Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Christmas Town (Christmas Hope #8) by Donna VanLiere













Title: The Christmas Town (Christmas Hope #8)
Author: Donna VanLiere
Pages: 228
Year: 2016
Genre: Christmas Story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Format: eBook (also available in hardback)
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this novel through NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.)

About the book:

     Donna VanLiere, New York Times bestselling author of the timeless The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope, is back with this moving and uplifting story about finding love, hope, and family in unexpected places.

     Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

     When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly ignorer to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

My review:

     Filled with delightful characters.

     The variety of people in this Christmas story is fantastic. They range from strong outspoken ones to those with either health or emotional limitations. They worked well together and the story is sweet and very inspirational. It displays the best of people of all walks of life coming together and supporting each other.

     At times the point-of-view seemed awkward to me. This is a new author to me and it may just be that her writing style is different than what I’m used to reading.

     I am giving this charming Christmas story a rating of 4 stars. I do recommend it. I will be reading more of this author’s Christmas books.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Pursued (Nikki Boyd Files #3) by Lisa Harris













Title: Pursued (Nikki Boyd Files #3)
Author: Lisa Harris
Pages: 315
Year: 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)

About the book:

     Nikki Boyd’s flight into Nashville was routine—up until the crash landing at the airport. When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing—and no one will admit she was ever there. Erika Hamilton has been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial. When she flees from the crash, is she running from trouble or straight into it? Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects 

My review:

     An action packed romantic suspense novel!

     The case that Nikki is working on is a stand alone storyline. To get the full enjoyment out of this book though the series should be read in order to be able to follow the details of Nikki’s personal life.

     I love the depth of the main character. Nikki has more problems thrown at her over the course of this book than anyone should have to face. Yet she holds on to her sanity and remembers to ask God for the strength, and everything else, she needs.

     I really like the amount of personal life issues that crop up too. She has to try and balance work with them just like we all do.

     The plot was great! It moved quickly with plenty of twists and turns to keep the readers guessing. Early on the identity of the bad guy is revealed but it only made it more exciting in my mind to see how the story would play out.

     This is a very entertaining book. I’m highly recommending it and giving it 5 stars.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Christmas Admirer by Laura V. Hilton + A GIVEAWAY


About the Book

  

Name of book: The Christmas Admirer  

Author: Laura V Hilton  

Genre: Amish Romance  

Release Date: September 5, 2017  



Amish romance fans will love this heartwarming holiday story, perfect for gift-giving. 

Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but when his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, he was now the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters. What woman would want to put up with that? Still, against his better judgment, he can’t help leaving her a gift now and then, anonymously addressing her name in big block print, just to catch a smile. Roses one month, maple syrup candy another; and maybe this time, something special for Christmas. 

Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, but now the clock is ticking. Her father is selling his glass-blowing business, remarrying in January, and moving to Iowa with his bossy wife-to-be. Angry and frustrated, Susanna realizes she’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah?


Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

This is a wonderful Amish romance novel!

I loved both Susanna King and Benaiah Troyer from the beginning. They are incredibly well developed and easy to sympathize with. They are facing enormous difficulties and roadblocks in their relationship with each other. I understood the emotions and frustrations that they had to deal with and try to sort out.

Susanna’s father on the other hand infuriated me. His refusing to talk with either Susanna or Benaiah and then only to issue orders made me see many shades of red multiple times throughout the book.

The journeys that Susanna and Benaiah were on were great. I was fascinated with the guidance and wisdom that was shared with each of them helping them learn to trust God.

I am giving this delightful book a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it.

About the Author

Amish fiction lovers responded positively and immediately to Laura V. Hilton’s debut novel, Patchwork Dreams, when she burst on the scene in 2009 with her unique series, The Amish of Seymour, set in the tiny town of Seymour, in Webster County, Missouri. Fans of the genre immediately recognized Hilton’s insider knowledge, not only of the Webster County community, but Amish culture in general. Her natural speech and writing patterns, she says, are uniquely “Amish,” acquired from her Amish maternal grandparents. The Amish of Seymour, includes Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. Her second series, The Amish of Webster County, is comprised of Healing Love, Surrendered Love, and Awakened Love. A stand-alone title, A White Christmas in Webster County, was released in September 2014. The Amish of Jamesport includes The Snow Globe, The Postcard and The Birdhouse. In spring 2016 she released The Amish Firefighter with the setting in Jamesport, MO, the same as for The Amish Wanderer. 

Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer. Laura and her husband, Steve, have five children, whom Laura homeschools. The family makes their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

Guest Post from Laura V. Hilton

Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer
Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me. But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks. 

 It was fascinating. 

 And I got to thinking what if…


So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower. 

 The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are: 

Amish Books set in Jamesport, Missouri: 

The Snow Globe 

The Postcard 

The Birdhouse 

The Amish Firefighter 

The Amish Wanderer 

The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection) 

The Christmas Admirer 

Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection–November 2018) 

Love by the Numbers (February 2018)  

I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses. 

All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.

Susanna’s Cranberry Salad

Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the first six ingredients until blended. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Just before serving, fold cream and walnuts into cranberry mixture.Makes 16 servings.

Susanna’s Cranberry Sauce

For on top of turkey sandwiches as Becca requested
Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed), chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water or orange juice
Directions
In colander, rinse cranberries. In sauce pan, add water or orange juice and sugar, boil until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook about 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries had burst. Let cool.

Susanna’s “Love Portion” Gingerbread

Ingredients
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup shortening, melted slightly
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ c water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
Directions
Shift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside. In mixing bowl, mix shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are absorbed. Divide dough into three pieces, pat down until about 1 ½ inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut in desired shapes. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on wire racks. When cool, decorate as desired.

Blog Stops

ASC Book Reviews, November 9
Books n Baubles, November 9
Janices book review, November 9
Have A Wonderful Day, November 10
A Greater Yes, November 10
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 11
A Holland Reads, November 12
Simple Harvest Reads, November 12
Beck To Basics, November 13
Carpe Diem, November 13
Christian Bookaholic, November 14
Blossoms and BlessingsNovember 14
Baker Kella, November 16
Quiet Quilter, November 16
Karen Sue Hadley, November 16
Pause for Tales, November 17
Pursuing StacieNovember 17
For The Love of Books, November 18
Blogging With CarolNovember 18
Bigreadersite, November 19
Vicky Sluiter, November 19
SusanLovesBooks, November 19
Moments Dipped in Ink, November 20
New Horizon Reviews, November 20
Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 22
Daysong ReflectionsNovember 22
Splashes of JoyNovember 22

Giveaway


In honor of her tour, Laura is giving away

Grand Prize Package: The Christmas Admirer, “Unto Us a Child is Born” painting on decorative serving plate by Donna White, The Hearthside Collection, Inc., and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book (not in photo).

1st Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and The Very First Christmas by Juliet David with interactive illustrations by Pauline Siewert (children’s book). 

2nd Place Package: The Christmas Admirer and “The Woman Who Honors The Lord Shall Be Praised” myrrh-scented candle from abba Jerusalem!

Click the link to enter! https://promosimple.com/ps/c16f

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Farmers' Market Mishap (Lopsided Christmas Cake #2) by Wanda E. Brunstetter & Jean Brunstetter













Title: The Farmers’ Market Mishap (Lopsided Christmas Cake #2)
Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter & Jean Brunstetter
Pages: 208
Year: 2017
Genre: Amish Romance
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a free eBook copy through NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Return to Amish Country in Topeka, Indiana, and the Hochstetler twin sisters who are pulled apart by life’s changes. Elma is living alone for the first time in her life after Thelma married. Elma has dated some, but she wonders if she is just too picky to find love. Will she remain alone while Thelma moves on to build a family? Find out in this brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.   

My review:

     A delightful Amish romance!

     I thoroughly enjoyed looking in on Elma and Thelma again. They are very well developed and presented. It was fun seeing how Thelma and her husband Joseph have moved on with their lives since the end of the first book in the series. The bond that the twins have is a little strained because of the natural distance with this change. Yet their love for each other is the same.

     I found the differences in the men that come into Elma’s life very clear and easy to pick up. It was fun to see how her relationship with each of them progressed. I knew from early in the book who I wanted her to end up with.

     I am giving this marvelous book a rating of 5 stars. I highly recommend it.    


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Cold Terror (Cold Harbor #1) by Susan Sleeman













Title: Cold Terror (Cold Harbor #1)
Author: Susan Sleeman
Pages: 138
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Rose City Press
Format: eBook
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this novella from the author. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Forensic artist, Hannah Perry’s skills made her a valuable asset to the police…

     A young woman has been murdered. Her body unidentified. Her skull recently discovered by the police, and Hannah feels compelled to help find the killer. Even if she’s on a much-needed vacation on a secluded island with her young son. She could work on the reconstruction in the evenings while her son slept. But as the woman’s face takes shape, an assailant invades Hannah’s cabin and tries to end her life. Before he can permanently silence her, she and her son flee the island in a small boat. Trouble is, as they approach Cold Harbor, ocean waves capsize the boat, enveloping them both in cold terror.

     But it also makes her the next target.

     Former SEAL Gage Blackwell can’t believe his eyes as he plunges into the raging waters to rescue the pair. Owner of Blackwell Tactical—a law enforcement training facility and protection services agency—Gage pulls the woman he once loved from the angry ocean. When he learns of her attack, he vows to protect her while hunting down the killer. Alone and vulnerable, Hannah has to accept Gage’s protection—even if it means staying close to the man who’d once walked out on her without a backward glance.

My review:

     A riveting romantic suspense novella!

     The development of both Hannah and Gage is wonderful. I love all the details that are given slowly throughout the story about the past relationship. It was great to meet all the members of Gage’s security team. I am looking forward to finding out more about each of them as each book in this series comes out.

     The action in this book is fantastic. I was kept guessing about the details of the danger right up until the end of the story.

     This story is a great way to spend a few hours. I am highly recommending it and giving it a rating of 5 stars.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Monday, October 9, 2017

At Your Request (Apart from the Crowd #0.5) by Jen Turano













Title: At Your Request (Apart from the Crowd #0.5)
Author: Jen Turano
Pages: 105
Year: 2017
Genre: Historical Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Format: eBook

About the book:

     After Miss Wilhelmina Radcliff’s father lost the family fortune in a poor investment decision, she finds herself banished from the fashionable set within New York society and directly into the wallflower section. Taking on work as a social secretary in order to help with family expenses, she spends her time penning out invitations to all the most sought-after events, wondering if her life will ever improve.

     While languishing one evening at a ball given by one of the esteemed New York patriarchs, Wilhelmina is appalled to discover that Mr. Edgar Wanamaker, her oldest and dearest friend, and the first gentleman to offer her a marriage proposal, has shown up at the ball unexpectedly, having been absent from New York ever since she rejected his offer years before. 

My review:

     A hilarious historical romantic comedy!

     I have to start by mentioning the names of the characters in this charming novella. I got a chuckle out of quite a few of them just by reading them out loud. I know that different names were popular at different times in history, but I think that the author had to have put extra effort into coming up with some very funny combinations.

     The rules that people were expected to follow within society when attending a ball seemed strange to me. I was surprised to find that there were definite class distinctions within the upper class. I didn’t realize that there was a special area for “wallflowers” and that they were supposed to behave differently.

     I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet Miss Wilhelmina Radcliff and Mr. Edgar Wanamaker. They were well developed and their background as childhood friends was very sweet. I’m very glad that I will have a chance to learn more about the other ladies in the wallflower section in the other books in this series.


     I am definitely giving this delightful story a 5-star rating. I highly recommend it. It would be an excellent choice if you are in the need of cheering up.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Plain Retribution (Amish Country Justice #2) by Dana R. Lynn













Title: Plain Retribution (Amish Country Justice #2)
Author: Dana R. Lynn
Pages: 224
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     AMISH ABDUCTION

     Ten years ago while on rumspringa, Rebecca Miller and her friends were kidnapped and held captive…and now, living in the English world, she’s nearly abducted again. One by one her friends who once helped send their abductor to jail are targeted, and she is next…unless police officer Miles Olsen can stop a killer. Deaf since birth, the only person on the force that Rebecca can communicate with is Miles, and he needs this case to redeem himself of past mistakes. When the relentless killer tracks them deep into the heart of Amish country, protecting Rebecca must be Miles’s sole focus. Because a mistake this time will cost something worth more to him than his job—the woman he’s falling for.

My review:

     An amazing adrenaline rush!

     I absolutely love both Rebecca Miller and Miles Olsen! They are so incredibly well developed. The amount of details that are given as to how a deaf girl would be treated is fantastic. My heart broke for Rebecca every time that the distance between her and her family came up. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not be able to hear. This book helped me to have some understanding of what deaf people deal with all the time.

     The plot for this story was wonderful! There were lots of twists and turns that kept me guessing as to how everything fit together. I just knew that I needed to find out how the mystery of who was attacking Rebecca and why turned out. The attraction between Rebecca and Miles was just bonus content for me.

     I was enthralled with this book. I am highly recommending it and giving it a rating of 5 stars. I am really looking forward to the reading everything else by this author.


Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*