Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Engaging Historical Story -- A Silken Thread


A Silken Thread is just what you would expect from Kim Vogel Sawyer -- another work of great historical fiction! As always, she shares a story filled with faith, family, and hope.

In this story, Kim Vogel Sawyer has tackled some difficult subjects and done so with great style. Issues of racism and social class conflict are not pretty elements to read about. But the realism she injects and the great character development she presents bring those topics to light in a very engaging and touching way. As you follow the characters stories, you will certainly be pulling for them to find their way forward from their seemingly impossible challenges into a better way of life. 

I highly recommend A  Silken Thread to fans of great historical fiction. Thanks to the author for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

For readers who love a heartwarming romance and a rich historical setting comes a tale of a young woman with a heavy burden, the International Cotton Exposition, and the pursuit of true love.

Eighteen-year-old Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children, is expected to stay home and "take care of Mama" by her older siblings, but Laurel has dreams of starting her own family. Operating a silk loom at the Atlanta Exposition will give her the chance to capture the heart of a man wealthy enough to take care of Laurel and any children she might bear, as well as her mother.

Langdon Rochester's parents have given him an ultimatum: settle down with a wife or lose his family inheritance. At the Exposition, Langdon meets Laurel. Marrying her would satisfy his parents's command, she would look lovely on his arm for social events, and in her besotted state, he believes she would overlook him continuing pursuing rowdy adventures with his unmarried buddies. Langdon decides to woo Laurel. Willie Sharp is not well-off and must take on an extra job at the Atlanta Exposition as a security guard. When mischief-makers cause trouble in the Women's Building, Willie is put in charge of keeping the building secure. He enjoys visiting with Laurel, who seems like the little sister he never had, but his feelings for Laurel change to something much deeper. Can Willie convince Laurel that he can give her better life--even with so little to offer?

About the Author:


KIM VOGEL SAWYER is a highly acclaimed, best-selling author with more than one million books in print, in seven different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband, Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Fun Story with Important Lessons -- Mending Fences




About the Book

Book: Mending Fences
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Christian fiction, Amish, Mennonite
Release Date: February 5, 2019


Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future. 

Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him. He has been allowed to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, he must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused. 

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching. 

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm, and Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend her only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

“A funny, heartwarming story of friendship, love, and the possibility of happily ever after.”—Amy Clipston, bestselling author of Seat by the Hearth 

“Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a sweet and poignant story you won’t want put down. Definitely a must read!”—Kathleen Fuller, bestselling author of the Amish of Birch Creek series

Click here to purchase your copy.


My Review

Picking favorites is not always easy for me, but I think I can safely say Mending Fences is my favorite book by Suzanne Woods Fisher so far. It was a very fun story to read and was full of lots of important lessons along the way.

If you have read other series by Suzanne Woods Fisher, you will recognize many of the characters that she has brought together from her various series. But you don't have to feel lost if you haven't read the other books. It works like this: If you've read the previous series, you now have a chance to go back and revisit old friends, some you've already shared some important history with. If you haven't read the other books, you get to meet some new friends and begin to learn details from their past as your friendship develops. Either way, you can enjoy sharing in their stories.

Luke and Izzy both have pasts that keep hanging on, but they have found just the right place and just the right people -- including each other -- to help them deal with the baggage. Although much of the story centers on Luke's lessons learned (and those yet to be learned), he is not the only one who grows through personal experiences. There is a lot of growing going on at Windmill Farm and the surrounding community. 

I would highly recommend Mending Fences to fans of great Amish fiction. After you read it, I believe you will be as anxious as I am to find out more of Luke's and Izzy's story in the next installment in The Deacon's Family series.

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


About the Author


Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. 

Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher. 
  

More from Suzanne


A Friend in Need   “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” –Walter Winchell 

Luke Schrock was nearly friendless. He returned to Stoney Ridge in Mending Fences after a stint in rehab only because his bishop, David Stoltzfus, strongly encouraged him. And everybody knows you didn’t say no to your bishop. 

But nobody else in town wanted anything to do with Luke. They forgave him for the trouble he’d caused in his last downward spiral, the one that went too far. The one that even scared Luke. Forgiving him was the easy part. The Amish of Stoney Ridge were intentional forgivers. It was their trust—that’s what he would have to earn. Trust was a fragile thing. Once broken, it wasn’t easily mended. 

Somehow, David was still able to look past the behavior to see the best of Luke Schrock. He didn’t stop there. He found a family who was willing to take Luke in, and he spent hours with him—at times as a mentor, at times as a father figure, but mostly as a friend. 

A loyal friend can have a powerful impact. Consider those friends in the town of Capernaum, who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing—so determined to get to Him that they dragged his stretcher up onto a roof, broke through the roof tiles, and lowered him down. Can you imagine being in the crowd, listening to Jesus, as straw and tile pieces and branches and bugs started to drop down from the ceiling? A shocking display…of devoted friendship. And what a miraculous outcome for that paralyzed man!* 

I won’t tell you how Luke’s story ends—only that he works hard to find ways to make amends to those he hurt, to regain trust. Especially the hard-to-earn trust of a brown-eyed beauty named Izzy. 

Do you have a real friend like David Stoltzfus, who walks in when the rest of the world has walked out? Or maybe the better question, for you, for me, is to ask ourselves if we are friends to others like David Stoltzfus was to Luke Schrock. I know I want to be. 

*This miracle is reported in three gospels: Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 9:1-8, Luke 5:17-26.  


Blog Stops


The Avid Reader, March 4
Quiet Quilter, March 5
CarpeDiem, March 5
Among the Reads, March 6
BigreadersiteMarch 8
Splashes of JoyMarch 10
EmpowerMoms, March 10
Vicky Sluiter, March 13
Mary Hake, March 15
Pause for Tales, March 16
Hallie Reads, March 17
The Becca Files, March 18

Giveaway



 
To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of an Amazon Kindle!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!


Monday, March 4, 2019

Intriguing Story across Centuries -- Castle on the Rise


About the Book


Title: Castle on the Rise  
Author: Kristy Cambron  
Genre: Christian Historical Romance  
Release date: February 5, 2019  
Publisher: HarperCollins  

A storied castle. A band of rebels. A nation chasing a centuries-old dream of freedom. And three women who rise above it all . . .

When Laine Forrester travels overseas to attend her best friend’s vineyard wedding, she expects to find the bride on the brink of a fairy tale life. But after a series of unforeseen setbacks, it seems the storybook lives they’d imagined are suddenly ripping apart.

With hopes of resurrecting a happy ending, Laine agrees to accompany the newlyweds to the groom’s home in Ireland—never expecting she’d be the one drawn in by its wide-open moors, backroads bordering the Irish Sea, and a mysterious castle that dares to keep its secrets hidden.

From the storied streets of Dublin to the shores of the Emerald Isle, Laine is drawn in to the land and its rich history. The castle ruins whisper stories of Issy—a photojournalist battling through the 1916 Easter Rising, and Maeve—the castle’s lady of legend, fighting for survival through the 1798 rebellion that started it all.

Spanning more than two centuries, Castle on the Rise unites the legacy of three women who must risk mending the broken places within—for life, love, and the belief that even through the depths of our pain, a masterpiece of a story can emerge.

Click here to purchase your copy.


My Review

Everything I have read by Kristy Cambron has been awesome, and Castle on the Rise is no exception. Kristy is a masterful storyteller, and her extensive historical research is obvious as she works real-life events and places into her fictional world.

In Castle on the Rise, Kristy spans more than two centuries with the intriguing stories of three sets of characters in three time periods and weaves them together in a way that keeps you totally engaged. I  admire the talent required to write such great historical stories. To be able to do so well with a triple time slip element is fantastic.

I guess it took me a couple of times through the cycle of stories to really feel the connection, but then I was hooked. Throughout the book I was torn between wanting more of the particular story I was in and getting back to the other time periods to see how things were progressing there. The characters were so real and inviting and easy to get to know as their family connections came together through the generations. And vivid details made it easy to imagine myself in the beautiful Irish setting of today and yesteryear.

I highly recommend Castle on the Rise to fans of great Christian historical romance. This is the second book in a series, and I have not read the first. I understand that some of the characters' stories carry over from The Lost Castle, but I found no difficulty in reading this as a stand alone. My interest was piqued enough, though, that I look forward to going back to that book, as well as reading the next one in the series.

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

About the Author


Kristy Cambron is an award-winning author of Christian fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping Series. She is a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at ministry events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal’s Best Books, RT Reviewers' Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

To stay connected, visit www.kristycambron.com.


Kristy’s Research Trip to Ireland




Blog Stops


Back Porch ReadsFebruary 19
Maureen’s MusingsFebruary 19
The Power of Words, February 19
Livin’ Lit, February 20
Texas Book-aholic, February 20
Fiction Aficionado, February 21
Gensis 5020, February 21
Blogging With CarolFebruary 21
Bigreadersite, February 21
Just the Write Escape, February 22
As He Leads is Joy, February 22
Inspired by fiction, February 23
Connect in Fiction, February 23
Carpe Diem, February 23
Bibliophile Reviews, February 24
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 24
Lis Loves Reading, February 24
Emily Yager, February 25
Moments, February 25
All-of-a-kind Mom, February 26
Mary Hake, February 26
Simple Harvest Reads, February 27 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Remembrancy, February 28
Inklings and Notions, February 28
Pause for Tales, March 1
The Becca Files, March 2
Book by Book, March 2

Giveaway




To celebrate her tour, Kristy is giving away a grand prize of one finished copy each of The Lost Castle (book 1) and Castle on the Rise (book 2)!!

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/d9d0/castle-on-the-rise-celebration-tour-giveaway

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Great Romantic Suspense -- Hidden Peril

Irene Hannon is one of my favorite writers of romantic suspense, and Hidden Peril is just one of the many reasons why!

The story-line is intriguing, the suspense is nail-biting, and the romance is just right! The characters are complex and very well developed. All in all, it's just a great story!

I highly recommend Hidden Peril to fans of great romantic suspense.

Thanks to JustRead Publicity for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book:

As teenagers, Kristin Dane and her two best friends took a vow to make the world a better place. Twenty years later, she’s fulfilling that pledge through her fair trade shop that features products from around the world. All is well until, one by one, people connected to the shop begin dying. 

Detective Luke Carter, new to the St. Louis PD, wants to know why. Before he can answer that question, however, the FBI weighs in and Kristin suddenly finds herself in the middle of international intrigue—and in the sights of the ruthless mastermind behind an ingenious and deadly scheme. Can this cold-blooded killer be stopped before more people die…including Kristin?

About the Author:

Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty contemporary and romantic suspense novels, including Dangerous Illusions. 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. All of her suspense novels have been ECPA/CBA bestsellers. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

Christmas in Hart County -- His Promise


In His Promise, Shelley Shepard Gray adds a Christmas story to her Amish in Hart County series.

Like the others in this series, this story contains both suspense and romance, as well as a taste of Christmas and the antics of a challenging little dachshund. The characters include a wide range of folks, young and old, Amish and English, "good guys" and "bad guys." 

The story is engaging and intriguing and a great read for fans of Amish fiction. It can be read as a part of the series or as a stand-alone.

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

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s latest Christmas novel in her Amish of Hart County series.

It’s set to be a white Christmas in Hart County, and Grace King is pet-sitting in a beautiful home with only a difficult dachshund for company. Just as she starts to miss the bustle of her large Amish family, Grace runs into a familiar face. Living right next door is John Michael Miller. He’s a fireman now, but five years ago, he had courted her older sister, then broke her heart. Seeing him again stirs Grace’s anger, but also reminds her of deeper feelings she’s done her best to deny.

The infatuation John Michael once saw in Grace’s eyes is long gone, though his complicated attraction to her remains. He had walked away all those years ago when he realized he was falling in love with the wrong sister. Now, as suspicious fires are set in their community, that’s not an option. Grace dismisses his warnings, and John Michael vows to keep an eye on her. But he can’t help wondering if he’s reconnected with Grace, only to risk losing her again.

Now all John Michael wants for Christmas is to keep Grace safe, in the hopes that they can one day have a future together. 

About the Author:
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, 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. Please visit  www.shelleyshepardgray.com to learn more about Shelley and her books.

More Suspense in Hart County-- Her Fear

Her Fear is another good installment in Shelley Shepard Gray's Amish of Hart County series. Like the others in this series, this book can easily be read in order in the series or as a stand-alone.

This story involves a wide range of characters, some very likable and/or lovable, and some not so much. Sadie finds herself in a very difficult, and even frightening, situation with distant kin. Thanks to a caring young Amish EMT, there is hope for her in spite of her bleak situation.

Fans of good Amish fiction should enjoy this story, filled with not only romance but also a good deal of suspense.

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

About the Book:

In New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s latest novel of suspense in her Amish of Hart County series, an EMT falls for a woman with ties to an Amish community where people are dying similar, suspicious deaths.

Sadie Detweiler never imagined she’d move to Kentucky, yet here she is: a pregnant, unmarried Amish girl banished by unforgiving parents to live with kin she barely knows. The men are gruff and her cousins are secretive. Worst of all, elderly matriarch Verba becomes mysteriously ill shortly after Sadie moves in. When EMT Noah Freeman arrives, Sadie immediately notices he’s unlike any other Amish man she’s met. Noah is warm, confident, and has an easy way with practically everyone in the community, both Amish and English. Though Sadie is drawn to him, she has little hope he will reciprocate her feelings once he learns she’s with child.

Noah can’t understand how a girl as sweet and lovely as Sadie ended up sleeping on a cot in Verba Stauffer’s kitchen. He also senses Sadie is terrified of something. Concerned, he checks up on her. Eventually they strike up a friendship and soon their attraction is undeniable. When Verba later dies at the hospital and her death is followed by two others, Noah’s boss wants him to dig around the Amish community for clues. He agrees—for Sadie’s sake—because only the truth will keep her safe and by his side.

About the Author:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a "New York Times" and "USA Today" bestselling author, 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 http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com

Engaging Amish Story -- A Simple Singing

A Simple Singing, the second book in Leslie Gould's Sisters of Lancaster County series, is another really good Amish story.

There are some of the typical elements in an Amish romance -- a young Amish girl struggling with her feelings about more than one young man and how to make a decision that might involve her leaving the church. But this story is much more complex than that, including a story from Marie's family's past that may be of great help in her deciding what direction her future should take.

I highly recommend this engaging story to fans of great Amish fiction.

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

About the Book:

How Will She Choose Between the Life She's Always Envisioned and One She Never Imagined?  

For years, Marie Bachmann thought of herself as the "good" daughter. She was the most loving to their mother and the most dedicated to their Amish way of life. But when a Mennonite farmhand, Gordon Martin, shows interest in her, she can't help but be flattered--until her mother sends her off to Florida. While there, Marie begins spending time with rebellious Elijah Jacobs, the bishop's son from back home.


When Gordon shows up in Florida to volunteer at a homeless shelter, her life becomes even more complicated. At the same time, her aunt begins telling her about the uncommon bravery of one of Marie's Civil War-era ancestors . . . a story that begins to work at Marie's heart.

Marie hopes returning home may simplify life, but Elijah soon follows. As she grapples with whether she should court Elijah or leave the church for Gordon, the story of Annie Bachmann shines a light on what God has for Marie's future.

About the Author:


Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny. She is also the author of numerous novels including two Lancaster Amish series. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She resides with her husband and four children in Oregon. Learn more at www.lesliegould.com.