Reviews

Where the Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Sometimes the hardest road of all is the road home.

When confident and handsome Eric Larson is sent to a rural Montana town to work in the local branch of his uncle’s financial company, he’s determined to exceed everyone’s expectations, earn a promotion, and be back in Seattle by the end of summer. Yet nothing could prepare him for the lessons this small town has in store.

At forty-six years old, eccentric and outspoken Eunice Parker has come to accept her terminal illness and has given herself one final goal: seek forgiveness from everyone on her bucket list before her time runs out. But it will take more courage than she can muster on her own.

After an accident pushes Eric and Eunice together, the unlikely pair is forced to spend more time with each other than either would like, which challenges their deepest prejudices and beliefs. As summer draws to a close, neither Eric nor Eunice is where they thought they would be, but they both wrestle with the same important question: What matters most when the end is near?

Where the Blue Sky Begins is honest, often raw, not glossed over with Christian phrases and niceties, and a must read.

Eunice has learned that forgiveness is necessary for peace. Eric needs to learn that money isn’t what’s important. They find themselves working together to learn these things. And while it’s not prominent, God is there throughout. Threaded through lives that need Him, but subtly working.

This book will make you think about what’s important and it uses strong characters to do it. Sometimes funny. Often painful. I loved this story and highly recommend it.

Purchase here

A Family for the Rancher by M.K. Stelmak

Can the prodigal cowboy…Teach her to hope again?

Horse trainer Mateo Pavlic wants to buy back his family’s ranch. But Haley Jansson isn’t interested in selling…or forgiving his twelve-year absence. Mateo has loved Haley since they were kids, and he feels a deep connection with her sweet son, Jonah. Soon, Mateo wants to be all in with Haley and her adorable baby. But can he convince her to risk her land, her child and her heart? 

Author M.K.Stelmak has written well developed, likable characters that you will fall in love with. Haley and Mateo have a history that may hinder their future. Haley really needed to learn to forgive. Yikes, she had a real issue there. Kudos to Mateo for taking responsibility. And baby Jonah. Who doesn’t love a man and a baby? So sweet!

I’ve never thought about ranching in Canada, so it was really fun to read about. Mateo wants the ranch. So does Haley. Can they come to an agreement? 

If you enjoy a sweet clean romance of second chances then you’ll want to read A Family for the Rancher.

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

Together for the Twins by Laurel Blount

He opened his home to twin boys….Will he open his heart to their nanny?

Self-made man Ryder Montgomery is the guy with all the answers…until he inherits custody of his out-of-control twin nephews. Nanny Elise Cooper is a lifesaver and even agrees to give him parenting lessons. Soon they’re starting to feel like a real family. But with an end-of-summer expiration date, is it even possible to build a future together?  

Author Laurel Blount writes a story that made me laugh and made me shake my head. Come on, Ryder. Get it together. Those twins had him so fooled. Poor guy didn’t know what to do. Until Nanny Elise came along to show him. Seriously, I hope Blount wasn’t writing from experience. Those twins were something else! Banned from the library??? That’s bad. Yet they were so cute I just had to laugh. Both Ryder and Elise were dealing with hurts. I enjoyed the way they grew together.

It was fun to meet up with Ruby and the siblings once again. Ruby is the ideal foster mom and matchmaker. I just love her.

If you want a fun story, with rascally twins, a matchmaking mama, and lots of feelings, then you must read Together for the Twins.

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

Snowstorm Sabotage by Kerry Johnson

Can she survive a blizzard…

and being framed?

Single mom Everly Raven didn’t just discover the murder of her friend—she’s being framed for it. Now she’s on the run from hired killers at her family’s ski resort, all while a deadly blizzard rages. Her only hope is her ex-husband, FBI agent Isaac Rhodes—the secret father of her child. But can they live long enough for him to meet their daughter—and clear Everly’s name?

Action packed from beginning to end! Author Kerry Johnson’s  debut book will keep you turning pages as fast as possible.

Characters Everly and Isaac are strong, and well written. Both are determined and often at odds with each other but both have a common goal. Keeping little Hannah safe. I liked the secondary characters as well and think you will too. Well except for the bad guys who were well written enough to hiss at.

If you enjoy suspense with clean romance, enough action to keep you on edge, unclear good and bad guys, then I can recommend Snowstorm Sabotage.

The Sisters of Seaview by Julie Klassen

Some guests have come for a holiday, others for hidden reasons of their own . . .

When their father’s death leaves them impoverished, Sarah Summers and her genteel sisters fear they will be forced to sell the house and separate to earn livelihoods as governesses or companions. Determined to stay together, Sarah convinces them to open their seaside home to guests to make ends meet and provide for their ailing mother. Instead of the elderly invalids they expect to receive, however, they find themselves hosting eligible gentlemen. Sarah is soon torn between a growing attraction to a mysterious Scottish widower and duty to her family.

Viola Summers wears a veil to cover her scar. When forced to choose between helping in her family’s new guest house and earning money to hire a maid to do her share, she chooses the latter. She reluctantly agrees to read to some of Sidmouth’s many invalids, preferring the company of a few elders with failing eyesight to the fashionable guests staying in their home. But when her first client turns out to be a wounded officer in his thirties, Viola soon wishes she had chosen differently. Her new situation exposes her scars–both visible and those hidden deep within–and her cloistered heart will never be the same.

Join the Summers sisters on the Devonshire coast, where they discover the power of friendship, loyalty, love, and new beginnings.

If you enjoy a wonderful Regency tale, then you must read The Sisters of Seaview, book one in Klassen’s On Devonshire Shores series. (I’m already looking forward to book two!) Sometimes the characters reminded me of Little Women, other times Sense and Sensibility. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Well developed characters, each with their own strong personalities and trials, drew me in quickly. The sisters banded together to support and save the family in their own ways. They have strong family ties, which I enjoyed. And they had to come to terms with what they were dealing with. It was fun to see personalities shine.

Klassen brought in a lot of historical facts, such as bathing machines, what women could and couldn’t do, and so many other things to flesh out the story and make it very imaginable. It’s a must read! 

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

Purchase here

Twice Sold Tales by Chautona Havig

If only owning a bookstore didn’t mean dealing with people.

No one was more surprised than Harper Brevig when Great Aunt Lorene (not “Lori,” thank-you-very-much) died and left her least favorite niece her bookstore–including a prime piece of real estate in downtown Red Wing, Minnesota.

Making a go of the place shouldn’t be too hard. With her library science degree, she should be set. Then again, the website describing library degrees had said it would teach her excellent communication skills. It had not. Could she get a partial refund?

Still, owning the building should mean crazy-low overhead to offset her less than optimal “book-side” manner. Ahem. So when yet another huge bill arrives, and she starts getting twitchy about the low bank balance, Harper does the only thing she can think of.

Enter Milton Coleridge. He’d been excited about the possibilities of the store last year, but Harper had sent him packing before he could talk to her about them. Now he has a chance to make a difference. But she’s right. She’s bleeding money, and it doesn’t make sense!

Milton’s job is to figure out what’s going on, plug the financial leak, and maybe… do a little matchmaking. That dad with the adorable little boy would be good for her… and she’d be good for him. Probably.

Oh my goodness. What a fun story! First off, being an avid reader, the setting of a bookstore is perfect. Then author Chautona Havig weaves in so many familiar authors and book titles and quotes that it was like visiting with old friends. I smiled all the way through. Let me say that although this is the first book in the Bookstrings Series, reading Havig’s novella, Spines & Leaves, will give some explanation to people and happenings in Twice Sold Tales.

Unique characters made this story what it is. Harper owns a bookstore but doesn’t like people in it. Milton was welcomed back after being kicked out. Noah is getting to know his young son Bennie, who loves ballet and has a great sense of humor. I promise if you’re looking for a light, fun story with books, lots of books, this one’s for you. And Harper’s t-shirts are something that I must buy! Read it and find out.

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

The Rose and the Thistle by Laura Frantz

In 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley’s father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies, forcing her to flee her home in northern England. Secreted to the tower of Wedderburn Castle in Scotland, Lady Blythe awaits who will ultimately be crowned king. But in a house with seven sons and numerous servants, her presence soon becomes known.

No sooner has Everard Hume lost his father, Lord Wedderburn, than Lady Hedley arrives with the clothes on her back and her mistress in tow. He has his own problems–a volatile brother with dangerous political leanings, an estate to manage, and a very young brother in need of comfort and direction in the wake of losing his father. It would be best for everyone if he could send this misfit heiress on her way as soon as possible.

Drawn into a whirlwind of intrigue, shifting alliances, and ambitions, Lady Blythe must be careful whom she trusts. Her fortune, her future, and her very life are at stake. Those who appear to be adversaries may turn out to be allies–and those who pretend friendship may be enemies.

If you enjoy historical fiction, The Rose and the Thistle is a must read. Author Laura Frantz takes historical facts and weaves them into a spellbinding story that kept me reading way past bedtime. The descriptions of castles and flower gardens  are incredibly well done. I’m sure I stepped right into the book!

Main characters Blythe and Everard are strong and well developed. Blythe is independent and Everard is a bit of a curmudgeon. But they have chemistry and I enjoyed their slow developing romance. And through it all, we see God and the need for Him.

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

Purchase here

Within These Walls of Sorrow by Amanda Barratt

Zosia Lewandowska knows the brutal realities of war all too well. Within weeks of Germany’s invasion of her Polish homeland, she lost the man she loves. As ghetto walls rise and the occupiers tighten their grip on the city of Krakow, Zosia joins pharmacist Tadeusz Pankiewicz and his staff in the heart of the Krakow ghetto as they risk their lives to aid the Jewish people trapped by Nazi oppression.

Hania Silverman’s carefree girlhood is shattered as her family is forced into the ghetto. Struggling to survive in a world hemmed in by walls and rife with cruelty and despair, she encounters Zosia, her former neighbor, at the pharmacy. As deportation winnow the ghetto’s population and snatch those she holds dear, Hania’s natural resiliency is exhausted by reality.

Zodia and Hania’s lives intertwine as they face the griefs and fears thrust upon them by war, until one day, they are forced to make a desperate choice . . . one that will inexorably bind them together, even as they are torn apart.

Amanda Barratt’s meticulous research and lush, award-winning writing shine once again in this moving look at a group of unsung heroes who fought for hope and humanity in the most harrowing of times.

Author Amanda Barratt is well known for her historical fiction based on real happenings. Within These Walls of Sorrow is no different. This book is such a painful story, yet laced throughout with hope. Barratt was able to write beauty in the midst of WWII horror. Real people who gave their all to help, these Polish pharmacists were heroes.

So hard to read, I had to keep putting it down and yet I was always compelled to pick it back up and read more. Unflinching and unapologetic, Barratt tells the story of what happened. No embellishments but simple grim truth. I highly recommend this for anyone interested in history.

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

Her Amish Adversary by Vannetta Chapman

Joining forces with her rival…

Means risking everything.  

Running the RV park at her father’s Amish market makes Bethany Yoder happy—until he hires her childhood nemesis, Aaron King. Soon Bethany’s quaint ideas clash with Aaron’s Englisch-style upgrades. But they must work together to turn a profit…or else. When their unlikely alliance turns into something more, will Aaron’s secrets break them—and the business—apart forever?

The enemies to friends to…maybe more….by Vannetta Chapman was delightful to read. I enjoyed the fact that Bethany and Aaron were forced to work together or be without a job. To watch them grow and allow the past to heal was wonderful because that’s often how life works.

Chapman always writes humor and quirkiness into her books and that keeps me reading. This book works as a stand alone but do read book one, An Amish Proposal for Christmas, as the Yoder sisters are so much fun. I look forward to reading more about them!

If you enjoy Amish fiction then I recommend Her Amish Adversary.

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

The Amish Bachelor’s Bride by Pamela Wright

Marrying in name only…

Could lead to more than they expected  

Single mother Lavinia Simmons’s world is turned upside down when she discovers her late husband gambled away their home. A quick marriage of convenience to bachelor Noem Witzel in return for caring for his niece and nephew is the solution both Lavinia and Noem need. Neither of them is looking for romance. But what if these perfect strangers have other ideas?

I enjoyed returning to Humble, Wisconsin, to the Amish village that author Pamela Wright has created. Book two in her Humble Blessings series, it can be read as a stand alone but I highly recommend book one, Finding Her Amish Home, because it’s good and introduces us to some of the characters.

A marriage of convenience story, Lavinia and Noem need each other, but they don’t want each other. Both are carrying hurts that need God to heal. The faith thread throughout is inspiring.

A slow to build clean romance, I recommend it if you enjoy Amish Fiction.

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

Depending on the Cowboy by Jill Kemerer

The most reliable man

Could be the cowboy right in front of her.

Blaine Mayer’s life gets complicated when his high school crush, Sienna Powell—pregnant and recently divorced—comes to stay on his family’s ranch. He needs to focus on the cattle but can’t stop spending time with her. As Sienna’s visit nears its end, Blaine hates the thought of her walking out of his life for good. Can he prove to Sienna that he’s the man she needs?

Jill Kemerer’s cowboy stories are so enjoyable to read and this one is no different. 

Main characters Blaine and Sienna have history but time has brought changes, heartache, and growth. Can they find each other again while working on trust and caring for family?

Sienna’s niece and nephew are good kids who need to be cared for, instead of being caretakers. I enjoyed their personalities and they definitely added to the story. And puppies. Who doesn’t like puppies?

If you enjoy a clean romance that’s relaxing to read, then I recommend Depending on the Cowboy.

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

A Mark of Grace by Kimberley Woodhouse

When everything crumbles, her chance for a new beginning hangs in the balance.

Ruth Anniston survived an injury that left her physically scarred, broken, and angry at God. Now, she finds herself working behind the scenes as a kitchen and dining room supervisor at the El Tovar Hotel, hidden away from curious eyes and with little hope of finding love. When money begins to disappear from the hotel, Ruth’s entire livelihood is put at risk when she lands on the list of suspects.

Frank Henderson has at last succeeded in obtaining his dream job as head chef at the El Tovar. But competition in the kitchen is fierce, and one mistake could cost him his future. As the thefts at the hotel continue, and his affection for Ruth grows, Frank’s career–and his heart–are in jeopardy.

As tensions run high, Ruth and Frank must work together to save the El Tovar. They find themselves growing closer . . . but can their combined ingenuity overcome the odds against them?

Oh my goodness. This third and final book in the Secrets of the Canyon series kept me up past my bedtime. You can read it as a standalone but do read book one, A Deep Divide, and book two, A Gem of Truth. It’s been a great series and I’m sorry to see it end but I’m sure author Kimberley Woodhouse has more excellent books coming soon.

Strong, well developed and usually very determined characters made this book so interesting. To see how Ruth comes to the point of needing and desiring healing, only to find that grace was always waiting, was so well written that I found myself in tears. And Frank. Big, strong, soft hearted Frank. A wonderful hero. I want to meet both of them at the rim of the Canyon.

Woodhouse does a fabulous job of describing the area around the Grand Canyon. You’ll be able to see it, even if you’ve never been there. And her descriptions of people. She nailed this one and if you enjoy historical fiction you must read it. When the puzzle pieces started to fall together I still couldn’t figure out how the crime and danger would be resolved. That’s why I read past my bedtime. I couldn’t go to sleep with everyone’s lives hanging in the balance. Add in a clean romance, really good secondary characters, and characters from books one and two, and you have a story that will stay with you as God’s grace is revealed.

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

Purchase here

Her Heart’s Desire by Shelley Shepard Gray

Mary Margaret Miller needs an escape from her small Amish community. She boards a bus, all alone, for a vacation in Pinecraft, Florida. Meeting Betsy and Lilly on the way, she’s amazed to find two kindred spirits. They become fast friends and determine to have the best two weeks of their lives. For Mary, it starts when she meets Jayson Raber. The handsome and charming carpenter is taken by Mary from the get-go, but he has responsibilities back home in Kentucky–including a girl he’s supposed to marry.

When someone from Mary’s past shows up in Pinecraft, it seems like her perfect vacation is ruined. But that’s nothing compared to what’s coming when she realizes what Jayson has been hiding.

Take a vacation with New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray as she explores what happens when we allow our pasts to define our futures in this story of friendship, romance, and new beginnings.

Author Shelley Shepard Gray writes a book that will challenge your thinking about forgiveness. Is it to be given freely? Earned? This theme was a struggle throughout most of the book, making this a non-typical Amish story. Gray tackled hurt, betrayal, and unforgiveness head on. It definitely isn’t super sweet but quite true to life as we see everyone has issues to deal with in life.

I did struggle a bit with these young people; at times they felt childish. Yet it was fun to see them grow and come into their own while on vacation. Away from family and social expectations.

If you enjoy Amish fiction with reality then I highly recommend Her Heart’s Desire.

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

Purchase here

Engaging Deception by Regina Jennings

A lively competition draws her into her rival’s blueprints–and maybe even his heart.

Olive Kentworth has spent her life hiding her interest in architecture, even though she pores over architectural books and sketches buildings. When she accepts a job on a home expansion, it’s only because her cousin Amos agrees to pose as the builder. To further hide her involvement, Olive takes a position as a nanny–not knowing that she’ll be working for her idol, Joplin’s leading architect, widower Maxfield Scott.

Maxfield is intrigued by his new nanny–she makes his home and his life bearable again. His work, on the other hand, is a disaster. An untrained builder is remodeling a completed project of his. What’s worse, Maxfield’s current client wants changes to his plans because of that builder’s work.

As the architectural one-upmanship heats up, Olive’s involvement becomes harder to hide. Will the relationship between her and Maxfield survive, or will they both miss out on building something for their future?

Book three in the Joplin Chronicles series is a winner! You could read this as a standalone but would miss some of the references to the other books in the series, so I highly recommend reading them in order. Book one is Courting Misfortune. Book two is Proposing Mischief. All three are fabulous stories of adventure, intrigue, and clean romance.

Engaging Deception gives us the story of Olive Kentworth. A strong woman who loves architecture, which wasn’t the norm for women, I loved the lengths she went to to hide this. There were many laughs as well as feeling bad for her. And then there’s Maxfield. Hurting. Hiding. In need of help. And with two adorable children who need him desperately.

If you enjoy historical fiction with clean romance, lots of laughs, and plenty of awww….moments, then I highly recommend this story.

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

Purchase here

Check out past reviews!

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2 Responses to Reviews

  1. Kathryn Voss says:

    I really enjoyed Marrying Mr. Wrong!

    Like

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