Reviews

A Picture of Love by Beth Wiseman

Both of them have vowed from the bottom of their broken hearts never to love again. 

Sweet Naomi Byler cooks meals for the guests at The Peony Inn, where Amish sisters and owners of the inn Esther and Lizzie love her like a granddaughter. She’s as happy there as a young woman can be, considering that her fiancé, Thomas, has left her to court someone else. She knows she’ll get over the love of her life in due time, but she assumes marriage will never be a part of her future.

Amos Lantz and his mother are guests at the inn, visiting town for a cousin’s wedding. Attending a wedding is the last thing Amos wants to do since his own fiancée, Sarah, died tragically just a year ago.

Naomi and Amos understand each other’s grief and become quick friends when they discover their mutual love of painting. As the two begin to paint through their sadness together, Esther and Lizzie play matchmaker—a risky move with the potential to backfire. And when Thomas makes an unexpected return intending to win back Naomi, she realizes she no longer knows her own heart.

In this new Amish series from bestselling and award-winning novelist Beth Wiseman, true love takes root in the deepest of wounds.

Oh my goodness. I can already tell this is going to be a wonderful series and I can’t wait for book two!

Author Beth Wiseman writes a story that will keep you laughing and will tug at your heart strings. It might even get your ire up, as it did with me at times. But I read it as quickly as I could, partly to see what sisters Esther and Lizzie would do next. Throw in a rapscallion for a neighbor as well as an errant boyfriend and you have a recipe for trouble.

If you enjoy Amish fiction then I highly recommend this book. Full of hope, faith, and humor I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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

Reagan’s Reward by Susan Mathis

Summer 1912

Reagan Kennedy assumes the position of governess to the Bernheim family’s twin nephews, and her life at Cherry Island’s Casa Blanca becomes frustratingly complicated. Service to a Jewish family and tending to eight-year-old mischievous boys brings trouble galore.

Daniel Lovitz serves as the island’s caretaker and boatman. When he tries to help the alluring Reagan make sense of her new world, her insecurities mount as her confidence is shaken―especially when she crosses the faith divide and when Etta Damsky makes her life miserable. As trouble brews, Daniel sees another side of the woman he’s come to love.

Author Susan Mathis continues her Thousand Islands Brides series with this heartwarming tale of faith and love. I always learn new things from the books Mathis writes, and this one is no different. When a Christian woman becomes a nanny for a Jewish family, we see how the two faiths intersect, and I learned several new things about the Jewish faith. It was so well written that learning was very organic. As always with this series, the reader will learn about the gilded age and the area of the beautiful Thousand Islands.

Characters who have depth and human traits, I’d love to meet Regan and Daniel. Some of the other characters I’m just as happy that I can’t meet. But then, that makes for a great story line.

If you enjoy Christian historical fiction with sweet romance then I highly recommend the entire Thousand Islands Brides series. 

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

All That Glitters by Jennifer Sienes

Like Christmas ornaments, good-looking men are all glitter and no substance. Right?

Julia Metcalf tries to be content with her life in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, despite secretly yearning for more. Raising her son as a single mom might be tough sometimes, but with friends, family, and a job she enjoys, Julia has a rich life. Risking her heart again—not a good idea. Especially with a guy like Marty.

The guy is too handsome and funny for his—or her—own good.

But when Julia’s ex-husband disappears and puts her and her son in danger, Marty steps in to help.

Sometimes what glitters truly is gold.

This is a novella in author Jennifer Sienes Apple Hill series. I would recommend reading Surrendered first. I didn’t and while I wasn’t lost, the entire time I was reading All That Glitters I felt as if I were missing pieces of the story.

This book has a bit of everything in it’s Christmas setting; troubled relationships, suspense, mystery, even laughter and romance. The characters are engaging, being written as completely human with their strengths and weaknesses. I would have enjoyed seeing more of Max, Julia’s adorable little guy.

A story of family and forgiveness, I recommend it if you enjoy contemporary stories.

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

The Kissing Tree by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese

Bestselling novelist Karen Witemeyer joins award-winning authors Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese for this Texas-sized romance novella collection. Each of the authors’ unique voices is on display in stories where courting couples leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak’s bark.  

In Regina Jennings’ Broken Limbs, Mended Fences, a small-town teacher has her credentials questioned by a traveling salesman.

In Karen Witemeyer’s Inn for a Surprise, two opinionated collaborators with conflicting visions must turn a doomed business venture into a successful romantic retreat.

From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes follows a young WWII naval airman who heads to Texas to meet the sister of a lost compatriot.

Heartwood by Nicole Deese is a modern-day romance about the groundskeeper of a historic inn who’s reunited with someone from her past while she fights to save a town landmark.

This collection of novellas was so much fun to read, as each story took us to the next generation. The authors did a wonderful job of tying each of them together and I highly recommend this book.

The characters were so well written you’re sure to be drawn into their stories. With great plot lines and wonderful descriptions I often found myself laughing out loud. Throw in nostalgia, some suspenseful moments, and of course romance, and there’s something for everyone. 

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

Amish Christmas Twins by Shelley Shepard Gray, Rachel Good, Loree Lough

In these heartwarming, faith-affirming stories, three Amish families face the joys, and challenges, of the holidays—with fruitful results . . .   

THE CHRISTMAS NOT-WISH * New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Shelley Shepard Gray When the foster parents they’ve cautiously grown to love discover they’re expecting, orphaned Roy and Jemima Fisher, ages six and seven, are secretly devastated by the certainty they’ll be given up. With Christmas around the corner, their only wish is for new foster parents as nice as Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz. Meanwhile, the Kurtzes have wishes of their own—and with faith, they all may be gifted with twice the blessings . . .   

NEW BEGINNINGS *  Rachel J. Good Still grieving the loss of her husband and unborn baby in an accident several months ago, Elizabeth Yoder is oblivious to her neighbor Luke Bontrager’s deepening affection for her. But while she bleakly faces Christmas alone, it’s Luke who reminds her it’s the season for giving. And when Elizabeth donates her handmade baby clothes to New Beginnings, a home for teen moms, she soon finds her gifts repaid beyond measure, with Luke’s love—and new beginnings of their own . . .   

TWINS TIMES TWO * Loree Lough Spirited twins Priscilla and Leora Schwietert have each been blessed with mischievous twins of their own—all born on Christmas. Nearing their fourteenth birthdays, their sons have asked for horses. Their parents can fulfill their wish—but worry they’ll be rewarding unruly behavior. The solution: A contract requiring hard work and an anonymous gift for someone in need. After thoughtful prayer, the boys surprise their parents—as each husband and wife rediscovers their joy in Christmas and their love for each other. . .

Three heartwarming Christmas stories by three wonderful authors. I loved that The Christmas Not-Wish took us back to Gray’s Walnut Creek Series. It was so nice to visit again! New Beginnings was sad yet out of that sadness came sacrifice. And Twins Times Two had such fun twin boys who learned about giving.  I thoroughly enjoyed each of them and highly recommend them. 

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

The Cul de Sac War by Melissa Ferguson

Melissa Ferguson’s new novel proves that good fences make good neighbors–and that sometimes love and hate share a backyard.

Bree Leake doesn’t want to be tied down. She’s had more jobs than she can count–and the next stop on her journey is The Barter, the nation’s oldest live performance theater in Abingdon, Virginia. But just when it’s time to move on again, Bree’s parents make her an offer; hold steady in Abingdon for one full year, and they will give her the one thing she’s always wanted–her grandmother’s house. Her dreams are coming true . . . until life at the theater throws her some curve balls.

And then there’s her new neighbor. Chip McBride.

For the first time in her life, she’s met the person who could match her free-spirited air–and it’s driving her to the ledge of sanity. She would move heaven and earth to have him out of her life, but according to the bargain she’s struck, she cannot move out of her house and away from the man who’s making her life miserable. So begins Bree’s obsessive new mission: to drive Chip out of the neighborhood–and fast.

Bree isn’t the only one who’s a wee bit competitive, and as Chip registers what Bree’s up to, he’s more than willing to fight fire with fire. But as their pranks escalate, the line between love and hate starts to blur.

In Melissa Ferguson’s latest rom-com, two enemies find something they never expected in one another–taking “all’s fair in love and war” to a hilarious and heartwarming new level.

Author Melissa Ferguson’s rom-com kept me laughing. With the plot being neighbors who just can’t get along (or can they?) I felt like I had to choose a side to root for and after going back and forth I went with Team Chip. Bree really needed to grow up and I sometimes found her irritating. 

The story moved quickly, although the relationship didn’t, which was nice for a change. Each of the main characters had an interesting sense of humor, were very unsure of what to do with life, and had good hearts. Once they both got a clue and started to grow up they became much more true to life and likeable.

If you are looking for a fun story with quirky characters then I recommend The Cul de Sac Wars! And if you enjoy audio books, the narrator did a great job. I really enjoyed her reading.

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

The Christmas Husband by Lucette Nel

It was one little lie told only to protect impoverished Naomi Stuart and her daughter. But when Benedict Ramsay — a man she met fleetingly years before who should be in England — arrives in town, all she’d carefully constructed threatens to crumble.

Benedict arrives a stranger in Noelle, hoping to confront the father who’d abandoned him. What he did not expect was to discover he was a married man … to a woman he didn’t even remember meeting. And against his will, Benedict warms to the idea of a ready-made family.

Author Lucette Nel writes a fun, heartwarming tale that isn’t the typical marriage of convenience story. I mean, most people know when they’ve been married. Not Benedict, who arrives from England to find himself in quite a mess. 

Throw in a beautiful little girl who’s excited to meet her Papa, is convinced Papa loves her Mama, and expects them to live happily ever after, and you have a Christmas story to love. I highly recommend it. 

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