Wednesday, March 30, 2016

5-Star Review of "The Imposter"

Review of The Imposter

(The Bishop's Family #1)

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

25178167

Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. Those plans started to crumble when her father moved the family to Stoney Ridge, then completely collapsed when John decided to marry someone else. Katrina is devastated. How could she have felt so loved, yet been so deceived?

As she struggles to face a future without him, a widow asks for her help to start a new business and Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose. What she doesn't need is attention from Andy Miller, a farm hand who arrives at the widow's farm just when help is most needed--and who always seems to say the right thing, and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy for real, or too good to be true? Deceived once before, Katrina is determined to keep her feelings in check.

When a cascade of events is set in motion by some surprising information, the little Amish church is turned upside down. Soon, everyone has a stake in the outcome, and the community struggles to find the best response to an imposter in their midst. Can they forgive even the most deceitful deeds?
 

MY REVIEW:   
Finally, Hank looked at David with tears rimming his eyes.
He bobbed his head in almost schoolboyish fashion, 
evidently not trusting his voice. 
Clearing his throat, he said,
"I'll teach your boy everything I know."

Katrina fell in love with John and was sure he was planning to marry her, but that is not the case at all. He has someone else he will wed.  Andy Miller comes along to help on Thelma's farm at the same time that Katrina moves in with Thelma to help her and Andy is far too goodlooking for his own good.  Katrina's father, David, has apparently stepped into a hornet's nest, in moving to Stoney Ridge to serve as a leader in the Amish church there.  But he constantly butts heads with Freeman.  What will happen to soothe Katrina's broken heart?  What will David have to deal with?  

I read a lot of Amish fiction and Suzanne Woods Fisher has written an Amish romance story with a huge twist to the story.   I loved that the story was so different from other works of Amish fiction.  The story explores the notion of pride, for one, which is considered a sin by Amish.  Forgiveness is offered and some unlikely relationships are explored.   From the title, I was obviously expecting someone who was hiding their true identity, but the title is revealed in some surprising ways.  David was a refreshing character as so many Amish bishops are close minded and only care about the rules of the Ordnung.   I appreciate the fact that David offers grace to the others in the community.  I hated having to put the book down for even one moment to complete the tasks of life, but I did have to stop a few times, and I was quite happy to be able to return to the highly engaging characters.  The idea of quieting a bishop was presented in the story.   This is basically a way that the Amish can remove a bishop from his calling.  
I rated this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.  I read the preview of book 2 in the series and can hardly wait for it to be published.  

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

Giveaway:  https://promosimple.com/ps/941f


About the Author:
Suzanne Woods Fisher

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling, award winning author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books, host of the radio-show-turned-blog Amish Wisdom, a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. 

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain. A theme in her books (her life!) is that you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate the principles of simple living. 

Suzanne lives in California with her family and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To her way of thinking, you just can't life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. 

Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

Saturday, March 26, 2016

5-Star Review of "More Than Friendship"

Review of More Than Friendship

(Wells Landing Quilting Circle #1)

by Amy Lillard


25809806

Love is worth every challenge.
Woven deeply into the Amish community of Wells Landing, Oklahoma, a women’s quilting circle is a place to share everything from recipes to hopes and dreams, especially when love is in the air...

The youngest member of the quilting circle, Clara Rose Yutzy has her whole life ahead of her. And it’s just beginning, with plans for a wedding to her longtime beau, Thomas Lapp. Everything is falling into place, which is why Clara Rose resolutely ignores her newly warm feelings for her best friend, Obidiah Brennaman. There’s never been a hint of romance between them, and no reason to pay attention to such nonsense now...

Steady, sturdy Obie feels differently. He’s never thought too hard about his future, but the news that Clara Rose is about to be married is strangely unsettling. Convincing Clara Rose to take another look at their friendship may not be easy, but Obie is certain God intends for them to be together. He’ll do whatever he must to make Clara Rose see how much he loves her, and with the Lord’s help, before it’s too late...

MY REVIEW:  
"You can't marry Thomas Lapp," he said again, 
as if those simple words explained it all.  
"Why not?" Clara Rose shot back. 
 Her words echoed in the alcove of trees where they stood.  
He shook his head and took her hands into his. 
 "I have a bad feeling about this.  Just don't marry him, Clara Rose.  Promise me."

Amy Lillard has written a quick-to-read fun and sweet novella to accompany the Wells Landing series, but the best part is learning more about quilting circles as the Amish ladies do their best sharing over the quilting frame.   Clara Rose Yutzy is preparing for her upcoming marriage to Thomas Lapp and can hardly wait for the day they stand before the bishop to repeat their vows.   Clara's best friend, Obie, has other ideas though.  He is determined to convince her not to marry Thomas Lapp!   Clara is very confused and seeks the advice of her grandmother who urges her to think about it and she will surely figure out what Obie means. 

Talk about throwing a monkey wrench into a girl's plans!  Obie surely does that!    He is persistent too.   This novella is such fun that I couldn't help but feel sympathy for Clara and Thomas as well as Obie as they all try to move on with their lives.  I have always wanted to attend a quilting party and this was such fun to see what goes on at one. I wish my family had grown up doing quiltings.  My own mom completed one quilt on her quilting frame using a quilt-top that my grandmother had made for them before her death.  

I rated this novella 5 stars and will be eagerly watching for the next one in the series.   
I received a copy of this novella from netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:  
Amy Lillard

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 adore romances. 

I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I'm a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture. I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that's me June Cleaver with a laptop.

I dislike people trying to convince me to read the Twlight series (I'll get to it or I won't, either way I'm good with it), gratuitous violence, and strawberry ice cream. (I know I'm alone on this last one, and again, I'm good with it.)

Favorite movies--(besides HP) French Kiss, Maid of Honor, A Lot Like Love, Just Married, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and Miss Congeniality, Sabrina (both versions) and a 1940's movie called Dear Ruth. If you haven't seen it, you should! A-dorable. Anything with Doris Day and most all of Marilyn's and Audrey's.

Connect with Amy at:  http://www.amywritesromance.com/

Friday, March 25, 2016

5-Star Review of "Just Plain Sadie"

Review of Just Plain Sadie

(Wells Landing #4)

by Amy Lillard

25852889

The Amish of Wells Landing, Oklahoma, treasure their close-knit community, and the promise of their growing families. But one young woman is struggling to choose a future that is true to both her heart and her faith…

Everyone in Wells Landing has long expected Sadie Kauffman and Chris Flaud to marry--despite Sadie's telling them differently. While she loves Chris, it is more as a friend than a husband. Yet at twenty-two, the plainest girl in her group, Sadie is also the only one who is still single. Perhaps it's time to be practical and marry Chris--though he still has not asked. But when Sadie meets a kind, handsome Mennonite, it seems her prayers have been answered… 

With Ezra Hein, Sadie at last feels the joy she nearly gave up on. Unfortunately, others only feel shock that she would consider marrying an outsider. To complicate matters, Chris has finally begun talking to Sadie about their future. Distressed, Sadie will have to search her heart to recognize God's marvelous gifts to her--and find the courage to accept them, challenges and all…

MY REVIEW:   How would it feel for everyone to oppose your marriage to someone due to a difference in religion?   When Sadie's longtime friend shares his dream with her, the dream does not include her, and she decides to begin seeing a young Mennonite farmer who sells bison meat to her family's restaurant.    All of her friends are concerned that he is Mennonite and all of his friends are upset that she is Amish.   Yet Sadie feels excitement and sparks with Ezra Hein and she has not felt that way with steady, comfortable Chris Flaud.   The Amish practice shunning, use no electricity or cars.  The Mennonites do not practice shunning, use electricity and drive cars.  Sadie can not understand how this is so terrible that they can not be together.  Why won't each of their families and friends accept their relationship and stop interfering?   All Sadie wants is to marry, have children and remain Amish.   
             But a tragedy strikes in both Sadie and Chris's families that prompts them to begin to reconsider their earlier positions.  Are they happy and at peace with their decisions?  Where does that leave Ezra?   Will there families finally accept their plans? 
              I fell in love with Sadie and I was rooting for her to end up with one of the young men but I won't reveal which one as it might ruin the story resolution for readers.  I must admit that both moms left me feeling frustrated for different reasons.   They seemed to have issues of their own to work through.   This is book 4 in the Wells Landing series.  I have read all of them but I believe this book could be read alone and still understood.  It would just fill in much background for readers to read all four books of the series.   The characters became more like family members by reading all of the books in the series as well.   
           I rated this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.    
           I received this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Amy Lillard

 For goodreads' bio:
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 adore romances. 

I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I'm a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture. I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that's me June Cleaver with a laptop.

I dislike people trying to convince me to read the Twilight series (I'll get to it or I won't, either way I'm good with it), gratuitous violence, and strawberry ice cream. (I know I'm alone on this last one, and again, I'm good with it.)

Favorite movies--(besides HP) French Kiss, Maid of Honor, A Lot Like Love, Just Married, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and Miss Congeniality, Sabrina (both versions) and a 1940's movie called Dear Ruth. If you haven't seen it, you should! A-dorable. Anything with Doris Day and most all of Marilyn's and Audrey's. Connect with her:   http://www.amywritesromance.com/

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

5-Star Review for "Domestic Secrets"

Review for Domestic Secrets

by Rosalind Noonan

25810240


Rachel Whalen and Ariel Alexander have been friends for more than a decade. Despite their differences--down-to-earth Rachel owns a local hair salon; Ariel is a vivacious former TV star determined to hold on to her looks--they've helped each other navigate single motherhood, banding together against the soccer moms of Timbergrove, Oregon. 

Yet lately, Rachel wonders about Ariel's increasingly erratic parenting and her clandestine love life. And Rachel can't reveal to anyone, even Ariel, how much she worries about her sullen, distant, younger son. When an unthinkable tragedy separates the two families, Rachel desperately tries to understand what went wrong. But as her assumptions are ripped away one by one, she must confront shattering revelations about the people she trusted and the suburban world that once seemed so safe. 

Rosalind Noonan explores both the bonds and the gulfs that exist between parents and children, friends and neighbors, in a suspenseful novel that is honest, intelligent, and thought provoking. 

MY REVIEW:  Whew!  The suspense is real in this novel!  Rachel and Ariel are good friends who have weathered many storms together but the storm that is coming will likely rip their friendship to shreds as Ariel has done the unthinkable.  She teaches voice to the young teenagers in the local Glee Club which Ariel's daughter, Remy, is a member of and Rachel's son, Jared, is also.  Jared and Remy will become a part of the drama and devastation that Ariel created.  She becomes far too friendly with some of the teenagers but thinks she has kept it a secret.  But someone knows.  Who knows what Ariel has been doing and how will it affect the two families?  Will Jared receive the help he needs to survive?   
        This novel is filled with suspense and many surprises and twists.   Rachel, Remy, Jared, and Carrie are the characters you can't help but love.  Ariel is one to pity and wonder at her erratic behaviors.  I felt that Jared, Carrie, and Ariel were wounded souls and needed help.  But it is likely help they will never accept.  This novel does contain the suggestions of sexual activity and this would not be appropriate for younger readers.   This novel held my interest until the very last.  I had to put the book away to go to Bible study at church and could not wait til I crawled and bed and could finish the last few chapters.   It was that good and shocking!  
        I rated this novel 5 stars and highly recommend it to adult readers.
        I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

About the Author:
Rosalind Noonan

ROSALIND NOONAN grew up in suburban Maryland and enjoyed being part of a large family. "With my four siblings, Saturday mornings were a blast," she says. "There was festival seating on the living room floor as we devoured cartoons and passed the Sugar Pops." 

She caught the writing bug in second grade when she won first place in a poetry contest. "The prize was twenty dollars," she recalls. "That was big bucks for a second grader. I thought I was going to Disneyland." Wooed by the taste of fame and fortune, she kept writing.

After attending Wagner College in Staten Island, she remained in New York City where she worked as an editor for various book publishers. Noonan currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, a retired cop from the NYPD, and two children. Although she sometimes misses the rapid pulse of New York, she enjoys writing in the shade of towering two-hundred year old Douglas fir trees.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

4-Star Review of "Weep In The Night"

Review of Weep In The Night

(If WITSEC Can't Keep Her Safe, Who Can?)

by Valerie Massey Goree

24790805

After three years in the witness protection program, Sadie Malone’s life in Texas is bland and humdrum--until she meets a new co-worker. Bowen Boudine ignites a flame in Sadie's long-dormant heart, but when she discovers he knows her true identity, she attempts to flee. He thwarts her escape and reveals the reason he’s been sent to locate her. 

Bowen, a seasoned operative with International Retrieval Organization takes his job escorting Sadie safely back to California seriously, but quickly finds he's falling for her. Can he maintain a professional relationship while he protects her from the crime boss her testimony helped to convict? 

MY REVIEW:  
       "Nah. It's just little ol' me."  His shoulders drooped, which caught her attention.  "Had a wife and little girl."  
Antennae now on full alert, Sadie rummaged in her purse for her keys. 
 "What happened?" She expected to hear about a divorce,
 but his next words stunned her.  
"They were killed in a car wreck." 
Just like her family.  Goosebumps pinpricked her arms. 
 To hide her alarm, she pressed the car remote.

Sadie is definitely living a lonely, sad life in the Witness Protection Program.  She has had to be relocated already as her identity was compromised.  She is forced to treat everyone she meets with suspicion.  Meeting Bowen Boudine sends sparks through her from the first introduction, but she is also highly suspicious of him.   He finally reveals something truly life altering to her, and that he knows her true identity.  He is not the bad guy though; he is working to protect her.  But his heart becomes entangled with Sadie's as well.  What will they do? How could a relationship between them ever work?  He also thinks that his past has too many sinful actions in it and that God and Sadie will never forgive him.  She assures him that they both will forgive him. 

What an engaging and exciting plot in this book!   Sadie and Bowen were very likable and well developed characters.   But all of the characters refused to open up and share their past.  They were all harboring many secrets.  I would like to have known more in-depth details of exactly what happened to Sadie's family, especially why it happened. There were so many characters that I had trouble keeping up with them and their role in the story.   This book would make a great movie!  It also would be nice to read a sequel to know what comes next.  

I rated this book 4 stars and highly recommend it to those who love mysteries. 

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

About the Author:

Valerie Massey Goree

Valerie Massey Goree was born in South Africa, grew up in Rhodesia-now Zimbabwe, but has resided in Texas for twenty-five years. Although she can write 'y'all', the word doesn't come naturally yet. Valerie enjoys writing suspense. What other genre allows the author to kill off a character when the storyline slumps? To learn more about Valerie's books, visit www.valeriegoreeauthor.com

Saturday, March 19, 2016

5-Star Review of "Planted With Hope"

Review of Planted with Hope

The Pinecraft Pie Shop series #2

by Tricia Goyer & Sherry Gore


26265920

In the second installment of the Pinecraft Pie Shop series, you'll return to a town and a family you've already grown to love.

When Hope Miller is offered the plot of land behind the Me, Myself, and Pie shop to start a garden, she jumps at the chance. Finally--some space away from her four sisters! But everyone in town seems to have an opinion about what she should grow and how she should grow it. When the widower schoolteacher, Jonas Sutter, asks if his students at the Amish school can help turn the plot into a community garden, Hope only halfheartedly agrees, wondering if she will ever get the peace and quiet she craves. And will she get anything to grow?

The stories of friendship, community, and unexpected love within these pages will plant real seeds of hope within your heart.

MY REVIEW:  

As Hope stood, she looked down at herself and heat rose to her cheeks.  She was thankful that the boat ramp sloped downward so no one could see her from the park.

She was a dripping mess.  Her dress and apron clung to her.  She crossed her arms over her chest, unsure of what to do.  Unsure of how she was going to get home.   The park was full of people and she'd have to walk right through the middle of them to get out of the park.  

I've wanted to travel to Pinecraft, Florida to see the Amish/Mennonite community there for quite some time and this book was so wonderfully descriptive that I felt like I was actually there.  I could feel the sun on my face, but thankfully, the humidity didn't make it through the pages.  Because I have been to other parts of Florida in the summer months several times, and the heat plus the humidity actually felt like a slap in the face.   Hope Miller and her Amish family are living there without the comfort of air-conditioning.   Jonas Sutter brings his young daughter, Emma, there, to accept the job as substitute school teacher and hopeful that the sunshine and fresh air will help his daughter to get over her grief at losing her mother.  When Hope and Jonas begin working together on the garden behind the Me, Myself, and Pie Shop, Emma loves being Hope's helper.  But Hope does not want the entire community in her space.  She wants peace and quiet.   

     When an old gardening journal is shared with Hope, God begins to work on her heart.   The recipes in the journal become new menu items for she and her sisters to add to the family dinners on their night to cook, but the journal does a great deal more than that.   She learns about the time during World War II when the Pinecraft community united to create a Victory Garden.   Will the garden drive Hope away from Jonas and her community?  Will she allow others to share in her joy or lock them out?   Will she decide to stay in Pinecraft or go back to Ohio where her heart belongs?  

      I loved reading about the impact of the Victory Garden on the Pinecraft community as I taught my former sixth grade students about them when we read some literature that included them.  I also loved using gardening and plants to teach science and math as a public school teacher, so I personally saw great potential for Hope and Jonas to include the school children in the process of gardening.   This book truly offers hope to the characters and to readers who apply its truths.  Amish proverbs and recipes included with each chapter of the novel.

     I had to give this book 5 stars because there are no higher star ratings available.  It is THAT GOOD!  

      I received a copy of this book from the authors 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 SheKnows.com. Tricia is also on the blogging team at MomLifeToday.com, TheBetterMom.com 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 www.NotQuiteAmishLiving.com, sharing ideas about simplifying life. She also hosts the weekly radio podcast, Living Inspired. Learn more about Tricia at www.triciagoyer.com.


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.

Friday, March 18, 2016

4-star review of "Little Girl Mended"

Review of Little Girl Mended:  a memoir

by Niki Krauss


No little girl should ever have to learn about sexual abuse at the hands of her father. But I did, and I survived. This is my story. Little Girl Mended is both a story of abuse and a story of redemption, spanning more than fifty years. From the loss of innocence at age seven, through ten-plus years of abuse, forty-five years of silence, and finally—well into my fifties—coming to understand that healing is possible. My walk through recovery coincided with a deepening of my relationship with Jesus Christ. Through that relationship I came to experience the Father’s love—a love I couldn’t fully understand while viewing everything through the distorted lens of incest. In this first-person narrative, I examine painful memories and difficult emotions, allowing myself to feel for the first time in my life. As I grapple with shattering hurt and long-buried pain, I come to realize there can be no healing without surrender. It’s not in my strength that I find healing, but in my complete surrender to Jesus Christ. The power found in the pages of Little Girl Mended is there for you, too—whatever the circumstances of your own life’s story. Come along and claim it.


MY REVIEW:  
Whenever I hear someone talk about having a close relationship with her father, or use a phrase like "Daddy's little girl," I catch myself thinking,
 If only I'd had that.
I long for memories of a loving and cherished childhood.  I feel it as a physical loss: my heart aches.

      I applaud the author, Niki Krauss, for having the courage to write this book and chronicle her experiences of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her father.  I also applaud her honesty as she shared and admitted her anger towards her mother for not protecting her.   This book is called a memoir, which it is, but it also attempts to serve as a "self-help" book for others who have experienced abuse.  The author found healing in her writing of her story, her faith and participation in a faith-based support group for women who have suffered abuse.  I was confused as to why the author was so adamantly opposed to therapy of any kind for herself.  The only time she saw a therapist was to ask if it was appropriate for her to tell her two grown sons about her abuse.  I fear that some readers might feel that therapy is not useful in recovery from abuse and it is well-known that it is helpful for most people.   I would not want anyone reading to refuse therapy as a part of their own healing.   

      I rated this book 4 stars and would recommend it to readers.

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

Niki Krauss


Niki Krauss is a Yankee by birth, a Southerner by choice, and a joy-filled lover of Jesus by grace. She is the former assistant editor for the Marine Corps Gazette, the professional journal of the United States Marine Corps, where she wielded her red pen for fifteen years. As a sexual abuse survivor herself, her most recent passion is leading faith-based support groups for women survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

5-Star Review of "The Stronghold"

Review of The Stronghold

by Lisa Carter


26331923

Drug violence, revenge killings, and kidnapping are nothing new along the U.S.-Mexican border. But now teenage girls are disappearing from the Apache reservations of Arizona and New Mexico.

Apache tribal cop Pilar To-Clanny and FBI Special Agent Alex Torres have a long and tumultuous history. When someone close to them disappears, Pilar and Alex must risk everything to rescue the child, including facing the unresolved issues of the past, and venture into the no-man's land of the drug cartels.

Can Pilar and Alex work together to stop a sadistic killer before he strikes again? On a quest to rescue those they love, who will rescue them?

MY REVIEW:   What a fascinating mystery and romance The Stronghold turned out to be!   Pilar To-Clanny is now working as the Apache tribal cop on the reservation and Alex Torres is now working as an FBI Special Agent and they are placed in each others' paths yet again to solve the crimes of the missing young people after discovering bodies on the reservation.   It has been a long long time since Pilar and Alex were young and in love and there is a great deal of anger, hurt, and unresolved issues creating baggage between the two.  They find clues pointing to thee Mexican drug cartels in the crimes and when her son and his grandmother run off to try and save Tagalong, they have to choice but to return to the very place that holds an important piece of their own past history.  Can they work together without killing each other?  Can they save the ones they love from the wicked person who is kidnapping and killing innocent lives?   

I'll be honest, at first, I thought this might be a boring book and that I might find a language barrier as the first pages used some of the language of the local tribes. But I was quickly very pleasantly surprised as I fell in love with Pilar and Alex and just wanted their open wounds to heal.   I could see they were broken but I didn't yet know why.  I was compelled to read to see what their history entailed and to find out who is carrying out hideous acts.  This novel could easily be an episode of Criminal Minds.   I am a huge fan of Criminal Minds so this book fed my addiction.  The romance was an added bonus.   

I rated this book 5 stars and would like to read more books by Lisa Carter.  

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

About the Author:
Lisa Cox Carter

Lisa Carter was always the child who made up epic tales involving prairie schooners or interplanetary voyages for the neighborhood kids to re-enact during summer vacation. Now, she and her husband have two daughters and make their home in North Carolina. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys traveling to romantic locales, quilting and researching her next exotic adventure. She is the author of romantic suspense novels, Carolina Reckoning and Beneath a Navajo Moon, Under a Turquoise Sky and Vines of Entanglement. Aloha Rose, part of the Quilts of Love series, and Coast Guard Courtship are contemporary romances. Her latest romantic suspense novel, Beyond the Cherokee Trail, releases September, 2015.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

5-Star Review of "Surviving Haley"

Review of Surviving Haley

by Brenda Baker


27739804

Lauren Werthman struggles with guilt and depression. Even moving to another state and into a new home doesn't help her overcome the life-altering aftermath of losing her sister. Memories of the tragic accident reverberate through her life as her family tries to cope, but Lauren's life spirals out of control. Her mother criticizes her choices every day, her father continues to work later and later, and people at her new school seem to know the family secret. Lauren binge-eats, has nightmares, and doubts the existence of a God Who didn't intervene to prevent the senseless tragedy. As Lauren's family and friends work through the pain and guilt, will they find that even though the void will always remain, the power of forgiveness brings peace and hope and a bright future, or will Lauren forever be lost to the pain and guilt?

MY REVIEW:   
     Truth:  Dads, if they love you, will lie about your appearance.  I knew this was the case, because two new zits studded my forehead, my hair was a tangled mess, and my clothes had more wrinkles than an octogenarian.  "I love you, too." 
     When the truck pulled away from the curb, it traveled several blocks before it turned left and disappeared from sight. I was on my own.  New school.  New life.  I didn't deserve either.  

My heart broke for Lauren and her parents as I read this novel.  I can not imagine the grief and guilt a family would feel after the accidental death of their five-year-old daughter and sister.   Lauren was supposed to be babysitting Haley when the accident happened.  The guilt and pain she carries are driving her to overeat to hide the pain and keep the tears at bay.  Her mother turns to self-medicating with liquid comfort and her father works longer and longer hours to avoid the entire family and the home.  Not only that, but Lauren has to deal with an entire new school.  Can she make new friends and ignore the local bullies?  

Her faith is put to the test as well.  She wonders how a loving God could allow the death of a sweet little girl.  Where will she find for comfort when she no longer wants to talk to God?  
This book was so touching and honest.  The author addresses grief, forgiveness, guilt, overeating, alcoholism, and bullying in this novel.  I especially appreciate that the author doesn't sugarcoat the issues.  They are dealt with head-on.   This book targets young adults but this old adult could not put it down.  

I rated this book 5 stars and am hoping many readers will purchase their own copies or find it in their local library to follow Lauren and her journey.  
I received a free copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.






About the Author:

Brenda   Baker

Brenda Baker is a teacher who lives in Nebraska with her husband and a mixed husky. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, word games, swimming, traveling, and spending time with family.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

5-Star Review of "The English Son"


Review of The English Son

The Amish Millionaire part 1 of 6

by Wanda Brunstetter & Jean Brunstetter

25784963

Join New York Times Bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter along with Jean Brunstetter in Holmes County for a dramatic new 6-part serial novel. 

Meet businessman Joel Byler who has gotten himself into a financial bind and his eccentric, wealthy Amish father who is done bailing out his spoiled son. When will Joel learn he most pay for his own mistakes—and at what cost to his business, his fiancĂ©e, and his Amish siblings?

The Amish Millionaire -- A 6-Part Serial Novel
#1: The English Son -- March 2016
#2: The Stubborn Father -- April 2016
#3: The Betrayed Fiancee -- May 2016
#4: The Missing Will -- June 2016
#5: The Divided Family -- July 2016
#6: The Selfless Act -- August 2016

MY REVIEW: 
 Mom took hold of Kristi's left hand.  
"I don't see a diamond sparkling back at me."
"He hasn't bought me an engagement ring yet, but I'm sure I'll be wearing one soon."  
Deep wrinkles formed across Mom's forehead.  Her blue eyes, mirroring Kristi's, had lost their sparkle.
"I'm sure you're aware of what the Bible says about being unequally yoked with unbelievers."

     Joel Byler has proposed marriage to Kristi Palmer, but he hasn't given her an engagement ring yet or set a date for the wedding.  He works as a contractor and employs many subcontractors to work for him.  After receiving payment on a large job, he bids $250,000 on a 1967 Corvette Stingray convertible and now he can't pay his employees, buy an engagement ring, or even pay his own household bills.  He plans to hide the car from Kristi and that's not the only secret he's keeping from her. Whenever she asks about his family, he clams up.   But when he gets himself in this huge financial bind, he plans to run to his Amish millionaire father for a loan.   But his dad decides it's time to practice tough love with Joel.  What will happen?  How will he pay his debts? If or when will he open up to Kristi and be honest?   
      This is a quick, fast-paced, exciting novella that is part 1 or 6 parts in The Amish Millionaire.   The story ends on a real cliffhanger and left me checking to see how soon part 2 will be published.  I actually love novellas as they can be read in one sitting and create a great deal of tension to see what will take place next.   Wanda and Jean Brunstetter definitely started this set with a bang!  
      I rated this novella 5 stars and am looking forward to reading parts 2-6.  
       I received a print copy of this novella from the author and a pdf version from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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 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.

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: www.WandaBrunstetter.com

Jean Brunstetter--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.