Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Quilter's Apprentice (Elm Creek Quilts #1) by Jennifer Chiaverini













Title: The Quilter’s Apprentice (Elm Creek Quilts #1)
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Narrated by: Christina Moore
Listening Length: 8 hours and 40 minutes
Year: 2004
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Recorded Books
Format: Audio Book

About the book:

     After moving with her husband, Matt, to the small college town of Waterford, Pennsylvania, Sarah McClure struggles to find a fulfilling job. In the meantime, she agrees to help seventy-five-year-old Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate, Elm Creek Manor, for sale. As part of her compensation, Sarah is taught how to quilt by this cantankerous elderly woman, who is a master of the craft. During their lessons, Mrs. Compson reveals how her family was torn apart by tragedy, jealousy, and betrayal, and her stories force Sarah to face uncomfortable truths about her own alienation from her widowed mother. As their friendship deepens, Mrs. Compson confides in Sarah the truth about why she wants to sell Elm Creek Manor. In turn, Sarah seeks a way to bring life and joy back to the estate so Mrs. Compson can keep her home — and Sarah can keep her cherished friend. The Quilter’s Apprentice teaches deep lessons about family, friendship, and sisterhood, and about creating a life as you would a quilt: with time, love, and patience, piecing the miscellaneous and mismatched scraps into a beautiful whole.

My review:

     This is a delightful women’s novel!

     There is a large cast of very well developed characters. I loved meeting Sarah, Matt, and Sylvia. They are the main characters that are central and the rest of the cast fills in around them. I found it very interesting to see how they met and their friendship developed over the course of the story.

     Sylvia is a master quilter and it was fascinating for me to read all the details about how a quilt is made. The descriptions of the different quilt blocks captivated me. I have never tried quilting but I love looking at quilts.

     I loved the narrator for this audio book. She did a marvelous job of changing her voice for the different characters. It made it very easy to keep listening and losing myself in the story.


    I have to give this wonderful book a rating of 5 stars. I am definitely highly recommending it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Amish Country Ambush (Amish Country Justice #4) by Dana R. Lynn













Title: Amish Country Ambush (Amish Country Justice #4)
Author: Dana R. Lynn
Pages: 224
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Hidden in Plain Sight

     An Amish Country Justice story.

     After police dispatcher Elise St. Clair’s home is invaded by her murderous brother-in-law, her nephew is hidden in Amish Country by her cleaning lady. Now relying on police officer Ryan Parker is Elise’s only hope of reuniting with the child…and evading the killer. And Elise and Ryan quickly discover their temporary partnership has long-term potential—if they can stay alive.

My review:

     This is an incredible adrenaline rush romantic suspense novel!

     I love the main characters in this book. They are very well developed and it was easy for me to understand where they were coming from. Both Elise and Ryan have problems from their pasts that they have to deal with on a regular basis. That is what defines them and their commitment to following through in taking care of others. They are thrust together by circumstances and they learn to trust each other as they reveal their pasts.

     The plot of the story is great. It has many twists and turns that kept me guessing. It was fascinating to see who all was involved in the attack at Elise’s house. It was interesting to see what the motivation was for the bad guys.

     I am giving this wonderful story a rating of 5 stars. I am highly recommending 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.*

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Captured Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #3) by Michelle Griep













Title: The Captured Bride (Daughters of the Mayflower #3)
Author: Michelle Griep
Pages: 256
Release Date: June 1, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Barbour Books
Format: eBook (also available in Paperback)
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     A War-Torn Countryside Is No Place For A Lady

     Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause. . .to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart. Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he is offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort—but he is the only they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought. Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

My review:

     This is a fantastic historical romance!

     The characters are incredibly well developed and easy to connect with. This is true of many of them, not just the two main ones. Both Mercy and Elias has deep seated wounds from their pasts. They were shaped by things they were told by family members raising them, just as we all are. The journeys there are on are shaped by those wounds and will hopefully bring them healing.

     The action and adventure is fabulous. They face many dangers that require them to work together to survive. At first they are so at odds with each other that their ability to do so is really in question. They discover strengths and weaknesses that they didn’t know they had. There are also strong believers in God that are working with them. They step up and and help point them to Him.

     I am giving this wonderful book a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending 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.*

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Blessing (The Amish Cooking Class #2) by Wanda E. Brunstetter













Title: The Blessing (The Amish Cooking Class #2)
Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Pages: 319
Year:  2017
Genre: Amish Fiction
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Format: eBook (also available in Paperback)
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Despite stressful changes occurring in their lives, Lyle and Heidi once again open their Ohio home up to those seeking to learn about Amish cooking. This time a teenager helping her divorced dad cook for the family, a caterer needing new recipes, a food critic, a hunter looking to impress his buddies, a wife given the class as an unwanted gift, and a mailman lured in by the aroma of good cooking gather around Heidi’s table.

     During each class, Heidi teaches culinary skills, but it is her words of wisdom that have a profound effect on her students—though, this time Heidi’s own hurting heart will need some healing nourishment.

My review:

     This is an incredible Amish novel!

     I loved getting to visit with Heidi and Lyle Troyer again. I thoroughly enjoy this couple because they have a strong marriage in which they support and encourage each other. Their marriage is the strong foundation for how the interact with the students in Heidi’s cooking class.

     The new batch of students is varied and very entertaining to get to know. Each one has their own set of problems to work through over the course of the six classes. Even while she is trying to encourage her students Heidi herself is dealing with personal heartbreak.

     I loved the appearances of Kendra and some of the other people who were in the first set of classes Heidi held. Their lives have progressed and it is a lot of fun to check in on them.

     This delightful story is getting a 5 star rating from me. I am highly recommending 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.*

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Firestorm by Laura V. Hilton + A GIVEAWAY


About the Book

Title: Firestorm  

Author: Laura Hilton  

Genre: Christian Amish  

Release Date: July, 2018

Bridget Behr and her family migrate from the bustling Amish community where she grew up in Ohio to the mostly unpopulated Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a stalker breaks into their home. While her father and brother try to find work in the area, the family is forced to reside in a borrowed RV until the house and barn are rebuilt. While Bridget is hoping for a fresh start, she’s afraid to trust anyone—even Gabriel, the overly-friendly Amish man who lives nearby. Bridget thinks he’s a flirt who serial dates and doesn’t even remember the girls’ names. 

Due to not enough construction work in his Florida community to keep him out of trouble, Gabriel Lapp has been sent to Michigan to work. His father is desperate for his son to settle down. When the family walks into Gabe’s home in the middle of a thunderstorm and he discovers their circumstances, he offers to help with construction. For Gabe, the beautiful girl he teasingly calls “the recluse” once he discovers she doesn’t attend youth events, confuses him like none other. 

As Gabriel and Bridget grow closer, they realize there is more to a person than meets the eye. Just as Bridget is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding love, tragedy strikes. Now Bridget and her family must decide if they should move to another Amish community, or dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County.


Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

This is an incredible Amish romance!

From the very beginning I was captivated by Bridget. She is an extremely well developed character with many facets. The fears and conflicted emotions that she has were easy to understand with the background information that is given about her life before moving to the Upper Peninsula.

The development of the rest of the main characters was just as thorough. I feel like I got to know them and the motivations for their actions too. There were so many heavy burdens that were being dealt with it seemed as if it were real life. This book is not a light escape as some are.

I loved the fact that there were strong believers. They were doing all that they could to help Bridget, Gabe and the others who were struggling, to draw closer to God and trust Him more. The journeys that Gabe and Hosea, Bridget’s daed, had to take were very realistic. They were both very understandable for men going on to be strong spiritual leaders.

This book is so wonderful that I have to give it a rating of 5 stars. I am definitely highly recommending it. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series when it comes out. I don’t even know the title for it, but it is already going on my to-be-read list.  

About the Author

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write. 

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children. 

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.


Guest Post from Laura Hilton

I read a series of books a year or so ago by another Amish author who had set her books in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. As a Michigan native, I was curious, and I researched, but found nothing about Upper Peninsula Amish except a notation that one had tried and failed. So I contacted the author. She told me that she’d never been there, and her research had all been hearsay, so with that lack of firsthand knowledge and no trip to the Upper Peninsula planned, no trip to see for myself would be possible. At least at that time. 

Then God intervened. My son who is in the United States Coast Guard was stationed in the Upper Peninsula this past summer (2017.) He saw the Amish driving around in their buggies. And he felt like a stalker as he followed one to see where he went and drove through the area. He even sent pictures. (Shhhh.)

Yes, there are Amish in the Upper Peninsula – at least at the time this book was written. 

Okay, as a Michigan native, I used some terms that may not be familiar to non-Michiganders. A Yooper is someone who lives in the Upper Peninsula. A Troll is someone from the Lower Peninsula. A pastie is kind of like a Hot Pocket, except it’s a meat pie made with root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and rutabagas. They are so good. And the straits are the area of the Great Lakes connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. 

As for the wildfire, the earliest wildfire I could find any documentation on in the Upper Peninsula was in April. It is generally a snowy area — trust me. I lived near the Muskegon area and saw snow drifts in May. We sometimes had over six feet of snow on the ground at one time. So, to get the wildfire when I wanted/needed the wildfire I used artistic license. Yes, fires really happened in Michigan’s history. Just not in the month mentioned in the book.  


I am attaching a meme about Michigan seasons. We’ll call the fire set in “fool’s spring.” My son got married during the “third winter” this year. April 21 and there’s snow on the ground. He and his beautiful bride got married at a water fall (Tahquomenon Falls) very near where the story is set.  



Thanks for reading Firestorm!!


Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, July 10
The Avid Reader, July 12
Among the Reads, July 14
Pause for Tales, July 20
amandainpa, July 21
Bigreadersite, July 21

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away

Grand prize: Firefighter Puppet 9 (Melissa & Doug), Copies of Amish Firefighter and Firestorm by Laura Hilton.

First place prize of “I Love You to the Cross & Back” Mug (Gardenfire) & Firestorm by Laura Hilton!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter 
to claim 9 extra entries! 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Brittle Diamonds by Hilary Walker













Title: Brittle Diamonds
Author: Hilary Walker
Pages: 294
Release Date: July 4, 2018
Genre: Christian Fiction
Publisher: CKN Christian Publishing
Format: eBook (also available in Paperback)
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     Father Peter is the beloved parish priest of Brotherton village.

     But when allegations of misconduct mysteriously surface against him, his parishioners are thrown into turmoil. What should they believe?

     Father Peter’s own faith starts to crumble when a close priest friend commits suicide. Then bizarre circumstances throw him together with Matt Goldworth, a non-believer.

     Matt finds himself helping a clergyman of the very Church he despises and discovering a solution to the mystery no one could have foreseen.

My review:

     A thought provoking look at life in a country town.

     This book is set in a small town in England. There is talk of fox hunts, horse shows, and other country activities. There is a wide variety of characters just like you would expect to find in any town. The way they interact with each other is expressed very well. 

     The problems that the characters face are varied and easy to understand. Some of them I was able to relate to more than others. One of them I just shook my head and thought, “What were they thinking.”

     I loved the parish priest, Father Peter. He has his own problems facing him and yet he is willing to help everyone that comes to him. As his problems loom larger and larger I was amazed at the way he handled himself and continued to encourage others around him. His faith in God and the Catholic Church was inspiring.

     It was interesting to see who rallied around him and who turned their backs on him.  The way that the truth came out was great. 

     I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

     I have decided to give this story a 5 star rating. I am recommending it. It does address a couple of deep topics that take some time to consider.


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, July 2, 2018

A Rebel Heart (The Daughtry House Series #1) by Beth White













Title: A Rebel Heart (The Daughtry House Series #1)
Author: Beth White
Pages: 368
Release Date: June 5, 2018 
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Revell
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: 

About the book:

     Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family’s Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land.

     Pinkerton agent and former Union cavalryman Levi Riggins is investigating a series of robberies and sabotage linked to the impoverished Daughtry plantation. Posing as a hotel management agent for the railroad, he tells Selah he’ll help her save her home, but only if it is converted into a hotel. With Selah otherwise engaged with renovations, Levi moves onto the property to “supervise” while he actually attends to his real assignment right under her nose.

     Selah isn’t sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee, but she’d do almost anything to save her home. What she never expected to encounter was his assault on her heart.

My review:

     This is an absolutely incredible historical romance!

     I loved this book. The characters have so much depth to them that they captivated me from the beginning. It begins with individuals on a train. A very simple setup and yet the descriptions of the surroundings, and the characters themselves, was fantastic.

     The amount of detail in the post-civil-war era was great. I’ve seen movies and read books about this period before. But this story had my attention to the point that I was emotionally invested in the different groups to a deeper extent than I believe anything else has done prior to now.

     The plot of the case that Levi is trying to solve has so many twists to it that I was caught up in trying to figure it out right along with him.

     One of my favorite aspects of this book is the deep faith in God that Selah displays. She is leaning on Him and striving to follow the teaching from the bible.

     This was the first book that I’ve read by Beth White. I look forward to the next one in this series. In the meantime I will be looking for any other books that she has already written. 

     I am definitely 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.*