simple words are paired with colorful images of babies engaging in familiar activities, allowing the book to be used as an introductory concept book as well. And it ends with a reminder that Baby is always loved by God.

MY REVIEW:  This is a precious board book for babies and toddlers.  The pictures are engaging and fun, and the story is one that shows some of the many things that babies are able to do.  I read this multiple times to several grandchildren and nieces and nephews.  They loved it!   They laughed and pointed to the pictures and repeated the words.  They loved looking at themselves in the mirror.   They were eager to read this again and again!   This book is a big hit and I highly recommend it. The children I read to ranged in age from 9 months to 5 years.  
         The children and I rate this book a definite 5-stars!   Get a copy and enjoy with your little ones or buy it as a gift.   
          I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.   

About the Author:
Born in Detroit and raised in Southern California, Diane Stortz has lived in Cincinnati, OH, since graduating from Arizona State University with a BA in journalism. For ten years she led the book group at Standard Publishing as editorial director.

Diane now runs Izzy's Office, where she edits books and writes for children and adults. Her goal: encouraging you to read, learn, love, and live God's Word, the Bible.

Izzy's Office is named for Diane's first house rabbit, Isabella. A petite Dutch rabbit named Pepe ruled the office for six years too. He liked to nudge her feet for attention when she was at her computer and (he thought) ignoring him.

Diane is married and has two married daughters and three grandsons. These days Diane devotes time to baby care rather than bunny care. Two baby boys joined the family this year!

When she's not writing or editing, Diane enjoys walking, gardening, and planning her next trip to visit her grandkids. 

About the Illustrator:

Ailie Busby has had over twenty books published, including titles by Egmont, Walker and Hodder, such as Drat That Fat Cat! and Slugs for Breakfast. She collects vintage jewelery, bags and knitted toys. Ailie lives in Newcastle with her husband, two children and their two cats. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

5-Star Review of "The Hawaiian Quilt"

Review of The Hawaiian Quilt

by Wanda Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter

The Hawaiian Quilt

Join Mandy Frey as she and three friends leave their Amish community in Indiana for the trip of a lifetime to Hawaii. But when Mandy and one of her friends miss the cruise ship after a port of call on Kauai, how will they adjust and get back home? Find out in this brand new romance from New York Timesbestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.

MY REVIEW:  A dream vacation for me would be to visit Hawaii, but I don't know that I'll ever be able to afford that trip; Mandy Frey and her friends' trip was described so vividly that I felt like I was actually there in the tropical paradise.  Mandy lives in an Amish community in Indiana and has never traveled far from home but she has always longed to visit Hawaii.  She and her three friends save their money and plan a trip by train to California and then by cruise ship to the Hawaiian islands and a brief stop in Mexico.   They have an incredible time but Mandy and Ellen miss their cruise ship and get stranded in Hawaii.  They don't know how or when they will get home and how they will afford it as most of their money was invested in this vacation.  Their friends Barbara and Sadie will be worried sick when they don't return to the cruise ship with them.  What will their parents and Mandy's boyfriend, Gideon, think?   
Readers will thrill at finding out how Mandy and Ellen solve this dilemma.
         I rated this book 5 stars as it was truly so descriptive and eloquent that I actually felt like I was there with Mandy and her friends.   The authors brought Hawaii to life for me.   I also could not help feeling affection and compassion for Mandy and Ellen.   Ellen was particularly distressed.   It made me wonder how I would react in a similar situation.   Read this book to find out how the conflict is resolved and how lives are changed in the mean time.
          I received a copy of this book from netgalley and the authors in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Authors:

Wanda E. Brunstetter
Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of over 70 books with more than 9 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine and USA Today.

Wanda's fascination with the Amish culture developed when she met her husband, Richard, who grew up in a Mennonite church, and whose family has a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Meeting her new Mennonite sister-in-laws caused Wanda to yearn for the simpler life. In their travels, she and her husband have become close friends with many Amish people across America. Wanda's desire to explore their culture increased when she discovered that her great-great grandparents were part of the Anabaptist faith.

All of Wanda's novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Many of her books are well-read and trusted by the Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

Wanda's primary attraction to the Amish is their desire to live a devout Christian life that strives to honor God, work hard, and maintain close family ties. Whenever she visits her Amish friends, Wanda finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties, which is in stark contrast to the chaos and busyness that plagues so many modern "Englishers." Time and time again, Wanda loses her heart in the Amish life, and she hopes her readers will, too. For more information, visit:

Jean Brunstetter became fascinated with the Amish when she first went to Pennsylvania to visit her father-in-law's family. Since that time, Jean has become friends with several Amish families and enjoys writing about their way of life.  She also likes to put some of the simple practices followed by the Amish into her daily routine.  Jean lives in Washington State with her husband, Richard Jr. and their three children, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish communities in several states.  In addition to writing, Jean enjoys boating, gardening, and spending time on the beach.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

4-Star Review of "Until I Love Again"

Review of Until I Love Again

(The St. Lawrence County Amish #2)

by Jerry S. Eicher

What if the only way to avoid total rejection was to marry or run?

Susanna's freedom during her rumspringa time goes a bit further than she wants her family to know. A birthday sign innocently placed on a gas station billboard condemns Susanna as she realizes her relationship with an Englisha has become far too close.

Her daett is not pleased, but what he hasn't told her is that he himself fathered a child during his own rumspringa. Widower Ernest Helmuth knows about the child, but has said nothing as of yet. He plans on having Susanna as his bride.

With her baptism approaching, Susanna knows that time is running out to make her choice: stay with her family or go to live with the Englisha she has come to love.

With Ernest Helmuth watching, that decision might not be hers to make.

MY REVIEW:   Ernest Helmuth is very persistent and controlling, and he is determined to have Susanna as his new bride.  His two little girls are just adorable and need a new mother.  His sister has been kind enough to help him care for his home and his daughters, but she is of marriageable age herself and is very fond of a young Amish man in the church.  Susanna enjoyed her rumspringa time a little too much for her family and the community's taste.   But does that explain why she hasn't been invited to ride home with anyone from the singings?   Susanna has met a wonderful Englisha friend in Joey and his family as well.   They are very good friends but her family does NOT approve.   Will he lead her away from the church or will she marry Ernest and stay?  and what is the secret that Ernest is holding over her head?
            This book is very interesting.  I did wonder though about the treatment that Susanna receives from the Amish community and the eligible young men?  I don't want to spoil the story for readers in telling what this treatment is and why she receives it, but in other Amish novels, I thought things were done in a different way for young people in her position.  The author was raised in an Amish home so I'm sure he is correct.  I wonder why other authors show a different perspective?  This does make the plot very unique compared to others I have read.  Readers will enjoy learning about the Amish and Susanna's love interests.   
          I rated this book 4 stars and am sure that other readers will love this book.   
          I received an ebook from netgalley and a print copy from the author and publisher in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the author:

Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina Eicher, and their four children in Virginia.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

5-Star Review of "Claiming Noah"

Review of Claiming Noah

by Amanda Ortlepp


Catriona and James are desperate for children, and embark on an IVF program. After a gruelling round of treatments, Catriona finally falls pregnant, and they donate their remaining embryo anonymously.

Diana and Liam are on a waiting list to receive an embryo. Sooner than expected, they are thrilled to discover one is available.

After a difficult pregnancy, Catriona gives birth to Sebastian. But severe postnatal depression affects her badly, and quickly turns into deadly psychosis. For her protection and her baby’s, she’s admitted into psychiatric care. When she comes home, she again struggles to bond with her baby, but gradually life finds its own rhythm.

Meanwhile, Diana has given birth to a beautiful little boy, Noah.
But when he is two months old Noah is abducted … and Diana and Liam’s nightmare begins.

Where is Noah?

MY REVIEW:   I recall years ago, when I was a teenager in the 1970's about the first test-tube baby as it was called then.   It was a huge ethical dilemma in that time period.  Today, IVF and other similar methods to have a child are commonplace for couples with infertility.  Catriona and James find themselves in the throws of infertility while Diana and Liam are also struggling through infertility as well.  Postpartum depression turns into postpartum psychosis and Catriona and Sebastian are in danger of her own behaviors.  Diana has a baby using a donated egg, but the nightmare of all nightmares occurs when Noah is kidnapped in his stroller while grocery shopping with his mother.  Liam blames Diana for not watching Noah closely enough and allowing the kidnapping to take place.  The paths of the two couples begin to cross in ways neither of them ever dreamed possible. 
             I don't want to spoil the book for readers and it would be easy to do if I continue describing the plot.   I really was enthralled with this book and just couldn't wait to get back to reading it.   One part seemed very farfetched to me concerning Sebastian a few days after his mother entered a psychiatric hospital for treatment of her postpartum psychosis.  This book is well-written and does not rely on cursing and sex to sell the book.   
         I rated this book 5 stars and think readers should check out this debut novel of Amanda Ortlepp.   
         I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Amanda Ortlepp

Amanda Ortlepp's debut novel, Claiming Noah, was published in Australia and New Zealand in 2015. Its ethical dilemmas and emotionally-charged themes struck a chord with mothers and book clubs in particular and it became a bestseller. Claiming Noah will be published in the US and Canada in July 2016. Amanda's second novel, Running Against the Tide, is set on the remote Eyre Peninsula in South Australia where her father grew up. It was published in Australia and New Zealand in 2016. Amanda lives in Sydney.