Reviews

Forbidden Truth by Debra Torres

What happens when living the dream means losing yourself?

Johanna Yoder can breathe again. Willow Brook’s once tyrannical Bishop Zook has been replaced by Gott’s true elect, Gideon Hochstetler. And the new bishop can’t help but show some special leniency towards the aspiring Amish writer.

Working at the Mountain Laurel Star newspaper while remaining Amish is a dream come true for Johanna. And, as her love for the Englischer reporter, Judah Barton, steadily increases, so does a niggling suspicion that her former bishop rots in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Judah joins Johanna in her convictions, and together they seek to uncover the truth to what really happened that dark night over forty years ago when three men were killed.

But in the middle of searching for answers, Johanna finds herself struggling with a crushing crisis that comes from living a double life. Who is she, really? Does Johanna have it in her to embrace what she needs most as she desperately fights for justice for a man who once wished her dead?

Book two in the Willow Brook – Secrets of the Pen series, you will want to read book one, Forbidden Gift, or you will be somewhat lost in this book. But don’t despair, it’s such a good book.

Forbidden Truth is again full of twists and turns, memories and emotions. All the emotions. I read as quickly as I could just to see how it would end. I mean, we know the ending in most stories, but the journey to get there is what keeps us reading. And this book is no different.

Not your “typical” Amish story, seeing how Johanna balanced the Amish and English worlds was interesting. Both she and Judah are well written, strong characters who are dealing with a lot in life. Yet we see God’s hand throughout. We’re also reminded that everyone has a story and we can’t judge a person’s actions by what we see. What happened to them in the past that developed them into who they are?

A story of forgiveness and faith, I highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Forbidden Gift by Debra Torres

What if your greatest passion was a threat to all of your family?

Johanna Yoder is Amish. Forbidden from writing by her Bishop. But she can’t keep the words from pouring out, and when she’s found out she faces an ultimatum that will crush her, no matter which path she chooses. And when Johanna discovers a secret that could tear her family and entire community apart, she must make a choice that could turn her Amish district upside down.

Reporter Judah Barton is on a climb to the top of his world, and he doesn’t have a care for the people he crushes under his feet on the way up. But then his newspaper’s finances are hit hard, and the answers that were always so easy to find have vanished. He vows to help his editor save the paper, no matter the cost. But then he meets a young Amish writer, and his life takes a turn in a way he never could have imagined.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Debra Torres. Full of twists and turns, memories and emotions, it kept me reading as quickly as possible to see what was next.

Well developed characters, a great storyline all make this a story that I highly recommend.

Her Amish Springtime Miracle by Winnie Griggs

In this delightful and heartwarming novel, an orphaned baby brings together an unlikely couple who learn the true meaning of family.

When Hannah Eicher discovered sweet baby Grace in her barn last spring, the adorable infant seemed like the answer to her prayers. The young Amish baker has always wanted a familye of her own and now that she’s fostered Grace for nearly a year, her adoption application is almost certain to be approved. But an unexpected visitor to Hope’s Haven could change everything…

Englischer paramedic Mike Colder is only returning to his childhood hometown to locate and adopt his late sister’s baby. But when the trail leads to Hannah and Grace, Mike’s determination falters. With Hannah, the simple life he left behind suddenly seems appealing. Despite their wildly different worlds, can Mike and Hannah give each other—and Grace—the greatest gift of all: a life together?

Such a charming, heartwarming story. Author Winnie Griggs brings her characters to life in book two of her Hope’s Haven series. If you haven’t read book one, that’s okay. I haven’t either and had no trouble following this story line.

Strong, well developed characters bring this story to life. To read while Hannah goes through so many difficult things. Oh my. I won’t go into them because I don’t want to give it away but I was in tears at times. Yet Hannah held strong and believed God was walking with her. And Mike. So many wounds due to other people. He was a gem! Add in baby Grace who was adorable and you have a wonderful story. I highly recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

To Tame a Cowboy by Jody Hedlund

They share a passion to heal what is broken, but it’s their own hearts that need to be made whole. 

Brody McQuaid is a broken man, and he knows it. While his body survived the war, his soul did not. Besides loving his little niece, his only sense of purpose comes from saving the wild horses that roam South Park. Ranchers in the area have taken to killing the horses, which are competing with their cattle to feed on the open grass.

Savannah Marshall is a veterinarian on her family’s Colorado ranch. She longs to keep her father happy following the tragic death of her older brother, including marrying a man of his choosing. But days before her wedding, she gets cold feet and disappears to South Park. As she learns more about the destruction of the horses, she joins Brody in an attempt to save the wild creatures. But when Savannah’s family and the resentments of the area cattlemen catch up with them both, Brody and Savannah will have to tame their fears if they’ve any hope to let love run free.

Author Jody Hedlund does it again with book three in her Colorado Cowboys series. To Tame a Cowboy is one of her best.

Hedlund always does a great job with details. Her historical research shows in this story as the reader is set into that time period. And her descriptions. Seriously, you can smell the dust. Hear the creak of the saddle. You see the horses on the range.

The characters in To Tame a Cowboy are strong, and well developed. You’ll love them. Or not. As is expected. Of course there’s a clean romance. It wouldn’t be a Hedlund western without it. But the story itself flows so well with true to life events; heartache, fear, anger. All of the emotions in a beautiful story. I highly recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Love in Plain Sight by Kathleen Fuller

In the town of Birch Creek where the only danger is getting swept off your feet, Katharine Miller hides the secrets of her past . . . until she meets Ezra Bontrager and is forced to face the greatest risk of all—opening her heart to true love

After fleeing her hometown, Katharine finds peace and anonymity while working at Stoll’s Inn and keeping to herself. As long as her guard is up, she can protect herself and others from her past, with the hope that one day her family will forgive her for leaving.

Ezra Bontrager has never shared a love of farming with his brothers and father, and when he takes a job at Stoll’s Inn, he quickly finds even more reason to come to work every day. Although he has no intention of marrying anytime soon, Ezra can’t help but want to learn more about the quiet and mysterious newcomer who doesn’t appear to have come to Birch Creek looking for a husband, as so many have done after the want ad that advertised Birch Creek’s many bachelors.

As Katharine and Ezra continue to cross paths, Katharine feels her defenses lower, and Ezra no longer scoffs at the idea of marriage. Just as they start to hope for the future, the past comes roaring back—not just for Katharine and Ezra but for the entire community of Birch Creek. Confronting that past won’t be easy, but it brings the opportunity for love and grace to abound.

I thoroughly enjoyed Love in Plain Sight. Author Kathleen Fuller gave us true to life characters who you will either love or…..not. Katharine struggles through domestic abuse by fleeing and lying. Then runs into the incorrigible and lovable Amish matchmakers. Ezra is searching for what he wants to do in life, and that doesn’t include getting married. Sparks fly!

I appreciated revisiting with characters from the first two books of the series, as well as some loose ends being tied up. If you’re looking for real characters who struggle and overcome, and lots of laughter along the way, then I can highly recommend Love in Plain Sight.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

The 80s Rom Com Club by Mikal Dawn, Bell Renshaw, Jennifer Rodewald, Betsy St. Amant, Teresa Tysinger, Jaycee Weaver

Is there, like, anything more totally awesome than the fun, feel-good blockbusters of the 1980s? The women who make up the online Just Another 80s Rom Com Lovers Club don’t think so. Join these digital friends as they each live out their own swoon-worthy love stories, minus teased bangs and mini skirts, reminiscent of some of your favorite romantic comedies from the most righteous decade.

The Fix Up by Mikal Dawn: Henley Morris and Not-the-Movie-Star Brad Pitt are teamed up on a home renovation show with tools, limited time, and a budget. The home they’re assigned to renovate is a money “pitt” and they’re sure it’s out to get them. So is the general contractor. And don’t even get them started on the family of squirrels living in it…

Falling For a Price by Bell Renshaw: Amie Lewis prefers writing about the escapades of others, but when a mysterious note arrives, it’s time to start her own adventure. Hiring Malcom Price, a handsome but obnoxious guide, is her first mistake. Being caught in the middle of his feud with Russian treasure hunters is the second. The third? Falling for him.

Lake Shore Wandering by Jennifer Rodewald: Hazel Wallace is working on a plan to keep her peaceful, remote life. When Bennet Crofton shows up pretending to be something he’s not, she knows she’s running out of time. Luckily for her, he hit his head and can’t remember a thing. With a sudden inspiration thanks to an 80’s RomCom, she’s got a whole new plan.

Evie Tyler’s Day Off by Betsy St. Amant: When Evie Tyler plays hooky on her 30th birthday to complete the remaining 9 items on her “30 Before 30” bucket list with her best friend, she never expected her childhood crush—her BFF’s brother—to tag along. Red convertibles, impromptu concerts, and a hilarious comedy of errors collide into one day off Evie will never forget.

Just Like That by Teresa Tysinger: New York City-based influencer Jane Holland is about to reel in the biggest partnership of her career. Life takes an unexpected turn when she’s needed in North Carolina to care for her niece. Will Jane find where she truly fits in her rural hometown—and with Andrew, her all-grown-up crush? Or, will opportunity draw her back to the life she always thought she wanted?

Sure About You by Jaycee Weaver: Editor, foodie, and 80s movies lover Isley Bradford lives by her trusty planner. Securing her dream job means traveling to a conference with the too-charming coworker she loathes. But with each bump in the road—some literally—he challenges her perceptions and makes her laugh. She’d had her future perfectly planned. Now? She’s not so sure.

Such a fun compilation of novellas! They will take you down memory lane as you relive the good parts of the 80s through these stories.

Each of the authors brings her unique writing style to the Rom Com Club, making each story enjoyable in itself. Light, enjoyable reading but with depth as life throws curveballs at the heroines. With lots of laughter and many swoony sighs, I highly recommend this book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Shadows in the Mind’s Eye by Janyre Tromp

Charlotte Anne Mattas longs to turn back the clock. Before her husband, Sam, went to serve his country in the war, he was the man everyone could rely on–responsible, intelligent, and loving. But the person who’s come back to their family farm is very different from the protector Annie remembers. Sam’s experience in the Pacific theater has left him broken in ways no one can understand–but that everyone is learning to fear.

Tongues start wagging after Sam nearly kills his own brother. Now when he claims to have seen men on the mountain when no one else has seen them, Annie isn’t the only one questioning his sanity and her safety. If there were criminals haunting the hills, there should be evidence beyond his claims. Is he really seeing what he says, or is his war-tortured mind conjuring ghosts?

Annie desperately wants to believe her husband. But between his irrational choices and his nightmares leaking into the daytime, she’s terrified he’s going mad. Can she trust God to heal Sam’s mental wounds–or will sticking by him mean keeping her marriage at the cost of her own life?

Debut novelist Janyre Tromp delivers a deliciously eerie, Hitchcockian story filled with love and suspense. Readers of psychological thrillers and historical fiction by Jaime Jo Wright and Sarah Sundin will add Tromp to their favorite authors list.

Debut novelist Janyre Tromp writes a book that you’ll love if you enjoy eerie, psychological stories that have a sweet side. I couldn’t put it down and can’t wait for more from this author.

With attention to historical detail and description, Tromp pulls the reader into the story. I found my heart racing multiple times! Strong characters flesh out the story well. You’ll love Annie and her determination, as well as her ability to set boundaries. Your heart will break for Sam and all he’s dealing with after fighting for his country. Evil abounds but God is a present help. Yes, there are graphic scenes but they’re not overdone and are appropriate for the situation. Tromp also addresses PTSD and the hope of returning to health. I highly recommend this book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

When the Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer

How will she choose, knowing all she must sacrifice?

Libby has been given a powerful gift: to live one life in 1774 Colonial Williamsburg and the other in 1914 Gilded Age New York City. When she falls asleep in one life, she wakes up in the other. While she’s the same person at her core in both times, she’s leading two vastly different lives.

In Colonial Williamsburg, Libby is a public printer for the House of Burgesses and the Royal Governor, trying to provide for her family and support the Patriot cause. The man she loves, Henry Montgomery, has his own secrets. As the revolution draws near, both their lives–and any hope of love–are put in jeopardy.

Libby’s life in 1914 New York is filled with wealth, drawing room conversations, and bachelors. But the only work she cares about–women’s suffrage–is discouraged, and her mother is intent on marrying her off to an English marquess. The growing talk of war in Europe only complicates matters.

But Libby knows she’s not destined to live two lives forever. On her twenty-first birthday, she must choose one path and forfeit the other–but how can she choose when she has so much to lose in each life?

Author Gabrielle Meyer writes a time travel that’s different from any other. Libby in 1774 is also Libby in 1914. It’s quite interesting to see how she responds to both time periods, as of course they are vastly different. Meyer did great linking things together yet keeping each true to the period. A time crosser is a fun, interesting concept making the book one that’s hard to put down. Could there be more than one time crosser?

With attention to detail, this book is also a great read if you enjoy historical fiction. There is a sweet romance that I had no idea if it could be wrapped up happily. Was it? Read to find out! Do note there are some tough scenes, making this book not an appropriate read for teens. But Meyer handled it well and God’s goodness is seen throughout. I highly recommend When the Day Comes!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Finding Love in Big Sky Montana by Angela Ruth Strong

Bright Star Ranch led him to her–but will he stay?

Josh Lake is forced to head home for the holidays after he’s suspended from his job in the city, but running into Paisley Sheridan could be exactly what he needed. Not only does she board him at her ranch in exchange for his advertising expertise, but spending the Christmas season with her in Big Sky, Montana, brings more joy than he’s felt in a long while. Is he willing to give up the lavish lifestyle he’s worked for in exchange for the gift of love?

The last thing Paisley wants for Christmas is to spend time with Josh Lake—the guy who broke her heart in high school—but until her bank loan goes through, she has to take all the free help she can get. Unfortunately, Josh seems to want back in her life again, and the town’s quirky coffee shop owners don’t help by hanging mistletoe at every opportunity. Will Paisley succeed in driving him away, or will she find the healing needed to have hope for a future together?

Author Angela Ruth Strong takes us to Big Sky, Montana and Bright Star Ranch. Wonderful descriptions bring this story to life and make it so much more enjoyable.

Josh and Paisley are fun characters. Even when they drove me nuts with why they couldn’t be together. A lot. But hey, that’s part of the story. Both are strong and determined. And the secondary characters are marvelous! So much personality.

If you enjoy a warmhearted story with humor and faith in God, then I highly recommend this one!

Spines & Leaves by Chautona Havig

♥ Books are the strings that tie hearts together. ♥

With a month to get from Orange County, California to Delaware for his next corporate challenge, Milton Coleridge decides to spend a week at Joshua Tree National Park.

He never expected to find a floundering bookstore in need of his particular business skills. Will his methods of saving companies from bankruptcy or takeover work on such a small scale? And can he convince two people to risk their hearts?

Step into the Spines & Leaves, Tamarisk, California’s oldest (and only ever) bookstore. Come in out of the harsh, desert sun and wind and peruse all the store has to offer. It might just be more than you think.

One man, one store, thousands of books. What’ll it take to keep this bookstore from becoming a book ghost town… and what’ll it take for Milton to tie two heartstrings together?

Spine & Leaves is the introductory novella to the Bookstrings series.

What book lover doesn’t want to read a story with a bookstore setting? And this one is fun. Author Chautona Havig’s novella had a great setting with interesting descriptions. A bookstore in the desert? More than that, a bookstore in need of help. I found myself hoping it would survive. But did it? Read it and find out!

Interesting, even quirky, characters made this an enjoyable story. I couldn’t decide if I liked Milton or not. It will be fun to see if you do. The romance between…..guess(?) seemed a bit rushed but that’s the way it is with a novella. It didn’t detract from the enjoyment of reading Spines & Leaves.

If you enjoy a clean romance then you’ll enjoy this one. Grab a copy, sit back with your favorite beverage, and go hang out at Spines & Leaves.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

The Amish Twins Next Door by Vannetta Chapman

Two little matchmakers could change everything…in this novel by USA TODAY bestselling author Vannetta Chapman.

Falling for a pretend suitor could cause real complications… 

Amish single mom Deborah Mast is determined to raise her seven-year-old twin sons her way. But when neighbor Nicholas Stoltzfus takes the rambunctious boys on as apprentices on his farm, she’ll learn the value of his help with more than just the children. And when the two little matchmakers hatch a plan of their own, Deborah could also discover how to reopen her heart…

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.

Indiana Amish Brides

Book 1: A Widow’s Hope

Book 2: Amish Christmas Memories

Book 3: A Perfect Amish Match

Book 4: The Amish Christmas Matchmaker

Book 5: An Unlikely Amish Match

Book 6: The Amish Christmas Secret

Book 7: The Baby Next Door

Book 8: An Amish Baby for Christmas

Book 9: The Amish Twins Next Door

I have loved this entire series and Book 9 is no different. You don’t need to read the first eight as The Amish Twins Next Door works as a standalone, but I’d encourage you to read them. They’re fun and heartwarming.

Author Vannetta Chapman’s book takes on the subject of a single mother in the Amish community. We see forgiveness and love in action. Along with parents who think they know best for her. I loved the characters in this story. Deborah is strong and determined. Nicholas is a grumpy bachelor. And those twins. Oh those twins. Rascals with big hearts. 

Between the laughter and the moments that will make you sigh, is the theme of God’s forgiveness and love for us. A wonderful light story I highly recommend if  you want something that will help you relax. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

What Remains True by Nancy Naigle

Working at a little shop on Main Street in a small town is exactly the break that executive Merry Anna Foster needs following her divorce. She’s made a bet with her ex-husband that she can live on the amount of money she’s giving him in alimony. If she can do it, then Kevin will have to stop complaining and leave her alone. But after three months of this new life, will she even want to leave Antler Creek? 

Adam Locklear, bull rider and owner of the local feedstore, is having the best year of his rodeo career. He’s also a bit distracted by the pretty new neighbor living in his old bunkhouse. But Adam has no time for matters of the heart. He’s got his future all mapped out, and that future doesn’t involve a woman just yet. It doesn’t involve parenting a little girl either. However, Carly Fowler still suddenly leaves five-year-old Zan—the daughter Adam didn’t know he had—in his care. 

Is it possible that the future holds a life even better than what Merry Anna and Adam had each dreamed of? One that includes both tenderness and even love—not just for each other but for Zan too.

I love the setting of Antler Creek and the small gift shop where Merry Anna works. Author Nancy Naigle did a wonderful job of describing all the settings, including the ranch Adam lives on. It would be so fun to visit.

Well developed characters will quickly draw you into the story. Merry Anna (don’t you love that name!?) has surprised herself and is in for a huge life change. Adam doesn’t want any life changes, but here comes Zan. Who, by the way, is the cutest five year old ever. I really enjoyed “watching” the characters grow and mature as they overcame the curves life threw at them and learned to let God have the reins.

If you enjoy contemporary romance that handles some challenging subjects, then I recommend What Remains True.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

The Souls of Lost Lake by Jamie Jo Wright

Wren Blythe has long enjoyed being among the Northwoods, helping her father with programming at a youth camp. But when a little girl in the area goes missing, an all-out search ensues, reviving the decades-old campfire story of Ava Coons, the murderess, who still roams the woods. Joining the search, Wren stumbles upon the Coons cabin ruins and a rotting porcelain doll. But even more terrifying is seeing her name etched on the doll’s foot like a sinister omen.

In 1930, Ava Coons has spent the last ten years carrying the mantle of mystery since she emerged from the forest as an eight-year-old girl, spattered with blood, dragging a logger’s axe. She has accepted she’ll never remember what happened to her family. When a member of the town of Tempter’s Creek is murdered, rumors spread that Ava’s secret is more malicious than previously imagined.

Both women discover that to save the innocent, they must face an insidious evil.

Get ready for another thriller by author Jaime Jo Wright. The Souls of Lost Lake kept me riveted, in the daytime at least. Wright’s story is a good balance of good vs evil. Caring vs nasty. All woven into a dual timeline that fits together extremely well; no loose ends here. And Wright upped her romance game. There was plenty of tension yet not so much that it took away from the spooky suspense of the story. And mysteries abound. Which I never figured out.

A story of home. A story of hope. A story of redemption. This seriously has something for everyone. I will warn readers that it’s gory at times and contains threads of kidnapping and mental illness. Yet it wraps up as a beautiful story that left me with a huge, satisfied sigh. I highly recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Purchase here

Gasp. She made the story come to life with her different voices and inflections.

If you enjoy Christian historical fiction, whether by reading or listening, I recommend this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Their Alaskan Past by Belle Calhoune

Could their unexpected reunion lead to a second chance?

She broke his heart years ago but now she needs his help.

Veterinarian Maya Roberts has complicated feelings about her ex—Iditarod racer Ace Reynolds—returning to Owl Creek, Alaska. But he’s the perfect person to help with her dog rescue. Now they’re working together, caught by their tangled past and still-unresolved feelings for each other. But a second chance with Ace isn’t just about forgiveness. It means sharing the secret that’s kept them apart… 

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.

A HOME TO OWL CREEK TALE

Book 1: Her Secret Alaskan Family

Book 2: An Alaskan Twin Surprise

Book 3: Alaskan Christmas Redemption

Book 4: Hiding in Alaska

Book 5: Their Alaskan Past

It was so good to return to Owl Creek Alaska. Author Belle Calhoune has become a favorite and I’m always looking for her next book. Their Alaskan Past can definitely be read as a stand alone but if you haven’t read this series I highly recommend it. You’re in for a treat!

A past of broken hearts, secrets kept, and love lost, Their Alaskan Past has all of the feelings you could be looking for. Maya and Ace both had me grieving for them and wanting to pray for their wounds to heal. The mark of a really good book! Calhoune does a great job of weaving ends together in this heartwarming, clean romance. And while I’m not a dog person, I enjoyed reading about the dog rescue and the different personalities of the dogs. I highly recommend reading this book. I think you’ll love it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.

Check out past reviews!

2022

2021

2020

2 Responses to Reviews

  1. Kathryn Voss says:

    I really enjoyed Marrying Mr. Wrong!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s