Saturday, March 19, 2016

Entertaining story -- Playing the Part

Jen Turano's Playing the Part is an entertaining story where you just never know what will happen next.

Everything -- from the characters to the setting to the plot of the story -- is engaging and often unexpected.   Practically all the characters have secrets or hidden stories that come out in unexpected and very often humorous ways. 

I did not notice ahead of time that Playing the Part was book #3 in a series.  It was not until near the very end of the story that I even realized there was a back story to some of the characters.  Reading the earlier stories in the series would be interesting, but this book worked fine as a stand alone.
I would recommend Playing the Part if you're looking for fun, mystery, romance, and the unexpected.

See what other reviewers have to say about the book here.

About the Book:

Can they accept who they are behind the parts they play in time to save the day?

Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucetta's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson's estate to hide out.

Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.

Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can't ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it'll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.

Purchase a copy:

About the Author:

Jen Turano, author of the Ladies of Distinction series and the A Class of Their Own series, is a graduate of the University of Akron. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

Website | Facebook 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Delightful start to a new series -- Promise Lodge (with excerpt and giveaway info)

If you enjoyed the stories of Miriam and her other strong Amish female friends and family in Charlotte Hubbard's Seasons of the Heart stories . . . well, as we southerners often say, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!"  In Promise Lodge, Mattie, Christine, and Rosetta are three Amish sisters establishing a new community, and they have very definite ideas about how it should be run.

You can't help but fall in love with the characters of this new series from the very beginning.  They have experienced hurt and loss but are moving beyond those circumstances to start a new life for themselves and anyone God leads to join them.  Of course, making big changes proves challenging, and trouble continues to find its way to their new home.  But Charlotte shares their sweet story of compassion, love, forgiveness, and patience in a delightful way.

Fans of great Amish fiction should find Promise Lodge a joy to read and be left wanting more in the other books still to come.  Thanks to Charlotte and her publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Book: 

Energetic widow Mattie Bender Schwartz is working day and night to get Promise Lodge going. She’s also hoping the change will help her son Noah’s heart to heal after his broken engagement. But his former fiancĂ©e, Deborah, is looking for a fresh start too. Filled with regret, and cast out by her dat for a reason she can’t yet reveal, Deborah can only pray Noah will forgive her foolishness.

Deborah is the last person Noah expected to show up at Promise Lodge. But with her cruel words still ringing in his head, he’s reluctant to accept her apology—even if the Old Order ways demand he try. If only he could obey Christ’s most important commandment: love one another. But one thing is certain—his mother and aunts, and their beloved Preacher Amos, will do their best to help him get there.

Exclusive Excerpt from the Book:

Deborah closed her eyes over a crispy chicken thigh that was still warm.  Her heart swelled with Mattie and Rosetta's can-do attitudes, the firm belief that they'd made the right decision when they'd sold their farms to start a new life.  "Have you had any response to your ad in The Budget"? she asked as she buttered her bread.  "Some of the folks in Coldstream are still surprised at how quickly you left, saying maybe you leaped before you looked."

Mattie and Rosetta exchanged a smile that suggested they'd heard this sentiment before.  "We Bender sisters have stuck together through thick and thin by the grace of Jesus," Mattied replied without a moment's hesitation.  "He wouldn't steer us wrong."

"And with Mattie and Christine losing their men, and our parents passing on to their reward last winter,” Rosetta took up the thread, “we all thought it best to look forward rather than letting our losses hold us back. ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions,’ the Bible tells us. Our lodge and cabins aren’t as grand as God’s dwelling place, but with His help we’ll create a little section of Heaven in this old campground for folks who need to set down new roots.”

That would be me, Deborah mused as she bit into her chicken again. She was happy to let the two women keep talking so she didn’t have to reveal her predicament yet.

“The letters are coming in, from folks interested in buying plots of our land,” Mattie replied as she checked a pan of something in the oven. “Amos has called a few of them, and we think we’ll see new families by the end of June if they can sell their farms quickly.”

“That’s only a few weeks away,” Deborah murmured.

“We’ve got a lot of fixing up to do before then, too,” Laura remarked.

“But we’ll have plenty of time to chat about our plans for Promise Lodge and show you around while you’re here,” Rosetta said. “How’s your family, Deborah? What’s the news from Coldstream? While we don’t regret leaving some of the recent goings-on behind us, we sure do miss our friends.”

Deborah swallowed hard, her half-eaten chicken thigh poised in front of her face. No matter which question she addressed, these two women wouldn’t want to hear her answer. “Oh, you know how it is,” she hedged. “Things don’t change a lot in Coldstream from one day to the next.”

Mattie frowned doubtfully.

Rosetta raised an eyebrow. “Why is your face telling me something different from your words?” she asked. “Has there been more trouble, Deborah?”

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, Ramona

Charlotte will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N giftcard to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.   Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Amish Gardens and Victory Gardens in Pinecraft -- Planted with Hope

Planted with Hope is the delightful second installment in the Pinecraft Pie Shop series by Tricia Goyer and Sherry Gore.  Tricia and Sherry make a great team as they combine their individual talents and strengths to write this series. The unique Amish setting of Pinecraft, combined with the interesting history of World War II victory gardens, provide an enjoyable backdrop for this story of hope and love.

The characters of Planted with Hope were such a joy to get to know.  Their stories fit together like the pieces of a well-designed puzzle as they each learn lessons that help them grow beyond hurts and disappointments from the past to find there is always hope for the future. The recipes and snippets of history scattered throughout the book provide a special bonus to the story.

Planted with Hope easily works as a stand-alone, but I look forward to going back to read the first book, Made with Love.  And I hope there is a story yet to come about each of the Miller sisters.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish stories.  Thanks to the authors and their publisher for providing a copy of Planted with Hope in exchange for my honest review.

For all fans of great Amish fiction, I highly recommend all three volumes in this Pinecraft Pie Shop series.

See my review of Made with Love and Sewn with Joy.

About the Book:

In the second installment of the Pinecraft Pie Shop series, you’ll return to a town and a family you’ve already grown to love.

When Hope Miller is offered the plot of land behind the Me, Myself, and Pie shop to start a garden, she jumps at the chance. Finally—some space away from her four sisters! But everyone in town seems to have an opinion about what she should grow and how she should grow it. When the widower schoolteacher, Jonas Sutter, asks if his students at the Amish school can help turn the plot into a community garden, Hope only halfheartedly agrees, wondering if she will ever get the peace and quiet she craves. And will she get anything to grow?

The stories of friendship, community, and unexpected love within these pages will plant real seeds of hope within your heart.

About the Authors:

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of two, and wife to John. A USA Today bestselling author, Tricia has published over 40 books and has written more than 500 articles. She's well-known for her Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors Amish series. For more information visit Tricia at Tricia, along with a group of friends, also runs, sharing ideas about simplifying life.

Sherry Gore is the author of Simply Delicious Amish Cooking and Me, Myself and Pie and is a weekly scribe for the national edition of the Amish newspaper The Budget. Sherry's culinary adventures have been seen on NBC Daytime,, and Mr. Food Test Kitchen. Sherry is a resident of Sarasota, Florida, the vacation paradise of the Plain People. She has three children and is a member of a Beachy Amish Mennonite church.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Off to a fantastic start! -- Cold Shot

Be sure to read to the end of the post for a chance to win some great prizes.  Deadline is March 7.

Dani Pettrey won me over with her awesome suspense series, Alaskan Courage.  She has definitely kept me as a fan with Cold Shot, the fantastic start to her Chesapeake Valor series.

I definitely agree with a comment I recently saw on facebook about Dani's books: "She has great heroes!"  Cold Shot is packed with an abundance of great heroes -- with some pretty awesome females in the mix as well.  Dani does such a dynamic job in her stories with just the right mix of suspense, romance and faith. Watching the characters and their relationships develop while in the middle of life and death experiences kept me engaged from multiple directions . . . and just basically not wanting to put the book down until the very end.  Even then, Dani taunted with new details to make the wait for the next story really hard to bear!

Fans of great faith-based romantic suspense should love Cold Shot. Thanks to Dani and her publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

In college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI, and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world–and friendships–crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet–until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern–a young social justice lawyer missing since spring–and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper.

When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he’ll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he–and those he cares about–are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.


In the clip below, Dani shares her heart and some of the background for her stories.

About the Author:

Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the brand new romantic suspense Chesapeake Valor series, as well as the well-loved Alaskan Courage series which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, Silenced, and Sabotaged. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their daughters, son-in-law, and super-adorable grandson.

Enter the COLD SHOT Sweepstakes from Author Dani Pettrey

In COLD SHOT, the first book of author Dani Pettrey’s brand new Chesapeake Valor series, park ranger Griffin McCray and forensic anthropologist Finley Scott uncover buried remains near the Civil War battleground of Little Round Top. There’s only one problem: the bones aren’t Civil War-era. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but when Finley discovers evidence pointing to the work of an expert sniper, the case connects them with FBI agent Declan Grey, and crime scene investigator Parker Mitchell, friends from a past Griffin’s tried to leave behind. Soon the reunited friends realize they’ll need to confront the darkest days in their shared history if they–and those they care about–are going to escape a downward spiral of crime, danger, and murder.

To celebrate the launch of this exciting new series, Dani and Bethany House Publishers are pleased to present the COLD SHOT SWEEPSTAKES, and your chance to win one of three marvelous prizes, all closely connected to the story.

This giveaway starts February 16, 2016 and ends March 7, 2016 @ 11:59 pm (PST). Entry is open to US residents only, age 18 and over. Winners will be selected Tuesday, March 8, 2016, and announced at