Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Love around the world -- Destination: Romance

Destination: Romance is an enjoyable collection of five love stories, spanning both miles and years.  Due to the limitations of space, romance happens pretty quickly in these novellas, but there is plenty of detail to pull you into each story.

The only one of the five authors I was familiar with was Kim Vogel Sawyer.  As always, her story was a delight to read.  Even though she had a much shorter format to work in than her usual full-length novel and her setting was considerably different from her usual, she still wrote about characters in a way that you could share the feelings and passion that make up their story. 

The other authors did a good job as well, sharing engaging stories in a variety of settings and time periods.  I was particularly happy to be introduced to the excellent writing of Kim's daughter in the final novella in the collection.

Thanks to Kim for providing an advance copy of this book.  I was happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

From a cave in the hills of Missouri to a sandy beach in Grand Cayman, romance blooms for five heroines when they least expect it.

Bare Feet and Warm Sand
BY Kim Vogel Sawyer

Marine biologist Tamiera is determined to protect endangered sea turtles against man’s intrusion. When Joe arrives on the island of Grand Cayman with plans to build a resort near the turtles’ nesting grounds, will she be able to convince him to put the needs of God’s creatures above making money?

Sufficient Grace
BY Constance Shilling Stevens

An abandoned Cherokee burial ground keeps secrets and draws a picture of deep, enduring love for Nora, but land surveyor Donovan threatens the place that holds sweet memories for Nora’s grandfather. Will Donovan follow his boss’s orders or follow his heart?

Better Together Than Apart 
BY Rose Allen McCauley

On a K-Love cruise to Jamaica, Natalie re-connects with Ken, a boy she met six years earlier on a high school summer mission trip. Attraction stirs, but opposing goals threaten their romance. Will they listen to God’s leading for their best place of service?

A Shelter in a Weary Land
BY Julane Hiebert

A cave in the Missouri hillside was to be a shelter from pillaging Union soldiers for Charlotte and her unborn babe. But will she be safe when a wounded enemy seeks the same place of refuge?

Cotton Candy Sky
BY Kristian Libel

When a Kansas girl falls in love with the ocean, she thinks nothing could be more exhilarating than life on a beach...except maybe falling for a traveling photographer who introduces her to more adventure than she’d ever imagined. But is their connection one that can last, or will their time together simply remain a fond memory as they go their separate ways?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Love is in the Air -- Amish Brides (with a GIVEAWAY)

Amish Brides is a sweet collection of Amish love story novellas.  As is expected in the shorter format, things happen fast and the outcomes are pretty predictable.  But the stories that lead to those outcomes are delightful to read.

In The Reluctant Groom, Jennifer Beckstrand takes us on a quick visit to Huckleberry Hill and the matchmaking duo of Anna and Felty.  If you are familiar with that series, you know that fun and wisdom will show up as the Helmuths do their part (and more) to help find just the right match for one of their grandchildren.

Molly Jebber's Joshua's Bride carries a little more serious tone than the other stories.  The characters have some difficult family issues to work through, requiring each of them to evaluate their own feelings and priorities.

In a A Summer Wedding in Paradise, Amy Lillard tells the lively story of a couple who aren't quite sure what they are looking for . . . and some eager little girls who have their own ideas of how to give love a push in the right direction.

If you are a fan of Amish fiction and enjoy light, entertaining stories of love, Amish Brides would be a great choice.

Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of the book.  I was happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

THE RELUCTANT GROOM
Jennifer Beckstrand
Spirited Suvie Newswenger has three marriage proposals—but not from the man she truly loves. No matter how lonely widower Aaron Beachy is, he seems determined to stay that way forever. Now, with help from his matchmaking great-grandparents, Suvie will do whatever it takes to rekindle Aaron’s hope—and spark happiness for a lifetime.

JOSHUA’S BRIDE
Molly Jebber
Madeline Lehman fears her fiancĂ©’s family will never accept her because of her rebellious sister. She’s postponed her wedding to Joshua Stutzman until they see the truth. But when Maddie adopts her sister’s abandoned baby, can she and Joshua find a way to unite their families through forgiveness as well as love?

A SUMMER WEDDING IN PARADISE
Amy Lillard
Reba Schmucker longs to be a bride. And she knows her mischievous nieces just wanted to help when they “chose” Abel Weaver for her. But he’s the last man in the world she’d ever marry. There’s no way her independence and his stubbornness could ever get along—unless a sudden crisis somehow leads to understanding . . . and love.

About the Authors:

Jennifer Beckstrand is the RITA nominated and award-winning author of the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series. She loves writing about the plain Amish life and the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. She and her husband have been married for thirty-one years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren--whom she spoils rotten. Readers can visit her website at www.jenniferbeckstrand.com.
 
Molly Jebber enjoys writing stories about Amish history and their culture. She’s a Women’s Christian Connection motivational speaker and enjoys meeting new people. She loves God, her family and friends, sunshine, swimming and traveling to the Amish communities. Creating historical Amish characters and throwing them into difficult situations and joyous times has been challenging and fun for her. Readers can visit her website at www.mollyjebber.com.
 
Amy Lillard won the 2013 Carol Award for her first Amish romance Saving Gideon. She was also a Maggie Awards finalist. Born and bred in Mississippi, she now lives with her husband and son in Oklahoma. Visit her at amywritesromance.com. 



Guest Post:

Molly Jebber is highlighted in the tour with Celebrate Lit and has shared the following guest post with her readers:

Do you remember picking out your bride’s dress? The cake? Food? Location? The invitations? Weddings are fun, no matter how simple or extravagant. The marked event fills your heart with joy sharing in the special day with the bride and groom. I remember the day I married Ed, my best friend and soulmate. We planned the details together, and we still talk about what a heartwarming memory it is for us. I’m sure if you and I met for a girl’s chat, we’d enjoy hearing each other’s account of when we exchanged vows with our sweethearts.

Amish brides may not have the flowers, rings, and fancy food and cake, but they have their traditions and share in the excitement like we do. I enjoyed writing “Joshua’s Bride”. I hope you enjoy it too.

Molly Jebber’s books have been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today’s HEA, and Romantic Times has given them a near excellent rating. She’s on RWA’s Honor Roll. She’s a speaker for Women’s Christian Connection, and she offers presentations on writing, publishing, Amish lifestyle and traditions. She has received widespread media coverage, including live interviews, across the United States for her books and speaking engagements.
 
She’s just signed a new contract for four more Amish books! She loves interacting with her readers. She loves God, her husband, family and friends. She has a hard time saying no to cupcakes, swimming, nine holes of golf, and walks on the beach. Coconut, oatmeal, and onions, on the other hand, are not hard to say no to!
To celebrate her tour, Molly is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b3a7
 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Another fun visit to Huckleberry Hill -- Return to Huckleberry Hill (with a GIVEAWAY)


You know how sometimes an idea is good the first time or two you see it, but then it gets old after it is repeated over and over?  Well . . . that is NOT what happens with Jennifer Beckstrand's Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series.  Return to Huckleberry Hill is (I think) the 7th book in this series, and the stories just keep on entertaining!

Once again Anna Helmuth is concerned about doing some matchmaking for one of her grandchildren.  Her original plans for a granddaughter get sidelined when grandson Reuben shows up from Ohio.  But never fear, Anna shifts directions quickly and the fun begins!

Anna's knitting and culinary skills are of course important parts of the story.  And who would have thought that Felty's license plate game could helpful in affairs of the heart!

Jennifer once again fills her story with a fun and quirky cast of characters.  Her creativity leads to plenty of fun and thrilling adventures for everyone involved.  I certainly hope that she continues to give us more opportunities to visit Anna and Felty on Huckleberry Hill.  Fans of fun Amish fiction should enjoy this delightful read.

Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of this book.  I was pleased to voluntarily share my own thoughts for this review.

About the Book:

When it comes to matchmaking, Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s unstoppable octogenarians Anna and Felty Helmuth never seem to run out of opportunities—or grandchildren…

Reuben Helmuth is plenty bitter. John King, his best friend—or so he thought—is engaged to the girl Reuben loved. Humiliated, Reuben flees from Ohio to his grandparents’ home on Huckleberry Hill, where he knows he’ll find comfort. He’s enjoying wallowing in his misery—until John’s sister, Fern, shows up. She won’t stop pestering Reuben about forgiveness—or trying to help him find love again. Yet Fern’s efforts only reawaken Reuben’s long-buried feelings—for her…

With her brother too ashamed to face Reuben, it’s fallen to Fern to help mend fences. But as she and the Helmuths do all they can—even organizing a knitting club event filled with eligible girls—it may take one more challenge to inspire Reuben to forget his heartache, recognize his own blunders, and embrace the true love that’s right in front of him…

Click here  to buy a copy of the book.

About the Author:

Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hillseries and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’ aendi Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-two years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and soon-to-be six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Guest Post by the Author: 

Anna Helmuth is starting a knitting club, but that’s not all she’s got up her sleeve.
SCAN0129-1
My family. I have five sisters and no brothers. I think my mom made every dress in this photo, including her own.
In Return to Huckleberry Hill, Anna Helmuth and Fern King decide to start a knitting club in order to introduce Anna’s grandson Reuben to some girls from Bonduel, Wisconsin. Anna is a very good knitter, with years of practice making baby blankets, scarves, mittens, and potholders. One of Anna’s scarves actually saved someone’s life, and her potholders have helped her make many a match.

When I was a young teenager, I learned how to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to sew and quilt, and I made several of my own dresses in high school. I never learned to love sewing, but it was an invaluable skill that I am so grateful to have. Now that I’m a little older, I love putting together simple quilts for baby gifts and making quilts for the local children’s hospital. There is nothing like a homemade gift to say, “I care about you.”

I have a friend who is a wonderful cook. Making a delicious, beautiful meal is how she tells her family she loves them. I don’t consider myself a great cook, but I still take pride in putting something nutritious and satisfying on the table for my family.

It seems to me that some of the “home arts” that our mothers and grandmothers practiced are dying out. Who knows how to tat anymore? Or embroider? Some of these arts have died because of expediency. Who doesn’t think today’s stocking choices are more comfortable and practical than knitted wool ones? Others have died out because so few people want to learn.

What about you? Do you still practice any of the home arts that your grandmother did? What do you want to pass on to the next generation?


Check out reviews by other readers by visiting the Tour Page.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to three lucky winners!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b3b2

Friday, May 5, 2017

Fun story -- Behind the Scenes (includes GIVEAWAY)

Jen Turano takes her readers on a fun journey into high society of the Gilded Age in Behind the Scenes.

The mis-adventures of Miss Permilia Griswold keep the story hopping at an entertaining pace. She has an amazing ability to get herself into all kinds of embarrassing and dangerous situations, much to the chagrin of her society-minded step-mother and step-sister. And without really planning to do so, she manages to bring Mr. Asher Rutherford, one of the most eligible bachelors in New York's society circle, along with her.

Permilia’s antics, fascinating as they are, could not complete the story without the help of a lively secondary cast of characters. The ladies and gentlemen of society, the wallflowers, the has-beens, the wanna-bes, the don't wanna-bes but thrust into society anyway all play important parts in the story. A roll call of the rich and famous includes a list of names that I found entertaining in and of themselves. And the rules and expectations of their activities and dress are fascinating details of the story. Even the scenes involving life-and-death danger manage to bring at least a smile, if not a chuckle, from the reader.

Behind the Scenes is a fabulous mix of fun, romance, danger, and intrigue that fans of great inspirational historical fiction should find a delight to read.  I am looking forward to the next story in this amusing series, due later this year.

Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of this book.  I was pleased to share my own thoughts in this voluntary review.

About the Book:

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.

When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.
As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .

Click here to buy a copy of the book.

About the Author:  

Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.








Check out reviews from other readers and a fun author interview by visiting the Tour Page.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card and the four books: After a Fashion, In Good Company, Playing the Part, Behind the Scenes!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04910/

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Captivating Amish story -- The Ebb Tide


Beverly Lewis's latest is another great Amish novel from one of the masters of the genre.  The Ebb Tide is a captivating story of a young Amish woman whose dreams have boundaries farther away than her community's lifestyle is likely to allow her to reach.

The characters and the challenges they face are complex and realistic.  The conflicts that Sallie face both within and without keep the story moving at a very engaging pace.  And there are real-life issues faced by other characters that add to the flow and  enjoyment of the story.

Beverly's descriptions of the setting are fantastic.  I found myself feeling like I was right there enjoying the sights and sounds of the ocean.

Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy of the book.  I was delighted to voluntarily share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

Oh, to see the ocean, Sallie thought. And to spend the summer as a nanny. She shook her head in amazement. This seemed too good to be true, but she really must talk it over with Dat and Mamm, especially since she'd be gone so long. 

And after I promised Mamm I'd take baptism classes this summer . . .

Sallie Riehl has dreamed of traveling at least once before settling down to join church, so she is thrilled at an unexpected summer opportunity to nanny in Cape May for a well-to-do family. However, saying even a temporary good-bye to Paradise Township means forgoing baptism another year, as well as leaving behind a would-be beau. Yet the weeks in Cape May soon prove unforgettable as Sallie meets a Mennonite young man whose friendship she quickly begins to cherish. Has she been too hasty with her promises, or will she only find what her heart is longing for back home?

About the Author:

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, has more than 17 million books in print. Her stories have been published in twelve languages and have regularly appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today. Beverly and her husband, David, live in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, making music, and spending time with their family. Learn more at www.beverlylewis.com.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Moving love story -- You'll Think of Me


Robin Lee Hatcher's You'll Think of Me is a moving love story, but it is also so much more. 

Brooklyn and Derek each have many challenges from their past to overcome.  Brooklyn must learn to trust, not an easy thing for her after a history of multiple rejections.  She is primarily focused on providing a better life for her young daughter, mostly in her own strength, leaving little room in her future for any romantic involvement.  Derek has to overcome some past perceptions and present disappointments that threaten his plans for the future before opening himself to the possibility of a serious relationship.

Robin has created characters with real-life issues that many readers can identify with.  Loss, rejection, and emptiness are dealt with through kindness, love, and faith to make a beautiful story that was a joy to read.

At the end of the book, the author adds a note and an excerpt from a paper she wrote a few years ago relative to one of the important themes of the story -- "daddyless daughters."  Her personal story and informative message add an element that takes your thinking past just the pleasure of another good story.

I highly recommend this story to anyone interested in a heartwarming story of what can be when love is given a chance.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for providing a copy of You'll Think of Me.  I was delighted to express my own thoughts through this review.


About the Book:

Her mother abandoned her, her father disowned her, and her husband left her. Can Brooklyn be convinced that it is possible to forgive the greatest of betrayals?

Brooklyn Myers escaped her broken home and her embittered, unloving father by eloping to Reno at the age of 17. But when she was pregnant with their first child, her husband abandoned her as well. Not welcome back home in Thunder Creek, Brooklyn stayed in Reno and raised her daughter Alycia on her own, doing her best to make sure Alycia never knew the heartache and rejection Brooklyn herself had known.

When her estranged husband Chad Hallston dies, he leaves the family home in Thunder Creek to his daughter. Believing it is the best way to give her daughter a stable home, Brooklyn does what she thought she would never do. She goes home to the orchard and wine country of Southwest Idaho. There, she encounters Chad’s best friend, Derek Johnson, a part time sheriff's deputy who also owns an organic produce farm next door. Derek was never a fan of former bad girl Brooklyn Myers, but he made a promise to his dying friend that he would be the father to Alycia that Chad had never been.

Although Derek and Brooklyn get off to a bumpy start, he and Alycia quickly form a bond. And soon, Derek realizes that he wants Brooklyn to trust him too . . . even knowing that her trust won’t come easily. And then he realizes he wants even more than her trust. He wants to win her love.

While Brooklyn may be tempted to give her heart to Derek, risking her daughter’s happiness is another story. Will Brooklyn hold onto her self-reliance for dear life, or will she come to understand that the greatest gift she can give her daughter is showing her how to love and trust others?

 About the Author:

Bestselling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from both RWA and ACFW and winner of the Christy, RITA, and numerous other awards, Robin has authored over 75 books. She and her husband make their home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family, her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat). For more information, visit www.robinleehatcher.com, Facebook: robinleehatcher, Twitter: @robinleehatcher

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Excellent contemporary romance -- Sandpiper Cove

Irene Hannon won me over in the very first pages of the very first romantic suspense novel I read of hers.  But as I have discovered through her Hope Harbor series, she also writes excellent contemporary romance.  Sandpiper Cove is her best yet in that genre.

There is delightful romance and a touch of mystery. The beautiful underlying theme has to do with broken lives and the second chances that are available for putting those lives back together.  Several of the characters are given opportunities that they never expected to have, and the results make for a very engaging story. 
Lexie and Adam are the main characters and love interests in the story.  A delightful cast of other characters -- like Charley, the taco guy (one of my favorites) -- helps to weave together an extremely enjoyable story.

Fans of great inspirational fiction should enjoy this and the other books in the series.  Sandpiper Cove would work as a stand-alone, but I would definitely recommend reading the entire series in order to get to know all the characters who carry through the stories.

Thanks to Revell Books for providing a copy of this book.  I was delighted to share my own personal thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her Oregon coast hometown. She has zero time for extracurricular activities—including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either—but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish. However, when Lexie enlists his help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different…and better…future planned for them than either could have imagined.

About the Author:

Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including Buried Secrets, Thin Ice, and Tangled Webs, as well as the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. In addition to many other honors, she is a seven-time finalist for and 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. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.