25 Book Reviews

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Awesome Duo of Authors Does It Once Again! A Great Amish novel!!

                    "The Amish Bride"

                   By Mindy Starns Clark 
                         and Leslie Gould

About the book:          

Genre:  Amish Fiction

Publication Date: 2012


Ella Bayer is a young Mennonite woman who has two dreams, to operate her own bakery and marry her handsome Amish boyfriend. Ezra is a fine man who adores Ella, however, his family strongly opposes the marriage! He mustn't marry outside his faith, that of the Amish!!

Ezra's family decides to make a move to make the romance cool off a bit and hopefully end it. They send him away to a farm in Indiana, far from his beloved, who remains in Pennsylvania. Low and behold, Ella finds it within her, upon her estranged father's return , to make the long trip to Indiana and ends up at a farm linked to her great grandmother's coded journal. There , she attempts to break this code, with the help of Luke Kline, a very handsome Amish farmhand. 

Ella makes her way in this new area, as she is forced to figure out things in the past and question her future .  Will she become the Amish bride of Ezra or will she find that God has something else that she should do in her life???? What will this young feisty woman do?? It is sooooo hard when she is so used to doing her own way!!!

My Thoughts: 

This book is the third in the series, The Women of Lancaster County, ( The Amish Nanny, The Amish Midwife) however can certainly be read and enjoyed as a standalone. I believe that this is my very favorite of the three!! But, don't believe that! Every time I read something by these two lovely, talented ladies, I claim that it is the BEST yet!! 

The development of characters is outstanding, as they are each so realistically described that you, at once, find yourself walking alongside them in their journey called Life!  I easily identified with Ella, as I also come from Mennonite background . There are struggles as one tries to find the path that God wants you to follow and this was portrayed in a realistic , detailed manner. The reader can feel the confusion, anger, pain and remorse, as Ella struggles to find God's plan for her life. 

The plot progresses steadily with just enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged from the first page of the book to the last. The mystery of solving the code in the journal kept me guessing. Just when I thought there were answers, more questions appeared!! How would this unscrambling this code affect Ella's life ? Could it possibly change her plans???  You simply must read this book to find out!!

Definitely a book not to be missed!! Keep writing , ladies!!

This book was received as  a gift. The thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own. I was not required to write  a positive review. 



A Fabulous Suspense Filled Read! The Past is About to Find Lacy!! Make sure that you enter the giveaway!

                         "Identity Theft"
                           By Alana Terry

About the Book:

Genre: Christian fiction, mystery/suspense
Release date: March 15, 2019                       
She imagined Alaska would be the perfect place to hide. She found out it’s the most dangerous place to be found …
Lacy has a secret. A secret nobody knows — not even her fiancé.
A secret that would cost her life … and so much more.
So it’s a good thing she’s tucked away in the very heart of rural Alaska, where for once in her life she is finally safe.
But can she stay that way for long?
Suspenseful, thrilling, and impossible to put downIdentity Theftis an unforgettable novel by bestselling Christian author Alana Terry.
Buy your copy today … but be prepared to stay up late!

My Thoughts:

I have to say that I have enjoyed Alana's books  in the past so had high expectations of this new one. There was no disappointment. Although the plot starts off at a slow pace and there has to be some thought as to who and what the characters are up to, once that is done, there is constant suspense and action to keep the reader involved in this book. I must admit that once my attention was spiked, I could not put it down. 

The characters didn't take long to grow into my friends. They were realistic and well described. Lacy was one confused young lady who had a BIG secret, one that I can not imagine ever having! How she dealt with it, was a dangerous, frightening way. This situation had me wanting to give her a big hug as well as shake her to make her think! However, I also kept wondering how I would ever survive in a similar situation. Living with frightening secrets would be such a horrible experience. 

The plot once it gets going. moves at a quick pace with surprising and unexpected events appearing just when you think things are going as they should. My heart was in my throat at Lacy attempted to escape the situation.  The setting in rural Alaska was perfect for this story full of suspense. 

There is an underlying Christian message throughout this book, one that makes the reader think deeply. Events which seem unbelievable and so frightening, happen for a reason, in God's timing. We as humans,  don't always understand the wheres and the whys but we need to learn that that is NOT important. He has us in the palm of His hand at all times.

A great story full of suspense , love and deep fear!

This book was given to me. A positive review was not required. The thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own. 

About the Author

Alana is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second.

More from Alana

What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about Alaska? Are you a city soul or do you prefer the country? I’m pretty happy in small-town Alaska, but I’m afraid that wasn’t always the case.
Have you ever lived in a town with 400 residents? Even with all the wide-open spaces, it’s enough to make some personalities feel claustrophobic.
I thought of our move to rural living as our big adventure. (Because what’s more adventurous than feeding chickens and milking goats at negative 40 degrees?) Then I read my first draft of Identity Theft and realized the adjustment wasn’t going as smoothly as I hoped. It was more autobiographical than I had realized!
However, I learned to love rural Alaska, and that’s the main reason I wanted to write my Alaskan Refuge Christian Suspense Novel series – so I could share some of my favorite parts with you.
Identity Theft is the first of three stand-alone novels, all filled with adventure, suspense and thrills, and all set against the backdrop of Alaska. I hope as you settle in to readyou will begin to experience a little of what I’ve grown to love living in this spectacular state.

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, July 25
EmpowerMoms, July 25
Splashes of Joy, July 28
The Becca Files, July 30
Quiet Quilter, July 31
Mary Hake, August 2
CarpeDiem, August 3
Moments, August 5
Henry Happens, August 6
Livin’ Lit, August 6
A Readers Brian, August 7


To celebrate her tour, Alana is giving away a $30 Amazon gift card!!
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/e546/identity-theft-celebration-tour-giveaway

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Laugh and cry your way through a new book by Jennifer Beckstrand! Make sure that you enter the Giveaway!

                     By Jennifer Beckstrand

About the Book:

Genre: Amish Romance
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Andrew, Abraham, and Austin Petersheim’s family business has earned them the nickname The Peanut Butter Brothers. But if their matchmaking younger siblings have their way, all three may soon bear another title: husband . . .
Handsome, hardworking, and godly, Andrew Petersheim has always been sure of his place in his Wisconsin Amish community. He’ll be a welcome catch for the local girl who finally captures his heart. Mary Coblenz certainly isn’t that girl. Two years after “jumping the fence” for the Englischer world, she’s returned, unmarried and pregnant. Yet instead of hiding in shame as others in the community expect, she’s working at the Honeybee Farm, ignoring the gossips—and winning over Andrew’s eight-year-old twin brothers . . .
For all Andrew’s certainty about right and wrong, it seems he has a lot to learn from Mary’s courage, grace, and resilience. She’s changing his notions about forgiveness and love, but will she in turn accept the challenge of starting over and choose to stay—with him?
 Click here to grab your copy!
My Thoughts:
Jennifer Beckstrand is one of my favorite authors of Amish Fiction! She is a master storyteller who is able to make you giggle at her quirky characters as well as think deeply , all within the same chapter! That is a very special talent!

"Andrew" is filled with characters who are all so realistically and richly described that you feel that they are your best friends within minutes of beginning to read this fabulous story. I loved Bitsy who certainly is far from your stereotypical Amish woman!! The Peanut Butter Brothers, in reality, Benji and Alfie Petersheim, make you laugh out loud with their antics, great comic relief in the midst of some serious situations. Their desire to matchmake is sweet , funny and yes, somewhat frustrating , at least to Mary and Andrew! Mary is a sweet young lady, brought up Amish, who made a big mistake by " jumping the fence", however is now trying her best to make amends and gain the approval of the community once again. As difficult as it is, she is determined to begin a new life, even when suffering the results of living the Englisch life. Andrew gains one's love and approval immediately with his kindness and willingness to help Mary. I loved revisiting Honeybee Farm, feeling that I was back in familiar territory.

The plot moves quickly filled with unexpected twists and turns! As Mary struggles to show that she has learned some hard lessons, the sometimes undesired approval from Andrew, helps her along the way. It takes a long time and many lessons learned before Mary can accept forgiveness of herself and others. The underlying message of this tale comes through loud and clear. Andrew exemplifies what we all should be striving for, faith, patience and honesty. Everyone deserves a second chance and he helps Mary realise this.

This is a five star book!!! It will leave you thinking how important forgiveness is and how judging hurts oneself as well as many others. I can hardly wait for the next book from this fantastic author!
This book was received from CelebrateLit. The opinions and thoughts expressed are honest and my own. A positive view was not required.

About the author:
Jennifer Beckstrand is the two-time RITA-nominated, #1 Amazon bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hillseries, The Honeybee Sistersseries, and The Petersheim Brothersseries for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer and Home on Huckleberry Hill were both nominated for the coveted RITA® Award from Romance Writers of America. Jennifer has written twenty-one Amish romances, a historical Western, Jessie and James, and the nonfiction book, Big Ideas. She and her husband have been married for thirty-four years, and she has six children and seven adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

More from Jennifer

If you enjoyed The Honeybee Sisters, you’re going to love The Petersheim Brothers, or the Peanut Butter Brothers as they’re known in their small Amish community of Bienenstock, Wisconsin. The Petersheim brothers work their small farm and make peanut butter. The idea for The Petersheim Brothers series came when two of my friends and I were creating The Honeybee Sisters Cookbook. My friend Alicia suggested I write a book about Peanut Butter Brothers, and the idea stuck.
One of my favorite characters in my Amish romances is Aunt Bitsy, the irrepressible, unconventional woman who raised the Honeybee Sisters, tried to chase off all their suitors, and then lit fireworks at their triple wedding. In Andrew, the first book in the Petersheim Brothersseries, Aunt Bitsy takes in a girl who has jumped the fence and wants to come back to the Amish community to have her baby. Aunt Bitsy is still protecting her dandelions and her bees, still dyeing her hair all sorts of bright colors, and still praying to Gotte right out loud.
Andrew is about forgiveness, second chances, and learning to love. It will have you laughing and crying, and you might just fall in love with two of the most mischievous little boys in Wisconsin. Enjoy.
In honor of the Peanut Butter Brothers, I want to share one of our favorite family recipes. These bars are perfect for picnics, parties, and potlucks. They’re easy and delicious!

Peanut Butter Bars
Cream together:
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
Blend In:
2 unbeaten eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup peanut butter
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Stir In:
2 cups flour
2 cups quick oats

Spread mixture in greased jelly-roll pan or large cookie sheet.
Bake: 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Do not overbake. Remove from oven.

Sprinkle on:
1 ¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Let stand five minutes.

For peanut butter mixture on top, combine:
½ cup sifted powdered sugar
¼ cup peanut butter
2 to 4 Tbs. evaporated milk
Mix well.

The chocolate chips will melt on the bars. Spread melted chocolate evenly. Drizzle peanut butter mixture on top. Cool completely. Cut into bars.

Blog Stops

The Avid ReaderJune 26
MomentsJune 26
BigreadersiteJune 29
Genesis 5020July 1
Pause for TalesJuly 3
Mary Hake, July 5
SplashesofjoyJuly 5
Vicky SluiterJuly 5
Quiet QuilterJuly 9


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Amazon gift card!!
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/e57a/andrew-celebration-tour-giveaway

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A Great Read !! This book will make you do some deep thinking! Make sure that you enter the giveaway!!

                      "LuLu's Cafe"
                       By T.I. Lowe

About the Book:

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: June 4, 2019
When a damaged young woman is given a chance to reclaim her life in a small South Carolina town, she must reckon with the dark secrets she left behind in order to accept the love she deserves.
On the run from a violent past, Leah Allen arrived in tiny Rivertown, South Carolina, battered and broken, but ready to reinvent herself. By a stroke of fate, Leah is drawn to the Southern hospitality of a small café, looking for a warm meal but finding so much more. Lulu, the owner, offers her a job, a place to stay and a new lease on life. Through Lulu’s tenacious warmth and generosity, Leah quickly finds herself embraced by the quaint community as she tries to put herself back together. Given she’s accustomed to cruelty, the kindness is overwhelming.
Soon Leah meets Crowley Mason, the most eligible bachelor in town. A lawyer and friend of Lulu’s, Crowley is wary of Leah’s sudden, mysterious arrival. Despite his reserve, something sparks between them that can’t be denied. But after all she’s been through, can Leah allow herself to truly love and be loved, especially when her first urge is to run?
Exploring the resiliency of both the heart and the spirit, Lulu’s Café gorgeously illustrates how old scars can finally heal no matter how deep they seem.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts:

This author has quickly become one that I know I will watch for in the future. She is a master storyteller who weaves a tale that draws you in , working deeply on your emotions as you become one with the characters in this book. This book is one that deals with reality! There are some deep hurts caused by domestic violence , dealt with in a caring, delicate manner. This author does not hesitate to describe the life changing results of such horrible events, however, she also presents the way that a life can once again find hope, faith and true love. 

The characters are so vividly and realistically described that you walk alongside them as they travel the rocky road called life. Gabriella grabs the reader and just wont let go, as the reader discovers why she has become the person she is  in the present day. The result of a violent earlier life leaves her unable to believe that she can find friendship, love and understanding from others. They give it so freely. Poor Gabriella has no knowledge that it can be so easy to feel love and acceptance from her new friends. These characters are so full of southern charm and faith and the knowledge that God has put them in this sweet woman's life for a reason. 

The plot is one filled with the presence of God's abounding love. The plot moved at a steady pace with the perfect amount of unexpected twists and turns, keeping one glued to the page! It was not without some good, old southern humor,, giving one a brief giggle, just when needed. This book is  packed full of details of how healing can take place in one's life after surviving horrific torture at the hands of a former spouse. 

This is a book that NEEDS to be read!!! It is packed full of information of how one can win, even after suffering horrible abuse . Without being preachy, it gives some honest answers of how God can take over the healing, giving the ability to love once again.

Definitely a five star book!! Don't miss it! 

This book was provided by CelebrateLit. The opinions and thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

About the Author:

T. I. Lowe is a native of coastal South Carolina. She attended Coastal Carolina University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she majored in psychology but excelled in creative writing. Go figure. Writing was always a dream, and she finally took a leap of faith in 2014 and independently published her first novel, Lulu’s Café, which quickly became a bestseller. Now the author of ten published novels with hundreds of thousands of copies sold, she knows she’s just getting started and has many more stories to tell. A wife and mother who’s active in her church community, she resides near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with her family.

Read an excerpt of LuLu’s Cafe

The building was a two-story redbrick structure with expansive windows along the first floor’s front and sides. Each set of massive windows was shaded with sprawling royal-blue awnings, which were decorated with vibrantly painted sunflowers and whimsical white letters spelling out Lulu’s Café across the remaining space. It looked inviting from the outside. Peering into the window, Leah could see that the café was bustling with customers. Outside the café, the sidewalk was lined with wrought-iron tables and chairs. Every table was occupied with customers chatting as they sipped steaming mugs of coffee.
The sign for the store hours indicated that, Monday through Saturday, the café opened at six each morning and closed at two each afternoon, and it was closed on Sundays. Leah found the hours a bit odd. Most restaurants served dinner and were open on Sundays too, or so she thought. She reminded herself that she was in a new environment and that the customs from the West Coast probably wouldn’t apply here.
The café had its fall decorations on display as well. Large planter boxes overflowed with giant yellow and orange mums. One had a wooden sign sticking out from the middle declaring, Happy Fall, Y’all.
Leah was beginning to think the place was too happy and, more importantly, too busy for her liking, when she spotted a vacant four-person table right inside the door. She made her way in and slipped into the chair closest to the window. She deliberately faced away from the entrance, hoping not to draw much attention. Once she was situated, she noticed that the back of the café was made up of a large butcher-block counter that housed a bakery case full of treats on the right. The remainder of the counter was lined with half a dozen stools, with customers perched on each one. Leah noted approvingly that the tables and chairs were a variety of mismatched shapes and sizes stained in the same mahogany tint. She liked the relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere.
Leah watched a petite lady behind the counter serving up coffee and laughs. Her stomach began to rumble at the fragrant smells whirling around her, so she turned her attention to the menu resting on the table. Turkey sausage, turkey bacon, egg-white omelets, whole grain breads and cereal, fresh fruit . . .
Leah blinked at the odd menu. She gazed around at the customers enjoying their healthy meals. Her heart had been set on a stack of pancakes and greasy bacon. She studied the bakery case but found no donuts hiding.
“Humph.” She went back to studying the menu.
“I didn’t keep you waiting too long, did I?” A Southern drawl interrupted Leah’s thoughts.
Leah looked up to find the petite lady with a perfectly coiffed silver bob smiling at her. She was so short that she was nearly eye level with a seated Leah. Her clear gray eyes seemed to bubble with hospitality. Leah instantly liked the woman and gave her a slight smile, being careful not to stretch her bottom lip.
“Well, you gonna keep giving me that sweet smile or are you gonna order something?” the lady asked in a teasing voice.
Leah pointed at the bright-orange cursive L embroidered thickly on one of the lady’s apron pockets. “Please tell me you’re Lulu.”
“Of course I’m Lulu. Why do you ask?” Lulu smoothed her ruffled apron, which swam in a variety of rich blue swirls.
“You match the happiness of the place perfectly,” Leah said.
“Well, that’s the nicest thing someone has said to me today. What can I get you?”
“Coffee and whatever you recommend.”
Lulu gave her a wink and strolled back to the kitchen.

Blog Stops

Quiet Quilter, July 3
Remembrancy, July 9
Pause for Tales, July 11


To celebrate her tour, T.I. Lowe is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of LuLu’s Cafe!!
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/e4f3/lulu-s-cafe-celebration-tour-giveaway

Another Fantastic Read by One of My Favorite Authors, Vannetta Chapman!

An Amish Proposal for Christmas  By Vannetta Chapman Synopsis: Her deepest Christmas wish will bring more than she imagined…in this novel by...