Thursday, November 10, 2022

Page-Turning Conclusion -- Body of Evidence

About the Book

The dead don't give up their secrets easily.

Forensic pathologist Grace Reilly has seen her share of unusual deaths in rural Missouri. But when she begins to notice a curious pattern in autopsies of older residents whose demises appear to be natural, she takes her concerns to Sheriff Nate Cox.

Nate is skeptical about the link Grace is seeing between the deaths, as well as her suspicions of foul play. But her persistence is compelling. And once they join forces to investigate, danger follows close behind. Because exposing the truth could destroy several lives--including Grace's.

Queen of inspirational romantic suspense Irene Hannon closes out her bestselling Triple Threat series with this gripping tale of secrets revealed and romance sparked.

My Thoughts

Irene Hannon has finished out her Triple Threat series with another great inspirational romantic suspense in Body of Evidence

In her usual masterful style, she grabs you on the first page and keeps you guessing long into the story. The romance is at a comfortable pace and plays well with the suspense that is more the star of the show. There are plenty of suspects along the way, and you may just be surprised when all is revealed! And as always, you can expect a good clean read with elements of faith built into the story.

This is the third book in the series, so there are back stories to some of the characters. Some of those details are revealed as the story builds, and some are from characters who have shown up earlier in the series. Having read the other books and knowing the back stories is not necessary, though, to understanding and enjoying this one. Of course, any excuse to go back and read an Irene Hannon book you've missed is a good one, in my opinion.

Thanks to Revell Reads for providing a copy of Body of Evidence. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Author

Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than 60 contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. In addition to her many other honors, she is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA's elite Hall of Fame and has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.




Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Amish Story -- Anything but Plain

About the Book


Book: 
Anything But Plain

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish fiction

Release date: October 4, 2022

It’s not easy being the bishop’s daughter, especially for Lydie Stoltzfus. She’s not like other Amish girls, as much as she wishes she were. The only thing she does well is disappoint others. Leaving her family and church seems unbearable, but staying might be worse.

Knowing Lydie is “between” jobs, the local doctor asks her to fill in at the front desk for a few months. To Lydie, this is a boon. It gives her time to figure out how she’s going to say goodbye to her neighbor, Nathan Yoder–the main reason she needs to leave Stoney Ridge. Nathan claims he’s in love with her, but she knows she’s not good enough for him. If in doubt, Nathan’s father reminds her frequently.

As Dok spends time with Lydie, she recognizes symptoms of an uncommon disorder among the Amish. She offers treatment for Lydie. But will it be enough to make her stay? Or has help come too late?

 Click here to get your copy! 

My Thoughts

Anything but Plain is another great story by Suzanne Woods Fisher, one of the best at Amish fiction. As is true of pretty much all her Amish stories, this one is set in the community of Stoney Ridge. If you have read her other books, you will find many familiar characters in this one. But you will also find several unfamiliar topics in the story.

Suzanne has obviously done a lot of research to make this a story that is "anything but plain" run-of-the mill Amish romance. The characters deal with such challenges as organic vs. traditional farming, ADHD, and complex family relationships. All of these mix together with more common Amish topics for a well-written, very engaging story. From the very beginning I was very involved with the characters and the difficult choices many of them had to make. Especially watching Lydie trying to find her place in the world was a heart-tugging journey.

I highly recommend Anything but Plain to fans of great Amish fiction. Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Author


Suzanne Woods Fisher
is a Christy finalist, a Carol Award winner, a two-time ECPA Book of the Year finalist, and the Publishers Weekly, ECPA, CBA, bestselling author of more than thirty books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, Amish romance, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in a small town in California, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and why. Most folks act a little nervous around Suzanne because they usually wind up in one of her novels. She has four grown children and enough grandchildren to keep her young. Visit Suzanne at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

More from Suzanne

Easily Distracted? 8 Strategies to Help Stay Focused

Anything but Plain is a story about a young Amish woman with undiagnosed ADHD. Lydie Stoltzfus feels like a square peg in a round hole. She just doesn’t fit in and, to make matters worse, she’s the bishop’s daughter. At this point, the only path forward she can see is to leave Stoney Ridge. Leave her church, her friends, her family, her neighbor Nathan Yoder. It’s better to leave, Lydie decides, than to keep disappointing everyone she cares about. I won’t say anymore so that I don’t spoil the story for you.

ADHD is not a common diagnosis among the Amish and many might assume it’s not a real thing. Of course, they’re mistaken. ADHD is a real thing. While I don’t have ADHD, I do have many friends and family members who have been diagnosed. It’s challenging! And something we should all take seriously. Here’s why:

Evidence is mounting that a growing dependence on digital devices could be giving all of us some ADHD-like symptoms. Have you wondered if distractibility is becoming a problem for you? Or has a spouse or child or friend remarked on how often you pick up your phone to check a text message or scroll Instagram? You might remain physically present but your mind has wandered away. For me, the answer is, regrettably, yes.

There’s a recurring phrase in Anything but Plain that comes from an old-fashioned farming term: Walking the beans. Literally, it means weeding by hand. Figuratively, it means paying attention to our priorities. To pull the weeds before they take root.

One of the takeaway lessons of this book is to “walk the beans” of technology’s role in my life. So…I’ve been working on a few strategies. When I practice, I see a difference. Life is calmer. More manageable.

So…I wanted to pass these tips along to you. (If you have little children, these might not work for you. Not when your little ones are awake, anyway.) Hopefully, you’ll find them to be useful, and maybe spark some strategies of your own.

  • Make a plan. I start the day with an index card and write down the day’s priorities. And I check off tasks as I finish them!
  • Go off-line. Create an environment that helps you stay focused. Turn your cell phone to silent. If working on the computer, close your email app. Put yourself in distraction-free mode until you’re accomplished what you need to do
  • Finish one task before moving on to the next. Even little tasks.
  • Distractibility is at its peak during transitions. Build in margin. For example, arrive a few minutes early instead of rushing in a few minutes late.
  • When distractions are high, make tasks smaller and break down your large projects into smaller tasks to help you concentrate and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
  • When I’m facing a big task, I’ll break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Set a deadline for a task. Beat the clock! Use a timer.
  • Rewards! When I beat the clock, I’ll take a break from computer work and pop up to the garden, text a friend, walk the dog. Something that feels good.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 7

She Lives To Read, October 8

The Write Escape, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9

Vicky Sluiter, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

Lighthouse-Academy, October 11

Simple Harvest Reads, October 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting

October 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Elly Gilbert, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 15

For Him and My Family, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16

Splashes of Joy, October 16

Empowermoms, October 17

SusanLovesBooks, October 17

Mary Hake, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18

Blossoms and Blessings, October 18

Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 19

Spoken from the Heart, October 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20

Cover Lover Book Review, October 20

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/21e05/anything-but-plain-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Fast-Paced Amish Christmas Story -- Star of Wonder

When is the right time of year to start reading Christmas books? Well, I think it is just whenever you get your hands on one.

An Amish Christmas Star is a collection of three Amish novellas by three different authors that has just been released this month (September). So far I have only had the opportunity to read one of the novellas, but I plan to get to the other two very soon.

In Star of Wonder, Charlotte Hubbard takes us back to her fictional Amish community at Promise Lodge. If you have read any of the books in that series (and if you haven't, I would recommend them all, in order), you know that Promise Lodge is not your typical Amish settlement. People have come from several different districts, including some who are Mennonite, and from a wide range of backgrounds. And you just never know who or what will pop up next in this community populated in large part by some pretty strong female residents.

Neither Lizzie nor Raymond, the main characters in the story, have found exactly where they belong and what direction their lives should take. For different reasons, they both end up at Promise Lodge and are almost immediately attracted to each other. One things leads to another, one obstacle after another comes up, until . . .  well, you will just have to read the story to see how everything comes together.

As always, I enjoyed Charlotte Hubbard's writing. It was fun to revisit this familiar location and see familiar "faces" play into the story. The characters are quite spirited, and the story moves at a very fast pace. Of course, that pace is pretty much necessary to move things along in the constraints of a short novella. I would recommend the story to anyone interested in a quick, light Amish story with the story of Christmas at its heart.

Thanks to Charlotte Hubbard for providing a copy of her book and to Goddess Fish Promotions for allowing me to be a part of this book tour. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.


About the Book:

The crisp fragrance of pine trees and the warm spice of fresh cookies aren’t the only blessings that Christmas brings, and no one knows more about happy homecomings than three couples who are celebrating the greatest gift of all . . .

 

STAR OF WONDER by Charlotte Hubbard

When Raymond Overholt comes to Promise Lodge, hoping to sell the barnboard signs he’s painted with stars and Christmas messages, spirited young Mennonite Lizzie Zehr is intrigued. But any courtship between them will face fierce opposition from the bishop of Raymond’s Old Order community—unless someone can convince him that at the heart of faith lies love . . .


Read an Excerpt:

With the girl’s laughter still dancing in his head, Raymond Overholt tried to refocus his thoughts. If he didn’t convince Mr. Kraybill to sell his handmade plaques, his past several weeks of work would be for nothing. He’d have to return home to Coldstream with his tail between his legs, and face a long, dreary lifetime of milking his dat’s cows. Running a dairy was honest, necessary work but Raymond didn’t enjoy spending his early mornings and late afternoons in a smelly barn disinfecting udders any more than the Holsteins liked having him around. Worse yet, if he overslept, his older brothers did the milking and left the hosing down and mucking out of the stalls for him.   

“If your customers like these plaques, I can make more,” he assured the steely-haired storekeeper. “I—I really appreciate having the chance to sell them here in your new store. Our bulk market in Coldstream is dim and overcrowded with merchandise, and even if the owner there had display space, he wants nothing to do with artwork. It’s that Old Order thing.”          

Mr. Kraybill smiled knowingly. “Jah, Amish stores don’t usually carry much that appears English even if they have a lot of customers come in from outside their community to shop,” he acknowledged. “But your plaques carry a solid Christmas message—‘Wise men still follow His star’ and the lyrics to ‘We Three Kings’ are meaningful reminders about following our Lord’s holy light. Thanksgiving always kicks off the Christmas buying season, so we’ll give it a shot, Raymond.”         

He hoped his grateful grin didn’t appear too adolescent—or desperate. Raymond gazed around the store, where a gal in a pleated Amish kapp was stocking shelves in the rear. A few early shoppers were pushing carts into the grocery section. “If you need some extra hands when things get busy these next few weeks, I’d be happy to help, sir,” he offered. “I’ve not worked in a store, but I’m gut at tallying sums and I’m a quick learner.”         

“I’ll keep it in mind,” Kraybill said with a nod.          

Raymond heard probably not in the storekeeper’s words, but he’d dealt with people’s dismissals before. If he’d dressed in dark broadfall pants with a plain shirt and suspenders—and if he’d chosen glasses with conservative frames—Kraybill might’ve taken him more seriously. But until he had no other choice than to submit to Old Order ways and join the church, Raymond was determined to wear clothing he liked.    

“I’ll be back in a few days to see how my signs are selling,” he said. “Denki for giving me a chance.”


About the Author:

In 1983, Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. She wrote around 70 of those confession stories, and she’s sold more than 50 books to traditional or online publishers. A longtime resident of Missouri, she’s currently writing Amish romances set in imaginary Missouri towns for Kensington. She now lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.

www.charlottehubbard.com

Facebook -- www.Facebook.com/Charlotte.Hubbard1



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Click here  to see the other stops on the tour.


Giveaway:

Charlotte Hubbard will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the link below to enter the giveaway.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f4364


Ordering Information:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Amish-Christmas-Star-Shelley-Shepard-ebook/dp/B09PJ348C8

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/an-amish-christmas-star-shelley-shepard-gray/1140825147

Kensington Publishing:  https://www.kensingtonbooks.com/9781496734273/an-amish-christmas-star/

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/An-Amish-Christmas-Star-Paperback-9781496734259/385381250

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/an-amish-christmas-star/id1602867197