Wednesday, February 10, 2016

5-Star Review of "Amish Sweethearts"

Review of Amish Sweethearts

by Leslie Gould

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Can These Two Friends from Opposite Worlds Find Love? 

They've been best friends for years, but as high school ends, Zane Beck can't help but look at his Amish neighbor, Lila Lehman, with different eyes. Her controlling father sees only one future for Lila, though, and arranges for her to be courted by an upstanding young Amish man. When Zane sees the two together, his plans for the future crumble, and he impulsively enlists in the Army, following in his father's footsteps.

However, the passing of years and the distance between them isn't enough to halt their now hidden feelings for each other. If being together used to be difficult, it's now impossible, especially with the Amish opposed to war. Zane's service takes a dramatic turn when he's sent to Afghanistan. Being on the front line and the reality of taking a life has him questioning whether he can continue to serve or not. But all choices have consequences--both his and hers. With Lila preparing to marry another, will these one-time sweethearts ever find the life together that they both still long for?

MY REVIEW:  Amish Sweethearts is a wonderful book.   I was so caught up in Lila's dilemma.....loving an English soldier and being courted by a respectable Amish man that she doesn't love.   She doesn't want to leave her family and Amish faith.    Reuben represents a chance at a comfortable, safe, boring, loveless Amish life.  Zane thrills her heart and gives her sparks.   Which will she choose?  Will she choose either?  Maybe she will just resign herself to a life alone.   Readers will enjoy finding out as I did.
I rated this book 5 stars and I highly recommend it to lovers of Amish and Christian fiction.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Leslie Gould

Leslie Gould is the #1 bestselling and Christy Award winning author of twenty-two novels. She received her MFA from Portland State University and teaches writing at Warner Pacific College. Leslie enjoys traveling, hiking, and history. She and her husband, Peter, are the revolving-door parents of four children and three cats. Visit her at http://www.lesliegould.com/.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

5-Star Review of "The Restoration" and Giveaway

Review of The Restoration and Giveaway!!!

by Wanda Brunstetter

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Dive into an Amish country love triangle in this third book of the Prairie State Friends series. Priscilla Herschberger finds herself pursued by Elam, a childhood friend from her community, and David, an outsider raised in the modern world. Elam would do almost anything to convince Priscilla that David would never fit into the Amish way. Will flames of jealousy rage out of control and ruin lives? Can forgiveness allow love and trust to grow? 

MY REVIEW:  Don't you love when reading a book feels like coming home?   That's how this book made me feel. I kept remembering portions of the previous books in the Prairie State Friends' series and it just felt like they were all family to me.  Priscilla has two young eligible bachelors vying for her attentions and her heart.   But jealousy gets in the way and causes great pain for all of them.  Can love ever be restored through forgiveness?  Priscilla's friends, Elaine and Leah both have many exciting changes and challenges occuring in their lives as well. Priscilla helps Elaine serve Amish dinners in her home to tourists and both Priscilla and Elaine would love to have a husband and family like their friend Leah.   Leah continues practicing reflexology in her home and caring for her husband and his three nieces whom they are raising after the death of Adam's sister and brother-in-law.  Adam's mother, Cora, wants desperately to repair the past and make amends with him and be a true grandmother to the three nieces but Adam's heart is hardened and forgiveness seems hard to attain.  
Readers will thrill at seeing how these and other issues are resolving for the Prairie State Friends.   I couldn't wait to get back to my reading of this book tonight after caring for my elderly mom for the day.  I also want to share the joy of this book by offering a giveaway of the print copy I received from the publisher.  
I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.  
I received a print version of this book from the publisher and a pdf version of it from netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:
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 60 books with more than 7 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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

5-Star Review of "A Sentimental Journey Romance Collection"

Review of A Sentimental Journey Romance Collection:  9 Love Stories from the Memorable 1940's

by Cathy Marie Hake, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Dianna Crawford, Joan Croston, Kelly Eileen Hake, Sally Laity, DiAnn Mills, Janelle B. Schneider, and Lynette Sowell

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Journey back to the great decade of the 1940s through nine romances that ignite despite the challenges and dangers of a world war. Couples meet under unique circumstances—during the bombing of London, at military outposts, through covert operations to save children, as well as on the home front—and the bond of love grows through shared ideals and faith.

MY REVIEW:   Of Immeasurable Worth by Joan Croston:  London, 1940, Ann and Peter work together to smuggle the Gutenberg Bible to America in order to save it from the Germans in World War II.   

Flower Amidst the Ashes by DiAnn Mills:  November, 1940, London, Corporal Margaret Walker is working with Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force and is determined not to lose her heart to one of the pilots while the war is going on and her heart could be broken.   Her friend, Beryl, has already lost her husband to the war. 

Sing Another Day by Kim Vogel Sawyer:   New York City, September, 1941, Helen Wolfe is trying to raise her younger siblings after her parents are killed in an accident and Bernie O'Day needs help in his shop and hires her brother, Henry.   Helen was planning to train for a career as a singer but must work to support her family instead.   

Living Doll by Cathy Marie Hake:  Virginia, January, 1941, Paul Kincaid buys handmade dolls from Rosemary Fulton so that he can save the lives of precious Jewish children.
Filled With Joy by Kelly Eileen Hake:  December, 1941, Roy Benson has been injured in the war and Paul Kincaid wants him to live with them while he recovers. Roy helps Rosemary and her daughter, Valerie, sew the handmade dolls to save children. 

A Thread of Trust by Sally Laity:  Copenhagen, Denmark, Spring, 1943, Axel and Annelise are providing a safe house to hide and smuggle Jewish children and others out of their grandmother's home.  Annelise must pretend to be engaged to Erik to hide him in their home so that he can forge papers for the ones they seek to save. 


A Stitch of Faith by Dianna Crawford:  Copenhagen, Denmark, October 2, 1943, Sorena Bruhn finds herself responsible for hiding a small child when his Jewish parents, her neighbors are taken by the Nazis.   Axel becomes involved in helping Sorena and the young boy and exposes himself as the underground resistance in the process.

Letters from Home by Lynette Sowell:  Fredericksburg, Texas, 1943, Trudy Meier wants to travel and see the world.   When traveling reporter, Bradley Payne, comes to town to report on the war efforts, Trudy rents him their family's Sunday house. 

A Light in the Night by Janelle Burnham Schneider:  Goose Bay, Labrador, Elisabeth is a nurse who can't dance and Ian MacDonald gets her to sing with him at the weekly "social evening" and a romance develops until she tells him that she won't give her heart to him and risk losing him during this awful war.  

I absolutely loved these novellas.   I love reading about World War II as I lost an uncle in the war.  As I read the stories, I was reminded of many things my grandmother had shared with me about life in that time period.   Each story develops around the possibility of events that could have actually taken place and romances happened despite some of the character's best efforts to prevent them.   Many of the men and women may have feared loving someone as they might easily lose them to the war.  Some of the stories are connected and include some of the same characters but not all of the novellas connect to the others in the collection.   
I rated this collection 5 stars as it is truly wonderful.  I think readers will love it also.
I received a free pdf version of this from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Authors:

Cathy Marie Hake
Cathy Marie Hake
As a child, Cathy Marie Hake had an imaginary playmate. Now "grown up," she indulges in a host of imaginary friends as she writes. She teasingly says she decided if those voices in her head were talking, she might as well write down what they said and make a living by doing it. She met her sweetheart in the High School department at church and married him after finishing nursing school. They live in Southern California and have two children and two dogs (one of them even moos - one of the dogs that is, not the kids). Faith in God, a loving family, and a wacky sense of the ridiculous keep her going.

Known for surfing across the kitchen on a dropped dill pickle slice, waterskiing on sea anemone spit, and using Right Guard® as hair spray; she considers herself living proof that God does, indeed, possess a healthy sense of humor.

Cathy loves classical music, romantic getways with her husband, and Diet Pepsi Free®. "I need chocolate to survive, love my friends, and enjoy a deep personal relationship with the Lord. Although an extrovert, I'm very conservative on a personal level."

In her writing, Cathy attempts to capture a unique glimpse of life and how a man and woman can overcome obstacles when motivated by love. In her inspirational pieces she enjoys the freedom of showing how Christ can enrich a loving couple's relationship.
 Kim Vogel Sawyer
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. She invites you to visit her Web site at www.kimvogelsawyer.com for more information.
 Dianna Crawford
Dianna Crawford, best-selling author of 13 novels and 5 novellas, lives in Southern California with her husband, Byron, and the youngest of her four daughters. She was given a great start with her first novel in 1992. Writing for the general market as Elaine Crawford, she was fortunate to have it become a best-seller and be nominated for Best First Book with Romance Writers of America. Three more novels and 3 novellas followed under that name.
But she much prefers writing Christian historical fiction. She feels that much of our wonderful Christian heritage has been diluted or distorted, if not completely deleted, from the general market and texts. She felt very blessed when she and co-author Sally Laity were given the opportunity by Tyndale House to write a six-book fiction series centered on the romance, adventures, and miracles that took place during the American Revolution.
Joan Croston

 Kelly Eileen Hake
Kelly Eileen Hake is a reader favorite of Barbour's Heartsong Presents series, where she has released several books. A credentialed Secondary English teacher in California, she is pursing her MA in Writing Popular Fiction. Known for her own style of witty, heartwarming historical romance, Kelly is currently writing the Prairie Promises trilogy, her first full-length novels. She has been writing since she could hold a pen and was first published at the tender age of eighteen.

 Sally Laity
Sally Laity
Sally Laity considers it a joy to know that the Lord can touch other hearts through her stories. She has written both historical and contemporary novels, including a co-authored series for Tyndale House and another for Barbour Publishing, nine Heartsong Romances, and twelve Barbour novellas. Her favorite pastimes include quilting for her church’s Prayer Quilt Ministry and scrapbooking. She makes her home in the beautiful Tehachapi Mountains of southern California with her husband of fifty years and enjoys being a grandma and great-grandma. 
 DiAnn Mills
DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. 

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. 

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com. 
 Janelle B. Schneider

Lynette Sowell
Lynette Sowell
Lynette Sowell is an award-winning author with New England roots, but she makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas Hill Country with her husband and a herd of five cats. When she’s not writing, she edits medical reports and chases down stories for the local newspaper.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

5-Star Review of "Blue Ribbon Trail Ride"

Review of Blue Ribbon Trail Ride

(Horses and Friends book #4)

by Miralee Ferrell

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Thirteen-year old Kate and her friends came up with the perfect way to raise money for her autistic younger brother and others to attend summer camp—a horse scavenger hunt! As local businesses donate money and prizes, Kate keeps the entry fees in her mom’s antique jewelry box.

But when the box and the money disappear, Kate and her friends must unravel the clues, hold on to hope, and solve the mystery along the Blue Ribbon Trail Ride.

MY REVIEW:  What could be more fun than a scavenger hunt on horseback with amazing prizes?   Kate and her friends come up with the idea to raise money to send Kate's autistic brother and others to summer camp but things go awry when the antique box with all the entry fees is stolen.   Kate, Tori, Melissa, and Colt then become amateur detectives and set up a sting operation to catch the thief and get the box and money back.  
This series is just plain fun and engaging!   It is written for  young adults but I love the books and this one was true to form and just as wonderful as the others!  Kate and her family are incredible Christian witnesses to all those around them and use their faith to help others on a daily basis.    Horse lovers are certain to be thrilled with this book also but I am personally not a big "horse lover" and yet these books are favorites of mine.  
I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers, young and old!   
I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
 Miralee Ferrell

Miralee Ferrell and her husband, Allen, live on eleven acres in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where they love to garden, play with their dogs, take walks, and go sailing. She is also able to combine two other passions—horseback riding and spending time with her grown children—since her married daughter lives nearby, and they often ride together on the wooded trails near their home. 

Ironically, Miralee, now the author of eighteen books, with many more on the way, never had a burning desire to write—at least more than her own memoirs for her children. So she was shocked when God called her to start writing after she turned fifty. To Miralee, writing is a ministry that she hopes will impact hearts, and she anticipates how God will use each of her books to bless and change lives.


Monday, January 18, 2016

3-Star Review of "Mennonite on the Edge"

Review of Mennonite on the Edge: An Unlikely Romance

by Cynthia Yoder

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She's a newlywed...twenty-four...and desperate to know why she's so unhappy. 

Though a country-girl at heart, MaryJo wants to ditch her identity as a Mennonite in marrying Adam and living a life of adventure in Manhattan. But news from home kicks up memories she’d tried to forget. While she begins to question her choices, Adam lands a high-profile job, making a move seem impossible. MaryJo must make peace with her past and her current situation so that she can live the life of her dreams with Adam. But can she reconcile her craving for serenity in the City that Never Sleeps? 

MY REVIEW:   This is not your average Amish/Mennonite fiction.  In fact, MaryJo wants to leave behind her Mennonite roots and discover adventure.  While she does discover quite a bit of adventure, she is not happy.   
         This book was well-written but it just did not completely capture my rapt attention.   I felt that the past issues did not seem to be fully explained or dealt with by MaryJo.  It did speak clearly to me though that the highly restricted environment of the Mennonite faith leaves many young people confused and desiring more from life.   MaryJo tries desperately to love New York but she misses the tranquility of her home in Pennsylvania. This book did not fully address issues to my thinking and left me feeling confused and needing more detail in many places.    
        I rated this book 3 stars.   
        I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:
Cynthia Yoder

from goodreads author bio:
I write memoir and fiction. My first novel, Mennonite on the Edge: An Unlikely Romance, was published in December, 2015. My first book, Crazy Quilt: Pieces of a Mennonite Life was one of the first Mennonite memoirs published (in 2003). My second book, Divine Purpose: Find the Passion Within, was inspired by working as a life purpose coach for people who wanted to follow their dreams.

I live and work in New Jersey.

Friday, January 15, 2016

5-Star Review of "Grace's Forgiveness"

Review of Grace's Forgiveness

by Molly Jebber

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A handsome newcomer with secrets shows a yearning Amish woman a chance at happiness—but their love will need all their courage to keep . . .

Grace Blauch is skilled at midwifery—and crafting quilts that help others pass on messages of enduring family love. But a disfiguring birthmark keeps the young Amish woman from a husband and home of her own—until Mark King arrives from another community. His helpfulness and independent nature earn Grace’s respect. And he finds her outspoken ways and determination to do right irresistibly appealing. Soon Grace is planning a wedding quilt of her very own . . . until her father discovers that Mark’s shunned brother is hiding somewhere in town . . . 

Grace can well understand why Mark took such a risk once she hears his wrenching reasons. But she fears even prayer will not convince her father to restore his blessing on their union. She wills herself to face the end of her dreams, but sudden danger and an impossible act of generosity will show her that abiding hope can inspire the most precious of miracles . . . 

MY REVIEW:  Grace is a character to adore!  She offers forgiveness freely to all around her and yet she has a spicy attitude about her as well.   She is very realistic.  Even among the Amish, who do not believe in taking pride in one's looks, she is often ostracized due to the apple-sized birthmark that mars her face.  She longs for a husband and children of her own to love, but she fears that will never happen but then Mark King moves to town and he only has eyes for Grace.   Will Mark's wayward brother ruin their chances for love and a home and family of their own?  
        This story is one that is definitely believable and stirs the heart strings.   I rated this book 5 stars and am dying to read the third book in this series, Two Suitors for Anna.   I highly recommend this book and author to readers.
        I received a print copy of this book from the publisher and an ebook of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Molly Jebber

"Change of Heart" is the first book in a keepsake pocket quilt series. Available now. In each book, someone will receive a letter tucked in a small pocket sewn on the quilt at just the right time. The second book, "Grace's Forgiveness" is available for preorder now and will be in stores and ebook January 29, 2016. I'm writing the third book now. "An Amish Christmas Sleigh" is releasing September 30th! 

A bit about me . . . .

I was raised in a small town in Ohio. If you had blinked twice, you would've missed it. It's grown by leaps and bounds. I've always found the Amish life interesting. I've enjoyed the many times I've visited their communities and learned about their lifestyle. Creating historical Amish characters and throwing them into difficult situations and joyous times has been challenging and fun. The greatest reward I've experienced in becoming an author is meeting wonderful people from all over the world who've been encouraging and supportive.

Visit my website at http://www.mollyjebber.com and sign up for my newsletter for members only contests, giveaways and where I'll be speaking!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

5-Star Review of "New Beginnings"

Review of New Beginnings

Book 1 of "The Sands of Time" series

by Pamela Jo
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Upon her return from her best friend Charlie's wedding, Victoria found that the beautiful city of Chicago had never seemed emptier and neither had her soul. She realized she was surrounded by all the people in the world and she still felt lonely. Deciding to take her friend Charlie’s advice and make a change in her life, she packed her bags and moved to the west coast of Florida. Little did she know that the young Amish girl that she met on the sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico would begin a spiral of emotional changes for both of them.

MY REVIEW:   I recently read a book that bored me right to sleep, but this was not that book!  This book kept me awake as I could not wait to read more and see what was going to happen with Victoria, Charlie, and Rebecca.    This book is full of hope and the opportunity for second chances and healing!    This is Pamela Jo's first solo novel and she has certainly set the tone for awesome writing and the hope of many more exciting books ahead!   
I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers!
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:
Pamela Jo

Author Pamela Jo, best known as "Whoopie Pie Pam", is the author of several wonderful story/cookbooks, and best-selling co-author of the #1 best selling series, The Divine Secrets of the Whoopie Pie Sisters. She is also the founder and creator of the Whoopie Pie Book Club, a well known social media site. 

Inspired by the Amish for their simplicity in facing life, love of God, and honor for family, Pam found a connection with the Amish. As a result of her many years of traveling and conducting business with the Amish, she has established close friendships with many Amish families, friendships that she cherishes. She refers to them as her extended family.

She resides in West Virginia and Florida. When not reading, writing or traveling, she spends time with her family of three children, two son-in-laws and four awesome grandchildren. The remaining portion of her time is spent interacting with her cherished members of the Whoopie Pie Book Club.