Saturday, March 17, 2018

"Amish Cooking Class--the Celebration" Book Review


The Celebration
(Amish Cooking Class #3)
by Wanda Brunstetter

Book description:
Return to Holmes County, Ohio, for Amish style cooking class. 

Lyle and Heidi Troyer have taken in a brother and sister, who were orphaned when their parents were killed in a car accident. Hoping to help the children adapt and make friends, Heidi decides to hold a series of cooking classes for kids. But kids are always accompanied by an adult—and that is where the trouble arises.

Miranda Cooper is living the life of a single mom to her two kids while separated from her husband, but Trent is trying to worm his way back into her heart.

Denise McGuire’s life as a wife, mom, and real estate broker is full and spilling over.

Darren Keller, single dad and firefighter, and Ellen Blackburn, single mom and nurse, find a few things in common.

Will hearts be healed over plates of Amish food?

This is the third book in The Amish Cooking Class series.
Book #1:  The Amish Cooking Class - The Seekers
Book #2:  The Amish Cooking Class - The Blessing

My Book Review:   Wanda Brunstetter always writes authentic Amish fiction.  She is very familiar with the Amish faith and community and it shows in her writing.   Reading about the cooking and recipes used by the Amish make this a very special book.   Heidi and Lyle are highly sensitive to others and they highly invest in the lives of their community, even Englishers.   Heidi finds a unique way to help the children that she and Lyle are fostering.  Will it satisfy her desperate need to have a baby to care for the brother and sister, and teach a group of children to cook?  
          I am assigning a 5 ***** star rating to this 3rd novel in the Amish Cooking Class series. I've really enjoyed reading all three books.  It could be read as a stand-alone, but it helps to know the characters who carry over to the series.   
      I received a copy of this book from netgalley and Shiloh Run Press in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I was not required to write a positive 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 almost 90 books with more than 10 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.

Connect with the Author

Friday, March 16, 2018

"Love's Betrayal" Book Review


Love's Betrayal
by Diann Mills
 & bonus story by Jill Stengl

Book Description:
Meet Delight Butler of Boston 1776, who is a passionate defender of the American patriots. When redcoats bring an injured Henry O’Neil to the Butler home for care and lodging, Delight despises the man. Despite having long discussions and coming to admire the man, Delight struggles to trust that he could desert the British army and join the patriot cause. What will it take to bolster her faith in God and man? Also includes a bonus historical romance, Faithful Traitor by Jill Stengl.

My Book Review:  I love, love, love reading historical fiction and Diann Mills has certainly fulfilled my expectations.   The colonial period is also one of my favorite time periods.  Women were often treated as property and were expected to remain pure.  When Delight meets the wounded soldier, Henry, there are sparks, but not the loving kind.  Will the hate change to love or will the two remain at odds?  
      The bonus story by Jill Stengl is also very interesting.  
      I am assigning a 5 ***** star rating to this book and I highly recommend it to those who enjoy a clean historical romance. 
      I received a copy of this selection from netgalley and Barbour Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.  

About the Author:
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 Reader's Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She's an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe.

Connect with author on her website

Jill Stengl

Jill Stengl is the author of numerous romance novels including Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award- and Carol Award-winning Faithful Traitor, and the bestselling novella, Fresh Highland Heir. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys her three cats, teaching a high school English Lit. class, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel.

Jill is is the mother to Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Connect with author on her website

"The Rails to Love Romance Collection" Book Review


The Rails to Love Romance 


 9 Historical Love Stories 

Set Along the 

Transcontinental Railroad

Outlaws on the Pueblo excursion / Diana Lesire Brandmeyer 
The depot bride / Amanda Cabot 
Last stop, Cordelia / Lisa Carter 
Train to Eden / Ramona K. Cecil 
Love on the rails / Lynn A. Coleman 
The honeymoon express / Susanne Dietze 
Just for Lucy / Kim Vogel Sawyer 
My soul waits / Connie Stevens 
World's greatest love / Liz Tolsma

Journey the Transcontinental Railroad along with nine unlikely couples who encounter all the dangers and disappointments of traveling the rails in the late 1800s. From sight-seeing excursions to transports toward new lives, from orphan trains to circus trains, can romances develop into blazing love in a world of cold, hard steel?

My Book Review:  Wouldn't it be exciting to see the very first railroad for your  very self?   Romance is in the air and riding on the rails in these nine sweet novellas.  Throw in a lot of adventure, dreams chased, and love, love, love, and you have the makings of a wonderful evening of reading.   
       I am giving this novella collection a rating of 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers who enjoy Christian romance.   
      I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.   I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author:

Amanda Cabot

Amanda Cabot--With both parents avid readers, it's no surprise that Amanda Cabot learned to read at an early age. From there it was only a small step to deciding to become a writer. Of course, deciding and becoming are two different things, as she soon discovered. Fortunately for the world, her first attempts at fiction were not published, but she did meet her goal of selling a novel by her thirtieth birthday. Since then she’s sold more than thirty novels under a variety of pseudonyms. When she’s not writing, Amanda enjoys sewing, cooking and – of course – reading.

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer--

CBA and ECPA best-selling Christian author, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, writes historical and contemporary romances. She writes fiction about women choosing to challenge their fears to become the strong women God intended them to be.

Author of, Mind of Her Own, A Bride's Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee, We’re Not Blended-We’re Pureed, A Survivor’s Guide to Blended Families, and Hearts on the Road.

Once widowed and now remarried she writes with humor and experience on the difficulty of joining two families be it fictional or real life.

When she was small, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, discovered a blanket tossed over the top of her desk made a great hiding spot and she began scribbling stories in a notebook. Still to this day no one can read her handwriting. If she hadn’t been given an old Royal typewriter she might never have had a book published.
Her first stories were so bad they would bring tears to your eyes if you read them today. After much writing, re-writing and reading she learned the best way to tell a story is from the heart and then let the mind edit it so others can read it.

She’s studied with The Children’s Institute of Literature, Margie Lawson and a plethora of writing classes. She’s taken so many classes she’s been advised by her writing friends to stop, and start writing.

Diana will admit to a love of learning followed by a desire to procrastinate.

Currently, Diana and her husband live in Southern Illinois with two cats. They have 3 sons who have moved out of the nest, married and are now parents. Diana says, “Grandchildren are the best thing on earth.” She was unaware of the power the little ones had until they placed the first one in her arms. “That’s all it took. Overnight, I became the annoying grandmother with photos on my phone.”

Connect with the Author

Image result for ramona k. cecil

Ramona K. Cecil is a wife, mother, grandmother, freelance poet, and award-winning inspirational romance writer. Now empty nesters, she and her husband make their home in Indiana. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers Indiana Chapter, her work has won awards in a number of inspirational writing contests. Over eighty of her inspirational verses have been published on a wide array of items for the Christian gift market. She enjoys a speaking ministry, sharing her journey to publication while encouraging aspiring writers. When not writing, her hobbies include reading, gardening, and visiting places of historical interest.

Image result for lynn a coleman

Lynn A. Coleman is the founder of American Christian Fiction Writers, Inc., and an award-winning, best-selling author. She currently lives in Keystone Heights, Florida.

Kim Vogel Sawyer--Award-winning, bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer told her kindergarten teacher that someday people would check out her book in the library. The little-girl dream came true in 2006 with the release of Waiting for Summer's Return. Kim's titles now exceed 1.5 million copies and are available in six different language. A former elementary school teacher, she now enjoys a full-time writing and speaking ministry. Kim's passion lies in writing stories that point the reader to a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. When Kim isn't writing, you'll find her traveling with her retired military hubby, spoiling her granddarlings, petting the cats, quilting, or--as time allows--participating in community theater. 

Connie Stevens

Connie Stevens is an author of historical Christian fiction whose stories reflect God's grace and encourage deeper exploration of His love.

Liz Tolsma

Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. Her novella, Under His Wings, appeared in the New York Times bestselling collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Her debut novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013. Daisies Are Forever released in May 2014. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. Connect with Author and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@LizTolsma). She is also a regular contributor to the Barn Door blog.

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the author of several historical romances who's seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher's Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. 
Lisa Cox Carter

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

"The Quilting Circle" by Amy Lillard


The Quilting Circle 
by Amy Lillard

Book Description:
United by faith, and bonded by their quilting circle, the Amish women of Wells Landing, Oklahoma, are there for one another through all life’s joys and challenges . . .  
Youngest quilter Clara Rose Yutzy is planning her wedding to her longtime beau—which is why she resolutely ignores newly warm feelings for her best friend, Obidiah. But Obie is certain God intends them to be together. With the Lord’s help, he’ll prove to Clara Rose how much he loves her . . .

Mariana Miller prayed for a child throughout fifteen years of marriage. But now, newly widowed, Mariana discovers she’s pregnant—with twins! She’s more grateful than ever for her caring community—especially Reuben Weisel, her late husband’s business partner and best friend. Reuben’s quiet strength comforts her—until he proposes marriage . . .
Tess Smiley is new to Wells Landing and newly married. But her marriage isn’t the harmonious union she envisioned. Tess loves Jacob with all her heart, but her heart tells her she must take a stand—and ask for support. Only then does Jacob see how he has hurt her. But is he too late? . . .

My Book Review:  You will likely need tissues as you read these three connected novellas which are centered around an Amish quilting circle.  Quilting circles are the hub of Amish women and girls.  The women gather together on a regular basis to create quilts.  
These three novellas, one following a young girl preparing for her wedding...but are there doubts? 
 One following a recently widowed childless older lady who finds herself expecting twins!  it's the blessing she and her late husband yearned for and now she's alone, or is she?  Her husband's friend is always there for her, and is there  more ahead for them?  

The third novella involves a young wife who is experiencing marital difficulties and she isn't sure how to resolve their issues.  Can they find healing? 
I was deeply moved by the story of these precious women.  They are all lovable and caring and searching.  They need the love of their family and friends and their Amish community is the very place they will find the love and acceptance they seek.   I think I went through an entire box of tissues for these three novellas.  It's all your fault, Amy Lillard.  It's okay, though; a good cry is healing.  
I am rating this novella collection 5*****stars and highly recommend it to readers.
I received an ebook of this collection from netgalley and Mass Market Paperback in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author:

 Author Bio from  I'm a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel Princess.

I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I've retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I'm from Texas. (?) Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son-a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!

I love homemade tacos, nail polish, and romance novels-not necessarily in that order. I'm a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I'm shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

I believe that God is love. I guess that's why I love to write inspirational romances. The two go hand-in-hand for me.

I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle.
 Connect with Amy on her website:  

"The Amish Christmas Candle" Book Review


The Amish Christmas Candle
(Three Amish Christmas Novellas)
by Kelly Long, Jennifer Beckstrand,
& Lisa Jones Baker

Book Description:
At the heart of winter's darkness is the joyous glow of the Christmas season. In this love-filled holiday collection, warm yourself with the peaceful light of Plain gifts.

Kelly Long
When staid Naomi Gish's mischievous father hires strapping Gray Fisher at their candle shop for the season, she's positive the old man has an ulterior motive. She doesn't need help--but as Gray learns the craft of candle making, Naomi learns that love is not only possible, but God's most precious gift.

Jennifer Beckstrand
Of all the sacrifices Bitsy Kiem made to raise her three nieces Amish, giving up her Englisch life was the only thing she missed. With the girls married now, she has a chance to kick up her heels this Christmas--unless widowed Yost Weaver can convince her that Plain love is a flame that will never go out.

Lisa Jones Baker
Blessing those in need at Christmastime is one of Lydia's favorite traditions. But without her newly married sister's help this year, the task seems daunting--until handsome Mennonite John King shows her that hands joined to do good may unite hearts, as well.

Book Review of Snow Shine on Ice Mountain: (Kelly Long)  I always enjoy reading Kelly Long's writing, and she is known for adding a bit of "references to sex"....heavy kissing, thoughts of physical attraction, but I don't find it to be offensive. Some readers find this opposing to Amish beliefs, but there would not be so many Amish children if there were no sex.  This is a unique, entertaining novella and I rate it 5***** stars.

My Review of A Honeybee Christmas:  Jennifer Beckstrand includes a fun, quirky character in this novella in Bitsy Kiem.  She has her own unique style and though the Amish community she has returned to fears that she will lead the Amish astray, she is so lovable as to be irresistible.   This story is humorous and unusual.   I rate it 5 ***** stars and highly recommend it to readers.   

My Review of The Christmas Candle:  Lisa Jones Baker has written a sweet novella and both Lydia and John have kind, caring hearts.   Problems loom on the horizon for the two because Lydia is Amish and John is Mennonite.  Lydia misses her sister who has married and left the family home.  Family is very important to me as it is the Lydia and her Amish family, so I could easily relate to this novella.  I cried for two weeks when my older sister married and left home.   

           I rate this novella 5 ***** stars and highly recommend it.  

I received an ebook of this novella collection from netgalley and Kensington Publishing Corp. in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Authors:
Kelly Long:
Kelly Long

  Kelly Long was born and raised in North Central Pennsylvania. There was an Amish hitching post at the small grocery store in her town. She loves to write Amish romance and is the author of novel, Sarah's Garden, the novella Amish Christmas Expanded Edition with some other great Amish authors, Amish Love with Beth Wiseman and Kathy Fuller, and Lilly's Wedding Quilt--the sequel to Sarah's Garden. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children.
Connect with Kelly on her website: Facebook

Jennifer Beckstrand: 
Jennifer Beckstrand

Jennifer Beckstrand is the RITA-nominated, award-winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in list of top ten inspirational books for 2014. Her much-anticipated Amish series,

The Honeybee Sisters, has created a lot of romantic buzz. Sweet as Honey received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and Sweet as Honey and A Bee in her Bonnet were both awarded Top Picks from RT Book Reviews.

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’ aendi Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-three years, and she has six children and six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.
  Connect with Jennifer on her website: 

Lisa Jones Baker:

Lisa Jones Baker

Lisa Jones Baker grew up near a small Amish town in Illinois that she frequented with her family on weekends. She's also a dog lover and a fan of Scottsdale, Arizona, where she spent nearly two decades. Lisa graduated from Illinois State University with a French major, has been on 5 out of 7 continents, and considers her parents the best in the world. Raised in a Christian home, Lisa has always been blessed with love and support. Connect with Lisa on her website: