Monday, September 1, 2014

Review of "Traces of Mercy"

Review of Traces of Mercy

by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley

At the war’s end, a young woman suffers an accident that leaves her unconscious and alone. Waking with amnesia, she takes the name Mercy and wants more than anything to find out the truth of her past. But then a handsome stranger arrives, who may hold the key to everything she has forgotten. What he knows could devastate her future, and even end her life. Written by two proven storytellers, Traces of Mercy is perfect for anyone who loves historical fiction, prairie-based tales, or just a good romance.

MY REVIEW:   I will be honest.  I was reluctant to read this book as I feared it would be predictable and boring.   It is most definitely not predictable and definitely not boring.   I admired Mercy's strength and gumption.  She is certainly a spunky young woman.   My heart went out to her and I found myself finishing this book in tears.   I was deeply moved by the love demonstrated by several different characters and a myriad of relationships.   This would definitely make a wonderful movie.   This is a 5 PLUS star book!!   I am delighted to be able to recommend it to readers.   
I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Authors:
Michael Landon Jr., son of television legend Michael Landon, is an award-winning storyteller, first in television and film, and now in books. His print works include Traces of Mercy and One More Sunrise co-written with Tracie Peterson.
Cindy Kelley lends her expertise to this novel along with Michael Landon Jr.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review of "Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Christmas Cookbook"

Review of  Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish Friends Christmas Cookbook

by Wanda E. Brunstetter


The must-have cookbook of the season is Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish Friends Christmas Cookbook—a brand new collection of holiday recipes and insights into Christmas celebrations direct from Amish homes. You’ll also enjoy the addition of scriptures and common Amish sayings. Surrounded by a beautiful lay-flat binding, this cookbook is the perfect holiday gift for yourself and friends.
MY REVIEW:  What a delightful Christmas cookbook.  Wanda Brunstetter has collected many wonderful tried-and-true Christmas recipes from her many Amish friends.  She also explains the many Christmas traditions and ways of celebrating the Amish enjoy, including Old Christmas.  I think we all should celebrate Old Christmas as well. 
  Some of the favorite recipes shared include:   Gelatin Roll-ups (I did not even know that gelatin could be rolled up....I have to try this one), Honey Mustard Pretzels, Bacon Cheese Muffins, Trash (Christmas Snack) family makes this and it is a wonderful gift to share with others,  Silly Putty (for gifts)...I made this in my science classroom at school and it really does work!,  Hot Chocolate Mix in a Jar, Gumdrops, Ribbon Salad (this one has been mentioned in numerous works of Amish fiction as the young ladies made it to take on picnics with their Amish beau), Trucker Beans (this is one of my family favorites too), Cranberry Chicken, Barbecue Loaded Baked Potato Casserole, Ginger Cookies, Cracked Ice Pudding, and more!  
This is a beautiful hard-bound cookbook and would make a delightful gift for others.  It includes little tips for the kitchen from Amish friends interspersed throughout the book.   I rate this 5 stars.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  

Connect with Wanda Brunstetter on facebook.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review of "Becoming Bea"

Review of Becoming Bea

by Leslie Gould

Ben and Bea have always irritated each other. But when their friends push them together, can they cease bickering long enough to fall in love?

MY REVIEW:  Bea lives under the shadow of her sister, Molly, who constantly bosses her and gives her orders.  Bea just wants to get out from her that rule and become her own person.  She doesn't think she has any special talents or gifts but she is soon to discover just exactly what she does have!  When her sister plans a trip to visit the in-laws in Montana with their mamm and doesn't even ask her if she wants to go and simply assumes that she will, Molly has had it.  She goes out and finds herself a job as "mother's helper" to Nan and Bob who have just given birth to premature triplets and are in great need of help.  Ben is also working for Bob in his shop......Ben who has constantly annoyed Bea and who even courted her recently and then ran off without a word of explanation.   Ben and Bea still annoy each other.....but everyone thinks that they would be the perfect couple.   
I felt sorry for Bea as she struggled to discover herself and I also felt for her when she desperately longs to know why Ben left her.   She has a hard job and yet she still works very hard at it and soon discovers that she does indeed possess some very special gifts and talents.   She does learn to know herself and I think that most of us can relate to her as she matures and comes into her own self.   I rate this 5-stars and highly recommend it to readers.   Faithful readers will enjoying seeing Molly, Nan,  Cate, and the other characters we have come to know through The Courtships of Lancaster County series.   
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Leslie Gould

Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 CBA bestseller The Amish Midwife, a 2012 Christy Award winner; ECPA bestseller Courting Cate, first in the Courtships of Lancaster County series; and Beyond the Blue, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice for Best Inspirational Novel, 2006. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She and her husband and four children live in Portland, Oregon.
Learn more about Leslie at

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Review of "An Unforgivable Secret"

Review of An Unforgivable Secret

by J.E.B. Spredemann

Hannah has a good life. A beautiful home, a loving husband, and a wonderful Amish community are only a few of her daily blessings. But she has carried a heavy burden for years: a secret that no one must know. When tragedy strikes, her secret threatens to be revealed, jeopardizing everything she's ever loved. Will Hannah be able to face her greatest fear and find God's purpose for her life? Inspirational Christian Fiction

MY REVIEW:   This was a very engaging work of Amish fiction but I was surprised that several main characters had great difficulty in forgiving since the Amish faith is very outspoken about their forgiveness.  It does show the Amish in this book, though, to be very human and struggling with many of the same issues as Englisch.  I appreciated the way that the Bishop and elders handled the difficult issues in the book, as well.   I won't spoil the book by revealing what those issues were.  I finished this book in one evening as I just could not stop reading.   I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to others. 

About the Author:
J.E.B. Spredemann

from author bio:
J.E.B. Spredemann resides in beautiful sunny California and writes Christian fiction. We hope our books uplift you, inspire you, make you laugh, and touch your heart.

Follow us on our website: 

Author can be contacted via email at 

Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for the most current updates and/or giveaways.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Review of "Huckleberry Christmas"

Review of Huckleberry Christmas

by Jennifer Beckstrand


Now that they've happily married off two of their grandchildren, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next matchmaking challenge. What better way to celebrate the most heartwarming of seasons--and make Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, the place for unexpected love. . . A difficult marriage has left the Helmuths' widowed great-granddaughter, Beth, finished with wedlock. She's content to live with them and make a life for herself and her toddler son. But once she turns down handsome Tyler Yoder's proposal, it seems only fair to encourage him to find a suitable wife. Trouble is, his gentleness and generous ways are showing her how joyous a real meeting of hearts can be. . .

After a failed courtship, Tyler thought the best he could hope for in a wife was mere companionship. But spirited Beth is the one he longs to protect, and hold close. Earning her trust is the hardest thing he's ever had to do. And soon, both will discover that forgiveness and understanding are gifts that only rekindled faith--along with the happiest of holidays--can bring.

MY REVIEW:  Caroling in the snow and a hayride with hot cocoa....what could be better?  It sounds like the perfect Christmas celebration to me!   Beth and Tyler are Mammi Anna's latest matchmaking pair as Mammi is sure that they belong together but there's a problem.   Beth endured an emotionally abusive husband and she does not feel that she can trust another man not to treat her the same way or worse.   Tyler is in love with her and proposes but she turns him down.   Beth has found a way to provide for her and her little red-headed cutie with her sewing and feels that she does not need a man to come in and ruin it all.   
I loved this Christmas book!   I felt like I was right there with the characters as Tyler made bacon-pancakes for Beth and Toby.   Little Toby adores Tyler and calls him "Mommy".   Beth has a strong sense of family and loyalty and this is something that is very important to me as well.  Beth is a very spirited, opinionated character and she is hard not to love.   I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.   I think I need to go and find some huckleberry jam and biscuits and coffee and pretend I'm back there!   Care to join me?  
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Jennifer Beckstrand

from author's bio:
I grew up with a steady diet of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. After all that literary immersion, I naturally decided to get a degree in mathematics, which came in handy when one of my six children needed help with homework. After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, I finished my first manuscript—a Western—in just under fourteen years. I now write Inspirational Amish Romance. My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I’ve done my job. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers and am represented by Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency.

There are three Amish romances in the Forever After in Apple Lake Series (Summerside/Guideposts). Kate’s Song, Rebecca’s Rose, and Miriam's Quilt are all now available. Kate’s Song was the #1 Romantic Religious Fiction download in the Free Kindle Store in August of 2012, and Rebecca's Rose and Miriam's Quilt both spent time in the top 50 Religious Fiction books on

I have six Amish Romances in the works with Kensington Books. The first book, Huckleberry Hill, will be released on January 7, 2014. Huckleberry Hill is set in Wisconsin on a little hill in Amish country.

The series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, is about an elderly Amish couple who try to find suitable mates for their grandchildren. What could be more fun than throwing two young people together to see if sparks ignite? No one would ever suspect two octogenarian Amish folks of mischief.

Romantic Times gave Huckleberry Hill 4 1/2 stars, calling it "A sweet romance with a lot of heart that offers a new, refreshing take on the...matchmaking trope. The storyline is feasible, the characters are well written, with both their strengths and weaknesses on display. Readers will treasure this series and put the first outing on their keeper shelf."

I have four daughters, two sons, three sons-in-law, and two adorable grandsons. I live in the foothills of the Wasatch Front with my husband and one son still left at home.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review of "The River"

Review of The River

by Beverly Lewis

She looked once more at the dreaded river. Since Anna's death, it had been such a barrier . . . a place and a moment she could not seem to move past.
A line I can't move beyond...
The River 

Tilly and Ruth, two formerly Amish sisters, are plagued by unresolved relationships when they reluctantly return to Lancaster County for their parents' landmark wedding anniversary. Since departing their Plain upbringing, Tilly has married an Englisher, but Ruth remains single and hasn't entirely forgotten her failed courtship with her Amish beau.

Past meets present as Tilly and Ruth yearn for acceptance and redemption. Can they face the future in the light of a past they can't undo?

MY REVIEW:  Beverly Lewis is such a treasure among Amish fiction authors and The River certainly lives up to the high expectations I held as I read.  Tilly and Ruth both left the Amish after the drowning death of their young sister and they are asked to return by their brother to attend their parents' wedding anniversary celebration.  Their brother, Melvin, also shares with them the fact that their daed may not have long to live.   He refuses to agree to having a pacemaker inserted. 
The young women discover that they aren't the only ones with issues, secrets, and trouble forgiving oneself and others.  I was entranced by Tilly and Ruth's story and the journey they take near the river that claimed their tiny sister's life.  I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.   It held my attention and brought me to tears of sadness and joy.   Get a copy and enjoy the journey.  
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Beverly Lewis
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Gene Photography

Beverly Lewis

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is the New York Times bestselling author of more than ninety books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has inspired Beverly to write many Amish-related novels, beginning with The Shunning, which has sold more than one million copies and was recently made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. In 2007The Brethren was honored with a Christy Award. She has been interviewed by both national and international media, including Time magazine, the Associated Press, and the BBC. Beverly lives with her husband, David, in Colorado. Visit her website at for more information.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review of "Swept Away"

Review of Swept Away:  Quilts of Love series

by Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven


Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don't always go as planned. Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer's granddaughter. Still, it doesn't take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn't what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him. What she discovers could change her life and her heart forever.

MY REVIEW:  Quilts can warm our bodies and our hearts and this book about a special quilt certainly warmed my heart.  Who doesn't adore a sweet, matchmaking grandma too?   Sari is determined to have her granddaughter, Sara Jane, and her handyman, Andrew, marry.  But they are not quite so cooperative in her efforts, even though they are falling for each other.   Both are having a bit of trouble with the whole marriage idea.   You will want to read this one to find out if  Grandma Sari is successful in matchmaking.   Grandma Sari has Alzheimer's and many who are caretakers of their own relatives with this awful disease will be able to relate to the painful moments of forgetfulness.   The Appalachian Ballad quilt has an integral part through out the entire story and sounds absolutely beautiful.  I would love to see pictures of one.   I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.  
I received a free pdf version of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Cindy Loven

Cindy Loven lives in Arkansas with her husband and her 21 year old son,  boxer and cat. They are advocates of educating parents about the dangers of the choking game, after loosing their youngest son to this game. 
Active at church, she  participates with the ladies group, the media team and volunteer for extra projects.
Her dream is to someday write and illustrate a children's book.

Image of Laura V. Hilton

Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor's wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.
Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love. Surrendered Love and Awakened Love. A non-Amish book Swept Away will release November 2014 from Abingdon Press. She is contracted for another three book Amish series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Jamesport, releasing in November 2014 (The Snow Globe), June 2015 (The Postcard), and November 2015 (The Birdhouse). A Christmas Amish book, A White Christmas in Webster County, will release in September 2014. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Laura is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites.