Monday, September 25, 2017

Delightful story -- Heart on the Line

Heart on the Line is exactly what you expect from a Karen Witemeyer book -- a delightful story with fun characters and lively adventure.

A female telegraph operator in a town populated mostly by women and her bicycle-riding male counterpart in a nearby town ensure an entertaining read. The story includes danger and romance, with plenty of quirky characters to keep things lively.

This is the second book in the Ladies of Harper's Station. It works well as a stand-alone, but I look forward to reading the first book to answer questions about some of the characters and their stories.

I highly recommend Heart on the Line for anyone interested in a fun historical story.

Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy of the book.  I am happy to share my own thoughts for this review.

About the Book:

When Danger Arrives, It's More Than Just Her Heart on the Line

Grace Mallory is tired of hiding. She hungers for a normal life, perhaps even a suitor like two of her friends in Harper's Station have found. But when the man she believes responsible for her father's death discovers her whereabouts, survival takes priority.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His fellow telegrapher, the mysterious Miss G, has been the ideal companion. For months, their friendship--dare he believe, courtship?--over the wire has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intends for him. However, when he intercepts an ominous message and discovers her life is in peril, Amos must shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

About the Author:

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at

Intriguing mystery -- Beneath Copper Falls

Colleen Coble's Beneath Copper Falls is an intriguing story of murder and mystery that stretches from Washington state to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

The story is filled with interesting characters, including several who are involved in and work with search and rescue dogs.  A variety of characters pop up as potential murder suspects before the story starts to turn toward the real criminal.  As a word of caution to potential readers, there are a lot of dark moments as the mystery plays out.

Colleen has written several other books in the Rock Harbor series.  If you have read those, you will already be familiar with many of the characters and their stories.  I had not read any of the others and found no problem with this as a stand-alone. 

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

About the Book:

Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . but could it be different in Rock Harbor?

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancĂ© to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.

About the Author:

Best-selling romantic suspense author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 4 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at

A great story -- The Promise of a Letter

Kathleen Fuller's The Promise of a Letter, like her previous Amish Letters story, has an interesting set of characters who don't all fit your stereotypical idea of Amish people. Those characters keep the story interesting and provide for a variety of twists and turns in this great story.

Leanna was introduced in the previous story and plays a major role in this one.  She is anything but a typical Amish woman; that fact likely contributes to some of the problems she finds herself dealing with, although much of the difficulty is due to no fault of her own. Her life becomes more complicated when she finds herself, somewhat reluctantly, involved with Roman, who is trying to determine whether or not he really fits into the Amish world.

The Promise of a Letter, as expected by readers of Kathleen Fuller's books, is a well-written, enjoyable Amish story.  Although there are several characters revisited from the first book in the series, it can work as a stand-alone.  I would recommend, however, that fans of great Amish fiction would enjoy both stories.

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

About the Book:

A letter brings him back to his Amish family. It will take someone truly extraordinary to make him stay.

Roman is on the verge of leaving the Amish ways. Feeling confined by the strict rules, he longs to do something more with his life. But when things don’t go as planned, Roman’s prospects outside of the community dwindle. Upon learning that his beloved grandmother has died and left a letter urging him to reconcile with his brother in Birch Creek, Roman decides to return home. But he doesn’t plan to stay for long.

Leanna Chupp has always made her own way in her small community of Birch Creek. Though some may call her unconventional—strange, even—Leanna is happy. Her unique outlook on life has meant she’s never had many suitors pursuing courtship, which Leanna doesn’t mind. She is content being single.

But when Roman and Leanna find themselves working together again, everything changes. Though neither fit squarely within the strictures of the Amish faith, their differences could be the very thing to help them form a deeper connection to their community and to each other. The question remains: will this strengthening bond be enough to make Roman stay for good?

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, Twitter: @TheKatJam, and Facebook: Kathleen Fuller.

Enjoyable story -- The Proving

There are lots of Amish authors these days, and there are several whose books I look forward to reading.  One of those is the one who started it all for me -- Beverly Lewis.  And her latest story is another I really enjoyed -- The Proving.

Although there were elements that were pretty predictable from the beginning, there were plenty of interesting characters and details to keep the story very engaging.   The pace of the story was very enjoyable as the different plots lines worked their way out.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of great Amish fiction.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing a copy of The Proving.  I am happy to provide my own thoughts for this review.

About the Book:

"Mandy, you are to inherit the farmhouse, including the business of the inn."

She could scarcely find her voice to respond. "
Ach, this must be a mistake," she told him, shaking her head as she talked into the phone, feeling befuddled. "The house . . . and everything related to the inn . . . shouldn't that go to Arie Mae?"

After five years as an Englisher, Amanda Dienner is shocked to learn her mother has passed away and left her Lancaster County's most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. What's more, the inn will only truly be hers if Mandy can successfully run it for twelve months. Reluctantly, Mandy accepts the challenge, no matter that it means facing the family she left behind--or that the inn's clientele expect an Amish hostess! Can Mandy fulfill the terms of her inheritance? Or will this prove a dreadful mistake?

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. 

Awesome conclusion -- Light of Dawn

"Writing Light of Dawn I knew what my task was - to provide a hopeful outlook in a world that had gone dark, to show that God is with us even through the worst of times, to convince readers that friendship and compassion and even love are possible when all else fails. To show, above all else, that God's grace is sufficient in any situation we might face. My prayer is that Light of Dawn does all of that, and more."
Vannetta Chapman, author of Light of Dawn

Vannetta Chapman shared the above thought on her publisher's page.  My response to her hope is:  mission accomplished!

This conclusion to the Remnant series is an awesome one.  After reading the first two books -- and yes, you have to read all three books in order -- I wondered how the series could possibly end in any kind of realistic way but somehow move beyond the chaos and loss that the characters had experienced from the beginning of the disaster.  Hope was an important thread throughout all three books, and it somehow had to shine through to the end.  It did, and brilliantly!

I have to say that it was scary to think how the scenarios in this series were sometimes so close to possibly appearing in today's headlines.  The reminders of God's presence and the strength that comes from it, though, are more real and timeless even in this work of fiction.

I believe Light of Dawn -- as well as Deep Shadows and Raging Storm -- should appeal to a wide audience, and I would highly recommend these five-star reads!

About the Book:

Before Dawn, What Dangers Lurk in the Darkness?

For nine months, since a devastating solar flare caused a complete failure of the electrical grid, Shelby Sparks and her diabetic son, Carter, have been living at the ranch of Shelby’s high school sweetheart, Max Berkman.
Mostly insulated from the chaos surrounding them, Shelby and Max discover that the Texas government has fled the capitol and is barely maintaining control of the state. The governor needs volunteers to search for the new federal government, but no one knows exactly where it might be located—if it even still exists—or what perils await those brave enough to take on the mission.

Compelled by Carter’s desperate need for insulin and their God-given sense of duty, Shelby and Max answer the governor’s call and set out on a treacherous 600-mile journey, where they will experience the terrifying effects of unrestrained anarchy. If they have the faith and fortitude necessary to reach their destination, what will they find when they get there?

In this thrilling conclusion to the Remnant trilogy, America is left teetering between total collapse and the dawn of a new and vastly different reality.

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.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Read It and Do It -- Walk It Out

Most any advice on Christian living includes instruction to be "in the Word," to spend time reading the Bible.  How else can we know what God expects?

I am convinced Tricia Goyer would totally agree with that advice . . . but I am also convinced that she would say something like, "But you can't stop there."

In her new book, Walk It Out, Tricia shares her heart in hopes of helping her readers find their paths to authentic walks with God.  She shows the way by sharing her own story -- a story that includes ups and downs but that definitely shows the results of hearing what God says and DOING it!  She doesn't tell me what my story should be; she encourages me to find what God says to me and to DO that.  And she reminds me that I don't have to know the whole plan at once; one step at a time is all that is required.

I've read this book once and been encouraged (maybe even convicted???) to do a better job of walking out God's plans for me.  Somehow, I don't think I'm finished; I believe I will come back to these words again and again for help in staying on track to Walk It Out to the fullest!  I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in living out God's plans.

I received a digital copy of Walk It Out as part of the author's launch team.  I was delighted to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Book: 

What Happens When We Read God’s Word and Actually Do What it Says?

Bestselling Author Tricia Goyer demonstrates the powerful work God accomplishes if we are willing to step out in obedience to Biblical commands and His quiet urgings, no matter our fears or feelings of inadequacy.

Walk It Out illustrates the real-life results of listening to the Scriptural mandates such as care for the orphan, serve the poor, go into the world to spread the gospel, and love others of all races. The author’s journey, from accepting Christ’s forgiveness and telling her story of redemption to answering the call to adopt seven children when she least expected, is filled with the exhilarating, radical, unexpected life that we experience when we walk into God’s plans for us.

“I neither planned or expected any of this—from the ten kids to the stamped-up passport. I didn’t accomplish these things by making a list and checking it off. They happened as I took steps of faith to follow God’s directives.” ~Tricia Goyer

About the Author: 

Tricia Goyer is a prolific author of more than sixty books. She is a homeschooling mom of ten, grandmother of four, and wife to John. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Center in Kalispell, Montana and now leads a teen mom support group in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Visit her website at:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Legal and political thriller with a gentle thread of faith -- Rule of Law

After reading -- and really enjoying -- a few of Randy Singer's legal suspense/thrillers, I was excited to see that he had a new book out. I have to admit that a couple of things made me think a little while before deciding to go ahead with this one: (1) it appeared to be (and in fact, is) pretty political and (2) it is longer than most books I read (456 pages). I am definitely glad that I went ahead and gave it a try -- it was a really good read.

This story is indeed heavy in the legal and political aspects.  It's almost scary how close it could come to being something from today's headlines. There were a few times that I did get a little bogged down and had to fight to keep going through the details.  

But what really kept me going in those tougher-to-read times was what I would call gentle threads of relationship and of faith. Those especially showed up in the life of Paige, one of the main characters of the story. Her continuing love for Patrick, her finding her unexpected place in the SEAL family, and her steadily growing faith ran through the story even as she was involved in fighting the biggest legal and political battle of her career. 

Randy Singer showed his great skill as an author by putting all those pieces together into a well-crafted story that should fit the tastes of a wide range of readers. If you are looking for a light read, this may not be for you. But for just about anyone else, I would highly recommend Rule of Law.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of this book.  I was happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

See what other readers have to say about Rule of Law here.

About the Book: 

What did the president know? And when did she know it?

For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare mission ordered by the president, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had captured an American journalist and a member of the Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday. The SEAL team would break them out. 

But when the mission results in spectacular failure, the finger-pointing goes all the way to the top.

Did the president play political games with the lives of U.S. service members?

Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.

Equal justice under law.

It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?

Learn more and purchase a copy.

About the Author:

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than ten legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel "Directed Verdict." In addition to his law practice and writing, he serves as a teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He also teaches classes in advocacy and ethics at Regent Law School and serves on the school's Board of Visitors.

Find out more about Randy at

Friday, September 8, 2017

Be true to yourself -- Gathering the Threads

Cindy Woodsmall concludes her Amish of Summer Grove series in great form in Gathering the Threads. This series is based around Amish and English families -- and some who are on the cusp -- dealing with the consequences of a simple, but life-changing, mistake from years earlier.

If I were to give a subtitle to this final installment it would be either "Be True to Yourself" or "Finding Your True Self." Cindy crafts a great story around that theme as Ariana struggles to find her place in the world -- a world that she has now experienced from two very different perspectives. I found myself trying to guess which way she would go and not really sure which to root for; there appeared to be no perfect answer. The best answer was there, though -- she was indeed true to herself.

I highly recommend Gathering the Threads to fans of great Amish fiction. It would really be best to read the first two books in the series for a good understanding of this story.

Thanks to Cindy and her publisher for providing a copy of this book.  I was happy to share my own thoughts for this review.

About the Book:

Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,
Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—
or completely rip them apart?

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family? 

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.

Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

About the Author:

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA bestselling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Interesting Story -- Will Not See

Will Not See-smAt the time I decided to read and review Chautona Havig's Will Not See, I didn't catch that it was the second book in a series.  Thankfully, she worked in enough of the story from the first book, None So Blind, to make sense of what was going on . . . but also sparked an interest in wanting to go back and pick up that story as well.

Chautona has an interesting style to her stories, something that I can't really identify, but that makes her writing stand out in kind of a "quirky" way.  She enables you to jump right into the middle of her characters' lives, as though you had already met them, and then fills you in on necessary details of their background.

Vikki's story, and the continuation of Ella's story, are definitely intriguing and keep the interest level high.  The other characters in their lives certainly added important elements to their stories as well.  I have to admit that I had some trouble keeping up with some of the "bad guys" and "potential bad guys" -- who was "in charge," how they fit together, etc.  And there were occasional elements that seemed a little choppy and not fitting into a smooth flow of the story.  Of course, the overall story of Vikki's life was definitely not one that fit any kind of smooth flow anyway!

Overall this was an enjoyable story that held my interest pretty well.  And then there is that tricky ending to the story that practically compels you to go into a waiting pattern for the next book.  How in the world will all this work out in the end?

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

About the Book

When Vikki Jeffries wakes up in a Rockland hotel with no idea of who she is and why she can’t remember… well, anything, the Rockland medical community begins to take a closer look at what may have happened to cause a second case of inexplicable amnesia.

But for Vikki, this is more than a medical anomaly–it’s her life. What is she doing in Rockland, thousands of miles away from her home in Apache Junction, Arizona? Who is she? Why is no one looking for her? Or are they?

Will Not See: Not everything is as it seems.

About the Author

media-headshotAuthor of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment

Guest Post from Chautona Havig

The circle of death swirls on the screen and it shifts. The bank balance appears, and with it, my heart sinks. It’s been a tough few months, financially. The bottom line proves it.

My reaction? Inhale. Exhale. “Okay, now we know the worst. We can do something about it.”

My husband, on the other hand, suffers a definite blow. Kevin might not sleep that night. Instead, he’ll mull over what we could have done differently, how we can make changes, if he’s a failure at this thing called life. He’ll pray—for hours.

They say ignorance is bliss. And sometimes, that’s true. It’s also a personality thing, I think. I tend to be a “let me have your worst” kind of gal. But when the negative arrives, I also tend to want to shield Kevin from it all. I don’t know how he can worry so much. He can’t fathom how I can turn it off.

But sometimes those personality things go deeper—into what can be serious faults. It has been said,

“There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.” 

Or, in the words of Jeremiah,

“Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear.” 

What does this have to do with not seeing?

As I work on the Sight Unseen series, one recurring theme happens, of course. Memory loss—the removal of all insight into one’s past. You can hear who you were, be informed of what you did and why others think you did it, but you can’t know your own self the way you once did. It’s a fresh slate, and it can be a good thing in some respects.

Those around you can now see the difference between habits and personality traits—true dislikes and those conditioned by life. What might have been a fear once could be gone if the cause of that fear is blotted out.

But even for these fictional characters, truth doesn’t change. In None So Blind, Ella takes her memory loss and uses it as an opportunity to reinvent herself, if you will. And you know what? If you asked her family about it, they’d tell you that it fits her personality. That take-charge, gotta get ’er done attitude Dani may have used in different ways, but both “manifestations” of the woman had those qualities. Sure, Ella’s was tempered by recent experience, but not much. 

Vikki Jeffries, is almost the antithesis of Ella in that respect. 

The past is in the past. It scares her. Is it because she doesn’t know it? Because she’s frightened by the unknown? We don’t know. But what we do know is anything associated with that past, even the few very personal items she finds, she rejects. It’s as if ignorance of them will protect her from them. Where Ella runs to face her problems, Vikki runs from them. 

But despite those differences, I find it interesting that both women did the same thing, basically—just at different times. 

Before her “episode,” Ella chose to blind herself to her faults. She knew them. Lived with them daily, but couldn’t face or address them. So, she “refused to see.”

Vikki—we don’t know. But I think the story shows that she couldn’t blind herself to truth before her episode. As much as she might have ached to, she just couldn’t. Now that the opportunity is here, however, she grasps it and if she insists on squeezing her eyes shut indefinitely, it may cost her everything—her life. Her soul. 

Philippians 4:8, “…whatever is true.”

They say ignorance is bliss. Well, “they” also say, “Truth hurts.” And sometimes it does. But so do the consequences of that ignorance. I guess the next time the bank balance dips low, I won’t be handling the fallout alone. Then again, one can always pray that it doesn’t dip low! I think we’ll start there.

Blog Stops

August 29: Just Jo’Anne
August 29: Carpe Diem
August 30: Lots of Helpers
August 31: Genesis 5020
September 1: Quiet Quilter
September 1: Back Porch Reads
September 2: Fiction Aficionado
September 3: A Reader’s Brain
September 4: Bigreadersite
September 4: The Scribbler
September 5: Mommynificent
September 6: Christian Bookaholic
September 6: Moments Dipped in Ink
September 6: Margaret Kazmierczak
September 8: Pause for Tales
September 10: Pursuing Stacie
September 11: Reader’s cozy corner




To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize of the None So Blind Paperback,
the Will Not See Paperback, a Journaling Bible (Choice of KJV or NLT), Prismacolor Pencils,
and a Christian Hymns Album!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!