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.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Charming Amish story -- A Mother's Love (with an Excerpt and a Scavenger Hunt GIVEAWAY)

Charlotte Hubbard has given us a charming Amish stand-alone in time for Mother's Day.  A Mother's Love is the perfect title for multiple generations in this engaging story.  

As she often does, Charlotte drives her story through the lives of strong female characters who deal with complex struggles.  Some of those challenges that Rose works through involve the handsome and helpful Matthias.  And all choices must be made with consideration of her adorable daughter Gracie.  These and other characters fit together in a very entertaining story.

Fans of great Amish fiction should enjoy A Mother's Love. 

Thanks to Charlotte and her publisher for providing a copy of this book.  I was happy to write this honest review based on my own thoughts.  

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Charlotte will be giving away a $15 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble at the end of this blog tour.  Follow the tour and comment often to increase your chances of winning.  You can enter the rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post.



About the Book:

It’s been a year of tragic loss and difficult decisions for widow Rose Raber. She thought providing for her young daughter was the greatest challenge she faced. Until her dying mother revealed Rose was adopted—and her birth mother is someone with much to lose if the secret comes out. As Rose struggles to reconcile the truth with her faith—and her troubling curiosity—outgoing newcomer Matthias Wagler is another surprise she didn’t expect. His optimism and easy understanding inspire her. And his prospective partnership with wealthy deacon Saul Hartzler promises a possible new life for them—together. But with this second chance comes yet another revelation for all involved.

When Saul’s wife unexpectedly turns up at Rose’s new job, their bond as mother and daughter is instant and unmistakable. It isn’t long before an unforgiving Saul discovers the truth, threatening Matthias’s livelihood and Rose’s future. Now with more than just their happiness at stake, Rose and Matthias must find the strength and courage to stand strong—and trust God’s enduring miracles of motherhood, forgiveness, and love.


Book Excerpt: 

“How was your morning with Jerusalem and Vernon?” Rose asked as she managed a smile for the bishop’s wife. “I hope you were a gut little guest?” 

“The best company we could’ve asked for,” Jerusalem replied. “We gathered the eggs, and Gracie counted the new chicks in the barn—” 

“Thirty-eight!” Gracie exclaimed.

“—and then we made French toast—”

“And I ate two whole pieces!” Gracie crowed. “With maple surple and fried apples.”

Jerusalem stopped at the edge of the tilled garden spot, and when she held out her hand, Gracie raced over to grab it. “And we played hide-and-seek with Vernon, too, didn’t we, dear?”

“Jah, but I found him every time!” Gracie replied. “He thought I wouldn’t see him under that tarp, but his big butt was stickin’ out!”

“Gracie,” Rose chided. “This is our bishop you’re talking about. Be polite.”

Jerusalem chuckled. “She speaks the truth. Hiding isn’t Vernon’s best talent, I’m afraid. But he was a gut sport about it when Gracie found him right off.”

 “See, ‘Rusalem?” the little girl said, pointing to the mounded rows in the garden. “We put the lettuce on this end, and the peas down this way. Mamma said we could plant an extra long row of those, coz they’re my favorite.” 

About the Author:

Many moons ago—like, in 1983 while she was still a school librarian—Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. This launched her into writing around seventy of those “true confessions” stories over the years, and she’s been a slave to her overactive imagination ever since. Over the course of her writing career, she has sold nearly 50 books—most recently, Amish romance series she’s written as Charlotte Hubbard or Naomi King. Charlotte lived in Missouri for most of her life, so her Amish stories are set in imaginary Missouri towns. These days she lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.  Charlotte can be contacted at www.CharlotteHubbard.com or www.Facebook.com/Charlotte.Hubbard1 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 3, 2017

Race for Survival -- Raging Storm

Raging Storm is Vannetta Chapman's second chapter of her Remnant series, a rather frightening look at an all too realistic possibility in our technology reliant world.

This story picks up right where the first left off with characters doing their best to survive in a situation where survival is questionable at best.  The interactions between the main characters and those who are introduced in the second book bring even more life and interest to the story.  Vannetta develops diverse scenarios and characters to add multiple levels of intrigue to her story, all of which kept me highly engaged as a reader.

Fans of great fiction should enjoy Raging Storm, especially those with any interest in the dystopian genre.  Reading this series in order is important to follow the story line.  The author left a perfect set-up for the next installment, Light of Dawn, due to be released later this year.  She also has written a prequel, available in the form of a free ebook novella, Overshadowed.

About the Book: 

In the Darkness,
 Anarchy Awakens

When a massive solar flare wiped out all modern technology across the globe, the small town of Abney, Texas, was thrown into chaos. Shelby Sparks and her teenage son, Carter, have found refuge, but Shelby knows she can’t simply remain hidden forever. Carter is a type 1 diabetic in need of insulin—and Shelby will risk her life traveling to Austin to make sure he gets it.

Shelby’s best friend and high school sweetheart, Max Berkman, won’t even consider letting her make the perilous journey alone. Together, they manage to get to the capital—only to discover that while things are desperate in Abney, Austin has turned into an urban nightmare on the brink of anarchy.
Shelby and Max’s search for medical supplies will lead them into terrifying territory, where the only thing more uncertain than finding what they need is the hope of making it out of the city alive.

About the Author:

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace, including romantic suspense and Amish romance novels. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full-time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband, pets, and a herd of deer.
www.VannettaChapman.com

New Amish series -- The Seekers

If you have been a fan of Wanda Brunstetter's books for any time, you may have run across her Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club series.  The Seekers is the beginning of The Amish Cooking Class series, reminiscent of those earlier books.

In The Seekers, Heidi (who is a niece of the quilting instructor) decides to give cooking lessons to help fill up her days as a childless Amish wife.  The students who sign up for her classes come from quite a range of circumstances and needs and offer a much larger challenge than Heidi could have expected.  It quickly becomes apparent that there are much bigger issues at play than just learning to follow a recipe.

The story is pretty formulaic and predictable, especially with the connection to the previous series.  The unique characters, though, each add their own element of interest to the story.  Fans of Wanda's writing and other Amish fiction should find The Seekers worth their time.

Thanks to the author and her publisher for providing me a copy of this book.  I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

Will Heidi's cooking lessons turn into life lessons for five unlikely students?

Heidi Troyer cooks up the idea of teaching classes in the art of Amish cuisine in her Holmes County, Ohio, home. But is it a recipe for drama when five very different men and women answer the advertisement?

Join a class of unlikely Ohioans who take cooking lessons at Lyle and Heidi Troyer’s Amish farm. A woman engaged to marry, an expectant mother estranged from her family, a widowed mom seeking to simplify, a Vietnam vet who camps on the Troyer’s farm, and an Amish widower make up the mismatched lot of students.

Class members share details of their disappointing lives, work to solve a mystery, and stir some romance into the pot. Soon Heidi’s cooking lessons turn into life lessons as they each share their challenges. . .and their souls are healed one meal at a time. Is this what God had in mind when Heidi got the idea for cooking classes?

About the Author:

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs. When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties.

Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com.

Edge-of-your-seat thrills -- Moving Target


Talk about gripping from page one!  Lynette Eason has you on the edge of your seat from the very first page of Moving Target and keeps the thrills going throughout. 

Characters from the previous books in the Elite Guardians play important roles again in this book.  There is enough danger and suspense to go around for everyone -- as well as a nice touch of romance.  While there are references to the previous stories, you should be able to easily follow the story as a stand-alone.  If you are a fan of great romantic suspense, though, I would highly recommend that you read the entire series in order to get to know Lynette's characters well.

Thanks to the author and her publisher for providing me with a copy of this book.  I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.


When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don't show up for Quinn's birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy have vanished. And it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.

Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it's not long before she realizes she's in the clutches of a madman who exacts revenge through games--hunting games. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives and outwit their killer when their game begins.

Because if they don't win this game . . . they die.

About the Author:

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching and Without Warning in the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of an ACFW Carol Award, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

Unintentional Amish pen pals -- Written in Love

Kathleen Fuller bases her Written in Love on a somewhat unusual premise -- unintentional Amish pen pals.  The result is a captivating story.

The cast of characters for this story is quite an interesting group.  The main characters, Jalon and Phoebe, both have big issues from their past to deal with individually and as a couple.  The friends and family who play important parts in their lives certainly help keep the story moving.  Although this is the first book in a new series, those of you familiar with Kathleen's Amish of Birch Creek series will  notice some familiar "faces."

I highly recommend Written in Love to fans of great Amish fiction.

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

About the Book: 

When a postal error creates pen pals of two young Amish people, can they put behind their past mistakes to see the bright future God has written for them?

Jalon Chupp has a past he isn’t proud to claim. He’s worked hard to overcome his youthful mistakes, and he has recommitted himself to his faith. When he receives a sweet note included in a piece of misdirected mail, he can’t help but write back. Soon, the letters he receives from Phoebe are the highlights of his days, and with a hopeful heart, he suggests they meet in person.

Phoebe, too, looks forward to every single one of Jalon’s letters. Living with her overbearing aunt, Phoebe doesn’t have too much to look forward to. But when Jalon suggests they meet, she panics—although she has shared some of the deepest longings of her heart with him, she hasn’t been entirely truthful about her past. But when Jalon shows up at her aunt’s doorstep, everything is revealed. And she can only pray he’ll forgive her for holding back the truth.

In order to reach beyond the errors of their pasts, both Phoebe and Jalon must put their faith in something—or Someone—bigger than either of them could pen.

About the Author: 

Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, and the Amish of Birch Creek series, as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at www.kathleenfuller.com, Twitter: @TheKatJam, and Facebook: Kathleen Fuller.

A "love"ly conclusion -- A Love Made New

All three books in the Amish of Birch Creek series have been some of my favorites of Kathleen Fuller's writing.  A Love Made New is an awesome conclusion to the series.

The characters have been well-developed throughout, and getting to know them and their struggles has been much like the experience of making good friends.  Love and care of friends and family form important elements in the story, but healing and finding the courage to make difficult choices play big roles as well.

This book, as well as the others in the series, could be read as a stand-alone.  However, some elements of the story would be more meaningful and enjoyable if the series is read in order.  I highly recommend A Love Made New (as well as A Reluctant Bride and An Unbroken Heart) to fans of great Amish fiction. 

About the Book: 

Abigail Schrock knows God can make all things new, but does that include her broken heart?

It seems as if everyone is falling in love in Birch Creek, including Abigail Schrock. But when heartbreak descends on her already fragile world, she can’t help but feel that if she’d only been a little prettier, she could be on her way down the aisle. To make matters worse, Abigail’s two sisters have found love, and all Abigail can seem to find is the chocolate she has stashed away in the pantry.

Asa Bontrager has never had trouble with the ladies in his Amish community—his good looks have always gotten him far. Which is why he’s baffled by the call he’s received from God to pursue Abigail, a woman who seems determined to turn him away.

Can Abigail find the peace and joy she so desperately desires? Will she allow herself to stop running and melt into the embrace of unforeseen comfort? If she does, she may discover a love powerful enough to restore her hope in a promising future.

About the Author:

Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield novels, the Middlefield Family novels, and the Amish of Birch Creek series, as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield. Visit her online at www.kathleenfuller.com, Twitter: @TheKatJam, and Facebook: Kathleen Fuller.