Reviews

A Distance Too Grand by Regina Scott

DistanceMeg Pero has been assisting her photographer father since she was big enough to carry his equipment, so when he dies she is determined to take over his profession–starting with fulfilling the contract he signed to serve on an Army survey of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1871. What she doesn’t realize is that the leader of the expedition is none other than the man she once refused to marry.

Captain Ben Coleridge would like nothing more than to leave without the woman who broke his heart, but he refuses to wait even one more day to get started. This survey is a screen for another, more personal mission, one he cannot share with any member of his team.

As dangers arise from all sides, including within the survey party, Meg and Ben must work together to stay alive, fulfill their duties, and, just maybe, rekindle a love that neither had completely left behind.

Book 1 in the American Wonders Collection has left me eagerly awaiting Book 2! Author Regina Scott takes you to the Grand Canyon, teaches you about taking pictures in the 1800s, and introduces you to some very real people. Her research of history is intriguing, as she writes about things that just aren’t commonly written about, and in a very compelling manner.

This story isn’t just historical. There is intrigue and danger that comes from an unexpected source, as well as light romance. This book has something for everyone.  

I thoroughly enjoyed it! Grab a copy if you like Christian historical fiction.

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

 

Imagine; The Miracles of Jesus by Matt Koceich

ImagineThe last thing twelve-year-old John Le remembers (before the world as he knew it disappeared) is flying home through turbulent skies to McCarran International Airport. What happens next can’t be explained as John finds himself in the middle of a wooden boat surrounded by a group of men—in ancient Israel! Imagine. . .The Miracles of Jesus is the fifth release in an exciting epic adventure series for kids ages 8 to 12 written by schoolteacher Matt Koceich. The Imagine series brings the Bible to life for today’s kids as they ponder what it would be like to live through a monumental biblical event.

Don’t miss Book 1 in the Imagine Series–The Great Flood. . .Book 2–The Ten Plagues. . .Book 3–The Fall of Jericho. . .or Book 4–The Giant’s Fall!

Author Matt Koceich has written another great book in his Imagine series. My grandsons are really enjoying these and I highly recommend them. 

I will say that the story can get intense but what child doesn’t wonder about meeting Jesus?! Full of excitement and biblical truth, children who read in the age range of ages 8 – 12 will relish the adventure that John finds himself on.

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

 

Lessons on Love by Susanne Dietze, Rita Gerlach, Kathleen L. Maher, and Carrie Fancett Pagels

LessonsFour Teachers Find More Than They Bargained for in Their Contracts

 

Something Old, Something New by Kathleen L. Maher

New York, 1840s

Her father’s sudden death makes Gilda Jacobs the new schoolmaster, but to teach Christian curriculum she partners with fire-and-brimstone revivalist Joshua Blake, who learns a lesson in love.

Love in Any Language by Susanne Dietze

Kansas, 1870

Mary Clarence teaches English to the children of Swedish immigrants, but when her favorite students’ widowed father, Kristofer Nilsson, is accused of robbery, she’s determined to clear his name. 

In Desperate Straits by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Mackinac Island, Michigan, 1894

Desperate for work, Margaret Hadley dresses as a young man to secure a dray driver’s position. When soldiers at the fort threaten her, Mackinac Island’s newest teacher, Jesse Huntington, intervenes. 

A Song in the Night by Rita Gerlach

Virginia, 1904

Karin Wiles longs to share the uplifting power of music with children. But when she seeks to improve a poorly run school and include orphans, Nathaniel Archer delivers harsh words of opposition from the school board.

Such an enjoyable book! I loved the history of the day. Women could only teach if they were single and there wasn’t a man available as a teacher. And of course men made better teachers. Sure glad we know better now!

The characters in this set of novellas are well developed and most of them are people I’d love to know. Times were hard in each story, but strong backbones made for people who didn’t quit. They pushed through hardships to come out the other side with much learned along the way.

With some intrigue and light romance, this is a must read if you enjoy historical fiction as I do.

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

 

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep

51d9RzKh2ML._SY346_Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep

Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep:

12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

 

A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?

The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

Author Michelle Griep is an incredible writer, who takes her reader straight to Old England in this compilation of Christmas stories. With quirky, lovable characters these Christmas stories are wonderful for reading at any time of the year.

I thoroughly enjoyed Griep’s descriptions of places and people Of course these stories show us what England was like in those days, which is fun to learn about. Woven throughout is the love of God and the reminder that He is here to help us.

If you enjoy “Dickensesque” stories with clean romance then this is the book for you!

 

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

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

41EsLchX74L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgGray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before it spirals out of control, he returns to his ancestral home to save his brother and sister before it’s too late.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

Author Elizabeth Camden always weaves an intriguing story. Rich with details and history, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Learning about the spice trade was an incredible bonus.

The plot was interesting, laced with intrigue and suspense and moved at a good pace. A clean romance added to the appeal. Well developed characters and good descriptions made this story a page turner. I recommend it!

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

 

An Amish Christmas Bakery by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, Beth Wiseman

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From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four delicious stories perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the holiday season.

Cookies and Cheer by Amy Clipston

Alyssa Byler wants to build a sugar cookie nativity scene for her bakery’s Christmas window display—all she needs is the right cookie cutters. She turns to handsome blacksmith Kyle Smoker. Using Kyle’s handmade cutters, Alyssa created a striking display that brings more customers than she can handle. She soon realizes she’s been too busy to focus on the true meaning of Christmas—and too distracted to explore her feelings for Kyle. Together, they put aside the holiday rush to celebrate the season that brought them together.

Loaves of Love by Beth Wiseman

Katie Swartzentruber has been left in charge of her family’s bakery, but she soon finds herself overwhelmed with orders during the holiday season. She is tempted to move her Old Order family into the modern world by using propane ovens. Meanwhile, her childhood friend Henry Hershberger is trying to find the courage to tell Katie that he’s harbored a secret crush on Katie for years. As the demands at the bakery intensify, both Katie and Henry must find the courage to go after what’s important.

Melting Hearts by Kathleen Fuller

When her aunt Carolyn begs for help during the busy Christmas rush, Mattie Shetler eagerly packs her bags and heads to Birch Creek. She doesn’t know her uncle has also asked for help with the bakery’s new expansion from Peter Kaufman, Mattie’s sworn enemy. As the two work together, Mattie discovers not all is as it seems. With Christmas just around the corner, Mattie and Peter open their hearts for the greatest gifts of the season: forgiveness and maybe even love.

Cakes and Kisses by Kelly Irvin

Martha Ropp works hard at her family’s bakery, making cakes and pies for community celebrations. To help during the busy Christmas season, Martha’s mother hires Ambrose Hershberger to make deliveries. Martha remembers Ambrose as a gentle giant from her school days. But the more they work together, the more they want to spend time together outside of the bakery. When both are too timid to make the first move, the town matchmakers step in.

What a wonderful, heart warming set of Christmas stories. I enjoyed them all. Each story takes place in a bakery, giving them a wonderful theme throughout all four books.

The characters are the kind that, as a reader, you fall in love with. Less than perfect but with hearts to follow God, they feel genuine.

Being set in a bakery, this will really get you in the mood for Christmas as each author describes the wonderful fresh products and the smells that draw you in. I’m ready to bake!

Don’t get the idea, however, that each story is the same. From Clipston’s book about taking on too much and losing the meaning of Christmas, Wiseman’s story is the struggle to be more modern, Fuller’s character has the feeling like someone is an enemy, and Irvin’s Ambrose who is different than others, the authors put their unique brand on their story. 

If you enjoy Amish fiction with a Christmas theme then you will love this book.

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

 

Once Upon a Christmas by Toni Shiloh, Andrea Boyd, Mikal Dawn, Angela Ruth Strong, & Jaycee Weaver

518bSedL+hL.jpgEmbrace the magic of the Christmas season with these contemporary twists on timeless tales.

Upon a Dream — A rare sleeping disorder keeps Talia from performing, but when Philip recognizes her gift, he’ll do whatever it takes to see her onstage.

Claim My Heart — Li Na and Colin Wen face off in a Mulan-esque courtroom battle where the real win might be losing their hearts.

 

A Snow White Christmas — Sheltered heiress Amala White flees her conniving stepmother’s plans and finds refuge with a handsome orchard owner and his seven quirky uncles.

Christmas Ella — Reality TV meets Cinderella story when a location director is swept off her feet by a rising star.

A Splash of Love — Las Vegas glitz meets Land of Enchantment culture in A Splash of Love, a modern twist on the Little Mermaid.

What fun! The authors took well-known tales and made them modern. You can just imagine meeting these people on the street. Yet we have fairy tales. Heroes. Modern Day Princesses. Seven….Dwarfs? And all at Christmas! It’s magical.

If you’re looking for a new twist on old stories, sweet romances, and Christmas then you’ll want to grab this book full of wonderful characters.

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

 

A Christmas Haven by Cindy & Erin Woodsmall

51agofoFqlL.jpgFor fans of holiday romances and Amish life comes a new Christmas tale of surprising expectations and discovering miracles.

Old Order Amish Ivy Zook is wrestling with her need to shed her community’s ways so she can grow the business of her dreams: planning parties. As long as she’s stuck living without modernization, she can barely get her business on its feet. But if she leaves too soon, she’d cause trouble for her sister, Holly, who is planning her wedding to Joshua Smucker. All of their plans become twice as complicated when an old car crashes into the storefront of Greene’s Pharmacy, carrying a Swartzentruber (ultra-conservative sect) Amish man, Arlan, and his very ill sister.

The Zooks take in Arlan and Madga, tending to the woman’s illness and Arlan begins helping around the family farm. Ivy and Arlan are on different tracks, one wanting to leave her community and the other to return to his. But both young people are trying to discover what God has in store for their futures and what miracles might lie around the corner this Christmas season.

Another delightful Christmas book by authors Cindy and Erin Woodsmall, I enjoyed every page. Returning to Haven, seeing old friends, and making new friends was wonderful.

I enjoy that the authors can make a book enjoyable while still dealing with some tough subjects. Learning about the Swartzentruber Amish was really interesting, and yet frustrating because they seem to be pretty heartless to those in need. And yet for our Amish friends there is a deep faith in God and trust that He’ll accomplish His will.

Get a copy and read as Ivy, Arlan, and Holly all learn where God wants them. If you love Amish fiction you’ll love this book.

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

 

Jesus in Me; Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion by Anne Graham Lotz

41ZtVusvMeL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_The internationally recognized Bible teacher and daughter of Billy Graham combines unique biblical insights and her own personal stories to show how the Holy Spirit guides us in our decisions, comforts us in pain, and stays by our side at all times, enriching our daily lives.

In Jesus in Me, Anne Graham Lotz draws on her rich biblical knowledge as well as her personal journey—including her recent cancer diagnosis—to help us understand that the Holy Spirit is not a magic genie, a flame of fire, or a vague feeling. He is a Person who prays for us, guides us in our relationships and decisions, comforts us in pain, and stays by our side at all times. In this seminal teaching, she explores seven key aspects of the Holy Spirit that will revolutionize how you understand and relate to this vital third Person in the Trinity.

As Anne writes, “One of my deepest, richest joys has been discovering by experience who the Holy Spirit is in every step of my life’s journey. Each name that He has been given—Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, and Standby—reveals another aspect of His beautiful character and has provoked in me a deep love for the One who is my constant Companion . . . Jesus in me.”

Discover how to better love and rely on the person of the Holy Spirit—and embrace how much He loves you through His presence, power, and provision in our daily lives.

In her book, Jesus In Me, author Anne Graham Lotz talks about the person of the Holy Spirit; what His job is and how He helps us. Drawing on her life experiences, Lotz gives examples of how the Holy Spirit has helped her, and how she has learned to tap into this rich resource. Her warm writing style will cause you to feel as if you’re having coffee with a friend who loves to teach about the Holy Spirit.

I liked the way the author broke down each chapter in easy to read topics. And of course the Appendixes should not be optional reading with this book. There is much meat, much instruction on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, how to hear Him, and other subjects. I highly recommend it!

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

 

With You Here by Sarah Monzon

51BlmhcO3lLHoly Roman Empire, 1527

In the wake of Martin Luther’s religious reforms, Princess Christyne von Heidelbraum is compelled by her sense of duty to help ease the burden of her people. When she stumbles upon a dying man in the woods, she vows to aid him—even when she discovers the arrow shot in his leg was put there by a heretic hunter. With both her physical and spiritual well-being in danger, she must choose between conscience or adhering to the laws of the Empire.

Present Day

Doubting her calling to become a hospital chaplain, Amber Carrington takes time off from her theology studies to volunteer with refugees in Germany. Working with children, making a difference, reconnecting with the conviction that once drove her—these were her expectations. An instant attraction to a professional soccer player wasn’t a part of the plan…and she can’t let him distract her from her purpose.

As a new Christian, Seth Marshall is determined to put his popularity as a world-renowned footballer to good use. Unfortunately, old habits and public opinions are hard to overcome. When he falls hard and fast for Amber Carrington, his former life—and her no-dating policy—may block his perfect shot for the woman he loves.

Author Sarah Monzon does a great job with her split time novel. Taking us back to the 1500s she wraps a lot of history into this part of the story. I found it riveting, in fact, to read about her characters in that time frame and how they lived and thought. Then forwarding us to the present day, she does an equally good job, including her speciality of writing about different cultures.

Characters that are strong and well-defined bring this story to life. Very human in their life challenges and weaknesses, belief in God is the common thread, giving this story a wonderful depth. And yet there are moments of lightness that will make you smile. I highly recommend this book!

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

 

Christmas in Winter Hill  by Melody Carlson

51uqAlQQ9yL._SY346_Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, “Where’s the snow?” Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you’ll never forget–and never want to leave.

A wonderful, feel good story for the Christmas season, author Melody Carlson doesn’t steer away from a difficult storyline. Some have reviewed this book and said that the challenges Krista faces makes the story “not fun to read”. I have found that challenges make the characters more true to life. After all, who has the perfect life story? I enjoy reading about characters who overcome life challenges. And yet Carlson has kept the warm, Christmas-y feel of the story that we love this time of year.

If you enjoy contemporary Christian fiction with a Christmas theme and a light romance, then you’ll enjoy this story.

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

 

The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

43838303Robin Windsor has spent most of her life under an assumed name, running from her family’s ignominious past. She thought she’d finally found sanctuary in her rather unremarkable used bookstore just up the street from the marina in River City, Michigan. But the store is struggling and the past is hot on her heels.

When she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father’s scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the long-lost summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. That book–a first edition Catcher in the Rye–is soon followed by the other books she shared with Peter nearly twenty years ago, with one arriving in the mail each day. But why would Peter be making contact after all these years? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she’s about to be exposed all over again?

With evocative prose that recalls the classic novels we love, Erin Bartels pens a story that shows that words–the ones we say, the ones we read, and the ones we write–have more power than we imagine.

If you enjoy a good novel that’s Christian fiction without being preachy then you must read The Words Between Us. Destined to become one of the best of 2019, author Erin Bartels shows us the power of words. Even the power of words we don’t say.

The characters in this book are strong, and it was great to see them mature along the way. Set in Michigan, it even incorporates my home town of Grand Rapids, and our well-known event, Art Prize, so that was fun. And speaking of fun. The cover is incredible both in the way it looks and the way it feels. And the story is set in a bookstore. What could be better?

This is not a typical feel-good story. Difficult things happen to both main characters. But while these difficult things shape who they are, in the end they do not define them. Just don’t think this is an easy to read, feel good story. It’s raw and real and I loved it.

My one complaint was the ending. It just wasn’t neatly wrapped up like most books. I won’t say more. Just get a copy and read it. It’s well worth the investment!

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

 

Mail-Order Misfire by Davalynn Spencer

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Book 2 in the Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection—and prequel for the Front Range Brides series—Mail-Order Misfire exposes the heart of a widowed lawman when he meets the bride his nine-year-old daughter wrote for without telling him.

Preacher Bern Stidham is a peacemaker—when he’s not carrying one on his hip. His little girl, Gracie, wants a helper for her preacher/sheriff papa and a mama for herself, so she writes their former pastor in Missouri asking for a mail-order bride.

Recently widowed dressmaker Etta Collier is a half-step ahead of the banker who carries a lustful eye for her as well as the note on her home. When her pastor receives a letter from little Gracie Stidham, he sees a solution for everyone’s problem and encourages Etta to answer Gracie’s request.

Running from one man’s lecherous pursuit into the home of another she knows nothing about, Etta Collier risks everything to ease a little girl’s loneliness and perhaps find a second chance at love.

Such a good story by author Davalynn Spencer. You will love the characters in this story, especially young Gracie. What a sweet girl who wants to help her Papa and gain a Mama.

It seemed that Etta and Bern just can’t get their feelings and desires communicated. Either things get in the way, or they just clam up. This can be annoying but Spencer does a great job with two people who need a push. This seriously isn’t your typical mail-order bride story. The author puts so much heart and kindness into it with a bit of spice so it’s not syrupy. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

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

 

Diamond in the Rough by Jen Turano

514xFu4N2KL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy’s grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.

If you enjoy historical fiction with humor then you must read Diamond in the Rough. I laughed my way through this book, certain that I need Poppy as a best friend. The characters in this story are so well developed and delightful that you will love them and want to go to a ball with them. However the story is not all humor. There is mystery afoot with an unexpected twist, and of course there is light romance. Something for everyone!

With the underlying thread of hope, forgiveness, and restoration, Turano does a great job of weaving faith into her story without preaching. And when the son of and English duke meets the daughter of an American horse farm owner, watch out. Shenanigans ensue!

Note this is the second book in the American Heiresses series but acts as a stand alone. However, after you read this you’ll want to go back and read Flights of Fancy because author Jen Turano just keeps getting better! Grab a copy of Diamond in the Rough. You’ll love it!

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

 

Red, White, and Dead by Heather Marie Reaves

41f5T0b1lwLCharlie Flynn has lived most of her adult life roaming the country in a panel truck towing a vintage camper until her grandmother dies and leaves her a sprawling pink Victorian mansion that is practically falling down around her ears. On the day of her grandmother’s funeral, she finds a stranded, mud-covered little dog on her porch. Something about the pooch makes Charlie want to stay and put down roots in Holiday Cove. She begins renovations on the mansion, planning to use the first floor as a shop for all the vintage clothes and furniture she has bought over the years. But the renovations keep getting delayed and Charlie’s plans to have the store ready by all the Fourth of July festivities are put in jeopardy. Once she finds that there is a saboteur on the construction team, the fireworks really start. 

The saboteur is found dead and Charlie is the main suspect. She tries to keep her past a secret, but will her silence condemn her? Will she find the grace and forgiveness she needs before it’s too late?

In this story, Charlie finds that there is no “too far” for God and that she can finally stop running.

If you enjoy a Christian cozy mystery, you have to read this book. It was so much fun, and so intriguing, that seriously, I couldn’t put it down. 

The characters are well developed and strong. No wimps here! The descriptions of the mansion and the vintage clothes, just to name a couple of things, were incredibly well done. I really appreciated the spiritual journey that Charlie was on. Searching, asking questions, is a good thing because God will answer those questions.

All in all a great read. I have to disclose that I had trouble giving it four stars instead of 3.5. Not because of the story line or the characters. It was a fabulous read with imaginative work put into it. However this book needed some extra proofreading. There were several words missing throughout, and several words with letters missing. A few of the sentences didn’t physically line up, and misplaced commas jumped out at me. But please still read it. I was able to get past these things and enjoy myself!

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

 

Love at Pebble Creek by Lisa Jones Baker

51o30sfEaVL._SY346_.jpgIn Lisa Jones Baker’s heartwarming series, precious hand-carved chests hold treasured dreams—and bring blessings to a new generation …

Anna King has a talent—and a secret. Like the birth mother she never knew, Anna is gifted at sketching and longs to study and teach art one day. Unbeknownst to her beloved adoptive family, she’s even entered a contest to win a full scholarship to art college. Sketching isn’t a desirable vocation in her community, so Anna does her work in a remote spot by Pebble Creek and stores it in her beautiful hope chest. Only her family’s farmhand, Jesse Beiler, knows her plans—and that’s by accident …

The bishop’s son, Jessie is surprised to discover Anna’s contest entry form. He can’t imagine wanting a life beyond having his own farm and raising a family. Still, he admires Anna’s spirit and promises to keep her secret, despite their differences. Yet the better he and Anna get to know each other, the more they find their personalities—and their hearts—complement one another. With Gott’s guidance, can they forge the futures they desire—together?

I’ve been enjoying this series, Hope Chest of Dreams. Love at Pebble Creek is Book 5. You can read it as a standalone but read all of them to find out why the hope chest and Pebble Creek are so important.

This story is slightly different than the rest, and slightly different than the typical Amish story, when Anna discovers she is adopted and must deal with the feelings that stirs up, as well as her dream to go to art college. Definitely not an Amish thing to do. Neither is keeping such a secret the Amish thing to do.

The characters in Baker’s story are realistic and deal with true to life situations and feelings. They must learn to follow their hearts and God’s leading for their lives. A heartwarming story, I recommend it to those who enjoy Amish fiction.

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

 

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Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano

Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.

Finding Lady Enderly is a wonderful book, full of mystery and intrigue. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from the Diary of a Substitute Countess, which are totally fitting to this gothic style novel. Nothing is as it seems, and the ending left me shocked.

Politano is well read and has done thorough research, which is obvious by her masterful use of quotes from well loved books by such authors as Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. I really enjoyed these “clues” and the author’s creative use of them.

With well developed characters and settings that are easy to picture, Politano has crafted an incredible book. There is a thread throughout of being who you were created to be, not to try to be someone else. And a heart melting, clean romance that will make you sigh. I highly recommend this book.

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

 

Chase the Lion Weekly Planner by Mark Batterson

PlannerThe perfect companion product to New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson’s compelling manifesto, Chase the Lion 

This undated week-at-a-glance 12-month planner features excerpts from Chase the Lion sprinkled throughout to encourage the user to face their fears, defy the odds, and hold tight to God. Each week has space in the margin for trackable items such as the week’s goals, goals met, prayer requests, to-do lists, etc. At the end of each month is a page of self-evaluation questions and space to write a step toward a personal manifesto. Finally, the planner will wrap up with a multi-year calendar for user reference.

I love that this planner is undated so I can begin it when I’m ready. For me it’s the perfect size to take along if I want. And this isn’t just a weekly planner, but it helps to set goals and track progress. With “lions to chase this week”, weekly inspirations, and a place for notes when dreaming with God, I’m excited to see how the next year maps out for me.

As Batterson says, “Quit playing it safe and start running toward the roar!” 

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

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