Sunday, June 28, 2015

Intriguing suspense -- Miranda Warning

Some time back, I received a message from Heather Gilbert asking if I would be interested in reading and reviewing her Miranda Warning.  I have to admit that after reading the blurb about the book, I was a little skeptical but decided to give it a try.

This story was definitely different from most of what I usually read, and it took me just a little while to really get into it.  As I continued reading, though, the story drew me in and definitely intrigued me.  I wasn't sure where she was going with the story being told from two totally different perspectives, but the progression which gradually brought the two together, along with the element of suspense throughout, certainly kept me turning the pages.  The wide variety of characters added much to the interest level of the story.

Thanks to Heather for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her.

But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox—a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting—Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer…or the next victim might be Tess herself.

Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in Murder in the Mountains series.
This novel is written from a Christian worldview.

About the Author:

Heather Day Gilbert writes character-driven novels that go beyond the vows, capturing the triumphs and heartaches unique to married couples. A graduate of Bob Jones University, she’s been married to her sweet Yankee husband for eighteen years. After eleven years of homeschooling and eight years of writing, she really doesn’t have many hobbies. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, she believes that bittersweet, generational stories are in her blood.

Beginning of a new Amish trilogy -- The Decision

Wanda Brunstetter's The Decision is the beginning of a new trilogy set in the Amish community of Arthur, Illinois. 

The story is not necessarily a "happy-ever-after" one; instead it deals with several difficult real-life issues.  In many ways it is rather slow-moving and just sort of flows into a non-climactic conclusion.

The book does include many of the usual authentic elements of good Amish fiction readers can expect in Wanda's works.  Fans of this genre should enjoy this story.

Thanks to Wanda and her publisher for providing a copy of The Decision in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

Starting over in a new Amish community after suffering terrible heartbreak has been going good for Jonah miller, until his heart takes another terrible hit. Elaine Schrock loves Jonah, but she feels she must dedicate herself to taking care of her grandmother. Jonah doesn’t know if he can risk loving a third time.

About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter and her husband live in Washington State but take every opportunity to visit friends in  
Amish settlements throughout the States.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A sweet story of self-discovery -- Summer's List

Every time I read a book by Anita Higman I expect it to have its own unique twist, quirky characters, and fun story.  Summer's List definitely does not disappoint!

This delightful story is filled with interesting characters, each with their own problems and questions.  Anita's storytelling magic comes to life with the adventures and lessons for all  who are impacted by Summer and her granny's list.  Summer, Martin, and the other Langtree brothers make some life-altering discoveries about themselves that come together in a satisfying conclusion of the story.

I would highly recommend Summer's List to anyone looking for a sweet story of love and adventure.

Thanks to Anita and Litfuse Publicity Group for providing copies of this book in exchange for my honest review.

See what other readers think about Summer's List here.

About the Book:

A dying wish alters the course of a young woman's life.

Life hadn't been easy for Summer Snow. In acts of selflessness-caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother's bookstore-she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others. And the only tries she had at love... didn't turn out. She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something -- or someone.

Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind but gangly young man from Summer's past. A childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

About the Author:

Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has forty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Visit Anita online at

And now the GIVEAWAY . . .

I have an extra copy of Summer's List that I would love to share with one lucky reader.  To have a chance to win, just become of follower of my blog and comment below (be sure to include your email address).  A winner will be chosen at random sometime after 5 pm on June 26, 2015.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

An enjoyable mystery in an Amish setting -- Murder Freshly Baked

Vannetta Chapman finishes her Amish Village Mystery series in great style with Murder Freshly Baked.  This book works fine as a stand alone, although there are several references to events from the previous books in the series.

This story is a mixture of several elements, some of them very difficult topics that have nothing to do with the Amish backdrop -- things such as PTSD and cancer.  Vannetta weaves all the different pieces together into a well-crafted story that keep you involved and guessing about the outcome of the mystery.  With Amish and Englisch characters, along with a couple of pretty important animals, there is something for readers with a wide variety of interests.

Although the mystery and sub-plots of the story were very good, I think Vannetta's characters are what really drive this story.  Hannah and Amber, of course, are great -- women I would enjoy sharing a friendship with.  Pam is what we southerners would call a "hoot."  But Preston was actually one of my favorites.  Watching him deal with such major challenges and learn about God's care and grace was a very enjoyable part of this story.

Having had the opportunity to visit Shipshewana and Das Dutchman Essehnaus in Middlebury last summer, I could almost picture myself walking through the shops of the fictional Amish Artisan Village where the story takes place.

I highly recommend Murder Freshly Baked as a great, fairly quick read. Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Book:

When delicious baked goods become lethal, it's time to find a killer.

Kindness is a virtue 
Meanness is a sin 
Better watch your bakery pies 
For poison I've slipped in

The Amish Artisan Village in Middlebury, Indiana, has been decorated with every color of balloon and flower for the Race for a Cure. As manager of the Village, Amber Bowman is thrilled to see the turnout-and relieved to have something to distract her from the "Poison Poet"-an individual who has been sending notes containing bad poetry to warn of poisoned baked goods.

Then Ryan Duvall crosses the finish line of the race-and falls down dead, murdered in broad daylight. But who did it? And why? The police suspect Preston Johnston, but Amber refuses to believe her employee could do such a thing.

Amber once again looks to her young Amish friend Hannah Troyer to help her find the killer-and to determine if it's the same person leaving the cryptic poems and pies. Can they help the police before the Poison Poet strikes again? Both Amber and Hannah will need to draw on their faith as they fight to preserve the peaceful community they've built at the Amish Artisan Village.

About the Author:

Vannetta Chapman is author of the best-selling novel A Simple Amish Christmas. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. In 2012 she was awarded a Carol Award for Falling to Pieces. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania.

Visit Vannetta's webiste: Twitter: @VannettaChapman Facebook: VannettaChapmanBooks

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Touching story of hope and healing -- As Waters Gone By

Wow, what a story!  That was my first thought when I finished As Waters Gone By Cynthia Ruchti.

This story is one that tugged at my heart on so many levels.  I found hurt, brokenness, despair -- but also so much hope, healing, restoration, and joy!

The cast of characters that Cynthia put together for this story is an absolute delight!  All of them have their own unique pasts that have prepared them to fit together in just the right way at just the right time.  And who would expect a quirky young woman named Boozie Unfortunate to be the one who helps her friends find God's hope and healing!

If you're looking for a tender story of God bringing hope out of life's messes, As Waters Gone By is a great choice!

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

See what other reviewers have to say about As Waters Gone By here.

About the Book:

How can a marriage survive when separated by hundreds of miles and impenetrable prison walls?

Emmalyn and Max Ross may have to endure the fight of their lives to mend the tattered fabric of their marriage. His actions ensured she could never be a mother and put him in prison, giving their relationship a court-mandated five-year time-out. On a self-imposed exile to beautiful but remote Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior, Emmalyn has just a few months left to figure out if and how they can ever be a couple again.

Nudged along by the exuberant owner of the Wild Iris Inn and CafĂ©, a circle of misfit people in their small town, and a young girl who desperately needs someone to love her, Emmalyn restores an island cottage that could become a home and begins to restore her heart by learning what it means to love unconditionally. Yet even as hope begins to find a place within the cottage walls, Emmalyn still wonders if she’s ready for Max’s release. She may be able to rebuild a cottage, but can she rebuild a marriage?

Purchase a copy:

About the Author:

Cynthia RuchtiCynthia Ruchti has more than three decades of radio broadcast experience with “Heartbeat of the Home” radio and currently serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers. Find Cynthia on the Web at
Find out more about Cynthia at

Cynthia is celebrating the release of As Waters Gone By by giving away a summer of fun to one lucky reader!

as waters gone by - 400

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $100 cash card to put toward your trip to Madeline Island (discover the beauty of the setting of As Waters Gone By) or your summer vacation destination
  • A book-club set (10 copies of As Waters Gone By and a downloadable starter kit) so you can start your own summer book club
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 10th. The winner will be announced June 11th on Cynthia’s blog.
as waters go by-enterbanner

Plus, now through mid-July, sign up for Cynthia’s mailing list for a five-day virtual tour around Madeline Island for the chance to win a Hemmed in Hope prize pack. Each day begins with an email from Cynthia that introduces where you’ll be “visiting” that day (all key places from As Waters Gone By) with various interactive elements, including“I wish you were here” postcards, trivia quizzes, and an ongoing Island scavenger hunt. The person who interacts the most will win a Hemmed in Hope prize pack (valued at more than $200).


That includes:
  • The letterpress block Hope sign from DaySpring
  • A set of 6 Hemmed in Hope notecards showing a hope-themed Bible verse
  • A leather “I can’t unravel, I’m hemmed in hope” journal
  • Signed copies of each of Cynthia’s books, fiction and non-fiction

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Another enjoyable visit to Pinecraft -- The Proposal at Siesta Key

Shelley Shepard Gray's Amish stories are always an enjoyable read -- and The Proposal at Siesta Key is no exception.

Set in Sarasota, Florida, the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series brings together Amish and Mennonite characters who are living a lifestyle a little different from the typical horse and buggy Plain people we frequently find in Amish fiction. If you have read book one of this series, The Promise of Palm Grove, you will recognize the Orange Blossom Inn and the continuing story of some of its characters. 

Shelley uses the relationship that develops between Penny and Michael to present a delightful story of friendship and personal growth.  The other characters each add interesting elements to the story and open up the possibilities of more good things to come in the remainder of the series.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

See what other reviewers have to say about The Proposal at Siesta Key here.

About the Author:

A young Amish woman, yearning for freedom, crosses paths with a handsome Mennonite celebrity in a deeply moving tale of friendship and self-discovery—the second installment in the unforgettable New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.

Penny Troyer rarely disobeys her parents. In the years since her sister’s tragic death, they’ve wanted nothing more than to keep her safe…even if it means never leaving the house.

But tonight, she’s bending the rules because Michael Knoxx, the most famous member of The Knoxx Family Singers, a traveling Mennonite Evangelical family —is scheduled to speak. Penny has heard of Michael—how he lost part of his leg in a terrible accident and uses the experience to inspire others—and knows she must meet him. So, for the first time ever, Penny stands up to her parents and goes out on her own.

Though he speaks about living life to the fullest, Michael knows he needs to take his own advice. Life on the road is grueling and Michael wants to slow down, to rest…to perhaps meet someone who sees him as a man, not just a celebrity. So when a twist of fate allows him the chance to stay a little longer in Pinecraft, Michael knows God is showing him a new path, especially when he discovers how much he and Penny Troyer have in common.
But new friendships can’t stop time. Soon, Michael’s time in Pinecraft will be over and he’ll be back on the road. Her time with Michael has brought her happiness, but will she be able to follow her heart? Or will she be faced with the one thing she’s sure she’ll never have the courage to do?

Purchase a copy:
About the Author:

Shelley Shepard GrayShelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.
Find out more about Shelley at

Proposal Siesta Key Shelley Shepard Gray

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Another great "Amish Classic" -- Second Chances

Second Chances is another winner in Sarah Price's Amish Classics series, where she puts her own twist on a classic story and brings it to new life in an unexpected setting.  Readers will enjoy following the journey of Anna, a young Amish woman struggling against the persuasion of her family and friends as she tries to find her second chance at love.

Fans of Jane Austen's classics should enjoy this retelling of Persuasion in an Amish setting. Thanks to Sarah Price's awesome Amish storytelling skills, fans of that genre are also sure to appreciate her latest work.

Thanks to Sarah Price for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this story in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

At twenty-five years of age, Anna Eicher has never married. When she was seventeen, her parents convinced her to break off her courtship with Freman Whittmore, the youngest son in the Whittmore family and her best friend. Afterward, a distraught Freman moved away from Lancaster County.
Eight years later Freman has returned to visit his sister, who is renting the Eichers’ house for the winter. Now the owner of the largest dairy farm in his church district, Freman has neither married—nor forgiven Anna.
Although he begins courting someone else, Anna hopes to convince him that she has never stopped loving him. Will Freman be persuaded to forgive Anna and open his heart again?
About the Author:

The author of over 25 novels, Sarah Price brings her Anabaptist roots and over 25 years experience with the Amish to her books, many of which have been Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers (Plain Fame, Plain Change, Amish Faith, & others).

The Preiss family emigrated from Europe in 1705, settling in Pennsylvania as the area's first wave of Mennonite families. The name later changed to Price. Sarah Price has always respected and honored her ancestors through exploration and research about her family history and their religion. At nineteen, she befriended an Amish family and lived on their farm throughout the years.

Twenty-five years later, she now splits her time between her husband and children in the NYC Metro area and a home that she shares with an Amish woman in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where she retreats to reflect and write. As a masterful storyteller, Sarah Price prides herself on presenting an authentic Amish experience for her readers. Many of her stories are based on actual people she has met and her own experiences living among the Amish over the years.

Visit the author's website and blog at
Like her Facebook page at
Follow her on Twitter @SarahPriceAmish and Instagram @SarahPriceAuthor.